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Sunday View: The Best Weekend Opinion Reads, Curated Just for You

We sifted through the papers to find the best opinion reads, so you won't have to.

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The 'Suraksha' Story: How Police Encounters Are Justified in Uttar Pradesh

In light of the police encounter of Asad Ahmed, son of Uttar Pradesh politician Atiq Ahmed, on 13 April, Badri Narayan, in his piece for The Indian Express, writes that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has gained massive political capital through his crackdown on gangsters, and that his actions are seen as imperative to further UP's 'security' narrative.

The piece assumes more relevance with three men gunning down Atiq Ahmed and his brother Ashraf Ahmed late last night in the presence of the UP Police.

"Yogi Adityanath has been unapologetic about police encounters. In fact, he projects these acts of the state police as an expression of the 'suraksha' he promised voters during the 2022 UP assembly election. He had assured the security of common people from land grabbers and criminals and promised to transform Uttar Pradesh into a peaceful society. His image as 'bulldozer baba' – an epithet he gained for ordering that property belonging to people perceived by the state as history-sheeters, gangsters, and rioters be razed using bulldozers – was invoked to buttress this security agenda during the election campaign in 2022."
Badri Narayan, for The Indian Express
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Maiming India

In his column for The Telegraph, Mukul Kesavan opines that the recent revisions in the NCERT textbooks are not intended to make the Mughals "disappear," but to do something more complex – to make the Mughal history look insignificant.

"...This is precisely what the dropping of the Mughals from school textbooks is meant to do: marginalise a pan-Indian empire in the public consciousness so that the period of its existence begins to seem like an interregnum that interrupts the real story: the soul of the Hindu Nation, long suppressed, finding utterance in the enthronement of Hindutva."
Mukul Kesavan, for The Telegraph
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How Caste Comes Into Play When Climate Changes

As the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) releases the final part of the Sixth Assessment Report, Ajmal Khan AT, in his piece for The Indian Express, looks at how caste communities in India are disproportionately affected by climate change events across the country.

"As part of my research, in 2022, I traveled across South and North 24 Parganas districts in the state of West Bengal which are part of the Indian Sundarbans, one of the most climate vulnerable regions in the country. Most of the women from Munda, Bediya, Bhumij, and Oraon Adivasi communities I met complained about how their health is being impacted by the increasing saltwater content as a result of sea level rise. The women have to stand for several hours in the water to catch fish and collect crabs and mussels – a major part of their livelihood and diet."
Ajmal Khan AT, for The Indian Express
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What the Milk Shortage Saga Tells Us About Letting Government Control Prices

Pranay Kotasthane, in his piece for The Times of India, delves into the phenomenon of milk price hikes and explains how government intervention and price distortions can disturb the milk supply chain.

"Amazing, the things that happen when governments obstruct a control system called 'prices'. Even as this satire unfolds, the root cause of milk shortages isn't even being discussed. The Bangalore Milk Union president admitted that 'many small milk producers have given up on rearing cows as it has become unsustainable'. Though he doesn't say why, one reason could be that the 2020 state law banning cow slaughter and frequent attacks on people transporting cattle has discouraged smaller farmers from stepping into this minefield called milk production."
Pranay Kotasthane, for The Times of India
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Why Uttar Pradesh Breeds So Many Criminals and Gangsters

Tavleen Singh, in her column for The Indian Express, argues that while the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh is "liquidating all gangsters," there's a need to understand the reasons behind increasing criminal activity, which she believes is due to poor living conditions and sub-standard education.

"...I saw government schools that were in an advanced state of decay as if empty and abandoned. If urban schools are bad, rural ones are worse. It is no surprise to come across villages in which there are twice as many private schools as government schools because people would rather pay for their children to get an education than let them pretend to be studying in a government school."
Tavleen Singh, for The Indian Express
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Amul vs Nandini | Udderly Bitterly Learnings for Corporates

In his piece for Deccan Herald, Srinath Sridharan discusses the Amul-Nandini controversy in Karnataka, opining that brands must have better political sensitivity and communication while entering new markets.

"Social insecurities, stakeholder concerns, feeling of vulnerability must be addressed directly, and quickly. Corporates looking to enter newer markets, must be conscious about how the political regime and regulatory umbrella would look at their (new) presence. This is unavoidable, and needs constant proactive communication. Otherwise even a whimsical local influencer could turn part of a corporate statement into a misplaced sloganeering around local sensibilities or even nationalist sentiment, that could prove expensive for the market entrant to overcome."
Srinath Sridharan, for Deccan Herald
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The Jurisprudence of Same-Sex Marriage

Faisal CK, in his piece for The New Indian Express, makes a case for same-sex marriage, as the Supreme Court gear up to hear the final arguments on 18 April. The writer contends that a "denial of the right of marriage to same-sex couples would breach the Constitutional social contract and its underlying Due Process Clause."

"The Supreme Court in Francis Coralie v. Union Territory of Delhi (1981) underscored that the right to live includes the right to live with human dignity and all that goes along with it, including the right to express oneself in diverse forms and mixing and mingling with fellow human beings. Marriage is the highest form of expression, mixing and mingling with fellow human beings. Denial of the right to marriage, irrespective of one's sexual orientation, is an affront to the citizen's right to live with human dignity."
Faisal CK, for The New Indian Express
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History and Caricature: The Difference Isn't Minor!

Weighing in on the revisions made in NCERT history textbooks, Pavan K Varma, in his column for Deccan Chronicle, contends that changes – to an extent – are necessary, but they can become dangerous if they follow a "non-academic partisan agenda."

"...let us accept that educational curriculums must incorporate changes on the basis of new information, and correct previous errors and omissions. For instance, modern scientific tools, such as hydrological and drilling data, oceanography, morpho-dynamics, geology, remote sensing and satellite data, clearly establish that the river Sarasvati, which the Rig Veda describes as a mighty river flowing from the mountain to the seas in 45 of its hymns, began to dry up between 2500 BCE and 1900 BCE. It follows, therefore, that the authors of the Rig Veda, which describe the river as "great", "vast" and "tempestuous", must have been on Indian soil much before 2500 BCE, thereby making India one of the oldest civilisations of the world, and junking the theory that the Aryans "invaded" India in 1500 BCE."
Pavan K Varma. for Deccan Chronicle
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Child's Play Politics in Congress

Prabhu Chawla, in his piece for The New Indian Express, writes about three leaders – Sachin Pilot, Jyotiraditya Scindia, and Jitin Prasada – and describes how their politics have defied their own fathers', who have been staunch Congress party loyalists.

"Their fathers, Rajesh Pilot, Madhavrao Scindia and Jitendra Prasada were credible Congress leaders and Gandhi loyalists. Scindia and Prasada had royal trappings. And the middle-class Pilot became a national neta. Though their party had generously rewarded them, they challenged the Gandhis. Now their parceners have followed paters' footsteps. The first two left the Congress to join BJP. Pilot is hanging on for the time being."
Prabhu Chawla, for The New Indian Express
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