119 years of Trust M A I L B A G THE TRIBUNE
Tuesday, November 9, 1999
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Rising crime against women

THERE is hardly any day when newspapers do not carry a report about some kind of violence committed against a woman. There were as many as four such reports in The Tribune on October 29.

A female resident of Model Town, Jalandhar, was stabbed to death. The motive behind the murder allegedly seemed to be robbery (“Woman murdered”).

An eight-year-old girl was raped on the second floor of a hospital in Visakhapatnam and thrown down by a rowdy (“8-year-old raped in hospital”).

A youth shot his wife dead and, thereafter, committed suicide in Tilak Nagar in West Delhi. The refusal of his wife to observe fast on the occasion of “Karva Chauth” infuriated the husband, who took the extreme step (“Man shoots wife, himself”).

An inceptuous father raped his 16-year-old daughter in Bheelpur village, near Yamunanagar (“Man arrested for raping daughter”).

Whenever, I read a report about rape, I wonder: “Jinhein naaz hai Hind par voh kahaan hain”. The men who commit rape are beasts, not human beings. Are they worthy of being accepted in society? They should be straightaway ostracised. By their outrageous acts, they bring disgrace not only to their own families but also to those of the victims.

Some time ago, the Punjab government amended the Government Employees (Conduct) rules to check sexual harassment of women employees at their work places. It should take suitable steps to check violence against the fair sex at other places also.

The Special Commission for Women, it is learnt, is not in favour of the penalty of death for rape for certain reasons. However, there must be very severe punishment for this crime.

The number of cases of rape, dowry-related deaths and violence against women is increasing fast. Apparently, people are declining morally below the normal standard of a civilised society. Religious institutions and social organisations should enlighten them on the proud cultural heritage of India and the necessity to maintain virtuous conduct and character.


The Kargil spirit

On November 28 the President of India held the investiture ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan for the gallantry award winners of the Kargil war and others. There were 32 posthumous gallantry awards, and the widows had come to receive the medals. The front two rows in the spectators seats were almost empty. There was no minister other than the Defence Minister and his deputies. The Prime Minister was indisposed but the others were simply missing. Of the nearly 540 MPs, not more than six were present. The vacant rows had their own story to tell.

Politicians had derived whatever there was to gain from the Kargil casualties. They had no further use for those who sacrificed their lives in that war. Not attending such a function at Rashtrapati Bhavan for which an invitation has been accepted is an insult to the President.

The vacant seats must have caused considerable discomfiture to the award-winners. We cannot build a great nation with such behaviour and attitudes from our political leadership.

The coastal districts of Orissa have been hit by the worst disaster of this century. There is death and devastation everywhere. Hunger and disease are taking their toll. The Prime Minister has appealed to the nation for generous help. Let there be no Republic Day celebrations in 2000 and the money we thus save be given to rebuild the lives of those rendered destitute in Orissa. This way we may be able to rekindle the Kargil spirit in the nation on a more lasting basis.


Pak developments & India

Apropos of the editorial "Militants strike again" (Nov 5), the latest attack by the Pakistan-sponsored Lashkar-e-Toiba, killing a Major and five jawans of the Indian Army, is a clear indication that Gen Parvez Musharraf is not only a threat to the security of India but may also push his country down to the rock bottom and pose a strong threat to civilised living.

In his first Press conference his strongest comments against India should leave no doubts about his “unconcealed hostility” towards us. He is yet to overcome his humiliation in Kargil and would do his utmost to step up cross-border terrorism through the Lashkar-e-Toiba and other militant outfits.

His game of "war and peace" (buying peace with fundamentalist groups at the cost of a war of guile against India) may be his compulsion, but should we, the targets of a "militant lunatic", be the passive and helpless onlookers? Should we have allowed our high-rank officers, including a DIG, to be killed by militants operating in Kashmir and elsewhere in India? It is not just a case of failure of the intelligence-gathering apparatus.

In the first place, despite such planned Pakistan-sponsored acts of violence during the last so many years, we have failed to formulate a definite and long-term policy against terrorism. Our approach has been ad-hocist and we have dealt with acts of terrorists as stray cases of violence.

As for the current developments, though the Commonwealth has suspended Pakistan from its membership, we made no initiative to persuade the international community to condemn and isolate the military dictatorship in Pakistan. Even the USA, which seemed not too happy with Pakistan, prefers to criticise India on human rights in Kashmir instead of accusing Pakistan for its support to militancy in that Indian state.


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52 years of freedom

This has reference to the item “Swaraj and the Indian masses” published in the column “75 years ago” (October 28), wherein it is stated that Prof H.F. Ward, an American sociologist, during his visit to India in 1924, commented that “if the condition of the masses and the labouring classes is such as compels them to live on a semi-starvation basis, where is then the freedom”.

What a pity that his words are proving to be true even after 52 years of freedom when crores of Indians do not get even two square meals a day because the ruling politicians, all these years, have remained busy filling their own coffers. By now they have become so thick-skinned and shameless that no amount of criticism would stir their conscience.

I see no hope for the uplift of the poor and the starving masses. For them the freedom has no meaning.

Wg Cdr C.L. SEHGAL (retd)

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50 years on indian independence

Power crisis in Haryana

The entire state of Haryana (the state which has the distinction of corporatising the power sector) is reeling under a severe power crisis following the decline in power generation due to scanty rain during the monsoon this year. Moreover, due to the annual repair and maintenance works, various generation units in the state have been closed. These works, which are usually executed in July-August every year, were executed in October for the reasons best known to the authorities.

To meet the ever-increasing demand of power from the agriculture sector, the HVPN decided to impose a four-hour power cut per day on the domestic sector, but in real practice it extends from 12 to 15 hours daily and that too irregular and unscheduled. This has thrown normal life out of gear in the state. The worst hit is the industrial sector.

The Government has urged the people to bear with it in this peculiar situation. People are ready to accept even a longer power-cut provided they are informed about it well in time so that they can adjust their working hours accordingly.

Ambala City


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