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Articles by: S G Vombatkere

From Aadhaar To Privacy Right: The Spin-off of The Aadhaar Controversy

From Aadhaar To Privacy Right: The Spin-off of The Aadhaar Controversy

The word “private” has the meanings: (1) belonging to a particular person (his/her own body or his/her own property), (2) not sharing thoughts or feelings with others, and (3) not connected with a person’s work or official role. From this adjective, we obtain the abstract noun “privacy”, which means “a state in which one is not watched or disturbed by[Read More…]

The Great Face-saving U-Turn On Privacy

The Great Face-saving U-Turn On Privacy

  On 22 July 2015, the Attorney General (AG) Shri Mukul Rohatgi representing the Union of India (Centre, hereinafter) argued before a 3-Judge Bench (Justices J.Chelameshwar, S.A.Bobde & C.Nagappan) considering a batch of petitions challenging Aadhaar, that # the Constitution-makers did not intend to make the right to privacy a fundamental right, # since there is no fundamental right to[Read More…]

The Rape Of Narmada Mayya’s Children: The Mahabharata Allegory Of Draupadi Vastraharan

The Rape Of Narmada Mayya’s Children: The Mahabharata Allegory Of Draupadi Vastraharan

  The Game of Dice of the Mahabharata epic is being enacted on the banks of Narmada river. The actors are Government of Madhya Pradesh (GoMP) as Dushasana; Government of India (GoI) as Duryodhana; the Narmada river represented by the people who are being forcibly evicted for protesting and demanding their rightful due, as Draupadi being disrobed; the Legislative and[Read More…]

Do Soldiers Have Human Right? Far-Reaching Implications

Do Soldiers Have Human Right? Far-Reaching Implications

  This piece is inspired by the query of a respected activist who asked this writer, “While protest statements against heinous crimes are necessary, should there not also be statements when armed forces or security forces personnel get killed by mobs or militants?” Hence, this article attempts to present a view which will do justice to both sides of the[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled India
India’s Cyber Vulnerability And PSUs: Government Must Retain Control Of Critical Sectors

India’s Cyber Vulnerability And PSUs: Government Must Retain Control Of Critical Sectors

  Ransomware worm WannaCry struck at and crippled UK’s National Health Scheme, causing a national emergency of sorts. The operations systems of British Airways, Lufthansa and Air France were targets of cyber attack on passenger handling, causing economic loss but fortunately no accident. All this is cause for concern in India, because of India’s huge vulnerability to cyber attack. Now[Read More…]

Happiness In The (Un)Real World, (Un)Happiness In The Real World

Happiness In The (Un)Real World, (Un)Happiness In The Real World

In a first in India, the Government of Madhya Pradesh (GoMP) has set up an “Anand Mantralaya” (Ministry of Happiness) with the Chief Minister himself in charge, and a “Rajya Anand Sansthan” (State Institute of Happiness), headed by a CEO. [“Madhya Pradesh to devise Happiness Index”; http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/madhya-pradesh-to-devise-happiness-index/article18516488.ece; The Hindu, Bengaluru; 21 May 2017]. Without in any manner belittling the initiative[Read More…]

Urgent Appeal For Social Justice In The Narmada River Valley

Urgent Appeal For Social Justice In The Narmada River Valley

In the current context of planned closure of the SSP dam sluice gates (understood as planned for 09 May 2017 by NCA), about 40,000 PAFs (2,00,000 people) in Madhya Pradesh alone, along with their villages and one township, will be drowned. Their forcible evacuation by police action is being planned and is imminent. Such action will bring utter shame on our Republic.

Terrorism And Militancy: Are They Quite The Same?

Terrorism And Militancy: Are They Quite The Same?

              Maoists (or Naxals, according to some) ambushed a 100-strong CRPF road-opening patrol (ROP) on 24 April in Chintagufa Police Station limits of Sukma District of Chhattisgarh, killing 25 CRPF personnel and wounding six. The Maoists were reportedly around 200 in strength, and they ruthlessly continued engaging the pinned-down CRPF patrol for about one hour. The killing and wounding[Read More…]

The Army As The Politicians Human Shield?

The Army As The Politicians Human Shield?

              The recent video clip of a civilian strapped to the front of an army vehicle deployed in internal security (IS) operations in Kashmir has made headlines. Many army veterans are defending it as a tactical means to avoid stone-pelting and thus permit operations with minimal bloodshed of protestors and army personnel alike. Some journalists aver that this tactic[Read More…]

Blindness At Davos

Blindness At Davos

Davos The World Economic Forum (WEF), a Swiss non-profit foundation for public-private cooperation “committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas”, met in Davos from 17-20 January, as it does every year, in an ambience of high-level meetings interspersed by opulent partying. It[Read More…]

Strategic Disinvestment of Bharat Earth Movers Limited Will Compromise India’s Security

Strategic Disinvestment of Bharat Earth Movers Limited Will Compromise India’s Security

There appears to be little justification for the proposed “strategic disinvestment” of 26% equity in BEML. On the other hand, such disinvestment will reduce India’s self-reliance in the defence sector (and other core sectors) and increase dependence on private business entities for national security. It will place vital manufacture in the hands of private entities which are primarily profit-based, not above colluding with foreign business interests which are against India’s security, and raising the cost of products which will adversely affect the defence budget and defence preparedness

“Babu Hatao, Fauji Bachao”: Trifling With The Fauj And National Security

“Babu Hatao, Fauji Bachao”: Trifling With The Fauj And National Security

 Civil-military relations are today at an all-time low and although the decades-long continuity of the bureaucratic hand is obvious in the current NDA-2 dispensation, there is also evidence of the political leadership humiliating the military. Let us begin with CBI’s arrest of Air Chief Marshal S.P.Tyagi, India’s former air chief, in connection with the Agusta Westland helicopter purchase deal. It[Read More…]

The Idea Of Interlinking Rivers: Cupidity or Stupidity?

The Idea Of Interlinking Rivers: Cupidity or Stupidity?

The idea A project to interlink Indian rivers was formally declared in 2002. It was envisaged as a grand scheme to link 37 major Indian rivers by 30 link canals (14 Himalayan and 16 peninsular) with a total length of 14,900-km. [Map given above]. The interlinking of rivers (ILR) project, it had a first-estimate cost of Rs.5,60,000 crores (Rs.5.6 trillion).[Read More…]

OROP: Lies, False Claims, Suicide

OROP: Lies, False Claims, Suicide

  Veteran Subedar Ram Kishan Grewal, aged 70 years, unhappy at government not providing OROP to Veterans, committed suicide in Delhi on November 2, 2016, by consuming poison. OROP has been the focus of intense agitation over many months at Jantar Mantar in 2015, and government has prevaricated and dodged the core issue, with PM Narendra Modi, RM Manohar Parrikar[Read More…]

Dispel The Spectre Of War: It Is Doable

Dispel The Spectre Of War: It Is Doable

India’s 29 September cross-LOC strike was conducted professionally, as expected of the apolitical army of the Indian Republic. Pakistan’s predictable response is denial of its ever having happened. It could have been left at that, but government and the opposition (such as it is), encouraged by TRP-hungry TV channels provoking certain publicity-hungry military veterans, have been using the apolitical army’s[Read More…]

India’s National Security: Will It Remain A Chimera?

India’s National Security: Will It Remain A Chimera?

  Following the 18 September attack on the army’s Uri camp, government is reportedly contemplating strong diplomatic-military initiatives to counter Pakistan’s growing audacity. But strangely, the Home Minister and the National Security Advisor (NSA) appear to be taking all the initiatives, ordering the NIA to investigate the attack, and leaving a rather subdued Defence Minister, while the External Affairs Minister[Read More…]

Attack On The Uri Army Camp

Attack On The Uri Army Camp

              The dawn attack on 18 Sep on the army’s Uri camp by Pakistan-trained militants resulted in 17 troops killed and 30 more wounded. The fact that attackers were four in number, has attracted the attention of the media, which labels them as terrorists, while politicians term the attack as cowardly. There are some issues which need consideration. First,[Read More…]

Balochistan And The Oil And Trade Of India And China

Balochistan And The Oil And Trade Of India And China

Prime Minister Modi’s bringing up “Balochistan” during his 15th August address was criticised, especially since he omitted to mention the on-going, acute crisis in Kashmir. While the validity of criticism of omission may hold good, mentioning Balochistan could be a calculated move to reverse India’s traditional passivity against Pakistan’s aggressive India policy. India’s turning a spotlight on Balochistan has the[Read More…]

Kashmir: Passing The Parcel

Kashmir: Passing The Parcel

Kashmir has been continuously on the boil ever since Burhan Wani was killed 44 days ago. Appeals by the BJP-PDP state government and the union government to Kashmiri youth to not agitate, have been predictably ineffective. That the problem is political at its root has been pointed out by many, who have (again predictably) been dubbed by the ruling dispensation[Read More…]

The Dalits Rally

The Dalits Rally

  There comes a time when one needs to speak; I speak of the Una Independence Day Rally of Dalits, at the end of a 10-day 400-km Dalit Asmita Yatra following a massive Dalit congregation at Ahmedabad, Gujarat, on July 31. Whatever one’s political, social or religious preferences, inclinations or beliefs, anybody who has respect for the Constitution of India[Read More…]

Hiroshima And Nuclear Power: The Truth Of The Matter

Hiroshima And Nuclear Power: The Truth Of The Matter

On my grandfather’s sixtieth birthday on July 16th, 1945, the atomic bomb was tested in USA’s Nevada desert, and the world lost its nuclear innocence. Twenty-one days later, on August 6th, the experiment was live-tested on Japanese people when USA dropped a 15-kiloton Uranium-235 fission bomb on Hiroshima. The same day, the experiment was hailed in The New York Times[Read More…]

The Narmada River Valley Disaster: Open Letter To Chief Justice Of India

The Narmada River Valley Disaster: Open Letter To Chief Justice Of India

I have again very recently (29, 30 & 31 July 2016) travelled in the Narmada Valley to meet PAFs in the submergence villages after the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) dam has been raised to its finished height of 138.68-m, with installation of the sluice gates. The on-going monsoon has already raised the water level upstream of the SSP dam and when it rises further as it surely will, it will submerge many villages and habitations, drowning 45,000 PAFs (2,25,000 people). The situation for these PAFs is therefore grim and very serious.

by Comments are Disabled Environmental Protection
Kashmir: Worrying Situation

Kashmir: Worrying Situation

  The on-going protests in Kashmir following the killing of Burhan Wani were met by police firing resulting in over 40 deaths and over 2,000 injured including hundreds of blindings due to pellet-shot. This is of serious concern to every thinking Indian, whichever side of the argument he/she happens to be on, because large-scale social unrest in any part of[Read More…]

Vehicle Exhaust Emissions: Specious Arguments To Confuse And Mislead The Public

Vehicle Exhaust Emissions: Specious Arguments To Confuse And Mislead The Public

  Common experience Anybody going out in any city or metro, is assaulted by smoke and exhaust fumes of every sort of motor vehicle. In reducing size, we notice buses and trucks, SUVs, plush sedans, and “commoners’ small cars”, to use the elitist turn of phrase of Mr.Mukul Rohatgi representing government, when arguing against Supreme Court’s ban on large diesel[Read More…]

The Supreme Court Speaks, Ending Impunity For The Armed Forces

The Supreme Court Speaks, Ending Impunity For The Armed Forces

  In a historic ruling, Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice U.U.Lalit of the Hon’ble Supreme Court have spoken out in favour of democracy. The judgment came on a plea by hundreds of families in the north-eastern State of Manipur for a probe by a Special Investigation Team into 1,528 cases of alleged fake encounters involving the Army and the[Read More…]

The Narmada River Valley: Imminent Disaster In The Making

The Narmada River Valley: Imminent Disaster In The Making

Today, and very urgently even as I write, for all the foregoing reasons, with the monsoon about to break, the people of the Narmada River valley are in imminent danger of being flooded out of their homes and lands or drowned, due to the rising waters in the reservoirs behind the hundreds of small, medium and large dams, which have been constructed on Narmada river and its tributaries over the years. In particular, the SSP dam at its finished height of 138.68-metres with the sluice gates installed, threatens the lives of around 40,000 PAFs in Madhya Pradesh. Clearly, there is a disaster-in-the-making; India urgently needs to do something now.

Neoliberalism: Its Reality Exposed

Neoliberalism: Its Reality Exposed

Neoliberalism or free-market fundamentalism The central dogma of neoliberalism is economic growth, achieved by: # Increasing competition through deregulation (watering-down of social, welfare, health, labour and environmental laws), and opening domestic markets to foreign competition, and # Severely limiting the role of the State by privatization of state assets and liberalization of economic policies, simultaneously increasing corporate influence and involvement[Read More…]