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  • Third World Aspirations

    A few months ago, in a retrograde move, the Supreme court of India countermanded the 2009 Delhi High Court verdict that had decriminalized gay sex. Apart from eliciting the warranted indignation among the seething LGBT activists who didn't anticipated such a verdict, the decision has brought huge ignominy to the nation, with the western media being particularly trenchant about it.

    It's a decision that enthrones the blinkered approach of the Victorian times (reinstating a 153-year-old law under British rule) and belabors the human rights, liberal values and freedom. The Supreme Court is known for passing prudent and liberal judgments, however, the verdict reveals the deep-rooted conservative traits among the judicial class and lawmakers of the country.

    The verdict will have some serious consequences, particularly public health issues, like fight against AIDS. Moreover, it would further stigmatized the already persecuted section of the society. It's rather tragic for a nation who claims to protect and respect the religious minorities on one side, but criminalizes and degrades the sexual minorities on the other.



  • Drone: Unmanned War Criminal

    Amnesty International, a leading human rights group, last year strongly denounced the U.S. drone strikes and indicted U.S. officials for war crimes in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen. However, all the criticism has fallen on deaf ears and the U.S. has continued these brassy drone attacks unabated. And now these harbingers of death are hovering over the skies of Yemen.

    In the latest drone strikes in Yemen at least 55 people were killed, including three civilians. Others are suspected Al-Qaeda militants. Another attack in the same region in December last year killed 15 wedding guests, but the U.S. has refused to take the onus and repudiated any accusation of war crime. So far, over 70 civilians have been killed in these brazen attacks.

    Consequently, the perpetual killing of innocent citizens has only generated new adherents and partisans of various militant groups, which is contrary to US's own objective. Furthermore, the terrorists often use civilians as a shield, they are the real losers in this conflict. The US's obdurate policy of using drone warfare over political engagement is, therefore, only exacerbating the already wobbly political scenario of Yemen.



  • Questionable Clemency

    The Tamil Nadu's government decision to release the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case has caused much brouhaha. The sudden felt commiseration by the TN government is being imputed to upcoming elections rather than a humanitarianism reason as purported by the state government.

    Jayalalitha, the Chief Minister of TN, remitted the death penalty sentences. The Indian government originally sentenced 26 suspected to death, 19 of them were later exonerated. Mr. Gandhi's son, Rahul, was filled with indignation at the decision. He said that prime minister's killers being released after serving a smidgen of punishment is a real shame for the nation.

    Admit all this clamor the consequential issue of capital punishment and the political involvement in it has again been cast aside.



  • Not so tolerant

    One thing that is often imputed to Hinduism is its tolerance. It's nothing but paradoxical that any heresy is met with a diatribe and fulmination. The latest to experience this aberrance is Wendy Doniger, author of the book The Hindus: An Alternative History. The publisher of the book, Penguin India, has been forced to withdraw and destroy all the existing copies of the book after objections were raised from a conservative Hindu group.

    The group filled a lawsuit against the author and the publisher on account of book's description of sacred mythological texts as 'fictional' and called it profane which has hurt feeling of millions of Hindus.

    The publisher decision to withdraw has been reproached by writers and intellectuals in India and seen as a virulent attack on freedom of thought and expression. Salman Rushdie and Joseph Lelyveld in the past have been silenced by religious and political bigots.

    Such incidents not only bring ignominy but raise another significant question: Is the nation falling into totalitarianism? and are the people oblivious to it?



  • The End of the Line for Kejriwal

    Even the most apathetic and apolitical person in the nation knew what was happening in Delhi for the last 2 months and what not was happening! It all ended with the resignation of anti-corruption crusader and Delhi's Chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal. The man who ghettoized all politicians as corrupt failed to pass a flagship anti-corruption law in the local assembly and subsequently resigned.

    Seen as the leader of the Hoi Polloi, Kejriwal had sharply reduced prices of public utilities, moved hundreds of officials who were suspected of corruption out of key job during this tenure and had abstained from all the luxuries generally enjoyed by a chief minster like high security, bungalow and cars flashing red beacon. Mr. Kejriwal was often criticized by opponents for being a compere of policies who didn't see any of them through. Despite the best intentions and expectations, the political scenario of Delhi remained grotty as before, with several clashes with officials, police and sit-in protests. The resignation served as the dessert in the delectable carte du jour of high drama.

    Arvind kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party will now focus on upcoming general elections with the aim of forming government at the center.



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