Rajat Sharma

My Opinion

Rahul should not announce fast in a hurry

Rajat sharma (002)The Congress party had announced nationwide token fast on Monday to voice its concerns on Dalit issues and social harmony, but clearly there was lack of planning. In several states, leaders sat on three-hour fast and then went away for lunch. In Delhi, party leaders were seen on social media having a hearty breakfast of chholey bhature and they then proceeded to Rajghat to sit on fast. Rahul Gandhi came to Rajghat at around 1 pm and sat for a few hours.

The question is: why this farce? The immediate provocation seems to be BJP’s plan to organize nationwide fasts on April 12 by its MPs to protest against the washout of Parliament session.To pre-empt this, the Congress announced nationwide fasts over Dalit issue. Since it was called in a hurry, in some places the fast began at 10 am, at some other places at 12 noon, and 1 pm. Clearly, there was lack of seriousness and planning.

To sit on fast means to register one’s protest by abstaining from food. When Delhi Congress leaders sat on 3-hour fast after having a breakfast of chholey bhature, they were lampooned on social media. One should hope that Rahul Gandhi should be careful in future before announcing fasts in a hurry.

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How Pakistan is trying to sow seeds of hate in India

akb 1Reacting to a Jodhpur court sentencing film star Salman Khan to 5 years jail on charge of poaching, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif told a local news channel that Salman was convicted because he belonged to the minority community. Khawaja Asif went on to say that ” if Salman Khan had belonged to the religion of the ruling party of India he would not have been sentenced and the court might have been lenient with him.” For good measure, Asif also alleged that ” (this) shows that lives of Muslims, ‘untouchables’ or Christians are not valued in India.”

One should not commit the blunder of describing Khawaja Asif’s remarks as merely foolish. It is part of a well-planned conspiracy: to sow seeds of hate among Hindus, Muslims and other communities in India. This is part of a move to instigate minorities by spreading rumours and lies among them.

Khawaja Asif is an experienced Pakistani politician. He must surely be knowing that there were co-accused like Saif Ali Khan and Tabu in this poaching case. Both these film actors are Muslims, and the same court which convicted Salman Khan, also acquitted these two Muslim actors. Also, in three other cases of poaching, the courts in India had acquitted Salman Khan, and Khawaja Asif knows this fact pretty well. But Asif’s real motive was to sow seeds of hate among communities in India, and that is why the Pakistani foreign minister made such remarks.

Khawaja Asif should know that the people of India are sagacious and mature enough to understand the motive behind such atrocious remarks. Minority communities in India are not going to fall in such a trap. They do not need lectures on secularism from politicians from a theocratic state like Pakistan.

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Injustice has been meted out to Salman Khan

A_aaj ki baat_frame_1122 (002)I am surprised to read the judgement of Chief Judicial Magistrate (Jodhpur Rural) in the blackbucks poaching case, wherein Bollywood superstar Saman Khan has been convicted and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment along with fine, while five of his co-accused were acquitted giving benefit of doubt.

I feel Salman Khan has been convicted for being a superstar, and not for being a culprit.

In this case, there were the same set of witnesses who deposed against Salman and his associates, and there were the same set of evidences which were put forward against Salman and his co-accused. How can we term it as justice if the five co-accused are acquitted and Salman is sentenced to five years’ imprisonment? Does it not imply that it was Salman who has been hunting alone, of driving the vehicle alone, of firing at the black bucks alone, and thus was adjudged the lone culprit?

The other point is that Salman was acquitted by the Rajasthan High Court in a similar blackbuck poaching case in another village near Jodhpur. Then where is the logic behind convicting him in this case?

The sad part is that the chief judicial magistrate in his verdict has mentioned that ‘Khan is a film star whose actions are followed by the common man and still he shot dead two innocent and mute blackbucks (sic), a Schedule-I animal under the Wildlife Protection Act, so he cannot be granted benefit under the Probation of Offenders Act as sought by the defence.”

In my opinion, if this is considered a valid criterion, then it is also a fact that Salman Khan donates crores of rupees in charities, arranges free treatment for lakhs of people, and the common people could also ‘follow’ his good work too. In such a circumstance, Salman should get the benefit for his positive work.

I personally feel that injustice has been meted out to Salman Khan. One should punish a culprit, not a superstar for his fame. I hope Salman Khan will get relief from higher courts soon.

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My appeal to all: please remain calm and do not retaliate

aaj ki baat_frame_1122The situation in Bhind, Morena and Gwalior of MP, and in Agra, Allahabad and parts of westerm UP continues to remain tense, as reports pour in about how local politicians having vested interests planned violence and arson during Monday’s Bharat Bandh. The rumour factory via WhatsApp was active throughout this volatile period.

UP police has shared with media how politcians at the local level hatched conspiracies to unleash violence. The question arises as to why the local intelligence units of the police were not active.Had the local intelligent units been active, police could have acted in time.

I want to appeal to all sections of society to refrain from retaliating and act with utmost restraint. If some people have unleashed violence, the police is trying its best to round up these elements. Acts of retaliation will further vitiate the atmosphere. Peace is the need of the hour.

It is also clear that vote bank politics acted as a motive behind this cycle of violence, and most of the political parties worked with this ulterior motive. It is a known fact that tickets during polls are distributed on the basis of caste equations. Distributing tickets and seeking votes in the name of caste can be tolerated to some extent but inciting riots and unleashing violence in the name of caste is reprehensible and unacceptable.

All political parties should introspect and see in which direction they are leading our country. On one hand, we have unruly mobs unleashing violence, and, on the other hand, instructions are issued to police not to use teargas shells or lathis nor fire, to control the situation. Had the police used maximum force and if lives were lost, the situation could have deteriorated further.

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Kejriwal’s apology to Jaitley will act as a warning to others

aajkibaat_frame_71207The Delhi High Court on Tuesday brought to an end the sordid affair of two civil defamation cases filed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal after the latter and his associates offered unqualified apology for levelling baseless and false charges of corruption against the former. Kejriwal has apologized to Jaitley and his family members for accusing the Union Minister of corruption during his 13-year stint at Delhi and District Cricket Association.

Simultaneously, a trial court in Delhi accepted Kejriwal’s apology to Jaitley and disposed of the criminal defamation case. I want to mention here that when Arun Jaitley filed the defamation cases against Kejriwal, I appeared as witness number one in support of Jaitley. In my heart of hearts, I was convinced that the slanders and accusations levelled by Kejriwal against Jaitley were baseless and false, and it was a blatant act of defamation.

I know Arun Jaitley for the last 44 years. To allege that he promoted corruption while helming the affairs of DDCA, was a great injustice to an honest man. It was my firm conviction that I should stand in court to defend a person, honest to the core. I had then felt that if I did not publicly defend an honest person, I would never be able to forgive myself.

Today I am contented that my conviction has been proved true. Kejriwal offered apologies again and again, clearly and succinctly, to Jaitley in court. The court also accepted his apologies. Arun Jaitley came out of this entire slanderous drama, unblemished and untainted. I hope this legal case will give support to all those who are honest and are working tirelessly in politics. I also hope that this would act as a deterrence to mischief mongers and liars, who try to tarnish the image of others without any shred of solid evidence.

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Political motives behind violent Dalit protests during Bharat Bandh

aka_frame_6874The Bharat Bandh call given by some Dalit organisations and supported by Congress, BSP, RJD, Samajwadi Party and other opposition parties to protest against the Supreme Court order diluting SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, turned violent in some states on Monday leading to the death of nine persons, and wanton destruction of public and private properties.

Hooligans indulged in largescale violence in the name of Dalit rights, even as the Centre filed a review petition before the Supreme Court seeking restoration of mandatory arrest in cases of atrocities on Dalits and tribals. Rumours and fake news factory worked on overdrive and in some states internet services had to be suspended.

The picture is clear – those who indulged in violence were supported by the party which had the largest base of Dalit supporters in UP, MP, Rajasthan and Haryana. The maximum number of arson and violence took place in these states. On the whole, violence took place during Dalit protests in 10 states, which have 71 Lok Sabha seats, where SC/ST voters are predominant. These seats are significant in view of the forthcoming 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Most of the violent incidents took place in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, where assembly elections are due towards the end of this year. Clearly, political motives were at work behind the largescale violence that took place during these protests.

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