Rajat Sharma

My Opinion

World applauds the daring rescue mission inside a flooded cave in Thailand

Aaj-Ki-baat_frame_62779 (003)Curtains were finally drawn on the 18-day-long ordeal inside a treacherous flooded cave in northern Thailand, where 12 young footballers and their coach were trapped, battling for life. The international rescue mission set an example before the world to prove how bravery and technology can combine to surmount tough obstacles.

We should all praise the coach who kept the morale of his boys high, and showed them how to stay alive in tough conditions. He shared his food with the boys ad taught them lessons in endurance. When the world came to know about this disaster, trained and experienced divers were sent to assist the Thai Navy SEAL divers.

Let us hope the children who had undergone the traumatic experience will recover soon in hospital and take up FIFA’s offer to watch the World Cup final in time.

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The sordid murder of a dreaded gangster inside a UP jail

akb_frame_40061 (002)A dreaded gangster Prem Prakash Singh aka Munna Bajrangi was shot dead inside a jail in Baghpat, UP on Monday morning, hours after he was brought from Jhansi jail for production in a court.

According to officials, Munna Bajrangi was shot by another gangster Sunil Rathi, who had allegedly procured the .30 bore pistol that was hidden inside a septic tank.

Both were gangsters and were facing charges of heinous crimes. Munna Bajrangi had more than 40 cases of murder and extortion against him. He alongwith his associates had killed a BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai in 2005. Sunil Rathi had cases of murder, extortion and robbery against him.

The moot question is: how was a prisoner killed in cold blood inside a jail? And that too, inside the high-security barracks. The pistol that was used to pump ten bullets into Munna Bajrangi’s body vanished soon, but was recovered late in the evening. It points to a well-planned conspiracy. One hopes the answers to all these questions will be revealed soon and strict action will be taken against the culprit.

Till now, criminals in UP used to seek the safety of jails in order to evade “fake” encounters with police, but this too, has now become elusive. Conditions in UP jails have become worse over the years, and steps should be taken on a war footing to bring reforms in these jails.


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What Mehbooba Mufti said in ‘Aap Ki Adalat’

aaj-kibaatFormer Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti was my guest in the show Aap Ki Adalat yesterday (The show will be telecast on Saturday and Sunday). The gist of what she said during the show was that India will have to restart dialogue with Pakistan if bloodshed in the valley has to end.

In the show, Mehbooba said several times emphatically that talks were the only way out, and there was no other way. Mehbooba’s argument was that it was India which suffered heavily because of bloodshed in Kashmir, and Pakistan suffered less. So the onus on restarting dialogue falls on India more.

She agreed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi tried to start dialogue with Pakistan, but it had no desired results. Throughout the one-hour show, Mehbooba Mufti spoke repeatedly about former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s police of “Insaaniyat, Kashmiriyat and Jamhooriyat”. Her logic was that only Vajpayee’s path of dialogue and conciliation would solve the Kashmir problem.

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Vijay Mallya is fighting a losing battle in UK

Aaj-ki-Baat 6th julyThe United Kingdom High Court has allowed a consortium of 13 Indian banks to permit enforcement agencies to enter the sprawling estate of fugitive economic offender Vijay Mallya and seize his possessions to recover dues.

The former liquor baron has been staying in his estate in Tewin near London after fleeing India. Mallya owes the consortium Rs 6,203 crore plus interest, which comes to a total of Rs 9,863 crore. The court order clearly says that the High Court enforcement officer or his agent can enter the properties of Mallya and after search, can take possession of goods towards recovery of debts. It has allowed the enforcement officer to use “reasonable force, if necessary”.

Mallya is also facing an extradition trial at the Westminster Magistrate’s Court, and he is due to appear on July 31. India has sought his extradition and has conveyed its request at the highest level.

It appears that Mallya is now fighting a losing battle, and he may not be able to evade the hands of law. He will have to return to India and repay his debts. Mallya had last week written a letter to the State Bank of India expressing his willingness to auction his properties to repay the debts. He has also appealed before the Karnataka High Court. It seems that Mallya and his lawyers were aware of the adverse order that was to come from the UK High Court. The fugitive economic offender will now have to face the full brunt of law, which has been made stringent after he fled India to evade repayment of bank debts.

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Nothing wrong in PM Modi playing the ‘farmers card’

aaj ki baat_frame_5048The Centre on Wednesday hiked the minimum support prices of 14 Kharif crops for the 2018-19 marketing season. This was in pursuance of BJP’s 2014 poll promise to provide farmers at least 50 per cent profit over their cost of production. Prime Minister Narendra Modi later described it as a “historic hike”. This decision will entail a burden of nearly Rs 15,000 crore on the national exchequer, but the catch lies in its implementation.

Farmers have been complaining for the last several years that government procurement centres were not buying their crops in full, and grain merchants were forcing farmers to sell at lesser prices. The Centre will have to strengthen the procurement system in sync with the state governments.

Secondly, the hike in MSPs of farm produce will surely cause inflationary pressures on the prices of foodgrains and pulses. This is bound to affect the budget of common man, particularly the lower and middle classes. The government will have to find solutions to problems relating to inflation that are bound to occur in the short term.

The Congress has alleged that the ruling party has done this in order to garner the votes of farmers. The BJP is, after all, a political party, and it has been doing politics for the sake of power. There is nothing wrong if it takes steps in order to get the votes of farming community.

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Mumbai overbridge collapse was a mishap waiting to happen

Rajat Sir (002)I would first like to thank Almighty that not a single person died in the sudden foot overbridge collapse at Andheri station in Mumbay on Tuesday. Due to heavy rains, there were only a few people on the overbridge. Last year, the stampede on Elphinstone bridge caused the death of 23 persons.

At that time, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal had taken swift action, and a new overbridge was installed with the help of the army. Goyal had then promised that more attention would be paid towards passengers’ safety.

The question is not of safety alone. There are many such bridges which have become old and rickety. Most of them were built during the British period, and have outlived their tenure and utility. These bridges have already been declared dangerous.

Now that the Railway Minister has ordered an audit of 450 such bridges, to be carried out under the supervision of an IIT Director, one should hope that the replacement and/or repair of these bridges will be taken up on a war footing.

I would also like to praise the steadfastness of Mumbaikars, who carried on with their daily work, despite heavy rains. Mumbai is truly called The City That Never Sleeps in India. It is a tragic irony that the duty conscious and brave Mumbaikars have to face mishaps during rains every year. Last year, a renowned doctor was washed away in rainwater when he fell into an open manhole. There have been mishaps when live wire fell in water causing electrocution. And yet the pace of life in this metro never slackened.

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