Senior SC Judges take on CJI, say democracy is at stake

Image Courtesy: R.V. Moorthy/ The Hindu
L to R: Justice Kurien Joseph, Justice Chelameswar, Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Madan B Lokur, all Supreme Court Judges, addressing the media in New Delhi.

New Delhi, January 12: Four senior Supreme Court Judges addressed the media to place before the country their worries, which, according to them, failed to move the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. The rare press meet by Justices J Chelameshwar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph, was a first in the history of India and SC.

The SC judges appealed to the country to save their establishment if the people of India wanted democracy to survive.

Assignment of Judge Loya case is seen as reason behind the historic press conference by the top 4 judges.  Justice Chelameswar, senior most lawyer in SC, stated his concern over the corrosion and compromise taking place within the establishment of the judiciary and also within the portals of the SC.

Justice Chelameswar said that they had met CJI with an explicit request which regrettably couldn’t convince him that they were right therefore, they were left with no option except to speak the nation that please take care of the establishment.

Countering reports of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra holding a press conference on 12th January, 2018, after four senior SC judges took on the CJI in an extraordinary Press Conference, the Bar and Bench reported that the CJI is hearing cases as usual in the court.

ANI reported that the Attorney General KK Venugopal met CJI Misra over the accusations made by the 4 senior SC judges.

Letter sent by four judges to Chief Justice Dipak Mishra.

Sources: The Hindu, The Economic Times

The big joke – Indian Democracy

“The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it” – George Orwell

Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, MM Kalburgi, Gauri Lankesh; they all spoke the truth and paid the price for it with their lives. Their only crime was to show the mirror to a society used to living in a system poisoned by caste divides, hate crimes and communal violence.

Gauri was a Kannada journalist known for fiercely voicing out her opinions against the increasing violence by the extremist Hindutva groups and overall majoritarianism practiced by the Hindu organisations in the country. Like Dabholkar, Pansare and Kalburgi, Lankesh also never backed out of speaking up for the exploited and underprivileged sections of the society.

And then, this voice was silenced on September 5 when unknown assailants murdered the bold and courageous journalist in cold blood. Sadly, the list doesn’t end with Lankesh. At present, the Indian democracy is going through a crisis. The sole right to express dissent with the policies and ideologies of our political leaders is being snatched away from the common man.

Not only does criticism invite shaming and hatred from online bullies, things have gone as far as people simply being killed as if equality and freedom are just words meant to mock the largest democracy in the world.

But, it seems that the ones living in their high rise offices and travelling in their luxurious flights seem to have forgotten the power that lies with the Indian public. The massive outrage after Gauri’s death makes one believe that all is not lost yet; in-deed times have become dangerous for any voice that dares to disagree but these threats are only going to strengthen our resolve in protecting our country.

As long our people don’t let these threats silence our freedom and expression, they can’t take away the soul of our nation for which Gauri and many others laid their lives. Long Live Indian Democracy.

Source – The Guardian

Image Source – PTI

 

Another Voice stifled: Senior Journalist Gauri Lankesh Shot dead at Bengaluru residence

Prominent Journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh was shot dead by  three unidentified assailants while she was entering her house in Rajarajeshwari Nagar around 8pm on September 5.

According to M.N. Anucheth, DCP (West), her body was found on the verandah of her house. The neighbours said that they heard multiple shots being fired at her after which she collapsed and died on the spot.

Lankesh was the editor of weekly Kannada bulletin- Lankesh Patrike. She is well-known for her critical acclaimed work that often lambasted Hindutva extremism, caste system and the current government. She had come under fire previously for her criticism against Sangh parivar.

The Press club has strongly condemned the murder and thousands of people including prominent journalists like Sagarika Ghose, Rajdeep Sardesai etc have gathered to protest the rise in violence against journalists for speaking their minds.

Several politicians have to social media to express their shock and angst over the killing. BJP State Chief BS Yeddyurappa, terming the murder ‘inhuman’ and ‘barbaric’ tweeted that the law and order situation in the state has completely collapsed.

Investigations are on but the police is yet to check the footage from CCTV installed on her porch. Her funeral will be conducted as per the Lingayat customs.

Lankesh, an agnostic, was a fiesty, independent voice of journalism that has been silenced with bullets.

Sources: The Hindu, The Wire

Image Source: Facebook- Official page of Gauri Lankesh

The Egyptian Spring: Chapter 2

 

Protests spark revolutions, revolutions mark change but that change is sometimes an undesired product. Egypt has shown that the paradox of a protest is sometimes its only inevitable outcome. Inspired by Mohammed Bouazizi’s self immolation in front of the Tunisian parliament, Egypt rose to the global media fore demanding a change, and most West Asian ‘totalitarian’ countries followed suit in a process that came to be casually known as the ‘Arab Spring’.

When Mohammed Morsi was declared the 5th President of Egypt, the country danced to tunes of democracy after being under Hosni Mubarak’s dictatorship for over 30 years. Morsi’s Freedom for Justice Party, founded during the Arab Spring, was a direct product of the Muslim Brotherhood. Its anti-capitalist, orthodox Islamic standpoint saw it win the majority’s approval and this change brought with it hopes of peace and stabilization of the nation. However, Morsi’s usurpation of unlimited power to ‘protect the nation’ did not go down too well with the public in general. To add to that, his support of passing a referendum on an Islamist supported draft constitution and the disastrous economic state of the country, opposition began gathering in numbers across Cairo and Alexandria chanting choruses of democracy and secularism.

egypt
What is the future of Egypt? | Image source: theatlantic.com

On the 3rd of July the army staged a coup and General Abdul Fata al-Sisi removed Morsi before suspending the constitution. However, there was support for the ousted President as thousands took to the streets demanding for his reinstatement. And, as was expected, clashes broke out leaving over 60 dead amidst demands for a peaceful protest by the Muslim Brotherhood. The newly elected cabinet by the interim President Adly Mansour comprises only Liberal figures and how the pro-Islamists react to it will be a major concern. Failures leading to the blame-game have been projected around with the US receiving much of the unwanted attention. Both pro-Morsi and pro-Liberals have blamed the US for its role post the 2011 protests. Whatever be it, if one understands the pattern, the future is likely to be marred by deaths, sexual offences, huge waves of anti- establishment crimes and unwarranted counteractions.

Alaa Reqaby, a supporter of Morsi, feels that the army’s political interference is purely selfish rather than a testament to the people’s sentiments. “Mr. Morsi will be back, he will be back. Yes, we can. I want to say to Obama; Yes, we can,” said Alaa Reqaby. However, the complexity of the situation in Egypt is rather interesting because it seems as if two forms of governance are happening alternately. The current liberal form is somewhat similar to Mubarak’s anti-Islamist, pro-development (economic and social especially) style of governance. Morsi’s conservative approach served as the much needed change for many pro-Islamists who were especially against Mubarak’s stance on Israel. Obviously it was corruption that got Mubarak removed but going back to the same political pattern will spell uncertainty as is evident with the increasing support for Mohammed Morsi. Hence, when protestors like Reqaby see the rising sun everyday as a symbol of hope and peace, the more logical tangent would be a doubt which asks: ‘Where exactly is Egypt heading?’

India’s interest lies in Nepal

While discussing its political situation with Nepal, India stressed that stable, secular and democratic Nepal has always been its key interest. External Affairs minister, Salman Khurshid, regarded Nepal President Ram Baran Yadav as a great friend of India, who played a key role in strengthening  relations between the two countries.

Khurshid informed the Nepalese President that, short term measures to augment grid connectivity of 40- 55 MW have been completed and they are now working on plans to further increase this is in the medium term. Nepal’s monarchy turned into democracy in May 2008 , on declaration of “Federal Democratic Republic”.

Good relations

Major parties such as the  Unified Communist Party of Nepal(Moist), Communist Party of Nepal(Marxist-Leninist) and the Nepali Congress agreed to write a constitution to replace the interim one within 2 years but the peace process has been derailed due to selfish behavior of  political parties. Ethnic caste, religious, ideological and regional differences have also added to woes of political agreement.Political leaders continue to discuss plans to end this turmoil, but none of the talks have been successful.

Rising inflation, economic downturn, poverty, insecurity and uncertainty are the major problems, After much deliberation, the assembly could not draw up constitution or settle on timing and method of holding election, but only agreed to draw on a Maoist PM, Baburam Bhattarai, and a cabinet. India’s intervention in Nepal goes back to 1950 when Nepal enjoyed close ties with India.

On a five-day visit to India, the Nepalese President earlier met Indian President Mukherjee discussing over India’s help in democratic development of Nepal. With expected help and aid from India, Nepal wishes to establish democracy and democratic rule, thus, providing a free environment  for its people to voice their opinion and thus feel the breeze of freedom after a long hiatus of monarchy rule.