Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Category: Media

Burkha ban in college

St. Aloysius’ College is in news for its rule that students should show their faces in class rooms. Students who come wearing burkha have to show their faces. The rule is in prospectus. Some have called it Burkha ban. Muslim clergy is said to be opposed to the rule.

St. Aloysius’ College has come to the rescue of Muslim female students who are under pressure from Muslim male students to wear burkha. Muslim female students don’t want to wear burkha. Parents of those female students don’t want their daughters to wear burkha.

In West Bengal, Muslim male students had made life difficult for a Muslim female lecturer. She defied them. The management had succumbed to pressure from that Taliban and had transferred the lecturer to some other place.

Colleges have a right to make rules. Students who want to study there must follow the rules. Some years back a college in Bantwal faced such a problem. A Muslim student came to college wearing burkha. Some Hindu students protested and said they too would come wearing religious dress. The Muslim student was asked to stop wearing burkha. A female Muslim lecturer tried to make that Muslim student understand and give up burkha in college but the student did not agree. She stopped attending college. The college management faced hostile questioning by TV channels. Then came Nicolas Sarkozy’s statement “Burkha is not welcome in France.” That flummoxed TV journalists.

Islam does not say a woman should cover her face. Islam says a woman should be modestly dressed. Recently Emir of Qatar visited India. His wife did not cover her face. There is no violation of freedom of religion when Muslim female students are told not to cover their faces in college. Muslim clerics who want Muslim female students to cover their faces should start colleges for them. Muslims have Yenepoya Medical College in Mangalore. They can have other colleges. It is not for Muslims to dictate the rules in Christian colleges.

Till some years back St. Aloysius’ college was a boys’ college.

Sections of population are getting talibanised. Some years back there were no such problems from Muslim female students.

Covering a face by wearing burkha is different from a Sikh wearing turban or a nun wearing her habit. In both cases there is no covering of face. Many Hindu women cover their faces in different ways. The college rule prohibits covering faces and applies to all female students irrespective of religion. There was a report that St. Edward’s School in Simla has banned turbans.

If students come wearing burkha lecturers cannot be sure of the identity of the students. Instead of one student somebody else may be present.

Burkha is a security issue. Terrorists can come wearing burkha. That happened in Kabul. Three men wore burkha and came in a car and got inside the compound of Indian guest house and shot people. In Australia bank robbers used burkha. In three cases babies were stolen by women wearing burkha.

Tuesday the 11th Terrorist strikes

There are people who oppose death penalty to a terrorist even when the terrorist does not challenge his conviction and does not file a mercy petition. The jailor refuses to execute court’s order to hang him. The state government files a mercy petition.

Imagine a situation. A terrorist enters the studio of NDTV when We the people is telecast live. He shoots Barkha Dutt, Colin Gonsalves, K. C. Singh, Praveen Swami, Mani Shankar Aiyar, Ram Jethmalani, Majeed Memon, Naresh Gujral and so on. The terrorist goes to Kashmir, kills Governor, MLAs and High Court judges. The terrorist goes to Assam, kills Governor, MLAs and High Court judges. The terrorist goes to Tamil Nadu, kills Governor, MLAs and High Court judges. The terrorist goes to Punjab, kills Governor, MLAs and High Court judges. When MLAs are killed chief minister and other ministers are killed.

The terrorist is arrested. He says “My mission is incomplete. Next time I will succeed. I will kill President, Vice President, MPs, Supreme Court judges, Governors, High Court judges, MLAs and MLCs wherever they are. When MPs are killed prime minister and other ministers are killed.” The terrorist is prosecuted. He says he did not commit any crime. He killed evil people and their collaborators. Some deaths were collateral damage. He is found guilty by Sessions Court. He does not file any appeal. Someone files a PIL in High Court. High Court convicts him. Another person files a PIL in Supreme Court. From Sessions Court to High Court to Supreme Court he is sentenced to death. The terrorist does not file a mercy petition. Someone files a mercy petition. President rejects it. Date is set for hanging. Then someone goes to High Court challenging the rejection. He says the President took one year to decide on the mercy petition. Before that the terrorist was in prison for four years. Five years is too long a time to wait for hanging. The High Court stays the execution. The terrorist escapes from prison.

It is Tuesday the 11th. The terrorist is sitting in a bunker. Parliament, Legislative Assemblies and Legislative Councils are in session. The terrorist gives a command on his computer. Missiles carrying neutron bombs fly. Delhi and state capitals are hit. Those bombs kill people but leave buildings intact. People in Rashtrapati Bhavan, Parliament House, Supreme Court, Governors’ Houses, Legislative Buildings, High Courts and many other buildings are dead. There are discussions on TV channels. Someone says “It was intelligence failure, not operational failure.” Another person says “The terrorist had told he will kill those people. Why was it not taken seriously?” Someone says “What do we do now? There is no president, prime minister, ministers and Supreme Court judges. There are no governors, chief ministers, ministers and high court judges. There are no MPs and MLAs and MLCs.” One panelist says to another “You went to High Court against his hanging. If he had been hanged my uncle would have been alive today. Shame on you.”

The anchor says “We have Breaking News. The terrorist is addressing the nation.” The channel switches to the speech.

“Friends, Indians, Countrymen,

Lend me your ears. I am your leader, Chief Executive.

Do not cry for the people who are dead. They were dishonourable people.

The choice was between country and democracy. What we called democracy was bad for the country. I have uploaded a new constitution on the government web site.

Politicians followed the policy of divide and rule. They made some Indians like SCs, STs, OBCs, women more equal others. India had become like George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Now all are equal. A few people benefitted at the expense of 121 crore people. They borrowed thousands of crores of rupees from banks and did not repay them while 121 crore people had to pay more taxes. Never in the history of the world so few people benefitted at the cost of so many people.

There was no justice. People went to court and got dates. Cases dragged on for years. Victims cried. Criminals laughed. They got stay orders and went in appeals. Prosecution lawyers joined together with defence lawyers. Some managed judges. Witnesses turned hostile. Evidence disappeared. When they were convicted they went to hospitals or got parole. CBI did the farce of searching for an absconder and in Supreme Court said they knew about her whereabouts and did not intend to arrest her.

Those who commit violent crimes will be drawn, hung, disemboweled, entrails burnt, beheaded and quartered. There will be caning or flogging for minor crimes. For some crimes there will be imprisonment or fine.

Farmers are free to export cotton, garlic, onion, potatoes, sugar, tomatoes and make profits. Industrialists should not benefit at the cost of farmers.

If any panchayat kills people all members of that panchayat will be buried alive and the village will be flattened and made a dumping ground.

Government will do its job in education. Private unaided and minority institutions will not be compelled to reserve 25% seats.

Taxes will come down by 1% per year. A time will come when no Indian will have to pay any tax. Anti-dumping duty may be there for imports less than cost price.

I will root out corruption. Any public servant who demands or accepts bribe will be buried alive. All public servants who took bribes up to now and all people who gave them bribes have 90 days to give declarations and they will have imprisonment or fine and will not be buried alive.

If any Indian anywhere or a foreigner in India is taken hostage we will begin rescue operation immediately and the hostage will be freed alive or dead. Hostage takers will be killed. Their bodies will be dumped into the sea or river or left on land to be eaten by beasts and birds. There should be no criticism of this policy on any TV channel and if I hear any criticism I will send a missile and destroy that channel.”

At this point one panelist says “My goodness, this is too terrible. I am leaving.” Soon other panelists follow. Then the anchor follows. The cameraman leaves and the channel is blacked out.

News and Statistics

There are people who criticize media for its coverage of events. They say media ignores real issues like poverty, price rise, illiteracy and unemployment and gives importance to trivia. Farmer suicides are ignored. Death of Dev Anand and retirement of Rahul Dravid get prominence.

Those critics do not know what news is. One person dying is news. Thousand persons dying is statistics. When farmers die every day it is not news. Terrorist strikes in Kashmir are not news. When Anna Hazare fasts it is news. Irom Sharmila fasting is not news.

People like Dev Anand do not die every day. Dev Anand was in the film industry for 65 years. His films have entertained a large section of people.

Cricketers like Rahul Dravid do not retire every day. He played Test cricket for 16 years. He had the record of highest Test catches. He was second in the number of Test runs.

The job of the media is to report. It is not the job of the media to do social service. However media should not glorify crime and criminals. It should not publish or air interviews of criminals.

Media reports did not stop starvation deaths. Same is the case with malnutrition, child marriages in some parts of India and other problems. Media can make some difference but cannot work wonders.

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