Why label human rights activists Urban Naxals (“Arundhati Roy: #Me Too Urban Naxal”)? Supporting the vulnerable doesn’t make them Maoists. As members of a responsible civil society, a group of people are fighting for human rights. But another set of people are fighting to make the activists appear seditious. Why? Are the incidents of communal violence and social disruption in our society not enough? Don’t try to suppress dissent in our nation. This kind of a nationwide crackdown is not acceptable in a democracy. – Swetha Vimala
The state of the country is not as bad Arundhati Roy makes it out to be. She has not taken into account the powerful non-BJP chief ministers we have like Mamata Banerjee, Naveen Patnaik and those of some of the South Indian states. The BJP and Modi can’t defeat Banerjee even in their dreams, try as they might. Nor will they be able to pull off any of their tricks of communal divisions and chicanery. – Dilip Sinha
It is now or never. People who stand up for justice never get garlands. They are the rare ones who safeguard the rights of others. They are a nuisance to the despots who, but for them, would swallow the whole for their vested interests. My hearty congratulations to these activists. – Hamsa Akkaparambil
It appears that both electronic and print media has probably been asked to cover activities of so-called urban naxalites over those of the Sanatan Sanstha. People would also like to know about the status of the investigation into the huge arms haul in the neighbourhood of Mumbai. Why is the state afraid of unity among Marxists and Dalits? – Rajendra Kulkarni
Behind the complaint
Tushar Damgude says that he did not realise things would go this far when he filed his complaint (“‘I’m a small person’: Meet Tushar Damgude, whose police complaint sparked the crackdown on activists”). Yet, he expresses no regret. There are many like him in the country who need to be taught the spirit of democracy. In a way, his complaint has sparked the need for the spirit of democracy and has exposed the thoughtless and malicious prosecution by the police. – Muralidhara Lokikere
Crackdown on dissent
Well said. Undoubtedly, the present government is anti-Dalit, anti-intellectual and anti-freedom, all in the name of Hindutva (“Who will defend the defenceless when the human rights activists and lawyers are already in jail?”). They are playing with the emotions of the people of this country. Everyone has been targeted, whether through mob violence or judicial interference. And yet they talk of achhe din. – Himanshu Verma
Thank you for giving a platform to liberal voices. The current scenario suggests that our democracy is very vulnerable, perhaps more so than it has been in the past few decades. The balance in the narrative is missing. In such situation, there is a dire need of objective journalism, so that people are able to see beyond the manufactured news. Hope Scroll.in continues the good work. – Maitreyi Srivastava
We seem to be reaching a point in our history where the inevitable reality of contempt surfaces among the literate, independent and vocal citizens. Is the current dispensation moving towards a framework of national subjugation through a combination of covert polarisation and overt manipulation of law enforcement agencies? Where are we headed if we do not understand the importance of freedom for everyone? What is happening to everyone involved in protecting the marginalised? Is this the democracy that we have prided ourselves for nurturing over three generations? Is this really India of the 21st century? – Dave Jeyaselvan
This article sheds light on the unjust violence perpetrated by the Pune police on activists (“‘As close to a declaration of an Emergency as we will ever get’: Arundhati Roy reacts to raids”). I agree with Roy and believe that the trajectory our country is taking, by pushing mob violence against minorities under the rug and attacking poets, authors, lawyer and Dalit activists, is almost pitiable. The fact that law enforcement agencies, those we look to for safety, are walking into peoples’ houses and attacking them for baseless reasons is laughable. – Amrita K
Arundhati Roy’s is a natural reaction because her community (social activists) has been threatened this time. Our Constitution says someone who is not innocent cannot be punished, but thousands of undertrials languish in our jails, leading the life of convicts. Non-compliance of laws and judgements by government authorities and bureaucrats can be seven everyday. Doesn’t Roy see a state of Emergency in those issues? – Mani Bhani
Intellectuals like Roy are really an asset for the nation. The time is ripe to stand up and seize power through a democratic route, rather than leaving the chair open for a tyrant. – DR Aabhat
News of the raids have spread quicker than the wildfire. It is great to see Arundhati Roy speak up during such incidents. The fact that social activists were arrested for allegedly being linked to the Maoist portrays the turn of events in the contemporary scenario. However, it does not seem right to arrest them without any evidence and in their absence. It might seem like whataboutery. However, as much as these raids seem necessary and can happen to anyone, one must remember that officials must not simply accuse. One must keep in mind to initially attend to things in front of us rather than going around to look for something that are not even sure to exist. – Thuvaja Gopalakrishnan
In a democratic republic such as India, people are not subjects of the State but its masters, endowed with inalienable rights and corresponding duties (“Release the wrongfully arrested activists: Full text of petition filed by Romila Thapar and others”). The State, acting through the police, cannot go beyond what has been provided by law. The petition should also seek prosecution of the police officials involved in the arbitrary arrests and wrongful confinement. In the past courts have awarded punishment and damages for illegal arrests by the police. – R Joseph
The nationwide arrests and the decision that the activists should remain under house arrest is yet another example of intolerance in India. A democracy such as ours must encourage and accept debate, discussion and disagreement to pave the way for accommodation and consensus. We as citizens do have the right to question the government. Given that secularism and liberty are cornerstones in our democracy, growing intolerance must be checked. – Krittika Bellur
One doesn’t need to be a legal pundit to see that the prosecution does not have a shred of evidence to connect the arrests to what happened in Bhima Koregaon (“An ‘anti-fascist front’ to overthrow government: Pune police claims about arrested activists”). By alleging that the activists were trying to form an anti-fascist front, the prosecution seems to be saying that the government is fascist, which implies that it is not working according to our Constitution. The Elgar Parishad event cannot be called anti-national, especially because it was organised by two retired judges.
The Pune police carried out this investigation several months after the event, without questioning those who were likely responsible for the riots. The move thus seems to be an afterthought, unless they do have direct evidence against those who were arrested. It will be disastrous if the case is given a political colour. – SN Iyer
Tale of two riots
In the author’s opinion, Rahul Gandhi should not be held responsible for the 1984 riots, as no son should be blamed for his father’s sins (“Rahul Gandhi is wrong about 1984. But why is no one asking Narendra Modi about 2002 anymore?”). But what about the position Rahul Gandhi enjoys in the Congress today? Is it because of his family’s legacy, or his own capabilities?
Please note that Rahul Gandhi’s involvement has not been questioned in the 1984 riots, his party’s position has been questioned, and as the Congress president, he is answerable to that. Don’t trivialise the matter by diverting the discussion to Modi. The prime minister has been cleared by the court. Mind that the Congress was in power at the Centre when the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team gave him a clean chit. – R Muralidharan
The comparison of 1984 and 2002 is ill-founded. What happened in 1984 was a direct consequence of the events that began with Operation Blue Star, followed by the assassination of Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards and culminated in the retaliatory anti-Sikh riots that involved many Congress leaders. The Gujarat riots of 2002 on the other hand were a direct consequence of the actions of a congregation of Hindu zealots at Ayodhya – the demolition of Babri Masjid (where no one was killed) – the retaliation by a few Muslims by burning a train carrying Karsevaks at the Godhra station and then the spontaneous retaliation by Hindus. – Chakresh Jain
This is thanks to the blind bhakts of Modi who are biased and don’t appreciate any criticism. With regard to why no one talks about 2002 anymore even in the media, I think we have an unofficial censorship in most of the press and a backdoor dictatorship. I pity the Congress that their sympathisers are silenced. Let’s pray for a fair and just government in the days to come. – Victor Arlikatti
The author is absolutely correct. No one is willing to ask Modi about 2002. Rahul Gandhi is easy to target because he is not in power. Modi is dictatorial. You cannot ask him tough questions and if you do, then god bless you. – Victor Arlikatti
The article is completely biased and born out of hatred. In 1984, it was largely Sikhs who were killed in a genocide. And Rajiv Gandhi rationalised the Congress progrom. Rahul Gandhi may not be at fault but he can still condemn his father’s actions an apologise for them. None of the journalists, including the author of this article, went after him as vehemently as they did after Modi.
On the contrary, the narrative of the 2002 riot is distorted. Modi had just taken over the state. Both Hindus and Muslims were killed. The police firing also targetted rioting from both sides. The army was deployed in the state shortly after the violence began. And the spark was the burning of karsevaks in the Godhra train, none of which you have condemned. – Sampath Kumaran Madabushi Ramaswamy
The reason for this is pretty simple and I don’t know why the media distorts the picture. The Gandhis are Congress and the Congress is the Gandhis. That’s the way they have kept things. And though Manmohan Singh apologised for the 1984 riots, the Gandhi family did not.
However, this familydom is not the case with the BJP. The party’s leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee, at the time did condemn the 2002 riots as black stain on India and accepted it as a reason for the party’s defeat in the 2004 elections. Also, no other chief minister was grilled so much for a riot as much as Modi was. The media and the Centre at the time left no stone unturned in defaming him, but they couldn’t get him convicted and he was given a clean chit.
On a parallel note, why was Mamata Banerjee not grilled on the Malda and Dhulagarh riots? I would love to see a formidable Opposition, as that is essential to a democracy. But that does not mean I will support Rahul Gandhi as a leader. A leader needs to be someone who can connect with the masses, work with them, know their problems and look for solutions, not a spoon-fed brat with no knowledge of India’s problems. – Abhishek Kumar Sharma
The author conveniently forgets to mention one big point: Modi was absolved of any wrong doing by Indian courts, which is reason enough not to question him about the 2002 riots. – Sravan Kumar
Yes, Rahul Gandhi was a child at the time. But now he is heading a political party and has been in politics for many years. He has matured and will be asked such questions. He should either respond properly, or admit that he does not know. He should also avoid being evasive. – Vishwas Kale
There is a huge difference between the two cases. What happened in 1984 was a national-level well-organised and executed riot that was clearly sponsored by the Congress-led Centre. But the cases were closed. The 2002 riots started with the burning of Hindu volunteers in Godhra. But the Gujarat chief minister has been blamed for it. Cases were filed against him. He was shamed by the global media and leaders. And nobody even thought about those killed in the train. Even after the SIT declared him not guilty, and he came to power at the Centre with a thumping majority, and the world admired his superb administrative qualities, there are still a group of people who are working hard to undermine him. – Viney Anand
Modi had already answered enough questions about the riots, from 2002 all the way till 2014. Asking the same questions just to show yourself as a secular or neutral media outlet does not cut ice with people anymore. – Amit Banka
Both riots are unfortunate. But the analysis is absurd and the headline is biased. How many FIRs have been lodged in both cases? How many have been chargesheeted? How many cases have been taken up and how many convicted?
Had the train burning not sparked riots, how would the secular media and the Left responded to the Godhra violence? They would have probably spoken about it for a day and then forgotten. – Govinda Rao
India at the Asian Games
Sudha Singh’s silver medal in the women’s 3000 metre steeplechase is commendable (“15 Gold. 24 Silver. 30 Bronze. Here’s the complete list of India’s Asian Games 2018 medallists”). Moreover, it was a pleasure to see Dutee Chand and Hima Das bag the silver medal in the women’s 100m and women’s 400m races. Both of these wins are all the more special because Dutee’s win ended India’s 32-year wait after PT Usha’s silver in 1986 and Hima Das became the first Indian woman to finish her run under 51 seconds. Hats-off to their commitment and endless hours of practice. Women representation in Indian sports hasn’t been top notch, but such victories will go a long way in encouraging women to get involved. My hearty congratulations to the winners. – Deeksha S
Hats off to 21-year-old Neeraj Chopra who not only won the gold medal in javelin throw in 2018 Asian Games but also broke his own national record. Chopra earlier won the Commonwealth Games Gold in Australia, with an 86.47 m throw this year. This young Champ will defiantly bring gold in many more events including Olympics. – Arvind Sharma
This is an okay article, but comparing two politicians whose ages were vastly different when they died and making a statement on their popularity defies logic (“The TM Krishna column: Funerals of Karunanidhi, Jayalalithaa symbolised their contrasting legacies”) . In fact, that Jayalalithaa won a record second consecutive term as chief minister in 2016 itself was a sign of her popularity. I find it amusing that there is no mention of that in the article. – Sridhar B
There was practically no difference between the two leaders. Both were corrupt and set Tamil Nadu on a backward path. They never thought of the state, only of themselves, and thought that they would permanently be in power. Tamil Nadu can now hope for change if a decent politician comes to the fore. – PD Amarnath
TM Krishna may be a strong supporter of Karunanidhi, hence this opinion. The crowd at Jayalalithaa’s funeral was much more than what the author seems to have noticed. Despite having family-owned news channels that repeatedly showed coverage of the 2015 floods, Karunanidhi could not stop Jayalalithaa from returning as chief minister in 2016. That in itself shows that the people are with her. She had the courage to take the AIADMK forward without any support. She would have given the BJP a tough fight. – Ashok C
While I agree with most of TM Krishna’s observations, I find it devoid of merit when he talks about the atheist ideology of DMK and Jayalaltihaa’s purported confusion. When Karunanidhi was in hospital, all his cadre and leaders were performing and prayers (earning the ire of Dravida Kazhagam leader K Veeramani). When he was laid to rest, the family members had performed “vaikarasi” ritual. The author appears to be ignorant of these confusions that prevail in the DMK. Even when Karunanidhi was resting at Rajaji Hall, numerous people took selfies. That sentiment had nothing to do with the leader and showed the the general degradation of etiquette.
Why does he have to invoke “elite caste” in this issue? What is the relevance? Both were tall leaders and had their own style. Both are irreplaceable. Why talk about how their last rites were carried out? – N Pattabiraman
‘Mulk’ and beyond
I’m from Karachi and I believe that the myriad tragedies we witness daily in different countries must be reduced (“Why I cried while watching ‘Mulk’: I finally know what it means to be a Muslim in India”). One way to do this is to promote humanity above nationalism. We should stop people from being indoctrinated into thinking of a piece of land as their mother or father. This allows others to manipulate their insecurities over sharing their land with other humans. It also glorifies the act of killing or being killed for the land. As long as we allow this to happen, we do humanity a grave injustice. The concept of countries and artificial borders actively promotes an “us versus them” way of thinking. A better model of living together as caring neighbours, if not one family, on this shared planet, must be developed urgently. – Imran Sheikh
The phanek is a symbol of our cultural identity, something by which those outside of Manipur can identify us (“Documentary ‘Bloody Phanek’ traces the complex story of a single piece of cloth from Manipur”). We can see the use of the phanek (Sarong) from places like Laos and Cambodia, expanding up to Manipur and Nagaland, among the Tibeto Burman group. – Angom Mocha