Editorial analysis: Turning blind eyes to flood fury in Assam; tread with caution in Afghanistan


Photo Credit Twitter Gaurav Gogoi

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In the daily editorial analysis, except for Sundays, The Raisina Hills critically reviews the comments of the top five English newspapers of India.


Floods in the North-eastern parts of India have wreaked havoc, accounting for over 100 deaths in Assam alone, while scores of villages have been inundated with flooded waters, affecting human lives and animals in equal measures.

The North-eastern floods, caused principally by over 62 per cent excess pre-Monsoon rains in June, failed to get the national media attention, with the Delhi-based newspapers and TV channels ignoring the plight of the people there.

But ‘The Indian Express (IE)’ and ‘The Economic Times’ on Friday have taken note of the floods.

In the Edit ‘Same Suffering’, the IE lamented the Assam government’s casual approach to the risks of floods in the state, since data showed that there had been cases of breach of 1300 embankments, principal defence against floods, since 2000.

The politicians are in the habit of promising and forgetting, and the IE rightly reminded that ex-Chief Minister of Assam Sarbananda Sonowal had also vowed to find permanent solutions against floods in 2020. Same claim is being now made by his successor Himanta Biswa Sarma.

The ET in its Edit ‘Assam needs to control its climate’ digs deeper to the cause of the floods, and puts blame on deforestation, unregulated construction, hill-cutting and river-bed mining.

But the reasons listed out by the ET are universal in India, including in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and elsewhere.

Both the Edits fail to take their arguments to the logical conclusion by ignoring that UPA’s ‘Go, No Go’ environment policy has now become ‘Go’ only in the NDA government, and the voices of the environmentalists are least heard.

India by sending a technical team to Kabul has partially started its embassy there, which is a step towards formal engagement with the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. India sent the technical team to oversee the humanitarian help on the request of Kabul in the wake of the Wednesday earthquake which left over 1000 people dead in the war-torn country.

The Times of India (ToI) in its Edit ‘Help Afghans’ has advised the government to carry out humanitarian work in Afghanistan through United Nations, while giving the poor track record of Afghan administration in respecting such helps in the past as “nearly USD 19 billion were eaten up by the fraud, wastage and abuse” there as per the report of the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

The Edit claims that the Taliban are not fully in control of the country, which seems weak since the brutal attack on the Karte Parwan Sikh Gurudwara in Kabul wouldn’t have taken place without the connivance of its militia.

The Taliban have failed to extend security to the minority communities there despite the joint secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs J P Singh leading a delegation to establish contact with the Taliban, who are struggling to get recognition from other countries.

Deccan Herald’s ‘Thackeray government is mortally wounded’, ‘The meltdown’ in the IE and The Hindu’s ‘Tiger by the tail’ comment on the near collapse of the Uddhav Thackeray government in Maharashtra, as the rebel MLA and the state minister Eknath Shinde now claims to have support of over 50 MLAs.

The Hindu noted that “this crisis has been in the making for a long time, and the CM’s blind trust in the loyalty of his warriors has turned out to be misplaced”.

DH has argued that the Shiv Sena leadership couldn’t effectively communicate its compulsions to join the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance. It doesn’t explain that ‘compulsion’.

The IE stated, predictably, that the role of the Governor and the Deputy Speaker, since there’s no Speaker currently in the Maharashtra Assembly, will be crucial, while also reminding that the 1994 Bommai judgment of the Supreme Court has made it clear that the floor of the strength test is the Assembly, and not the Raj Bhavan.

But in the recent years, there have been a number of change of governments, with quite an ease, including in Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, where anti-defection law was found to be of no relevance.

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