THE HINDU EDITORIAL: APRIL 19, 2018
THE HINDU EDITORIAL: APRIL 19, 2018
a) A credibility crisis: On Mecca Masjid verdict
The acquittal of five suspects in the Mecca Masjid bomb blast case is likely to reinforce public cynicism in the country about the state of the criminal justice system. Regardless of whether the acquittal was owing to the innocence of Swami Aseemanand and four others belonging to a Hindu right-wing group, or because the prosecuting agency lacked the resolve and freedom to obtain their conviction, the outcome is undoubtedly a substantial denial of justice for a crime that killed nine people and injured many others. It also shattered the lives of dozens of Muslims who were taken into custody by the Hyderabad police in the immediate aftermath of the blast in May 2007; their arbitrary incarceration, alleged custodial torture and the protracted court hearings amounted to grave miscarriage of justice. It has a striking similarity to the Malegaon blasts in Maharashtra: a group of Muslims being portrayed as the perpetrators in the initial stages, but the involvement of a Hindu group being uncovered later. The police first named the Harkat-ul-Jihadi-e-Islami as the organisation involved. The Central Bureau of Investigation, which took over the probe, charge sheeted 21 suspects, but they were acquitted in 2009 for want of evidence. It was only in 2010 that the CBI named some members of Abhinav Bharat, a few of whom were formerly RSS pracharaks, in a fresh charge sheet. The case changed hands again in 2011 and went to the National Investigation Agency. The prosecution case appeared to have been significantly bolstered by a confession by Aseemanand in 2010 in a magistrate’s court in Delhi, but his subsequent retraction cast a shadow over its voluntary nature. However, given the details in his statement on the planning and execution of some key terror attacks between 2006 and 2008, including bomb attacks in Malegaon, on the Samjhauta Express, at the Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad and the Ajmer Dargah, there will be inevitable questions about why the NIA failed to produce any significant evidence in the trial. Even after the judgment, one is at a loss to understand who was responsible for the blasts. If the initial knee-jerk response of the police was in keeping with the mood of the times, the record of the central agencies appears tainted by shoddy investigation and irresolute prosecution. The NIA has faced charges of going soft on Hindutva groups after the regime change at the Centre in 2014, once even from a public prosecutor handling the Malegaon blast case. That 66 out of 226 witnesses turned hostile reflects poorly on the investigating agency and exposes the lack of legal safeguards to protect witnesses. The investigating agencies face a credibility crisis, and how public faith in their impartiality can be restored is something the country ought to worry about now.
b) Cash is still king: On ATMs running dry
Nearly 18 months after the government’s decision to scrap currency notes of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000, which accounted for over 86% of the currency in circulation at the time, large parts of India are in the throes of a severe cash crunch again. The government started acting belatedly on Tuesday in response to reports of cash shortages from States including Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh over a fortnight. Terming the shortage a manifestation of an ‘unusual spurt in currency demand’ over three months, the Finance Ministry has emphasised that the first 13 days of April recorded an increase in currency supply of Rs. 45,000 crore. Yet, thousands of automated teller machines are either not functioning or not dispensing adequate cash as banks are reluctant to divert cash to them at the cost of customers visiting branches for withdrawals. The Ministry has asserted that over Rs. 1.75 lakh crore of cash lies in reserves, which may now be deployed to meet the demand. On its part, the Reserve Bank of India has claimed there is enough cash in its vaults, but it has ramped up the printing of all notes. At the same time, it blamed the shortages on logistical issues of replenishing ATMs and said it is moving more cash to regions that witnessed high cash withdrawals. Theories abound on how upcoming elections, starting with Karnataka and possibly ending with the Lok Sabha polls in 2019, have prompted a large-scale cash management exercise among political parties. Part of the retail love for cash is also being attributed to depositor fears about the impending Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance Bill that makes it possible to deploy investor savings to bail out stressed banks and financial institutions. There could be some truth in these explanations, but the genesis of the current cash crisis is firmly rooted in the lack of system-wide thinking that went into the Centre’s big-bang note ban gambit. The government may have chosen to go for Rs. 2,000 notes post-demonetisation to remonetise the economy faster, but with lower denomination notes taking longer to flow freely, circulation wasn’t efficient and the big note has become a preferred mode for hoarding capital. That a plan to re-introduce Rs. 1,000 notes was later junked didn’t help; nor did the difference in the sizes of the new notes. As the RBI noted on Tuesday, recalibration of ATMs is still under way for the Rs. 200 note. Demonetisation may have been aimed at weeding out black money, but perpetuating dependency on the Rs. 2,000 note ignores an age-old heuristic for currency management that every denomination should be 2 to 2.5 times its preceding denomination. The current cash crunch shows how the consequences of the overnight demonetisation of November 8-9, 2016 continue to haunt us.
Meaning: A judgement or verdict that a person is not guilty of the crime with which they have been charged.
Example: “the trial resulted in an acquittal”
Synonyms: Absolution, Clearing
Meaning: Strengthen (an existing feeling, idea, or habit).
Example: “the next few months reinforced my opinion of Vince as a man of his word”
Synonyms: Strengthen, Fortify
Meaning: An inclination to believe that people are motivated purely by self-interest; scepticism.
Example: “public cynicism about politics”
Synonyms: Doubt, Mistrust
Meaning: A formal declaration by the verdict of a jury or the decision of a judge in a court of law that someone is guilty of a criminal offence.
Example: “she had a previous conviction for a similar offence”
Synonyms: Sentence, Judgement
Meaning: Damage or destroy (something abstract).
Example: “the crisis will shatter their confidence”
Synonyms: Destroy, Crush
Meaning: The state of being confined in prison; imprisonment.
Example: “the public would not be served by her incarceration”
Synonyms: Imprisonment, Confinement
Meaning: Lasting for a long time or longer than expected or usual.
Example: “a protracted and bitter dispute”
Meaning: An unsuccessful outcome of something planned.
Example: “the miscarriage of the project”
Synonyms: Failure, Ruin
Meaning: Describe (someone or something) in a particular way.
Example: “the book portrayed him as a self-serving careerist”
Synonyms: Represent, Depict
Meaning: A person who carries out a harmful, illegal, or immoral act.
Example: “the perpetrators of this horrific crime must be brought to justice”
Meaning: Support or strengthen.
Example: “the fall in interest rates is starting to bolster confidence”
Synonyms: Strengthen, Support
Meaning: A formal statement admitting that one is guilty of a crime.
Example: “he signed a confession to both the murders”
Synonyms: Admission, Profession
Antonyms: Concealment, Denial
Meaning: A withdrawal of a statement, accusation, or undertaking.
Example: “he issued a retraction of his allegations”
Meaning: Certain to happen; unavoidable.
Example: “war was inevitable”
Synonyms: Unavoidable, Certain
Antonyms: Avoidable, Uncertain
Meaning: (of a response) automatic and unthinking.
Example: “a knee-jerk reaction”
Meaning: Affect with a bad or undesirable quality.
Example: “his administration was tainted by scandal”
Synonyms: Tarnish, Stain
Meaning: Badly made or done.
Example: “we’re not paying good money for shoddy goods”
Synonyms: Inferior, Cheap
Antonyms: Well made, Careful
Meaning: Showing or feeling hesitancy; uncertain.
Example: “she stood irresolute outside his door”
Synonyms: Indecisive, Tentative
Meaning: Showing or feeling opposition or dislike; unfriendly.
Example: “a hostile audience”
Synonyms: Aggressive, Combative
Antonyms: Friendly, Mild
Meaning: Able to be believed or trusted.
Example: They haven’t produced any credible evidence for convicting him.
Synonyms: Acceptability, Reliability
Meaning: Abolish or cancel (a plan, policy, or law).
Example: “he supports the idea that road tax should be scrapped”
Synonyms: Abandon, Abolish
Antonyms: Keep, Restore
22) In the throes of
Meaning: In the middle of doing or dealing with something very difficult or painful.
Example: “a friend was in the throes of a divorce”
Synonyms: Facing, Enduring
Meaning: A difficult situation that forces you to make a decision or do something.
Example: The crunch came when she was forced to choose between her marriage and her career.
Synonyms: Critical point, Crisis
Meaning: Later than should have been the case.
Example: “the High Command had belatedly altered its tactics”
Meaning: The action or fact of showing something.
Example: “the manifestation of anxiety over disease”
Synonyms: Display, Exhibition
Meaning: To increase or grow very quickly, or to suddenly increase by a particular amount.
Example: Shares of the jewellery store chain spurted $6.
Synonyms: Increasing, Intensifying
Meaning: Distribute or provide (a service or information) to a number of people.
Example: “orderlies went round dispensing drinks”
Synonyms: Distribute, Apportion
Meaning: Unwilling and hesitant; disinclined.
Example: “today, many ordinary people are still reluctant to talk about politics”
Synonyms: Unwilling, Resistant
Antonyms: Willing, Eager
Meaning: State a fact or belief confidently and forcefully.
Example: “the company asserts that the cuts will not affect development”
Synonyms: Declare, Maintain
30) Ramped up
Meaning: To increase the speed, power, or cost of something.
Example: Announcement of the merger is expected to ramp up share prices over the next few days.
Meaning: Restore (a stock or supply) to a former level or condition.
Example: “all creatures need sleep to replenish their energies”
Synonyms: Restock, Restore
Meaning: Exist in large numbers or amounts.
Example: “rumours of a further scandal abound”
Synonyms: Proliferate, Thrive
Antonyms: Meagre, Scanty
Meaning: (of an event or fact) cause or bring about (an action or feeling).
Example: “the violence prompted a wave of refugees to flee the country”
Synonyms: Cause, Induce
Antonyms: Deter, Restrain
Meaning: Be about to happen.
Example: “my impending departure”
Synonyms: Imminent, Close
Meaning: The origin or mode of formation of something.
Example: “this tale had its genesis in fireside stories”
Synonyms: Origin, Source
Meaning: The important changes made in 1986 to the rules for trading on the London Stock Exchange, or similar changes to other organizations.
Example: The article takes a look at how the City of London’s Big Bang has revolutionized Britain.
Meaning: An act or remark that is calculated to gain an advantage, especially at the outset of a situation.
Example: “his resignation was a tactical gambit”
Synonyms: Scheme, Tactic
Meaning: Discard or abandon unceremoniously.
Example: “sort out what could be sold off and junk the rest”
Synonyms: Discard, Scrap
Meaning: Calibrate (something) again or differently.
Example: “the sensors had to be recalibrated”
Meaning: Make (something) continue indefinitely.
Example: “the confusion was perpetuated through inadvertence”
Synonyms: Preserve, Conserve
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