The order of a civil court in Varanasi that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) should conduct a survey to ascertain whether the Gyanvapi mosque was built over a demolished Hindu temple is an unconscionable intervention that will open the floodgates for another protracted religious dispute. The order, apparently in gross violation of the explicit legislative prohibition on any litigation over the status of places of worship, is likely to give a fillip to majoritarian and revanchist forces that earlier carried on the Ram Janmabhoomi movement over a site in Ayodhya. That dispute culminated in the country’s highest court handing over the site to the very forces that conspired to illegally demolish the Babri Masjid. The plaintiffs, who have filed a suit as representatives of Hindu faith to reclaim the land on which the mosque stands, have now succeeded in getting the court to commission an ASI survey to look for the sort of evidence that they would never have been able to adduce on

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s visit to Delhi this week, saw both he and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar reaffirming traditional India-Russia ties, but there were signs that those ties are being tested. Mr. Lavrov’s trip was to make preparations for the upcoming visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin for the annual summit — it was postponed last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. On the bilateral front, both sides appeared to make progress on strategic cooperation, cooperation in energy, nuclear and space sectors, and on talks on a free trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). Also discussed were more agreements on military-technical cooperation for the joint production of India-made Russian weapons, with Mr. Lavrov highlighting Russia being the only partner supplying India “cutting-edge military technology”. While neither side referred to the upcoming delivery of the $5 billion S-400 missile defence system directly, they reaffirmed
Lead

India does have a refugee problem

Happymon Jacob
V. Anaimuthu
Comment

The world knew him as Periyar’s editor

A.R. Venkatachalapathy
Lead

Plough to plate, hand held by the Indian state

Mihir Shah

A manifesto for torn jeans

Mathangi Krishnamurthy

Are you EVM-positive?

G. Sampath

We judge by actions, so why force umpires to judge on intent?

Suresh Menon
"Four Season, cherry tree"
Open Page

Seasons, reasons and a lifetime

Himani Datar
funny selfie group, Young happy people take selfie
Open Page

Wellness to well-being

Naveen Khajanchi
Holding hands, interracial couple, friendship and support, empathy
Open Page

Learning to live and be liked

Vijaya Bharat