Month: August 2009

Explusion of Jaswant Singh

BJP expelled Jaswant Singh on 19/8/2009. He was its member since its founding in 1980. When NDA was in power he was Foreign Minister, Finance Minister and for sometime held additional portofolio of Defence. He was to take part in BJP’s chinthan baithak in Simla on that day. He was told not to attend.

Jaswant Singh’s book Jinnah – India, Partition, Independence was first criticized by Congress for what he said about Nehru. That was not a problem for BJP or RSS. They were offended because Jaswant Singh had criticized Vallabhbhai Patel. That caused expulsion of Jaswant Singh. Jaswant Singh should have known that his book would be unpopular with many Indians.

Praising Jinnah got Advani in trouble in 2005. Jaswant Singh had researched for his book. He did not lay all the blame for partition on Jinnah.

It is necessary for all Indians to view history in proper perspective. Jinnah was a Congress member. He left it and joined Muslim League. In 1937 elections Congress won most seats and formed provincial governments. Muslim League did not do well. If Jinnah expected coalition governments he was mistaken. In 1940 resolution for Pakistan was passed and on 16 August 1946 Jinnah called for Direct Action for the creation of Pakistan.

India’s national motto is Satyameva Jayate – truth always triumphs. If Indians and Pakistanis accept that their leaders were not perfect many problems will be solved. There will be peace between India and Pakistan. Money spent on defence will be reduced and will be spent on solving problems of hunger, disease, illiteracy, drought and so on. India and Pakistan need more people who write what is right.

Apostolic Administrators

Apostolic Administrators are appointed when the bishop is unable to carry on in the diocese. The person appointed as Apostolic Administrator is not supposed to have any other diocese under him. For many years, following the ouster of the Portuguese, when Archbishop of Goa and Patriarch of East Indies was in Portugal, Raul Gonsalves was the Apostolic Administrator.

Since Benedict XVI became pope many bishops who are transferred to other dioceses or promoted as archbishops are appointed as Apostolic Administrators where they were bishops. This is not a good sign. Thomas Dabre after becoming Bishop of Poona is the Apostolic Administrator of Vasai.

When a bishop is transferred or promoted a new bishop must be appointed or diocesan consultors or curia must elect an administrator or Vicar Capitular. A bishop being Apostolic Administrator of another diocese reminds me of Pre-Reformation days when many bishops had two or more dioceses under them. In some cases those appointed as bishops were not consecrated for years.

The practice of one bishop having two or more dioceses under him must stop.

Mercy Petitions

Pratibha Patil, for almost two years after becoming the President of India, did nothing about pending mercy petitions. Now she will take up one mercy petition per month. There are about 26 mercy petitions pending. Most of them were legacy of her predecessors.

K. R. Narayanan did not decide on or reject any mercy petition. APJ Abdul Kalam rejected one mercy petition and I understand he commuted one death sentence to life imprisonment. Presidents should be made accountable for their acts of omission.

Death penalty is given in only rarest of rare cases. The murderers have lived for many years after the death of their victims. The trials take many years till the Supreme Court gives verdict. Perpetrators of Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazar bombings in August 2003 were sentenced to death on 6/8/2009 by a Special POTA court. It will take many years when High Court and Supreme Court give their verdict.

Government of India must pass legislation that allows death penalty in all cases of murder, attempted murder, abduction, kidnapping and acid throwing. It must be made obligatory for the President to decide on mercy petition within 30 days from the days of its filing. The petition should go directly to the President and no need to consult Union or State government. If no decision is taken within 30 days the petition shall be deemed to be rejected and the convict shall be hanged within seven days.