SNAP ANALYSIS: Three Issues to Watch

Ayodhya Verdict: The five-judge Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, has delivered its verdict on Saturday morning. The final ruling allots the disputed land to a trust for building a temple. Clearly, the decision is tilted in favour of Hindus even as it seeks to compensate Muslims with five acre of land at a prominent place in Ayodhya. It nevertheless brings to an end to a running feud between the two largest religious communities in the country. Before the verdict, mercifully, political leaders cutting across party lines had appealed for calm in the state and the country. Even saffron patriarch RSS and Shia-Sunni bodies had agreed to respect whatever the top court decides on the matter pending for decades. Thus, it is for all citizens to honour that commitment; Hindu bodies must avoid any celebratory exhibit and Muslim organizations must not play the victim card. The country has not forgotten the bloodbath that ensued after the demolition of Babri mosque in 1992, serial bomb blasts to avenge the “martyrdom of mosque”, and more riots afterwards. A better-prepared administration and a more mature political spectrum this time around lend hope that India will not allow emotions and beliefs to run over human values and sanity.

Kartarpur Corridor: After keeping the issue hanging for decades, Pakistan government, after a nod from its Army establishment, recently agreed to open the Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara for Sikh pilgrims from India via a freshly-built corridor. While this new window of Track II diplomacy between the always-at-each-other-throats neighbours is a laudable restart, many fear that Pakistan Intelligence may use the holy shrine to revive an anti-India Khalistan sentiment among Indian Sikh community. The fears have been expressed by none other than Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh, after Islamabad released a propaganda video on its move. Prof Christine Fair, with many books on terror and Pakistan to her credit, has called Kartarpur diplomacy Pakistan’s “Trojan horse”. It is also believed that ISI plans what military parlance calls a ‘pincer attack’ on India by opening a new front in Punjab, alongside Kashmir. However, such apprehensions cannot hold to ransom the two-way traffic between the neighbours and the faith of millions of devout Sikhs, often dubbed as the sword arm of India. The task for Indian establishment is therefore clear: screen enemy’s manipulations, take overt or covert action to negate the same, without disrespecting the Sikh sentiment. New Delhi can ill-afford another bloody phase of militancy in the land of brave.

NCR Air Pollution: After a two-day respite in air quality, due to strong winds, Delhi-NCR fell again in the grip of a vicious smog this week. At a time when India at the UN summit made tall claims to be leading the world on climate change, the situation in our Capital city reflects poorly on our commitments. PMO, Supreme Court, green tribunal have all stepped in now to crack the whip on states, administrative arms and law-enforcers. However, is it not too late for these apex bodies to home in now when the damage is already done for the season? There are multiple reasons for the deathly smog to envelop the Delhi-NCR and experts have routinely read out the remedies. However, political leaders and inefficient bureaucracy keep passing the blame to one another. Meanwhile, the foul air continues to play havoc with our citizens, particularly the elderly and the young. As our columnists have suggested in the past, citizens need to come down on streets all year round and shake up the administrators out of their deep slumber.

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