Month: February 2011

Murderer is not foot soldier

On 21/2/2011 Bombay High Court confirmed death sentence of Ajmal Kasab for his crimes during 26/11. Many people expressed happiness. Someone said he is a foot soldier and pawn and we have to concentrate or mastermind.

A murderer is neither a foot soldier nor a pawn. He is a criminal. A pawn does not have life. A man has life and he makes choices and should face the consequences.

There may be many criminals behind a crime who are not caught but that does not mean someone who is caught should be let off. Keeping a terrorist alive has the danger of leading to a hijacking or abduction and release of the terrorist.

When a TV channel gives publicity to the view that is soft on terror or terrorist that raises the question whether any lobbyist was behind that. TV channels may claim they want to be objective and give different viewpoints a chance but things are not what they seem. About 18 months back Lockerbie bomber was released from UK. About that time it was said that he had three months to live. The man is alive after 18 months and is expected to live 10 years. BP wanted to business in Libya and Lockerbie bomber was released to facilitate that. UK government was willing to help BP. One doctor gave the necessary certificate. Some journalists argued for the release of the bomber. Justice Secretary of Scotland ordered the release.

Pirates of Somalia

Over the years pirates of Somalia have expanded their sphere. From the coast of Africa to the coast of India there is no safe zone from the pirates.

UN, NATO, EU and AU have been ineffective in putting an end to piracy. When piracy began the demands of pirates for ransom were met. They became bold and piracy increased. More ships became targets. More Somalis became pirates. In few instances pirates were met with resistance and hostages rescued. EU countries let off pirates caught instead of putting them on trial. India, China, South Korea and USA have on occasions fought pirates.

Now the pirates are found around Lakshadweep. When Indian Navy encounters pirates all pirates should be shot dead. Those already caught should be charged with waging war, hijacking and abduction and put to death. There is no soft option.

Sailors in ships sailing in Indian Ocean should have training in use of weapons and must be provided with armour. They should take turns to guard ships.

Somalia has anarchy. Somaliland, in northwest Somalia, proclaimed independence in 1991 and has stability but is not recognized by other countries. There are double standards as such countries recognize Kosovo and supported referendum in South Sudan. Puntland, in northeast Somalia, proclaimed autonomy in 1998. India can recognize Somaliland and annex rest of Somalia. UN abandoned Somalia after some years. USA had a bad experience and withdrew its troops. Pirates should not have safe havens.

Provident Fund and stock market

It is wrong for finance ministry to direct Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) to invest in stock market and stop withdrawals for education, house building or buying, marriage and sickness. The money belongs to employees and finance ministry or anyone else has no business to play with it.

The argument that equities give higher return is humbug. There is no guarantee of any return in equities. The timing of the directive, when Sensex is falling, raises questions. Finance ministry is not ready to make up if there is loss. Sometimes share prices increase, sometimes decrease. At one time Sensex was more than 21000 points. Then it came down to less than 8000 points. After that it has been going up and down.

When Atal Behari Vajpayee was Prime Minister UTI invested in shares of an IT company. The value of those shares crashed by 99.8% i.e., for thousand rupees the return was two rupees. PF money can not be put to such risks.

Employees should be free to withdraw their money in case of necessities. To stop them from withdrawing their money for their necessity in unjust. To borrow money from bank they will have to pay interest.

The decision of Central Board of Trustees of EPFO not to invest in is a sound one and they should stick to that. These are days of scams. Investment of PF money in stock market can lead to another scam. Better safe than sorry. One bird in hand is worth two in bush.