In her article Witness this (February 10), Barkha Dutt has painted an accurate picture of the law and order situation in the country. Criminalised politicians, some of them occupying ministerial berths, would hardly like their ‘men on the streets’ to be punished. Sections of the IPC hardly matter to them. The police find it difficult to go against the might of our MPs and MLAs. The solution lies in making the law and order machinery independent of state power. Then the police, along with the judiciary, would be free to act as per the law of the land. Such a step requires a constitutional amendment preceded by political will to do the same.
As our democracy grows mature, certain chinks have appeared in our system of justice dispensation. Our investigative agencies and police force, inefficient and corrupt as they are, tend to tilt in favour of the rich and the influential. In the absence of any protection from the state, even the brave witnesses tend to grow indifferent to the cause of justice. It is time we evolved a strong and more reliable system of collecting evidence and learn to utilise this for quick disposal of cases than negating the credibility of the evidence available.
Barkha Dutt needs to be congratulated for taking up Professor Sabharwal’s issue. The media will again not let criminals go scot-free just because they have political support. Indians have time and again have shown that things cannot be taken for granted.
It’s a fact that no one even thinks of stopping at an accident site, not because they are indifferent to the victims but for fear of getting entangled with the police.
Barkha Dutt does not offer any suggestion on how to overcome the problems that beset the Indian judicial system. Existing legal procedures and laws suit the offenders and law-breakers rather than the victims. The criminal law, codes and procedures must be scrapped and a new set enacted which will favour the victims. This will reduce the number of lawsuits and instill faith in the judicial process.
It is heartening that India and Pakistan have declared to abide by the final determinations on the Baglihar dam. Both countries are claiming that the World Bank’s expert verdict is in their favour. The dispute over the dam on the Chenab, which has been pending for 15 years, will soon be solved. India and Pakistan should understand that the construction of dam not only controls the floods but is also useful for cultivation and hydropower.
It is sad that two teenaged boys were kidnapped from Wazirabad bridge and murdered for ransom. Children are the wealth of a nation. Such acts need to be condemned by everyone. Proper education and employment opportunities will go a long way in preventing people from trying to engage in negative means of income generation like kidnapping.
Say no to SEZs
Sagarika Ghose’s article A reformer for the poor (February 16) was thought-provoking and a revolutionary suggestion for all the Chief Ministers eager to follow the SEZ path to progress. Whether it’s West Bengal or any other state, SEZs should not be allowed to become ‘special exploitation zones’ benefiting a few industrialists.
Guard India’s interests
Vikram Sood in his article Friends in need (February 14) correctly says that India should make up for lost ground with Iran and gamble on attaining peace with Pakistan in the interest of its energy security. The hegemonic intentions of America could lead to another Iraq-like fiasco in Iran which will disrupt talks on the tri-nation gas pipeline project and push India to look for new avenues to meet its future energy needs.
Vikram Sood has given a lucid account of the dire consequences that might follow if George Bush continues pursuing his foolhardy policy of confrontation with countries in West Asia and the Persian Gulf.
The presence of the American troops in the Gulf, under the pretext of defending its Sunni friends like the UAE and Saudi Arabia, has all the portents of sparking off a major conflagration. It now rests with US President George W. Bush, whose policies are already proved costly to his party at home, whether or not to start another misadventure in Iran.
Skewed growth patterns
The report Girls no better off today than before (February 13) indicating the alarming retardation of female population and increasing female foeticide is unfortunate. It indicates that no matter how much we develop in the
field of economy, our moral ground is still not strong. In the age of liberalisation, if we are not able to give space to all communities, we cannot hope for a better future.
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