The Hindu, December 19, 2012
Time to be ashamed – Editorial
The brutal rape of a girl on a Delhi bus who is now battling for her life will be forgotten in six months. This editorial is convinced that the dramatics unfolding in Parliament are simply for show and Parliament has “made no worthwhile progress towards desperately-needed legal reforms”. Basic measures such as enhanced funding for forensic investigations, training the police to deal with sexual crimes, making expert post-trauma support available to victims are non-existent.
The reason for doing nothing is deeply embedded in our society: the preference for a male child, and the notion that a woman’s body has to be protected to protect the family’s honour, and not to protect her.
Looming clouds of destruction – Main Article
Senior journalist Prem Shankar Jha warns that NATO is considering declaring war on Syria, ostensibly out of the purest of motives (to help the people of Syria who are the target of chemical weapons attacks by their government). Such “expressions of concern ring hollow when they come from countries that did not hesitate to invade Iraq after fabricating the same pretext they are thinking of using now in Syria.”
The real concern, he writes, is that a victory for the opposition will bring to power “not a moderate Sunni government controlled by Turkey but a government dominated by violent and bigoted Takfiris that make up Al Queda.”
According to Jha, it is a decision that has come too late. Jihadis who form a part of the opposition “’make up a minority of the Syrian rebel movement…but they punch far above their weight in terms of both military effectiveness and ideological influence.” And the West should have realised earlier that the collapse of the “the last secular modern state in the Arab world” would worsen the power vacuum and trigger another vicious civil war between moderate and Salafi militias in the opposition.
The Hindustan Times, December 19, 2012
A nightmare on the streets – Editorial
Horrific rapes in Delhi like the one three days ago can only be deterred by severe laws, and efficient police and fast track courts. Just fast-tracking this particular case, comments the edit, is not enough. It goes on to detail the amount of rape cases in all of India (numbering 20,262 reported in 2010), even in “100% literate” states like Kerela, saying that rapes are occurring owing to a lack of respect for women and their rights.
Public punishment of the rapists (as sought by many) is not realistic in our legal system, and it’s time the government figured out an apt punishment for rapists and ensured quick justice for victims.
It’s cherry blossom time – Editorial
Shinzo Abe’s election as the new Japanese PM may be good news for India. He could pull Japan out of its recession/stagnation that has been going on since 1991. This could offset China’s predominant position in the subcontinent and, more importantly, benefit India’s economy through Japan’s commitment to projects and investments here. Abe apparently also has a personal affinity with India.
From maya to reality – Main Article
Ajit Bose, author of Behenji – A political biography of Mayawati, seems to think that “by managing to get the quota in promotions bill passed in the Rajya Sabha, Mayawati proves again that she can negotiate the rough and tumble of politics.”
Adamant on showing her voters that she was no Congress puppet for voting in their favour in the FDI debate, she has proved that “nobody got a free lunch off the BSP supremo”. And though this may be a symbolic victory for Mayawati since the bill may not be passed in the Lok Sabha, she has certainly made her point by bulldozing the ruling party into passing this bill through the Upper House.
Bose goes on to portend tough times for Akhilesh and the Samajwadi Party, (who have been badly snubbed on this issue by the Congress). Not to mention tough times for the Congress in handling its “two pillars” of support.
The Indian Express, December 19, 2012
Cutting edge – Editorial
The edit discusses the clearing of the Banking Laws (Amendment) Bill by the Lok Sabha and its implications for the economy. It states that after the new bill “it will be impossible for the RBI to claim that it does not have the power to act against recalcitrant bank boards and delay the award of the licences”.
Against Forgetting – Editorial
This edit discusses the proposed war memorial at Delhi’s India Gate and the objections to building one at the location. Those objecting have done so stating that the attendant security to such a memorial would deprive the public of a common space that India Gate currently is.
In view of this, the edit suggests a peaceful war memorial on the banks of the river Yamuna, where people could contemplate the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Conspiracy of the lazy faithful – Op-Ed
The full page Op-ed article by the editor, Shekhar Gupta, talks about – what else – Narendra Modi. He says that the political response of the Modi-baiters is wrong. None of them are actually talking to the voters, which is something Modi does. He sees it as a lazy response with no fact-checking. He adds that the victims of the 2002 riots do want justice, but they also have more immediate needs like roads, water and garbage collection.
Finally, recounting his own experiences in the Nineties, he writes that Gujarat is “one of the angriest border states”, and communal politics in the State predates Modi.
The Times of India, December 19, 2012
After The Verdict – Main Article
Senior journalist and former editor of TOI, Dileep Padgaonkar writes on Narendra Modi’s single-mindedness and novel form of leadership which is likely to hand him a third win. According to him, Modi’s efforts and skills have resulted in a high voter turnout, which testifies the vibrant nature of democracy in Gujarat.
So far, Modi has been crossing major hurdles by using certain mantras – the anti-Muslim mantra in 2002, the development mantra in 2007. He’s even combated his arch-rival Keshubhai Patel by giving more tickets to sitting MLAs this year. However, Padgaonkar does mention Modi’s failure to field Muslim candidates.
He also states that Modi can be trusted as he can ensure that BJP and RSS fall in line without putting up a stiff resistance. However, a bigger hurdle for him lies in convincing the allies of NDA that what worked in Gujarat will work at the national level as well. Modi will continue to be revered by some and doubted by others.
Divided lobby – Editorial
Jug Suraiya takes a dig at lobbying in India. The outcry caused by Walmart’s expenditure of $25 million on lobbying has pressurised the government into asking for a judicial probe. India is used to the lobby-gate ruckus (Radia-tapes), and Suraiya points out other instances of Indian firms lobbying abroad (Ranbaxy and Tata Sons).
Why not just make lobbying legal? Disguised lobbying has always been prevalent in India. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting recently spent Rs 1,768.55 crore on advertising its “achievements” – or in other words, lobbying for itself by using taxpayer’s money.
He writes that even the election speeches and promises are a form of open and illegal lobbying to influence the electorate. So if lobbying is bribery, so are election promises. In fact they’re worse as these promises are seldom kept!