Sunday, July 18, 2010

Reading comprehension in Open magazine

Today I read this article in Open magazine, on allegations that Sharad Pawar's daughter, Supriya Sule, is a citizen of Singapore and therefore should have her Indian citizenship revoked. The article unquestioningly quotes Mrunalini Kakade, who lost the election to Sule in 2009.

However, nowhere in the article is there evidence that she is a citizen of Singapore: the phrase used, consistently, is "Permanent Resident" which is a status for non-nationals, short of citizenship (Singapore Government web site, Wikipedia; links produced by a few seconds on google). What Open's rather breathless article says is

According to [Kakade's] petition, Supriya Sule holds 'Singapore citizenship'--Permanent Resident Identification Number S 69726251--in addition to her Indian one. This is against domestic rules that do not permit dual citizenship.

The giveaway, as Mrunalini Kakade tells Open, was Supriya Sule’s disclosure that she owns property in Singapore. Under the law of that country, only a permanent resident of Singapore is allowed to purchase property there...

"Besides, she is also the director of Laguna International Pvt Ltd. In this context, her nationality is shown as a 'Singapore Permanent Resident'... "

So, all the evidence that Kakade has supplied, at least as quoted by Open Magazine, suggests that Sule is a "permanent resident" of Singapore -- not a citizen -- just as thousands of Indian citizens are permanent residents of the United States. There is nothing in India's laws that prohibits citizens from permanent residency of another country.

What should we make of a news magazine that writes a 1300+ word on this issue without addressing this point, or asking Kakade to clarify?


km said...

Maybe it's the Sunday morning coming down, or maybe journalism in India *is* rotting faster than roadkill on a hot July afternoon.

(and the article you've linked to is hardly the most egregious example...)

Rahul Basu said...

Rahul: Why bother with what 'Open' magazine writes. If you look for such examples in the huge plethora of newspapers and periodicals in India today (and we are only talking of English ones, there are probably similar ones in the local languages) I am sure there will be no end of such articles and tendentious reporting. Editors need to fill column inches, just as TV news shows need to fill the hours...