Mumbai (2013-05-13): We are two important state elections down in recent times, a few more to go before the general elections and you almost feel like yelling ENOUGH ALREADY. If the BJP was afflicted with severe ‘chest thumpingitis’ after the Gujarat elections, the Congress party is prancing like a frolicking puppy after the Karnataka polls. And on the sidelines, the Shiv Sena, Samajwadi Party, Janata Dal (U), Trinamool Congress and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam are rolling up their sleeves for an early election.
Mumbai (2013-05-06): Pakistani prisoner Sanaullah Ranjay is on life support in a Chandigarh hospital, with very slim chances of survival. He was randomly targeted by his prison inmates to revenge the killing of Sarabjit Singh in Lahore’s infamous Kot Lakhpat jail. No one knows if this is the end of the bloodletting or more will follow.
Mumbai (2013-04-29): Democracy is said to be the antidote to terrorism but in Pakistan, the entire democratic process is terminally ill. The May 11th general election is touted as historic because it records the first time in 66 years that an elected government shall hand over power to another elected government. But it is hardly a free and fair election when three major political parties can’t conduct their election campaigns. In such circumstances, the election results will not be indicative of the will of the people.
Mumbai (2013-04-22): It’s about time we face the fact that terrorists have no nationalities. They must be treated as enemy combatants in every country. Terrorists should not be protected simply because they carry a passport of that particular country.
Mumbai (2013-04-15): The past week has seen reopening of wounds that never healed. Of the riots of 1984, interviews with survivors, plotters, absconders and apologists. From newspapers to television, the images and voices brought back the horrors that one wanted to forget. There is no closure for anyone who has witnessed a riot. It tears the fabric of your neighbourhood, your friendships, of your relationships sustained and nurtured over generations.
Mumbai (2013-04-08): Flashing headlines across the world declaring India as the world’s rape capital is making many of us cringe. The government insists it’s not all that bad and tourism hasn’t got hit, but industry says there is a 25 per cent drop in foreign tourist traffic and a 35 per cent drop in female travelers coming to India.Some hotels think that complementary spa treatment for women would increase female tourist traffic! Err…maybe a panic button in the room is more realistic?
Mumbai (2013-04-01): Blame it on Spring fever, or old men in a hurry, or too long a period of stability. There is a rapid movement towards the formation of a Third Front, an alternative to the BJP and the Congress. It was in these very pages that this columnist had written last year of the expeditious coming together of regional satraps frustrated at waiting on the sidelines and not getting their due in Delhi.
Mumbai (2013-03-25): All it took was for the Indian Prime Minister to thunder (well almost) in Parliament that “there will be consequences” unless Italy returns the two marines charged with the murder of two Kerala fishermen, that the signal went out to the European nation that India means business. That and some frenzied diplomatic activity. Rome’s unbecoming decision to go back on its word given to the Indian Supreme Court was a huge embarrassment for the Congress-led UPA government and a violation of every diplomatic treatise. The marines arrived before the deadline and though they may not be housed in the Tihar jail (where rape undertrials commit suicide) or in the Yerawada prison (where Sanjay Dutt might soon be imprisoned), the fact is that they are back and will be tried in an Indian court.
Mumbai (2013-03-18): Another house comes crumbling down. A real estate developer is bringing down a 40-year old house next to my home. With each bang, a wall disintegrates and the painstakingly constructed home of the Lekhis takes its last breaths. The House of Lekhis is not named thus, but in our family that is what we called it. Ramneek Lekhi was a photojournalist employed with CBS News in the sixties. He was very keen to travel abroad and waited anxiously for a foreign assignment. A father to three young sons, he promised them toy-cars if he indeed went abroad.
Mumbai (2013-03-11): Some say there is a leadership crisis in the country while others aver that there is a plethora of ‘electable’ (a word used in Pakistan) politicians who are our leaders. The truth precariously stands somewhere in between. As the current term of the Congress-led coalition comes to a close, the leadership battle is heating up. The heir apparent of the single largest party in the country today says, “The prime minister’s post is not my priority. I believe in long-term politics.” Rahul Gandhi has ruled himself out as the leader of the next government, if his party wins the 2014 elections. But as we have seen in the past, leaders can be ‘persuaded’ by persistent supporters to take up the mantle of leadership.
Mumbai (2013-03-04): The genocide in Bangladesh took place more than 40 years ago but it is only now that the enforced stupor of its people is ending, as the War Crimes Tribunal delivers its verdicts. Bangladesh is undergoing a historic catharsis that is being ignored by the world and even by its neighbours. On February 28, the War Crimes Tribunal delivered its third verdict: capital punishment for Delawar Hossain Sayeedi, a leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami, for the murder, abduction, rape and torture of his countrymen during the Liberation War of 1971.
Mumbai (2013-02-25): Hidden from international and regional attention, ethnic cleansing to the point of genocide of sorts is going on in Pakistan. The Hazara community in Pakistan’s largest province, Balochistan, is being systematically annihilated by mass murder, while law enforcement agencies look on, either helplessly or in connivance. Cries of ‘Shia Shia, Kafir Shia’ rend the air, pamphlets threatening elimination of the entire race of Hazaras are distributed right under the nose of the Pakistani military and intelligence services in the garrison town of Quetta, yet nobody does anything to stop this business of hate and murders.
|I am the Editor News, at Asian News International (ANI), Indiaís leading Multimedia News Agency and the India Correspondent for Channel News Asia, a Singapore based broadcaster.|
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