[ By Insaf ]
India’s educated youth is standing up! The country is in turmoil to put it mildly and New Delhi in a conundrum, as the reaction by students and the intelligentsia among others, to the Citizenship Amendment Act, is simply startling. The initial brutal actions of the police in educational institutions including Jamia Millia Islamia, Aligarh Muslim University and against peaceful protesting students, whether in capital, Delhi, across cities of Mumbai and Chennai, has nudged citizen and people’s groups to join them on the streets. While the violent protests in parts of Assam, Meghalaya, Uttar Pradesh, Bangalore, Gujarat etc must be condemned, the Government must reason and more importantly Prime Minister Modi must break his silence. The basic fact that despite prohibitory orders and metro stations and internet shut downs, both young and old are assembling in hundreds at venues of the protest, at the risk of being lathi-charged or detained means they are unwilling to be silenced. For the Government to say, through an odd minister here and there that it will go ahead with its plans sends a wrong message, specially in any democratic society.
Not only the common citizen, but Modi-Shah team must reach out to the Opposition as well for after all India is a democracy and cannot be run the rule of a brute majority. So far, not only have the Chief Ministers of West Bengal, Punjab, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Kerala openly said that they would oppose both the CAA and NRC, but Odisha and ally JD(U) in Bihar have joined the ranks. Plus, ruling parties in States like the Telangana Rasthra Samithi (TRS) and AAP in Delhi have criticised a nationwide NRC. The argument being that the CAA and NRC is divisive, unconstitutional and affects the fundamental principle of secularism of the nation. At the same time, there are many petitioners who have knocked on the door of the Supreme Court seeking a stay on the CAA operation. Though this has been refused, the highest court of the land has issued a notice to the Centre and the next date of hearing is January 22. Too long a date? The anger, it is feared is bound to grow. Will the Centre consider the adage—a stitch in time saves nine and do whatever it takes to save peace?
SC Conscience Nudged
The ever-increasing rape cases in the country, including those in Unnao and Telangana, are now searching the conscience of none other than the Supreme Court. It took suo motu cognisance on the ‘assessment of the criminal justice system regarding sexual offences,’ and asked all the States and High Courts on Wednesday last to ‘reply and give status report’ on facets such as investigation process, collection of evidence, recording of statement of victim and time frame for trial. It noted the need to collate information and status reports to ensure ‘holistic’ implementation of the provisions of the rape law and even appointed Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra as amicus curiae to assist it. This on grounds that the December 2012 rape case “shocked nation’s conscience; delay in such matters created agitation, anxiety, and unrest in the minds of people,” and rejected review petition by one of the four-death row convicts in the Nirbhaya case. Prior to this, CJI Bobde has appointed a two-judge committee for speedy disposal of rape cases across the country. Can young girls and women of the country hope for safer times?
Educated Jobless Youth
Mind boggling and scandalous are the statistics on unemployed educated youth in Congress-ruled Madhya Pradesh. In just within a year, the number has risen by a whopping seven lakh to 28 lakh (October 2018 were 20,77,222 and in 2019 were 27,79,725). Not hearsay but figures admitted in the ongoing Assembly session. Chief Minister Kamal Nath has sought to soften the blow saying 34,000 youth got jobs in the same period. Certainly no solace and worse the reasoning that the State topped unemployment list for 15 years before Congress came to power, or the number may have risen as youth are ‘hopeful of getting jobs under the regime and registered in large numbers with job exchanges’ or that they have done so to get the Rs 4000 monthly jobless allowance as promised, is unconvincing. Nath must realise that passing the buck to his predecessor, which is standard practice of our netas, doesn’t make matters any better. He needs to pull up his socks as the Opposition claims there are 3 lakh-odd vacancies in the government alone, which are yet to open. No more excuses, as a restive youth is the last MP should have to deal with. New Delhi is a clear example, to see.
Hope for Kashmir?
Can winter offer some warmth to the protesting Kashmiris? Honestly no, but a ray of hope can’t be ruled out. For the first time in near five months since New Delhi abrogated Article 370 and the people launched a civil disobedience movement, congregational prayers were held at the historic Jamia Masjid in Srinagar on Wednesday last, even though by a 100-odd people. This was after 136 days, since authorities sealed all entry points to the mosque on August 5. And, while authorities claimed to have lifted security restrictions in the area after a few weeks, the locals refused to offer prayers till heavy presence of armed forces around it was removed. How soon Friday congregational prayers will take place needs to be seen as the gap has been the longest in over 50 years? Plus, should the aam admi and journalists hope to get mobile internet services restored following authorities providing facilities to the 33 detained political leaders in Srinagar – some now have TV in rooms; can meet family members 2-3 times a week; few mobile phones and phone lines are operational for them to speak to relatives etc. Time will tell, but normalcy is a far cry.
Watch Your Lyrics
Mind your lyrics or else risk being behind bars. The warning bells ring this time from Goa. Four musicians were arrested on Wednesday last during the Serendipity Festival. Their crime — performing songs that allegedly “insulted religious sentiments of Hindus,” under IPC section 295. Says the police, the band ‘Dastaan’ sang with “malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of Hindu citizens”. ‘Om’ was part of the lyrics with words like ‘Ullu ka Pattha’ (Hindi abuse), which enraged a Supreme Court advocate, who filed the complaint. While the singers are on bail they would need to visit the police station when called. The cops are to look at the footage, listen if they did use these words and call witnesses to confirm if it hurt any sentiments. However, the festival organisers say the performance was a “curated work” of several poems, which already exist! Jarring note for the cops? —INFA