Month: December 2012

Protests in Delhi

Delhi has seen unprecedented protests against a gang rape that took place on 16/12/2012. The protests began on 18/12/2012 and continued each day. Water cannons were used against protesters near chief minister Sheila Dikshit’s house. There were protests in front of police commissioner’s office. On 22/12/2012 protests were held at India Gate. Some marched to Raisina Hill. They pushed barricades and shook the gate of Rashtrapati Bhavan. Later there was stone pelting by some miscreants who could have been government agents sent to give a bad name to protesters. Police retaliated. They used water cannons, lathi charge, and tear gas. Sushilkumar Shinde met some students and held a press conference at night. He was flanked by Manish Tewari and R. P. N. Singh. Sonia Gandhi came out of her residence and met students. She called some of them the next day.
On Sunday 23/12/2012 eight metro stations were shut to prevent people from reaching India Gate. That was not successful. People reached India Gate. Sonia Gandhi met the students she had called. The students issued their statement. Sonia Gandhi had not given any timeline to meet their demands. Protests continued. There were incidents of violence. Policepersons and protesters got injured. Media persons also got beaten up. Some equipment was damaged. To a question on CNN-IBN by Rajdeep Sardesai on stone pelters being sent by government Ved Marwah replied that was partly true.
Sachin Tendulkar announced his retirement from ODIs. When he was nominated to Rajya Sabha on 26/4/2012 UPA government was facing many problems. His nomination dominated the news and other issues were forgotten. This time most channels did not dwell on his retirement. Two days back there was a report that he had presented a master plan to Sandeep Patil, chairman of selectors, about playing ODIs against Pakistan and England to prepare for Tests against Australia. There are two possibilities. One, selectors did not want him in the team. So he decided to retire to avoid sack. Second, he obliged the government in its desire to divert attention but it was of no use.
Sheila Dikshit said police department in Delhi comes under lieutenant governor and she cannot even post a constable. Who posted the policepersons outside her house who used water cannons on protesters?
The protesters want justice. They want rapists hanged. The government can change the law with retrospective effect. They have done it for constitutional amendments. They did it for Vodafone case.
For those who say a civilized country should not have death penalty or castration as punishment for rape the answer is there is nothing civilized about rape or being on the side of rapist. There is demand to punish acid throwing with death penalty. Some say they don’t want death penalty for rape because rapist will murder victim. Even without death penalty for rape many rapists have murdered victims and those who were convicted and sentenced to death by Supreme Court were far less and most of them have got presidential pardons. If every rapist who committed murder had been hanged there would have been fear of law.
Lies are spread that if there is death penalty for rape conviction rate will come down from 26% to 2%. The figures are just bandied about without any evidence. Conviction is based on evidence. If evidence is sound there is conviction unless there is corruption.
If protests stop there will be no progress. Last year there was movement for Lokpal Bill. The government had extended the winter session and brought a bill that was not acceptable to IAC. Anna Hazare called off his fast on 28/12/2012. The government scuttled even the diluted bill in Rajya Sabha on 29/12/2012. After that there has been no progress. Once pressure is off the government will take it easy and there will be no progress on punishing rapists. Appointing a commission is useless. Commissions take years to complete their work and afterwards their reports are not binding.
There is only one reason why a woman gets raped; a potential rapist is around. Everything else touted as reason is excuse. Talk of societal norms breaking down or commodification or objectification of women is rubbish. Rahul Bose and Shabana Azmi sound like Taliban in disguise when they blame Bollywood item songs for rape and want a ban on them. They may be jealous of item girls.
Women judges trying rape cases is not a solution. There was Judge Laxmi Rao who tried some rape cases. She sentenced a woman for rape and let off rapists lightly and in one case the sentence for rape was till the rising of the court i.e., 5 p.m. There was outrage against her verdicts and she was transferred.

NRA is worse than Al Qaeda

Al Qaeda’s 9/11 killed around 2,950 people. Every year in USA around 12,000 people are murdered by guns. NRA is led by merchants of death who sell guns and oppose any gun control. The damage done by NRA is many times more than by Al Qaeda. NRA leaders spread lies about gun control and target people who want gun control, even if those people are members of NRA. Debra Maggart is an example. She was a member of NRA with A rating. She did not want right to own guns to clash with right to property. NRA reduced her rating to D, spread lies about her, spent money against her. She lost an election.
Barack Obama wants ban on assault rifles like the one in 1994-2004. That will be a small measure. He should try to repeal second amendment. He has nothing to lose. Democrats have nothing to lose. The defeat of Democrats in 1994 was not due to ban on assault rifles. If that had been the case William Jefferson Clinton would not have won in 1996.
NRA must be banned and crushed. It is an evil organization. It will not allow repeal of second amendment. It is like Ku Klux Klan. At one time slavery was common in USA. There was stiff opposition to end of slavery. A civil war was fought. Dianne Feinstein and others should introduce legislation for repeal of second amendment, even if it means civil war.
Al Qaeda’s hostility to USA is open. NRA’s hostility to USA is subtle. They called FBI agents jackbooted thugs. After that George H. W. Bush quit NRA. Gun control worked in UK and Australia. NRA leaders want their business to flourish even though that means more deaths.
Abraham Lincoln, James Abram Garfield, William McKinley, John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy, John Lennon and many others died of gun shots.

Rape and punishment

The gang rape and murderous attack on a 23 years old woman in a moving bus in Delhi on 16/12/2012 has caused shock and anger all over the nation. She fights for her life in Safdarjang Hospital. The man with her was also beaten with iron rods. The issue figured in Parliament. There were protests and demonstrations in many cities. On 19/12/2012 Protestors outside Sheila Dikshit’s house faced water cannons. People gathered at India Gate in the evening. There are demands for resignations of Naresh Kumar, Sushilkumar Shinde and Sheila Dikshit. Delhi has seen many rapes. This case seems to be a tipping point. Police Commissioner Naresh Kumar’s statement that he did not want to talk about rapes because it would not be politically correct was largely ignored by TV channels.
Some have demanded death penalty for rape. Some have demanded chemical castration for rape. Both are options. Parliament should pass a law that increases punishment for rape to death, castration, or rigorous imprisonment not less than 25 years.
There are people who say they want certainty of punishment not severity. The two are not mutually exclusive. Punishment for rape should be severe and certain. Rape is a crime and should be dealt as such. There should not be talk of gender sensitization or social reform or changing mindsets. Rape must be punished. Reformative theory should not apply to crimes like rape, murder, abduction etc. Excuses like breakdown in social values or sex in media should not be accepted.
Fast track courts are a temporary solution. Regular courts must be made to decide cases quickly.