Hafta letters: Caste, China and AAP’s silence on Sisodia

NL subscribers get back with bouquets and brickbats!

WrittenBy:NL Team
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Hi team,

Is there a disproportionate amount of time spent on reporting news related to party politics and not enough about social issues? Issues like police brutality against certain castes even in a capital city like Bhopal, or problems of the prison system in India rarely come to light. Maybe Hafta can be a platform where you can invite guests who have expertise in different issues. Some guest suggestions - Meena Kotwal (founder of Mooknayak), Nikita Sonavane (lawyer focusing on criminal laws). I heard about them through Anurag Verma’s podcast.

Prasad Vasudevan

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To anyone interested in IR and journos following China, I’ll recommend regularly listening to Drum Tower by Economist. It’s a much better account of what’s happening in China on a weekly basis. 

Priyank

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Hi, I am a fan of much of the work you do, but not so much of your views on issues like caste or gender. 

I think NL Hafta needs a little more diverse representation. When Meghnad says over intellectualisation of things, or when Abhinandan says not everything is said from a caste mindset (something to this effect), I yawn! I am glad that someone said that it has to be pointed out, so you just saved yourself there. But based on your caste backgrounds, it’s quite lame for you to say such things. Hence why I believe voices on Hafta need more diversity. Someone like BuffaloIntellectual or AnuragMinusVerma are so refreshing, they hold up the mirror to the society because most upper castes are very comfortable with most stuff and not only make no effort to change or question, but go out of their way to defend it. Self reflection and empathy, please! 

Arthi

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I doubt I am the only one, but I was severely disappointed with the discussion on Newsclick’s Chinese links the other day. Your guest was an expert in the topic, yet Meghnad’s unfiltered thoughts were very short-sighted.

Of course it is true that Chinese/other foreign nations can buy electoral bonds to affect politicians. This has been happening even without electoral bonds for many years, through blatant corruption. However, this does not mean that countries will not also engage in soft-power methods to build popular support in the long run. This support can be much more valuable than mere cash to some political party. China has been especially interested in this, for other countries and have been using tools such as TikTok to export their views - directly or indirectly.

Aryan

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Dear Abhinandan and Team NL,

Given that many political thugs and POCSO accused are easily getting bail without even serving jail terms, and even convicted rapists and murderers are getting lengthy paroles, request you to dig deeper into the issue of Manish Sisodia’s bail plea repeatedly getting rejected. 

Has AAP distanced itself from Sisodia? Is there irrefutable evidence of him being involved in corruption in the excise duty policy? Or has AAP left him in the lurch because it has evidence that Sisodia was ready to join the BJP? Or was he guilty of betraying the party like Kapil Mishra, Yogendra Yadav, Kumar Vishwas and Prashant Bhushan did by either publicly speaking against the party or by dissuading people from donating to the party?

I find the repeated bail rejections and AAP’s silence on Sisodia very strange, given that he handled so many ministerial portfolios in the Delhi cabinet and is (was?) also a prominent leader of AAP, and until two months back, Kejriwal had referred to Sisodia fondly and emotionally. Since May or June, AAP has also not made any noise about Sisodia’s bail plea being rejected repeatedly. So I am wondering what has happened. 

Please read out this letter in the next Hafta or Charcha and please tell whether NL considers this as an important side story worth pursuing in light of the 2024 election campaign and the formation of the INDIA alliance? I have contributed to the recent NL sena projects. 

Best,

Vidya Arvind

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