Saturday, April 8, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Who will head the ex-PMs’ club?

IN the editorial “Raja of encroachers” (March 29) you rightly called Mr V.P. Singh an “out of job Raja of Manda”. Is he heading the club of the jobless former PMs or would he leave it for India’s Julius Caesar, Mr Chandra Shekhar?

Four zeroes — VP, Shekhar, Gujral and Gowda — rather any number of zeroes can’t make one. All of them are struggling for survival. These odd men of Indian politics dub the Congress an ineffective opposition. The Congress has competent leaders like Madhavrao Scindia, N.D. Tewari, Digvijay Singh, Najma Heptullah, Mohsina Kidwai et al.

And these four ants dare take on the elephant called NDA headed by a charismatic, clean and modest Atal Behari Vajpayee who could handle President Bill Clinton from a position of strength and who could goad Mr Clinton to talk tough with Gen Pervez Musharraf.


  Mr H.D. Deve Gowda faced defeat in the Lok Sabha election. A one-time minion in Mr R.K. Hegde’s Cabinet, the poor farmer’s son should better leave Delhi to serve his tribe in Karnataka. A Janata Party CM of Haryana, Mr Bhajan Lal, gifted the sprawling Bhondsi Ashram to Mr Shekhar who was then the Janata Party President. How shameful indeed!

Mr Narasimha Rao purchased MPs to keep himself alive. Mr Inder Gujral purchased Mr Parkash Singh Badal through hefty sums as aid to Punjab. Had the BJP, an ally of SAD, fielded a candidate from Jalandhar, its stronghold, where Mr Gujral would have been? Anybody’s guess.

And Mr V.P. Singh mandalised the polity, barely two days ahead of Mr Devi Lal’s kisan rally in Delhi, to save his skin. A hundred plus students made a bonfire of them. Girls were pulled down by hair from buses going to PM’s residence and dragged on the road with their faces bleeding. But not one tear flowed down the eyes of V.P. Singh.

None of these has even one follower at the central or state levels even when a Mayawati and an O.P. Chautala has quite a few of them. Better these zeroes massage their tired limbs and go to bed.


Death sentence for rape

In The Tribune under the heading “NCW rejects death for rape” a brief report of the National Commission for Women has been published, based on its recommendations on rape laws to the Government.

Our politicians from time to time at the spur of a moment and usually to assuage the feelings of the public when a gruesome case of rape is reported, advocate death sentence for the crime. But this report has been prepared after wide ranging consultations with experts, women activists, counsellors, psychologists and the police. The report does not advocate death sentence for rape. Punishment for rape, of course, has to be severe to act as a deterrent. Law should be amended in such a way that whatever punishment it prescribes, it must be a certainty and speedy. At present conviction rate is just 4 per cent. This has to be high and suitable amendments in law are required for it to be so. Proponents of death penalty on the other hand have favoured death sentence in gruesome case such as gang rape and the rape of a minor.

For the victim of rape what is more important is the social stigma. The life of the victim is permanently ruined. The law must address these problems also in addition to a deterrent punishment to the rapist. I also hold the view that counselling, compensation and rehabilitation of the victim are definitely more important than just punishing the culprit.


Inhuman act

The gunning down of 35 Kashmiri Sikhs in Chittisinghpora (Anantnag) has shocked the entire nation. This most inhuman and cowardly act of the Kashmiri terrorists proves beyond any doubt that they are not fighting a holy war. They are butchering humanity itself. Our Central Government is again busy using brave words but only words can’t checkmate the growing terror of these friends of Pakistan. Only concrete steps can halt their pernicious march in the valley.

The Sikhs living in villages should be immediately provided with weapons. They are brave people and the entire nation believes in their fighting spirit. The heartless, cruel and callous militants understand only the language of force and the field must not be left open for them. We have to engage them in face-to-face fight round the clock in every street of the valley. There is no other way out.


Bad roads

You are welcome to the land of Five Rivers”, “Please visit Again” One often reads these signboards while passing through the rich land but poor roads of Punjab. Above banners are displayed prominently, rather very prominently, on the roads, particularly the main/G.T. Roads to attract visitors — both Indian as well as foreigners. But the present state of affairs of the roads is such that whosoever travels once on these roads, can hardly afford to visit again.

The condition of interior roads is very miserable. One can find ponds of water here and there. These potholes are great risk to the visitors and the vehicles. Elected representatives hardly care to get these roads repaired, even though they make lots of promises to the voters during the election campaigns.

If the Punjab Government is really interested in giving a boost to the tourism industry it must take care of all roads. Besides the government must also ensure that roadside dhabas do not charge exorbitantly. Instead they must display their rates prominently for the convenience of visitors. Hotels/dhabas not displaying their rates prominently must be fined and their licence (if it exists) be cancelled. These are points which can give boost to the tourism industry in Punjab besides other numerous steps — provided the government is interested sincerely.



Question: What is the real meaning of the "flying squad" meant for examinations?

Answer: "Lying squad", with the letter "f" having disappeared!

Gajewas (Samana)


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