Sunday, February 12, 2012

That's all, Your honour!: Feb.5-11

1. The Law minister of our country, Shri Salman Kursheed revealed this week that when they showed pictures of the Batla house encounter to Sonia Gandhi, her eyes were full of tears. He even told us that she told him that she cannot look at these pictures and suggested to them that they show these pictures to the Prime Minister. So what is this Batla house encounter? Wikipedia page gives the full details - but here's the summary - In September, 2008, Delhi police recieve a tip-off that one of the terrorists they are looking for is in an apartment in Batla House. They go there to capture him, but face fire. They retaliate, and fighting ensues. Police Inspector Mohan Sharma lays down his life. Two terrorists are killed. A third one escapes. 

As with all encounters, we now have "human rights activists" all over the place. And since the terrorists were muslims, now we have politicians of all hues competing with each other to claim that this encounter was fake and an enquiry has to be ordered. The Delhi High Court orders the National Human Rights Commission to probe. NHRC submits a report saying the encounter is genuine. Delhi High Court accepts the report. Our politicians are still not satisfied. The then president of Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee, Salman Kursheed even led a delegation to the Prime Minister. 

The Home Minister, as recently as last month, has again confirmed that the encounter is genuine. In his own words - "every authority who has looked into it (the case), has agreed that it was a genuine encounter. ". Please note - "every authority". And much to the disappointment of many folks, the encounter and its subsequent verification have all been done under the aegis of the congress government and not any BJP government. 

For his bravery, Inspector Mohan Sharma was awarded the Ashok Chakra - highest peace time gallantary award. Previously, he was the recipient of many presidential medals. Salman Kursheed later went to become the Law Minister of our country (and continues to be). In this position, he has access to more facts than as the president of non-descript UPCC. The Home minister and Prime Minister of this country have no doubt that the encounter was genuine and inspector Mohan Sharma is a martyr who sacrificed his life in the line of duty. Erudite commentator, Praveen Swami gave a befitting reply to all those who questioned the encounter, back in 2008 itself! How befitting is it for the Law Minister to rake up this issue again? How can he belittle this brave sacrifice of inspector Mohan Sharma? How can he contradict the stand of the very government that he is part of? And is it true that Sonia Gandhi cried? If so, why did she cry? If not, why is the Law minister of this country lying to us? These are all serious questions - not something that can be brushed aside. 

These issues are being raked up to garner the muslim vote. First it was 9% reservation for them. When the EC "censured" him, he challenges EC further saying even if they hang him, he will fight for muslim reservations. Is this the language the Law minister of this country should use? Quite understandably, a miffed EC wrote to the President of India. Be rest assured, no further action will be taken! 

2. Politics in Andhra Pradesh as hotting up every passing week. If last week, it was about the revolt of IAS officers, this week it is all about the ministers. The chief minister undertook a cabinet expansion. It was reported that he even wanted to take up a major reshuffle of portfolios. However, the high command was not keen about the reshuffle given that the Budget session of assembly will begin next week. Ministers need to be well prepared to face questions from members for any session - hence this move made sense. And here's where the CM gives the twist. He takes away the agriculture portfolio from the deputy CM and awards it another minister. He splits up the medical, health and medical education portfolio and gives it to a new minister! If reshuffle was stopped to help ministers be better prepared, then why was Agriculture shifted? Is it an indication of the seriousness of this CM? Or mere politics blinded him to the effect of changing the agricultural minister a week before the budget session? The other minister, D.L.Ravindra Reddy upped his tempo against the Chief Minister. Yet, the high command persuades him to continue! Only in this state, do we regularly see the spectacle of ministers taunting the Chief Minister! 

Amidst all this, the Anti Corruption Bureau report on liquor mafia in the state named the excise minister! A trader told the ACB that he paid Rs. 10 lakhs bribe to the minister! And this was enough for another storm to begin. Regional media even reported that the PCC chief was angry with the CM for leaking this report! As always, after a furore of 2 days, the minister still continues to hold his position. Liquor mafia continues to loot, and the people have no choice left but to grin and whine. 

3. But the corruption of ministers mentioned above did not capture "national" attention. Three Karnataka ministers were caught watching a porn video in the assembly! Apparently one minister clicked on a link sent in an e-mail and that turned out to be a porn video. Within 12 hours, the ministers were asked to resign and resign they did. This did not satisfy the "national" media - especially the TV media. They had endless meaningless discussions on the whole sordid affair. Then newspapers followed suit with editorials - for about 48 hours, this seemed to be the only real issue bothering the country! What a pity that our discourse stoops to such levels. Meanwhile, DNA reports that ~40MLAs belonging to all parties watched that video in the assembly - however a TV grab is available only of the ministers! 

4. And finally, the army chief age row came to an end. The Supreme Court has observed that the chief has to agree to his earlier committment, wherein he agreed to abide by the 1950 date of birth. The army chief then withdrew the petition. This article captures some intricate details of whether there was conspiracy in dealing with the date of birth. Must read for a different perspective! That's all, your honour! 


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