Issue :   
Happy New Year 2020 to all Readers.          January 2020 Edition of Power Politics is updated.
Issue:Jan' 2020


Combating incidents of rape

Jagdish N Singh

The scene of ‘encounter’ killing of the four accused
in the rape and murder of a veterinary doctor.
T he recent incidents of rape and murder in Hyderabad and Unnao are yet another reminder to all conscientious Indian citizen as to how little has changed on the ground in regard to the security and dignity of women across our Republic. The ‘encounter’ killing of the four accused in the rape and murder of a veterinary doctor by the Cyberabad police --- being hailed by a section of people—makes little sense. One is not sure if those killed were the real culprits. The authorities should have ensured that the accused were subjected to a fast due process of law to determine the reality in the case.
Our Government must be serious about combating such crimes against women. It must look at the scene objectively keeping off the commissioned intellectuals and rights groups aligned with one or the other political party. The Government must implement the Verma Committee recommendations for quicker trial and enhanced punishment for the criminals accused of committing sexual assault against women. Besides, it must invest in quality education imparting the culture of respect for all genders.

Most importantly, the citizens of India must develop the culture of democracy and see to it that no criminal element enters our Parliament and legislative institutions . The citizens need to vote the righteous to these institutions . The righteous must, in turn , make just laws and prevail on the Government to give autonomy to intelligence and security agencies aimed at nabbing the criminals, howsoever influential they may be.

Define ‘farmers’ first !

Can our various schemes for farmers, such as the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, help whom they are intended to ? Regrettably, our Government has not even defined well the term ‘farmers’ to reach out to them .The other day , our Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said in Parliament that agriculture is a State subject and the Centre provides income support to all farmer families who own cultivable land.

Knowledgeable sources say that linking farmers with the ownership of land alone will not do. Women who do not officially own land do not fit into this narrow definition . Dairy farmers, fisher-folk, fruit and flower growers as well as landless agricultural workers do not fit into it .

M S Swaminathan The Government would do well to convert the M S Swaminathan Commission’s definition into a tool for the identification of farmers. The National Policy for Farmers, drafted by this Commission and approved by the Centre in 2007, refers the term ‘farmer ’ to “a person actively engaged in the economic and/or livelihood activity of growing crops and producing other primary agricultural commodities.
The Commission’s definition includes all agricultural operational holders, cultivators, agricultural labourers, sharecroppers, tenants, poultry and livestock rearers, fishers, beekeepers, gardeners, pastoralists, non-corporate planters and planting labourers, as well as persons engaged in occupations such as sericulture, vermiculture and agro-forestry. It also includes tribal families / persons engaged in shifting cultivation and in the collection, use and sale of minor and non-timber forest produce.

India & American Congress

American Congress Reports have it that New Delhi has hired American firm Cornerstone Government Affairs for lobbying Democratic legislators in Washington and state capitals as well as academic institutions and research think tanks. Earlier, India had the Podesta Group on this business . One hopes it will be effective in improving our Government’s image across America.
Some America watchers say the current American scene is not favourable to India. President Donald J Trump is a known pro-India Republican . He is having tough times. The House of Representatives has impeached him for the abuse of power and the abstruction in its probe. One allegation against him was that he insisted he would invite the Ukrainian President to the White House and resume American military assistance to Kiev only after the latter ordered probe into the financial activities of former American Vice President Joe Biden and some other Democrats in Ukraine. The American Senate may acquit him.

American Congressmen, Democrats in particular, are highly critical of New Delhi’s position on Jammu and Kashmir. The other day, Democrat Pramila Jayapal introduced a bipartisan resolution in the House calling for an end to the restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir and for the Indian government to respect international human rights law. Indiana Democrat Andre Carson is critical of the Modi Government’s Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019 (passed into law).

Some of the leading pro-India Republicans may be missing from the House soon. Co-chair of the US House’s caucus on India George Holding, a Republican from North Carolina, is reportedly not seeking reelection in 2020. Holding has been very supportive of India. In 2016, he introduced a Bill that led to India being designated as a Major Defence Partner. In 2019 he co-sponsored an amendment ( not passed ) to grant India a status equivalent to NATO allies.

Pro-India Brad Sherman is leaving the chairmanship of the subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and shifting to another sub-committee.

UN Rights Council’s Iran love

The 2019 Freedom in the World Report ( of the USbased Freedom House) ranks Iran as one of the world’s most repressive states. It shows the current regime in Tehran continues its practice of subjugating women, torturing rights dissidents, and executing gays. But does the United Nations Human Rights Council care?

UN Geneva Headquarters In its annual rights review on November 8, 2019, the Council praised Tehran’s rights record . Out of its 111 countries present at the session at the UN’s Geneva headquarters, 95 lauded Iran. Forty-nine countries glowingly praised the regime.
North Korea commended Iran for its “continued protection of human rights for its people, particularly children and people with disabilities.” The PLO’s praised Tehran’s “commitment to promote and protect human rights.” Qatar spoke high of Iran’s “legislative and executive developments... to ensure the development of social and human rights.
Forty-six member states praised Iran’s ‘achievements.’ Only a small minority of 16 nations talked about applying real scrutiny to Tehran’s rights record.
The Council’s love for Iran is hardly surprising. Worst human rights violators, including China and Saudi Arabia , are in the Council. Many member states are governed by similarly authoritarian regimes.