Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

AAP is Animal Farm

Those who have read George Orwell’s Animal Farm will know what I mean by AAP is Animal Farm. In that novel beasts of England and Ireland are called to revolt against a man. Beasts of Manor Farm revolt and drive out the man and establish the rule of animals. They change the name of the farm to Animal Farm. They have their rules of equality and so on but they get diluted over time. There is fight between two leaders for control of animals. One is victorious.
AAP began with principles and high promises. It comprised of members who were part of India Against Corruption and wanted ombudsmen; Lokpal at Centre and Lokayukta in states. They contested Legislative Assembly elections in Delhi and won 28 out of 70 seats. Congress extended it outside support. Arvind Kejriwal became chief minister. The government lasted 49 days. Congress did not support AAP’s Lokayukta Bill and Arvind Kejriwal resigned.
AAP expected dissolution of Delhi’s Legislative Assembly and elections along with Lok Sabha elections. That did not happen. AAP went to Supreme Court against non-dissolution. The case dragged on for many months.
Principles of grassroots democracy and no high command culture were given up during Lok Sabha elections. Local members had no say on who their candidate should be. There were no primaries. People in Delhi decided who should be candidates. It was high command culture. In Lok Sabha AAP contested more than 400 seats. It won 4 seats in Punjab. It did not win any seat anywhere else including Delhi. BJP won all 7 seats in Delhi and led in 60 Assembly segments.
Shazia Ilmi quit AAP. She accused Arvind Kejriwal of working against her. She said there was sabotage when she contested from R. K. Puram and Ghaziabad.
Arvind Kejriwal wrote to Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung not to dissolve Delhi Assembly for a week. He wanted to form government with Congress support. Congress did not support him.
BJP was confident of winning in Delhi. Legislative Assembly elections took place. Shazia Ilmi and Kiran Bedi joined BJP. Kiran Bedi became BJP’s chief ministerial candidate. There were questions about some AAP candidates who had joined from other parties. AAP won 67 seats. BJP was reduced to 3.
Arvind Kejriwal had talked against VIP culture, ministers occupying bungalows, security, red beacons. Now he wanted a bungalow and got one. He had security when he went to Bangalore. Traffic was stopped for him. He did not pay toll. He said all this was as per protocol.
He wanted Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav out of Political Affairs Committee. There was no place for dissent against party supremo. He succeeded. After that Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav were thrown out of National Executive. These two were founder members and had done great service to the party.
Anjali Damania quit AAP. Medha Patkar quit AAP.
AAP Lokpal Admiral Ramdas was sacked though some months were there to complete his term. Arvind Kejriwal who had talked and agitated for Lokpal for India and had resigned for not being able to pass Delhi Lokayukta Bill had sacked his party’s Lokpal. He constituted three-member Lokpal.
Prashant Bhushan was removed from disciplinary committee. New members were brought in.
Some AAP leaders held Swaraj Samwad on 14/4/2015. Prashant Bhushan, Yogendra Yadav, Anand Kumar and Ajit Jha received notices for that and were expelled from the party on 20/4/2015. Dharamvir Gandhi who was sympathetic to Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav was removed as AAP leader in Lok Sabha.
Finally, Arvind Kejriwal who did not want security and had been accessible to journalists wanted Delhi police to provide security to him from journalists during his farmers’ rally on 22/4/2015. Delhi police replied he has no threat from journalists. However police were present during the rally which made more news because of a farmer’s suicide. BJP and Congress blamed AAP for continuing the rally. Arvind Kejriwal said they repeatedly appealed to police who are not under him to save the farmer but they did not save him.
AAP talked of transparency, inner party or internal democracy and of allowing dissent. That has disappeared. After becoming Delhi CM for the second time he could have quit as national convener. He did not do it. During Delhi elections someone had said “AAP is Arvind Kejriwal. Arvind Kejriwal is AAP.” For many in India and abroad AAP had brought hope and expectations of clean politics, end of corruption, participatory democracy and so on. That hope is shattered. In its place there is disappointment, disillusionment, dismay. India’s common man looks around to see whether any good politician is left. There is no one left; no, not even one.

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.

Death penalty shall continue

On Saturday 7/3/2015 I sent a message to EWTN about an article about opposition to death penalty.

It is wrong for Catholics to oppose death penalty and for bishops and publications to campaign against death penalty. Jesus Christ was in favour of death penalty. St. Peter sentenced Ananias and Sapphira to death. Every death penalty prevents 3 to 18 murders. Murders have gone up in Mexico after Mexico stopped death penalty. The blood of victims cries to heaven for justice. Catholics should be on the side of victims, not of murderers.

I received a reply. I read it on 12/3/2015.

Thank you for your email. The Register published a joint editorial appealing for an end to the death penalty in the United States. The editorial a collaboration of National Catholic Register, America Magazine, National Catholic Reporter and Our Sunday Visitor. It will also be published in our March 28 print edition.

The Register’s editor in chief also explained the newspaper’s position in a statement on her blog. The statement follows:

From the time of the publication of his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), Pope St. John Paul II urged Catholics to re-examine the use of the death penalty – teaching that its use today should be “very rare if not practically non-existent.” His successors Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis consistently have taught the same.

We’ve taken that teaching to heart. We’ve prayerfully pondered it and we accept it. Our reporting over the years has reflected this teaching. And, while we recognize that the Church has allowed for the legitimate use of the death penalty for society’s self-defense, we find that it’s harder and harder to argue that a particular act of capital punishment is circumstantially necessary today in contemporary America. We believe the right path is to seek its abolition and we’ve taken the opportunity, along with other members of the Catholic press, to encourage our readers to consider this stance as a part of comprehensively embracing the Gospel of Life.

Today we face ever-increasing assaults on the sanctity of human life. Unity among Catholics in defense of life can send a powerful message. Euthanasia, abortion, war and capital punishment differ in moral weight, but they all threaten human dignity and we must work to end them. While we look forward to the day we can stand in unity with the other Catholic publications on each of these life issues, we stand today on the death penalty, strengthened by the teaching of John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis, and say “Capital punishment must end.”

Thanks & God Bless,
EWTN Viewer Response

“Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

I replied on 12/3/2015.

The church from the beginning was in favour of death penalty. The teaching changed in 1995. So it is not a continuation of Catholic teaching but separate and contrary teaching.

In USA there are at least three cases where murderers came out of prisons and committed more murders. If they had been executed their victims could have been saved. There are contract killers for whom murder is a profession.

The more things change the more they remain the same. Death penalty is a necessity in contemporary America. With automatic rifles or bombs large number of people can be murdered. Strange that there is no word by bishops against gun violence, easy availability of guns in USA. No word by bishops against merchants of death who are members of National Rifle Association.

What do you say about Boston bombing, Fort Hood massacre etc? Not hanging the criminals in such cases is grave injustice to victims and will boost crime. As long as such criminals are in prison there are possibilities of abductions of people with an attempt to secure their release.

There is nothing Catholic about opposing death penalty. Wrong is wrong even if the pope is wrong. John Paul II and his successors are wrong.

It is perverse that attempts are made to save the lives of murderers but the losses of lives of victims are ignored. It seems lives of victims do not matter. Some people shed crocodile tears.

Things have deteriorated since 1995. Today we have ISIS, Al Qaeda, Al Nusra, Taliban, drug cartels and others who carry on murders and terrorist activities. Timely execution of a murderer sends the message that murder will not be tolerated and met with death. That deters murderers. In Mexico murders have gone up and even priests are shot dead. You are aware of 43 students who were murdered. If there had been death penalty many of those lives could have been saved. Those who oppose death penalty are like Pharisees. They have eyes but they do not see. They have ears but they do not hear.

Terrorist activities have taken place in London, Madrid, Paris and other places. Not to execute terrorists and murderers is foolish.

Pakistan restarted death penalty after Peshawar school shooting. Indonesia restarted death penalty after crimes went up.

Death penalty is a matter of crime and punishment. It should be left to states.

Death penalty is different from abortion and euthanasia. Many who oppose death penalty are in favour of abortion and euthanasia.

Sometimes war is necessary to save people. Pope Francis has said ISIS must be stopped. Only way to stop ISIS is to fight a war and kill them. They have their sights on Rome.

You have quoted “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” The key word here is friends. It is not murderers, rapists, criminals, abductors, hijackers or rapists.

“Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

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