|Wednesday, May 3, 2000,
by court martial
AUTONOMY PANEL REPORT
on film piracy
May 3, 1925
ARMED forces by long tradition have insulated themselves from the open-ended judicial scrutiny. This is because the army always revolves in its own orbit, preferring to be governed by its own rules. In this atmosphere of secrecy, aberrations grew and were institutionalised. Times are achanging. The Supreme Court has now asked the defence forces to open at least its windows, if not the door. That in effect is the apex court's sharp criticism of the law governing general court martial (GCM). The intention, of course, is to remove elements of arbitrariness from the proceedings and allay the fear that the system of court martial was some kind of a summary trial. What the Supreme Court wants the government to bring about is a quantum transformation. It is not going to be an easy task, considering that it requires a radical change in mindset. The judiciary and the government owe it to the nation to ensure that the task is accomplished without an upheaval. But there is no denying the fact that modifications are urgently called for. Even the strongest votaries of the present system will agree that there is scope for improvement. Various lacunae have come to dog the GCM because the lapses in the Army Act pointed out by the apex court way back in 1982 were not removed. Parliament as well as the Central Government should share the blame for this. Perhaps this has happened because other laws also are only slightly less antiquated. There has been a sea-change in the rest of the world but India continues to live in the 19th century. The apex court has found fault with three aspects. One is that court martials do not write a reasoned order in support of their conclusions, even in cases in which they impose death sentence. The second is that while a civilian convict can proffer appeal after appeal to a hierarchy of courts, there is absence of even one appeal with power to review evidence, legal formulation, conclusion and adequacy or otherwise of punishment given by GCM. Then there is the question of fulfilling various legal obligations while appointing an officer to the court martial. There have been proceedings in which the judge-advocate was junior in rank to the accused.
While the need for
change is unexceptionable, it is necessary to exercise
extreme caution because the matter relates to the defence
forces. A method has to be evolved so that the famed
defence forces discipline is not affected in any way. At
the same time, it is also imperative that national
security is not compromised. An army man going to court
was an unheard-of event not too long ago. It is now
becoming routine. It is not desirable that matters
concerning the country's safety and integrity should be
dragged to courts. That can affect the morale of the men
in uniform. Perhaps the need to go to courts has arisen
because not many army men are confident that they can get
justice from the armed forces authority. As the old
saying goes, justice should not only be done but also be
seen to be done. Perhaps making the system of dispensing
justice through GCM more rational and humane will evoke
greater confidence and curb the trek to the courts.
ADMINISTERED prices are on their way out with the government surrendering the right to determine them to market forces. Instead, these are days of administered inflation, when government decisions push up the cost of living at regular intervals. The massive increase in the price of kerosene and cooking gas has percolated to the wholesale price index (WPI) to take it to its highest level in more than a year. For the week ending April 15 the index has soared by nearly 1 per cent to record an inflation rate of 5.5 per cent. This spurt is worrisome for several reasons. But there is a lurking fear and that relates to a further surge in prices and as a consequence of which interest rates on bank loans may remain unchanged. The RBIs grand design and the industrys fervent appeal for lower interest rates may remain unrealised. First, two sources of comfort. Petroleum products will not become costly, thanks to the decision of the OPEC countries to pump out more crude. Worldwide crude prices are falling, at present painfully slowly, and hopefully briskly in the coming weeks. The second point of cheer is the record harvest the country is poised to bring home. Even if the next monsoon is deficient, as one Bangalore-based expert group forecasts, food prices will not climb crazily. But the trouble spots lie elsewhere. The government has strengthened the sentiments of a steady increase in the inflation rate by incessantly talking of reducing subsidies in a wide variety of consumption goods. The ongoing crusade against subsidy cuts is to be seen against this background. Price rise is a guaranteed vote-losing proposition and the lung power on display now shows why opposition parties want to be on the right side of popular anger when things sour.
The BJP-led alliance
government is not dynamic either in formulating economic
policies or in implementing them. As shown by its
hesitant response to the drought in Gujarat and
Rajasthan, two states where it is very strong, it reacts
rather late and only when compelled to act. This has
somewhat hurt its image as a party firm in being fair to
all sections of the population. In a year of severe
drought in about a dozen states it was not politic to
raise foodgrain prices just to save a thousand crores of
rupees or more. That illusory saving has disappeared in
the form of drought relief and the cost of replacing the
lost ammunition at the Bharatpur depot. Thus, it is sad
to say, there has been no relief in terms of reducing the
runaway growth in the fiscal deficit but much loss of
popular faith in the government being kinder and
gentler. As every economist has warned the
government, economic reforms are a painful process which
benefits a few but pains a large number of people in a
poor country like India. The party which initiates these
changes may win a few thousand votes in the urban areas
but will yield ground to narrow parochial forces in the
vast hinterland. That will be disastrous for the future.
THE latest incident of violence on the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus should be seen as conclusive evidence of the institution having ceased to be a centre of academic excellence. Over the past few months several incidents of rape and molestation were reported from the campus of what was meant to be India's answer to Harvard and other global centres of superior learning. The university authorities instead of taking effective steps for throwing out the malcontents from the premises, with the help of the police if necessary, chose the soft option of denying as baseless reports of law and order problems on the campus. But in the latest incident three brothers, two of them officers in the Army, were bashed up by a gathering of students which turned into a mob. It was certainly not a routine case of the breakdown of the law and order machinery on the campus of JNU. The three brothers would have been lynched by the mob for reasons which have not been made clear in the newspaper accounts of the blood-chilling episode. The arrival of the police prevented the incident of assault and battery from turning into a case of triple murder. The eldest brother, who sustained serious head injuries, was shifted to the intensive care unit of Army Research and Referral Hospital, where he was reported to be battling for life. The students had gathered on the campus for an Indo-Pak mushaira organised by the JNU Students Union in honour of delegates currently in Delhi for the SAARC writers' conference. The three brothers were not intruders. They had duly entered their names in the register before entering the hall where the mushaira was organised. During the course of the recitation of poems by Indian and Pakistani poets the atmosphere had become tense after Fahmida Riaz recited an anti-nuke poem in which she blamed leaders of the two countries for raising war clouds.
She is known for her
outspokenness and had to spend seven years in India to
escape the fury of Pakistani fundamentalists during the
Zia era. When Ahmad Faraz, another popular poet from
Pakistan, was invited to recite his poem the audience
started hooting him. The three brothers were evidently
among the protesters. Whatever may have been the
provocation, the message which the breaking up of the
mushaira, with or without the incident of violence, is
going to send to the pro-peace lobby in the subcontinent
is not encouraging. Painters, poets, writers, singers and
dancers from the two countries have made a substantial
contribution in keeping alive the flicker of hope for
peace in the subcontinent. A game of cricket between
India and Pakistan generates more tension than goodwill
among the people of the two countries. But the JNU
episode is probably the first incident of poets from
Pakistan being made to feel unwelcome by a hostile crowd
at a mushaira organised by the representatives of the
students. That the incident, which nearly claimed three
lives, occurred on the campus of JNU calls for more than
the usual expression of concern over the increase in the
incidents of hooliganism in centres of higher learning.
AUTONOMY PANEL REPORT
THE Jammu and Kashmir Government has forwarded the 184-page State Autonomy Committee Report (SACR) to the Centre and strongly urged the Union President to accept it and implement forth with all 13 recommendations it contains. The SACR has been drafted strictly in accordance with the lines indicated in the October 26,1947, Instrument of Accession, the January 26,1950, Constitution Application Order and the July 24,1952, Nehru-Sheikh Abdullah Delhi agreement.
The report, without giving any reason, says that the root cause of the 10-year old separatist movement and estrangement of Kashmiris was the deep-rooted conspiracy engineered by New Delhi in collaboration with its Kashmiri henchmen to bypass these three solemn agreements under which the state was to enjoy maximum internal autonomy and to bring J&K surreptitiously within the purview of Central laws and institutions like the Supreme Court of India, the Comptroller and Auditor-General, the Election Commission, et al, and thereby on a par with other states of the Union, and erode Kashmiriat.
Again, it puts forth a solution which alone, according to it, can assuage the hurt feelings of the Kashmiris and solve the 53-year-old Kashmir problem. Its solution: the Centre must withdraw all the Central laws and institutions extended to the state after August 9, 1953, restore without any delay the pre-1953 constitutional position and meet all its financial needs.
Interestingly, the SACR makes no reference to the 1975 Indira-Sheikh Abdullah accord under which the latter got the Chief Ministers chair on a platter much against the wishes of the state Congress which commanded an absolute majority in both the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council and appointed in 1977 a high-powered-three-member Cabinet sub-committee under the then Deputy Chief Minister, Mr D.D. Thakur, to go into the whole gamut of Central laws extended to J&K and recommend withdrawal of those which it deemed harmful to the states special politico-economic and socio-religious rights and interests.
This committee had produced two highly contradictory reports. One was from Mr Thakur, who said that the needles of the clock cannot be turned back and that none of the Central laws impinged on the states special status or eroded the Kashmiri identity in any manner. On the contrary, he opined that the extension of the provisions of the Indian Constitution had only benefited the people of the state.
The other report was from Mr Gul Shah, son-in-law of Sheikh Abdullah, and Mr Ghulam Nabi Kochak (members of the committee), who recommended withdrawal of all the Central laws and institutions from the state. The upshot of their whole formulation was that these were squarely responsible for the erosion of internal autonomy granted to the state under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. This profound cleavage of opinion between Mr Thakur and other members of the committee culminated in a serious controversy in the state Cabinet, leave aside the bitter opposition in Jammu and Ladhak to the very idea of a review of the Central laws. The controversy was resolved by none other than Sheikh Abdullah, an ardent believer in the doctrine of greater autonomy, when he accepted Mr Thakurs recommendations in their entirety and even allowed the extension of certain other Central laws to J&K.
Anyway, the basic question is: will the restoration to the pre-1953 constitutional position strengthen democracy or provide what the SACR calls a democratic framework and redress the grievances of the alienated Kahmiris? Or, will it re-empower the people to shape and control their political and economic future themselves? Even a non-rigorous scrutiny of the political system as it existed prior to the dismissal and arrest of Sheikh Abdullah on August 9,1953, would suggest that it will not. On the other hand, the states return to the pre-1953 constitutional position will, apart from strengthening and emboldening the staunch believers in the concept of Nizam-e-Mustafa and J&Ks separation from India, at once subvert all the democratic institutions, deprive the common people of civil liberties and political rights and fetter the Press and the judiciary. The reason: such a drastic return will arm the Council of Ministers with absolute, unbridled executive, legislative, judicial and financial powers.
In effect, the adoption of a political system as the SACR envisages will at once mean (a) withdrawal of the Fundamental Rights; (b) virtual replacement of the J&K Constitution of 1957 by the highly anti-people and dictatorial J&K Constitutional Act (JKCA) of 1939; (c) revival of the visa system; (d) inability of Parliament to curb anti-India activities effectively in the state, as also intervene through Presidents rule if there is a breakdown of the constitutional machinery in the state; (e) a committed judiciary judges of the High Court, which shall be the highest court of justice in J&K shall be appointed by the state government and they shall retain their office so long as they enjoy its confidence; (f) committed Sadar-e-Riyasat Sadar-e-Riyasat (Governor) shall be elected by the state legislature and he shall be answerable to it; and (g) replacement of the parliamentary form of government by a local oligarchy, with the Centre having no power whatsoever to legislate on matters other than those concerning defence, foreign affairs and communication. But more than that, it would also mean a grave threat to the countrys unity, integrity and sovereignty and secular ethos.
It needs to be recalled that between September 7, 1939, and January 26, 1957, the ruling elite in the state derived its authority from the JKCA of 1939. The ruler, Hari Singh, had enacted this Act for conciliation between the Kashmiris and their leader, Sheikh Abdullah. They had been demanding since 1931 the replacement of autocracy by democracy. Though a legislative assembly (Praja Sabha) with 75 elected and nominated members was set up in accordance with the Act, Sheikh Abdullah and his colleagues continued their protest.
They opposed the JKCA on seven counts. First, it contained several provisions which obstructed the formation of a responsible government and facilitated the domination and exploitation of the people. Secondly, it was not framed by a constituent assembly elected on adult franchise, but by the ruler and his agents. Thirdly, the Act recognised the ruler and not the people as the fountainhead of all essential attributes of sovereigntywith no court , person or body having the right to question his measures. Fourthly, it did not recognise the doctrine of supremacy of the legislature. Fifthly, the JKCA did not provide for an independent judiciary. Sixthly, it failed to repeal the highly obnoxious J&K Press and Publication Act (JKPPA) of 1932. (This Act contained provision after provision designed to imperil the development of a free Press. Under this Act, the ruling elite could seize any Press it wanted and impose a heavy fine on Press persons for the publication of articles deemed seditious.) And, seventhly, the JKCA, like the Government of India Acts of 1909,1919 and 1935, introduced the institution of communal electorates and not joint electorates.
Despite a five year-long relentless struggle and several hartals, strikes, demonstrations and violent clashes with the police, which claimed many lives, Hari Singh did not introduce any democratic principle and Sheikh Abdullah and other pro-democracy leaders stepped up their efforts to seek withdrawal of the JKCA. Their efforts culminated in the 1946 Quit Kashmir Movement, with the National Conference cadres openly defying the rulers authority, confronting the police at several places and attacking police stations and other official symbols to press for the dethronement of Hari Singh and the establishment of a democratically-elected government as well as demanding the abrogation of the March, 1846, Treaty of Amritsar which had made Kashmir a part of the Jammu Kingdom. Order could be restored only after the police and the Army swung into action and imprisoned Sheikh Abdullah and other important pro-democracy leaders on the charge of sedition.
It was under these circumstances as well as in the wake of a full-scale Pakistani war that J&K acceded to the Indian dominion on October 26, 1947. Ironically, the accession and Sheikh Abdullahs appointment as the Emergency Administrator in October, 1947, at the behest of Pandit Nehru did not in any way ameliorate the political lot of the Kashmiris and other people of the state. For , Sheikh Abdullah, rather than repeal the JKCA, exploited it to consolidate his position, marginalised his senior and influential colleagues such as Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed, Ghulam Mohammad Sadiq, Mohi-ud-Din Kara and Maulana Masoodi, and put down his political rivals in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. He also exploited to the hilt the JKPPA and muzzled the Press with a view to preventing it from reporting and commenting upon his misdeedsand anti-democratic policies.
It was only during the reign of Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad (August 1953-September 1963) that a number of revolutionary steps were taken to democratise the polity. These included the abrogation on May 14, 1954, of Section 75 of the JKCA, under which the Council of Ministers acted as the final interpreter of the state Constitution, the abolition of the largely committed Board of Judicial Advisers and extension of the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of India on May 14, 1954, and approval and adoption on November 17, 1956, of a new constitution by the J& K Constituent Assembly, constituted in 1951, and its launching on January 26, 1957. The most inspiring features of the Constitution were the recognition of the peoples natural right to shape and mould their political, administrative and economic policy, and grant of full freedom to the Press and the judiciary.
Thus it is obvious that a return to the pre-1953 constitutional position will grievously harm the legitimate political and democratic rights of the Kahmiris and non-Kashmiris and enslave them once again. The roots of the Kashmiri alienation lie not in the Central laws, introduced after August 9, 1953 (with the concurrence of or at the request of the state government), but in the gross misrule, bureaucratic bunglings and denial of a legitimate expression of the popular will. The Centre must repudiate outright any such suggestion that seeks to re-establish dictatorship, render the people ineffective for all practical purposes and widen a gulf between J&K and New Delhi. It should also ensure that the state government provides a clean, efficient, fair and responsive administration which is accountable to the people. This and the reorganisation of the states polity on a regional basis and the elimination of Pakistan-sponsored militancy are the only fundamental demands of the people.
of restraint for police
PEOPLE, particularly the litigants, who approach the courts through their lawyers in quest of justice, have heaved a sigh of relief over the suspension of the strike by lawyer after the High Court (DB) gave a direction in this behalf. At the same time, the court came down heavily on the police/administration in not taking appropriate steps to the satisfaction of the striking lawyers to ensure that the strike was called off.
It is unfortunate that the strike should have continued for about two months. The Commission of Enquiry, now set up, will probe as to who had erred and where and what provoked the police to lathi charge the member of the legal fraternity who included women lawyers also. The court further observed that the police did not appear to have acted with due care and caution, and some of the lower echelons of the force acted like mad dogs. It would have been in the interest of the police to pinpoint those who had transgressed their legal limits and initiated action, including suspension.
It would have been beneficial for the top brass of the police to have liaised with the organisers of the protest rally and arrived at an understanding that they would be allowed to go up to a certain point to stage a demonstration. A meeting could have been arranged a day before between the lawyers and the police to arrive at an agreement that the latter would allow a deputation of the former to meet the Union Law Minister to submit a memorandum in support of their demands, which included practice by foreign lawyers and matters connected with their profession. This was perhaps not thought over. Had this been done, there would have been no occasion for the police to use force. There is always a solution to the menace. Facts pertaining to the agitation are too well known to need any reiteration.
Close on the heels of alleged lathi charge on the lawyers, the police has come in for severe criticism for entering the campus of Jamia Millia Islamia, a South Delhi university, without the Vice-Chancellors prior permission to apprehend two boys allegedly of shady character. It is argued that the police entered the institution to search for the wanted boys. The police should have obtained prior permission of the Vice-Chancellor before entering the campus. This was a first lapse on its part. In case the police was not sure about the presence of the shady characters hiding in the campus, it could have mounted an unobtrusive watch and picked them up as and when they came out. This was the second lapse.
The Jamia Millia students resentment against the police entry in the institution was natural. According to them, they were lathi-charged when they were holding a peaceful demonstration. It is, however, alleged by the police that they assaulted the policemen on duty. Whatever may be the provocation the policemen should have exercised restraint till they felt that they could not prevent an explosive situation to emerge without using force. Senior district officers could have counselled the students not to take the law in their own hand, if the police version is to be believed .
The police must have a recourse to persuasive methods when an immediate breach of the peace is likely to result in large-scale conflagration. It would be advisable for the top echelons of the police to negotiate with the organisers/leaders of the processions/rallies to arrive at an amicable settlement. The officer on duty must assess the whole situation and the magnitude of the problem of crowd control, as in the event of any hasty action the situation might blow out of proportion and become unmanageable.
Processions, demonstrations and protest rallies are permissible under the Constitution.
Students, members of the legal fraternity and other social groups have a constitutional right to assemble peacefully without carrying arms to discuss their programmes and hold rallies.
It goes without saying that the trigger-happy policeman has quite often come in for severe criticism throughout the country for allegedly killing the people while quelling riots, dispersing unlawful assemblies, controlling crowds, etc. While there may be an immediate cause for the people to indulge in rioting, the police must exercise some restraint even under grave provocation and try to counsel those spearheading any agitation not to take the law in their own hands.
The police must be tactful in dealing with a particular situation and exhaust all channels before using force. Experience has shown that rioting takes place due to inept handling of the situation at the initial stage when the lower ranks attend to the situation. It is essential that the seniors issue proper guidelines to them and ensure that the force is used only as a last resort.
Sometimes there is a sudden outbreak of riots when policemen use force under compelling circumstances and in the process commit excesses against hapless persons resulting in grievous injuries to them or death. People usually get set against the police in the event of any custodial death and gather to assault the policemen or even burn the police station
Such situations can be averted if policemen are not allowed to transgress their legal limits by seniors. It is their indulgence in barbaric and inhuman acts which arouses the adverse opinion in the minds of the people who decide to settle across with them. It is, therefore, imperative that seniors keep their men under check and ensure remedial measures at the very beginning.
If an unlawful assembly cannot be otherwise dispersed and it is necessary to do so for the public security, the Executive Magistrate of the highest rank present may cause it to be dispersed by the armed force. Section 132, Cr PC, lays down that no prosecution against any person for any act purported to have been done under Sections 129, 130, 131, Cr PC, by the police officer or armed forces officers shall be instituted in any criminal court, except with the sanction of Central government where such person is an officer or member of the armed forces, and with the sanction of the state government in any other case.
on film piracy
INDIAN films are beginning to witness a slow revival at cinema theatres in South Africa following a crackdown on pirates who release hundreds of copies of popular movies weekly on video.
Indian films have always had a huge following in South Africa among its 1.2 million citizens of Indian descent. Until the early 70s, cinema houses screening films from India, especially Hindi movies, would often have up to five shows per day, with queues for tickets stretching around the block.
Then video arrived and with it came easy access to Indian films at low prices which forced most of the cinemas to close down as audiences dwindled. Many cinemas are today shopping centres or even factories.
With official relations between South Africa and India non-existent at the time because of apartheid, pirate video distributors thrived as no action was taken against them by the rights holders in India. Even street corner cafes became Indian video film dealers as estimates indicated that up to 95 per cent of Indian homes in South Africa owned video cassette players.
After South Africa became a true democracy in 1994, attempts were made by both private distributors and government authorities to regulate and legalise the Indian film distribution industry. Among the first of these moves was the introduction and strict application of censorship laws which were never enforced in the case of Indian films before.
The campaign in recent months has been intensified because of the efforts of SAFACT (South African Federation Against Copyright Theft) which has been conducting raids on video stores and offering incentives to members of the public who provide information on piracy.
Video outlets dealing in Indian movies have reacted aggressively to the latest campaign, according to Fred Potgieter of SAFACT. They are complaining that while pirate tapes are being removed from their shelves, they are not being replaced by original copies while their customers are demanding them, he said.
They are also complaining about the delay after the films are first shown in cinemas before they are released on video. Distributors of Indian films in South Africa will have to decide on a window the period after theatrical release when video copies can be released, he added.
Our customers are complaining because we cannot provide legal copies of recent movies to them, said Aziz Haffejee, owner of Videovision, one of the oldest video distributors in the sprawling Indian suburb of Lenasia in Johannesburg. It is killing our business.
But the clampdown has had a positive effect on cinema audiences, which have grown in the past five years since Robbie Lutchman of the Goodhope Entertainment Group decided to relaunch Indian films on the big screen in major South African cities.
Indian cinema owners in South Africa have no fight with the video dealers at all, but cinema owners should be allowed to recoup their investments in Indian films first before the video outlets get original copies, said Lutchman, adding that discussions are under way to bring this about.
The market for Indian movies shown at cinemas is so small in South Africa that we often have to play over a longer period to smaller houses just to recover costs, said Lutchman.
SAFACTs Potgieter said there was also support for the regulation of Indian films on video from members of the public who were cooperating in the latest campaign. They say that this action could lead to them finally getting quality product instead of the poor dubbings that are the norm at the moment, he said.
The fight against piracy is also being assisted by actions initiated by the Film and Publications Board of South Africa. The board is to apply stringent regulations that call for the certification of every video title in a store. Any tapes not carrying the certification will be removed.
This has been done with the western and adult movie market already and is now to be extended to Indian films. Meanwhile, SAFACT is awaiting a decision by the attorney general on criminal action against two major dealers in Durban from whom copies of video movies were seized during raids two months ago. SAFACT has also instituted a civil claim for substantial damages against the dealers.
to get back Indian treasures
INDIAN parliamentarian Kuldip Nayars moves to get the Kohinoor diamond and other treasures back for India from Britain have strengthened a campaign seeking the return of lost Indian heritage.
Mr Nayar, a former Indian High Commissioner to Britain, is leading a campaign for a motion in Parliament to press the government to get Indian treasures back to India.
The Kohinoor, considered among the largest diamonds in the world, was apparently gifted to the British monarch in the 19th century by Duleep Singh, the son of Maharaja Ranjit Singh who ruled over what is now Punjab. There have been allegations that the diamond, which was at one time Mughal property, was taken from Duleep Singh through trickery by the British. It is currently displayed in the Tower of London as part of the Crown Jewels. It is set in the crown for the coronation of George VIs Queen Elizabeth (the present Queen Mother) in 1937.
The Kohinoor was a forgotten chapter in colonial history but the sustained pressure by the Greeks to get back their Elgin marbles has given weight to the parliamentary campaign launched in India.
The Labour government bowed to Greek pressure and set up a committee to consider return of the Elgin marbles. That the Labour Government is considering return of the marbles, which are a star possession displayed in the British Museum, lends some weight to the claim for the Kohinoor.
The parliamentary push in India has boosted the campaign of Bhaskar Ghorpade, the lone campaigner in Britain for the return of Indian treasures. His Committee for the Restoration of the Cultural Heritage of India will now launch a campaign bolstered by the parliamentary moves in New Delhi.
Its about time people in India woke up and did something, Mr Ghorpade said. Any move to win back our treasures for India is very welcome, he said.
British curators insist the Kohinoor was a gift from erstwhile ruler Duleep Singh to Queen Victoria. But Duleep Singh, son of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, was brought to Britain when he was only eight years old. Lord Dalhousie brought the Kohinoor with him. Later, in Britain, Duleep Singh was persuaded to gift the Kohinoor to the Queen. Mr Ghorpade has argued that does not amount to a gift.
The parliamentarians in India can petition the parliamentary committee in London. The House of Commons select committee can inquire into the possession of all major works of art either stolen or dubiously acquired by Britains museums and art galleries, said Mr Ghorpade.
The case for the return of the Elgin marbles, which date to the 5th century B.C., has been opened in Britain for the first time in nearly 200 years. The so-called Elgin marbles were acquired by Lord Elgin in 1801 and brought to London between 1804 and 1815. Greece has even announced construction of a new museum in Athens to house the marbles when they are returned.
preservation of our past has never been our major
concern, said Mr Ghorpade. Its no use
making occasional noises. With the select committee now
set up, the time has come for a determined effort by the
government and by ordinary men and women to fight for our
common national pride. India Abroad
WHILE the general sense of the Punjab Legislative Council on Wednesday was in favour of Swaraj being established irrespective of communal differences, one of the speakers, Sardar Jodh Singh, emphatically declared, as another Sikh leader had done before him, that while he and his community were prepared to accept the rule of a political majority, they were entirely averse to accepting the rule of a communal majority.
This is perhaps the argument which another speaker, Prof Ruchi Ram Sahni, was going to develop, when he was stopped by the President from continuing or finishing his speech on the ground that the rules regarding time-limit were peremptory and left him no discretion.
In our opinion this was
really going to the root of the whole problem in India.
If India is to be a self-governing democracy in the
proper sense of the term, the rule of the communal
majority, wherever, and to whatever extent it exists,
will have to be replaced by the rule of the political
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