The Maoist attack that left two policemen and a journalist dead in Chhattisgarh must serve as a reminder that while strides have been made in the fight against Red terror, the battle is far from over. The Government has done well not to resort to a heavy-handed approach to tackle the Maoist menace but it must not hesitate to show the iron fist in the velvet glove when it comes to those who take up arms against the state and use murder as a tactic to meet political aims.
Air safety concerns
The Lion Air crash in Indonesia has once again demonstrated the poor safety record of Indonesian airlines. Dogged by safety and security issues, the airline had been banned from flying into European airspace till 2016. Being a vast archipelago, Indonesia is heavily reliant on air travel but such incidents are symptomatic of the state of air safety there.
In the name of Tagore
Culture diplomacy may not make headlines but the Tagore Awards for Cultural Harmony for 2014, 2015 and 2016 prove that our poet laureate’s global vision and enveloping citizenry hold good. With a jury helmed by PM Modi, its awardees include a Manipuri dancer, a Bangladeshi organisation and a Gandhian sculptor, who prove civilsational, philosophical and cultural links know no barriers. An avowed, objective acknowledgment.
The Assembly election in Chhattisgarh has taken an interesting turn with the BSP-Ajit Jogi alliance emerging as a viable third force on the ground as campaigning picks up pace. This is especially apparent, reports from the ground indicate, in the 10 Scheduled Caste reserved seats of the 91-member House. Crucially, the BJP holds nine of these ten seats, and by small margins at that.
Delhi’s battle against air pollution, which is currently at a critical stage, is only looking like getting tougher to win. In the coming days, the winds wafting in from the north-west are set to make matters worse as this time they will bring in, rather than carry away, pollutants.
No statue of limitations
The statue installation competition, as it were, among political parties just got keener. News that the statue of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa at the AIADMK headquarters in Chennai is set to be replaced with a new, eight-feet tall idol of the leader made of bronze and weighing 800 kg has sparked speculation that other major parties in the State may follow suit to celebrate the legacy of its leaders. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
It is indeed welcome that the Supreme Court of India, as well as the Union Government, are on the same page in relation to the appointment of 6,000 judges for the lower judiciary. It is now a widely accepted fact that Indian courts are worryingly overburdened and the failure to fill up vacancies is impacting justice delivery as pendency has reached an all-time high. Justice delayed is, as the adage goes, justice denied.
Death of a priest
The death of Father Kuriakose Kattuthara, a priest who was a witness in the Kerala nun rape case against Bishop Franco Mulakkal, has kicked up a huge row with the cleric’s family alleging he was murdered while Punjab Police says no injury marks were found, he was diabetic, had vomited all over his bed and blood pressure tablets were found next to the body so they are not ruling out a natural death. His body was found near Jalandhar where Mulakkal, who denies the charges against him, is staying after being granted bail.
A 15-year-old boy in Assam fell for the voice of a 60-year old widow who spoke to him when he dialled a wrong number. They had frequent conversations without disclosing their respective ages but when the minor went to meet the lady they both discovered the facts. The woman’s family and villagers, however, overriding objections from both parties, forcibly ‘married’ them off. The misunderstanding seems to since have been resolved, thankfully!
VIP brat begs
The law finally caught up with VIP brat Ashish Pandey and it showed just what an entitled bully he is. After his gun-waving, threatening behaviour at a South Delhi five-star hotel was captured on a mobile camera, Pandey started sending social media messages to his friends and acquaintances begging them not to let the clip go ‘viral’ by sharing it. Too late. Now, he has surrendered. denied bail and sent to jail.
With 80 cases being reported from Jaipur alone, India is, perhaps, witnessing the biggest zika virus outbreak thus far. With no cure in sight yet even as the deadly virus has been reported in about 86 countries with the first one having been reported from India, authorities have their task cut out. While diagnosis at the right time is crucial, preventive and containment measures are equally important as they will determine the spread of the disease.
The good residents of Kolkata know how to celebrate, give them that. On Shashti, or the sixth day of Durga Puja, on Monday, their indefatigable approach towards going for an outing seems to have gripped them renewed vigour as the oldest Metro network in India registered a record footfall of more than none lakh passengers in a single day. Talk about knowing how to party!
There can really be no objection to the Yogi Adityanath Government’s move to change the name of the city of Allahabad back to its ancient name Prayag or Prayagraj. But it does indicate the sense of priorities that occupy our leaders’ minds. While nobody is arguing a name-change and better civic services can’t go hand in hand, the fact is that Allahabad is plagued with issues from sanitation to law and order and lack of employment opportunities to a filthy Ganga, none of which yet been addressed.
Saving the Himalayas
The Niti Aayog has come up with a proposal to impose a ‘green tax’ on tourists who visit the Indian Himalayan region. It is a good idea, as the 100 million tourists visiting the region annually, expected to go up to 240 million per annum by 2025, put immense pressure on extant resources. We need to preserve the Himalayas for future generations.
Poor air quality, warm winter
If it wasn’t enough that the beginning of crop stubble burning my farmers looking to clear their field for the next sowing cycle in the adjoining States of Haryana and Punjab combined with rising construction, roadside and vehicular pollution has left residents of the Capital wheezing and coughing, now comes news that the El Nino weather phenomenon will make the coming winter in Delhi warmer. From the frying pan into the fire about sums it up.