External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s absence from Monday’s review meeting on the Uri attack, chaired by the PM, was noticed by everyone. She was the only minister in the top four not to attend the meeting, and it was read by many as an attempt to keep diplomatic concerns out of the decision-making on government’s response to Uri. However, Swaraj is likely to address the UN General Assembly in New York next week, and is expected to raise this issue there. Incidentally, the last time Swaraj had skipped an important ministerial gathering — July’s Cabinet reshuffle — she had tweeted in advance about her other engagements and asked the media not to make her absence into a headline. There was no such forewarning this time.
On The Fence
BJP has been thinking of ways to shed an “anti-Dalit image” ever since the suicide of research scholar Rohith Vemula at Hyderabad University earlier this year. But it still seems undecided on whether Vemula was Dalit or not. On Monday, over 100 Dalit leaders of the party met for a brainstorming session to discuss ways to renew its outreach. The participants were each given a list of suicides that had happened in Hyderabad University since 2006. Against each victim’s name was his or her caste — SC, OBC or General. Vemula was last on the list, but his caste was struck out, making it unreadable.
If it was unusual for a senior IAS officer to begin an opinion poll on ways to deal with Pakistan, it was even more amusing when he cut it short claiming “rigging” by “Pakis”. Sanjay Dixit, Rajasthan Cricket Association’s secretary general, crowd-sourced options on Twitter about how India should punish Pakistan following the Uri attacks. He put forth four options, ranging from maximum strength attack to an offer of peace. Within four hours, Dixit declared that the mood was “overwhelmingly for action”, with 34 per cent votes for a “strike with full might”. He then suddenly suspended the poll as nearly a fourth of the respondents had opted for the offer of peace — a result that, he claimed, was because of “rigging”.