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Mainstream, VOL LIII No 24 New Delhi June 6, 2015

Disturbing Developments

Saturday 6 June 2015, by SC

EDITORIAL

Twenty soldiers were killed and over a dozen sustained injuries in a clinically executed ambush in Manipur’s Chandel district last morning (June 4). This was the deadliest terror attack on Army personnel in the last 33 years in the region. A new outfit, the United Liberation Front of Western South-East Asia, is learnt to have claimed responsibility for the attack.

With this ambush by the militants, the spotlight has returned on violence in the North-East. According to PM Narendra Modi, this attack (just before his scheduled visit to Bangladesh) was “mindless” and “very distressing”.

Meanwhile in a 45-minute meeting with 30 Muslim leaders on June 2, the PM is understood to have told the delegation that “he neither believes in politics which seeks to divide people on communal lines nor will he ever speak the communal language” since the “politics of majority and minority had caused a lot of damage to the country”.

While the PM was speaking to the Muslim leaders, the BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP, Vinay Katiyar, declared in a press interview that very day that the Ram temple issue was as important as economic development and without waiting for the Apex Court judgment on it the government should take steps to construct the temple (at the site of the Babri Masjid) at Ayodhya. But if this issue was ignored, the “anger of the Ram bhakts might erupt like a volcano”, he warned.

The PM’s assurances notwithstanding, what is strengthened by the BJP leaders’ attitude is the opinion that the ruling party’s leadership is actually running with the hare and hunting with the hound.

Or else why is the BJP Government in Haryana not being taken to task for the Ballabhgarh riots? Especially after a fact-finding team of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has, in its report on June 4, clearly noted on the basis of the affected villagers’ testimony that they had “never seen trouble” in the area before and there was widespread tension only after State CM and RSS leader Manohar Lal Khattar held a sabha at the Mona village on May 18?

These reinforce the Congress’ allegation that the BJP was playing a “double game” on such issuess, especially the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya.

The Capital city in the meantime is gasping from rising pollution. And now not just Delhi but the entire country has been hit by a new phenomenon: the nationwide probe into the “two-minute” instant food brand has allegedly revealed the presence of lead and taste-enhancer monosodium glutamate (MSG) beyond permissible limits. Several State governments have thus imposed a ban on the sale of the product as it imperils health safety.

The fears of drought and poor monsoon are also growing despite the Finance Minister’s public denial by describing these apprehensions as baseless.

In the wake of such disturbing developments the overall situation is naturally worrisome, to say the least.

June 5 S.C.