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POLICY REPORT NO. 6

Gujarat, Rajasthan and Punjab: The Need for a Border States Group

Tridivesh Singh Maini


Abstract

India-Pakistan ties over the past decade have been a mixed bag. There have been significant tensions, especially in the aftermath of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks in 2008, and the beheading of Indian soldiers across the Line of Control (LOC) in August, 2013. Amid these tensions, however, there have been noteworthy achievements in the realm of bilateral trade, where trade through the Wagah-Attari land route has gone up nearly four-fold from $664 million (2004) to approximately $2.6 billion (2012-2013) (Source: Ministry of Commerce). In addition to bilateral trade, there has been an emphasis on increasing connectivity

between border regions, especially the two Punjabs and Rajasthan-Sindh. Some of the important Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) include the Amritsar-Nankana Sahib bus service, and the weekly Munabao-Khokhrapar train service, called the ‘Thar Express’. There has been an emphasis on making ‘borders irrelevant’ as was envisioned by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. It is not just the two Punjabs and Rajasthan-Sindh that have made efforts to rekindle economic and cultural ties, there have also been interactions between businessmen from Gujarat and Karachi.

The aim of the research report "Gujarat, Rajasthan and Punjab: The Need for a Border States Group" by Tridivesh Singh Maini is to examine the approach of the political leadership, as well as the business community, in these three ‘border States’ towards India-Pakistan ties. It is very simplistic to link the sentiment in a State with one singular factor: economic, political or cultural. This paper has sought to look at a number of factors, which include politics, economics as well as security issues. It has also attempted to get the views of a reasonably broad spectrum of people from different ideological persuasions, including those representing the Union Government and the State governments.

POLICY REPORT NO. 5

The Puzzle of the BJP's Muslim Supporters in Gujarat

Raheel Dhattiwala

Abstract

This report examines an extant political phenomenon in the State of Gujarat: the support of Muslims for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that many Muslims perceive as responsible for the brutal violence in the State in 2002 when at least a thousand Muslims were killed. Findings and implications presented in this report are based on 23 months of ethnographic fieldwork—in periods spanning three elections in 2010, 2012 and 2014—and an analysis of 101 polling booths in Ahmedabad city. Public support of Muslims for the BJP surged in the period 2010 to 2012. However, ecological inferences drawn from polling booth analysis raise the strong possibility that the public support did not translate into electoral support for the party in the 2012 State elections. A plausible explanation of such contradictory behaviour lies in the dependence of voters on state patronage of incumbent governments and in the expressive dissonance produced in absence of a space for dissent. In the period prior to the 2014 elections, public support for the BJP among Muslims had marginally reduced, perceived by Muslims as a sign of the BJP reneging on prior promises. By implication, remedial measures should aim to deepen the democratic system through transparent mechanisms of voter-politician interface that reduce dependence on state patronage and provide greater autonomy to legal institutions, strengthening trustworthiness.

POLICY WATCH No. 1

Passive Police: Institutional Learning Through Inquiry Commissions

Vasundhara Sirnate

Abstract

Commissions of inquiry set up by the Indian state in three instances – the anti-Sikh riots (1984), the Mumbai riots (1992-93), and, the post-Godhra riots in Gujarat (2002) - have repeatedly pointed to police inaction and passivity as contributing to a worsening of the immediate tense communal situation, resulting in a higher death count. In this paper, Vasundhara Sirnate examines the findings of three official reports of commissions of inquiry that dealt with these specific communal riots. She finds that in New Delhi in 1984, in Mumbai in 1992-93 and in Gujarat in 2002, the reports suggest similarities in the behaviour of the local police. She argues that a combination of factors affects institutional learning in this context – pre-existing police biases that translate into inaction and passivity and the lack of institutionalised mechanisms to transfer learning to the local levels of the police at lower ranks.

ISSUE BRIEF No. 2

Telangana - Dealing with the Costs of Division: A Dialogue Towards Reconciliation

Abstract

On September 21st, 2013, The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy organised a consultation, "Dealing with the Costs of Division: A Dialogue Towards Reconciliation," to discuss differing viewpoints pertaining to issues thrown up by the proposed bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh and the impending creation of the new state of Telangana. The dialogue was an attempt to bring to the table different sides of the Telangana statehood issue, in the wake of large-scale protests that had shaken Andhra Pradesh following the announcement regarding the creation of the State. Leading political leaders, academics and administrators participated in the dialogue.

POLICY REPORT IV

Web Freedom and Criminal Libel in India

Nikhil Moro

Abstract

POLICY REPORT IV

Statutes of criminal libel are widely considered to be inconsistent with a free society, but India is one of many constitutional republics to have them on the books. In 2012-13, Indian police arrested numerous social media users and bloggers under the umbrella of the Information Technology Act of 2000, the Indian Penal Code of 1860, and the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act of 1971. Public perception of the executive actions was overwhelmingly negative.

This monograph by Nikhil Moro engages with existing theories in freedom of expression and public policy to frame legal controversy in the arrests. It uses a dialectical approach to discuss the Indian media's policy in light of constitutional “reasonable restrictions” as interpreted by the Supreme Court of India, finally drawing from the discussion a set of ten normative suggestions of structural, content, and attitudinal reform for the Indian system of freedom of expression.

POLICY REPORT - III

Why Intelligence Fails

Janani Krishnaswamy

Abstract

Why Intelligence Fails, by Janani Krishnswamy

In The Hindu Centre's latest policy report, Janani Krishnaswamy asks why intelligence services in India have repeatedly failed to pre-empt terrorist attacks. Working back from the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008 and the Kargil proxy war in 1999 she finds that intelligence in India is not compromised merely by a lack of actionable information, but also by a glaring reluctance and inability to reform the intelligence apparatus.

She identifies 'reform failure' as a key variable in the intelligence debate in the country. The study combines readings of inquiry reports with indepth interviews with producers and consumers of actionable intelligence to come up with a theory of intelligence failure in India.

POLICY REPORT - II

Ethics of Disobedience

Rajgopal Saikumar

Abstract

Ethics of Disobedience

In this paper, Rajgopal Saikumar examines civil disobedience as a form of resistance to power in contemporary India. At the very core of a theory of civil disobedience lie two questions: first, what is the nature of our political obligation towards the law and the state and, second, what is the relation between law and morality? At what point is disobedience justified on the grounds of morality?

The study begins with a critical reading of eminent philosopher John Rawls’ justification of civil disobedience as argued in his book, A Theory of Justice. Rajgopal is critical of the Rawlsian conception of the Self, which is abstract and atomistic. Instead, a move towards a theory of civil disobedience, which is based on experience as conscience, is suggested. The experience of this embodied self, in its life world, provides the grounding for this rethinking of civil disobedience. Rajgopal analyses this rethinking of civil disobedience based on two case studies.

POLICY REPORT - I

Decisional Analysis and the Role of the Speaker

Harsimran Kalra

Abstract

Harsimran Kalra Policy Report

The Indian Parliament, in the era of coalition governments, has seen an increase in the number of disruptions of sittings. This, Harsimran Kalra argues, has severely impacted legislation in the Lok Sabha. In this Policy Report, Ms. Kalra situates the decisions of Lok Sabha Speakers in a political context. She demonstrates that their decisions are guided by pressing political concerns, public opinion and a desire to augment the legislative functioning of the Lok Sabha.

Ms. Kalra identifies the frequency of disruptions caused by Members of Parliament as a key pressure on the role of the Speaker. The Speaker’s job is to maintain decorum and ensure that debates are productive. In recent years, the pull of coalition governments has made this role tougher for most Speakers. In this Policy Report, Ms. Kalra identifies mechanisms that Speakers have used to discipline Members of Parliament and offers policy suggestions that can enhance the Speaker’s role.

ISSUE BRIEF

Twisted Willow: Gambling, Sport & Cricket in India

Rajgopal Saikumar, Harsimran Kalra and Abhishek Mukherjee

Abstract

In the context of the raging controversy over the Indian Premier League betting and match-fixing episodes, there has been considerable public concern over the issues involved. This Issue Brief analyses the core issues that need to be clarified in order to understand how to handle gambling in sport in India. The Brief looks at the philosophical underpinning in India and also traces the ineffectiveness of sports regulation in India thus far. The other aspect of the controversy is a direct result of the Indian economy moving from a regulated structure to a market economy with the entry of market forces into sports. Hence, the need to be realistic about the emerging reality of sports in a liberalised economy has also to be factored into policy making on sports and cricket gambling or betting. This Brief also looks at the regulation of gambling in other countries which have market economies, offering a comparative perspective for Indian policy making.