Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Tag: Indian Express

Parsi fertility

On 4/6/2012 Indian Express on page 6 carried a report – Minority Ministry revives funds plan for infertility treatment in Parsi community. The report was repeated on page 7. The editor was perhaps dozing when it was done.

Minority Ministry wanted to provide financial assistance for infertility treatment of Parsi women. Planning Commission had rejected the proposal. Now Minority Ministry has approached Planning Commission again.

It is not for Minority Ministry to increase or decrease population of any community or to tell a community to reverse the trend of late marriages or no marriages. It is for each community to take care of itself. Marriage is a personal choice. Government should stop child marriages and marriages below legal age that take place in many parts of India.

Parsis may be an endangered species in India but not in the world. Many Parsis have migrated to Canada, USA, UK and other countries. There is no threat of Parsis becoming extinct.

There are many Parsi industrialists like Tatas, Godrejs, Wadias who can help fellow Parsis to marry early. Bombay Parsi Panchayat helps Parsi couples with children.

Tribals in Andaman and Nicobar Islands are facing extinction. Minority Ministry can save them by preventing encroachment of their territories.

Spoof of spook

On 4/4/2012 Indian Express had the headline on front page “The January night Raisina Hill was spooked: Two key Army units moved towards Delhi without notifying Govt.”

The report talked about central intelligence agencies. Were both RAW and IB involved in reporting the movement? RAW is supposed to gather intelligence abroad.

The report was the talking point on TV channels.

Lt. Gen. Satish Nambiar and many former army officers and one former defence secretary said there is no protocol that requires army to notify defence ministry about troop movement.

Rajdeep Sardesai interviewed Shekhar Gupta at 10 p.m. on CNN-IBN. When Rajdeep Sardesai questioned Shekhar Gupta about being pro-establishment and opposing Anna Hazare Group, Shekhar Gupta ludicrously replied that Anna Hazare Group were establishment at the time. That is like saying Mohandas Gandhi and others who fought for India’s independence were imperialists. Rajdeep Sardesai should have said establishment here means government of the day and questioned him further but he let it pass.

Shekhar Gupta said he cannot reveal his sources. He said his sources are credible. That is what Colin Powell said about his source when he made a presentation to UN Security Council about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. That source was used as a reason for invasion of Iraq in 2003. That source, known as Curveball, denied everything in that presentation and said he was lying about WMDs and being an eye witness in an interview to Peter Taylor of BBC. Similarly a woman who claimed she was an eye witness when Iraqis took babies out of incubators in 1990 was Kuwaiti Ambassador’s daughter who was in Washington at the time Iraqis were accused of committing the crime. It seems one source is Lt. Gen. H. S. Panag, a member of the Armed Forces Tribunal. Other sources will be known in due course.

Shekhar Gupta said once he could not do a story about a corrupt judge and he gave to N. Ram of The Hindu. He had lot of whisky with someone at that time. Did Shekhar Gupta, Ritu Sarin and Pranab Dhal Samanta drink lot of whisky when they prepared the report on spook?

There is no investigative journalism, only leaks by interested parties.

PM called the report alarmist. DM called the report absolutely baseless. Gen. V. K. Singh said the report was absolutely stupid. Three weeks before the report, in an interview to The Week he had said people will come out with stories about troop movements being something else.

Two other things happened on 4/4/2012.

Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma and three vice chiefs appeared before Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence. Shashi Kant Sharma said his early return from Malaysia was because of a case that was coming up before the Supreme Court next day.

A group of people moved the Supreme Court against the appointment of Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh as the next army chief. Among members one is a former admiral (Ramdas), another a former CEC (N. Gopalaswami). How did these two come together?

DNA is silent after some revelations. Saikat Dutta had said he will come out with more letters. He had talked of a letter written in 2004 by Renuka Chowdhury who was tourism minister to Pranab Mukherjee who was defence minister against buying an artillery gun. After that no artillery gun was bought. As per one report PMO and Defence Ministry want to know from Saikat Dutta who leaked General’s letter to PM. Madhu Trehan said PMO and Defence Ministry know who leaked the letter but they want to hear from Saikat Dutta.

Gang of Four

Gang of Four originally meant Jiang Qing, Wang Hongwen, Zhang Chunqiao and Yao Wenyuan who were powerful during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) in China. Anna Hazare spoke of Gang of Four in UPA government without mentioning names. One of them is P. Chidambaram. Second is likely to be Kapil Sibal. Who are the other two? Some talk of Digvijay Singh and Manish Tewari but they are not ministers.

Whoever they are the Gang of Four has succeeded in diverting attention from corruption. First there was attack on Prashant Bhushan ostensibly for his remarks on Kashmir. Anna Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi did not agree with Prashant Bhushan. Then Arvind Kejriwal joined the august company headed by George Bush of people who were attacked by shoes. Then reports appeared about Kiran Bedi’s travel bills. When the first report appeared Arun Bhatia said Kiran Bedi should sue Indian Express for five crore rupees for defamation and give that money to her trust. However Kiran Bedi did not do that. Swamy Agnivesh accused Arvind Kejriwal of misappropriation. Two core committee members quit. Anna Hazare took the vow of silence.

It was not all doom and gloom for activists. NDTV conferred Indian of the Year Award on Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal.

On 29/10/2011 core committee met in Ghaziabad and decided to continue the fight for Jan Lokpal Bill.

China’s Gang of Four members lost power and went to prison. Anna Hazare and Yashwant Sinha have said that P. Chidambaram should be in jail.

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