India Insight

Sympathy for the devil? Maoist supporters get flak

maoists

Hours after Maoist rebels detonated a landmine under a bus in central India on Monday, killing about 35 people including policemen, Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram was unapologetic in his criticism of civil society organisations that he said were getting in the way of the state’s efforts to contain the rebels.

It is “almost fashionable” to be sympathetic to the Maoist cause, Chidambaram said in an interview to NDTV news channel.

In defending the rebels and questioning the motives of the government — and not of the rebels — they were weakening the apparatus of the state, he said.

Maoist rebels have been romanticised by some writers and filmmakers, portrayed as modern-day Robin Hoods fighting the establishment and corporate greed to protect the rights of the poor and the marginalised.

Rights activists, some NGOs and writers, including Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy, have slammed the government for failing to address what they say is the root cause of the Maoists’ fight: isolation from India’s economic growth party.

Police taking on India’s Maoists can’t shoot straight?

The killing of 76 police by Maoist rebels earlier this month in central India did not come as a big surprise to experts who know most of the forces that are deployed in the dense jungles are hardly trained in jungle warfare.

Security personnel in Lucknow pay their respects in front of a coffin of a policeman who was killed in the Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh April 7, 2010. REUTERS/Pawan KumarMost of them undergo a short training course before engaging the rebels in inhospitable terrain is thrust upon their shoulders.

More than 1,000 fighters, armed with sophisticated weapons, ambushed the central police in insurgency-hit Chhattisgarh state, exposing a lack of intelligence and planning by forces who were totally unfamiliar with the rebel territory.

Telangana today, Gorkhaland tomorrow?

Protests in Hyderabad

The United Progressive Alliance at the centre has set in motion the process of carving out a separate Telangana state from Andhra Pradesh, a move that is likely to give impetus to other statehood demands.

Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram’s statement on Wednesday about initiating the process of forming the new state was prompted by Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) party chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao’s resolve to fast unto death and violent protests in state capital Hyderabad, home to 1000 IT companies.

As jubilant TRS supporters danced on the streets of Hyderabad and shouted slogans, the Congress-led ruling alliance’s capitulation raises several questions about the likely impact of such a momentous decision.

Is India really ready for the Commonwealth Games?

While travelling to work in an auto rickshaw, the driver asked me, “Madam aap TV dekhte ho kya?” (Madam, do you watch TV?)Wondering what would come next, I replied with a nod.“Hamare desh mein agle saal khel hone vale hain, mehmaan ayenge magar mehmaano ke liye humne kya kiya? (We are going to have games in our country next year, guests will come but what have we done for our guests?),” he asked. With a very miserable expression he further said, “Padhe-likhe log bhi sadak pe kachra aur thook fekte hain.” (Even educated people spit and litter the streets) The auto driver is not the only one concerned about this issue.Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram remarked recently that people should learn to behave like citizens of an international city.“We want to encourage people to change their mindset,” he said. The Indian Olympic Association has expressed its concern over the logistical preparations for the event, but who is going to check on how the people behave?Beggars in the national capital are also looking forward to the Games. A large number of tourists would be a windfall and beggars are leaving no stone unturned to be prepared.An informal academy has been set up in New Delhi’s Rohini area where children are taught to beg in different foreign languages.Countries like Germany and China had taken the initiative to train their citizens to behave properly when they hosted the football World Cup and the Olympics. Should India also start a similar training program or is it too late?The Indian Tourism’s tagline reads – ‘Atithi Devo Bhavah’. (Our guest is blessed and our visitor is God)Do you think people will adopt this tagline in the months to come? Are we really ready for a global event like the Games?

India in a “ring of fire”

As a growing power which aims to rewrite global economic and geopolitical realities, India’s first order of business is to secure its strategic periphery without provoking a backlash from its neighbours.

But the political crisis in Nepal, triggered by the resignation of Maoist Prime Minister Prachanda, is yet another reminder of India’s strategic challenges.

Nepal has for long sat in India’s sphere of influence, but the rise of the Maoists has seen an increasing antipathy in the nascent Himalayan republic towards New Delhi.

Me panic? I’m not panicking! Who is panicking?

Would someone please remind folks that it’s Friday and we all deserve a relaxing weekend? I for one will be doing my usual Saturday morning Yoga. But it’s nasty out there – the contagion has spread, and panic is now the correct adjective.

The overnight Dow crash hit Asia hard – the Sensex is down at least 9 percent and looks like it’s headed for a holiday south of 10,000, the rupee has hit an all time low and in Japan the Nikkei tumbled another 10 percent. Looks like that decision to let Lehman go bust set off the mother of all chain reactions…and Indian markets may be headed back to 2006 levels.

Here’s our resident technical analyst Phil Smith:

sensex.gif…As the chart shows the SENSEX has broken through some very strong and very important support points in the past couple of weeks. These are clearly showed on the chart with the support at 11,900 to 12,500 being broken effortlessly. The next major support levels for this market now stand at around 9,700 as marked and coincides with the old support levels reached back in 2006 when the market staged its dramatic correction then. Currently all the technical indicators are bearish as they have been since the middle of September

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