All trails lead to the AG’s office
Finally, a story in which Ashish Khetan trains his guns at the UPA, especially the Congress. Incredible read! Things are falling into place now. AG Goolam Vahanvati thinks he can pull the wool over the country’s eyes, but for how long? First the 2G scam, then this. One more, and it will be checkmate for this Congress pawn.
Nirbhay Mukherjee, On Email
It’s A Googly
Refer to ‘The Khan Bowls too Wide’ by Kunal Majumder, 5 May.
I am a fan of Imran Khan and would like to clarify a couple of points. When he talked of the jirga, he explained this as a local body system. The two systems are similar in terms of governance, except that the jirga comes as a result of selective elections whereas the local body is elected by a general public election. He used the word because it is more understandable to the common man. Those who call him anti-American or anti-West also misunderstand him. He uses this inside Pakistan because that is a reflection of the public perception. However, on foreign channels he talks reasonably. Being anti-war does not equal anti-American. This war has resulted in more anti-West passion than what he emphasises. Finally, there may be flaws in him but highlighting his controversies alone is misleading.
Adil Khan, On Email
A friend of mine suggested that maybe the Indian government should trade “saffronterrorist” Narendra Modi for Hafiz Saeed. After all, Modi “killed” way more Indians than even Saeed. Would you give an elected saffron terrorist over to Pakistan?
Tipu Qadeer, On Email
Crux Of It
Refer to ‘The GST of the Story is Bad Policies’, by Jaithirth Rao’, 5 May.
Crisis often leads to reformation, while years of subjugation leads to a policy of defence, mistrust and stalemate. Perhaps this describes the economic policy of the US and India and the latter’s approach towards procrastinated implementation of the GST. The history of the US shows that it had to take bold economic reforms to maintain its integration. In contrast, India had to respect the freedom of its regions, trust their wisdom and administrative skills rather than taking a centralised approach. An argument for the late implementation of GST in India is that it would lead to an inequitable growth among the states. But it is also important to understand why there has been a lack of growth in some states. The states also do not want to follow the Gandhian economics of self-sufficiency. There is no striving for a positive economic relationship with other states either. No wonder they say India is progressing, but Indians are not.
Piyush Ohrie, On Email
Just The Tip
Refer to ‘Indian intelligence ran the operation to frame Pakistan’ by Baba Umar, 5 May.
From the interviews and reviews, it seems the book uncovers long-held shibboleths and India’s fabrications in Kashmir. Quite expectedly, all these revelations haven’t produced even a slightest flutter in the Indian or international media. If the account presented is true (and it is something people always believed), shouldn’t the Indian Army be charged with the murder of at least four people, if a force they controlled had killed the tourists? Serious investigative work will reveal that the notorious ‘na-maloom bandookbardar’ (the unidentified gunman), the hidden hand behind political murders and assassinations in Kashmir, was always directly or indirectly related to the same Central node called ‘counter insurgency’.
Mohammad Junaid, On Facebook
Bangaru In Jail Validates Tehelka Sting
Refer to ‘Bangaru Laxman Convicted for Taking Bribe’, 27 April.
The conviction of former BJP president and former Union minister Bangaru Laxman is bound to send a strong message to those politicians who’re milking their positions to get rich. The BJP may have dissociated itself from Laxman but the stigma may not go away for a long time. I hope the conviction sends out a message and instils fear in the minds of politicians and bureaucrats.
RJ Khurana, On Email
Given the evidence on camera, former BJP chief Bangaru Laxman’s conviction in the infamous bribery case was a foregone conclusion. In its wake, the footage of Bangaru accepting wads of cash from TEHELKA journalists was telecast umpteen times to refresh public memory, as is TV channels’ wont these days. The verdict has also come as a clear vindication of the TEHELKA undercover team’s journalistic practice of conducting sting operations to expose corruption in high places. Lame excuses such as “the sting was an entrapment”, “the Congress-led government influenced the CBI to expedite the case” by red-faced BJP spokespersons don’t carry much conviction. They won’t remove this taint of corruption. If more egregious offenders are roaming free while Bangaru is behind bars, the system is to blame. Corruption — the subversion of public good for private gain — is so rife in our country’s politics, administration and business that we have become accustomed to hearing about scandals on a daily basis. The core issue here is the prevalence of corruption in the body-politic, cutting across political lines and not the level of corruption in each party.
G David Milton, On Email
Congratulations TEHELKA! You should move on, come what may. A lamp in the darkness. Go forth and shine.
KM Vinson, On Email
TEHELKA stands vindicated. It must be a moment of pride for the entire team. I remember the days when TEHELKAwas harassed and hunted by the powers that be. But it stood the test, standing for justice and a corrupt-free administration. The government has to learn not to indulge in such witch-hunts. The common man also stands solidly behind TEHELKA and joins it in thanking all eminent persons who supported it in times of difficulty. TEHELKA continues to expose corruption in arms deals. It is sad that the government has still not reformed and streamlined the procedure.
Jacob Sahayam, On Email
This story is also all about ‘framing’. Allowing the US Special Forces into Kashmir? Are you insane? Pattern of leaks? The whole Indian system is built around leaks. Except for a few times, most of this seems to be built on hot air and suppositions.
Raw Bin, On Facebook
This proves the Kashmiri ‘waan-penj’ gossips right. We have never had any doubts that Indian agencies were behind these killings. Qazi Nisar, Maulana Farooq... didn’t India manage to turn the tide in their favor after these incidents?
Ahad Joo, On Facebook
They have perpetuated the worst kind of terrorism to save and serve their national interest in Kashmir. The brutal massacre of 23 Pandits in Wandhama. The mass killing of 36 Sikhs in Chittisingpora. The Meadow story is only a tip of the iceberg. I remember that the worst-ever renegade period was unleashed by Rajesh Pilot, who at that time, was acting as a pointsman of New Delhi in Kashmir, proudly admitting that renegades are not made overnight. We had started sowing its seeds since the inception of the militant movement and are now readily reaping the fruits.
Sheikh Musaib, On Facebook
Good Job, Umar. There are similar ‘uncovered’ stories about Nadimarg, Sangrampora and Chittisinghpora killings. They’re still at the rumour stage, and ‘national’ interest won’t let them take off from there.
Javaid Iqbal, On Facebook
Dirty deeds in Kashmir! Shame on Indians for not doing enough to save lives so as to frame Pakistan!
Ravi Shastry, On Email
The Way Ahead
Refer to ‘Out of the Jungle. Into the mainstream. And some lessons for New Delhi’ by Avalok Langer, 21 April.
Having read the two articles on Nepal in TEHELKA by Avalok Langer, I feel he has rightly observed the political crisis in Nepal owing to a new Constitution and peace settlement with the incumbent Maoists. There has been no looking back ever since monarchy was dethroned in Nepal. But years of struggle by the people and a gory civil war haven’t fared well for the country. The Constituent Assembly now wants to extend the deadline for solving its imbroglios, whereas inclusion of the Maoists in the Nepal Army and compensating them are not an easy task to deal with. It is preposterous that the mandarins in Kathmandu have ludicrously failed to solve these pressing problems. They are responsible for the country’s tattered condition because all they did was misuse power and position. The erosion of faith in the old and new government has always existed in the fledgling democracy of Nepal.
Janga Bahadur Sanawar, On Email
No Free Lunch
Refer to ‘In Karnataka, only Babus and Cattle Enjoy Midday Meals’ by Imran Khan, 28 April.
I have been lately neglecting your articles in TEHELKA as they always paint a negative picture of Karnataka politics. I don’t support any particular outfit, but please do focus on the good things done by this government too. I recently travelled to Karnataka’s countryside and to my pleasant surprise, found the roads to be well-developed and young girls going to schools on bicycles. I feel you have been asked to paint a negative picture to earn your bread and butter.
Aravind CN, On Email
Refer to ‘The Raja Who Stole From the Poor’ by Ashish Khetan, 21 April.
You have given credence to the words of a liar. Raja Bhaiya never put a pistol to anyone’s head. You are going by Mayawati’s judgement on this. Kalyan Singh’s phrase Kunda ka Gunda was very catchy; the media lapped it up. But how can you give credence to the words of someone who himself is a gunda of sorts? People living in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Raja Bhaiya is not the first one to extend support to a party and be rewarded. Yes, his father was incarcerated. His fault being: he was Raja Bhaiya’s father. The AK-56 rifle and explosives were found on 25 January 2003 from Bhadri, when the police took away Raja Bhaiya to the police station and carried out a search with a villager in tow. Have you never heard of the police planting ammo, drugs, explosives, etc? You state that the total magnitude of the foodgrain scam stretches over a period of more than a decade...” but you only mention Raja Bhaiya. A bit biased perhaps?
Manjul Raje, On Email
The Sword Over The Talwars: Dig A Little Deeper
Refer to ‘The House We Blew Down’ by Gaurav Jain, 19 February 2011.
I was also under the compulsive impression that who else but the parents are the main accused. However, after reading the article by Gaurav Jain, it emerges that the story may be something else. I hope that you would get active on this and help get the truth out. True, just because the parents don’t cry on national television and show a stoic face does not mean they are heartless. They would surely be crying deep inside, which nobody else can feel. Most go by face value, which can be wrong, swallowing a mistaken verdict in the process. I am not absolving the Talwars, but the case definitely needs to see the truth come out soon, for the departed soul, the Talwars and so many parents of teenage children. You are one of the only few media that could add value to the case by precise investigative journalism. Just like in so many other cases, where due to your efforts, the truth has prevailed. Let this case get its due too. The last line of the article really got me thinking: that when your time comes, your world could turn upside down, just as it happened to the Talwars. It could happen to anybody; you, me and anybody any day.
Saurabh Sinha, On Email
Who To Blame?
Refer to ‘A Decade-long inquiry and many more to go?’ by Abhishek Bhalla, 5 May.
This refers to the report on the Gujarat riots of 2002, and the inaction on part of the Supreme Court. Many newspapers and magazines have reported at length about the Nanavati Commission probing the Godhra riots case, which is yet to make a decisive judgment. This puts a big question mark on the apex court’s delivery of justice, which people have a firm belief in. If you look at the case, either the SC is deliberately trying to subvert justice or the Gujarat government is pressuring it somehow. This case involves protecting one of the most important features of our Constitution i.e. secularism, but the court is not looking at it with true heed. Rather, it is adding to the suffering of those who’ve already lost all. Had it been Narendra Modi’s intentions to not incite the mobs, he himself would have visited the place of violence and ordered an inquiry, even helped the kin of those killed. On another note, it is pathetic to know that after the riots, there are very few Muslim tea vendors and hawkers in the Godhra railway station.
Pathikrit Chakraborty, On Email
Refer to ‘Losing Steam’ by Ashok Malik, 31 March.
Back in 1853, Karl Marx, as a journalist, wrote about the foundation of the railways in India and its socio-economic impact. He wrote an article in the New York Daily Tribune, that the railways in India was being established because it had militarily strategic importance, for moving and deploying troops. Secondly, it was crucial in getting the raw materials transported from one place to the other while also hauling the finished goods across the country. About the impact of the railways, Karl Marx had the foresight to see the breaking of the isolation of village communities and the dissolution of the hereditary division of caste. This, he wrote, would remove impediments to Indian progress and would be the forerunner to industrialisation in India.
Rajiv Chopra, Jammu