- Noted lawyer and civil right activist Mr. Prashant Bhushan had expressed his doubt on Burhan Wani killing by claiming it could be a fake encounter.
- Mr. Muzaffar Baig a minister in present PDP government had claimed killing of Burhan Wani violated supreme court guideline. There was no magistrate present when encounter took place. Burhan Wani should have been caught instead of being killed.
- Others have expressed outrage for using pellet guns on protestors that lead to blindness. Leader of opposition in parliament, Mr. Ghulam Nabi Azad had hoped that government would stop use of pellet guns in Kashmir. Others have attributed motive to the use of pellet gun in Kashmir but not in other parts of India like during jat violence in Haryana.
It is unfair to compare protest in Kashmir with Jat agitation in Haryana or during Dalit agitation in Gujarat. Such an argument has implicit implication that police /security forces are biased against Kasmiri people? We can argue that police during Jat agitation were inept or incompetent at best complicit with rioter. Mostly they did nothing, when Jat mob was burning property and business of non Jat people. Protestors did not attack police. When jats announced a second protest, chief minister had said strict action will be taken against hooligans. Fortunately, events did not turn ugly. Similarly, in Gujarat protestors attacked public property like a bus. Protestors did not attack police.
Kashmir on the other hand had a history of violence against security forces. Mob comprising of men, women, children attack police with stone. Terrorists use mob as a shield and throw grenade at security forces. As a result, security forces have to come prepared expecting mob violence and respond accordingly. According to report, in 2016, around 40 protestors died, 2000 injured and more than 100 had suffered injury to eye with resultant loss of vision. In the same period, 1022 CRPF personnel were injured. Of this 956 were injured in pelting of stones in the Valley between July 8-16 during the unrest. For the rest of the year from January 1 to July 7, 22 were injured in pelting of stones and 44 injured in grenade blasts.
Burhan Wani was a self confessed Hizb commander. His mentor Syed Salauddin aspires to create a Caliphate along with LeT and JeM. They aspire freedom from India to create an Islamic supremacist organisation. One can shed tears for Burhan’s parents. Burhan’s Wani was a terrorist and hardcore jihadi. It is futile to debate if a terrorist should be arrested in the presence of a magistrate or if the killing was extrajudicial. India has paid very high price in the past for jailing and not liquidating Maulana Masood Azhar.
I feel sad and sorry for parents of Burhan Wani. They lost their son. I feel for protestors losing eye sight or life as a result of police firing. At the same time, violence had not been one sided. Many security personnel have also got injured. Finally, Indian security forces must use less damaging alternative to pellet gun to control riot in Kashmir and anywhere else in the country. Home minister, Mr. Rajnath Singh has also indicated the same.
Members of a cow vigilante group, “Goraksha samiti” did not help BJP’s image, when they beat up dalit people on charge of killing cow. Repeated plea that dalits were skinning a dead cow, went unheeded. The whole incidence was caught on camera. To be fair, hooligans that resorted to vigilante act belonged to Shiv Sena, angry opposition parties wrapped BJP and Shiv Sena under one Sangh Parivar umbrella and went on the attack. Barbaric lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq a year before on charge of cow slaughter, coupled with current beating of dalits strengthen the perception that position of a cow is higher than a human life with BJP supporters. Then came utterance of BJP vice president of UP against BSP leader Mayawati. Not only the statement helped reinforce the anti-dalit stereotype, it united all opposition against BJP before a crucial election in an important state.
It is unfortunate that BJP is getting entangled in a mess of its own creation. BJP of all parties must understand importance of making foolish utterances. Intelligent people and parties learn from past experiences. The narrative created before Delhi and Bihar elections that BJP is anti-minority party should have been kept in mind. How can anyone forget how BJP had to pay dearly in these elections. BJP has done well by sacking the errant functionary. It must make sure other loose cannons do not fire out of turn. If they do, exemplary action must be taken.
Media is having a field day. It is predicted that BJP will pay dearly in coming elections. Honourable BSP supremo claimed dalits all over India think her as a devi. Such a megalomania is not unusual for dalit leader known to erect her own statue complete with a purse on public parks. Nevertheless, dalits did vote her out in election on issues related to corruption. So devi ji is not unbeatable and public is not naive.
I think it is premature to link dalit protest in Lucknow to potential electoral verdict. Public memory is short and men and women in public life often shoot themselves on foot by making unnecessary statements. One such statement announced a cash prize of 50 lac rupees in return for BJP leaders tongue. Many such and more bizarre and more obnoxious statements will be made in future. This is just the beginning. At stake is the state of UP.
Yet, every time I travel by train, I feel sad and depressed. Sorry state of affairs cannot be shut out by sealed window of an air conditioned coach.
- As train approaches any major station, we do not see anything attractive and beautiful that can make us proud of the city. Instead, we only see both sides of the track full of slums and shanties. None have access to basic human necessities like a toilet. In the morning, people attend call of nature in the open. While adults use nearby bogs and fields, children ease themselves on tracks. Looking at these sights is not pretty.
- Both sides of tracks are littered with plastic and sundry waste. Smaller towns have pigs roaming around filth and muck. It is politically incorrect to talk about such human misery. Politicians will romanticise about how desperate people trying to eke out living under trying conditions. No one will answer why people are in such a state. Why no effort is being made to improve lot of people that have come to cities to improve their income. Why railway land is allowed to encroach upon? Is hoping to see something good, something pleasing to eye is too much to ask?
- Train tracks are dirty because human waste from train toilets are deposited on the track. Why toilets are not locked before train arrives at a station? This could be a low tech solution. Alternatively, technology that is used in airplane or even luxury buses can be employed in trains. After nearly sixty years post independence, effort is being made to degrade human waste using microorganisms to water and gas. Such a container is being attached to trains. Still most of the trains are yet to to be fitted with a waste box. So human waste will fall on the tracks for quite some time to come. In stations if your window is facing a track, it will be advisable not to watch.
- Even after so many years we have not been able to provide clean washroom in trains that can be used without squirming. Many long distance trains are providing an attendant to clean washroom at regular interval as well as on demand. Still, I more often that not desist from using washroom in a train.
- Many long distance trains, specially superfast ones, provide breakfast, lunch and dinner. These foods are loaded right next to a toilet. Given my antipathy to train toilet, I feel disillusioned to even look at train meal. I fail to understand, why food cannot be carried on a trolley like it is done on a plane.
- Food supply and food service has probably been outsourced. Many caterers are poorly trained or untrained. On a recent train travel, I requested for a coffee instead of tea. I was told bluntly it will take the person to fetch a coffee bag by travelling three coaches. So I have to make do with tea. In the same journey, I asked for a non-vegetarian meal. Even after my copassengers had finished their meal and were ready to retire, I did not get my meal. Strangely, the same person brought me a coffee bag in the morning and asked for a tip for his service. I think railway should discourage this practice of asking for tip by people who are getting paid for doing their job. On one side we do our job poorly, on the other we demand a tip for doing what we are expected to do in the first place.
- Another point of disappointment is after a passenger comes out of station. There is in general chaos to get a transport. Local enterprising auto rickshaw and taxi drivers try to catch a passenger much before they come out of the platform. Such people fleece passengers. Pre-paid service usually does not work. Many auto drivers openly flout regulations set by pre-paid system. Why can auto and/or tax be regulated by lining up and picking up passengers by turn? Such a system operated in domestic airport of Delhi. Why can it not be enforced in railway staitions?
I think railway provides a cost effective mode of transportation in India. But to become a world class transporter, railway has a long way to go in terms of speed, efficiency and quality of service. If anyone has seen, even on TV, European and American trains, I think we should not have such discussion.
Question remains, is Burhan Wani a freedom fighter or a terrorist? Burhan Wani had picked up gun. He died by gun. Burhan Wani was a Hizbul commander. He had photographed himself and his colleagues in army fatigue and automatic weapons. These weapons were not for display as a toy. Obviously, Burhan and his organisation had an action plan. Burhan Wani has been replaced by his colleague as next Hizbul commander for the valley. For Indian state Burhan Wani was a terrorist because he and his organisation wanted to secede from India using force.
Burhan was fighting for freedom of his people. According to Mr. Prem Shankar Jha, Burhan was humiliated by police. So he picked up gun. In India, police is poorly trained, overworked, corrupt, and underpaid. Many Indians are poorly treated by police. Not everyone picks up a gun. It is puzzling what were Burhan and his fellow travellers fighting for, when
1. The state of Kashmir is a muslim majority state.
2. Kashmir has its own constitution.
3. Kashmir enjoys special status within Indian union. People from rest of India cannot settle in Kashmir valley.
4. In a worst case of ethnic cleansing, Hindus in Kashmir valley were driven out. Many are living in refugee camp in their own country.
5. Most recently, Kashmir had its free and fair election. People of Kashmir valley had chosen their representative in PDP. Chief Minister of Kashmir is from PDP.
Aspiration of Burhan Wani and his fellow Kashmiris to get freedom from India may be legitimate. Once one partner decides that a relationship is not working, then separation may be the right way. It is important to know if all people in the valley wants to secede from India? For that to happen, guns must fall silent. Violence must stop. Still, India will never agree to secession of Kashmir for the following reasons:
1. People in Jammu and Ladakh may want to stay with India. Kashmiri separatists want whole of Jammu and Kashmir to move out of India. Issue of democratic rights and human rights will not count for Hindus living in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
For average Indians, Burhan Wani will remain a terrorist. Because he wanted to break India using violence. Like Naxalites, violence of separatists will be met with police violence.
Post Brexit, England may not have similar economic, political and military clout as Great Britain united and as part of European Union. In the short term, many have projected dire economic consequences for England. Leaders of European Union have declined to give England access to common European market. Value of pound as a global currency has taken a beating. In the long run, prosperity enjoyed by citizens of erstwhile United Kingdom likely to decline, post Brexit.
Politically, US has expressed its commitment to relation with Britain post Brexit. Militarily and economically weakend Britain may face difficulty negotiating with friends like US. More so when protectionist tendency is rising in the US and demography of US is undergoing a change. Germany and Japan had become economic superpower, post world war II. Both countries did not spend as much on military and did not have a great political influence in the world. Israel has also survived in a hostile environment with active US support. Politically, Israel does not have much say in world affairs beyond middle east.
A small nimble England, free of bureaucratic fetters, may outshine itself. It can trade with whomever it chooses to without agreeing to conditions that will slow her down. Like post world war II Japan and Germany, England may emerge as a major economic superpower. English men had shown great character in the face of adversity in past centuries. They have conquered the globe beating great competition from French, Spanish, Portuguese and Duth colonisers. English had overcome local resistance also successfully. There is every possibility that England will shine as a small independent country. Problem, is world has changed greatly from the time, early settlers went to conquer the world in the guise of trade. Or has it really? Only time will tell. A great historical moment is being enacted.
Is this how civilisations and societies decline? Once adventurous all conquering English men are unwilling to face challenges offered by new world. They re unwilling to acquire new skills. It is said that mostly elderly, retired and unemployed voters have swayed Brexit vote. Are English men becoming inward looking, unwilling to look beyond its border and ask for protection? English have become suspicious of foreigners and immigrants. This is evident from the report of racist abuse / attack on foreigners post Brexit. This is not the England world knew. This is not the England that conquered new worlds and ruled them. This is not the England that had lead from the forefronts of scientific discoveries and invention. Are we witnessing the decline of a great society and people?