Editorial

Economic truth has a weird way of coming out, piercing through the miasma of political propaganda. Seven months ago, on November 8 to be precise, when the Centre announced the demonetization of high-denomination currency notes, the people were told that it was a panacea for several ills afflicting the country. In one master stroke, the Centre claimed to have exorcised the devils of black money, funding of terrorists, funding of Maoists and the circulation of forged notes. The intense difficulties that the ordinary people of this country had to...

The judiciary is held in high esteem all over the world and particularly in India where the judiciary is the last resort for a citizen against the arbitrary and unconstitutional acts of the State. The judiciary is the creature of the Constitution and individual judges are expected to go by both the letter and the spirit of the Constitution. Article 51A(h) of the Constitution says that the citizens have a duty “to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform.” This Article of the Constitution has to be kept in...

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has given the State police a clear directive to deal firmly with anyone disturbing the peace, especially where setting up of new industries is concerned, irrespective of the political colour of the offenders. She gave expression to her annoyance and anger when she came to know that the main entrance to a new ship-building industry which is coming up at Titagarh with an investment of Rs. 700 crore has been encroached upon by a club which apparently enjoys the backing of a faction of the ruling Trinamool Congress....

Rumour-mongering with strong communal overtones has become a potential weapon in the hands of mischief-makers. A number of attacks on members of the dalit community in Uttar Pradesh can be attributed directly to mischievous rumour-mongering. Provocative rumours were spread in Kolkata on Thursday after the police chased away BJP workers from Lalbazar. To confuse and mislead the common man, rumours about the identity of the policemen deployed for peace-keeping were spread, as if the police force is deployed on their members’ communal identity....

BJP’s March to Lalbazar on Thursday, coming close on the heels of CPM’s March to Nabanna on Monday, was an exercise in competitive muscle-flexing – of who can clash more violently with the police and give a better demonstration of rowdyism. As far as the police are concerned, their handling of the BJP demonstrators was quite lenient compared to their liberal use of the lathi on the CPM activists. But how far have the people been impressed? How far has their support for one party or the other increased? Because it is ostensibly to win over more...

The term of President Pranab Mukherjee ends in July but there is a perceptible reluctance on the part of both the BJP and the Opposition to name their nominees. The Opposition has made it known that they will support Mukherjee if he runs for a second term. But the incumbent President is firm that the question of his seeking re-election is contingent on the BJP proposing his name. But the BJP is in no mood to see Mukherjee for another five years in the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Different names are being informally talked about in BJP circles. They...

India-Pakistan relations are hotting up and the talk of a war is in the air. India claimed to have carried out yet another ‘surgical strike’ in Kashmir which was routinely denied by the Pakistan army. But the fact that all the three chiefs of Pakistan’s armed forces issued ‘warnings’ against India and threatened India with dire consequences should it embark on a war left no one in any doubt that the surgical strike has really hurt Pakistan and it is desperately trying to save its face before the people at home. The wise course for India should...

The terrorists who masquerade as ‘Islamic’ jihadists have taken a fresh toll of 22 lives – men, women and children -- at Manchester are cowards to their bones. Killing innocents in the name of religion is particularly outrageous. The world has seen many such outrages in the recent past. Unless the IS is decisively defeated, there is every reason to fear that more such tragedies will occur in future. What is puzzling is that the terrorists are carrying out one carnage after another, in one country after another, with impunity but no determined...

The CPM is fast losing its relevance in State politics. The unexpected rise of the BJP is threatening it to lose its traditional bastions in rural areas. That too at a time when the panchayat elections are looming ahead. The CPM desperately needed some media publicity, some attention from an otherwise indifferent public and a little more attention from the State Government as an opposition party. The inept police handling of the party’s ‘March to Nabanna’ on Monday got it all that it wanted: media publicity, public attention and the...

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has asserted that: “Kashmir is ours, Kashmiris are ours, Kashmirityat is also ours. We will find a permanent solution to Kashmir.” The Home Minister’s speech is to be welcomed if it amounts to the admission that the Kashmir ‘problem’ that requires a ‘permanent solution’ is not a mere law-and-order problem – as successive rulers in Delhi have looked at it – but a political problem. The stark reality today is that the land of Kashmir is ours because the army has been holding it for us. The Kashmiris are not with...

The general elections are still a good couple of years away. But the battle lines for it are already being drawn up in right earnest. To all appearances, there will be two major groupings this time: the NDA led by the BJP and the entire – and if not the entire the biggest chunk of it – of the opposition, laying the utmost emphasis on democracy and secularism – in equal measure. That the BJP, despite its unchallengeable majority in the Lok Sabha and the still strong charisma of the Prime Minister, is not taking the battle lightly is clear from...

One significant indication coming from the just concluded civic elections in the hills is that less and less people can now be enthused to vote for the GJM for achieving a separate Gorkhaland. Not only has Trinamool Congress wrested the Mirik municipality from the GJM, it has opened accounts in all the other three civic bodies as well.  The GJM’s alliance with the BJP, the ruling party at the Centre, did not improve its tally but in fact reduced it. For the first time the GJM leadership, especially Bimal Gurung, realized that the Gorkhas are...

The sacking of Noor-ur-Rehman Barkati, Shahi Imam of the Tipu Sultan Masjid of Kolkata by the Trustees of the Masjid has not come a day too soon. The peremptory sack order was served on him on Wednesday. It gave him seven days to vacate the Masjid or else face eviction by the police. Barkati had earned notoriety by issuing Fatwas against prominent Muslim writers and intellectuals like the Bangladeshi author Tasleema Nasreen in 2007.  Barkati declared an inam on her head which was actionable under the Indian Penal Code. But Chief Minister...

As the presidential poll comes nearer, the ruling BJP and the combined opposition are on a confrontation course. As the opposition parties are busy finding a name which will be acceptable to all, the ruling party has already delivered its first salvo against the opposition by targeting its prominent leaders. The raids on the offices of former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and former Bihar Chief Minister and RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav have made former Bihar Minister and RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav have made the ruling party’s intentions...

Seven civic bodies in the State went to polls on Sunday – four in the hills and three in the plains. While voting in the hills went off peacefully, that in the plains was marred by violence. Bombs were used freely, activists of the parties were seen strutting about with firearms, poll staff were seen hiding themselves in the bathroom and the police were found to be playing a totally passive role, which actually amounted to helping the ruling party. Both sides resorted to violence, but the ruling party’s men did it more nonchalantly, as if...

The results of the seven civic bodies that went to polls recently confirm the supremacy of the TMC, the gradual wiping out of the Left and the Congress and prove that the BJP’s vote tally at the Contai (South) Assembly by-poll the other day was nothing more than a flash in the pan. The Trinamool Congress’ winning spree was equal in both the plains and the hills. For the first time, the party shattered the Congress bastion at Domkal, capturing 18 of the 21 seats. The BJP failed to open its account here. Another Congress bastion in the north,...

The Government has, finally, agreed to introduce genetically modified crops in this country. The first GM crop will be that of mustard. In taking this decision, the Government has chosen to ignore informed opinion that was firmly against the introduction of genetically modified or GM crops for a whole host of purely scientific reasons. In the process, the Government has also chosen to brush aside the strong reservations of the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch, an outfit of the Sangh Parivar itself. Studying the genesis of the sustained move to introduce...

BJP’s decision to talk only to those in Kashmir who accept the Indian Constitution shows its myopic vision. Every day, as the security forces try to control the fury of the people, the number of those who do not accept the Constitution, who want ‘azadi’ and who preach Kashmir’s secession from India swells. To refuse to talk to the leaders of the Hurriyat Conference is to fly in the face of the stark reality. More, it weakens the brittle alliance of the PDP and the BJP. If the alliance eventually breaks down and the State Government is...

The International Court of Justice, the judicial arm of the United Nations, has ordered a stay on the execution of Kulbhusan Jadhav, a retired Indian Navy officer who was doing business, whom Pakistan allegedly abducted from Chabahar in Iran, brought him to Pakistan and falsely accused him of being an Indian spy working in Baluchistan.  The Pakistani authorities refused consular access to Jadhav for as many as sixteen times which they are legally bound to do as Jadhav is an Indian citizen. After the ICJ issued its order staying Jadhav’s...

Ever since the sweeping victory of the BJP in the UP Assembly elections, and more recently after the Delhi civic polls, the Aam Admi Party had been alleging that the supposedly tamper-proof Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) can be and have been tampered with to ensure BJP victory. The BJP dismissed the charge with a shrug of the shoulders, asserting that a party rejected by the people is taking recourse to such laughable excuses to save its precious face. On its part, the Election Commission threw a challenge to Kejriwal and his party, or, for...

European Union Council President Donald Tusk has hailed French President Emmanuel Macron’s victory as the victory of “liberty, equality and fraternity” and a “victory over tyranny of fake news.” In our country, the ‘tyranny’ of fake and downright false news continues with the direct or indirect patronage of the powers-that-be, while real news or important news is either sent to an obscure corner of the inside page of a newspaper or given a short shrift by the electronic media. For example, stone-pelting at the security forces by youngsters of...

The decisive victory of Emmanuel Macron as the new French President, defeating his far-Right rival Marine le Pen in the just concluded elections, is a welcome political development at a time when the Right is having a field day over a wide swath of the world – from Brazil to the United States to the United Kingdom to Germany to India and beyond. The margin of Macron’s victory (66.06 per cent of the 99.99 per cent votes counted) was beyond the wildest expectations of the optimists. As political observers pointed out, it signified the deep urge...

The Supreme Court has upheld the verdict of the Delhi High Court sentencing the four monsters in human form who raped, mangled and mutilated a 23-year old paramedic student, Vidya Singh, on December 16, 2012 in Delhi who later died in a Singapore hospital, to death. One accused committed suicide in jail during the trial while the sixth one, being six months short of being an adult, escaped the gallows after spending a period in a reformatory. One of the apex court judges who heard the appeal, Justice R. Banumathi, rightly held that “Where a...

The entire Southern India is reeling under a severe drought. Tamil Nadu has been worst hit. A sensation-seeking and sensation-mongering media has hardly highlighted the plight of the people down South. Drought has caused crop losses. Today the situation is so grave that whatever drinking water is available is being used to meet the thirst of humans, the cattle are being deprived. A Swiss insurer has estimated the losses suffered by Tamil Nadu due to drought at three billion dollars or Rs. 19,463 crore. However, only about Rs 25.95 crore losses...

The verbal duel between West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the central leadership of the BJP is getting fiercer by the day. While the CM is drawing the people’s attention to the development schemes she initiated and successfully implemented despite resource constraint, the BJP is trying to polarize the electorate on communal line. The CM is being portrayed as an ‘appeaser’ of the minority community. But excepting the allowance for the Imams, no specific instance of minority-appeasing could be given against her. The development...