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Ayushman Jamwal
Sunday , September 14, 2014

J&K Floods: Where are the separatists?

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For years the separatists in Jammu and Kashmir have professed to represent the people of the valley, claiming to be the sole defenders of their rights. Outfits like the Hurriyat conference and the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front have repeatedly denounced the Centre for mistreating the people of Kashmir, for denying them their basic rights including the right to self-determination. These outfits also claim to be stakeholders in the Kashmir peace process between India and Pakistan, insisting on being included in bilateral talks. All these claims are made despite the reluctance of these outfits to contest elections, to truly test their ground support, and despite their calls for boycotting polls failing to garner widespread influence. But now as the state is reeling from the worst floods in the last 60 years, with over 200 dead and lakhs still stranded, these defenders of Kashmiri rights are no where to be....

Saturday , June 14, 2014

Barack Obama: A President with nothing to lose

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In the final stages of his Presidential career, Barack Obama seems to have finally mustered the courage to unleash strong words against the mighty National Rifle Association. After the tragic death of one student in the Reynolds High School shooting this week, Obama said that it was shameful that Congress was unable to pass stricter gun control laws for so many years, adding that both Republicans and Democrats were afraid of the NRA. He accused the gun lobby of influencing elections to prevent strict firearms regulations from becoming law. Obama added that America did not have a monopoly on mentally ill people, and public opinion on guns needed to shift dramatically for the nation to stop being the only developed country in the world where such crimes took place regularly. This tone is a far cry from the Obama in August 2012, when he was poised to....

Saturday , June 07, 2014

AAP's fall from grace

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In the epic series 'Game of Thrones', Stannis Baratheon, the leader of the Baratheon clan reminisces about his battle against the people of the Iron islands. Stannis recalls how he crushed them in a naval battle, which ended their violent conquest of his territory. He says that the Iron Islanders where brave, skilled, driven warriors and sailors, unmatched throughout the seven kingdoms, but remembers that he managed to defeat them because they were not soldiers. According to Stannis, they lacked discipline and possessed a genuine disregard for leadership and strategy. Their ranks comprised of people who only sought fame, riches and glory for themselves, who cut and run in the face of defeat. The recent fissures in the Aam Aadmi Party sparked off by the different resignations and infighting between notable members seems to fit this description. The party garnered a mere 4 seats in the Lok Sabha polls....

Sunday , June 01, 2014

An Indian's humble effort to boost Indo-Pak relations

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Since Modi was sworn in as PM last month, there seems to be a thaw in India-Pakistan relations. Nawaz Sharif attended the swearing-in, the two Prime Ministers held talks and both sides released prisoners as a sign of goodwill. Will that translate into greater cooperation on terrorism and economics - no one knows. But despite the intentions of the two governments - the narrative continues to be dominated by cross border firing, Indian soldiers being killed at the LoC, the perception of an apathetic Pakistan government & former generals and journalists screaming at each other in news studios. There seems to be no room for 'good' news. At the same time there exists a thin line between the concept of patriotism and being anti-Pakistan, making such stories a taboo most of the time. But I always believe that in every country, there is a significant section of the....

Saturday , May 31, 2014

The Article 370 debate: Why are the Kashmiri parties spooked?

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Jitendra Singh, the lone union minister from the region of Jammu, sparked a 'controversy' of sorts saying the government has started a process to garner consensus for the abrogation of Article 370. The now miniscule Opposition namely the National Conference and the PDP, were quick to pounce on the case, slamming the BJP for 'further alienating the people of the state' and 'finally revealing their communal ideology'. J&K CM Omar Abdullah went to the extent of saying- 'mark my works - long after Modi government is a distant memory, either J&K won't be part of India or Art 370 will still exist'. PDP President Mehbooba Mufti added that Singh's remarks had the potential of dividing the state along communal lines. The sharp reactions from these parties makes one think - what benefit are they gaining from 370? It can't be an ideological commitment to the Article. No party is....

Monday , May 05, 2014

Why are Modi supporters considered fanatical?

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In living rooms and tea stalls across this country, the debate is no longer whether the Congress or the BJP will come to power. The discussion has moved to whether Narendra Modi is fit to be the PM of India or not. One camp states he is the best man to govern India and can give a major boost to the Indian economy. The other side argues that a man accused of abetting riots should never be allowed to become the PM of India. Yet the nature of the divide is such that Modi supporters entertain reasonable doubt while the other side doesn't seem to. The pro-Modi camp hangs on to the fact that he has not been proven guilty yet, where more than one SIT 'indicates' that he may be innocent. On the other hand, the anti-Modi camp is definitely sure that he is guilty of abetting the....

Saturday , April 26, 2014

When development trumps corruption: The Turkish elections

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As counting day approaches, the political climate is charged with promise on one side, and betrayal on the other. People have been sold a persistent vision of development and prosperity by BJP's PM nominee Narendra Modi, a message made more appealing after years of weak leadership and rampant corruption under the Congress-ruled-government. The political narrative also represents a distinct reformation of the BJP's national political outlook. The party once feared for its right wing Hindu narrative, espoused by even its PM nominee, has shifted its campaign approach to development politics, seeking a voter base beyond the Hindu community. For the BJP, it is not only the promise of development but the proven track records of BJP chief ministers in major states, which has given the party's electoral pitch the evident traction across the country. But will this appeal translate to votes? Is the nation ready for a PM....

Thursday , March 13, 2014

Ukraine under siege: Ground view from Kiev

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As Russian forces encroach into Crimea and the US threatens action against Moscow, the situation in Ukraine is reaching a boiling point. People in the region are drawing boundaries along ethnic lines and Russian forces are threatening the territorial sovereignty of Ukraine, as its allies struggle to think of means to hinder Putin's Soviet era dreams of expanding Russian influence. But beneath the Cold War era tug of war, what are the factors at play in Ukraine? What are the social and political roots of this crisis, and where is the nation of Ukraine and the Eurasian region headed in the coming weeks. Karen Madoian, a former journalist from Inter News Agency in Kiev, with extensive experience of reporting from Crimea, gives us a ground view of the situation in Ukraine. Q1: Just give us an idea how tense the situation is on the ground in Kiev? ....

Sunday , March 09, 2014

Sedition charge for cheering: A new low for India

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It is sad to see the administrative machinery of India succumb to jingoism. It was shocking that a couple of students from a university in Meerut were charged with sedition for cheering for Pakistan's victory over India in the Asia cup last Sunday. Sedition is a serious charge. It is treason; an act of war against the state of India, and these students did no such thing by expressing joy over Pakistan's victory. This case once again has illuminated the limited rationality of the administrative machinery in India. Even though the UP government entertained the sedition charge, it has become an endemic problem across the country to throw the charge around. Cartoonist Aseem Trivedi was charged for his cartoon criticizing the Indian emblem; Writer Arundhati Roy was charged for supporting Kashmir's right to self-determination; Activist Binayak Sen of the People's Union for Civil Liberties was charged for citicising the....

Tuesday , March 04, 2014

Power of 49: Question your female MPs

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The Power of 49 is a noble initiative by CNN-IBN, encouraging women to cast their vote for those working for the progress of women across the country. Education, employment and security, three essential tenets for female empowerment in every society, and this campaign aims to push women to analyse, introspect and make the best choice in the upcoming general elections. But every party promises these things. There are no ideological differences on the delivery of such promises. But all parties are unified in having a record of lax implementation of relevant laws and policies. Moreover, no one party can take credit for legislation like the anti-rape law, which was actually drafted through cross party consensus spurred on by public pressure. In my opinion, on women centric issues, the choice will be a difficult one. Which party is truly committed to the mission? Beyond this question, the 49 per....


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Ayushman Jamwal works on the foreign desk at CNN-IBN.



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