Wednesday, March 24
Sunday, March 21
David Headley has pleaded guilty on all 12 charges and cannot be extradited to India. Besides, he has struck a deal with the US government by signing the plea agreement. In the agreement, Headley has admitted to conspiring with LeT members, meeting with and receiving instructions from them. He has also admitted to attending training camps organized by LeT in Pakistan on 5 separate occasions. He has also admitted to being privy to the attacks planned in Mumbai and dispatch the team of attackers, by sea.
What is striking is the fact that the person who is guilty (now admitted) of the havoc done in Mumbai on 26/11 cannot be questioned by India on the Indian soil. Yes, India has been allowed to interrogate him only on American soil.
He will most probably be sentenced for 20 years of imprisonment, suggest experts. Indian government says that this is the minimum sentence and anything lesser than that is unacceptable. 20 years of imprisonment (death penalty not possible) for a person who can be called a mass murderer? Ironic.
Is this what this government has to offer? Aren’t they supposed to safeguard India’s interest? Yes, they want to maintain good relations with US, but at what cost? The trial of Kasab is going on at a pace unimaginable, especially when the charge sheet consists of more than 11,000 pages and enough evidence to sentence him to death.
When should the common man expect justice? Will it always take eternity to get justice? The victims of 84 riots, Mumbai blasts in 93, 02’Godhra and so many more are still awaiting their turn for justice. Will they always get dates and summons to appear in the court? Are 17 or 20 years not enough to prove that some people are guilty and should be put behind the bars? Isn’t this a blot on the white fabric of the country which aspires to be a superpower?
The judicial system is floored in the country and one cannot deny that unless that is made good for, people like David headley will always get away.
Monday, March 15
Sunday, March 14
Women’s reservation bill passed. Finally. Is this what we have waited for so long? Is it truly a symbol of women empowerment? Is it a social change?
Well, the answer to these questions can only be found if we introspect. Yes, it was very courageous of this government to introduce such a bill in this session despite such a strong and staunch opposition. It took 14 years for the bill to get introduced in Rajya Sabha and get passed. Yes, there is little doubt that it will get passed in the Lok Sabha, whenever it is introduced, this session or next.
The UPA chief has shown a strong leadership in the face of such odds. She wants that change, she wants them now and she is ready to risk the government if it takes that. The people who are opposing the bill such as Lalu Prasad Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav have threatened to withdraw their support from the government (their number of MP’s in the Lok Sabha is 26) which is almost inconsequential as far as the fate of the bill is concerned.
This bill has come in the second innings of this government and without any doubt will further strengthen the strong foundation which the RTI Act and NREGA laid in the previous term. They were historical legislations in their own right, RTI being a really important one, and were influential in improving the credibility of the government. And women’s reservation bill is following suit.
The bigger question is whether it is truly a symbol of change, be it a social change or at least in the attitude of the government. It is the UPA chairperson who forces one to believe that it is indeed the social change which the country wants. She is the person who believes that the country can develop only if the participation of the women increases in all the walks of life. This belief is strong enough for her to go ahead with the bill and this is not the first time that her conviction has prompted her to take huge steps. Her decisions on the social issues related legislations are evidence enough that change is needed and the people want them to happen quickly.
There are enough people who are still showing their discomfort with the bill, with each one citing a different reason, but the fact remains that it is a small step attempted to help the country move in the right direction. The debate was never about this bill or any other, it was always about that change which this country has longed for and this may not be the ultimate tool to bring about a sea change, but there is no doubt that it is a step forward.