Babri Verdict & Hathras Case
Outrage! That sums up the Babri Masjid demolition verdict and Hathras incident should evoke, if it hasn’t already, among we the citizens. With special CBI court acquitting all 32 accused in the case after 28-odd years is travesty of justice and a sad reflection on the rule of law, at stake. On Wednesday last, the special judge’s reasoning of lack of evidence, demolition was not pre-planned and the accused were “trying to stop the mob and not incite them” is a joke, a cruel one, in a democratic society. He even overlooked Supreme Court’s observations in two cases related to Ayodhya dispute, wherein it did say the demolition was a “calculated act of destroying a place of worship”, “the destruction of the mosque and the obliteration of the Islamic structure was an egregious violation of rule of law.’ Recall too that the 1992 Liberhan commission had blamed senior political leaders for the event, which triggered one of the deadliest riots leaving 2,000 dead! The accused including senior BJP leaders had if many would remember positioned themselves in vantage points to ‘celebrate’ the masjid being razed to rubble and they are doing so today—having the last laugh. Will the CBI file an appeal? It must for the people’s trust in the system stands demolished.
The brutal gang rape of a 19-year Dalit woman by four upper caste men in Hathras district, her dying and body being hurriedly cremated at night against Hindu traditions and against her family’s wishes by UP policemen, denying them seeing her the last time, should make us Indians hang our head in shame. The question to be asked, specially of UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is this the ‘New India’ Prime Minister Modi speaks of? Though the Allahabad High Court has taken suo moto notice, the UP ADG (Law and Order) said on Thursday last she wasn’t raped as per forensic science laboratory (FSL) report and died due to neck injury and trauma, suggests a cover-up and winds of change won’t blow for the community and its women. Protests have forced Yogi to act: A SIT is to submit a report within seven days; a fast track court is to hear the case; Rs 25 lakh compensation and government job offered for the victim’s family, and a house in Hathras city… All too familiar, but it is far from justice.
Bihar’s Soap Opera
Seat-sharing formula for Bihar Assembly elections is causing heart burn within partners, with each party seeking to extract its pound of flesh. While BJP is keen the NDA remains intact, JD(U) is not in favour of sharing 105-110 seats equally for the 243-member House. The formula that rest of seats be shared by partners, Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM), isn’t smooth either. The LJP wants more and warns it shall contest 143 seats and wouldn’t shy from putting up candidates against JD(U) if it isn’t obliged! On the Opposition platform, Congress and RJD too are locked in a battle of wits with the former demanding 75 seats and latter offering just 58. There are more fronts. Spurned by NDA and disowned by RJD-helmed Grand Alliance, the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party of Kushwaha tied up with BSP and Janatantrik Party-Socialist and there is big if whether LJP will join. The Jan Adhikar Party has a tie up with Bhim Army and AIMIM has another front with veteran socialist leader DP Yadav’s party. Confusion galore for the voters, as the 3-phase polling begins from October 28. Nagging suspense!
Congress-ruled Punjab is keeping the heat on the farm laws. Not because the mandi system is strong and productivity high, with central agencies making most purchases for food security, but arch rival SAD, oldest ally of NDA, is out of the Alliance and both need to protect their turf. While other States like UP, Karnataka, TN participated in the Bharat bandh, Punjab’s stir looks long drawn. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is seeking legal advice, offering full support to farmers and obviously using the moment to trash SAD’s ‘cheap gimmickry” accusing it of “wholeheartedly” supporting the 3 ordinances but backing out only when its position became untenable amid widespread angst among farmers. The SAD hits back accusing Amarinder of ‘playing a hoax’ on farmers by not forwarding the resolution rejecting the ordinances, passed at a special Assembly session in August to the Centre. This tu-tu-mein-mein has added fuel to fire and the stir entered Phase 2 on Thursday last. Farmers’ unions under KMSC banner have extended ‘rail roko’ for an indefinite period, will hold daily protests outside homes of BJP leaders, Reliance stores and petrol pumps, stores of Adani logistics, Essar petrol pumps etc. The Centre has more on its hand than bargained for.
J&K Brazen Detention
Will there be rule of law in Jammu & Kashmir or will it run at whims and fancies of administration, is a question that begs an answer. On Tuesday last, noting that detention of former Chief Minister and PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti under J-K Public Safety Act, ‘cannot go on forever’ the Supreme Court had to ask what’s maximum period for which a person can be detained under that law. It was dealing with Mufti’s daughter’s petition challenging the detention, since August 5 last year following abrogation of Article 370. While administration has a fortnight to respond, the court asked whether detention shall continue or administration will find ‘some via media out?’ It refused permission for Mufti to attend to party affairs and people visiting her saying “such a blanket prayer would be difficult to countenance”, but suggested she request the authorities and they should ‘promptly consider in accordance with law.’ Will Mufti be set at liberty if the highest court of the land is dissatisfied with the authorities’ answer? Time will tell.
Maharashtra is heartless when it comes to the elderly. For the 3rd consecutive year, it recorded the most crimes– 22.3% committed against senior citizens in the country last year. The NCRB’s ‘Crime In India 2019 report’ reveals of 26,562 offences against those aged 60 plus, over half were in 3 States —Maharashtra (6,163), Madhya Pradesh (4,184) and Gujarat (4,088) and Delhi (1,076). Senior citizens population is 10.24 crore in 2011 census, with crime rate being 25.9 for every one lakh such citizens in States and 81.5 in UTs. Maharashtra’s crime rate has been on steady rise with 5,321 cases in 2017 and 5,961 in 2018; theft (2,051) was most common; 839 senior citizens were cheated; 162 of 1,184 senior citizens murdered. However, it’s the 3rd highest in incidents of criminal trespass into homes of elderly after Andhra Pradesh (139) and Telangana (321), but Mumbai, country’s financial capital accounted for most crimes (1,231) among 12 metropolitan cities. And while 12 States and 4 UTs had zero convictions, Maharashtra courts conviction rate was 5th highest (171 people) with 2nd highest acquittals (1066) in the country, trailing only behind MP courts (1,515). Not much of a consolation! Will it provide much-needed safety? —INFA