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Babri demolition case may bring out skeletons in BJP's closet
The ascent of no other party in modern history has taken place against such an inglorious background -- except that of the Nazis in Germany Amulya Ganguli,Just when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was hoping for success across the board from panchayats to parliament, the revival of the case against some of its leaders in the Babri Masjid demolition case of 1992 has raised the possibility of revealing the party's communal face which it has recently been trying to hide.The BJP may continue to win elections if only because the issues relating to the demolition are not of much consequence to today's voters. Even then, the possible indictment of some of the leaders, including former Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani and Union Minister for Water Resources Uma Bharti, cannot but dent the party's image and be an international embarrassment.The reason is the seriousness of the charges against them such as the promotion of enmity between communities. These accusations not only show Adva...




Will Uma Bharti resign as Union Minister and Kalyan Singh as Rajasthan Governor?
IndiaTomorrow.net, New Delhi, April 19: In the wake of the Supreme Court order restoring trial of BJP stalwarts including LK Advani, Union Minister Uma Bharti and Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh besides others in the 25-year long Babri Masjid demolition case, a dilemma has emerged before Bharti and Singh who hold constitutional posts.   The apex court has asked the trial court in Lucknow to resume trial within four weeks and conclude it in two years through day-to-day hearing.   Even though Kalyan Singh enjoys constitutional immunity as Rajasthan Governor and can be tried only after he leaves office, will he himself resign to ensure speedy justice in the case? Singh was Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh in 1992 when the 15th century mosque was razed to ground by a huge Hindu mob in Ayodhya town of the state. He had assured the Supreme Court about the protection of the mosque.   Similarly, will Uma Bharti, who is water minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabin...




Turkey Referendum: China fears it may increase militancy in Xinjiang
Abu Zafar, Soon after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Sunday night that people of Turkey accepted presidential democracy by 51.41 percent and 48.59, China expressed its concern over the development telling that this can be exploited by the radical Islamic forces to make it again a centre of Islam. China also fears that Islamic identity of Turkey can also provide shelter to separatists' group East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) in China's Muslim majority province.   In an article, Turkey's referendum may affect future of the Islamic world, published on China's official Global Times, writer Zhang Yi, also accused Turkey for its ambiguous attitude toward ETIM.   Global Times is a mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party of China (CCP) on international issues and editorials and opinion published here is considered as an official version of CCP.     ETIM is a separatist group founded by Uighurs in China's Xinjiang province. ET...




In today's India, the mind is not without fear: Filmmaker Vikram Bhatt
Bhatt says it would be unfair to draw that difference between Hollywood and Bollywood as in India, the "law and the government don't protect us" Kishori Sud,In a nation where Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore wrote "Where The Mind Is Without Fear" -- a stirring ode recited with immense pride by India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru -- filmmaker Vikram Bhatt believes the golden words now are "unfortunately not true".The film fraternity in Hollywood has always been very vocal about its opinions -- be it on Donald Trump becoming the US President or the "white vs black" controversy in showbiz.Often, a question has been raised about why most celebrities in the Hindi film fraternity do not speak up on important issues of the country -- and instead only tweet and write about the day-to-day events in their lives.When something unjust happens in the country, why do Bollywood stars disappear?Bhatt says it would be unfair to draw that differ...




And now, RSS has West Bengal in its cross-hairs
Milinda Ghosh Roy,  Kolkata, April 12: In its bid to expand its sphere of influence, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) -- the ideological parent of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that rules at the Centre -- has zeroed in on West Bengal as its next big target, contending the situation in the state is "unprecedented".The RSS is focussing on increasing its strength and presence in West Bengal in a bid to "combat rising radicalism and fundamentalism" in the eastern state that, according to a top functionary of the local unit or the organisation, poses "a major threat to the nation's security"."The RSS generally focuses on places that pose a major threat to the nation. The situation in Bengal is very much similar. The radical forces, Maoists and other separatist powers have combined with the state's ruling (Trinamool Congress) party to work together."The situation is unprecedented. This nexus of jihadis and radicals in Bengal is a major thr...




Prejudice and violence against Africans tarnish India's image
There have been far too many incidents of mob violence in recent months to be brushed aside as the occasional rampages of hooligans which can be controlled by stricter policing. Evidently, a deep personal and societal flaw is at work. Amulya Ganguli, The continued presence of insensate prejudice and brutal violence in public life has again been highlighted by the recent attacks on African students in Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh, a township near New Delhi.With its well-kept and well-lit roads, bustling malls and shopping arcades and rows of high-rise residential complexes, Greater Noida -- like Gurugram in Haryana -- is typical of a booming India whose affluent citizenry have been compared by Nobel laureate Amartya Sen with the denizens of California.But in the midst of the razzmatazz lurk ill-bred and ill-educated louts ready to vent their spleen on anyone who either rouses their antipathy, like Africans or people from India's northeast with their Mongoloid features, or look...




Combating prejudice against Africans: India has a lot to lose
Kul Bhushan,  India has a great deal to lose by mistreating and beating up Africans who come to study or live in the country. The latest attacks on March 27, 2017 on Nigerian students living in Greater Noida bordering New Delhi and part of the National Capital Region have made breaking news on all TV news channels and front-page headlines in leading newspapers.While playing up ad nauseum the sensational news story is supposed to increase the viewership of TV channels and boost dwindling newspaper readership, it inflicts massive harm to India-Africa bilateral relations, Indian investment in Africa, and Indian diaspora in Africa. The medium and long term repercussions and massive damage to India's goodwill internationally is lost on the angry, racist and violent Indian goons who assault and injure Africans.The tragedy is that this is not an isolated incident resulting in injuries to Africans inflicted by boorish locals. Such incidents have been happening in major metros for years, e...




Will a Grand Alliance be experimented in coming UP by-polls?
Five ministers including Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his two deputies will have to become Member of either Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council to continue as Ministers. Besides, Lok Sabha seats of Gorakhpur and Phulpur will also go to polls.  Mumtaz Alam, IndiaTomorrow.net, Now that it has become clear that far more than communal polarization, it is the huge division of non-BJP votes that defeated Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Congress in the recently-held Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, it is now on them to decide their future course of action as they are facing existential threat.   Necessity for By-polls After the grand victory in the Assembly polls – wherein the BJP alone won 312 seats in the 403-Member Assembly – the party formed the government in Lucknow earlier this month. Party’s firebrand leader Yogi Adityanath took oath of office of Chief Minister along with his 44 ministers. Five of them, including Yogi and his...




Right of dissent, agitation ingrained in fundamental rights under Constitution: Vice President
IndiaTomorrow.net, Chandigarh, March 26: "The right of dissent and agitation are ingrained in the fundamental rights under our Constitution, which sets out a plural framework and refuses any scope to define the country in narrow sectarian, ideological or religious terms," said Vice President of India Mohammad Hamid Ansari.   He was delivering the 66th Convocational Address at the Panjab University in Chandigarh on Saturday.   "The ‘national interest' in this scheme is constitutional rule. This is what Dr. Ambedkar had in mind when he said that, ‘It is only constitutional morality that must guide the government, not any whimsical invocation of narrow-minded, parochial figureheads and mythical characters,'" said the Vice President.   "Intellectual dissent has the power to clarify differences and elucidate competing assumptions. It enables each of us to recognize the strengths and weaknesses in our thinking. Strong intellectual ...




Portrait of a Muslim home in shadow of rising BJP colossus
Saeed Naqvi,It was a spectacular celebration. The beating of drums, sprinkling of colours, group songs, dancing continued well after dusk.As I watched from my window, a thought crossed my mind: Why had we not been invited? Ours is the only Muslim home in the colony, but a pride of place has always been accorded to us in all celebrations, including Holi. We have inherited this knack of integration from our elders. The Mahant of Shiv Sharan Das temple in Lucknow always made special "bhang"-free "thandai" for my father on Holi.I called up the President of the Residents Welfare Association (RWA) to register my protest. He was vacationing at Corbett Park. There had been deaths in the neighbourhood; RWA had therefore not organised a Holi celebration. It was private initiative -- some friends had come together for the festivities.We know them well, but they probably did not include us in their list of revellers because they thought we may not be in the celebration mode or ...




Induction of a Muslim in Yogi govt welcome gesture, much more needs to be done
Mumtaz Alam, BJP leader Adityanath Yogi on Sunday took oath as 21st Chief Minister of India's largest state Uttar Pradesh. His two deputies -- Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dr Dinesh Sharma -- and 44 ministers were also administered oath. But the surprise, like his own selection as UP CM, was the induction of a Muslim in his team of ministers. It should be seen as a welcome gesture particularly in the polarized atmosphere of the state. Lot more needs to be done on the ground.   In the recently-held elections in UP, BJP won 312 seats alone in the 403-Member Assembly. The election campaigns of BJP, thanks to controversial remarks of its top leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party chief Amit Shah and party's star campaigner Yogi himself, were communally surcharged - and it was one of the factors behind the massive victory of BJP.   All major non-BJP parties, including Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Congress that have got Muslim vote for decades, received ...




Love jehad to sabka vikas: Can Modi tame Yogi?
Amulya Ganguli,New Delhi, March 19: Did the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) desist from naming its Chief Ministerial candidate for UP before the assembly polls because it wanted to spring a nasty, or pleasant, surprise - depending on one's point of view - on an unsuspecting public? For some, the earlier deafening silence on a possible Chief Minister might have been a deceitful ploy considering that as virtually the sole effective campaigner, Narendra Modi gave the impression that he remains focused on development notwithstanding a few sops to the Hindutva brigade as in the 'kabaristhan-shamshan ghat' controversy relating to the Samajwadi Party's alleged partiality towards the Muslims. To critics such as these, the choice of Yogi Adityanath - perhaps the most trenchant of the saffron hardliners - as UP's Chief Minister is also a message to the BJP's core constituency of communal-minded Hindus that for all the talk about 'sabka saath' and 'sabka vikas' or development for all, Modi...




Protests, ink attacks and trolls have become lethal weapons against writers, intellectuals
Saket Suman,New Delhi, March 15: A day after the BJPs thumping victory in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday, a little-known progressive Kannada writer became the victim of an ink attack in Davangere town by a group of suspected right-wing activists. In gross defiance of the law and freedom of expression, his face was smeared with black ink in broad daylight. An isolated incident or the new order?Yogesh Master, who is said to have hurt the sentiments of Hindus by depicting Lord Ganesha in poor light in his novel "Dhundi", is only the latest addition to a long list of writers -- Salman Rushdie, Taslima Nasrin, Tarek Fateh, Perumal Murugan, Ramachandra Guha and Romila Thapar, among others -- who have been target of fundamentalist elements.While the fear of book bans continues to prevail, protests, ink attacks and trolls have now emerged as weapons of choice against writers and intellectuals.In the past, it was primarily politicians who were victims of ink attacks, but authors and ration...




Goa: Isn't it unethical for BJP to claim government formation?
IndiaTomorrow.net, Panaji, March 13: The verdict in Goa Assembly elections is clearly against the ruling BJP as the party has fallen down from 21 seats (simple majority) in 2012 elections to just 13 seats (8 short of simple majority) in the 2017 elections.   Not just that, the sitting chief minister of BJP Laxmikant Parsekar and five of his ministers lost the election.   Party-wise Performance in Goa Assembly Elections Results 2012 Assembly Elections Results 2017 Parties Seats Parties Seats BJP (vote share 34.68%) 21 BJP (vote share 32.5%) 13 Congress (vote share 30.78%) 09 Congress (vote share 28.4%) 17 Maharashtrawadi Gomantak 03 Maharashtrawadi Gomantak 03 Independent 05 Independent 03 Goa Vikas Party   02 Goa Forward Party ...




Campus face-off: BJP stumped by young idealists
Amulya Ganguli, In the confrontation between the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and the Leftist students in the various campuses, the saffron brotherhoods muscular nationalism is facing stiff resistance not so much from the traditional politicians, despite their occasional interventions, as from the students.Since the latter are seen to be driven more by unsullied ideology than any cunning political calculations, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has not found it easy to deal with these young idealists.Its tactics have swayed back and forth, therefore, from outright condemnation of what the ABVP's opponents have been saying to an acknowledgement of the sincerity of the youthful Left-leaning activists.Nothing has shown the BJP's indecisiveness more than its varied responses to the 20-year-old Delhi student, Gurmehar Kaur's straightforward challenge to the ABVP, the Sangh parivar's student wing -- "I am not afraid of the ABVP".For the saffronties, who wear their patri...




Is it a political gimmick to reach portals of power?
Shakeel Ahmad, We are still waiting to see if that mistake has perturbed the saffron party politicians to utter quite contradictory points but nobody can say it as scruffy in the context of the ongoing voting trends. What went wrong with the BJP that it has been perturbed to express something pleasing for the Muslim voters though the party politicians are vibrating with the defensive passion against the inaccuracy? They are still emphasising upon no religious card in this regard by citing the example of Jammu & Kashmir politics.  It is a queer thing for many a political analyser that the Bhartiya Janata Party has gone to the extent of saying sorry with its accustomed vivacity and fire. Some of the people are the opinion that the Modi Brigade has come ahead with the apologetic attitude to the Muslims only because of the reverse message of the Qabristan-Samshaan avowal. Therefore they have been trying to be regretful in the matter of no ticket to the Muslim candidate in this l...




Campus politics hurting academic freedom?
Anurag Dey, New Delhi, Feb 26: The violent clashes between the right-wing ABVP and the Left-leaning student groups at Delhi University's Ramjas College are just a reminder of campuses turning into political battlegrounds, or are they also reflective of the premier educational institutions losing their academic freedom?While the ABVP has drawn brickbats for the February 22 fierce clashes that left injured over a dozen persons, including teachers and journalists, not just the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's student wing but confrontational politics has created unrest in the campuses across the country.From the national capital's Jawaharlal Nehru University to the Jadavpur University in Kolkata to Hyderabad University, student issues have often boiled over, leading to violent clashes between rival groups.The ABVP's bid to dominate campus life in the country has seriously infringed academic freedom, Delhi University Professor Apoorvanand Jha told IANS.The incident at Ramjas College is not an...




Maharashtra verdict: Has Modi's demonetisation gamble paid off?
Amulya Ganguli,  The sweeping victories of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Maharashtra's local elections mean that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has won his demonetisation gamble.Earlier, too, the BJP had come out on top in a series of civic elections across the country and returned more recently as a major contender in Odisha.But the Maharashtra victories have confirmed that, first, Modi has retained much of his 2014 magic; and, secondly, the people did not consider demonetisation as either "despotic" or "inane", as the two noted Left-leaning economists, Amartya Sen and Prabhat Patnaik, described it.True, the real test of the Prime Minister's risky scrapping of high-denomination currency will be available on March 11 when the results of the assembly elections in five states will be announced, but the signs from Maharashtra should reassure the BJP that it will cross with relative ease that electoral Rubicon as well.If the BJP has faced considerable resistanc...




Indian engineer's killing: Where are Hindutva outfits that celebrated Trump's win?
IndiaTomorrow.net, New Delhi, Feb 25: Hate is blind and once accepted and celebrated it expands its target and territory. This is exactly what the world is witnessing in the United States these days. Donald Trump was targeting Muslims in his presidential election campaign last year but now when he is sitting in the White House as President of the world's largest democracy, not only Muslims, others are also falling to bullets of hate in America.   The latest victim is a son of our Indian soil -- Srinivas Kuchibhotla who was shot dead by a white man in Kansas City of Missouri state couple of days ago. Alok Madasani, another Indian, was wounded in the shooting. Besides them, an American man identified as Ian Grillot also received bullet injuries when he intervened.   Soon after signing executive order banning nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries in January, President Trump targeted H1B visa policy that reports say would affect jobs of thousands of professionals f...




Social Progress Index can complement GDP
Amit Kapoor, GDP is easily the most controversial measure in the field of economics. It is a measure of economic production that should have lost its relevance in a world disgusted by environmental degradation and social injustice. Despite its narrow focus, the concept of GDP has survived decades of debate on a new measure that better reflects human well-being within a nation.More recently, the issue was raised by a panel of economists at Davos 2017 consisting of IMF head Christine Lagarde, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and MIT Professor Erik Brynjolfsson, who stressed GDP is a poor way of assessing the health of economies and there is an urgent need to find an alternative measure. Closer home, Bibek Debroy, member of NITI Aayog, raised a similar concern by pointing out that GDP has its shortcomings but finding an alternative summary measure is a challenge.Both recent instances of the GDP debate seem to echo the general consensus among economists that an alternative mea...




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