Monday, May 29, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Release of Punjab’s TADA detainees

MEDIA reports have attributed a statement to Mr L.K. Advani, Union Home Minister, that after release of TADA detainees of J&K, those arrested under TADA in Punjab could also be released. I would like to share my views with the people at large.

Pending trial, TADA cases in Punjab are not against political personalities or militants. They are against dreaded hardcore terrorists, who committed massacres during the heyday of terrorism. After the installation of the Akali-BJP government the Akali leadership wanted all the cases against terrorists/militants to be withdrawn forthwith. The review committee for which the mechanism already existed, intensified its efforts for such release. A large number of cases where no large killings had taken place, where no major recovery of arms/explosives was effected were recommended for withdrawal.

  Thereafter, I took a stand that all those TADA cases which relate to massacres of innocent people, where a large catche of arms/explosives was seized or which involved attack on policemen will not be recommended for withdrawal. Ultimately, the review committee came to a dead end as only such TADA cases left for trial as involved heinous offences as mentioned above.

I came under tremendous pressure from different quarters to recommend the withdrawal of all such cases. But I stood my ground and did not relent. I asserted that no government worth the name could withdraw the pending trial cases against the brutal killers. It will be a mockery of the state authority, betrayal of the trust of the people and a great setback to the morale of the police force. All these 58 TADA cases are of the category the withdrawal of which was opposed by me tooth and nail.

I may also add that we should take due notice of the life sentence awarded to five policemen, including an SP and a Dy SP, for liquidating a dreaded terrorist and the indefinite hunger-strike resorted to by jailed policemen, along with an SP, against the decision to withdraw these cases.

Formerly, Director-General of Police, Punjab

Between Kapil & Prabhakar

It beats one’s intelligence why Kapil Dev would openly tell Navjot Sidhu that he had an “offer” to make to Manoj Prabhakar when Kapil allegedly went to Prabhakar’s room. He could have simply asked about Prabhakar’s whereabouts. Why would he drop a clue to Sidhu if he had such a treacherous scheme on his mind?

Secondly, it is difficult to believe that Gavaskar and Shastri wouldn’t be shocked to know of Kapil’s offer when Prabhakar, as he claims, told them about it. Gavaskar allegedly advised Prabhakar to concentrate on the “big match” and obviously chose to keep silent over a bigger issue! Especially so when it is well-known that there has been no love lost between Kapil and Gavaskar on occasions.

In a chat with a weekly (May 15) Prabhakar revealed his intentions to make money on the mysterious information he claimed he had: “I can write for you, and tell you the name. But I need a fee. It must be comparable to what you pay Kapil Dev for his columns, for the kind of trash he heaps on your readers.” Prabhakar, who claims that he angrily snubbed Kapil for offering him money to underperform, goes on to say: “I need the money, he (Kapil Dev) doesn’t.” It will perhaps do Prabhakar a world of good to spend a session or two on the couch with a psychiatrist.


Beasts, not human beings

Close behind the news-item “Headmaster booked for molesting student” (May 20), there was another report headlined “Headmaster booked”, May 24.

In the former case, the Headmaster of the Government Primary School, Dutranwali village, who is said to be on the verge of retirement, has been booked for allegedly trying to outrage the modesty of a seven-year-old Dalit girl.

In the latter case, the Headmaster of the government school at Hasripuras village has been booked for allegedly attempting to rape a class V student.

About a year and a half ago, two teachers of each of two government senior secondary schools reportedly ravished a girl student of their respective institutions while on tour to Anandpur Sahib.

Yet earlier, an incestuous teacher raped his three-year-old daughter.

I wonder: “Jinhein naaz hai Hind par voh kahaan hain.”

These teachers are beasts, not human beings. By their outrageous act, they have brought disgrace to the pious profession of teaching. Can the honour of girl students be safe where such beasts are teachers?

Schools are sacred temples of the goddess of learning. The teachers of educational institutions must, therefore, possess virtuous conduct and character and treat the pupils as their sons and daughters.

Not to speak of being kept in schools, the morally depraved teachers deserve social ostracism. Akbar Allahabadi rightly said about such teachers: “Ustaad to hon voh magar ustaad jee na hon” (They should be teachers, not rakes). Teachers’ unions should strongly condemn such acts of bestiality.


Remembering Melody King

This refers to the “Great Minds” published on the Spectrum page of The Tribune. Every great personality is mentioned there. I have read about all of them and noticed that The Tribune did not mention one great personality though his contemporaries were included. That personality is Mohammad Rafi, the great singer.

If Lata Mangeshkar is the Melody Queen, Rafi Saab was the Melody King. There were also other great singers like K.L. Saihgal, Kishore Kumar, Mukesh and Talat Mehmood. But Rafi was a class by himself.

The song “Mohammad Rafi too bahut yaad aya, tujh sa fankar na koi tere baad aya” is a great tribute to Rafi. He was a legend even during his life-time.


Epilepsy is curable

I want to point out that epilepsy is a totally curable disease. The need of the hour is to educate people about epilepsy and remove the misconception in their mind.

It is totally curable, and the chances of its recurrence are very low. Even Parliament also adopted piece of legislation to delete, “epilepsy” from the “Hindu Marriage Act of 1955” as a reason to annul a marriage or seek a divorce. I have seen in my medical practice that many times educated city-dwellers are even surrounded by ignorance and superstition. Only recently I acted as a middle man to save the marriage of a epileptic patient.

It is high time social organisations, clubs and the print media should come forward to educate people that epilepsy is like any other disease. Only the patient needs positive support from his family and society.

(Dr) A. K. SETHI

Imported milk & ‘desi’ water!

Thanks to Norway and Denmark, milk will now be available at Rs 6 per kg (Rumours trigger fall in milk prices”, The Tribune, May 19) while “desi” water will sell at Rs 12 per bottle or more. And, of course, this will be no urea-oil mixture; the foreigners simply do not have a knack for the fast buck. So, heath at cheaper rates. Soon milk will replace bottled water on the dais where VIPs make speeches. “Health for all by the year 2000.”

Instead of feeling happy, we feel threatened. (“MNCs threaten dairy industry”, The Tribune, May 23). And why? Because it exposes all those who claim India to be the largest producer of milk. Probably the statistics got adulterated with “synthetic milk”. It also exposes the people who spend more funds on handling milk than on purchasing milk for sale from producers. Chilling plants in India work at half their capacity.

And not a word from the farmers whose interests we claim to be protecting. They will probably want the government to subsidise direct calf-feeding and animal health care against the present practice of routing subsidy through boards and the DRDA. A crossbred calf grows at a very fast rate and the farmer cannot provide it with the nutrition required for such growth. Nor can he meet the cost of vaccination and deworming.

In the meantime the cow and the buffalo (referred to as a “blackie” in the report — the term used by Englishmen for Indians in the past) must be having a laugh at the homo sapiens who go on producing children for whom their mothers have no milk and fathers have no money.



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