LICENCE TO KILL
The CPI(ML) weekly ML Update is critical of the army for announcing the closure of the Pathribal case and clearing itself. It demands the scrapping of the AFSPA, claiming that army officers accused of murder and rape must enjoy no protection and asks the Centre to ensure that the Pathribal killers face trial in a civilian court. The editorial, the “Republic Has Blood on Its Hands”, quotes the president’s Republic Day-eve address, wherein he argued that “mavericks who question the integrity of our armed services should find no place in public life.”
“Perhaps for the first time in India’s history, the designated custodian of the Constitution virtually issued an open call to ‘supporters’ of [the] armed forces to evict critics of the army’s impunity from public life. And on the heels of Republic Day, the army gave itself a clean chit in the Pathribal case… The Republic has blood on its hands, but the public has been warned to remain silent.” The Pathribal episode, it says, also drives home the fact that the ordinary Kashmiri in India is entirely unprotected by any semblance of civil liberties or hope of justice, and is at the mercy of the army that enjoys the licence to murder.
The CPM’s People’s Democracy focuses on the BJP’s economic blueprint unveiled by Narendra Modi, arguing that it was high on rhetoric and low on content: “If at all there was any reconfirmation that was ever needed on the score that there is virtually no difference… on matters of economic policy between the Congress and the BJP, it has come in the RSS/ BJP’s prime ministerial prospect’s address at the recently held the BJP’s national council meeting…” It says that what Modi talked about, like building smart cities, bullet trains, creating more IITs, IIMs and AIIMSs as well as the development of infrastructure, reviving power plants, setting up of agro infrastructure, deploying optical fibre networks and establishing special courts to punish black marketing — sounds similar to the UPA’s Bharat Nirman.
“The moot point is that, however laudable and high-sounding such objectives may sound, how are they going to be achieved? How and from where/ whom are the resources going to be mobilised? What are the mechanisms and vehicles that are available or will be created to achieve this? The key elements of the BJP’s prime ministerial aspirant’s programme, as outlined in his speech, are urbanisation, infrastructure, education and healthcare apart from cracking down on scourges like inflation, black money and a relentless crusade against corruption. How is all this to be done?”
“There is a complete absence of any suggestion on the implementation of such a vision… The UPA’s efforts, on the other hand, have only led to the consolidation of the creation of two Indias started by the Vajpayee-led NDA government earlier,” it concludes.
Compiled by Manoj G.G.