ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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When Public Servants Came Calling at Vachati

It is commendable that the Central Bureau of Investigation has been able to secure the convictions of 215 public servants for assault, including rape, of a community of 160 adivasis in Vachati village in Salem district of Tamil Nadu in June 1992. But it has not only taken close to two decades for the courts to deliver judgment, the atrocities themselves were reported only after three months. And had the Left not taken up the issue, the Madras High Court would not have handed the case to the CBI. Tragically, the perpetrators of other similar incidents in the same area and around the same time have gone unpunished.

Lokpal Bill Campaign: Democratic and Constitutional

Many political leaders and intellectuals have criticised the Anna Hazare campaign on the Lokpal Bill for being anti-democratic and anti-political. But when the political class as a whole has failed to tackle corruption, a campaign that seeks to have a law enacted that will put in place a powerful watchdog is indeed an exercise in democratic politics and within the framework of the Constitution. The critics also forget their history - the 1974 Navnirman movement of Gujarat and the JP movement of 1974-75 were both against corruption.

Courts vs Legislature

This is with reference to the commentary (“Judicial Legislation and Judicial Restraint”, EPW, 1 January) by Anurag K Agarwal. One wished that the author of the article had cared to read the Constitution, particularly Article 141 along with Articles 14, 21 and 32, before attempting to comment on the...

Liberhan Commission: A Critical Analysis

The Justice Liberhan Commission on the demolition of the Babri Masjid has not only taken 17 years to state the self-evident, it has also, in many respects, submitted a report that is replete with errors both of commission and omission. It has absurdly blamed the Muslim leadership for the demolition and has been completely silent about the role of the Congress Party.

In Truth

This is with reference to the letter by Subramanian Swamy (EPW, 14 March 2009) in response to my commentary (28 February 2009) on the police violence in the Madras High Court. Swamy says: “I had, in fact, come to court because my name was listed in the Court Cause List of that day (17 February) for...

Police Violence in the Madras High Court

A report on the events leading to the incidents inside the Madras High Court on 19 February when the police went on a rampage. Was the police action driven by motives other than to preserve "law and order"? There are important issues that the Bar also must ponder over - including on how it takes decisions affecting the lawyer community and the work of the courts. But the police action last week was inexcusable and damages the Constitutional scheme of things.

V P Singh (1931-2008)

An assessment of the political life of V P Singh, India's eighth prime minister, who died last week and whose position in India's politics has never been given the recognition it deserves.

The Third Front Mirage Again

An alliance featuring the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Left Front and motley political parties cannot be termed a viable alternative to the two dominant parties, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party, or even as a "third front". That is because most parties in this front have forged the grouping on the basis of plain opportunism. Only a viable democratic socialist alternative envisioned and led by a left that has been suitably transformed can emerge as a platform for change.

Assembly Elections: Changing Dynamics in Tamil Nadu

The election scene in Tamil Nadu has changed considerably since Jayalalithaa's debacle in the Lok Sabha polls of 2004. The relative regional strength of constituent parties within the two rival alliances will determine the outcome in 2006.

Bihar: Dawn of New Caste Battles?

Few can defend the demise of the Lalu Yadav raj, but it would be ahistorical to celebrate the victory of the Nitish Kumar-led alliance. The latter has won by participating in a "social-engineering" process, that seeks not empowerment of the lower castes but a reworking of the socio-political agenda to ensure that the upper castes regain their hold on the political establishment by co-opting individual leaders from among the backward castes and even accord them positions of prime importance. And this time the "others" in society - the OBCs and the dalits -will not give up their rights without a fight.

Rahul Gandhi Illusion

The notion that Rahul Gandhi will be the saviour and renewal force of the Congress in Uttar Pradesh reflects an inability to understand the many social and economic factors that have contributed to a steady decimation of the party in the state. The days are long gone when the arrival of a new member of the Nehru-Gandhi family was sufficient to mobilise support in India's largest state.

Assembly Election Results

The results in Bihar and Jharkhand leave the UPA shaken, if not tottering. Congress fantasies of its strength in the states have contributed to the debacle. In Bihar, it was Lalu Prasad's notions of infallibility that have ended 15 years of misrule. What is interesting is that the shake up in India's second largest state opens the scope for a Left alternative - provided the radical groups join hands.

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