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The Week That Was:

From: Vartaa Editorial Team on Oct 9, 2016

Jayalalitha's declining heath

Tamil Nadu CM J.Jayalalitha's health continues to remain a matter of concern with doctors at Apollo Hospital Chennai now confirming that she would require to stay in hospital for additional duration. The CM was hospitalised on Sept 22 and has been on respiratory support. Several political leaders have now paid a visit to the Apollo Hospital to enquire about her health including Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and CPI leader D.Raja. The Tamil Nadu governor meanwhile has met with top bureaucrats of the state to take stock of the state administration.

Politics over surgical strike

The Congress, BJP and AAP went into full political mode over the surgical strikes conducted by the army across the LoC. AAP Chief Arvind Kejriwal asked the government to counter Pakistani propaganda and release evidence of the surgical strikes. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi accused the BJP, which has put up hoardings all over poll bound UP hailing the party's role in surgical strikes, of trading in politics over soldier's blood. All parties and their surrogates continued to trade charges through the week. Meanwhile, towards the end of the week, reports came out of another cross border raid that the Army had conducted in 2011 to extract revenge for the beheading of two of its soldiers by Pakistan.

Rural economy and mofussil sports

The future of Indian sports might well lie in the rural areas as the population begins to look beyond cricket and sports like kabaddi and wrestling start gaining more mainstream media traction. Meanwhile the Kabaddi World Cup commenced this past week in India and the hosts opened with a shocking loss to a determined South Korean team (yes, you read that right!). India though has bounced back after that loss and defeated Australia in its second game.

Opinions you must read:

  • The Economic Times takes exception to the argument on banning Pakistani artists and instead wants India to embrace them.
  • The Indian Express takes exception to a recent Supreme Court ruling that allowed a divorce by labelling a wife's calling for her husband to live independently of their parents as 'cruelty'.
  • The Hindu takes a closer look at how US President Barack Obama moved away from the interventionist policy of his predecessor and went back to cold war realism in the Middle East.

Chart of the Week

Last week finally saw India undergo a major policy shift with respect to Pakistan and deal with terrorism emanating from across the border. India decided to respond with asymmetric warfare of its own and launched targeted strikes against terrorist camps on the Pakistan side of the Line of Control. The bloody conflict in Kashmir has claimed thousands of lives over the course of decades and it rightfully looms large in the minds of the Indian public. But unfortunately, other major conflicts in India have been equally devastating.

Let us take a look at the chart of this week- as you can see, the Kashmir conflict has claimed around 47,000 lives since it started in 1947. That is almost twice as many as the conflict in the Northeast. But at 25,000 deaths, the Northeast India insurgency has also extracted a macabre toll. And so has the Naxalite conflict which keeps getting bloodier by the year. In fact, if you look at lives claimed in recent years, the Naxalite insurgency comes out at the top. Not to mention countless other crimes committed by the Naxalites that do not result in deaths.

While it is heartening to see the Indian government take a decisive stand against terrorists inflicting pain upon the people of Jammu and Kashmir, the other major conflicts in the country also need the nation's attention and resources. Here is to hoping that the government uses force, incentives, and negotiations to bring all of these terrible insurgencies to an end.