LOOKING back at the year 2017 that has just ended, there is an important aspect of the national situation that must be noted. The year unfolded with the forces of reaction on the ascendant. But by the last quarter of the year, the forces of resistance against the right wing offensive had begun to assert themselves and make their presence felt.
THE big victory for the alliance of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) in the federal and provincial elections is a politically significant development for Nepal. It will have its repercussions in South Asia too.
PRESIDENT Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has met with universal opposition and concern. All the major European allies of the United States, France, Germany and the United Kingdom have spoken out. All Arab countries have opposed the step. In the United Nations Security Council, all the fourteen members apart from the US, deplored the decision. The only State to hail the move is naturally, Israel, because its illegal occupation of East Jerusalem has been legitimised by the United States.
THE Gujarat election campaign has witnessed the lowest levels of vituperative communal rhetoric and scare-mongering targeting Muslims. The main culprit for this base campaign is Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself.
THE latest report of the National Crimes Records Bureau (NCRB) reveals a steady increase in crimes against women and an alarming rise in sexual assaults on children. In 2016, 3.4 lakh cases of crimes against women were registered. This is a 2.9 per cent increase over the previous year. Of these 32 per cent concerned domestic violence, 25 per cent sexual harassment and 11.5 per cent rape. Statistics relating to crimes against women are always an underestimate as many cases go unreported, or, FIRs are not registered. Hence these figures can indicate only broad trends.
DECEMBER 6 marks the completion of 25 years of the demolition of the Babri Masjid at Ayodhya. This was a momentous day for India. What was demolished was not just a 16th century mosque, but it was a direct challenge to the Indian Constitution and its secular-republican values.
December 6, 1992 can be seen as the milestone from where began the march of the Hindutva forces for political power. 25 years later, those forces are ensconced in the seat of power in Delhi.
THE way the film Padmavati is being pilloried and the director and the main actor threatened with beheading shows how mob rule has become one of the hallmarks of Modi raj. No artistic, or, cultural production is safe from the chauvinist mobs unless they conform to the sectarian-reactionary values of the Hindutva forces.
THE draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) for Assam is to be published by December 31, 2017 as per the direction of the Supreme Court of India. The updating of the NRC of 1951 constitutes a key part of the implementation of the Assam Accord of 1985 which had fixed March 24, 1971 as the cut-off date for determining illegal migrants who came after that date.
THE revelations contained in the Paradise Papers based on investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has thrown further light on how an intricate network of tax havens, opaque companies and financial dealings have developed to service the needs of multinational corporations and international finance capital.
THE first visit to India of the US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, marked another step in the US gambit to draw India fully into a strategic-military alliance in what is called the “Indo-Pacific” region.