Thursday, May 1, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



It’s a shame, parliamentarians

Is it not a shame that the parliamentarians woke up to the misrule by Ms Mayawati only when their colleague, Mr Mulayam Yadav, came under threat? (April 22) As if the “threat to democracy” means a threat to an MP only! What Ms Mayawati had been doing to the state and the people of UP was none of their concern! Misappropriating and exhorting money for her birthday did not stir their conscience, which has all of a sudden shot up to take note of her misdeeds!

This “Dalit ki beti” will prove to be her own antithesis in that the UP of today is the very picture of a state where power has been placed in the hands of the undeserving. People, the Dalits included, are coming to realise that to the politician the Dalits are mere “sacrificial goats.” So what if 20, or even 200 of them die in the process of projecting their own daughter! “Beti”, by Maya’s logic, is more important than the parents.

Significantly, the MPs did not highlight the misuse of the MPs’ Local Area Development Scheme nor did anyone, Mr Chander Shekhar and Mr Advani included, ask for the withdrawal of this source of corruption. Mr Shekhar, as per the report, did lament that the “situation in U.P. is not normal”, but the former PM failed to say that President’s rule was the prescription under the Constitution.

Drafting a code of conduct for the CMs will serve no purpose. If they are not being hypocrites and are serious about the issue of misrule, they should demand President’s rule for U.P. and Bihar. “Dalit ki beti” has publicly admitted misusing the contingency fund of the state and she should be behind the bars. Will the PM do it? If he does not, he would sacrifice his “Bharateeyta” and “Hindutava” at the altar of the chair.

L.R. SHARMA, Jalandhar


Scheme for ex-soldiers

This refers to “Resentment over ECHS contributions” (April 13). The ECHS scheme was intended to be a contributory health scheme, on the pattern of the CGHS. The rates promulgated are exactly the same as applicable for the CGHS.

The contributions being made by ex-servicemen are based on the basic pension drawn and as such are not indicative of the type of medical facilities being provided. The medical facilities will be identical for all personnel and are in no way dependent on the rank or contribution made by the ex-servicemen pensioner. It will be pertinent to emphasise that the scheme is being financed wholly by the government whereas the contributions being made are a small percentage of what the government would spend.

No health scheme of the Central Government is free and in each scheme the pensioner has to necessarily make a contribution.

BRIG SHRUTI KANT, PR (Army), New Delhi

‘Galti kiski?’

This refers to Dr Kiran Bedi's serial “Galti kiski” on DD-1 which highlights some cases of injustice in our society. The episode on April 9 showed how an uneducated lower middle class woman is implicated along with her husband by an erring lawyer who files forged documents for the bail of her husband, arrested for theft. In her absence, her husband's friend who helped her to get bail, takes advantage of her minor daughter.

Showing such stories is of no use unless a dimension of practicality is added to each episode. These may get sympathy of the viewers for a few minutes, but are soon forgotten. We being educated can understand what lies at the core of such issues but the uneducated and underprivileged around whom most of the stories of this serial revolve, need to be enlightened about what their rights and privileges are; what they can do when trapped in such situations. And a person of the stature of Dr Bedi, who is a role model for so many and has a rich experience in such cases, is just the right person to do so. Each episode can be wound up with Dr Bedi giving people some practical suggestions to avert such mishappenings and, if trapped, how to help themselves.

Dr Charanjit Kaur, Bathinda



Why Labour Day today?

Today is Labour Day. It was on May 1, 1886, in Chicago, US, workers went on strike, and marched through the city's streets with white flags in their hands. It was an unexpectedly big procession in protest against no fixed hours of work and no social security. Anti-worker forces managed a bomb blast on May 4 to justify firing by the police, which led to the killing of a number of workers.

The story also goes that a working woman was carrying in her lap her infant son and a white flag in the other hand when a bullet pierced through the baby. She wrapped the child in the flag, which turned red with the blood of the infant. The working class throughout the world from that day resolved to change the colour of their flag to red. Secondly, it was also decided to observe May 1 every year as Labour Day.

Webster's Dictionary says Labour Day is observed "in most states of the US and in Canada a legal holiday, commonly first Monday in September in honour of labour".

But the question is: when all over the world it is observed on May 1, why in September in Canada and the US? Apparently, this is aimed at keeping their distance from the Chicago incidents.

On this day let us resolve that we will not allow labour to be exploited in any way.

Joginder Singh Toor, President, All-India Lawyers’ Union, Chandigarh


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