Tag: Renuka Chowdhury

Spoof of spook

On 4/4/2012 Indian Express had the headline on front page “The January night Raisina Hill was spooked: Two key Army units moved towards Delhi without notifying Govt.”

The report talked about central intelligence agencies. Were both RAW and IB involved in reporting the movement? RAW is supposed to gather intelligence abroad.

The report was the talking point on TV channels.

Lt. Gen. Satish Nambiar and many former army officers and one former defence secretary said there is no protocol that requires army to notify defence ministry about troop movement.

Rajdeep Sardesai interviewed Shekhar Gupta at 10 p.m. on CNN-IBN. When Rajdeep Sardesai questioned Shekhar Gupta about being pro-establishment and opposing Anna Hazare Group, Shekhar Gupta ludicrously replied that Anna Hazare Group were establishment at the time. That is like saying Mohandas Gandhi and others who fought for India’s independence were imperialists. Rajdeep Sardesai should have said establishment here means government of the day and questioned him further but he let it pass.

Shekhar Gupta said he cannot reveal his sources. He said his sources are credible. That is what Colin Powell said about his source when he made a presentation to UN Security Council about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. That source was used as a reason for invasion of Iraq in 2003. That source, known as Curveball, denied everything in that presentation and said he was lying about WMDs and being an eye witness in an interview to Peter Taylor of BBC. Similarly a woman who claimed she was an eye witness when Iraqis took babies out of incubators in 1990 was Kuwaiti Ambassador’s daughter who was in Washington at the time Iraqis were accused of committing the crime. It seems one source is Lt. Gen. H. S. Panag, a member of the Armed Forces Tribunal. Other sources will be known in due course.

Shekhar Gupta said once he could not do a story about a corrupt judge and he gave to N. Ram of The Hindu. He had lot of whisky with someone at that time. Did Shekhar Gupta, Ritu Sarin and Pranab Dhal Samanta drink lot of whisky when they prepared the report on spook?

There is no investigative journalism, only leaks by interested parties.

PM called the report alarmist. DM called the report absolutely baseless. Gen. V. K. Singh said the report was absolutely stupid. Three weeks before the report, in an interview to The Week he had said people will come out with stories about troop movements being something else.

Two other things happened on 4/4/2012.

Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma and three vice chiefs appeared before Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence. Shashi Kant Sharma said his early return from Malaysia was because of a case that was coming up before the Supreme Court next day.

A group of people moved the Supreme Court against the appointment of Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh as the next army chief. Among members one is a former admiral (Ramdas), another a former CEC (N. Gopalaswami). How did these two come together?

DNA is silent after some revelations. Saikat Dutta had said he will come out with more letters. He had talked of a letter written in 2004 by Renuka Chowdhury who was tourism minister to Pranab Mukherjee who was defence minister against buying an artillery gun. After that no artillery gun was bought. As per one report PMO and Defence Ministry want to know from Saikat Dutta who leaked General’s letter to PM. Madhu Trehan said PMO and Defence Ministry know who leaked the letter but they want to hear from Saikat Dutta.

Death penalty is a deterrent

In one James Bond film it is said: Once can be happenstance. Twice can be coincidence. Thrice or more enemy is at work. On NDTV 24×7’s Left Right and Centre on three days Nidhi Razdan asked the question: Is death penalty a deterrent? She implied it was not. My answer is “Yes”.

First time Nidhi Razdan asked the question with regard to remarks by Justice Markandeya Katju about policemen who kill in fake encounters. He had said “Such policemen should be hanged. It is nothing but cold-blooded brutal murder, and yes, police personnel responsible should be hanged.” The discussion turned around fake encounters. Y. P. Singh said policemen do a noble job in an unethical way. It is a political call to control crime. The government of the day asks police to finish criminals. When there were gang wars in Bombay encounters took place and criminals disappeared.

There was no terrorist activity at the time. Later encounter specialists fell from grace. Encounters stopped. There were serial train blasts and 26/11. Last month there were three bomb blasts.

Second time was when it became known that Home Ministry has asked the President to reject Afzal Guru’s mercy petition. One panelist said he was opposed to death penalty in general. TSR Subramaniam said death penalty is given in rarest of rare cases and this is a rarest of rarest of rare case. Those who say Kashmir will go up in flames if Afzal Guru is hanged ignore the fact that Maqbool Butt’s hanging for the murder of Deputy High Commissioner Mhatre in Birmingham scared the living daylights out of JKLF.

Third time was on 11/8/2011. The President had rejected mercy petitions of three LTTE members. Renuka Chowdhury defended the decision. One panelist spoke of European Union and Gandhian philosophy. He forgot Gandhi’s killers were hanged. Ashok Desai and Nirmala Seetharaman were in favour of death penalty.

Opponents of death penalty engage in misinformation and disinformation.

First disinformation is that life sentence is worse than death penalty. It is not. Criminals don’t want to die and are happy to live in jail as long as they can. Some faint on the day of their hanging.

European Union (EU) countries have abolished death penalty. That is not a reason for India to abolish death penalty. We don’t have to follow EU countries. Some of them are bankrupt. Some are on the verge of bankruptcy. See the mess in England. During riots even rich people go to rob. In Norway some want death penalty for the terrorist who killed 76 people. China, USA, Japan and many other countries have death penalty. India is equal to all EU countries put together. EU is not paradise on earth.

Second disinformation is that murders have gone down in countries which abolished death penalty. Those who say that do not give any proof or lie about statistics.

Third disinformation is that death penalty does not serve any purpose of justice i.e., reformative, retributive and deterrent. Death penalty serves retributive and deterrent purposes.

There is misinformation that 26/11 terrorists were on a suicide mission. They were told to take some hostages. The government will negotiate and allow them to return. That did not happen. When a terrorist serves a life sentence there is the danger of abduction or hijacking for the release of the terrorist and the released terrorist killing many more. While nothing can be done about suicide bombers if those who send them are hanged that will reduce terrorists. Suicide bombers are given money and are told that their families will be taken care of once they die.

Some say a civilized country should not have death penalty. What is civilized about murder? Murder is a crime, pure and simple.

When death penalty was the norm there were not many encounter deaths and terrorist activities. After the Supreme Court strayed into the territory of executive and restricted death penalty to rarest of rare cases the situation changed.

In Pakistan there has not been death penalty for a long time and terrorism has increased. In Mexico murders multiplied after abolition of death penalty.

I have a suspicion that a lobbyist is behind the question.