Sunday, June 24, 2018
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Burkish Election
By Gwynne Dyer
There is no possibility of a happy outcome in Sunday's election in Turkey. Almost exactly half the population adores President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in power since 2002, while the other half hates him and believes his victory would mean the death of democracy in the country. That could well be the case, but he is going to win. Erdogan is one of the nationalist strongmen who have come to power in countries that aspired to democracy in the first two decades after the end of the Cold War. From Vladimir Putin in Russia and Viktor Orban in Hungary to Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, these men - populists, as we call them - abide by the democratic rules unless they absolutely have to cheat. Instead, they aim to win free elections by stirring up hatred of minorities and foreigners and domin...
Kashmir Times News Report
Capital Crisis: Where does the buck stop?
By Badri Raina
Mr. Kejriwal must be thanked for keeping alive the practice of informed political mobilisation in circumstances in which every two-bit greenhorn of a television anchor rattles off contempt for politics and democratic processes of legitimation and accountability. How many times have we heard from all and sundry, including the courts, that the real administrative head of the truncated State of the National Capital is not the elected government but the appointed Lieutenant Governor? Well then, where is he, as governance in Delhi comes to a dead halt? Such is the anti-democratic hubris of the merely appointed functionary that he will not step out of his well-furnished comfort zone to accost the elected chief minister and some of his cabinet colleagues who have been in a sit-in protest in h...
Kashmir Times News Report
China outmanoeuvres India in diplomatic war
Time for New Delhi to take a fresh look
By Barun Das Gupta
China is clearly outmaneuvering India in the diplomatic war to win over India's neighbours. Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made several visits to China, apparently to keep Beijing in good humour, reduce tension between the two countries and to promote that vague thing called 'confidence building'. The sincerity of the Prime Minister's efforts to better Sino-Indian relations cannot be questioned. But what can be questioned is the response it has evoked from China. Let us look at the hard facts. After an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation between the Indian and Chinese armies at Doklam last year for 73 days, the Chinese blinked first and withdrew their troops to positions they had held before they started building a road in Doklam that posed an immediate threat to the Chicken's Neck...
Kashmir Times News Report
Credibility crisis of higher institutions
By Pushkar Raj
The Credibility of India's top institutions has lately suffered affecting governance and democracy in the country. Its strong indication came in the form of the impeachment motion against the chief justice of India which was rejected by the Vice president and was subsequently challenged in the highest Court. When the case challenging legality of the vice president's action came before the court, the petitioner sought clarification on the bench hearing the case expecting that the chief justice could not pick and choose judges (bench) that heard his own case. But the court refused to give explanation, meaning that the court would not follow the first principle of justice in its own conduct that one cannot be a judge in his/her own case. It is logical that such a court could not be expected...
Kashmir Times News Report
Kashmir in a dense cauldron of uncertainty
By K M Seethi
BJP's unexpected pull out came hardly a day after the suspension of ceasefire in the Kashmir Valley ordered by the Centre, which began with the onset of Ramzan. Mehbooba Mufti was reported to have asked for continuance of ceasefire in the Valley. The Centre declined this request apparently in the background of BJP's rethinking on its alliance with the PDP. Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) politics has once again entered a cycle of uncertainty following BJP's decision to pull out of the coalition with the People's Democratic Party (PDP) formed three years ago. It eventually led to the resignation of its chief minister Mehbooba Mufti whose decision to join hands with the BJP had, in fact, raised many eyebrows even at that stage. The explanation put across by the BJP for its withdrawal is strate...
Kashmir Times News Report
No action should be taken that will alienate people of the valley
By Jatin Desai
Kashmir has plunged into a serious political crisis following rapid development of BJP's withdrawal from the PDP-led government and resignation by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. The development was not completely unexpected but it may have serious political implications. The BJP's withdrawal must be seen in the background of non-extension of Ramzan ceasefire. Ram Madhav, general secretary of the BJP, announced the decision after Jammu and Kashmir's lawmakers meeting with BJP President Amit Shah in Delhi. He said," terrorism, violence and radicalisation have risen and fundamental rights of the citizens are in danger in the valley. Shujaat Bukhari's killing is an example… We discussed the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, and how much we have achieved since forming the government in the sta...
Kashmir Times News Report
The octopus in the newsroom
Truth becomes biggest casualty of fake news
By Sushil Kutty
'Postcard News' stands branded as fake news ever since its editor tweeted a clearly false news. Sunday morning US President Donald Trump added Washington Post to the list, opining (not a reporter's word) that if WaPo employees go on a long strike "we would get rid of Fake News for an extended period of time." Fact-checkers, who owe their paychecks to fake news, check only 'statements' and 'figures' to nail fake news. They do not wade into 'opinion pieces' to look for fake news raised in columns of words. The late Shujaat Bukhari, before he was gunned down, returned from a global editors' meet in Lisbon and wrote that fake news was "a multifarious challenge that had come mostly with fast-changing technology." Nobody told him to shut up; he was silenced for other more glaring opinions. Vi...
Kashmir Times News Report
Communalism and development
By Irfan Engineer
A fact finding team of the CSSS and CPI recently visited Aurangabad from 19th through 21st May to investigate the communal riots in the city that broke out on 11th May 2018 on a filmsy issue of a Muslim man denying use of his mobile phone to two youth from Valmiki community whom he did not know. The denial later led to beating up of the Muslim man and triggering off the communal riot that night which went on till the wee hours of next day, until the violence was controlled by the police. Communal politics has been viewed from different perspectives. The left primarily regards religion as opium of people, instilling false consciousness, giving them a high, and diverting their attention from their real issues related to material improvement in their lives like jobs, better wages, housing...
Kashmir Times News Report
That inconvenient issue Trump-Kim summit didn't talk about
North Korea's human rights violations remain unparalleled
By Harihar Swarup
As the world hailed the Trump-Kim summit as successful and big event of the current year, there is a lesser known side of North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un's rule. As talks between two leaders progressed, human rights activists were watching if Trump would bring up North Korea's widespread crimes against humanity, but the US President disappointed them. Kim rules with extreme brutality, making his nation among the worst human rights violators in the world. In North Korea, these crimes entail"extermination, murder, enslavement, rape, forced abortion and other sexual violations, persecution on political……" concludes a 2014 United Nations report that examined the country's human right records. Here are some of the atrocities that have taken place in North Korea. Many North Koreans live in...
Kashmir Times News Report
UN report on Kashmir is a challenge to Delhi
By K C Singh
A 49-page and first-ever United Nations report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on "Jammu and Kashmir, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit and Baltistan" took India by surprise last week and elicited an extremely strong reaction from New Delhi. With a three-week session of the 47-member UN Human Rights Council beginning in Geneva on June 18, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, an extremely tendentious report focusing on the situation in J&K is bad news. Currently, India is not a member of the council while Pakistan is till 2020. High commissioner Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, of the Jordanian ruling family, said he will urge "the Human Rights Council to consider establishing a commission of inquiry to conduct a comprehensive indep...
Kashmir Times News Report
Migrants: The Borders Are Closing
By Gwynne Dyer
There are actually fewer migrants crossing the Mediterranean and landing in European Union countries this year than in any other recent year: only 37,000 so far, although the flow will increase with good summer weather. But they are nevertheless the 'last straw' as far as some EU countries are concerned. Patience is running out. Last week Italy's new populist government stopped a ship that had just rescued 630 African migrants from the usual overloaded, sinking boats from coming into any Italian port. "Saving lives is a duty, turning Italy into a huge refugee camp is not," said Matteo Salvini, Italy's Deputy Prime Minister, in a tweet. "Italy is done bending over backwards and obeying - this time THERE IS SOMEONE WHO SAYS NO." Eventually the even newer socialist government of Spain volu...
Kashmir Times News Report
Peace process in Jammu and Kashmir suspended
By Satish Misra
Cruel killing of veteran journalist Shujaat Bukhari on June 14 during the holy month of Ramzan virtually on the eve of the Eid is a sinister conspiracy against the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Yet another citizen, who was the voice of reason and was supportive of the political process to resolve all outstanding issues coming in the way of restoration of normalcy, has been silenced by violent means. He had stood for dialogue and had supported the political process to resolve all issues. Peace in the troubled state has been eluding people. Every time an effort to initiate a process to usher in peace is undertaken, it is nipped in the bud. Pattern has been the same. Bukhari's elimination is aimed at derailing the process of peace that began with the unilateral declaration of ceasefire by ...
Kashmir Times News Report
Is Church trying to destabilize Modi Sarkar?
By Ram Puniyani
A VHP spokesperson, Surendra Jain (June 7th) stated that the Church in India is trying to destabilize Modi Sarkar. This was in the backdrop of the statements by two Archbishops, the one of Delhi and other from Goa. Archbishop of Delhi, Anil Couto, on 8th May 2018 addressed a letter to all parish priests and religious institutions in the Archdiocese of Delhi asking them to pray for 'our nation'. The letter begins with the observation "[w]e are witnessing a turbulent political atmosphere which poses a threat to the democratic principles enshrined in our Constitution and the secular fabric of our nation". The letter then requests the 138 parish priests and 5 religious institutions within Delhi to observe 'a Day of Fast every Friday ... offering our penance and all our sacrifices for our sp...
Kashmir Times News Report
Who killed Shujaat Bukhari and why?
Not that Kashmir and Kashmiris are alien to killings. Over the past about three decades Kashmiris have developed sufficient sense and acquired sufficient 'experience' to make their own intelligent guess about both, the hand behind the trigger and the motive of its dastardly act. In nine out of ten cases, their instinctive guess is right though they rarely risk sharing it publicly. Bukhari's case falls into that rare category where the precise determination of the killer as well as the motive can only be guessed vaguely, not determined with certainty. To an extent, it bears similarity with the mysterious killing of Mirwaiz Molvi Farooq and Abdul Ghani Lone. Both are generally known to have been shot by militants and yet, strangely, both lie buried in the Shaheed Mazar which is exclus...
Kashmir Times News Report
Is Indian democracy dying?
By Dr Arshad M Khan
The prominent journalist and editor, Shujaat Bukhari was leaving work when he and his two bodyguards were shot and killed. Suffice to say newspapers are the lifeblood of democracy and Indian administered Kashmir under the decades-long grip of a half-million strong security force has a questionable claim. Yet brave journalists, unafraid, write and sometimes pay the consequences. Following Mr. Bukhari's murder and the thousands attending his funeral, the security services have raided presses shutting down newspapers. The internet is not quite as easily controlled, so some have been busy updating their sites. Since Gauari Lankesh was brutally murdered at her doorstep in September 2017, another four journalists have lost their lives. She, too, espoused views contrary to the ruling party's c...
Kashmir Times News Report
SCO entry to help boost India-China trade ties
Sino-US tiff creates opportunity for Delhi
By Subrata Majumder
Chinese media were euphoric that the 18th Summit of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) held in Qingdao, China, where India and Pakistan were admitted as new members of the organization, will open a new page for better relations between the two countries. Chinese newspaper Global Times headlined the event "China, India ready to deepen their economic ties." The Chinese media noted that despite Modi's refusal to be party to China's Belt and Road Initiative, the summit provided the ground for China to enhance multilateral cooperation among BRI member countries. Out of eight members only India was against BRI. Other member countries reaffirmed their support to the initiative to expand economic connectivity. India's refusal was prodded by a trust deficit. Modi was emphatic in saying that...
Kashmir Times News Report
A journalist in the Valley
Shujaat Bukhari advocated peace, wore many hats, walked a tightrope, in an unforgiving landscape
By Nirupama Subramanian
It is perhaps the best tribute to Shujaat Bukhari that he was slandered by both sides of the polarised debate on Kashmir. He was excoriated in Kashmir as a "tout" of the intelligence agencies who pandered to the "Indian" narrative. Days before his brutal killing, he was accused online of being a "collaborator" and "traitor", who had "sold the struggle". Outside Kashmir, Shujaat was a target of Hindutva supporters and a gaggle of other Kashmiri-baiters. One prominent Hindutva tweeter had accused him of taking money from the government to start his paper and then "playing the ISI script". On the day he was shot, he was defending himself on Twitter against accusations of "bias" by the member of an influential think tank in Delhi. Those who practise journalism in the harsh terrain of conflic...
Kashmir Times News Report
People's spaces
By A.G. Noorani
MANY consider the following opinion, authored by US supreme court justice Louis Brandeis in 1927, as one of the greatest defences of free speech: "Those who won our independence believed that the final end of the state was to make men free to develop their faculties; and that in its government the deliberative forces should prevail over the arbitrary. They valued liberty both as an end and as a means. ... They believed that freedom to think as you will and to speak as you think are means indispensable to the discovery and spread of political truth; that without free speech and assembly discussion would be futile; that with them, discussion affords ordinarily adequate protection against the dissemination of noxious doctrine; that the greatest menace to freedom is an inert people; that publ...
Kashmir Times News Report
Crumbling Gurudwaras Blur The Lines On The India-Pakistan Border
By Haroon Khalid
Indian Air Force jets flew over our heads; we could hear them buzz a few seconds after the planes disappeared into the bright sunny day. They flew in pairs. I don't know how far the jets went inside Pakistan's airspace. Before us was the Gurdwara of Nanak, a sad structure with only its skeleton surviving. Inside there was graffiti which read, "Ibadat sirf Allah ki karien". Under the dome of the sacred shrine there were pictures of the 10 Sikh Gurus. The faces of all of these portraits had been chiselled out. Next to the pictures, there was a verse from Nanak's poetry establishing his commitment to monotheism. A few cowherds stood around me staring at the headless pictures of Sikh Gurus. This was the village of Jhaman, a historical village on the outskirts of Lahore, a village that had...
Kashmir Times News Report
Ala Bhatt's sister Shaheen battled depression, had been suicidal
"I've lived with depression since I was 12-years-old and since then I've been suicidal on more than one occasion. I've experienced the sheer terror of contemplating a life filled with unrelenting anguish, and I've been consumed by the terrifying thought of having but a single means of escape from a bleak, unbearable future," read an excerpt from Alia Bhatt's sister Shaheen's article for Vogue magazine, in which she has opened up about her battle with depression. The article is in wake of celebrity chef-food critic Anthony Bourdain and celebrated fashion designer Kate Spade's deaths. Both of them had committed suicide and depression is suspected to be the driving factor. The headline of her article for Vogue reads as, "Shaheen Bhatt on the recent suicides: "It could have been me." In Nove...
Kashmir Times News Report
Race 3: Film Review
Salman struts around like a clueless stuntman
The formula - a bunch of super-rich blokes and bling-bedecked broads gypping each other in a game involving power, pelf and perfidy - has worn awfully thin. No amount of surface gloss and 'explosive' action can lend a fresh veneer to the rickety vehicle that Race 3 is. With all the junk in the trunk, it delivers a ride that is bumpy, noisy and aimless. Salman Khan throws his box-office weight behind the scrappy enterprise, but the unimaginatively scripted thriller can only plod its way through a heap of inanities. Served up ill-advisedly in 3D, the bluff and bluster are amplified beyond endurance. Helmed by Remo D'Souza, Race 3 is a dance of dunces that hits a convoluted track from the moment it kicks off. The game has too many players and not enough rules to keep them sane. It is about ...
Kashmir Times News Report
Yoga Enhances Beauty
By Shahnaz Hussain
Everyone wants to look beautiful to feel better. Personal appearance is important for a sense of individuality and well being. People take pride in their young looking appearance which boosts their confidence. Generally people opt for beauty treatments to lift moods and boost self-esteem. Beauty therapy makes a significant difference in quality of life which has positive effect on everybody around them. You do not have to be born beautiful. You can acquire beautiful, supple, glowing and flawless skin by treating yourself from inside through selection of yoga poses and exercises rather than relying on expensive cosmetics and time consuming salon treatments. You can enhance your beauty with yoga by incorporating strict guidelines in your daily life. Regular yoga practice pranayama and m...
Kashmir Times News Report
Crumbling Gurudwaras Blur The Lines On The India-Pakistan Border
By Haroon Khalid
Indian Air Force jets flew over our heads; we could hear them buzz a few seconds after the planes disappeared into the bright sunny day. They flew in pairs. I don't know how far the jets went inside Pakistan's airspace. Before us was the Gurdwara of Nanak, a sad structure with only its skeleton surviving. Inside there was graffiti which read, "Ibadat sirf Allah ki karien". Under the dome of the sacred shrine there were pictures of the 10 Sikh Gurus. The faces of all of these portraits had been chiselled out. Next to the pictures, there was a verse from Nanak's poetry establishing his commitment to monotheism. A few cowherds stood around me staring at the headless pictures of Sikh Gurus. This was the village of Jhaman, a historical village on the outskirts of Lahore, a village that had...
Kashmir Times News Report
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