Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Category: General

Sexual discrimination

On 4/3/2104 in Sahara Refund case Supreme Court sent Subrata Roy and two male directors, Ravi Shanker Dubey and Ashok Roy Choudhary to judicial custody, but not Vandana Bhargava, a female director. That is sexual discrimination. It is against equal punishment or treatment for equal crime.
Many women have escaped jail when justice demanded they should be there. When Harshad Mehta was arrested as director, Jyoti Mehta was not arrested. Rabri Devi was let off in a case. Many women pradhans and sarpanchs guilty of corruption have not been charged, prosecuted and jailed.
There is sexual discrimination against men. In city buses seats are unjustifiably reserved for women. It is different from reserving compartments or seats in local or long distance trains. In local bodies there is 33% or 50% reservation for women. That means women are free to contest 100% seats, men 67% or 50% seats. Rotation means neglect and no development of constituencies unless the woman representative is spouse or related to the man who represented it before. Capable women do not need reservation as Mayawati, Mamata Banerjee and Jayalalitha have proved.
For Delhi nursery admissions girls get five extra points, boys are at a disadvantage.
Those who talk of low percentage of women in legislatures and various professions do not mention professions where women’s percentage higher or jails where women’s percentage is low.
Some talk of representation for women in combat positions in armed forces. They talk as if war is picnic. Soldiers get beheaded, mutilated or tortured. In case or women it can be worse. Some want women fighter pilots. When drones and missiles can do the job nobody should be fighter pilot. Some women want to join the army but don’t want to be tested by male doctors. Women pilots don’t want to fly to destinations where there are no toilets. Pregnant women need maternity leave and they will not be available during war. If a woman soldier is at frontline and suddenly she has labour pains it is a problem for her and others.
As per Indian law a man can be punished for committing adultery with another man’s wife but the woman cannot be punished. Feminists and women’s rights activists have not spoken against this discrimination.
Female foeticide is a crime. Male foeticide is not a crime.

End of telegram

The era of telegram which began in India in 1850 came to an end on 14/7/2013. It was revolutionary when it began and dominated for about 150 years. Many times people dreaded the arrival of a telegram because they feared it brought the news of death. There were not many telephones and outstation calls had to be through telephone exchanges. With the spread of telephone and of telex and fax there was less reliance on telegram at the end of the 20th century. Things changed drastically in 21st century. Mobile phones became common. Telex became outdated. Spread of internet meant documents can be scanned and sent. Telegram began to fade away. The government had to shut down telegraph department.
Employees who wanted leave would ask someone to send a telegram to say father or mother is serious. Telegram had numbers for certain messages and that saved money of senders.
Change in technology renders many things irrelevant. Telegram joins a long list of such things. Pagers, VCPs, VCRs, telex, typewriters, cyclostyle, floppy disks, LP records, and audio cassettes are some of them.
Many cities have central telegraph officers which are now redundant. The government can maintain them for historical value or auction them and make money which can reduce current account deficit.

Hanging of a terrorist

On 20/11/2012 India was one of the 39 countries that voted against a United Nations General Assembly resolution for abolition of death penalty. India stated each nation had the sovereign right to determine its legal system. In India death penalty is given in rarest of rare cases and there are appeals against death penalty till Supreme Court and President has the power to pardon. Most of the 110 countries that supported the resolution are small countries while 36 countries abstained.
On 21/11/2012 around 7 a.m. I heard on CNN-IBN, President has rejected Ajmal Kasab’s mercy petition. Later on I saw the headline on The Indian Express – President rejects Kasab’s mercy petition.
At 8.18 a.m. I was surprised to see the words “Kasab Hanged” on CNN-IBN. I had expected the hanging to take place many days later. Soon all Indian news channels were reporting the hanging. On 16/10/2012 Sushilkumar Shinde had sent the file to President. On 5/11/2012 Pranab Mukherjee rejected the mercy petition. Sushilkumar Shinde was abroad. He returned on 7/11/2012. On 8/11/2012 he sent the file to Maharashtra. On 19/11/2012 Ajmal Kasab was moved from Arthur Road Jail to Poona’s Yerawada Jail. There was no publicity about the impending hanging. At 8.36 a.m. R. R. Patil made a statement.
For many the news was a pleasant surprise. For a few busybodies who oppose death penalty it was a nasty surprise. The execution was five days before the fourth anniversary of 26/11.
The news of hanging dominated news channels. It pushed out other events like FDI, Gujarat election, BJP’s protest against corruption, demand for Nitin Gadkari’s resignation. Salman Khurshid and Sushilkumar Shinde appeared on TV channels. Sushilkumar Shinde said Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, and cabinet colleagues did not know about the hanging that was to take place. It was a routine decision. Family members and relatives of people who died in 26/11 were interviewed. They included K. Unnikrishnan, Smita Salaskar, Divya Salaskar, and Vandana Chavan. Some thanked the President. For some it was closure of one chapter.
Some questioned the secrecy and timing of hanging. Secrecy was justified on the ground of security and preventing NGOs and private citizens from going to Supreme Court to get a stay order.
There were TV discussions about hanging. Some felt it took too long. There was question about when Afzal Guru will be hanged. Harish Salve said Ajmal Kasab should have been tried like a war criminal and the trial would have been over in three months. Ajmal Kasab’s hanging took less time than that of Indira Gandhi’s killers.
What is public knowledge by 8.30 a.m. is not Breaking News at 6.30 p.m. Idiots who run NDTV 24×7 should know that.

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