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Ayushman Jamwal
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....


Saturday , February 15, 2014

You gave up Mr Kejriwal


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This country celebrates underdogs, but will never respect quitters. Arvind Kejriwal entered politics as a common street fighter on a mission for grassroots reform and efficient, accountable governance. He may have realized that the Delhi CM post was quite a powerless one, but he passed legislation promised in AAP's manifesto and fought for powers enjoyed by other CM's like control over law and order. But Mr Kejriwal, if you failed to pass the Jan Lokpal Bill because of a legislative technicality, does that mean you resign? What about your promises on rehabilitating slum dwellers, regularizing unauthorized colonies, extending the water supply infrastructure to the poor, or regularizing temporary teachers and metro workers hired on a contractual basis? Corruption is a major problem, a center stage issue in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. But you weren't elected just to root out corruption from the system. Delhi's citizens voted for....


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

India does not need an anti-racism law


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Assault cases against citizens from the North East have taken center stage in the national media. Within almost a week, a youth from Arunachal Pradesh named Nido allegedly succumbed to his wounds after being beaten up; and a minor girl from Manipur was allegedly raped by her landlord's son in South Delhi. The cases have highlighted the argument made by North East activists and student groups that people from the region are being specifically targeted, and that a majority of Indians continue to endorse discrimination against them. The debates and discussions have sparked demands for the passage of an anti-racism law, and the creation of North East specific units in the law and order machinery. However, in my opinion, this is a redundant idea. Laws and reforms are necessary to tackle institutional racism, earlier practiced in the United States and South Africa, where the black community was denied the....


Sunday , February 09, 2014

Pakistan's caged social media


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Even though Pakistan has enjoyed one full term of a democratically elected government, followed by a successful election last year, its citizens are struggling to fully enjoy one of the basic tenets of democracy - the freedom of expression. The Pakistani state has been in regulation mode since the former PPP government banned Youtube after the movie 'Innocence of Muslims' sparked outrage and protests across the Muslim world. Even with a change of guard at the Centre, the video-sharing site has remained blocked till this day. The Pakistan government is currently in talks with Google over localising YouTube in the country, hence aiming to formalise a regulatory mechanism to ban material it deems unfit. In May last year, a Pakistani band released a satirical song on the video sharing site Vimeo criticising military generals which went viral. This in turn led the authorities to block the site in Pakistan.....


Tuesday , February 04, 2014

Pope Francis: Grounding god in humanity


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When Pope Francis was named TIME Person of the Year in 2013, I was skeptical thinking the title was a giveaway to the man who had just made headlines. With the extensive coverage of the Conclave last year, the Pope grabbed global attention becoming the first Latin American Pontiff and then taking the humble yet noble title of Saint Francis of Assisi. A people's Pope is the message that reverberated throughout the Catholic world as people looked to him to bridge the gap between the 21st century and the more controversial tenets of the faith. Pope Francis' acceptance of homosexuality was the first reformist leap by the Pontiff, as he distanced himself from the theological conservatism espoused by his predecessors, most recently Pope Benedict XVI who called it an 'intrinsic disorder'. Francis' words branded magazine and newspaper covers across the world, as he became the first Pope to....


Thursday , January 23, 2014

The political weight of AAP's Dharna


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After two days of demonstrations in the heart of the national capital, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and the AAP has earned the wrath of the political parties and the public intelligentsia. The government has broken all political protocol for demanding the accountability of the Delhi Police after the recent gang rape of a Danish national near the New Delhi Railway station and the Delhi Law minister's unsuccessful demand to an SHO to investigate an alleged drug and sex racket in the Khirki extension. The dharna seemed more a pre-emptive action by Kejriwal, to throw the law and order situation at the door of the Home Ministry, which actually controls the Delhi police. The move also sent a very vocal message calling for the police force to be under state control, something supported but never vehemently raised by other political parties. Governments are voted into power with....


Saturday , December 14, 2013

AAP must brave a majority test


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The one-year-old Aam Aadmi Party made history this month by garnering 28 seats in the Delhi Assembly elections, shaking up the 2 party political system operating in the state for decades. It came second to the political favourites the BJP by just 4 seats, ensuring the ruling Congress party's downfall, as it was reduced to a shameful 8 seats. The AAP appealed to the people of India with a promise of transparent and responsible politics, and an aim to put an end to the political VIP culture. The people of Delhi rewarded them in good faith. But in the aftermath of one of the most exciting elections in the country, the party now finds itself in a political quandary. Neither the BJP nor the AAP were able to grab the 36 seats majority mark to form the government. With the AAP's clear stand not to align with the....


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Modi must reach out to the North East


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Narendra Modi has promoted his vision to build a statue of Sardar Vallabhai Patel, the largest statue in the world to commemorate the memory of the first home minister of India, whose actions consolidated the nation post Independence. With the power of persuasion and an iron will, Patel united the territories of India, yet he was unable to unite the country under a common sense of citizenry. The North East till this day remains socially and politically cut off from the issues which prevail across the majority of India. At the same time, generations across India have aged exposed to a polity devoid of the culture and socio-economic dynamics of the North East. The region has been denied significant economic development and faces regular security problems from communal violence to militant insurgencies. The situation has spurred a consistent exodus of the population to other parts of the country for....


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

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