Rajat Sharma

My Opinion

JNU violence by masked goons was a result of political group rivalry

AKB_frame_790 (002) A special investigation team of Delhi Police on Friday disclosed names of nine student activists, who they alleged had indulged in violence in the JNU campus. These included the JNU students union president Aishe Ghosh. Of them, seven are from Left groups and the remaining two are from Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad.

Looking at the videos and sequence of events, it is amply clear that this was not merely a fight between student activists but was an outcome of political group rivalry. To sum up, Left student groups had started an agitation against hike in hostel fees and later it took the shape of political rivalry.

The Left student activists, who had launched the agitation in October, did not want regular classes to be resumed in the campus at any cost, because their agitation would have fizzled out. The JNU administration initiated registration for winter session last month. Despite resistance from Left activists, more than 3,000 students enrolled for registration. ABVP activists were persuading most of the students to enrol for registration so that the Left student movement could be weakened.

The tension began when Left activists stopped pro-ABVP students from taking part in registration process. They bashed up some of the students and broke the university server thus disrupting the entire process. This was followed by attack from masked students and this attack was repulsed from the other side. To sum up, hooliganism took place from both sides and masked goons were brought in by both camps. The main issue was not about hike in hostel fees, but the question of political dominance.

Now that the SIT inquiry by Delhi Police is on, we hope more persons involved in violence would be identified. However the moot question remains: why do such incidents of violence take place in JNU alone? There are more than 900 universities in India, but why do we hear slogans like ‘Bharat tere tukde hongey’ and ‘azadi’ in JNU alone? Who are those people who retain supremacy in JNU? Time to ponder.

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Why Mehbooba expelled 8 party leaders as 15 foreign envoys visited Srinagar

AKB2610There were two major developments in Kashmir valley on Thursday. Fifteen foreign envoys, including US ambassador to India Kenneth Juster, visited Srinagar and met with politicians, army officers and members of civil society to discuss the present situation in the Valley, and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti expelled eight party leaders for ‘engaging with the government.

It was the first official trip by diplomats to Kashmir after the historic August 5 repeal of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcation of the the state into two union territories. Politicians in the Valley who met the diplomats included former minister Syed Altaf Bukhari and Majid Padder (both PDP), and Shoaib Lone and Hilal Shah (both Congress).

In the evening, former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, though under house arrest, announced through her Twitter handle that she has expelled eight party leaders for what she called ‘engaging with the government’.

The eight leaders are Dilawar Mir, Rafi Ahmed Mir, Zaffar Iqbal, Abdul Majeed Padrroo, Raja Manzoor Khan, Javaid Hussain Baig, Qamar Hussain and Abdul Rahim Rather. These were the leaders who had met the Lt. Governor G. C. Murmu on Tuesday.

However, a senior PDP leader former deputy chief minister Muzaffar Hussain Baig hit out at Mehbooba saying it was her ‘provocative’ remark that ‘no one would be left to hold the tricolour in the Valley, if Article 370 was removed’ that led to the bifurcation of Jammu & Kashmir. Baig said, ‘the statement should not have been made. If J&K has to live together and if we have to bat for our rights, we have to talk with decency and humility’.

Baig also said, ”we cannot get anything by browbeating and threatening Modiji, Home Minister or NSA. As citizens of India, we should put before them our grievances and our problems with humility’.

It is a fact that there has been no bloodshed in the Valley after Article 370 was revoked and not a single citizen died at the hands of security forces. I would rather say the citizens in the Valley played a greater role than the security forces in maintaining peace. Nothing of the sort like ‘rivers of blood will flow’ happened after revocation of Article 370 as leaders like Dr. Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti had warned ominously.

The people of the valley have given their reply to Mehbooba Mufti. Five months have elapsed since the revocation of Article 370, cellphone and SMS services have been resumed, leaders are being released from detention in phases.

It would be better if the Centre decides to resume internet services in the Valley. Internet services are an essential part of daily life. Students need internet to study, traders need internet for trade, and tourists find it difficult to book hotel rooms in the absence of internet. The government has to bear the burden of fall in revenue because of loss of trade. Resumption of internet services in the Valley is the need of the hour.

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Why Trump wants escalation of tension with Iran

akb2910Iran on Wednesday fired 22 ballistic missiles at two American bases inside Iraq causing structural damage, but there were no reports of casualties. Hours later a Ukrainian airliner carrying 176 people crashed soon after take off from Tehran airport killing everyone on board. It is unclear what caused this disaster as there were contradictory statements from different sources.

Most of the airlines have suspended their flights over Iranian airspace and crude prices are spiralling. While Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei described the missile attacks as “a slap” on the US, the American President Donald Trump in a televised speech on Wednesday night claimed that “Iran appears to be standing down”. Trump however vowed that as long as he was President, he would never allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.

In our show “Aaj Ki Baat” on Wednesday night, we had shown a video clip, in which Trump had said in 2011 that the then US President Barack Obama “in order to get re-elected will start a war with Iran”. Now, the boot is on the other foot.

Watching the video, one can easily understand why Trump ordered the assassination of Iran’s Maj. Gen. Qasim Suleimani. I remember, in 1998, the then US President Bill Clinton was facing impeachment charges in the US Congress and he had then ordered the army to attack Iraq. The demand for impeachment was soon overshadowed by news of attack on Iraq.

Similarly, in 2012, when Obama was preparing for re-election, it was Trump who alleged that Obama may attack Iran in order to win the re-election. Now that Trump may face impeachment charges, one does not need rocket science to understand why the US President initiated escalation of tension with Iran.

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Justice for Nirbhaya alone will not do, the entire system needs to be changed

akb3010After a long wait of more than seven years, the death warrants to execute all four convicts in the infamous 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape murder case were issued by a Delhi court on Tuesday. The four rapist-killers will be hanged till death on January 22 at 7 am inside Tihar jail. .

Additional Sessions Judge Satish Kumar Arora, in his order, wrote, “…when reasonable time and opportunity has been afforded to them, there is nothing to delay passing of orders on the application seeking issuance of death warrants”.

The four convicts have still two weeks’ time to file curative petition in Supreme Court or send mercy plea to the President.

Nirbhaya case is a perfect example of how it is difficult to mete out swift punishment to perpetrators of gruesome acts. All the four convicts had committed the heinous crime, all the facts were established beyond doubt, right from the lower court to the apex court, and yet the delay.

Details of this gruesome crime are such that could unnerve even the hardened criminals. There were witnesses and evidences. There was tremendous pressure for justice from all sections of society. Delhi police, on its part, did not make any delay in investigation, and yet it took seven years for the death warrants to be signed.

Questions now do arise in our minds what may be happening to the rape victims and their families, who faced similar gruesome crimes, but their cases did not get wide publicity. These families have no support from the general public nor any big lawyers to fight their cases. They have been making rounds of the courts for many years. When will they get justice?

Justice for Nirbhaya alone will not do. The entire criminal jurisprudence system will have to be modified in a manner so that the families of victims will not have to wait long, while convicts take undue advantage of the system and spend time at leisure inside jails.

Of course, the execution of four convicts in Nirbhaya case will surely send a strong message and strike fear in the minds of criminals, but it is also a fact that ‘justice delayed is justice denied’. Nirbhaya’s parents got justice after making rounds of courts for seven years. You would be surprised to know that there are nearly 2,000 similar cases of gangrape languishing in law courts for more than 10 years.

According to National Crime Records Bureau, 67 convicts were given death sentence in heinous rape cases during the last two years, but not a single convict has been hanged.

It would be wrong to blame the court alone. The fault lies in the entire criminal jurisprudence system. Posts of judges are lying vacant right from lower to higher courts, there is lack of infrastructure for courts, and for a country of 1.3 billion people, we have only seven forensic labs.

Blaming the judiciary alone won’t do. We have to bring swift changes for the better in the entire system. It is only then that thousands of innocent victims like Nirbhaya will get justice at the earliest and rapists will have to think twice before they commit such heinous acts.

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Rampage by goons in JNU has brought a bad name to India

akb3010A group of goons, armed with iron rods, went on a rampage on Sunday night inside the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus and attacked and terrorized students in their hostels for about half an hour. During the three hours of terror, the students, most of them female, locked themselves up inside their hostels. The goons hit and wounded several students and ransacked the campus. They later slipped away in full gaze of Delhi police, which was awaiting permission from the JNU administration to enter the campus.

Images of bleeding students and broken glasspanes have caused nationwide outrage, and on Monday, the Left and the BJP leaders blamed each other for the attack. Leftists allege that the attackers belonged to Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), student wing of RSS, and ABVP leaders allege that the masked goons were brought in by the Left to terrorize the students.

I fail to understand what one would gain by terrorizing students. The main question that arises is: how the goons made their entry, who called them in , and whether they were JNU students or not. Delhi Police claims to have identified some of the goons but is unwilling to reveal their identities now. Police have taken away all CCTV footage from the campus and are investigating all videos and several WhatsApp conversations that took place during that time.

I can only say, whatever happened in JNU on Sunday night has brought a bad name to India. People across the world are viewing videos of how the goons went on the rampage. These goons and their collaborators inside JNU have left a black spot on the image of Indian universities, and it will take years to wipe them off.

The issue is not going to end easily. There were protests on Monday by students in Mumbai, Kolkata, Pune, Assam, Hyderabad, AMU, Agra, Dehradun, Chandigarh, Chennai, Bhopal, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Puducherry and even abroad in London, Oxford, Sussex, Columbia University and Nepal.

I have no hesitation in saying that Congress and Left parties are behind most of the protests that took place in India. These two political parties have quite a large base in these universities. For the last several weeks, these parties used to stage student protests in Jamia Millia Islamia and AMU on the issue of CAA and NRC, and now, after this rampage in JNU, they have got another issue in their hands.

One thing to note: when Delhi Police entered Jamia after stone pelting by protesters last month, these parties questioned how police entered the campus without permission, and now that goons went on rampage inside JNU, they are now questioning why police stood silently and helped the masked goons escape. There is a popular song from a Hindi movie: “yeh public hai sab jaanti hai” (the common people know everything). After watching all these, I feel sad over how we are wasting our time and energy over non-issues.

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