Thursday, December 27, 2012
Gang rape not the only issue India is facing: Justice Katju
Chennai, Dec 26: The 'emotional outburst' and agitations against the gang rape in Delhi will achieve nothing and it will fizzle out in a few days, just as the emotional scenes we had witnessed in Jantar Mantar and Ram Lila grounds vanished in 10-15 days, says Press Council of India chairman, Justice Markandey Katju. Justice Katju condemned the gang rape and wanted harsh punishment for its perpetrators, but said that it was not the only serious issue the nation is facing. Calling the agitation 'symptomatic' of the middle class anger at falling standard of living, the judge warned that unless issues such as skyrocketing price rice, malnutrition, unemployment, recession and poor healthcare and agitation were tackled, grave misfortune will befall India for a prolonged period, followed by chaos and turmoil. "In my opinion, such emotional outbursts will solve nothing. Anna Hazare's agitation and hunger strike lasted for 10-15 days. But has the corruption in the country gone down even by 0.1 percent?. I believe it has not. Similarly, the hue and cry during the current agitations at India Gate, Rajpath and Vijay Chowk in Delhi, the incidence of gang-rape will not dip by even 0.1%. This agitation will fizzle out," Justice Katju said. "We need scientific solutions, not emotional outbursts, to issues and problems," he said. The Press Council chairman, pointing out that the country's child malnutrition scenario was worse than sub-Saharan countries in Africa such as Somalia and Ethiopia, said that about 80 percent of India's population lived with Rs 25-30 a day. Price rise, massive unemployment, abject poverty, etc are all equally, or even more, serious than the Delhi gang-rape incident, he said. "In any case, gang-rapes are happening everywhere, in Tamil Nadu and in Madhya Pradesh, for instance," he said. According to Justice Katju, the Delhi unrest is symptomatic of a deep discontent which is prevailing in the middle classes of India. The middle class, constituting 15-20 percent of the total population, provides a relative stability for the nation, he said, adding that due to the sky-rocketing prices and worldwide recession over the last few years the prosperity of the middle class has been rapidly eroded. This fall in their standard of living has led the middle class to taking to the street. "Unless the political leaders pay attention to the problems of the middle class, I am afraid this country is heading for a big trouble in future," Justice Katju said. Asked about the vexed Cauvery river water dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, the former Supreme Court judge said the issue could never solved by adjudication. Instead, as a short-term solution, he said he was willing to head a team of trained mediators free of charge, for a larger public good. "I am prepared to do this, but both the governments must jointly approach me if they want my intervention," he said. I agree with Justice Katju that rape is not the only problem in India. As I see it, the major problems facing India are listed below in decreasing order of priority. 1. Corruption. (a)This will include removal of Inspection agencies like the CBI, Police and Enforcement Directorate from the power of government. (b) Removal of the power of transfers and posting from the government. 2. Population Control. 3. Change in Electoral system so that no person having any criminal records should be allowed to stand for elections.The person's record should be blemish less. Surely is a population of 120 crores we can fin a few thousand honest legislators. (1) and (3) are strongly interconnected and if we change this, probably (1) will also be changed automatically. As far as Justice Katju's claim that the agitation of Anna has had no effect, he is wrong. Whatever, action we see being taken by the different agencies is because of the agitation of Anna and Arvind Kejriwal.The agitation may have taken place for 10-15 days but it has jolted the government into action and thrown up AAP to replace the existing parties. The other problems like malnutrition he mentions is a direct corollary of corruption as it leaves no fund for development work. Rajiv Gandhi himself admitted that only 10% of the funds reach the targeted person. The Cauvery water dispute will never be allowed to be solved as both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are playing a game of one-up-man-ship, telling their own vote banks that they will not allow their interest to be sacrificed.Water disputes are very difficult to solve as we are seeing with Bangladesh, Pakistan and now China over the Brahmaputra.