Malayalam literary critic M M Basheer, who has been targeted by a fringe group for his articles on Ramayana, has got support from the DYFI, the CPI(M)’s youth wing. Although there have been reports on the attacks against him in the media, the author has not received much support from fellow writers. Announcing the DYFI’s support for Basheer, CPI(M) MP M B Rajesh criticised Kerala’s intellectuals for not protesting by “returning their awards or honours”, like Tamil and Kannada writers did recently to express their solidarity with fellow writers who came under attack from right- wing Hindu groups.
When the Congress organised a rally at the Ramlila ground in the capital in April to protest against changes in the land acquisition Bill, the rift in the Haryana Congress played out in the open with Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s supporters, sporting pink turbans, jeering at PCC chief Ashok Tanwar. This time, Hooda has been given a prominent role in organising the party’s “victory” rally to mark the government’s climbdown on Saturday. He has been made co-chairman of a coordination committee headed by A K Antony. Leaders hope that Hooda’s supporters will not create any problems. Interestingly, the other co-chairman of the rally is general secretary Digvijaya Singh, who is in the US.
During his current visit to India, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had an unusual stopover — an event organised by the India Foundation. The foundation is steered by NSA Ajit Doval’s son, Shaurya Doval, and BJP general secretary Ram Madhav. Wickremesinghe, who was felicitated by the think-tank, talked about the coming together of Sri Lankan parties with diametrically opposite ideologies, referring to his party’s support for President Maithripala Sirisena. Drawing a comparison, he said imagine “if Congress had proposed a BJP leader as its candidate”. The parallel evoked laughter from the audience, comprising mostly right-wing intellectuals.
At the Shauryanjali exhibition to commemorate the golden jubilee of the 1965 war, both Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said it was a decisive victory for India. “The enemy was shown its place by the professionalism of our armed forces,” said Jaitley. Parrikar said it was the “first major war that India won hands down”. The official history of the war, however, is critical of the 1965 operation and points out some shortfalls.
In a new addition to the corridors of the home ministry, a wooden fence has been set up on either side of the path leading to the office of Minister of State for Home Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary. The MoS appears to have taken a cue from Home Minister Rajnath Singh and MoS, Home, Kiren Rijiju who have a similar set-up outside their offices.