Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Meat ban

On 19/3/2017 Yogi Adityanath became UP CM. Soon there was meat ban in UP. Now BJP governments in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, MP, Rajasthan, and Uttarakhand have imposed meat ban. Officially the governments claim they are against illegal slaughterhouses. In reality all slaughterhouses are shut down.
BJP wants India to become a Hindu nation. For BJP vegetarianism is part of Hinduism. Many Hindus eat meat, fish and eggs. BJP had governments in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, MP, Rajasthan, and Uttarakhand before. They did not impose meat ban before. Victory in UP gave BJP confidence to pursue its hidden agenda of vegetarianism. Fish ban and egg ban is a matter of time. There will be ban on cakes, candies, chocolates and cookies.
BJP government in MP had stopped eggs as part of mid-day meals. In Maharashtra, BJP banned buffalo meat. Shiv Sena opposed meat ban during Paryushan.
BJP talks development of all. By all it means vegetarian Hindus. Muslims, Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, and Bahais are excluded. BJP considers Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs as Hindus. Jains are vegetarians and abstain from root vegetables and honey. Buddhists and Sikhs are free to eat meat.
Meat ban has economic and other consequences. Many will lose income and jobs. Prices of vegetables will go up. Many will lose their favourite food. Unemployment will lead to problems. Animals will be left on the roads. Some will destroy crops. Environment Ministry permitted killing of blue bulls (nilgais) in Bihar because they were destroying crops.
BJP wants to impose yoga, Sanskrit and vegetarianism. It will not rest with constructing a few temples. It wants ban on burial of the dead and wants cremation for all. Many Hindus bury their dead. MGR was buried. Kannada actor Rajkumar was buried. Jayalalitha’s tomb is visited by her followers. Cremation causes pollution.
In 2014 during Lok Sabha campaign Narendra Modi had talked against Pink Revolution. This time in UP, Muslims were his targets. “If a village has a cemetery it should also have a crematorium. If there is electricity for Ramzan it should be there for Diwali.”
RSS pracharaks, babas, sadhvis and yogis becoming ministers leads to imposition of their religious views on others. In Haryana, Uttarakhand, and UP, BJP did not declare its CM candidates beforehand. In UP, Yogi Adityanath had not contested as an MLA. Till Yogi Adityanath becomes an MLA or MLC in UP, it is the tyranny of the unelected in UP.

EVMs

Many politicians blame electronic voting machines when they lose elections. Other losers have blamed EVMs at different times. When same politicians win elections they don’t say EVMs wrong or were tampered with. In 2009 BJP blamed EVMs for Lok Sabha loss. In 2014 BJP won Lok Sabha elections did not have problem with EVMs. When AIADMK won elections it claimed EVMs were right and when it lost it claimed EVMs were wrong.
This time Mayawati started the controversy surrounding EVMs. She got 19 seats out of 403 in UP Legislative Assembly. She said she lost due to EVMs. She said when one journalist said EVMs were programmed to benefit BJP and whichever button one may press the vote will go to BJP she did not believe it but after her defeat she believed EVMs were rigged. Arvind Kejriwal joined her and blamed AAP loss in Punjab to EVM rigging. AAP got 20 seats out of 117 in Punjab. Congress got 77. Some pollsters had predicted AAP victory in Punjab and some tough fight between AAP and Congress. Later Akhilesh Yadav also spoke against EVMs. SP-Congress alliance had done badly in UP.
Now BJP leaders think there is no defect in EVMs. Any defect is in politicians of other parties. Faith in EVMs depends on whether one wins or loses.
Election Commission of India has defended EVMs. Opponents of EVMs give examples of countries like Norway and Ireland which abandoned EVMs. India should not follow the example of such countries. Their population is less than five million. Many Indian cities have more population than that. Opponents of EVMs had gone to Supreme Court and the matter was settled in favour of EVMs. Those opponents now find EVMs perfect. TV channels giving undue publicity to people who oppose EVMs is not good. Anchors should question them whether their victories in the past were due to defective EVMs. ECI and former Chief Election Commissioners and Election Commissioners should continue defending EVMs. Abandoning EVMs will be a regressive step. Rigging is possible with ballot papers. It is rigging when ballot papers are divided into bundles of 50 party-wise and the top ballot paper has vote for BJP and the remaining 49 ballot papers have votes for some other party or candidate.
ECI should see that there is no long gap between voting and counting. Voting in Punjab was on 4 February, counting on 11 March. UP had seven phases of election. Guarding EVMs for many days is a problem. Election or voting in a state should be on a single day and counting should be next day at 8 a.m. Counting in one state should not be delayed because of voting in another state some days later on.

Army and sahayaks

There is a problem with Indian Army. Many soldiers resent being sahayaks. Sahayak means assistant or helper. Soldiers say they join the army to fight for the country, not to do menial jobs of officers. Officers say sahayaks are buddies; it is voluntary to be a sahayak. Officers are busy. There are four officers where there should be eighteen. They have no time to clean their rifles, polish their shoes. Navy and Air Force officers do not have sahayaks. There is a demand to end use of soldiers as sahayaks.
All is not well with army or paramilitary troops. Videos of complaints by soldiers and others have come out. There are allegations of corruption and swindling by officers. It started with a BSF jawan posting a video about the food. Then a soldier posted a video of being used as a servant by officer. The matter became serious when Roy Mathew, a soldier who was used as a sahayak at Deolali Cantonment, was videographed by a news web site and found dead after some days.
There is another video of Sindhav Jogidas accusing some officers treating sahayaks as slaves. Army has rejected the accusations and claimed Sindhav Jogidas was never employed as a sahayak.
The problem was there for a long time. There was no redressal. Soldiers could complain to higher authorities as per chain of command but nothing good will come out of it. Officers continue to use sahayaks as servants. The difference now is that there are social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. Sahayaks can post their complaints there. That gets publicity. Army responds by saying the sahayak was not a good fellow, he was insubordinate and so on. Army has told soldiers to take their complaints or demands as per chain of command and not to go public with their complaints or demands but some will go public anyway.
From time to time we hear of a soldier shooting his officer or other soldiers. We don’t get to know why. Once there was a mutiny. Problems in the army have been hushed up for a long time.
Soldiers are not for doing jobs of officers like washing utensils and cars, sweeping and mopping floor, taking out dogs, dropping children to school and bringing back, doing the works of guests and so on. It does not take long to polish shoes or clean a rifle. If necessary, civilians should be employed to help officers.
In 2008 the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence had asked the Ministry of Defence to issue instructions to stop forthwith the shameful practice of sahayaks which lowers the self-esteem of jawans. Nine years later the shameful practice continues.

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