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Saturday, 3 December 2011

Liquor is quicker

Liquor is quicker

Fuelling the fire over Anna Hazare’s possible links with the Sangh Parivar, RSS journal Organiser has openly backed the Gandhian’s controversial remedy of flogging alcoholics as a way to rid them of the habit.

The Organiser lead editorial argues that Hazare is not alone in advocating flogging, and cites a recent book, In Defence of Flogging, by Peter Moskos, which advocates it as a remedy for crowded jails. “His argument is, of course, America specific, where 2.3 million people are in prison. He also reasons that most culprits are repeat offenders, which goes to prove that jail term is no deterrent. On the other hand, he says one round of flogging would be such a humiliating experience that anyone would think twice before committing a mistake. The book was aimed at provoking a discussion,” says the Organiser.

It contends that habitual and compulsive drunkards are Anna’s target, and that his flogging has a socio-economic context which the urbane, westernised population of the National Capital Region would not be able to fathom. “In rural areas, the drinking habit of breadwinners in the family is a major cause for pathetic living condition. Men spend a substantial sum of their daily earnings on liquor, depriving the family of the cash to buy necessary provisions. This is not a romanticised plot of an Indian movie. It is the reality,” says the Organiser article.

“Anna Hazare, living close to the hard realities, must have seen several homes being destroyed because of drunkards. In his village, there is 100 per cent prohibition. It has also been reported that he had laid his army belt on a couple of drunkards when they created a ruckus in stupor,” the article says, and suggests that Anna might have taken this the extreme position to spark a debate. “An honest, adhering Gandhian that he is, Anna might have been disturbed by the liquor mafia-politician cosy relationship. Hence, the understandable angst.”

Minority matters

The Organiser has also drawn attention to the recent killing of four Hindu doctors in Pakistan’s Sindh province, and demanded that proper security be provided to Hindus there by the Pakistani government. The leader of the opposition in the Delhi assembly, Vijay Kumar Malhotra, has charged the UPA government of being part of the “criminal conspiracy” by remaining silent on the issue, when even Britain and US have expressed outrage over the killings of minorities in Pakistan. He has alleged that historical temples and gurudwaras have been either demolished or taken over by the Pakistani army. He says it is shocking that even Congress president Sonia Gandhi has not condemned the incident, and that her silence betrays her hypocrisy.

Runaway disaster

The Panchajanya makes a scathing attack on Mamata Banerjee and the Trinamool Congress, charging that their mishandling of the railway ministry has led to the sorry state of affairs.

“Winter hasn’t even set in and several trains are already running late by 18 to 30 hours. Trains that are supposed to arrive in the morning are reaching late into the night. Passengers waiting at the stations face the most difficulty, especially children, the sick and the old,” it says.

The callous approach to accidents makes things worse, it says, underlining that in a span of 24 hours on November 22 and November 23, there were three accidents, in which seven died and several were injured. Answering questions on the accidents, Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi shrugged away responsibility saying that undesirable elements were to blame. “When the railway minister himself is not serious about the accidents, then the trains will only run at the mercy of God,” the article says.

The Panchajanya article says the rot in the railway ministry started with Lalu Prasad’s term during UPA 1. After Mamata Banerjee took over in UPA 2, she fared even worse, running the ministry from Kolkata for several months. Even after she became chief minister, it says, the Congress leadership bowed to political compulsions and let the ministry remain with the Trinamool Congress. “During this entire period, the railways became synonymous with accidents and mismanagement. Unless the railways is kept away from politics, passengers will continue to suffer,” it says.


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