Seeking medieval justice for rape Tuesday, Jan 1 2013 

The demand for castration or death for rape victims smack of medieval justice and side lines the real need for police and judicial reforms and social reforms.

Harsh punishments will not solve the problem as long as a large number of people involved in sexual offences could escape punishment. The conviction rates are low in Indian courts, and when it comes to rape and sexual offences, it is still lower.  A high conviction rate only will help to check the crimes.

Now a lot of influential people are immune to laws and protest against this is muted. Protests occur and speedy actions happen only when the accused are less influential and backward. The demand for harsher punishments such as castration and capital sentence against such people is remnants of the medieval practice of an eye for eye and casteist systems that did not recognise equality before law.

The Union government is fully justified in not convening the Parliament to discuss harsher punishments for rapists. Changes of laws were something that is to be done with due deliberation. Discussion in Parliament should await the report of the commission appointed by the Central government. It is to be remembered that sex is not always the prime motivational factor behind rape. A criminal mentality that enjoys violence and dominance is always behind it.

What is actually needed is social engineering and better enforcement of existing laws. It is notable that many of those involved in such crimes are people who had been implicated in minor offences before they started committing serious crimes. If they had been booked and punished earlier, the chances of their thinking or getting opportunity to commit serious crimes would have been lower. In the Delhi case itself, it is notable that the bus was plying without the necessary papers. Though the operators had been caught four times, they were let off without preventive action. This calls for major improvements in the administration of justice.

Related:

Laws that make you insecure

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Master strategist Achuthanandan saves his position once again Sunday, Oct 14 2012 

Achuthanandan proves himself to be a master of tactics; saves his position once again

V. S. Achuthanandan

CPI (M) leader V. S. Achuthanandan

Though a strategic move, Opposition Leader V. S. Achuthanandan has saved his position as Leader of the Opposition once again. However, for a second time, the party has censured him.

The State unit had been seeking disciplinary action against the Opposition Leader for openly supporting the agitation against Kudankulam nuclear plant. This would even have led to his eventual removal from the position of the Leader of the Opposition.

In a pre-emptive move, Mr. Achuthanandan asked the Central leadership of the party to change party line on Kudankulam. Though the politburo rejected his demand noting that the party line was adopted at the Party Congress, the demand for action against the Opposition Leader got dented though the ensuring discussion in the polit bureau and the Central Committee. There was some support among leaders from other States to Mr. Achuthanandan’s demand that the party should support the agitation against Kudunkulam plant. Moreover, the dichotomy between the party’s stand on Kudankulam and the Jaitapur plant came to the fore though the Central Committee resolution offered some explanation for that.  The Committee also called for an independent safety review of Kudankulam nuclear plant and condemned repression of people agitating against its commissioning. “Necessary safety measures must be put in place before the reactors are commissioned.”  It said.

However, Mr. Achuthanandan proved that he can still take on the State leadership of the party. He had gone to express his support for those agitating against the plant in Tamil Nadu, defying the official leadership of the party in Kerala and general secretary Prakash Karat. Mr. Achuthanandan, who is credited with participation in the Punnapra Vayalar uprising, had just returned when stopped by Tamil Nadu police at the border. He knew that if he had gone into Tamil Nadu and got arrested, he would find none of his party leaders in Kanyakumari district would be there in his support.

The following is the full text of the Central Committee resolution:

Resolution on Comrade V. S. Achuthanandan’s Stand on Kudankulam Nuclear Plant

The Central Committee reiterates the approach of the Party on the use of nuclear power for civilian purposes. The Political Resolution adopted by the 20th Congress of the Party has opposed the setting up of nuclear parks with imported nuclear reactors which are a consequence of the Indo-US nuclear deal. These are not viable on technical and economic grounds and also from the point of view of safety.

In the case of the Kudankulam reactors, the resolution has made an exception as the agreements for these reactors were signed two decades before the Indo-US nuclear deal, at a time when the US and other western countries had imposed sanctions on India. Since then, two reactors from Russia have already been constructed at considerable cost and they are at the final stage before commissioning. However, the resolution has stressed that given the local people’s apprehensions about their safety and livelihood after the Fukushima accident in Japan, these concerns should be met. There should be an independent safety audit and necessary safety measures must be put in place before the reactors are commissioned.

Such an independent safety review has not been conducted. In the meantime, the people protesting at Kudankulam have been subjected to police repression and a large number of cases have been foisted against them. The Party has condemned the repression and demanded that the cases of sedition and other charges be withdrawn.

Com. V.S. Achuthanandan has taken a position contrary to this stand. He has also criticized the Party’s position on Kudankulam as explained by the General Secretary. The Central Committee rejects his views. It censures him for his refusal to abide by the stand which was worked out at the Party Congress. The Central Committee directs Com. V.S. Achuthanandan to adopt the stand taken by the Party.

Party surrenders Monday, Aug 13 2012 

The party has surrendered. The surrender of CPI (M) member of the Assembly T. V. Rajesh in the Shukkur murder case is not the surrender of an individual but that of the party. The party had organised a hartal that led to much violence and destruction of public property worth Rs. 3 crores when party district secretary P. Jayarajan was arrested in the same case. It had threatened investigating officers and media men when party leaders were arrested in the T. P. Chandrasekharan murder case.

In sharp contrast, party leader M. V. Jayarajan and other brought Rajesh to the court for surrender without any fuss. Even statements made by M. V.  Jayarajan was mellowed compared to the statements made during the arrest of P. Jayarajan.

The long arm of the law has reached party higher ups and it has realised that resistance would not yield much benefits. It would only lead to denial of bail to accused, if their supporters caused mayhem outside. The law has triumphed so far though it ultimate victory will be only in the successful prosecution of the accused.

Politburo and quarrelling children Sunday, Jul 22 2012 

When two children quarrel, some patients punish both children equally. They know that it is tricky to enquire into the reasons for the quarrel, who started the bouts and who received the most.

The CPI (M) politburo is acting on the same lines. It has censured Opposition Leader V. S. Achuthanandan and proposed an enquiry into some of the main issues raised by Mr. Achuthanandan against the State leadership of the party.  It has neither addressed the issues nor resolved any.  It simply brought time. And the children will quarrel again.

Achuthanandan has gone through the usual pretentions of being apologetic about certain aspects of his conduct and being submissive to the party. And party’s benevolent punishment was fully executed with the press conference of party general secretary Prakash Karat.

What puts the politburo in a tight spot is that the official leadership is tightly in control of the State unit of the party and its assets while Mr. Achuthanandan has mass support.

Support for party as such is dwindling and the official leadership had been able to do nothing about that. Instead, it got embroiled in issues like the murder of Revolutionary Socialist Party leader T. P. Chandrasekharan and open admission of its murder politics by its Idukki district secretary.

For more information:

Achuthanandan Censured

BJP emerges gainer but not the winner in Kerala bypoll Tuesday, Jun 19 2012 

O. Rajagopal on election campaign

Protest against Petrol price hike: BJP candidate rides bullock cart during campaign in the by-election from Neyyattinkara Assembly constituency in Kerala

The LDF has suffered a severe jolt in the by-election from Neyyattinkara in Kerala in June while BJP stood as the major gainer. Both the ruling and Opposition Fronts suffered erosion of votes in the election. The vote share of United Democratic Front (UDF) dropped from about 43 per cent to 40 per cent despite victory in the election while that of the LDF dropped from 49 per cent to about 35 per cent. The BJP’s vote share went up about six per cent to more 23 per cent.

The by-poll was necessitated by the resignation of Mr. R. Selvaraj as CPI (M) member of the Assembly and his defection to the Congress. When Mr. Selvaraj contested as CPI (M) candidate in 2011 under the banner of LDF, he had won a vote share of nearly 49 per cent. As Congress candidate now under the banner of United Democratic Front, his vote share has dropped to 40 per cent. So, it is a loss for all the parties except the BJP.

The BJP has gained from the communal divide caused by induction of fifth Minister belonging to the Muslim League into the UDF ministry. However, both the UDF and the BJP have gained from bigger erosion of votes from the LDF camp. This erosion should have been the effect of protest over the brutal murder of RMP leader T. P. Chandrasekharan and the issues raised by the murder.

The LDF lost votes from three groups— CPI (M) workers who sympathised with Mr. Selvaraj, supporters of line adopted by Opposition Leader V. S. Achuthanandan in the party and supporters of the party in the general population who were antagonised by the murder politics and other policies of the party. The last two groups either voted for the UDF or the BJP depending on their communal inclinations or apathy to the UDF. The UDF lost many votes to BJP as the majority community members turned away from the Front over issues like appeasement of Muslim League. However, it benefitted from consolidation of minority votes in its favour, when the BJP seen as making inroads into UDF support base.

Murder most foul Sunday, May 6 2012 

T. P. Chandrasekharan

Murdered RMP leader T. P. Chandrasekharan

The murder of Revolutionary Marxist Party leader T. P. Chandrasekharan raises ominous portents. There is little doubt that it a political murder. What makes it more serious is that a quotation gang had been used for a political murder.

Political murders are not unusual in Kerala, especially in Kannur and surrounding areas. The CPI (M) and RSS were mostly involved in such murders though violence from the part of Muslim League and to a lesser extend the Congress was not also unusual. Already, police are investigating two political murders in Kannur—of NDF activist Muhammed Fazal, who had defected from the CPI (M), and Muslim Student Federation leader Shukkur.

The investigations into the murder of Chandrasekharan have led to the finding that a quotation gang from Mayyazhi was behind the murder. The question to be answered now is which political party had hired them. What should worry the people is that political parties which command large sums from businesses are now starting to hire quotation gangs. Such parties would be worse than mafias and will have to be feared the most.

Earlier, we had heard of the police hiring quotation gangs to attack a journalist in Kollam. Now, that politicians are into it, it would not be longer that both collaborate in killings, if that has not already happened in the case of Chandrasekharan. People of Kerala should shudder at the prospect of police and politicians hiring quotation gangs for murder.

CPI (M) finds no alternative Tuesday, Apr 10 2012 

Some had predicted that the CPI (M) Party Congress in Kozhikode would be a historic one. However, the media guessed it right. They knew that no history was going to be made in Kozhikode. So, fewer media persons came to report the Kozhikode Congress compared to the large gathering of national media, especially Hindi media, at the previous Congress in Coimbatore.

What happened in the walled venue modeled like red fort and culminated on the arena modeled like Roman coliseum was the fight between two factions in the Kerala unit.

The finale at the coliseum showed the defeat of Opposition Leader in Kerala V. S. Achuthanandan by party State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, watched by the Central leadership of the party. Television cameras showed a defeated Achuthanandan leaving the arena before the show concluded.

The party is still ambiguous whether it has abandoned the Chinese model of communism.  Well, there is hardly any model in China to be followed now. And it is an uphill task for the CPI (M) to develop an indigenous model and ideology as its foundations had been shaken by weakening of Marxism as well as the caliber of its leadership.

Some party leaders have succumbed to pelf and lure of sex. But the real issue is not that some leaders succumb to temptations, but the majority in the party is incapable of acting against them. There is general deterioration of ideological underpinnings of the party and the cadre.

So, even after the Congress, the party would be looking for alternatives. And on the political front, it has no alternative but to ride piggy back on regional parties.

From favouritism to communalism Sunday, Apr 1 2012 

Vellappally Natesan

Vellappally Natesan

SNDP  Yogam general secretary Vellappally Natesan has urged that Ministers should not show partiality towards members of their community. The general secretary’s complaint is that the ministers are mostly appointing people from their own community in their personal staff and government agencies in their control. The posting of government officials were also being influenced by communal considerations.

Mr. Natesan’s complaint is genuine and need to be addressed. However, the problem is that Mr. Natesan’s organization represents one of the major communal lobbying groups in the State. It is not unknown that the NSS, SNDP, the churches and others lobby for “adequate representation” of their communities in the choice of candidates for elections and minister ships.

Naturally, those who become ministers on the basis of communal lobbying tend to favour their communities disproportionately. The malady could be cured only if communal groups stop their lobbying and allow democratic parties and governments to make their choices based on merit.

Mr. Natesan has also complained that discrimination in the allotment of land at Vagamon. He said that while the Muslims were given 300 acre at Thangalmala and Christians 270 acres at Kurisumala, the Ezhavas were given only 25 acres at Murukanmala.

However, the larger issue here is whether it is proper for governments to donate large extents of public lands to religious entities. What we see at Vagamon is that the government is now catering to various communities instead of evicting large scale encroachments at Vagamon by various individuals and groups.  There is little doubt that the donations are for favour received by politicians during elections and other occasions from religious groups.

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