For a civic solidarity: On citizenship for the Chakma/Hajong people

The NHRC has done the right thing in directing the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Arunachal Pradesh government to submit an action taken report against the racial profiling and relocation of the Chakma and Hajong communities in the northeastern State. They had fled their homes in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in erstwhile East Pakistan (present-day Bangladesh) after losing land to the construction of the Kaptai dam on the Karnaphuli river in the early 1960s. They had sought asylum in India and were settled in relief camps in Arunachal Pradesh. Since then they have been well integrated in villages in the southern and south-eastern parts of the State. In 2015, the Supreme Court directed the State to grant them citizenship, but this had not yet been implemented. In a judgment in 1996, the Court had stated that the “life and personal liberty of every Chakma residing within the State shall be protected”. In light of these orders and given that most of the Chakma/Hajong community members were

Coup in Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso, once known as one of the most stable countries in West Africa, has been mired in a deadly cycle of jihadist violence since 2015. Monday’s coup, in which mutinous soldiers overthrew the democratically elected government of President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, was a direct result of this growing instability which the government failed miserably to tackle. Mr. Kaboré was elected President in 2015 almost at the same time jihadists, belonging to al Qaeda and the Islamic State, were expanding across the Sahel region. They turned the vast countryside of this landlocked country bounded by Mali and Niger — both rocked by Islamist violence — into ungovernable territories. Over the last seven years, at least 2,000 people have been killed and over one million displaced in this country of 22 million people. The military and large sections of civilians saw the Kaboré government as ineffective, corrupt and out of touch with the ground reality. The coronavirus pandemic and the

In conjunction: On evolution of democratic society

The evolution of a democratic society is centred around the expansion of rights — civil, political, economic and cultural, leading to the empowerment of people. Democratic nations respect individual and group rights for moral and instrumental reasons. Duties, both legal and moral, are cherished in order to reinforce those rights. The obligations of the individual to the collective must be understood in that context; rights and duties complement each other, just as responsibility comes with freedom. Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought to suggest a dichotomy between the rights and duties of citizens when he said last week that the country had wasted a lot of time “fighting for rights” and “neglecting one’s duties”. His speech was not the first time that he or other Hindutva protagonists have called for a foregrounding of duties over rights. Service and the sacrifices of nameless and faceless nation-builders have formed the bedrock of the modern Indian Republic, but their sacrifices


Not mild for all: On community transmission of Omicron

Even at the peak of the second wave in India last year, when no contact tracing was done or was possible, not a word was said about the Delta variant being in community transmission — where the source of infection cannot be traced. But with extremely transmissible Omicron becoming the dominant variant across major cities, INSACOG, the consortium meant to monitor the genomic variations in the SARS-CoV-2 virus, has for the first time officially mentioned that India has entered community transmission; daily fresh cases have been over 0.3 million since January 19. Even as on June 15 last year, when the second wave had peaked here, India claimed to have only a ‘cluster of cases’ as reflected in WHO’s last epidemiological report (weekly) mentioning the stage of transmission in member-States. In contrast, the U.S. declared community transmission in February 2020 when the source of infection was untraceable in one instance; only 15 cases were detected then. The closest India came to


False dichotomy: On merit versus reservation

The Supreme Court has once again addressed the ‘merit versus reservation’ debate, a misleading binary that has engaged public and judicial discourse for years. While ruling in favour of extending reservation to OBCs in the all-India quota (AIQ) of seats in admission to under-graduate and post-graduate medical and dental courses, the Court has concluded that the binary has become superfluous. The courts have now come to recognise the idea of ‘substantive equality’, which sees affirmative action not as an exception to the equality rule, but as a facet of the equality norm. ‘Formal equality’, or the principle that everyone competes on an equal footing, is inadequate to address social inequalities and the inherent disadvantages of the less advanced sections, necessitating provisions that help them compete with the advanced classes. The competitive examination may be necessary for distribution of educational opportunities, but it does not enable equal opportunity for those competing without

A stellar fallacy: On hasty assessment of environmental costs

Wrong remedy: On IAS, IPS deputation rule changes

Himalayan questions: On environment and Uttarakhand polls

All in the fray: On new contenders in Goa polls

Technology tangle: On 5G services and flight disruptions

Inflation conundrum

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