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Archive for March 2017

The following editorial in The New York Times gives a timely warning to Prime Minister Narendra Modi against frittering away his electoral gains:

 

 

Since he was elected in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India has played a cagey game, appeasing his party’s hard-line Hindu base while promoting secular goals of development and economic growth. Despite worrying signs that he was willing to humor Hindu extremists, Mr. Modi refrained from overtly approving violence against the nation’s Muslim minority.

On Sunday, Mr. Modi revealed his hand. Emboldened by a landslide victory in recent elections in India’s largest state, Uttar Pradesh, his party named a firebrand Hindu cleric, Yogi Adityanath, as the state’s leader. The move is a shocking rebuke to religious minorities, and a sign that cold political calculations ahead of national elections in 2019 have led Mr. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party to believe that nothing stands in the way of realizing its long-held dream of transforming a secular republic into a Hindu state.

Mr. Adityanath has made a political career of demonizing Muslims, thundering against such imaginary plots as “love jihad”: the notion that Muslim men connive to water down the overwhelming Hindu majority by seducing Hindu women. He defended a Hindu mob that murdered a Muslim man in 2015 on the suspicion that his family was eating beef, and said Muslims who balked at performing a yoga salutation to the sun should “drown themselves in the sea.”

Uttar Pradesh, home to more than 200 million people, badly needs development, not ideological showmanship. The state has the highest infant mortality rate in the country. Nearly half of its children are stunted. Educational outcomes are dismal. Youth unemployment is high.

Mr. Adityanath has sounded the right notes, saying, “My government will be for everyone, not specifically for any caste or community,” and promising to make Uttar Pradesh “the dreamland” of Mr. Modi’s development model.

But the appointment shows that Mr. Modi sees no contradiction between economic development and a muscular Hindu nationalism that feeds on stoking anti-Muslim passions. Mr. Modi’s economic policies have delivered growth, but not jobs. India needs to generate a million new jobs every month to meet employment demand. Should Mr. Adityanath fail to deliver, there is every fear that he — and Mr. Modi’s party — will resort to deadly Muslim-baiting to stay in power, turning Mr. Modi’s dreamland into a nightmare for India’s minorities, and threatening the progress that Mr. Modi has promised to all of its citizens.

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Can a person, who pulls the trigger to kill, be made an Approver in a murder case?

Yes, if it is a high-profile case, the CBI is the investigating agency and there is an obliging judge. This has happened in the Shehla Masood murder case

The CBI submitted the charge-sheet before Special CBI Judge at Indore on May 25, 2012. The charge-sheet said: ‘On August 16 (2011) at around 11-20 hrs Shehla Masood walked out of her house and sat in her car. When she was searching for something in her bag, Irfan jerked open the door on the driver’s side and shot at Shehla with country-made weapon after thrusting the weapon in her neck.’

Later the CBI made Irfan the Approver in the case which the court allowed under the provisions of Section 307 of Cr P C.

In his new role as Approver, Irfan told the court that trigger was squeezed by Tabish.

Special CBI judge at Indore B K Paloda accepted the CBI argument that Zahida Parvez, an interior designer, was jealous of Shehla Masood’s closeness to BJP MLA Dhruva Narayan Singh and had hired contract killers through Saqib. The judge sentenced to life imprisonment both of them as well as Zahida’s associate Saba Farooqi and Tabish. The fifth accused, Irfan, was naturally shown clemency as he had turned approver.

A man in my village in Punjab was a member of a cattle lifters’ gang which had its operations in the nearby villages. For a while, he was also involved with an inter-state gang of girl abductors and had narrowly escaped from the police dragnet. Some people in the village did have suspicions about him but no one cared much because he did not follow his criminal intents in the village.  

He brewed (illegally) his own liquor from the acacia bark which occasionally landed him in police custody. He would drink heavily in the evening. Though ever ready to pick up quarrels with any one on the most insignificant issues, he would seal his lips once he started drinking at his house in the evening. That went in his favour. 

Under some peculiar circumstances, I became his confidant in his later years. Whenever I visited the village during vacations, he would sometimes come to me and tell me about his exploits — both successes and failures. One incident, which he narrated to me, would explain his modus operandi. 

One day, he said, he and his colleagues in the gang had stolen a camel from a particular village and hid the animal in another village till the dust had settled down. The owner of the camel lodged an FIR at the police station and gave his name as the suspect. The Thanedar sent for him. As the Thanedar had recently come on transfer, he had not yet made his acquaintance with him. As soon as he reached the police station, he touched the feet of the Thanedar and pressed one foot with two fingers. The Thanedar asked him some peremptory questions and let him off with the loud observation that he was not the thief. Once the heat had died down, they sold the camel for Rs 700 and he promptly went to the police station and gave Rs 200 to the Thanedar. (Rs 200 was a princely sum in the 1950s). 

The girl abductors gang, with which he was involved for some time, once picked up a girl of Class Eighth from Kanpur. She, along with four or five other girls, was kept in a ‘safe house’ in a village, not far from my village. The girl somehow managed to send a post card to ‘Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India, New Delhi’ in which she gave the information about their incarceration. Nehru sent the post card to Punjab Chief Minister Partap Singh Kairon who constituted a team of policemen and instructed the team to quietly raid the house without informing the local police. 

The man from my village was sent on some errand by other gang members and he had left the ‘safe house’ only minutes before the police team from Chandigarh raided it. ‘I thanked my stars and decided to keep away from big crimes and stick only to local cattle lifting affair’, he said.


March 2017
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Outright Perilous!

An egoist as the head of the government is bad enough. An egotist is a nuisance as his constant chant of I…, I…., I….. jars on the listeners’ years. But when he loses touch with the reality and starts believing his imaginary achievements to be his real achievements, that’s outright perilous.

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