DOWn and out : Kick them

Bhopal, the “Hiroshima of the chemical industry,” is the world’s worst-ever industrial disaster. “During the trial, Carbide’s lawyers had argued, shockingly, that an American life was worth more than an Indian life”.

The Union Carbide India, Limited (UCIL) plant was established in 1969 and had expanded to produce carbaryl in 1979; MIC is an intermediate in carbaryl manufacture.

The chemical accident was caused by the introduction of water into methyl isocyanate holding tank E610, due to slip-blind water isolation plates being excluded from an adjacent tank’s maintenance procedure. The resulting reaction generated a major increase in the temperature of liquid inside the tank (to over 200°C). The MIC holding tank then gave off a large volume of toxic gas, forcing the emergency release of pressure.

Body of a victimOn December 3rd, 1984, thousands of people in Bhopal, India, were gassed to death after a catastrophic chemical leak at a Union Carbide pesticide plant. More than 150,000 people were left severely disabled – of whom 22,000 have since died of their injuries – in a disaster now widely acknowledged as the world’s worst-ever industrial disaster.

More than 27 tons of methyl isocyanate and other deadly gases turned Bhopal into a gas chamber. None of the six safety systems at the plant were functional, and Union Carbide’s own documents prove the company designed the plant with “unproven” and “untested” technology, and cut corners on safety and maintenance in order to save money.

Today, twenty three years after the Bhopal disaster, at least 50,000 people are too sick to work for a living, and a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association confirmed that the children of gas-affected parents are themselves afflicted by Carbide’s poison.

Carbide is still killing in Bhopal. The chemicals that Carbide abandoned in and around their Bhopal factory have contaminated the drinking water of 20,000 people. Testing published in a 2002 report revealed poisons such as 1,3,5 trichlorobenzene, dichloromethane, chloroform, lead and mercury in the breast milk of nursing women living near the factory.

Although Dow Chemical acquired Carbide’s liabilities when it purchased the company in 2001, it still refuses to address its liabilities in Bhopal – or even admit that they exist. Till date, Dow-Carbide has refused to:

1) Clean up the site, which continues to contaminate those near it, or to provide just compensation for those who have been injured or made ill by this poison;
2) Fund medical care, health monitoring and necessary research studies, or even to provide all the information it has on the leaked gases and their medical consequences;
3) Provide alternate livelihood opportunities to victims who can not pursue their usual trade because of their exposure-induced illnesses;
4) Stand trial before the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court in Bhopal, where Union Carbide faces criminal charges of culpable homicide (manslaughter), and has fled these charges for the past 20 years.

Now according to the latest reports the government is preparing to remove the hurdles to the entry of Dow Chemical, which has bought Union Carbide into India in a big way. The Chemical & Fertilisers Ministry has filed an affidavit in the tragedy case, seeking Rs 100 crore as initial compensation for Union Carbide India’s liability for cleaning up the contamination at the factory site. But, the Industries Department wants an out-of-court settlement and a withdrawal of this affidavit.
There is a consensus in the highest echelons of the Congress that it is India’s best interests for the US chemical multinational to invest in the country by getting rid of the obstacle that is Bhopal.
“It is not as if Dow Chemical has an impeccable record when it comes to manufacturing lethal chemicals. It was the sole supplier of the highly inflammable chemical, napalm, which the US used in Vietnam. For some years, despite widespread protests in the US and elsewhere against the use of this deadly weapon, Dow continued production of this profitable product, arguing that the US Department of Defence had to take responsibility for its deployment. As controversially, it (and Monsanto) produced Agent Orange — the toxic defoliant which was dropped widely over Vietnam to flush out the Viet Cong. It derived its name from the orange-striped barrels in which it was shipped out and is a cocktail of different herbicides. When it degrades, it produces dioxin, one of the most toxic substances ever known. In 1976, a chemical plant in Seveso, Italy, suffered a leak and a few kilograms of dioxin were released. The town has gone down in environmental history as one of the worst cases of accidents, along with the Sandoz chemical plant warehouse fire in Basel, Switzerland, the Three Mile nuclear incident in the US and Chernobyl in the Soviet Union”.(Hindustan Times dated 29/10/07)

It will be a tragedy if, in the attempt to be pragmatic in seeking a massive US investment, the government caves in and lets Dow off the hook.

For More details on tragedy and latest happenings visit: http://www.studentsforbhopal.org/

You think nobody is worth !! ?? Go Ahead

Thumbs up Did you know that there is a provision in the constitution of India, as per the Conduct of Elections Rules,1969 act, in section 49-O that a person can go to the polling booth, confirm his identity, get his finger marked, and convey the presiding election officer that he/she doesn’t want to vote anyone! Yes, such a feature is available, but obviously these seemingly notorious leaders have never disclosed it. This is called “49-O”.

49-O: Elector deciding not to vote:

If an elector, after his electoral roll number has been duly entered in the register of voters in Form-17A and has put his signature or thumb impression thereon as required under sub-rule (1) of rule 49L, decided not to record his vote, a remark to this effect shall be made against the said entry in Form 17A by the presiding officer and the signature or thumb impression of the elector shall be obtained against such remark.

Do visit the website of Ministry of Law and Justice. http://lawmin.nic.in/ld/subord/cer1.htm

But why would one not vote afterall?

If you think none of the candidates at the ward are able enough to lead the community, you can always opt not to vote.

Well then how could it be useful ?

Because, in a ward, if a candidate wins, say by ‘x’ votes, and that particular ward has received “49-O” votes more than x, then that polling will be cancelled and will have to be re-polled. Not only that, but the candidature of the contestants will be removed and they cannot contest the re-polling, since people have already expressed their decision on them. This would bring fear into parties and hence look for genuine candidates for their parties for election. This would change the way of our whole political system. It is seemingly surprising why the election commission has not revealed such a feature to the public.

Is This How You Want Law Enforcement to Be?

How far can you go to lodge your FIR or get justice? What do you choose to do to exercise your rights: Will you commit suicide to gain justice or walk naked on streets to get heard by police or run pillar to post to higher officials or a court every time you want to register a complaint in your local police station. Or will you call news-hungry media channels to gain their support or do you take the easy way out by bribing the already-corrupt police? What would you do when very protectors of law become your tormentors?

If you think, I am getting hassled over nothing. Think again. Think of Rizwanur, recent casualty from West Bengal, who died helplessly fighting against the brute force of police. His only fault that this Muslim guy had married a Hindu girl, daughter of a rich industrialist called Ajay Todi. Read here how police negotiated with Rizwanur to send his wife back to nurse her so-called ill father. And then Rizwanur realized how he had been duped by police and his wife will now never be sent back to him. Few days later, his body was found on railway tracks. CBI is probing his death after West Bengal police was found wanting in credibility. The question is not if Rizwanur committed suicide or was murdered. The fact remains that in either case the police was his tormentor. I would not be surprised if even CBI bungles the investigation of Rizwanur case. I am already losing faith in the system.

I still remember Pooja Chauhan, the lady from Rajkot who had to parade in her underwear on city roads just to register a complaint against her husband and in-laws! I can’t think of more extreme step a woman can take to be heard. Hers was a common story of harassment by her in-laws for not being able to give birth to a male heir. She had been sacked from her house by her in-laws and had been unsuccessfully trying to register her complaint in the local police thana. Our police, corrupt to the tee, refused to entertain her complaint till she made this desperate attempt to garner public/media support by walking nude on the roads. So much for Domestic Violence Protection Act!

This is not a stray incident; there are dozen more that happen everyday right under our noses. Let’s recall heinous Nithari serial killings.

It took Nand Lal, the man whose complaint disclosed Nithari killings to the world, about five months and a court’s order to register a FIR of his 20-year-old daughter, Payal, who went missing in May 2006. Read Tehelka’s eye-opening account of how Nand Lal got his FIR registered. There were countless other poor villagers who had gone to police station to report their missing kids. They were callously told by these police officers that their kids had eloped or ran away from them. How can a city’s police be so corrupt and irresponsible? Could they not decipher the pattern when so many children from the same village went missing? Let alone actively handle the matter, they did not bother to register a FIR until a court’s order forced them to 5 months later!

Almost a year later, what’s the action on Nithari killers? None! Even after the common knowledge that the police officers were corrupt, we are still nowhere close to punish the serial killers who committed such heinous crimes. We have hardly been able to prove if Moninder Singh is guilty nor those police officials who abetted in the crime.

Ah, these are not the only instances when police has refused to act and register a FIR. Few months back, a drunk call center employee ran over two kids. I can not forget the pain in their unfortunate father’s words on television, “Mein apne bachchon ko dafna bhi nahin paya, jab tak ki us bande (accused) kijamant bhi ho gayi!” (Before I could cremate my children, accused had walked free on bail!) Watch this IBN video to know what this grieved father has got to say about the treatment meted out to him by police.

Police would not have registered this man’s complaint were it not for the media intervention in wake of current surge in drunken driving incidents.

Uh huh, if you think such a phenomenon of not registering FIRs is confined to rural people or other lower strata of society, you are mistaken. People in cities routinely bribe law enforcement officials. They bribe the police to register a FIR for their stolen vehicles.

Delhiites shell out bribe even to get their passports made! They pay the police officer who comes for a routine verification of address. Some of them also pay the guy who delivers passport at their homes! :(

Blueline buses in Delhi have claimed 99 lives (still counting) this year. How? Simple by the connivance with corrupt police. Just bribe, and you get valid licenses for any defaulting bus an qualified bus driver. Who pays the price? The common men and women like me and you. We pay the price with our life.

Looking at Samajwadi party’s campaign in latest election in UP, you can understand the significance of not lodging FIRs or writing “missing” reports instead of “stolen” reports. Such corrupt practices help our law enforcement officials to keep crime rate stats low. No wonder Samajwadi party could boast of low crime rate in crime-ridden UP!

Let’s campaign for the rights of the weak! Let’s knock the courts whenever met with unfairness and unlawfulness! Let’s pitch in for the cause of others or some day we might be standing in place of them.

More about Rizwanur:

More about Pooja Chauhan:

More about Delhi Blueline buses:

I also write at Visceral Observations.

India at 60: Let us be the change

India has completed 60 years of independence. It’s time for some introspection and we should be the change to make India a better place.

How often have we said Iss Desh ka kucch nahi ho sakta (nothing can change in this country)”. But have you ever given a thought why you have said so? The answer in most of the cases is “No”. India has now completed 60 years of its independence and is it not high time that we do some introspection about where we are heading? I think that if everything is planned properly and we have an ambition to make India a developed nation, then in the next decade the biggest role will have to be played by us, the citizens of India. We have to change our attitude towards the various challenges that lie ahead of us and have to find a better way to tackle them as well. The problem with India is that the citizens are very passive and don’t have an ambition to change themselves. There might be various reasons for that but today we are the youngest nation in the world and now the youth should step ahead and “be the change that you want to see in the world.” We are a large country and are blessed with natural resources and highly motivated human resource. We have to prioritize our thoughts on national development and treat all other issues as “non-issues”. This will ensure focus and thrust for the development process. It will also prevent dissipation of energy and resources on non-productive issues. The citizens of this nation can change things dramatically for India to excel in every field. Let’s take a look at a few severe problems that India is facing.

Corruption

The causes of corruption are many and complex. Following are some of the main causes of corruption:

Emergence of a political elite which believes in interest-oriented rather than nation-oriented programmes and policies.

Artificial scarcity created by the people with malevolent intentions which wrecks the fabric of the economy.

Corruption is caused as well as increased because of the change in the value system and ethical qualities of the men who administer.

The old ideals of morality, service and honesty are regarded as an anachronistic.

Tolerance of people towards corruption, complete lack of intense public outcry against corruption and the absence of strong public forums to oppose corruption allow corruption to reign over people. Is it possible to contain corruption in our society? Corruption is a cancer, which every Indian must strive to cure. If each of us makes sure that we will not pay bribe or will not take bribe then corruption will automatically come down. What is required is a will from our side and if we are able to do so very soon we will have a corruption free society.

Political Participation

More than 50 per cent of India’s population does not take part in the political process. In a democracy if we don’t take an active role then what is the use of having the world’s biggest democracy. We reap what we sow. If we don’t vote in elections then we have no right to say that the Indian Parliament and state assemblies are full of tainted people and criminals. Democracy does not mean a government by the uneducated, elected by the badly educated. Here, the elected persons cannot be more ignorant than the electors because no matter how stupid he is, we are more stupid to have elected him in the first place. Uneducated and ineffective democracies result when the corrupt few are elected by the incompetent many. For democracy to be meaningful it must strive to be more than just an election time event; it must become a way of life for each citizen. Each citizen must understand his rights and the power of collective action.

Judiciary

The question about the accountability and transparency of the judicial administration in our country is rightly engaging the attention of the right people at present. The Prime Minister has rightly observed that the judiciary in India should seriously consider the prevailing deficiencies of judicial administration and should immediately find the remedies; any delay on this score is likely to adversely affect its credibility and structure. Truly speaking, the nature and extent of the “deficiencies of judicial administration” have reached such a low level that what is now required is the overhaul of the whole system of dispensation of justice, including the institution of the Bar. It is very important that when we reach at a position where we need to deliver a judgment, it is important that we are not partial to any side nor we succumb to any pressure. There must be a witness protection plan so that witnesses do not turn hostile. Such a plan would protect the innocent from injustice and bring the criminals to justice.

Role of Media

India has a free, fair and fearless media. Media is considered to be the fourth pillar of the society. The other three are the legislature, executive and the judiciary. It definitely plays an important role in the welfare of the society. It has the power to speak boldly against wrong. The media gives a voice to the poor people. When nobody listens to a man only the media raises his voice. But, of late the role of the media is also under scrutiny. Today television channels and newspapers are making fast money by cashing on news in a wrong sense and wrong manner. In the race to become more popular and make money they have broken all the limits media must follow while trying to build a healthy and progressive society. If it continues in this manner in the future then we people have to re-think about the role of media. I must say that media should criticise the performance and not the performer. In a moment they will create heroes and very next moment they will make him/her a nobody. (With reference to the criticism of MS Dhoni, Sania Mirza, Uma Khurana etc.)

Moral Values

The degree of corruption in any organisation or society depends on three factors. The first is the individual sense of values. The second are the values cherished by society and the third, of course, is the system of governance. So far as the first issue is concerned, today our society is in a flux. Thanks to modernisation and the tremendous impact of satellite television and the media and the policy of liberalisation, we are seeing the vigorous growth of consumer culture. In India, traditionally, the ascetic who gives up things was honoured. Today, the models before the younger generation are those who earn money by means fair or foul and have tons of it to splurge. Lifestyle has become very important. This consumerist culture is probably strengthening the philosophy of “get on, get honour and get honest”. Can we afford to give up our consumerist culture? I am afraid not. What we can do is to at least see that certain basic values like integrity, honesty are inculcated in the educational system. In any society, values, by and large, are inculcated by the parents. Unless we are well off morally we cannot prosper.

Hence there are many things where a revolution or change can be brought if we are willing to make India a better place. If we want to live with honour and see a better India then we must become a soldier of our Nation. A soldier is not only willing to sacrifice but is also ready to stop those who try to destroy the Nation. As author Shiv Khera’s says:

Life is not a spectator sport. The onlookers criticise, but they don’t want to get involved. They are free loaders. They want anything and everything for free. They don’t want to pay a price, and they don’t want to earn anything. My response to them is – either get involved or shut up!

Let us for a moment pause to reflect what it is for which we would like to be remembered by the future generations. Will we be remembered for how many churches our generation has added, will we be remembered for how many mosques our generation has added, will we be remembered for how many temples our generation has added or will we be remembered for how many gurudwaras our generation has added? No, not at all. We will be remembered only if we give to our younger generation a prosperous and safe India resulting out of economic prosperity coupled with our civilizational heritage.

I would conclude with a poetic verse:

Oh Almighty, create thoughts and actions in the minds of the people of my nation, so that they live united.

Light the minds of the religious leaders of my country to evolve a bridge among religions with compassion and love.

Embed the thought ’Nation is bigger than the individual or party’ in the minds of the leaders.

May God, bless my people to work and transform the country into a prosperous nation in a decade.

You think you know what India’s National Language is?

Do you know what is the National Language of India?

If you thought it was Hindi, you don’t need to feel miserable about it, because a majority of the Indian population is with you. Most of us are/were under the same impression.

Even we were in the same boat and it was really shocking to know that India does not have ANY National Language.

Our previous post on Hindi Divas got a comment from raj saying that India does not have any National Language with some substantial proof. You may like to go through the proofs that he has mentioned. Here’s the eye-opening comment raj posted:

India does NOT have any national language

http://vetri-vel.blogspot.com/2006/12/india-does-not-have-national-language.html

Part XVII of the constitution:
This part 17, defines an OFFICIAL language, NOT a national language.
http://www.astro.virginia.edu/~sk4zw/india-const/p17.html

Article 345: This gives the State govt., power to decide its own “OFFICIAL LANGUAGE”
http://www.astro.virginia.edu/~sk4zw/india-const/p17345.html

Article 343: This defines Hindi in devangari script and English to be the “OFFICIAL LANGUAGES” of union govt.
http://www.astro.virginia.edu/~sk4zw/india-const/p17343.html

DIFFERENCE between National and Official Language:

NATIONAL LANGUAGE: Defines the people of the nation, culture, history.

OFFICIAL LANGUAGE: A language that is used for official communication

While a National language by default can become the Official language, an Official language has to be APPROVED legally to become the National language.

All languages spoken in India, starting from the most populous to the least are our national languages, because all of them define the people of this nation, culture and their history collectively.

India has NO LEGALLY DEFINED NATIONAL LANGUAGES ONLY 23 OFFICIAL languages as per the constitution.

After finding this out, we started asking all our friends online and offline. Each and every person in our contact had the impression that our Raashtra Bhaasha is Hindi.

We put this question up on the Orkut community “India”. The response is here for you to see:

http://www.orkut.com/CommMsgs.aspx?cmm=370&tid=2560002691870956709

We also put up a poll on the community, and at the time of writing the post, it had 128 votes and 66% had voted for Hindi. The poll is located here:

http://www.orkut.com/CommPollResults.aspx?cmm=370&pct=1192094654&pid=1339647175

Let us just take a look at some facts about this issue.

According to the Constitution of India any language, which will be accepted by all the states of India as their official language will be given the status of national language. In India no language is accepted or spoken by all the states unanimously. Even Hindi, a single language largely spoken by the people of India is unable to attain the status of national language as it is does not fulfill the condition of Constitution of India. Though it is spoken by a large number of people but just 10 states of India have accepted it as their official language.

The Indian Constitution (Article 343) declares Hindi to be the official language of the Union.

English remains the additional official language of India. It is the authoritative legislative and judicial language. In fact, one could say that English is the official language in India for all practical purposes. For many educated Indians, English is virtually their first language though a large number of Indians are multi-lingual.

What is the difference between National Language and Official Language?

NATIONAL LANGUAGE: Defines the people of the nation, culture, history.

OFFICIAL LANGUAGE: A language that is used for official communication

While a National language by default can become the Official language, an Official language has to be APPROVED legally to become the National language.

All languages spoken in India, starting from the most populous to the least are our national languages, because all of them define the people of this nation, culture and their history collectively.

India has no legally defined national languages and we have 18 official languages as per the constitution.

Though there is special provision for development of Hindi under article 351.

Article 351:It shall be the duty of the Union to promote the spread of the Hindi language, to develop it so that it may serve as a medium of expression for all the elements of the composite culture of India and to secure its enrichment by assimilating without interfering with its genius, the forms, style and expressions used in Hindustani and in the other languages of India specified in the Eighth Schedule, and by drawing, wherever necessary or desirable, for its vocabulary, primarily on Sanskrit and secondarily on other languages.

A peek into the History

The constitution of India came into existence on January 26, 1950. Enshrined in the constitution was the status of Hindi and English to be the “Official Languages” of the Central Government of India till 1965 (for a period of 15 years), after which Hindi was expected to take up the pre-eminent position as the sole “National and Official Language” of India irrespective of the state or central government. Hindi and English were the “Official Languages” in every department controlled by the Central Government, which is why Hindi is prominent in Railways, Nationalised Banks etc which come under the Central Government.

As January 26, 1965 neared, some in the non-Hindi, particularly Tamils, started voicing their apprehensions openly. Between 1948 and 1961, on an average, every year close to 24% of Central Government Officials were selected from the state of Madras (present day Tamil Nadu). The next best was Uttar Pradesh with about 16%. The idea of making Hindi the sole National language was blasphemous to the students as it was combined with the complete removal of English – even as a medium for competitive examinations for jobs and education. This would mean that the Northern regions with their Hindi proficiency would dominate the government posts and also education. Since government jobs were the most lucrative positions before the 1991 liberalization, this was seen as an indirect means to usurp the English-educated South Indians of jobs. The non-Hindi-speaking people in South India feared that they would be discriminated against in government employment and in other ways.

The 1940s, 50s and the first half of the 1960s saw many anti-Hindi imposition protests in the form of public meetings, marches, hunger strikes, demonstrations before schools and Indian government offices, and black flag demonstrations before visiting Indian government ministers. Most of these were organized either by the DK or the DMK, and the general public supported them fully. There were several hundred such protests around Tamil Nadu and several thousand people went to jail. Several hundreds were injured when police used lathi charge to disburse peaceful protesters. Lal Bahadur Shastri, then PM, even though supportive of the pro-Hindi group, realising the seriousness, came up with a set of compromises that did not give Hindi any “Sole National Language” status.

To know more, see the source of this peek:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Hindi_agitations

We should eliminate such myths from staying in our society and it is our responsibility to be aware of such common facts about our country and to keep our fellow citizens aware about them.

On checking out the List of Multilingual Countries and Regions on Wikipedia, it was evident that most of the multilingual countries do not have any National Language.

So it does not seem to us that it is such a big issue that India does not have any national language.

What is alarming is that most of us have been under the very wrong impression that our National Language is Hindi.

Why does a majority have this imprinted in their minds? Who is responsible for this?

– by Rishabh Srivastava and Mitesh Ashar

The Kashmir Conundrum

Kashmir – An area of conflict in South Asia that hasn’t seen peace, freedom and security for a very long while. After several hundred years of imperial rule, part of Kashmir became a part of the Secular, Democratic, Republic of India while the other part became a part of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. A minute section of Kashmir is also occupied by China.

The History of the state is the key to understanding the basis of the Indo-Pak conflict and also offers the means for a peaceful resolution of the issue. The last ruler of Kashmir was Maharaja Hari Singh, a man who was despised predominantly by the Muslim population of Kashmir for his autocratic and anti-Islamic regime. It is Hari Singh who handed Kashmir over to the Government of India through a document of Accession which many claim he had no right to write in the first place by virtue of his lack of control over the Islamic rebel groups in his own kingdom.

This is where the feud between India and Pakistan began; over who had a claim over the territory of Kashmir. Pakistan chose to separate itself from India as a nation built for the Muslims because they felt marginalized in India. They claim Kashmir due to its Muslim majorities and India claimed Kashmir by virtue of the accession document signed by the Maharaja.

The real reasons are the strategic importance of the region in terms of Defense and Trade along with its abundant natural resources like water supply and the potential for agriculture. These reasons, along with a strong tendency towards power-play, are apparently sufficient for both countries to wage large scale conventional wars (1947, 1965 and 1971).

There are blatant human rights violations in the area coupled with a severe lack of development and employment opportunities that lead inevitably to large sections of the Kashmiri population living in conditions of fear, anger and squalor. They have not yet been given the right to exercise their will in this matter. This has led to the growth of various militant organizations in the region that oppose the oppression of the Indian Government. These “freedom fighters” are labeled terrorists by the Indian government justifying their military pressure over the entire civilian population in the area.

In 1947, when the Kashmir issue was first referred to the United Nations, India did not want to be at an equal footing with Pakistan while Pakistan was openly hostile towards the Indian Government. On 31st December 1947, Nehru wrote to the UN Secretary-General:

“To remove the misconception that the Indian Government is using the prevailing situation in Jammu and Kashmir to reap political profits, the Government of Indian wants to make it very clear that as soon as the raiders are driven out and normalcy is restored, the people of the state will freely decide their fate and that decision will be taken according to the universally accepted democratic means of Plebiscite or Referendum.”[1]

More than 50 years have gone by and the Kashmiris are still not acquainted with “normalcy”. They still have not had the (long overdue) plebiscite.

India’s stand was that, Kashmir was formally a part of India according to a legal agreement with the Maharaja to this effect and that any claim to any part of Kashmir by Pakistan is illegitimate.

Pakistan was of the opposite view where it felt that the Maharaja was driven out of his country by the people of Kashmir and that he had no authority to hand over the state which wasn’t under his control anyway. This nullifies any agreement made between the Government of India and the Maharaja.

The road ahead

The most pragmatic solution to this dispute comes from an unlikely source… Pakistan’s Military Dictator, General Pervez Musharraf. He proposed a four-point formula that addresses the key problems to this feud:

1. Demilitarization of the disputed area.

This would be done by both sides; India and Pakistan in tandem with a UN sponsored cease fire leaving room for organizing a plebiscite in the area.

2. Self Government.

Self-Government by the Kashmiris implies that both India and Pakistan will need to bring the Kashmiri interests to the table and add them to what has become a bilateral argument involving only Indian and Pakistani interests. Let the Kashmiris decide what they want.

3. Softening of existing borders.

The primary reason for the existence of hostilities amongst India and Pakistan is Kashmir. Once the region is divided according to the plebiscite, there will be no reason to have gargantuan armed forces regiments posted in the area leaving room for more productive interactions like trade and development. This can be achieved through creating, in phases, a permeable border amongst India and Pakistan.

4. International supervision and guarantee from the UN and major regional powers.

International supervision is necessary to ensure that both sides are operating in the interests of the people caught in the crossfire. The border drawn after the plebiscite and division of Kashmir will need to be recognized by the international community.

The plan is quite straight forward. However, implementing this plan is another challenge altogether with the primary obstacle being India’s unwillingness to give up territory. The Government of India will have to be convinced about its priorities. Territory comes after people. The people of Kashmir are suffering and are being driven into desperation. This could pose a serious law and order situation in India through the coming years with an increase in the already high levels of “terrorist” infiltrations across the country. The Indian public also needs to be made aware of the situation that prevails in Kashmir today. The Government has skillfully kept this away from them through manipulation of the mainstream media. Demanding accountability and productive action from the Government of India should be the first step preceding international pressure through sanctions and power play.

This is an urgent situation that requires immediate remedial action before it exacerbates into uncontrollable dimensions.


[1] Jawaharlal Nehru, as quoted in Korbel, Danger in Kashmir, p. 98.

“Right to Emergency Care” – A flooding rumour

The following e-mail is visiting a lot of inboxes these days:

Right to Emergency Care:
Date Of Judgment: 23/02/2007.
Case No.: Appeal (civil) 919 of 2007.

The Supreme Court has ruled that all injured persons especially in the
case of road traffic accidents, assaults, etc., when brought to a
hospital / medical centre, have to be offered first aid, stabilized and
shifted to a higher centre / government centre if required. It is only
after this that the hospital can demand payment or complete police
formalities. In case you are a bystander and wish to help someone in an
accident, please go ahead and do so. Your responsibility ends as soon
as you leave the person at the hospital.

The hospital bears the responsibility of informing the police, first
aid, etc.

Please do inform your family and friends about these basic rights so
that we all know what to expect and what to do in the hour of need.
Please not only go ahead and forward, use it too!!!!

The message tells us that this is the Supreme Court judgement to Appeal(Civil) 919 of 2007. On searching the Judgement Information System it was clear that the case was in no manner related to the said message.

It was about a no-profit charitable hospital based in Ghanapur, Andhra Pradesh having claimed exemptions on imported medical equipments, based on Para 2 of Notification No. 64/88-Cus, which were granted. But since according to the classification of hospitals by the notification, it fell under Para 3, it also applied for exemption under the same, after the first exemption was granted.

On rejection of the second application, they filed the case in the AP High Court, which again didn’t go in their favour and hence this case was filed in Supreme Court.

For more details, on the case, check out the Judgement Information System.

Always verify any such crucial information related to the lives of people before you believe in it.

Terrorism-Are we equipped to handle the challenge

The attack in Mumbai in 2006“It is no coincidence that the recent terrorist act that have occurred have been in the states that have party in power that are hypersensitive to their avowed secular bias?Is the no non-sense policing in Gujarat and the attitude of the authorities there prevented attack?”-Swapan Dasgupta(TOI-9th Sept 2007).

I chose to begin my article with this evocative but controversial comment because it succinctly captures what i feel about the current state of affairs regarding national security.Indeed the reprehensible pogroms of Gujarat in 2002 have been used as the excuse by sundry dealers of terror to justify their act.But the hard fact is other that the Akshardaham attack has there been a terror attack on Gujarat?No.Is the attitude of the people and the authorities responsible for it?

In fact,in a recent TOI article,it was said that the A.P. state intelligence bureau was’nt allowed to pick up persons that could have been responsible for the smuggling of ordinance because they were Muslim. And this was BEFORE the blast occurred.This is liberalism gone astray.In the name of “not hurting the sentiments of the minority” the government allows freedom to some sections of the Muslim community to wantonly carry out acts of terror.The authorities easily place the blame on Pakistan and feel they have gotten away with it.

It is all fine to say that all Muslims are not terrorists but should’nt we wake up to the fact that all the terror acts that we read about from London to Bali are perpetrated by Muslims?This is not to discount the danger from other elements such as Naxals and ULFA.their grievances are largely localised and can be solved given time.All it takes is some imagination form the authorities.But the Islamist terrorrist claim to fight for a Muslim Brotherhood.Their demands are often illogical.Their plans are often grandiose.This,i feel,is more dangerous.

Here I’d like to mention the case of the USA.It has’nt wasted time in talking to these lunatics.It has simply gone ahead and neutralised them.Of course,it has come at the cost of some loss of civil right to some segments of the population,especially Muslims.But imagine the number of lives saved.USA hasn’t faced a terror attack on it’s soil since 9/11.Europe,with its softer attitude,has’nt been that lucky.Frankly I’d be willing to be detained in some security line for a couple of hours if the procedure saves some lives.Would’nt you?

Our National Security Advisor yesterday wrote: “We do not highlight our successes because we don’t want to alarm the public”Pray,where was his logic when he was writing that?I’d love to know the successes of our agencies.It would make me feel better.It would make me feel that my government is doing a good job of protecting me.I think he should get on with his job and not try to fool us with his mythical successes.It stinks of bureaucratic arrogance.

The answer to the questions that i asked in my heading must have been evident from the argument i presented.We aren’t prepared to handle the challenge.Our authorities must pull up their socks or risk facing the ire of voters who have been sick and tired of terror.

VANDE MATARAM.

Rape, Pay a compensation & Be free. This is India!!!

Rape, Pay a compensation & Be free. This is India!!!Rape is one of the most heinous crimes done by one human to control, dominate and force the other to their own will. It is a prevalent world-wide. Whatever reasons might be behind it – social, religious or in wars, it carries the same crushing shame, anger and emotional trauma.

Let us see the following figures :-

Every 26 minutes a woman in India is molested. Every 34 minutes a woman is raped. Every 42 minutes a woman is sexually harassed. Every 43 minutes a woman is kidnapped. Every 93 minutes a woman is killed. And those are just the cases that are reported.

As for the cases that are reported, very few get punishment. Often the woman is bombarded with all sorts of humiliating questions and the cases are withdrawn midway. If the perpetrator is influential and rich, its assured that justice will be thrown out of the window. This has been proved time and again. We cannot cut down the trauma caused by the actual rape but we can give the emotional support that the victim needs and see that rapist is behind the bars. This would at least result in the reduction of rape crimes in the country. But story is very different.

Now read this :-
A very shocking verdict came from a judge in Tamil Nadu, who set aside the conviction of a rapist because he offered Rs 10 lakh as compensation to the victim. The verdict delivered a month ago is a trauma to the victim. Now question arises can a convicted rapist be let off because he is rich? Is this not a total travesty of the justice. How can a convicted rapist be acquitted because he agrees to pay compensation? Does that means anyone with money can rape with impunity? We might as well dispense with trials, courts, lawyers and judges. Why bother with the legal system? Just put the price list of rape. It is shocking that for a criminal offence a person could be let off lightly.
I am also amazed that no one, be it social organizations, women groups, media has picked it up except an English daily.

In India more than 80% rape cases go unreported because the victim is looked upon as if she is at fault and somehow asked for it. Not many people have faith in the law system and as a result the victim has to suffer all by herself and to see her rapist roaming around freely. The very few go against all odds for justice and then if they are treated like this, the situation cannot be more worst for women in India.

The judiciary needs an overhaul and more stringent laws are required to curb violence and crime against women. Rape should be considered at par with murder. The necessary reforms are very essential so that rich men cannot consider law as their property. Does this mean that such rulings only send signals to the society that our women can be raped, murdered and you can pay the compensation to buy your freedom??