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15.5.21 The Hindu Editorials

🛑There is little doubt that West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar’s visit to areas hit by post-poll violence in Cooch Behar constitutes a grave transgression of the bounds of constitutional propriety. A habitual critic of the Mamata Banerjee regime, he has been given to ignoring the principle that constitutional heads should not air their differences with the elected regimes in public. As recently as December 2020, Ms. Banerjee had appealed to the President to recall the Governor for political statements that she believed were being made by him at the behest of the BJP-led Union government. One would have thought that a fresh election, in which Ms. Banerjee’s TMC has won a resounding victory, would be a reminder, if one was needed at all, that the norms of representative government ought to be a natural restraint on Mr. Dhankhar’s gubernatorial propensity to speak out of turn and step out of line.

There was a time when another West Bengal Governor, Gopalkrishna Gandhi, came in for some criticism for setting aside the restraints of constitutional office by expressing “cold horror” at the police firing that left 14 protesters dead at Nandigram in 2007. Some may believe that the gubernatorial office ought not to be an impediment to the incumbent yielding to the moral urge to condemn incidents of rare enormity. Yet, the larger principle that the Governor should not offer public comment on situations best handled by the representative regime ought to hold good in all circumstances. In the case of Mr. Dhankhar, what worsens his persistent criticism of the TMC regime is the unfortunate congruency between his words and the interests of the BJP. His visit to Cooch Behar can be seen as an action louder even than his words in derogation of the elected regime. A visit to a scene of violence by the Governor cannot be justified as a gesture to show solidarity with victims. M. Channa Reddy, as Tamil Nadu Governor, shocked the AIADMK regime in 1993 by visiting the RSS headquarters in Chennai after a bomb exploded there. It may be argued that the present situation in West Bengal is different from those in which other Governors had shed the restraints of their office. Post-election violence is something that should not be witnessed at all in an electoral democracy. West Bengal is certainly out of step with the rest of the country in allowing post-poll celebrations to degenerate into triumphalism and attacks on the losing side. Yet, the onus is on Ms. Banerjee to restore order and end the violence, even if she believed that the extent of the violence was being exaggerated by the Opposition. Regardless of one’s view of a regime’s inaction, there should be no departure from the principle that any advice or warning the Governor wants to give to the elected government ought to be in private and in confidence.

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1.Grave (Adj)-seriously bad.

2.Transgression (N)-the act or process of breaking a law or moral rule. उल्लंघन

3.At The Behest Of (Idiom)-because of being asked or ordered by someone.

4.Gubernatorial (Adj)-relating to the position of governor. गवर्नर संबंधी

5.Speak Out (Phrasal Verb)-express one's feelings or opinions frankly and publicly. साफ़ तौर पर बोलना

6.Out Of Line (Phrase)-behaving in a way that breaks the rules or is considered inappropriate.

7.Impediment (N)-a hindrance or obstruction in doing something. बाधा, अवरोध

8.Condemn (V)-to criticize something or someone strongly. निंदा करना

9.Enormity (N)-an outrageous, improper, vicious, or immoral act.

10.Derogation (N)-an exemption from or relaxation of a rule or law.

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🛑From Israeli armed forces storming Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque on Monday morning to Israel pounding Gaza with air strikes and artillery on Thursday night in response to the rocket firing by Hamas, the Israel-Palestine conflict has escalated dangerously within days. At least 119 Palestinians, including 31 children, have been killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza since May 10, while nine people were killed in Israel in the rocket attacks, including an Indian national and a child. For now, both sides have refused to stand down from the fighting despite international appeal. Israel cannot evade responsibility for the crisis engulfing the region. There was already resentment and frustration among the Palestinians in the occupied territories as Israel has expanded Jewish settlements and deepened occupation. Besides, Israel’s high-handedness in East Jerusalem and the move to evict Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah for Jewish settlers added to the anger, leading to clashes. Hamas, which claims to be the main national resistance force against the occupation, seized on the opportunity and escalated the crisis with rocket attacks. Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas’s militant infrastructure. But Israel knows that it is easier said than done. In 2014, Israel carried out a seven-week-long operation with the same objective. Seven years later, there is Hamas, firing over 1,800 rockets into Israel within five days.

Beyond the rhetoric by both sides, this is a loss-loss situation in which the civilians are taken hostages. Hamas’s rockets do not distinguish between Israeli civilians and soldiers. While the Iron Dome defence system neutralised most of the rockets, some actually hit Israel’s population centres, killing civilians and raising concerns for the country’s rulers. Israel is in fact witnessing a twin crisis. While the conflict with Hamas is escalating into a land attack, Israeli cities are gripped by riots between Jewish vigilantes and Arab mobs. The riots prompted President Reuven Rivlin to evoke fears of a civil war and the government to declare a state of emergency in some locations, including the central city of Lod. This is the most serious law and order crisis Israel is facing internally since the second intifada of 2000. In return, Israel has pulverised Gaza, inflicting a heavy casualty on the impoverished region’s population. The high casualty of children points to the collective punishment approach of the Israeli military. Israel’s right to defend itself, which the U.S. and Germany have endorsed, cannot be the right to launch an indiscriminate bombing on the civilians of Gaza. The international community, especially the U.S. which is a close ally of Israel, should put pressure on both sides to cease the fire. They should do it sooner rather than later as every day, dozens are being killed in the bombings.

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1.Pounding (N)-repeated and heavy striking or hitting of someone or something. जोरदार धमाकों के साथ बमबारी

2.Stand Down (Phrasal Verb)-relax after being ready or alert.

3.Engulfing (V)-to surround and cover something or someone completely.

4.Resentment (N)-a feeling of extreme annoyance or displeasure. नाराजगी

5.Evict (V)-to force someone to leave somewhere. बेदखल करना

6.Vowed (V)-solemnly promise to do a specified thing.

7.Hostages (N)-a person seized or held as security for the fulfilment of a condition. बंधकों

8.Pulverised (V)-to destroy completely or defeat utterly.

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