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Ten Years And Waiting

MAJA DARUWALA | SEPTEMBER 22 2016

Anniversaries and birthdays are joyous occasions. The 10th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s judgement in the Prakash Singh case should be one of them — a reason to look back with pride at the court’s seven directions in its September 22, 2006, verdict aimed at propelling police reform. The judgement was intended — but perhaps not expected — to kick-start police reform.

On paper, the directions pull together recommendations generated since 1979. They make up a scheme, which, if implemented holistically, will cure common problems that perpetuate poor police performance and unaccountable law enforcement. The design requires states and the Centre to put in place mechanisms to ensure that: The police have functional responsibility while remaining under the supervision of the executive; political control over the police is kept within legitimate bounds…INDIAN EXPRESS

Justice eludes

SEPTEMBER 20 2016 | PRASHANT BHUSHAN AND RAVINDRA BADGAIYAN | INDIAN EXPRESS

A lackadaisical and limping judiciary has far more serious consequences for society than the harm it inflicts on individual litigants. It is rule of law that distinguishes us from pre-historic barbaric societies. The very foundation of civilised society rests on justice. Today, corrupt elements in government, business, politics flout the law with impunity and without fear of punishment. The authority to punish lies with the judiciary. The police, the CBI and even the much-publicised Lokpal can only…INDIAN EXPRESS

Capital Cop-out

MAJA DARUWALA | SEPTEMBER 09 2016 | INDIAN EXPRESS

Delhi accounts for 25 per cent of the crime — 670,000 plus criminal cases in 2015, according to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) — reported from the 53 mega cities in India. The city beat its own record of the previous year by three per cent.

The steady climb in crime figures for the city could be because people are reporting more crimes, police stations have become more accessible, and police are indeed registering complaints. That said, Delhi remains an unsafe city. The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative’s 2015 Crime Victimisation and Safety Perception report of Delhi and Mumbai households found that in Delhi, only half of crime victims actually went to the police and only half of the reports were registered. So the actual number of crimes could be four times higher than the official figures.

While crimes by ordinary people are underreported, the exceedingly low numbers…CONTINUE READING

Soldiers and businessmen

Pakistan army has a battle to win: The corruption within


Christophe Jaffrelot

chris

| AUGUST 26 2016 | INDIAN EXPRESS

When a Pakistani chief of army staff (COAS) usurps power from a civilian government, he justifies his action by claiming — among other things — that the civilians lack integrity. Pervez Musharraf was no exception. In 1999, he issued a National Accountability Order (NAO) reminiscent of Ayub Khan’s 1959 Elective Bodies Disqualification Order (EBDO) that offered politicians suspected of corruption the choice of either going on trial or retiring from politics. The NAO led to the establishment of a National Accountability Bureau (NAB), which launched an anti-corruption campaign that targeted, among others, Benazir Bhutto.

Today, the military is not in office and cannot go so far, but they continue to obliquely expose the lack of scruples of civilian rulers and cultivate a reputation for probity. Last spring, COAS Raheel Sharif made a very shrewd use of the PanamaCONTINUE READING

Fifth Column: Lessons from Rio

TAVLEEN SINGH

Tavleen Singh

| AUGUST 21 2016 | INDIAN EXPRESS

In the past two years, the Prime Minister has given no indication that he understands that until he makes major changes in the ministries that deal with human development, all his other schemes will fail. He has often said proudly in his speeches abroad that India, because it has such vast numbers of young people, can become the services capital of the world. What he appears not to have noticed is that this will not happen until the ministries that deal with…CONTINUE READING

Out of my mind: Seventy years on

MEGHNAD DESAI | AUGUST 21 2016 | INDIAN EXPRESS

The decade of 1977-1986 had few compensations. Strife in Punjab, the assassination of a prime minister, the slaughter in Delhi, plus Bofors.


Meghnad Desai

 

We just celebrated the 70th birthday of independent India. As they say in Gujarati, India has finished 69 and is running 70th year. Even so, it is a milestone. Pakistan did not last so long. It broke up before its 25th birthday. Yugoslavia lasted less than 70 years and the Soviet Union only 74.

With birthdays comes a chance to reminisce. What were the best decades of independent India? As always, childhood — the first decade, 1947-1956 — was tremendous. There was a lot of hope and confidence in India’s future. Jawaharlal Nehru as the first prime minister was not only a commanding leader but he had earned his position by 25 years of freedom struggle and then…CONTINUE READING

Who pays for these families to live in Victorian squalor? British taxpayers

ADITYA CHAKRABORTTY | AUGUST 9 2016 | THE GUARDIAN

I recently spent an afternoon walking around Custom House, and everyone to whom I mentioned the name Tando told me horror stories. On their request, I shan’t give full details, but all were youngish women with children, shifted off Newham council’s waiting list into a Tando home. They were told that the flats were newly done up – yet when the mothers moved in, what they say they found was broken toilets and dodgy plumbing, and homes too draughty to bring up young children in.

Lavinia relates how her flat had a gas leak that forced her to stay with her mum. Shaheda says she found a flooding toilet and sharp nails poking up through the carpets that would puncture her toddlers’ feet. Their complaints would apparently go unanswered, sometimes for days, and then when repair men came…CONTINUE READING

Pity Aleppo as Putin drops his bombs to salvage Russia’s pride

Natalie Nougayrède

Natalie Nougayrède

| THE GUARDIAN


About 15,000 Soviet soldiers died in Afghanistan, and an estimated 1 million Afghan civilians. Months later, the Berlin wall fell and Soviet power unravelled. Afghanistan was to the Soviet Union what Vietnam was to America, only with the added consequence that the USSR literally broke up as a state shortly afterwards.

Putin needn’t publicly frame his Syria gambit as revenge against America for the losses the Soviets suffered decades ago in Afghanistan. But the psychological effect of undoing US strategies in the Middle East amounts much to the same.

Look at the parallels: when the Soviets entered Afghanistan, Americans seemed mired in endless arguments about themselves – first over Vietnam, then over Watergate. Today, Russia is pushing its advantage in Syria at a time when the US is enmeshed in the Trump era of politics and growing isolationism. In 1979, Soviet sympathisers in the west applauded the intervention in Afghanistan (the leader of…CONTINUE READING

Angered By The Gau Rakshak

JULIO F. RIBEIRO | AUGUST 10 2016 | INDIAN EXPRESS

julio ribeiro

I have never seen Narendra Modi so angry. He had reason to be angry. The lumpen elements who had jumped into the bandwagon of the gau rakshaks to make a quick buck had unwittingly derailed his party’s strategy for winning the coming elections to the UP legislative assembly. The BJP had counted on…CONTINUE READING

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