Month: November 2012

Turning track backfires

Mahendra Singh Dhoni grumbled too much. He grumbled after winning two Tests against New Zealand. He grumbled after winning Ahmedabad Test against England by nine wickets. For him the tracks were not good enough. He wanted tracks that turned from day one and toss should be out of equation.
At Wankhede Stadium there was the desired track. Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat. English batsmen were supposed to struggle against Indian spin. Indian batsmen are supposed to great players of spin. However Indian batsmen struggled against English spin. At one time India were 169/6. At that time 250 runs looked difficult. Cheteshwar Pujara and tailenders batted well. India were all out for 327.
English batsmen countered Indian spin. They scored 86 runs more than India. In its second Innings India lost five wickets before reaching 86. India ended the day 117/7. On fourth day India were all out for 142. England scored 58 runs without loss of wicket, won the Test, and levelled the series. India had fallen in the grave dug for England.
Questions are raised about Dhoni’s captaincy. He still wants rank turners for remaining Tests. May be 10 wickets defeat is not enough. He wants Innings defeat.
Some have put the question whether Sachin Tendulkar should retire. The question should be whether selectors should select him. His defenders say others have not done well. That is not true. Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Cheteshwar Pujara have scored runs. Virat Kohli did not do well in two Tests. He has done well against New Zealand.
Some say there is no one to replace Sachin. There are many batsmen who can replace Sachin starting from Ajinkya Rahane.
Two Tests remain. The series can go anyway.

In defence of death penalty

There is evil in this world and that evil is not absence of good. It is contrary and hostile to good. It takes many forms. It has many faces. Sometimes it mixes with good.
Evil is many times deceptive. It presents itself as good and noble. Evil forces opposed to death penalty are active again. Speakers opposed to death penalty made their way into discussions on hanging of Ajmal Kasab on Left, Right, and Centre and Last Word. There was no need to invite them or ask them about death penalty. On 22/11/2012 Left, Right, and Centre had a discussion on death penalty. It began with one panellist in favour of death penalty and three opponents. Afzal Guru case was mentioned. I switched channels. Later when I reverted I found another panellist who defended death penalty to Afzal Guru.
Opponents give various reasons. One is death penalty is not a deterrent. This is misinformation and disinformation. USA is given as an example where it has not worked. In USA, some states have death penalty, some do not. There is no uniform law. Guns, pistols, revolvers, rifles and other firearms are easily available in USA. So murders are high. Death penalty is a deterrent. Every death penalty prevents three to 18 murders, as per one article in Newsweek.
Another argument is justice system makes too many mistakes. Those who say that are right in the wrong way. Too many murderers are acquitted due to lack of proof or corruption. Many murderers are not caught. Many murders pass off as accidents and suicides. Efforts must be made to see all murderers are caught and convicted.
Some call death penalty medieval and barbaric. They do not say murder is medieval and barbaric. They should have their heads examined.
A judge who is opposed to death penalty should not be a judge in a case involving death penalty. It was wrong for P. N. Bhagwati to be part of a bench in Bachan Singh versus State of Punjab case.
People’s Union for Civil Liberties is a front for Maoists and such groups. Its study against death penalty has no credibility.
The state has a duty to defend its borders and citizens. There is no taint in using violence in defence. The argument against use of state violence means if Pakistan attacks India our soldiers should not kill Pakistani soldiers.
Amnesty International shall stop opposing death penalty. The evil they do by their campaign against death penalty is more than the good they do in other fields.
Something is rotten in many TV channels. Evil lobbies against death penalty are active through them.
Too bad India had K. R. Narayanan, A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, and Pratibha Patil as presidents. K. R. Narayanan did not want to reject any mercy petition. Kalam rejected one mercy petition and afterwards refused to reject. Pratibha Patil did not want to reject any mercy petition. Ultimately she rejected three mercy petitions which got caught in unnecessary legal wrangling. Pranab Mukherjee rejected mercy petition of Ajmal Kasab. It is said that he has returned the files on mercy petitions to know whether Sushilkumar Shinde has the same views as his predecessor P. Chidambaram. This was unnecessary. It is the view of a government and not an individual. Pranab Mukherjee should have rejected the mercy petitions.
Many persons including Colin Gonsalves, Mahashweta Devi, Nandita Das, Amin Solkar, Abbas Kazmi, Yug Choudhry, Naresh Fernandes, Anusha Rizvi, Aamir Bashir, and Shankar Sen had written to president not to hand Afzal Guru. Too bad Ajmal Kasab did not kill them.

Hanging of a terrorist

On 20/11/2012 India was one of the 39 countries that voted against a United Nations General Assembly resolution for abolition of death penalty. India stated each nation had the sovereign right to determine its legal system. In India death penalty is given in rarest of rare cases and there are appeals against death penalty till Supreme Court and President has the power to pardon. Most of the 110 countries that supported the resolution are small countries while 36 countries abstained.
On 21/11/2012 around 7 a.m. I heard on CNN-IBN, President has rejected Ajmal Kasab’s mercy petition. Later on I saw the headline on The Indian Express – President rejects Kasab’s mercy petition.
At 8.18 a.m. I was surprised to see the words “Kasab Hanged” on CNN-IBN. I had expected the hanging to take place many days later. Soon all Indian news channels were reporting the hanging. On 16/10/2012 Sushilkumar Shinde had sent the file to President. On 5/11/2012 Pranab Mukherjee rejected the mercy petition. Sushilkumar Shinde was abroad. He returned on 7/11/2012. On 8/11/2012 he sent the file to Maharashtra. On 19/11/2012 Ajmal Kasab was moved from Arthur Road Jail to Poona’s Yerawada Jail. There was no publicity about the impending hanging. At 8.36 a.m. R. R. Patil made a statement.
For many the news was a pleasant surprise. For a few busybodies who oppose death penalty it was a nasty surprise. The execution was five days before the fourth anniversary of 26/11.
The news of hanging dominated news channels. It pushed out other events like FDI, Gujarat election, BJP’s protest against corruption, demand for Nitin Gadkari’s resignation. Salman Khurshid and Sushilkumar Shinde appeared on TV channels. Sushilkumar Shinde said Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, and cabinet colleagues did not know about the hanging that was to take place. It was a routine decision. Family members and relatives of people who died in 26/11 were interviewed. They included K. Unnikrishnan, Smita Salaskar, Divya Salaskar, and Vandana Chavan. Some thanked the President. For some it was closure of one chapter.
Some questioned the secrecy and timing of hanging. Secrecy was justified on the ground of security and preventing NGOs and private citizens from going to Supreme Court to get a stay order.
There were TV discussions about hanging. Some felt it took too long. There was question about when Afzal Guru will be hanged. Harish Salve said Ajmal Kasab should have been tried like a war criminal and the trial would have been over in three months. Ajmal Kasab’s hanging took less time than that of Indira Gandhi’s killers.
What is public knowledge by 8.30 a.m. is not Breaking News at 6.30 p.m. Idiots who run NDTV 24×7 should know that.