The Chennai-based The Hindu has always been held in high regard because of its alleged ?conservatism?, though, in its own way, it can be as ?revolutionary? and hard-hitting as any responsible daily can be.
Last month, on three successive days (June 26-28) it published a three-part series on its front page exposing the Lashkar-e-Toiba that has not been taken note of either by other dailies or by the various television news channels. Authored by Praveen Swami, the paper'scorrespondent, in effect the report says: ?An investigation by The Hindu has found that the group (Lashkar-e-Toiba) was indeed engaged in reconnaisance for a suicide attack on Hindu fundamentalist leaders?but the mission was monitored by intelligence agencies at each stage and infiltrated from its outset.? Among other things, the report said: ?Last week'sencounter on the outskirts of Ahmedabad… was the outcome of a four-month long covert operation by the Intelligence Bureau… Like the Lashkar operatives, who carried out the earlier attack on the Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar, the terrorists probably hoped to reach Ahmedabad just days or hours before the intended assault.? Notably on Narendra Modi. This is a fact that our secular press refuses to acknowledge.
The second article is even more damning. It deals with Ishrat Jehan and the recruiting policy of the Lashkar, noting: ?Ishrat'sneighbourhood, the Thane ghetto of Mumbra, has a strong subterranean tradition of support for the Lashkar, underpinned by the influence of the local Ahl-e-Hadis seminary?the sect from which the terrorist group derives its religious legitimacy.? This is no place to reproduce the three-part series but those who are interested surely can access The Hindu in any library or the Internet. Incidentally, one can cruise the Internet, as Praveen Swami obviously did, for more interesting information on the Laskhar.
?An investigation by The Hindu has found that the group (Lashkar-e-Toiba) was indeed engaged in re-connaisance for a suicide attack on Hindu fundamentalist leaders?but the mission was monitored by intelligence agencies at each stage and infiltrated from its outset.?
Economic and Political Weekly is in a class in itself. Generally believed to be Left-oriented, it has a high reputation for probity. That such a journal should have some unkind things to say about Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, the Congress Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, commands attention. In its June 12 issue, it carries a 5,300-word article by one K. Balagopal that is shocking in the extreme. It says inter alia: ?Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, the new Chief Minister, has given the impression of being a man who cares for the classes neglected by Chandrababu Naidu'smodel of development. Whether that is really so, is extremely doubtful.? Writes Balagopal: ?It is so easy to clothe Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, MBBS, with the image of the good doctor who has turned to politics to cure the society… The man is anything but a vendor of humane visages. His rise in politics has been accompanied by more bloodshed than that of any other politician in this state. Not bloodshed for some avowed ?higher cause?, but bloodshed for the narrowest possible cause: The rise of one individual to political power and prominence.?
According to Balagopal, if Chandrababu Naidu was a man ?who would find nothing too crooked if it is in his political interest,? Reddy is a man ?who would find nothing too brutal?, for both the goal being the same: Power. Balagopal adds: ?Today YSR wishes to be seen as a politician who has responded to the needs of the farmers and is determined to do well for them but in the nearly three decades of his political life, he has not been instrumental in adding one acre of assured irrigation to the parched lands of his constituency… He got converted to Christianity in the days when even upper castes thought there may be material benefit in doing so and was ostracised by the Reddys of his native village, Balapanur. He shifted to Pulivendula, the tehsil quarters. He quickly made a name for himself as a rough and violent man with whom one had better not get into a quarrel.?
YSR apparently has many interests. Balagopal writes: ?For many years in the later half of the 1980s and the early half of the 1990s, YSR'sbarytes mining operation was the subject of one scandal after another… YSR continued with the mining (when a case against him was in the court) and took away mineral worth Rs 5 crore… Given the peculiar nature of Rayalaseema society, brute force served YSR'spurpose in the initial stages, much as unscrupulous manipulation did in Chandrababu'scase… And as for Telangana, YSR has made no secret of the fact that he has neither any understanding of nor sympathy for that cause.? The article has to be read to be believed. Had it been published in a journal edited and published by any constituent element of the Sangh Parivar, one might have dismissed it as motivated. But the EPW has a high reputation among ?intellectuals?, especially of the Left variety. Perhaps Dr Manmohan Singh may not have read the article. One does not expect Sonia Gandhi to read EPW. But she should. It would tell her the kind of person YSR is, whom she has appointed the Andhra Pradesh'sChief Minister.
Maybe she would feel that YSR is not ?tainted?. But in Dr Manmohan Singh'scabinet being tainted is not a sin. After all, Laloo Prasad has not been tried and proved guilty of any misdemeanour, has he? According to Indian Express, ?Laloo Prasad is on a roll?from one controversy to another?, now having ?unwrapped a Rs 1,000 crore gift for Chhapra, his constituency in Bihar? and a ?wheel and axle plant that the railways don'treally need?. According to The Times of India (June 26), in the eleventh train dacoity, ever since Laloo Prasad ?took over as Railway Minister, armed criminals looted at least 45 passengers in an AC coach… about 130 kms from Patna?. So what? What'swrong with an ordinary dacoity? And what'swrong with gifting one'sconstituency with some railway plant that the railway itself does not want? Besides, what'swrong with being tainted anyway? Dacoits loot trains. A Railway Minister tries to take public money, which is what railway revenue is for?to provide jobs for his constituency. How can one call that loot?
We have a person who exercises power without any accountability or responsibility. ?It is unprecedented,? wrote The Statesman (June 24), which said: ?It is unprecedented for any government to form a separate Council for running a government programme and that someone like Mrs Gandhi… is heading the National Advisory Council has led political observers to wonder whether another power centre isn'tbeing set up.? So what if another political centre is set up? What is wrong with having a Super Prime Minister? Sonia Gandhi has renounced power, hasn'tshe? In India the best way to have power is to claim that one doesn'twant it. It is clear that Sonia Gandhi has understood the psyche of her adopted country very well.