On 4/7/2011 many MPs and MLAs resigned demanding formation of Telangana. MPs belonged to Congress. MLAs belonged to Congress and TDP. Congress had promised Telangana in 2004 and in December 2009 Home Minister P. Chidambaram had announced the beginning of process for the formation of Telangana. Then Andhra MLAs resigned and there was opposition to Telangana from politicians of other regions of Andhra Pradesh. N. Kiran Kumar Reddy was the speaker. He did not accept the resignations. K. Rosaiah was the chief minister and supporters of Jaganmohan Reddy wanted to bring down his government so that Jaganmohan Reddy can be chief minister. Then formation of Telangana was put on hold. Telangana MLAs resigned. Later Congress, TDP and PRP MLAs withdrew their resignations. TRS MLAs stood firm with their resignations. When elections followed in their constituencies they won. Months later when K. Rosaiah was removed as chief minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy was made chief minister. Jaganmohan Reddy quit Congress.
Srikrishna Commission was appointed with terms of reference to look into different possibilities. Its report was rejected by the people of Telangana. Pressure started to build up on Telangana politicians. Some were beaten up. Being seen in public became difficult for them. They demanded Telangana and announced their intention to resign and Congress did not promise Telangana and they resigned.
It is said that 600 students have died demanding Telangana. Things can go out of control if people resort to violence to achieve their end. Physical attacks on politicians were one aspect. More acts of violence may follow.
Political parties should not make promises they do not intend to keep. Once formation of Telangana was announced, central government should have stood by it. Telangana was part of Hyderabad which had Telugu, Marathi and Kannada districts. The nizam of Hyderabad wanted to remain independent. India annexed Hyderabad. When India became independent there were no linguistic states. Many Telugu districts were part of Madras. Potti Sriramulu wanted those districts to be separated and formed as Andhra Pradesh. When Andhra Pradesh was formed Telangana was not part of it. It was added in 1956.
On 10 December 2009 a Division Bench of the Supreme Court, consisting Justice V. S. Sirupurkar and Justice Deepak Verma reduced the death sentence of Dilip Tiwari, a murderer, to 25 years of imprisonment because the victims were of â€œso called lower caste.â€
Dilip Tiwariâ€™s sister had married Prabhu, a member of Ezhavar caste of Kerala. Dilip Tiwari, a Brahmin, with the help of Sunil Yadav and Manoj, murdered Prabhu, Prabhuâ€™s father Krishnan Nochil, Prabhuâ€™s brother Bijit and a neighbour Abhyaraj at Andheri on 17 May 2004. They had hacked them to death. Prabhuâ€™s mother India and sister Deepa were injured in the attack.
The Sessions Court had sentenced the murderers to death and Bombay High Court had confirmed it.
The judgment, inter alia, had the following sentences:
â€œ…Caste is a concept which grips a person before his death and does not leave him even after his death. The vicious grip of the caste, community, religion, though totally unjustified, is a stark reality. The psyche of the offender in the background of a social issue like an inter-caste community marriage, though wholly unjustified, (Italics mine) would have to be considered in the peculiar circumstances.
It is common experience that when the younger sister commits something unusual and in this case it was an intercaste, intercommunity marriage out of the secret love affair, then in the society it is the elder brother who justifiably or otherwise is held responsible for not stopping such affair. It is held as the family defeat.
At times, he has to suffer taunts and snide remarks even from the persons who really have no business to poke their nose into the affairs of the family. Dilip, therefore, must have been (Italics mine) a prey of the so-called insult which his younger sister had imposed upon his family.
The murders were the outcome of a social issue like a marriage with a person of so-called lower caste. However, a time has come when we have to consider these social issues as relevant while considering the death sentence in the circumstances as these.â€
This judgment is dangerous and should not be allowed to set a precedent. If something is wholly unjustified it should not be considered whether the circumstances are peculiar or otherwise. Intercaste marriage is not a peculiar circumstance, more so in Bombay.
The judgment says Dilip, therefore, must have been a prey. Either he was a prey or he was not. Even if he were a prey that did not give him a right to murder. If other people poke their nose they should be told to shut up. Since the judges were sure about him being a prey this sentence should not have been part of the judgment.
The judgment goes against equality enshrined in the constitution of India when it says â€œwhen we have to consider these social issues as relevant while considering the death sentenceâ€. This justifies discrimination on the basis of caste and less punishment for people of â€œupper castesâ€ for crimes against people of â€œlower castesâ€.
The Government of India must act. A review petition must be filed against this judgement in the Supreme Court. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Law Minister Veerappa Moily must begin the process of removal of these judges Justice V. S. Sirupurkar and Justice Deepak Verma.
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