Rajat Sharma

My Opinion

Congress will have to face consequences on cow slaughter issue

The grisly incident in Kerala in which some Congress leaders openly slaughtered a calf and distributed its meat among people, is bound to cost the party politically.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi tried to limit the damage by condemning the incident and suspended three party leaders, but it has put an indelible scar on the minds of Hindu society, whose sensibilities have been offended.

The Congress and other political parties should understand that cow slaughter is not merely an issue relating to animal protection.

The sensibilities of Hindu society are closely linked to this emotional issue. The party will now have to face the consequences, and mere apologies or distancing the party from the perpetrators will not suffice.

Meanwhile, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has opposed the Centre’s notification regulating sale of cows and buffaloes at animal markets, saying it goes against the federal structure.

She is well aware of the fact that the Centre has issued the notification from the Environment Ministry knowing fully well that it falls within its jurisdiction.

She is free to challenge it legally, but it may not stand legal scrutiny. Moreover, her party is already facing charges of Muslim appeasement in Bengal. There have been demonstrations on this issue in her state, and her opposition to regulation of cow slaughter is bound to cost her politically.

Sushma has done a good job in bringing Uzma back

On Thursday, when Indian national Uzma Ahmed crossed the border at Wagah, she bent down and kissed the Indian soil. Hours later, when she met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in Delhi, she hugged her and wept. She then described how Pakistan has become a “well of death”(mout ka kuan) where women are not safe. We should commend the efforts made by Sushma Swaraj and the Indian High Commission officials in Islamabad in securing her safe return to India. Uzma Ahmed was forced to marry at gunpoint by a Pakistani national. Sushma Swaraj also praised the Pakistani high court judge, who when told by Uzma’s so-called husband that it was an issue of “prestige for Pakistan”, snapped back and said: “this is a marital issue, why are you dragging India and Pakistan into it”. This shows that humanity is still left across the border. Sushma Swaraj also praised the Pakistani foreign and interior ministries for arranging safe return of the Indian girl.

Pakistan resorting to fake videos after India’s punitive action

The Pakistan army has a long history of faking news relating to conflicts with India. On Wednesday, in response to Indian army’s video of punitive action against Pakistani army posts in Nowshera sector, the Pakistani army spokesperson released a video purported to show Indian bunkers being blown up in shelling by Pakistan near Line of Control. Within minutes, this video proved to be fake. India TV had already telecasted this old video several days ago. Earlier too, the Pakistani army had released video of a Naxalite attack as its own. The question that arises is: why Pakistan is resorting to fake videos? The answer is: the world has changed since the advent of social media. Even before the actual conflict begins on the ground, video wars erupt on social media. This is part of the game of psychological warfare. It has been reported that Pakistan has created a team of 40 to 50 personnel, exclusively assigned to create and circulate fake videos on social media. This Pakistani team has circulated a large number of fake videos of so-called “army oppression” to spread poison in the minds of Kashmiri youths. We have information that our armed forces have also made preparations to counter such fake videos on social media. Pakistan will now be paid in its own coin.

India should be ready for a long battle in ICJ on Jadhav issue

As the nation welcomes the International Court of Justice’s order granting stay on execution of Kulbhushan Jadhav in Pakistan, one note of caution: we should be ready to face a long-drawn battle in court. Pakistan is going to come up with more ruses, and India should respond accordingly. If one carefully studies the court order announced on Thursday, one fact becomes clear: the ICJ rejected each of the arguments made by Pakistan, whether on issue of jurisdiction, or on granting consular access. The Pakistani media is livid with anger, and Nawaz Sharif government is facing severe criticisms. The Pakistani lawyer was given 90 minutes to place his country’s arguments, but he had hardly 30-minute worth material to defend his country’s case. According to Pakistani media, he was given a fat fee of Rs 5 crore to appear before the ICJ, compared to Re. 1 taken by our lawyer Harish Salve. The Pakistani lawyer was completely unprepared while defending his country’s position. On the other hand, Harish Salve appeared before the court with solid facts, and he was fully prepared. India was won Round One of the battle, and should now be prepared for the next round. This is just the beginning.

After Income Tax raids, Lalu resorts to political manoeuvres

On Wednesday, a large number of RJD supporters attacked the BJP party office in Patna, and scuffles ensued between the BJP and RJD workers. This was RJD supremo Lalu Prasad’s style of deflecting public attention from the Income Tax raids through political manoeuvres. A day before, when Income Tax authorities raided 21 locations to find out facts relating to spurious realty acquisitions made by Lalu Prasad and his kin, the RJD supremo furiously tweeted, describing himself as an “undefeatable warrior” and complimenting BJP on its “new alliance partners”. He was obliquely pointing towards Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s RJD, but he soon realized his mistake. He knew that BJP would not help in his hour of crisis and he would have to rely on help from Nitish Kumar, because his two sons may have to resign if chargesheets are filed. So he promptly tweeted “don’t rejoice too much, our alliance is unbreakable”. Wednesday’s protest by RJD workers outside BJP office was a step in that direction. Lalu Prasad now wants to give a political swing to the Income Tax woes that he and his family members will have to face.

Even if Triple Talaq is a matter of faith, this practice must be abolished

On Tuesday, Kapil Sibal, appearing for All India Muslim Personal Law Board, argued before the Supreme Court that Triple Talaq was a 1,400-year old practice in Islam, and it was a matter of faith, just like the birthplace of Lord Ram in Ayodhya is a matter of faith for the Hindus. This reminds one of the infamous Sati practice among Hindus, in which the widow of a deceased male was forced to sit on her husband’s funeral pyre and die. Sati practice among Hindus was several centuries old, but it had to be abolished as it amounted to inhuman killing. Any religious or cultural practice, howsoever old it may be, has to be abolished if a society is to progress towards enlightenment. The practice of untouchability among Hindus was several centuries old, and it had to be outlawed, though the practice still prevails in some parts of India. Similarly, the ban on entry of untouchables into Hindu temples had to be lifted, after many social reformers launched movements and the people at large were persuaded to abandon such practices. So, to argue that the practice of instant divorce, as in Triple Talaq, is a 1,400-year old one, and is a matter of faith, does not hold water. If a religious or cultural practice is wrong and inhuman, it has to be stopped, either through courts, or through enactment of law.

EVMs with paper trail is the only way out

The Election Commission’s decision to hold all future elections with the help of paper trail linked to Electronic Voting Machines is a welcome step. As of now, Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party, Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress and Mayawati’s BSP had alleged tampering with EVMs, but they have been unable to show concrete evidence to probe that tampering indeed took place. The demand for reverting to the old ballot paper system is entirely illogical. Kejriwal may not know: in the past, in every general election conducted in India, nearly two lakh trees were cut to make ballot paper. If you add the state assembly elections and local bodies and panchayat elections, the number of trees that would be cut for ballot papers will be really huge. Those parties, like the CPI and BSP, who have demanded reverting to ballot paper system, should also consider the harm that we would may be doing to our environment.

Mayawati may get more shocks very soon

On Thursday, when Nasimuddin Siddiqui, one-time confidante of Mayawati and recently expelled from BSP, played out taped audio conversations with his former party supremo, the lady was quick to react. She hastily called a press conference and tried to reject charges that she had asked Siddiqui to give her Rs 50 crores in cash. Siddiqui claims he has taped 150 such conversations. The revelations point out to three important facts: one, in BSP, the only thing that matter is money, two, Mayawati may have publicly alleged EVM tampering for her defeat, she knew that Muslims, other backward castes and a large chunk of Dalits have deserted her, and three, the way in which Mayawati reacted swiftly to Siddiqui’s audio tapes clearly shows that she knows her ex-confidante has many more secrets to reveal. In short, this was just the beginning, and more skeletons are expected to tumble out of the closet. Mayawati is feared by all in her party. She ensures that her leaders do not carry cellphones, pens, watches and diaries, when they meet her, and yet Siddiqui taped her secret conversations. Clearly, Mayawati has reasons to worry.

Lt. Ummer Fayaz was a role model for Kashmiri youths

The dastardly manner in which a Kashmiri army officer Lt. Ummer Fayaz, who had come on leave to attend a family wedding in Shopian, was murdered by terrorists, nails the claim of separatists that they are fighting for the rights of Kashmiris. Lt. Fayaz was a Kashmiri youth, who opted for the mainstream, joined the army and was a role model for other youths in his locality. He was unarmed and was off-duty. He was dragged by terrorists from the wedding and then shot multiple times. His bullet-ridden body was recovered the next morning. The question arises: why did terrorists kill this Kashmiri youth? The answer is: Lt. Fayaz, by his shining career, was a source of inspiration for other Kashmiri youths who dream of achieving success by dint of their merit and courage. Terrorists do not want youths in the valley to study and do government jobs. They want them to throw stones, go to jail and get bullets. And on the other hand? The Hizbul chief Syed Salahuddin, sitting in Pakistan and masterminding terror attacks at the behest of his political masters, quietly sends request for visa for his son, so that he can pursue medical studies. Separatists like Salahauddin want their own children to become doctors and professionals, but want other Kashmiri youths to take up the gun. This is double standard on their part, and the gullible people in Kashmir, should wake up to this reality.

Kejriwal has many questions to answer

By enacting a dramatic demonstration about tampering of a dummy lookalike EVM inside the Delhi Assembly, Arvind Kejriwal has questioned the very integrity and credibility of a reputed Constitutional authority like the Election Commission.

Using legislative immunity, Kejriwal has sowed seeds of distrust in the minds of people on the way polling is being done. As per law, an FIR should be filed against Kejriwal. The problem with Kejriwal is that he considers himself a real life invincible Bahubali. If his party wins elections, he attributes it to popular support, and if he loses, he attiributes it to EVM tampering. After securing a landslide majority in Delhi assembly polls, Kejriwal dreamt of becoming India’s Prime Minister.

He used to blame all ills on Narendra Modi, but when his party lost elections in Goa, Punjab and Delhi, he lost his sleep. His partymen told him that his arrogance cost him the elections, but Kejriwal was unwilling to accept his mistake. This fake Bahubali faced fresh problems when his trusted Katappa levelled charges of bribetaking against him.

This surely necessitates a CBI probe. And, the Income Tax department must also investigate the sources and amount of donations collected by Aam Aadmi Party.

The man who rode the popular wave of expectations of probity in public life, must now reply to charges levelled against him before the public. This is what real democracy is all about.

Kejriwal has a knack of choosing fraudsters, bribe takers

In the ongoing mud-slinging drama unleashed on Delhiites by AAP leaders, Arvind Kejriwal and his cohorts have suspended ‘rebel’ Kapil Mishra, and Kejriwal himself, for the first time, tweeted cryptically ‘truth will prevail’. Let us see what happens at the special Delhi assembly session today. Even if, for a moment, we agree with Kejriwal’s assertion that Kapil Mishra’s charges are a bunch of lies, some questions do arise: Who made Kapil Mishra a minister for the last two years? He was one of Kejriwal’s select ‘diamonds’. Who made Satyender Jain a minister, against whom the CBI has started probe? Who made Jitendra Tomar a minister, who went to jail for acquiring a forged degree? Who made Sandip Kumar, implicated in sex scandals, a minister? Who made Asim Ahmed Khan a minister – the man who was caught taking bribe? All these were, what Kejriwal had claimed, “diamonds” – men of impeccable integrity. Now what can we say about the leader, who has selected liars, fraudsters and corrupt men as ministers? It is for the people of Delhi to decide.

Death sentence to Nirbhaya rapists should serve as a warning

The Supreme Court’s three-judge bench has upheld the death sentence given to four convicts in the infamous Nirbhaya gangrape case that rocked the nation’s conscience after December 16, 2013. I welcome this judgement as I believe, it should serve as a warning to future offenders. One of the rapists escaped the death sentence, because he was a juvenile (below 18 years) at the time of incident. He was sentenced to three years imprisonment under the Juvenile Justice Act and then released from jail. This juvenile’s act during the gangrape incident was horrendous, and he should have also been given the death sentence. We read news of rape incidents in newspapers almost daily, and watch faces of the accused on TV screens. Our blood boils when he see these offenders, and yet the common man, somehow or other, feels helpless. Because rapes continue to take place in our society. The Supreme Court verdict may strike some level of terror in the hearts of rapists, but what is required is this: Every mother should teach her son, every sister should teach her brother, to respect women. This is the only way out.