The Organiser editorial takes a critical view of Iftar parties, including the one thrown by the president at Rashtrapati Bhavan. It says that the “ridiculous custom of non-fasting people feeding the well-fed guests for political calculation is against the spirit of any religious ritual.” It adds that individuals or organisations hosting a religious function is all right, but justifying such rituals in the name of secularism is ridiculous: “Incidentally, it is all Hindu politicians who use this tokenism to promote vote-bank politics…”
The editorial mocks the criticism directed at PM Narendra Modi for not attending the Iftar hosted by the president. Modi’s decision to not join the party, preferring his scheduled meeting with chief ministers, has become a “good enough reason to question his ‘secular’ credentials. Some went on questioning his performing of puja at Kashi Vishwanath and Pashupatinath. The issue is not who attended or not attended [sic] the Iftar reception but why this one religious event becomes a symbol of ‘secular’ bonhomie and tokenism…” claims the editorial.
Arguing that “secularism” has become a convenient tool to further communal causes, the editorial takes exception to the insertion of the word ‘secular’ in the Constitution: “Since the insertion of this foreign originated term in the Preamble to the Indian Constitution, our political discourse has become more communal. We need to understand that equal respect for all ways of worships is there in [the] Indian ethos and that is much bigger than the spirit of tolerance expected in the European version of ‘secularism’…”
An article in the Organiser cautions the government about talks with Pakistan. “While maintaining an air of positivity, India should not be overly optimistic about a constructive response from Pakistan,” it says. Pointing out that PM Modi has put his reputation at stake in his pursuit of peace with Pakistan, it says he is motivated by a firm belief that lasting peace will open the doors to unprecedented development for the two nations. Although both Modi and Nawaz Sharif were aware of the flak they would draw for their initiative, the article says that most surprising was the spontaneous and vicious reaction from Pakistani entities: “Those aligned against the interest of the two countries took full advantage of the media to, yet again, attempt derailment of the process of normalisation of relations…”
According to the article, Modi has “nearly staged a coup as the Ufa joint statement… did not have the… ‘K’ word. How Sharif agreed to a draft without the mention of Kashmir is a double-edged sword. It can mean… that Indo-Pak talks can be pursued even without discussions on Kashmir or that the Pakistani side is not taking the Ufa exercise seriously.” It adds that Nawaz’s silence on the criticism that followed indicated his weakness vis-a-vis the Pakistani army and militant organisations.
The Panchajanya editorial targets Article 35A of the Constitution, which gives special rights to the Jammu and Kashmir assembly to discriminate against the rest of the country on the question of permanent residence in the state. Calling it an injustice, the editorial says J&K has used Article 35A to victimise women and children refugees and the Valmiki Samaj. It says that the article, which has brought so much suffering to a large section of people in the state, surprisingly has no approval of Parliament, before which it was never brought. While many constitutional experts are even unaware of the existence of Article 35A, in J&K, says the editorial, it is not only in force but also an instrument of injustice.
Compiled by Liz Mathew