Little interest, much agreement
On Tuesday evening, when the crucial, much-awaited criminal law amendment bill was debated in the Lok Sabha, there were less than 200 out of the total 539 members present.
Can there be a more deplorable scenario? Most of the ministers and party leaders were conspicuous by their absence during the debate and the presiding officer just went through the motions, giving one the impression that the entire script was written earlier. Had even half of the Opposition members been present, many of the amendments mooted by Opposition members may have been adopted after the division. That it did not happen suggests there was a tacit agreement between the UPA government and the Opposition.
—Chandramohan, by email
Gem of a statement
Apropos of ‘Everyone has stalked women at some point’, Sharad Yadav’s remark will remain the undisputed gem of a statement for many years to come, for the sheer nonchalance with which the NDA convener sought to speak for the whole nation.
When one takes note of the absence of a majority of the members of Parliament from the debate on the anti-rape bill, and the outlandish comments made by some of those who were present, one wonders whether the national upsurge after the December 16 Delhi gang-rape was partly a case of shedding crocodile tears. It was abundantly clear from the way the bill was discussed that it will take much more than a law to change Indian mindsets and attitudes towards women. The hidden message is that the women of this country must learn to take care of themselves until this mindset changes. I hope that it will one day.
—V Subramanyan, Thane
DMK abandons ship
Nobody wants to stay on board a sinking ship, at least not the chicken-hearted. The Tamil issue in Sri Lanka couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time for the DMK, which was probably looking for an opportunity to part ways with the UPA, as things appear quite bleak for the ruling alliance. The chances of the UPA returning to power in the forthcoming general elections look slim, but then one year is a long time in Indian politics. Only time will tell whether the DMK’s decision was right, or if they abandoned the ship a little early.
— Abdul Monim, by email
Guv must act against offending MLAs
It is shameful and saddening to read that some of our elected representatives came together and beat up a policeman for doing his job. The overworked, ill-paid policeman stayed true to the oath he had taken when joining the force, but was brutally punished and publicly humiliated for it.
On the other hand, the five privileged legislature members broke the law and the loyalty that they have sworn to the Indian Constitution, without fear or embarrassment. No country can secure its citizens if it allows the offenders to get away scot-free because of their position. The police is a vital part of any secure society and it can function best when the community acknowledges, helps and respects the personnel. I request the Maharashtra governor to seek a report from the Speaker of the legislative assembly and initiate suo moto action.
—Sundeep Sharma, project director, COPS (Coping of Pressure and Stress), an initiative for the well-being of the police
Eyes on Raj Thackeray
The attack by the MLAs on the police inspector is shameful. The justification of the incident by various party leaders is even worse. It is high time that the politicians are shown their place, that they are reminded they are servants of the people and therefore answerable to them. It will be interesting to note what action Raj Thackeray will take against his party MLA Ram Kadam, particularly after Raj emerged as a messiah of the police when he extended his support to them at a massive rally last year.
—Kamalesh Kamat, by email
Do not waste water this Holi
Spiritual leaders teach us the virtues of love, compassion and brotherhood. But spiritual leader Asaram Bapu has gone against these very virtues by wasting water for Holi celebrations, while large parts of the state are reeling from drought. His insouciance is a reflection of an insensitivity towards the sufferings of fellow beings. If we are really concerned about people suffering due to a lack of water, let us not waste even a single drop during the Holi revelry next week.
—KP Rajan, Mumbai
16 is not mature enough
Apropos of “Age of consent should be 16”, adolescence is a very important period in the life of boys and girls. It is a time when children are still not mature enough to weigh the right and the wrong and they need to be guided properly in taking decisions, so they shape into responsible people. Otherwise, distractions like sex and drugs could impact their lives forever.
Parents and society have invested much in our youngsters and must, therefore, ensure a healthy environment. Western societies that have been liberal over adolescent sex are facing problems now. India has had a tradition of high moral and human values and should inculcate these values in the next generation, instead of following failed western practices.
—N Ramamurthy, Chennai
Nitish’s devpt hasn’t halted migration
The Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar claims that his state has the right development model. So, I would like him to let us know how many Gujaratis, Maharashtrians, South Indians, or those from any other state, have migrated to Bihar, attracted by its development. The fact is that Nitish Kumar has not been able to stop the migration from Bihar to other states, let alone induce Biharis to return to their state. Ditto for Uttar Pradesh. Mr chief minister, the people of your state know the truth about your development better than you claim.
—TR Ramaswami, Mumbai
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