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June 2017 Edition of Power Politics is updated.  Happy Diwali to all our subscribers and Distributors       June 2017 Edition of Power Politics is updated.   Happy Diwali to all our subscribers and Distributors       
Issue:June' 2017


Caring for the masses

Jagdish N Singh

Ours is a modern d e m o c r a t i c republic. Herein s o v e r e i g n t y resides in c i t i z e n s . National security is essentially about the well being --- rights and liberties--- of citizens. Our rulers, who have replaced the previous feudal-colonial ones, are supposed to serve their master citizens first . Ironically, however , our successive governments at the Centre and in the States both have, by and large, failed to comply with this m o r a l - c o n s t i t u t i o n a l obligation. This has resulted in the occasional occurrence of various types of violence, including Islamist terrorism and Maoist extremism, against our citizens' very right to life.

Poverty of the adivasis in Chattisgarh According to an estimate, Maoist violence has claimed over 12,000 lives in the last decade. Between 2005 and 2017 it claimed the lives of as many as 1,910 security personnel. Of that 954 casualties were in Chhattisgarh alone. In the April 24 Maoist ambush of CRPF personnel in Sukma in Chhattisgarh 25 jawans were killed.
Knowledgeble sources say the nation needs a unified command to combat Maoist violence. Central armed police forces need to co-ordinate with the States. They need to learn and respect the local customs and traditions of tribal life so as to deal with violence in the related belts . Currently, over 118 battalions of CAPFs, a little over a lakh, are posted in Maoism- affected states.
The CRPF in Chhattisgarh needs better training, equipment and tactics. There are shortages of Mine Protected Vehicles (MPV). In 2010 the Centre had sanctioned 350 MPVs for the CRPF. As of March 2017, there were only 122 MPVs with the CRPF.
I strongly doubt if such measures alone will do. National security is not just a police or military function. It is fundamentally related to good governance and p e o p l e - f r i e n d l y development . Even after 69 years of independence we lack this badly.
I would suggest the Government to develop such policies and programmes as would foster the multi-faceted development of the people in the Maoist belts . It should see to it that the ongoing economic carnage of the masses, especially in rural /adivasi areas, stops. Reports are some of the Central schemes such as Special Infrastructure Scheme (SIS) and Integrated Action Plan (IAP) have of late been withdrawn. The Government must look into the matter and restore them.

Talking nonsense

Officials, past and present, often recycle their old stale ideas and project them as a new panacea for people's problems. Our former National Security Advisor M K Narayanan seems to be no exception . In a newspaper article he says that in Kashmir today " it is not so much the dreaded foreign militants as the 'unattached militants' who are responsible for the bulk of the current wave of violence." The main instigators earlier were "trained by Pakistan and the bulk of those involved were inspired by Pakistan." But "since 2016, it is the 'unattached militant' who has been in the forefront of the struggle.... After the dangerous 1990s, militancy has once again regained social acceptance."

M K Narayanan Narayanan suggests the Government must " go back to the drawing board and effect changes in Kashmir's Constitution that were introduced post the 1960s." This would "help establish a measure of credibility to India's claims that it is not seeking to undermine the autonomy that Kashmir prizes so much." Besides, he counsels the Government to hold consultations with all segments, " including separatists and the Hurriyat," create "jobs for Kashmiri youth" and " reopen talks with Pakistan."
Narayanan's counsels make little sense . History bears out all these years New Delhi has been acting along such lines only. They have proved counter-productive. The Centre's policy of moderation has had few takers in the Valley. It has rather emboldened the secessionist forces to indulge in more aggressive violence to establish an Islamist society.
Even some of the so-called progressive forces have turned highly sectarian. Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced he would adhere to former Prime Minister of Atal Bihari Vajpayee's policy of Jamhooriyat, Insaaniyat and Kashmiriyat to address the Kashmir problem. National Conference president and three-time Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Farooq Abdullah does not trust Modi . In a media interview , he said, "Modi doesn't believe in it. These are mere words. If he believed in Jamhooriyat, Insaaniyat and Kashmiriyat, then why doesn't he talk to the Hurriyat? " In the interview he sounded highly communal when he said " an entity of a Muslim-majority State" was "under threat."

Democracy in peril

Recep Tayyip Erdogan All is not well in Indo-Turkish relations today. Knowledgeable sources say Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's India visit last month ended in a flop . During his sojourn New Delhi and Ankara pledged to revive bilateral trade.
Erdogan extended support to India's bid for the United Nations Security Council membership. But it was with a rider that other countries be included. Erdogan backed India's case in the Nuclear Suppliers Group with the caveat of support for Pakistan. He condemned Naxal violence in India but not Islamabadsponsored cross-border terrorism against it .
The worst part of Erdogan has been his policy towards India's Kashmir . Just ahead of his trip to India. Erdogan said the Kashmir issue could be resolved through "multilateral negotiations." He offered himself as an intermediary with Pakistan.
Last year he pledged Turkey's support to Pakistan's position on Kashmir.
The sources lament Erdogan is hardly progressive. He has done a great damage to Turkey's modernist personality during all these years . Today he seeks to "bolster his image as a leader of the Islamic world."
A leading Middle East expert says Erdogan manipulated to change Turkey's constitution to remain prime minister beyond his statutory three terms.
Subsequently, he became president in 2014. Under Turkey's new constitution Erdogan will be the head of the government as well as the state. He will appoint ministers and senior judges .
Erdogan is not of democratic temperament. He used the abortive coup of July 2016 to clamp a six-month state of emergency upon his people. In January this year he got the emergency extended for three months. After the referendum of April 16 the emergency was extended for another three months .
The expert's estimate is that since the July coup over 170 media outlets have been shut down in Turkey. This includes 29 publishing houses, three news agencies, 45 newspapers, 16 TV stations, 23 radio stations, and 15 magazines. Over 1,577 university deans have been forced to resign. Over 2,700 judges, 163 admirals and generals and 24,000 teachers and interior ministry employees have been fired.

Will Trump invite the Dalai ?

Nancy Pelosi with Dalai Lama When it comes to backing the cause of human rights in Tibet , the American Congress has few parallels in the democratic world. It has voiced concern over Tibetan rights violations by the communist authorities in Beijing . On May 9 last a bipartisan U.S. Congressional delegation led by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi visited the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama in Dharamsala to reiterate their support to the Tibetan cause.
Pelosi said on the occasion, "Our bipartisan delegation comes in his spirit of faith and peace. We come on this visit to be inspired by His Holiness and demonstrate our commitment to the Tibetan people, to their faith, their culture and their language." Taking note of the deteriorating rights situation in Tibet , Representative Jim McGovern called for a new U.S. policy towards Tibet to safeguard its identity.
Will American President Donald Trump take cue from his Congress and back the Tibetan cause? The Dalai Lama is keen to meet Trump . Will Trump invite him to the White House and talk to him on the Tibetan scenario? Knowledgeable sources say it is highly unlikely in near future.
Currently, the entire world is obsessed with China's economic prowess. Last month UN Secretary- General Antonio Guterres, International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde and World Bank President Kim Yong attended China's Belt and Road connectivity summit in Beijing .
France, South Korea and Japan attended the forum . America is never behind anyone in this regard. White House adviser Matt Pottinger led the U.S. delegation to the forum.
President Trump's focus is not human rights. His Secretary of State Rex Tillerson plays it down in U.S. foreign policy. In April American President Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping met at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort. Trump wants Xi to make it difficult for Pyongyang to survive American sanctions. Trump wants Xi to prevent North Korea from advancing its nuclear and rocket programme.
Washington-Beijing ties are flourishing along their wellestablished pattern . After the Trump-Xi talks Air China cancelled its flights to Pyongyang . Washington promised to direct its attention away from affairs in the South China Sea. Trump is interested in Chinese aid to fund various infrastructure projects. China will be increasing US imports.

A humanist jurist

Leila Seth Last month India lost a g reat jurist --- former Chief Justice of the Himachal Pradesh High Court Leila Seth. She was a rare humanist. She championed effective legislation for women's liberties and development. Justice Seth happened to be one of the three members on the historic Ju sti ce Verma Comm ittee. The committee was constituted after the infamous December 1 6 2012 gang-rape in Delhi to recommend amendments for faster trials and e nh a nced punishme nt for the criminals accused of sexual crimes against women.
Ju sti ce Seth wo uld b e remembered also for her books- On Balance ( 2003), We, The Children of India ( 2010) and Talking of Justice: People's Rights in Modern India (2014). A great soul, she believed in leaving for the posterity whatever she could. A little before her death , she donated her organs for transplant or medical research purposes.
I would never forget Justice Seth. I have some deeper personal reasons too for this . Way back in the nineties I happened to be associated with her in a research project on Indian citizenship values. The frequent interaction I had with her those days led me to discover what continues to ail the Indian Republic most. I found it is often the individuals in key constitutional positions who lack our citizenship values most . I found the tragedy of our Republic begins at the top. And I have been working to remedy this greatest national evil, with little success though.