Thursday, July 31, 2008

US Confirms Indian Allegations of ISI Help in Afghan Embassy Bombing

Check out this news item in the NYT. I am adding this here though it has nothing to do with The Hindu simply because it is important enough to recognize that this is the first time to my knowledge that Indian allegations regarding a specific terrorist attack have been confirmed so promptly and publicly by American Intelligence Officials. Whether this will lead to greater belief in Indian claims and lead to increased cooperation in combating the designs of the ISI remains to be seen. The US with its billions of dollars in aid commands far greater influence in the Pakistani government than India does and American pressure might be far more successful than our own efforts to get that government to reign in the militant infrastructure has been. Whether this will benefit India with respect to the ongoing investigations into the recent terrorist bombings and more importantly, whether any of the suspects implicated in any attacks in India will be extradited owing to American efforts remains to be seen. The possibility, I admit, continues to be far fetched but it appears that prospects are slowly getting brighter little by little by the day.

Parvathi Menon's Interview on Tibet

Some gems from the interview with the euphemistically named ' Director-General, Bureau for Tibet and Human Rights of the State Council Information Office'. Human rights and Tibet both part of the same title of a Chinese official - now, that is something!

From the intro:

There is the view, shaped by the Dalai Lama, the former theocratic ruler of Tibet and his supporters, of Tibet as a land of faith that is now groaning under the tyranny of communist rule. This viewpoint has found resonance in the west, largely through the channels of a hostile media. There is, on the other hand, the reality — so evident to a visitor to the region — of the remarkable progress made by the Tibet Autonomous Region in the economic, social, and educational spheres. The ancient regime of monastic and feudal serfdom sustained by the Dalai Lama had to be consigned to history for this to happen.

In other words, the Dalai Lama is not only a feudal entity but a liar. Hmm...This statement has the distinctive touch of N.Ram to it.

Before democratic reform, monks and temples had a central place in the old theological society. Monasteries owned one-third of the productive forces, and they exercised judicial and administrative rights. Therefore, when the democratic reforms did away with theocracy, monks lost the privileges they enjoyed, while serfs and farmers were liberated...Before the Democratic Reform in 1959, there were 2,700 monasteries and monks accounted for 12 per cent of the total population.

Apparently, the invasion and occupation that began in 1959 is titled 'Democratic reform of 1959'. Nice title.

Parvathi Menon asked:

The Chinese central government has had several rounds of talks with the representatives of the Dalai Lama, including two after the March 14th riots. What is non-negotiable and what can be negotiated, as the talks proceed?

What a question to ask! During negotiations, which official is going to reveal ex ante the cards he holds, that too to a foreign journalist!?

The Dalai Lama cannot hope to retain his old theological position, but he can play a role as a religious head if he has the will. We will still listen to his views. Although Tibet’s prosperity does not need the Dalai Lama, we hope to increase mutual understanding. This shows the sincerity of the Chinese central government.

They will listen to his views. Period. They will not necessarily follow them or empower him to do anything with those views. How sweet! Why not buy a talking doll of the Dalai Lama instead and save the time, effort and money.

Read the whole piece. Parvathi Menon should be commended for a hit-job well done.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Fwd: Britons in Mumbai child abuse case freed

Alert Girish points out the contrast in reporting:

BBC Report:
Campaigning group Fair Trials Abroad said the appeal verdict meant the
men had been "rightfully acquitted".

Reuters Report:
On Tuesday, Childline Indian Foundation, an organisation helping
children in distress, approached the Supreme Court to ask for the
acquittal to be overturned.

Chindu takes a more conservative stance:
British nationals Duncan Grant and Alan Waters, accused of
paedophilia, were set free from jail after the Bombay High Court
acquitted them of charges

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

UPA government defends Haj subsidy, claims Hindus are being pampered

If you did not know, about Rs. 280 crores of the taxpayer money is going towards the Haj Subsidy and your friendly UPA government thinks it does not violate secularism(read support for any community other than Hinduism). The representatives said,
“The basic feature of secularism is in no way marred by the decision. The government is not averse to the idea of granting support to the pilgrimage conducted by any community,”

The UPA govt. also pointed out that they were magnanimously sponsoring some facilities for the Hindus like,
Rs. 3,250-subsidy per head was being provided for the Kailash Manasarovar pilgrimage. Facilities were being provided to Hindu and Sikh pilgrims for visits to temples and gurdwaras in Pakistan. For the Kumbh Mela, the State government incurred expenditure.

I checked out how many millions of Hindus visited the Manasarovar lake, based on my research as quoted by the UPA Government about 1000 people visit every year. This when multiplied by the subsidy costs the Government Rs.31 lakhs. The problem with the analysis provided by the Government is that the majority of expenses made are returned back to the Indian economy as opposed to the Haj subsidy which goes into the Saudi economy (who of course funnel it back into India by sponsoring SIMI and other groups). The petitioner's key point sums up the argument,
In a secular country, the government could not promote a particular religion at the cost of others and spend the amount collected by way of taxes for one religious community

Monday, July 28, 2008

Aftermath of the Bombings

Two days after the bombing, there does not seem to have been much progress in the investigations. A few folks have been arrested with one in TN being claimed to have stopped bombings on the independence day. As for the other two, one is a 'SIMI activist' wanted since 2002 whose connection to the bombings is not clear (but is only known to be a fundamentalist). The third is an American arrested in Mumbai because one of the emails of the 'Indian Mujahideen' purportedly had his IP address; in his defense, he claims that his computer was hacked by unknown people about a week ago, a story the police are still in the process of verifying. Apart from the arrest of one man in Varanasi yesterday, there has been no progress in the Jaipur blasts since the internet cafe from which the poorly worded email was sent was located. And finally, virtually no convictions in any of the recent bombings so far. Altogether, a terrible record of investigations let alone any progress towards prevention.

The Union government's stupid statements would have been hilarious were it not for the poignancy of the moment and the worrying impotence of the government in light of the emerging threat. As Retributions pointed out, the Minister of State for Home Affairs ridiculously said: "We are surprised and shocked. Yesterday, it was Banglore. Today it is Ahmedabad. This happened even after the government of India issued high alerts to all sensitive states." As Rohit at Retributions points out aptly, 'someone should tell the honorable minister that terrorists don’t go by government of India’s advisories'. To top this, the BJP has now ended up showing that it can do even better. Sushma Swaraj virtually accused the Manmohan Singh government of orchestrating the blasts in order to 'divert attention from cash-for-votes scam'. Sushmaji represents a lot of what is wrong with the BJP today. A gifted orator and a very dynamic leader, she has long suffered from an utter lack of vision, small-mindedness and a love for gutter politics, traits that render her completely unfit for high office. This latest instance only underlines her cheap mentality.

Advani has done somewhat better in endorsing the PM's call for a federal agency to investigate terrorist incidents of this nature. It was reported today that the PM has asked the Home Minister to 'go full steam ahead' to set up such a nodal agency against the backdrop of this challenge. Again, do not expect any of this to be a success right away - state governments have been dragging their feet over such a proposal and may well decide to deny their cooperation if it comes into existence notwithstanding their opposition. And of course, the BJP has not given up its mantra for 'tough' POTA/POTA-like legislation, a suggestion of dubious value.

On the whole, the going is not only disappointing but of great concern. Newspapers across the country including The Hindu have begun to ask hard questions but what effect any of this will have remains in the realm of hope and speculation. Meanwhile, it is virtually certain that the country is destined to witness more bombings in the same/different cities. Given the terrorists' excellent track record in evading the agencies' eyes so far, it also provides considerable motivation for the various other terrorist outfits in Kashmir, Assam, AP and other places to rework their strategy along similar lines. With great trepidation, the country must prepare for the bloody months ahead.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Why is the Government silent after the Ahmedabad blasts?

The blasts in Bangalore which killed 2 people and injured several was followed by serial blasts in Ahmedabad, Gujarat which killed at least 8 and injured several others. The act was perpetrated by the 'Indian Mujahideen' or some group which claimed ownership with this statement,
We the Indian Mujahideen have carried out attacks and will continue to do so. Stop us if you can.

Some pics from the brutal attacks:

The impotent government of Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi pleads for peace while the perpetrators walk away free. Where is the accountability? Why is there no retaliation for these attacks? This impotence is going to cost our countrymen their lives while the so called principles of secularism have to be upheld. This is BULLSHIT.
When you cannot protect your people from attackers from the outside and inside you have lost the responsibility to rule. But the cowardly media will not question the government and the police about the lack of action. It is sad to see that our countrymen and women lack protection and freedom within their own country.
The police are being handicapped by the Government which does not provide the regulations, information and equipment to fight this war on terror.
A serving intelligence officer said in absence of laws like Prevention of Terrorism Act and Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (prevention) Act, terrorists who have built a formidable network within India do not have any fears.

Update from Chindu:
Both the PM and the President have appealed for peace.
The CPM went a bit further stating,
unfortunate that despite a series of such attacks, the government and the intelligence agencies are unable to crack down on those responsible for these heinous crimes.

Beyond the trite statements, the Union minister Shakeel Ahmed the braniac decided to put the ball in the Gujarat's state govt.'s court stating,
adding that the State government should have been more alert and alive to the potential threat.

Mr. Ahmed surely you don't expect the Government and police to search every cycle in a public area? How about providing the law and order mechanism some teeth?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Terrorists strike Bangalore again. Where's the outrage?

In what seems to have become a standard modus operandi of the terrorists striking the major Indian cities, there were 8 blasts in Bangalore today. There were two people killed and several injured. The initial response from the police is predictable and in some cases apathetic. Lines like these,
Bangalore Police Commissioner Shankar M. Bidari told presspersons that some "miscreants" had triggered the blasts to "spoil the peace" in the city.

The Centre had forewarned the Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh governments that terrorists could target Bangalore and Hyderabad, Minister of State for Home Sriprakash Jaiswal said Friday...Jaiswal said the main aim of the serial blasts in Bangalore was to "spread terror".

The political response of the CM and PM is pathetic and inactive.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday asked the people to remain calm and maintain communal harmony.

and the CM,
Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa said the blasts were a "planned conspiracy to vitiate the atmosphere"

Surely you will take some action against those who planned these attacks Messrs. PM and CM? I'm sure you will order to blast a few madrassas in Karachi and Islamabad in retaliation. Or how about clamping down on some known terrorist supporters in Kashmir? How many blasts will the people have to suffer before you take any action?
What do you think will come out as a result of these latest blasts?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Pearls of wisdom from the PM-in-waiting

While the whole country has been debating intensely about the nuclear deal, the young prince thought about this issue yesterday and came up with one reason why we need the deal. During yesterday's debate, our PM-in-waiting displayed another such intellectual prowess, when he said that the biggest problem facing the country is "energy". Unfortunately, his message did not reach the few hundred million Indians who are still worrying about poverty.

Rahul interrupted, gets just 10 minutes
“Yesterday, I was thinking why we are meeting here. Why this house needs to meet. I came to the conclusion that we are meeting because there is a serious problem in India and the problem is our energy security,” he said.

Chinese belligerence extends beyond

The unfolding political drama is taking its toll on the chindu office. Chindu is struck by the foot in the mouth disease. N.Ram wants to oppose the deal for the sake of his comrades. N.Ravi came out with an editorial in support of the deal. And the minions have taken sides too. In general, the discussions have been fairly focused without the customary name-calling that usually goes into a chindu report. However, the real surprise was N.Ram's interview with Advani ji.

While we are all busy with the voting tamasha going on in our country (can it really be called a tamasha if a vote is worth 100 crores), our northern neighbour is indulging in "peaceful" rise.

China Warns Sarkozy Not to See Dalai Lama -
President Nicolas Sarkozy of France ... was warned by China on Tuesday not to meet with the Dalai Lama in France next month.

China’s ambassador to France, Kong Quan, told reporters there would be “serious consequences” for Chinese-French relations if Mr. Sarkozy meets the Dalai Lama, asserting that it “would be contrary to the principle of non-interference in internal affairs.”
How China's taking over Africa, and why the West should be VERY worried | Mail Online
In the greatest movement of people the world has ever seen, China is secretly working to turn the entire continent into a new colony.

Reminiscent of the West's imperial push in the 18th and 19th centuries - but on a much more dramatic, determined scale - China's rulers believe Africa can become a 'satellite' state, solving its own problems of over-population and shortage of natural resources at a stroke.

With little fanfare, a staggering 750,000 Chinese have settled in Africa over the past decade. More are on the way.

The strategy has been carefully devised by officials in Beijing, where one expert has estimated that China will eventually need to send 300 million people to Africa to solve the problems of over-population and pollution.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Why N.Ravi provides a semblance of balanced views

This blog among several others have argued for Chindu presenting a balanced approach towards presenting the issues contributing to the whole Nuclear brouhaha. It has followed the piper's (Left) tune since the beginning and has disavowed listening to the thought process of the other side. During this process of transformation, Chindu has decided to bury the hatchet (at least temporarily) with its mortal enemies the BJP and tried to find some common ground with their grouses against the UPA.
Finally probably with a lot of pressure from its readers, probably with some political impetus from Madame S' minions, N. Ravi the former Editor of Chindu presents the flip side with rare objectivity that has been missing for a while. The article titled 'Missing the wood for the trees' is presented here.
The article dissects the issues clouding the entire N-deal and presents some of the important facets for the consideration of the reader.The tone shifts from the usual patronizing tone of LiC to a more toned down approach seeking to build consensus with the reader. This is likely an exception to the rule, but to long time readers it does bring some thoughts of what might have been.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Guess Where the Karats Chose to Vacation

I just found this TOI news item on RealityCheck. Apparently, the leader of the party committed to anti-Americanism, Prakash Karat along with his marxist comrade and lifemate Brinda Karat, just returned from a vacation in the US!!!! Of course, the communists love to talk about how they want friendly relations with the US but not a strategic relationship but by preferring the US for a vacation rather than China, they seem to miss the irony of it entirely. The capitalist policies and practices that have made the US their preferred destination could likewise work wonders for India....if only he and his brethren-in-obstruction were to allow it.

None of this should perhaps come as a surprise given that there are various other examples. N.Ram's daughter, for example, recently graduated from Columbia and now works at Forbes, a magazine that has made its name by deifying the rich and famous, best known for its lists of the Fortune 500 and the richest people in the world - neither of them exactly a symbol of communist success. Double talk, unfortunately, is virtually an epigenetic trait of the Indian red brigade and the Karats, it appears, are symbolic of this fact.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Horse trading for the magic number 272.

What will it cost for one side to get an MP to support/oppose the no-confidence bill against the UPA government? Some sources claim Rs. 25 crores, others claim posts of power in the current or proposed government.
In this see-saw battle where both sides have close to the tipping number but still need that wee bit to push them across the finish line, every MP becomes crucial. Or in this case, 3 MPs of the Rashtriya Lok Dal headed by that grizzled veteran Ajit Singh. Chindu reports both these incidents,
first the discussion between Ajit and Bardhan of the CPI and the second, where the UPA government decided to name an airport after all these years after Charan Singh, the father of Ajit Singh. Upon questions from the media about his decision,
the RLD chief said the CPI leader had apprised him of “some new technical facts” about the deal and also the Left stand on it. Before taking any decision, he would discuss the issues raised by Mr. Bardhan with his party colleagues.

We are sure you will Ajit ;)
On the flip side, Digvijay Singh denied that the Congress is taking part in horse trading and invokes the power of Kali maa (sorry Sonia-maa) to defeat the no-confidence motion.
Mr. Singh said the Congress had never compromised on issues related to national interest for parochial political gains.

Mr.Singh let me remind you of a few issues where the Congress bungled like say,
  1. Relations with China leading to Indo China War

  2. Kashmir issue

  3. IPKF

  4. Khalistan

  5. NAM and international impotence

  6. Islamic Terrorism

I wonder what happens in these press conferences.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Chinese Olympics invitation to India

ToI carried this news item which I could not locate in Chindu. These are conscious and measured signals being sent out by the Chinese and we will be fooling ourselves by chanting hindi-chini bhai bhai. Once mistaken, twice foolish. There are no pretensions from China about Sino-Indian relations. It has even stopped attempting to camouflage its aggression. But the paid agents in India keep singing paeans on the peaceful rise of China.

Beijing 2008: China invites Sonia, not PM or Prez-India-The Times of India
Eighty heads of state and government will grace the Beijing Olympics in August but PM Manmohan Singh will not be among them.

Not because he is too busy, but because he was not invited. In fact, neither India's head of state nor government have been invited, with the invitation going to its most important politician, Sonia Gandhi.

But even if you are really charitable, it can't be denied that it's yet another Chinese snub of pretty large proportions, and no amount of earnest protestations from government functionaries about the wonderful state of Sino-Indian relations will change that.

In October 2007, when Sonia visited Beijing, she received a welcome fit for a head of state. It raised eyebrows in India because it showed where the Chinese government was focusing its attention.

China's internal troubles did not stop it from keeping the Indian government is a state of permanent squirm — first with repeated claims to Arunachal and then by incursions into Sikkim. In fact, foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee was faced with a sudden cancellation of his meeting with Chinese premier Wen Jiabao.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Fwd: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia bankrolled Amarnath agitation

Thanks to Girish for the link.
At the time when N.Ram lashed out at the Governor, we raised some questions. Ram made some pretty harsh statements against the Governor. He then went on to blame the BJP and Islamists, fabricated lies, and tried to mislead the readers. Instead of supporting the Goverment's responsibility towards the citizens, Liar-in-Chief attacked the BJP on the pretext of overheads.

As in the context of islamic terrorism (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)Ram did not make any attempt to trace the root cause of violence or it would have dug up some inconvenient truths. We are now hearing confirmation that the violence was sponsored by the usual suspects.

Pakistan, Saudi Arabia bankrolled Amarnath agitation: Azad - Yahoo! India News
In his first public appearance in this border town, former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad Sunday accused Pakistan and Saudi Arabia of bankrolling the parties behind the violent agitation on the Amarnath land row.

Lashing out at all the groups that made an 'issue' of the allotment of the land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) and subsequent cancellation of the same, Azad said: 'Less than one percent of the population of the state was involved in these agitations, which were being carried out with money provided by Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.'

The Muslim-majority Kashmir Valley was rocked by violent protests after the former Congress-led government transferred 40 hectares of forest land in south Kashmir to the SASB, the temple trust of the Himalayan Amarnath cave shrine.
The Hindu : Opinion / Editorials : In god's name
When Jammu and Kashmir Governor S. K. Sinha demits office on Wednesday morning and flies to New Delhi on a government jet, the ground beneath his feet will be ablaze with hate. Sharpening a communal divide, engendering street violence, uniting anti-India secessionists, and precipitating a showdown between the Congress and People’s Democratic Party: these will be remembered as this Governor’s abiding legacies.

The critics were, on point of fact, wrong, for no land was actually transferred to the SASB.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Intrigues Before the Vote of Confidence

Check out this post on Retributions today on the signals being sent by the Left to the BJP. If something is indeed cooking between the two, that fits in well with The Hindu's newfound love for everything saffron.

Is the BJP reciprocating these gestures? Apart from all the thanks that Advani gave Ram in the recently concluded interview, see also this article by Sudheendra Kulkarni in the Indian Express (courtesy Retributions). Kulkarni's writings have considerably deteriorated of late with his strained attempts to provide convoluted justifications of his party's line - this one certainly fits that profile of a writer leaving no stone unturned to return to the good books of his bosses.

Communist name calling

hilarious pot and black kettle stuff from cpm. a known mouthpiece of chinese interests in india is giving epithets to indian express. given the state of corruption in the media, i would not be surprised if the indian express is indeed peddling american interests. but the communists would do well to look at themselves before calling others names.

what do you think are the chances that this press release will be mentioned by indian express? and chindu?

communist party of india (marxist)
July 12, 2008
Press Release

The reports appearing in the Indian Express (a known mouthpiece of American interests in India) and some other media that Com. Jyoti Basu does not agree with the Party’s decision to vote against the UPA government are fabricated.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Left's Stand is Exposed Again

Check out today’s excellent article by Siddharth Varadarajan on the nuclear deal. Well-written, point of fact and methodical, it properly examines the key aspects of the deal. Why he calls this a ‘self-goal’ by the UPA is not clear given that concerns previously voiced have either been met or are covered by provisions that allow future agreements to meet them. Also, Karat’s statement today should lay to rest any doubts anyone might have had that the failure to bring around the Left was attributable to the government’s unwillingness to release the text of the draft agreement.

“It did not take much for us to study the safeguards agreement. There is nothing unexpected in it and we asked the government not to go ahead with it because it is one step forward in operationalising the 123 Agreement,” Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat told journalists at a press conference.

“As a result of operationalizing the Indo-U.S. Nuclear Deal, India will place its costly imported reactors under perpetual IAEA safeguards and risk their permanent shutdown in case it fails to toe the U.S. line on foreign policy issues,” a joint statement by the general secretaries of the CPI(M), the CPI, the Forward Bloc and the Revolutionary Socialist Party of India said.

Obviously neither of these contentions has anything to do with the text of the agreement and could not conceivably have been addressed by its release. Why then is such a fuss being made about approaching the IAEA in haste? Especially now that the confidence vote is expected to take place before the meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors, it is hard to view this as anything more than a propaganda effort to discredit the government.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

China nips Islamic threat by shutting down mosques

i read this article in ToI and thought the comrades would have found it too difficult to handle and so in the true communist tradition would suppress the news. the indian communists support islamic terrorism in india but oppose it in china.

n.ram also wrote an editorial about the great future of nepal after the maoists came to power. he went to the extent of saying how it must be replicated in india. most newspapers carried an article about the maoist discrimnation against hindus. chindu covered nepali politics but avoided the subject.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: R

Have you guys seen this news from the times of India and the following news from Xinhua ?

Did you note the mention of about a "holy war" there ? -- a holy war against our LiC's fatherland. That reminded me about this famous editorial from the chief.

Following that train of thought, I wonder what made these men participate in such a "holy war" against "a society that nurtured
them" ? -- was it the "Iraq war" ?! Could it be "cultural alienation and experiences of racism" ?! Could it be the "anger against the U.S. and the United Kingdom" ?! Or don't they have "inclusive societies free from Islamophobia" there
in the Chinese heaven ?!

In any case It CANNOT be "Muslim rage" for sure!

The Hindu Rails Against the Government Approaching the IAEA

The Hindu has come out strongly against the government’s decision to ask the IAEA to circulate the initialed draft amongst members of the Board of Governors.
By sending the draft safeguards agreement to the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency before facing a vote of confidence in the Lok Sabha, the Manmohan Singh government has violated not just an assurance its External Affairs Minister gave the nation two days earlier but also the most fundamental of democratic norms. As Pranab Mukherjee put it in a press conference, the norm is that a government that has lost its majority will not have the moral auth ority to “bind” the country to “an international agreement.” The reason the Congress-led government is abandoning both procedure and propriety is not hard to find. The Bush administration’s principal concern at this juncture is that there should be enough time for the American legislative process to be completed following the proposed change of guidelines by the Nuclear Suppliers Group. The indecent haste with which the IAEA Secretariat was instructed to circulate the draft agreement to the Board of Governors offers a fresh basis for the charge that the Manmohan Singh dispensation is concerned more with fulfilling its commitment to the Bush administration than in looking after the interests of the Indian people. What is more, paranoiac non-transparency has been the hallmark of the government’s handling of the nuclear deal since March 2005. In the latest instance, the text of the draft safeguards agreement negotiated with the IAEA secretariat was kept a secret from political India after it was falsely claimed that IAEA procedure required the Indian government to treat it as a “privileged” and confidential document.

Pranab Mukherjee said that this was only being done to save time and if the government lost the vote of confidence, it would withdraw the request for the meeting of the Board. So long as the vote is held before that meeting, there is no case for claiming that any democratic norm is being violated.

Does the hurry have something to do with the calendar of the US congress? Absolutely. The government is anxious to complete the agreement during the Bush presidency as the policy stance of a future president is not known. These facts have all been perfectly clear for quite a while. But in pushing forward with it after more than a year, surely the Manmohan Singh government cannot be accused of acting in ‘indecent haste’. Nor does the editorial cite any good reason why the government has failed to ‘look after the interests of the Indian people’. The second paragraph which deals with the details of the draft accord cites no provision as being offensive or against Indian interests. Given this fact, both charges ring hollow. Lastly, is the government’s claim on the necessity to keep the text of the document confidential a lie? I have no idea whether the official explanation of diplomatic protocol is valid or not but the paper says that IAEA 'sources’ contradicted Mukherjee’s claims regarding the need for secrecy which does appear to suggest that it may well be so.

Brahma Chellaney has already written a critique of the safeguard agreement. I thought his criticism of the 123 agreement was over the top. While I find only parts of this recent article persuasive, I agree on a key point regarding the measures India is permitted to take in the event of a discontinuation of fuel supply. There is only one sentence in this agreement regarding this and it simply reads:
“India may take corrective measures to ensure uninterrupted operation of its civilian nuclear reactors in the event of disruption of foreign fuel supplies”.

The big question being asked is what ‘corrective measures’ entails. Siddharth Varadarajan’s article sheds some light upon this point – he argues that the vague language was a deliberate attempt to satisfy both US non-proliferation lobbies and domestic opponents at the same time. The main point, as Kakodkar pointed out today, is that the agreement is broadly written and details regarding fuel supply and reprocessing would have to be worked out in the future when specific subsidiary agreements are negotiated with the US or other states. So long as they are consistent with the provisions of this Act – I have found no reason to believe otherwise – this accord looks quite reasonable.

Update: Read this article in the WSJ that highlights prominent American concerns regarding the deal. Apart from similar questions being asked about fuel supply assurances, he says:
India will make a unilateral statement aimed at reserving its right to expel IAEA inspectors from reactor sites if the U.S., or other fuel suppliers, suspend nuclear fuel shipments for any reason -- including Indian resumption of testing. Indian officials are also likely to plead for nuclear fuel supply guarantees so the country can stockpile uranium fuel against future nuclear fuel supplier cutoffs that might occur -- again, following a future nuclear test. If, as expected, no IAEA board member or NSG country objects to these Indian statements, India will construe the silence as assent.

If indeed this is true, it is quite consistent with Kakodkar's assurance that 'the agreement allows India to stockpile nuclear material to meet the lifetime fuel requirement of imported reactors, reprocess the spent fuel and follow its closed fuel cycle programme to get the full benefit of the imported fuel'.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

What's In Store Now? Does The Hindu know?

Today’s lead editorial makes some dubious observations.

In fact, without the SP fielding a parliamentary strength way above what the ground situation in Mayawati-ruled Uttar Pradesh reflects today, there was no way the Congress-led regime could have planned to take its draft safeguards agreement to the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Quite true but is the parliamentary strength of any party reflected in the ground situation of today? Would the communist parties win as many seats today as they did four years ago?

Among other things, this has meant breaking a written commitment to subject the “outcome” of the talks with the IAEA secretariat to the “findings” of the UPA-Left coordination committee that was set up to resolve the differences on the nuclear issues.

But the outcome of the talks was indeed revealed to the Left. The ‘findings’ of the UPA-Left coordination committee would, given their established political positions, would quite likely have been split along party lines making it very likely that it would not have resolved anything at the end of the day. The committee, as Yashwant Sinha pointed out, was created to buy time, nothing more. Had the committee, by a UPA-led majority issued its ‘findings’ along with a dissent by the Left, how would it have changed the outcome? It would still have meant that the Left was not on board bringing the ruling coalition to the very same position at the end of the day. What was needed to make the committee’s work relevant and useful was a political breakthrough between the two sides which never came and not for the lack of trying by members of the UPA. For this reason, it cannot be said that the UPA went back on its word; the failure of the primary purpose of the committee, namely, ‘to resolve the differences on the nuclear issues’ rendered it obsolete and was overtaken by other political events.

The cost of the high-risk, potentially destabilising deal with the Samajwadi Party will be known as the intriguing situation develops.

Wrong. It was the withdrawal of support that is destabilizing. The deal with the SP is an effort to restore stability.

Assuming it survives the floor test, it will still be in for a politically turbulent period at a time of double-digit inflation that is climbing by the week.
Really? I think it is more likely to lead to a stable period of about six months to a year until the Lok Sabha elections next year. Without its communist ‘allies’ in perennial agitation mode hurling threats and insults day in and day out, the government is more likely to gain a respite than headaches.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Yet Another Congress Sepoy (YACS)

The Hindu : Opinion / Leader Page Articles : The Congress party’s last chance
It must be recalled that in the early decades after Independence, the concept of a social democratic political alternative to the Jana Sangh representing an axis of landlords and big capital and to the Communist Party of India had caught the public imagination, enabling the Congress and its various splinters to wield considerable political influence over the decades.

What gibberish! The Congress was the heavyweight political party for a long time after independence. Jana Sangh and CPI hardly had any political presence. Peoples' love affair with Congress was not a result of seeking alternatives to some non-descript parties.
Part of the carefully structured reinvention of the Congress party as a social democratic formation offering a “third way” was the declared interest in a new foreign policy paradigm. This included restoring cordiality with Pakistan, taking new steps forward with China, but more significantly engaging the United States, increasing the strategic content of the relationship, of which the nuclear deal is a prominent element.

Congress brought India to its knees through its socialistic policies and it never had any pretensions about democratic traditions. Talking of "carefully structured reinvention", why not elaborate on the groundbreaking non-alignment policy and its relevance in Congress' newly found approach. Malini has nothing to say about this. Instead she talks about how Congress has restored relationships with Pakistan and US. Poor BJP used to get blamed for building relationships with Pakistan and US. The Leftists went to the extent of calling BJP a US ally. But Malini credits Congress for building the relationships and appreciates it.
That the nuclear deal rather than any other issue of equal import such as inflation and rising prices became the breaking point between the Congress and the Left parties was not surprising.

Why is it not surprising, is it because these two parties are unscrupulous, opportunistic crooks. And why is Malini not concerned that the Congress, instead of worrying about inflation and its impact on aam aadmi, is concentrating its efforts on nuclear deal.
The marked inability of the Congress to stake out a position for itself in the public discourse, despite its high-profile leaders, Dr. Singh and Ms Gandhi, charismatic figures who have caught the public imagination in different ways, testifies to the intrinsic weakness of its organisational structure.

Dr.Singh who? When did he become a charismatic figure? Is he not the one with the lowest ever popularity ratings for a PM? Public imagination, my foot. Malini is letting her imagination run wild.
It is clear that the present leaders of the Congress party, Dr. Singh and Ms Gandhi, have an ambitious political and economic vision. While the spectacle of inflation and rising prices might present a sharp challenge to the proposition that it is possible to pursue policies that stress both growth and equity, it is evident that the two leaders are unwavering in their conviction that reforms and distributive justice can go hand in hand.

It is "clear" only to Malini, who is clearly hallucinating. How about listing the economic reforms done under the ambitious Dr.Singh's regime. Ok, how about listing one economic reform. Try writing novels instead, Malini. All those drugs and hallucinations might come in handy then.
Unless the Congress party becomes more realistic in terms of its engagement with other centrist political forces, shedding its own notions of its traditional hegemony in certain States, particularly U.P., it will not be possible to recapture the political space it has yielded to extremist forces, particularly of the Right.

Apart from giving labels to parties as centrist and extremist, is there on single valid point in the article why congress must be revived? What achievements has it got to its credit? It moved away from its foreign policy of non-alignment and is following the path shown by BJP. It stalled all economic reforms and introduced populist measures. The economy is on a topple, farmer suicides are at all time high, terrorism is rampant, and inflation is touching record highs every week. Once again, why revive the congress, Malini, if it is no good for the country? Your bank records might tell the story.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Chindu lectures on BJP's overtures to SP for PM post

Democracy despite having a facade of simplicity often is mired in complexity. A recent shining example is how a party with a presence in just one state (SP) can alter the fortunes of a government in power(UPA).
The lack of commitment to any long term objectives beyond party coffers and power and the inability for any National front to get a convincing majority in the Lok Sabha makes todays enemies tomorrows allies.
All this is common knowledge, however Ms. Neena Vyas in a recent article in The Chindu decides to give a holier than thou sermon about the BJP's overtures to SP a few years back.
The overall premise of Ms. Vyas' article is that the BJP has done the country a disservice by attempting to barter votes for support for its Presidential candidates. She outlines the diabolical acts preceding this:
  1. NDA after losing the elections decided to block Sonia Gandhi despite having no legal grounds

  2. NDA attempted to get Kalam reelected as President but the Congress would not agree and with the support of Communists propped up Ms. Patil.

The second act was the tipping point, as per Ms. Vyas which lead Jaswant Singh to lead discussions with SP and other parties about bartering support for the Presidential candidate against the Prime Ministers post. This type of acts by the BJP is indicative of how low they had stooped just to get power.

Ms. Vyas what did you smoke before you started typing this hogwash?
In a multi party democracy like the one in India, every party has the Constitutional right to form alliances as needed to form governments, case in point the Communists after fighting the Congress in the elections deciding in 2004 to support the UPA just to spite the BJP. Why should the BJP's overtures to SP be treated any differently?

If the NDA decides that Dr. Kalam is a better candidate to represent the country, how does some precedent about no second terms set long term ago become relevant today?
Who would you have as President of India, the dynamic illustrious erudite Dr. Kalam or the bland puppet Ms.Patil? If anything the inability of the UPA and CPM to produce any candidate better than Ms. Patil shows how serious they were to have a qualified person as President of India.

Ms. Vyas makes an unsubstantiated claim about using the BJP using the President's powers to clip the wings of the UPA government,
A senior BJP leader confessed in private that the view was Mr. Shekhawat would win the contest and become President. Dr. Manmohan Singh would either resign or the Opposition would make sufficient noise to prevent the government from functioning. With Mr. Shekhawat in Rashtrapati Bhawan things could be managed in a way that would ensure the UPA term was cut short.

Ms,Vyas please provide some evidence before attempting to speak out of your behind. The BJP can clearly be accused of incompetence in managing the negotiations and PR once the news broke, but nothing was done which was against the Constitution, but the Chindu in putting together an editorial on this topic once again shows its anti-BJP bias and is desperately clutching at straws by providing a poorly constructed editorial.

TOI: Denying Hindus space

I hope against hope that we get to see such articles in chindu.
Denying Hindus space-The Right View-Tarun Vijay-Columnists-Opinion-The Times of India

Self promotion

The BJP's chargesheet must have been ready for release even before CPM thought of preparing such a chargesheet. In yet another example of giving CPM undue importance, the "special correspondent" tries to give the impression that the CPM is setting the direction for political dialogue in the country. The line itself looks like it has been inserted as an afterthought to meet Chindu's high journalistic standards (read as promoting cpm). It sounds more like a grouse that BJP stole CPM's thunder.

The Hindu : National : BJP “charge sheet” against UPA
The BJP’s “charge sheet” was released soon after it became known that the Communist Party of India (Marxist) was preparing such “charge sheet.”

On the Nuclear Deal and Other News

The Hindu has been publishing predominantly anti-nuclear deal letters everyday in its Letters to the Editor section. Perhaps this is the paper’s own attempt to convince the government of ‘popular’ opposition to the deal. This, in my view, is also a clear indication of the Editor’s bitterness about the likely loss of power to the Left at the Center.

M.K.Bhadrakumar today asserts falsely but categorically that this deal will bring India’s nuclear program under American supervision:

On Wednesday, on the sidelines of the G8, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will inform Mr. Bush New Delhi has decided to give the final push to the nuclear cooperation agreement with the U.S. The Indian deal goes way beyond Kim Jong Il’s “denuclearization.” It is a major non-proliferation move. India will surrender its right to test nuclear weapons; India’s nuclear program will come under U.S. monitoring and control; and India’s capacity and will for augmenting its weapon stockpile will remain under U.S. scrutiny.
He seems quite convinced, contrary to the terms of the deal, that the separation between civil and defense programs does not mean anything – everything will be controlled by the Americans. Despite no provisions in the deal actually preventing India from testing weaponry, he insists that the right would be surrendered (it is true that the costs of testing will be greater but that is as much due to our becoming integrated into the global economy; the only way to retain our right to testing without being penalized at all is by remaining isolated, a very difficult and self-defeating proposition in an increasingly interconnected world). And never mind that neither the US nor the IAEA will get to monitor our defense facilities which will remain outside the purview of these agreements; he insists, again in contemptuous disregard of facts that our weapon stockpile will remain under U.S. scrutiny (I am nevertheless curious why, as a committed leftist, does he even care about our stockpile? Have the comrades not long insisted that the weaponry should all be dismantled and India should go non-nuclear? Is this a newfound concern acquired all of a sudden to embarrass the PM?)

I just read that the Indian embassy in Kabul has been attacked with several killed. I would not be very surprised if the paper or Mr. Bhadrakumar in particular were to blame India’s proximity to the US or the nuclear deal in particular for this attack. Sitaram Yechury previously made a similar claim in the event of a bomb blast; let us see if he or his comrades will outdo themselves again.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Covert advertising

It first started with full page advertisements on the front-page. There was a huge outcry from the readers and an initial debate with the Reader's editor. The ombudsman decried the move, saying such capitalism was against chindu's principles and that it wont be repeated again. Then the ads came again. The ombudsman justified it as adapting to changing realities. While continuing to preach communism to the masses, chindu embraces capitalism fully. And now, we have covert advertisements in the form of news. The game itself is pathetic and nothing to write about.

The Hindu : National : Price rise? IT’s a balancing act!
The nation’s pioneering Indian language Net portal has just uploaded a new game that puts players in the Prime Minister’s chair, letting them try and try and perform a delicate balancing act to keep a grip on the cost of food, clothing, cooking gas, etc.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Why is Islam relevant to the N-deal?

The N-deal story has had many twists and turns with the logic similar to an Ekta Kapoor mega serial.
With the key cast members Dr. Singh and Mogambo Karat refusing to back down from their stances, it looks like this one is going down the wire. The reactions of the key parties clearly suggest that they are looking forward to the elections and are playing the cards accordingly. The key combatants in UP have already started playing the minority card with both the SP and BSP attempting to analyze the deal with the Muslim base being a key decision factor. There are several important reasons for the N-deal to be passed or discarded like India's energy independence, cost of energy in the future etc.
However why does religion become important in this discussion?
Apparently Mayawati thinks so and holds discussion with leading clerics on this issue.
There is no stipulation in the contract which limits the supply of power to people based on religion. The overriding factor according to these degenerates is the issue that the deal is with the US the so called anti-Muslim devil. Signing this deal might antagonize them to certain Islamic states. Why are the Christians not protesting for the bill, if one listens to this logic from Mayawati and others, this bill is definitely pro-Christianity? Perception to certain external countries is apparently important to these scoundrels. This deal will not solve the country's energy problems, however this gives us an opportunity to address it. However bringing in irrelevant factors like religion into the mix the politicians have shown that they do not have the cojones to resolve this issue and are only interested in playing to the narrow Muslim votebank.
If this deal indeed falls on its face, one can read Karat shouting, "Mogambo kush hua".

Friday, July 04, 2008

The Hindu's Erroneous Analysis and Prescription to Fight Intolerance

As Karthik, one of our readers, points out in a comment, V.R.Krishna Iyer's latest piece in The Hindu is quite hilarious. I would urge all our readers not to miss reading it. Taking the advice of our readers, I will however not waste any space commenting on his exhortations to our 'clean, green, simple and straight' prime minister (just a thought: would the advice have been different had he been 'red, complex and queer'?).

The Hindu repeatedly mentions paragraphs from the judgment in Ore Oru Gramathile in every freedom-of-speech case. Today's editorial is at least the second in a row where it quotes from that opinion.

While court orders in specific cases illustrate what cannot be considered objectionable, the Supreme Court in the case relating to the film Ore Oru Gramathile had adopted a broad standard that “the effect of the words must be judged from the standards of reasonable, strong-minded, firm and courageous men, and not those of weak and vacillating minds, nor of those who scent danger in every hostile point of view.” The permissive legal culture that provides any bigot a forum to turn perfectly acceptable speech or expression into a crime and harass writers and creative artistes is clearly in need of an attitudinal, if not structural, overhaul.

In a previous editorial last year, it quoted some lines similarly:

It is really up to the higher judiciary to ensure that the Indian criminal justice system does not continue to be abused in a way that can make it the laughing-stock of the world. The reference point for all such cases is what the Supreme Court of India elaborated in its landmark free speech judgment on the film Ore Oru Gramathile (S. Rangarajan vs. P. Jagjivan Ram & Ors., 1989). The court held that the yardstick for judging whether anything was inflammatory or, by extension, obscene, was the perception of an ordinary person "with common sense and prudence and not that of an out of the ordinary or hypersensitive" individual. Litigants who feel the urge to rush to court because of a send-up kiss or an actress's mode of dress or a historical biography are precisely the kind of "hypersensitive" individuals the Supreme Court had in mind. Such cases must be given short shrift with deterrent penalties imposed on the mischief-makers.

The paper simply overrates this judgment. There are two parts to this problem. One is that under the current system, anyone can file a case anywhere in the country to bring the speaker/writer/artist to justice - this pretty much amounts to allowing every citizen in the country the right to act as public prosecutor. Is it any surprise then that the number of frivolous cases that are filed is simply too many? The answer is simple: when a threat to the public order is involved, the right to file charges should rest solely with the government which alone is empowered to act on behalf society, not anyone looking for some cheap publicity and with too much time on their hands.The second is that when suits are filed, the local magistrate should first go through the petition carefully and decide whether a reasonable case is made out in the first place before issuing a notice to the other party. It may take a bit more time and effort in the beginning but it will save a lot more of both not only to the court but also to the alleged offender if the trial can be precluded in the first place. That of course requires the case law to provide clear guidance to the lower courts which brings me to the third point.

For that, we need are clear standards to know exactly what does and does not constitute a breach of the public order. In the case of section 153(A) of the IPC, it is true that the baseline is quite clear but the broader point still holds - the higher judiciary has an obligation to lay down clear red lines that are universally applicable, not nuanced, case-specific opinions that are so context-dependant as to render their formulations impertinent in a slightly altered situation. What the court can clarify as a general rule, it must do so. What it cannot as with matters relating to particular facts/tastes, it should leave them to be decided by the lower courts based on contemporary social standards much like the US Supreme Court has done.

The Hindu's analysis is wrong on every count here. This so-called yardstick to decide what is inflammatory is supposed to be based on the perception of an 'ordinary person with common sense and prudence and not that of an out of the ordinary or hypersensitive person'. Again, it says 'the effect of the words must be judged from the standards of reasonable, strong-minded, firm and courageous men, and not those of weak and vacillating minds, nor of those who scent danger in every hostile point of view' (ibid.).

Firstly, this is not a yardstick or standard at all, simply a statement of the court's sentiments. To be considered a standard, it should lay down an objective method of assessing whether the speech/expression in question falls on a particular side of the law that is clear enough to apply and holds a reasonable prospect of a consistent outcome. Fine statements such as the 'perception of an ordinary person', 'strong-minded' etc. will not count for they raise more questions than they answer: who is an ordinary person? The conservative farmer from the countryside? A professional engineer or doctor? An artist? A singer in a night club? A priest at a temple? Which of these is to be considered strong/weak-minded? All of them are equally ordinary and very much part of the same society and yet, their own individual and professional inclinations may lead them to hold very different views on what is permissible or offensive.

Secondly, there is no trial by jury in India where those who are 'out of the ordinary' or 'hypersensitive' can be excluded at the pretrial stage. The only perception that matters is that of the presiding judge who surely will not consider himself/herself 'out of the ordinary' or 'hypersensitive' or his own standard to be that of an unreasonable, weak-minded or vacillating mind. It is the problem of the writer/artist if it so happens that he/she happens by temperament to be conservative or 'hypersensitive' in the court's words. Such exhortations are unimplementable and therefore quite useless.

The answer therefore is fewer cases, better standards and a more thoughtful approach by lower-court judges (which could also translate into better judges). For the most part, these require a structural overhaul, not attitudinal change as the paper wrongly prescribes.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

N.Ram wins the contest

N.Ram with 65% votes wins the CBCNN award for the most biased journalist. At a distance second is Harish Khare with 27% votes.

Congratulations to N.Ram!!! He is now an "eminent journalist" a la "eminent historians".

Fwd: July 6 (Mumbai, New Delhi, Kochi)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Friends of Tibet <>
Date: Fri, Jul 4, 2008 at 12:48 AM
Subject: July 6 (Mumbai, New Delhi, Kochi)
To: undisclosed-recipients

Mumbai, July 6, 2008:
On the occasion of international observance of World Tibet Day,
Friends of Tibet will organise 'Tibet Of Our Minds: A Journey's End?',
an audio-visual presentation by Vijay Crishna on July 6, 2008 (Sunday)
at the Max Mueller Bhavan, Kala Ghoda, Next to Jahangir Art Gallery,
Mumbai at 6pm. 'Tibet Of Our Minds: A Journey's End?' - Vijay
Crishna's audio-visual presentation based on his trips to Tibet shares
his perspectives of Tibet's ancient and modern history and how these
impact us today has been presented across the country. Entrance is

To know more call: (022) 26409612, 9967021592 or email:

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

New Delhi, July 6, 2008:

This Sunday, July 6, 2008 is the World Tibet Day. The Tibetan poet
activist Tenzin Tsundue, who is recently back from The March to Tibet,
is in Delhi. On Sunday, we have organised a meeting to commemorate the
day. Please do take some time out to understand what Tibetans have
planned for now, the future of the issue, especially after the Beijing

Venue: India Habitat Centre, Open Air Auditorium
Time: 5.30 pm

To know more call: 9899086964 or email:

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

Kochi, July 6, 2008:
Friends of Tibet and Design & People to join the international
observance of World Tibet Day on July 6, 2008 (Sunday). The groups
plan to discuss the Tibet issue and screen the film 'Dreaming Lhasa'
(90 min) by Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam at Lumiere, Opposite Andhra
Cultural Centre, 13th Cross Road, Panampilly Nagar, Cochin at 4pm.
Entrance Free.

To know more call: 9847044248 or email:

. . . .
Friends of Tibet, PO Box: 16674, Bombay 400050, India.
. . . .
Friends of Tibet is a people's movement to keep alive the issue of Tibet
through direct action. Our activities are aimed at ending China's
occupation of Tibet and the suffering of the Tibetan people. Friends of
Tibet supports the continued struggle of the Tibetan people for
independence. To know more, visit:
. . . .

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Campaign journalism

The LiC has on many occasions blown his own trumpet "claiming" that Chindu never indulges in campaign journalism. Everyone knows that is as true as Madam Maino claiming she is Indian. After Sorrabuddin Shiek and Md.Haneef sagas, here is another instance of Chindu's campaign journalism.

A pro Ashis Nandi campaign is currently on and am sure the LiC would have little trouble in "explaining" the contradiction if it is brought to his notice.After all the LiC was someone who effortlessly did a somersault on the N deal. The ease with which he managed the somersault made me wonder whether he is preparing for the gymnastics event for the Beijing Olympics.Perhaps, his bit to help boost China's medal tally.

Now, this selective approach to campaign journalism raises many questions. When the the entire ELM was milking the Jessica Lal, Priyadarshini Matoo et al cases dry, the Chindu was restrained. Was this due to its inability to derive mileage out of these or because of principles? I bet the LiC would say it is because of the latter. Why then was this principle not followed in the Haneef/Sorrabuddin or now in the Ashis Nandy case? What is the basis for this selective approach?

The urge to uphold the freedom of expression cannot be the reason because this very paper refused to publish a signature campaign by similar intellectuals protesting the Nandigram pogrom.

So it's neither principles nor ethics, but sheer opportunism that guides its policies. Why doesn't Chindu just stop being pretentious and acknowledge that it is as bad as other newspapers. It just doesn't deserve taking the moral high ground.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Hindu's Editorial on the Nuclear Deal and Other Omissions

The Hindu which prides itself on having an international perspective has not published a single news item on the abuse of authority by the Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe. A paper which has devoted space extensively to modest Chinese technical achievements did not obviously think it fit to mention Mugabe's murderous election campaign, his forcible eviction of his opponent from the electoral race and the utterly fraudulent nature of his victory. Why? Someone ought to write to the readers' editor asking for an answer. Maybe Mr. Ram, like with the Dalai Lama, will be forthright enough to admit the truth. Meanwhile, I suspect it has something to do with the close relations his government has enjoyed with the People's Republic for a while now ever since the West imposed sanctions on that country.

The paper, which previously took an unusual interest in the US Second Amendment and the problem of gun violence in America even editorializing upon the subject, failed to mention the recent decision of the US Supreme Court in D.C. v. Heller which handed a victory to gun-rights advocates. A case of sour grapes? So I would think. Let us see if Frontline will happen to have anything to say in the forthcoming issue.

Yesterday's editorial looks like it was copied straight from People's Democracy with an assortment of allegations being levelled at the Congress party at both State and Central levels.

...The government it heads has no answer to the spectre of double-digit inflation, which crept up to 11.42 per cent last week.

...The issue on which the ruling party has chosen to make a do-or-die stand is not anything connected with the problems of the people — but the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal. Curiously, it is Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has no known electoral base and holds office by virtue of being a member of the Rajya Sabha, who has been allowed to pull the trigger on the political arrangement that sustains his minority government. He has done this by forcing his party, under threat of resignation, to go back on a commitment the UPA made, in writing on November 16, 2007, to the Left parties. It was that the government would not proceed with the operationalisation of the 123 agreement before the UPA-Left coordination committee arrived at its “findings.” Specifically, the understanding was that the “outcome” of the talks with the secretariat of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in other words the text of the India-specific safeguards agreement, would be presented to the committee “for its consideration before it finalises its findings.” By announcing that the UPA government will soon go to the IAEA Board of Governors for approval of the safeguards agreement, the Congress is recklessly short-circuiting this process.

1. If the paper has a better answer to tackle the inflation, it should come out and say so explicitly. If radical measures are taken to curb inflation, is the paper willing to accept the sharp decrease in growth that will concomitantly ensue?

2. The paper claims that the nuclear deal is 'not anything connected to the problems of the people'. Oh, really? What about the daily power cuts that the people have to bear with, the cost of using generators for industry, the inability to use pumps for irrigation for farmers, etc? Is The Hindu so oblivious to these daily travails of the people? If energy is not connected to the people, I do not know what is. No doubt that nuclear energy alone will not be sufficient but can anyone deny that it can make a valid and significant contribution towards solving our energy crisis? It seems clear that the goal here is solely to embarass the ruling dispensation, not to solve the problem.

Besides, what exactly is this distinction between things connected to the people and those that are not? All business of government is related to the people in one way or the other which is why the entire leadership of government is elected, not only a part of it. The assertion is an utterly spurious one especially because Communists are always the first to make a public issue of the government's diplomatic initiatives - witness the brouhaha over India's vote on Iran's nuclear program for example.

3. As the paper itself notes, the agreement between the Congress and the Left was to disclose the outcome of the talks. This may but not necessarily implies the text of the agreement. The government insists that all the answers given to the Left have been based on the text of the agreement. Moreover, The Hindu itself reported a few days ago the government's claim that the Left, notwithstanding its current public posture, had never made a formal request to the government for the text of the document. Only recently after Sibal declared that the document could not be released did the Left turn its rhetoric up fully to claim that failure to release the document had left it in the dark. It appears quite plain that the failure to publish the text is being used as a pretext by the Left to justify its predetermined stand to oppose the deal no matter what. So why does The Hindu choose to disbelieve the government's version and accept the Left's after previously declaring that the deal was indeed a 'sound and honorable one'? Indeed it goes so far as to accuse the PM of deception and breaking his word. What is the basis for such a one-sided conclusion? All I can see is that ever since that first editorial in support of the deal, it appears that the paper has been in backpedaling mode. If this latest piece is one more effort towards that end, it certainly fits in perfectly.

The Left's failure to provide any reasonable grounds for its unrelenting opposition compels me to conclude that its chief aim is simply to humiliate this government by frustrating its attempts to solve a pressing problem. Just as Lenin worked against the Russian government during World War I because of his belief that 'in defeat will spring revolution', our own homegrown Left aims to undermine progress and deny the masses the benefits of essential services particularly when it is made available by a different dispensation. By keeping the people in misery, they intend to feed on the resentment and anger that the government's failure engenders. The Hindu has joined and is now actively cheerleading this diabolical conspiracy and must be held to account fully for its words.