Whenever a common man faces injustice at the hands of the system, the root cause for that is the fault with politically controlled police, politicians who are in cahoots with criminals and, of course, the people who are tilting towards mobocracy.
The latest incident of Bangalore violence shows the country in a very bad light, where a house of an MLA and a police station were reduced to ashes by an uncontrollable mob provoked by a social media post. How can a common man be assured of a well-maintained law and order and an atmosphere of peace in a state?
The country is staring at this harsh but real fact, which becomes harsher with the world’s largest democracy witnessing several incidents of severe mob violence in different states over the last few months.
In this time of uncontrolled and unrestricted social media, when the communication is spreading with the blink of an eye and so do the fake news, misinformation and hate messages.
The state government needs to make a strict mechanism backed by a strict law to control such sudden violent mobs. In the past also the Yogi government had acted brilliantly through Uttar Pradesh Recovery of Damage to Public & Private Property Ordinance 2020 for recovery of damage to public and private property in any violent protest or demonstration by miscreants. But all is not well with the political system of the country, with the reason being the presence of criminals in politics and the nexus between these tainted politicians with the bureaucrats.
Since Independence, there have been major flaws in the political system as the constitution lacks any provision to restrict criminalisation and illiteracy in the political system. A primary school dropout MLA gives orders and instructions to an IAS on how to run the administration in a district.
A local goon from a particular dominant community becomes a powerful politician and protects people of his caste from police or legal action in case of any crime.
However, the Yogi government has instilled fear in criminals’ minds, and criminals are surrendering as they are afraid of being killed in an encounter. According to the official record, as many as 1160 encounters have taken place after March 20, 2017 in Uttar Pradesh.
The National Security Act (NSA) has also been slapped against more than 175 ‘criminals’ in the state. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had launched ‘Operation Clean’ in the state having given police full freedom to deal with crime.
The government had warned criminals to either surrender or leave the state. But still, the common man finds himself helpless when he faces such challenges. During the tenure of previous governments, the police personnel were of a particular caste only and in case of any complaint the local police were reluctant to lodge any FIR against the people of that particular caste. This kind of political stream is not good for democracy.
The apex court had instructed political parties to publish the criminal history of its candidates who are contesting Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. These instructions had come in view of the alarming increase in number of criminals in politics.
The apex court had further instructed to put records of such candidates online. The Hon’ble Supreme Court had shown its anguish over the forced quarantine of a Bihar cadre IPS officer by Mumbai Police in course of the investigation in the death mystery of actor Sushant Singh Rajput.
It went on to show that in such a high profile case the Mumbai police were completely controlled by the ruling party of Maharashtra, and if an IPS officer had to face such a situation what about a common man. Can he or she even think about a fair and unbiased treatment by the local police?
All these instances of corruption and malpractice are actually striking at the roots of democracy. Article 102 of constitution needs to be amended at earliest along with the provisions of Representation of People’s Act which can help in stopping criminalisation of the political system. What is also the need of hour is implementation of Police Reforms as elucidated by Hon’ble Apex Court in the landmark judgement of Prakash Singh, instructing the central and state governments to comply with a set of seven directions for police reforms for functional autonomy to police. At present, there is no stringent law in the country that requires political parties to revoke the membership of its tainted candidates and officebearers. Presently, more than 46 % of Members of Parliament (MPs) have criminal records and approximately 33 percent of the legislators in India’s Parliament and state assemblies, have criminal cases pending against them.
Over 20 percent of the new MPs are facing serious charges such as attempted murder, assaulting public officials, and theft. The analysis was based on affidavits submitted by legislators. Out of a total of 4,896 MPs and MLAs in the country, the study analyzed affidavits of 4,845 of them, including 768 of 776 affidavits of MPs, and 4,077 of 4,120 MLAs.
The criminal-politician nexus has been taken very seriously by the Hon’ble Supreme Court which ordered the Parliament to “cure the malignancy” of criminalization of politics by making a law to ensure that persons facing serious criminal cases do not enter the political arena. It also advised that the “polluted stream of politics” be cleansed. This is reflective of real life where social divisions driven by caste/religion run deep due to governance and administrative missteps since independence
Another reason why criminality thrives in the political arena, say analysts, is because of prolonged trials in court and lower conviction rates. How people can have access to better services and an equitable justice delivery system is a big issue which needs a practical approach to be dealt with, as then only our country can truly achieve financial and all-around development. As a common man alone is struggling for decriminalization of politics at every level of government, else, India’s claim to be the world’s largest democracy will become hollow.
The writer is an Advocate in the Supreme Court.
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RUSSIA WILL ACCEPT CONDITIONAL HANDOVER OF CYBER CRIMINALS TO US, SAYS PRESIDENT PUTIN
Three days before the US-Russia summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday said that the two countries need to engage in a constructive dialogue and establish mechanisms for interaction as there are areas in which Moscow and Washington can cooperate.
“[We need] to restore our personal contacts, relations, establish a direct dialogue, create really functioning mechanisms of interaction,” Putin said in an interview broadcast by the Smotrim.ru media outlet. The President noted that the US side is well aware that there are a number of areas that are of mutual interest, such as strategic stability, regional conflicts, environmental protection measures, and climate. “There are areas in which we can really work effectively,” Putin added.
In the process, President Putin said that Russia would be ready to hand over cyber criminals to the United States if Washington did the same for Moscow and the two powers reached an agreement to that effect.
The Russian leader said he expected the Geneva meeting to help establish bilateral dialogue and revive personal contacts, adding that important issues for the two men included strategic stability, Libya and Syria, and the environment.
Putin also praised Biden for having shown “professionalism” when the United States and Russia agreed this year to extend the New START nuclear arms control treaty.
The White House has said Biden will bring up ransomware attacks emanating from Russia at the meeting. That issue is in the spotlight after a cyberattack disrupted the North American and Australian operations of meatpacker JBS USA.
A Russia-linked hacking group was behind that attack, a US source familiar with the matter said last week.
Asked if Russia would be prepared to find and prosecute cyber criminals, Putin said Russia’s behaviour here would depend on formal agreements being reached by Moscow and Washington.
Both sides would have to commit to the same obligations, he said.
“If we agree to extradite criminals, then of course Russia will do that, we will do that, but only if the other side, in this case the United States, agrees to the same and will extradite the criminals in question to the Russian Federation,” he said.
“The question of cyber security is one of the most important at the moment because turning all kinds of systems off can lead to really difficult consequences,” he said.
With agency inputs
12 killed, 138 injured in gas explosion in China
HUBEI: At least 12 people were killed and 138 were injured in a huge gas explosion in central China on Sunday, state media reported.
A gas pipe exploded in the Zhangwan district of Shiyan city, in Hubei province at about 6:30 am local time. The number of casualties is still being verified as the search and rescue operation is underway. According to the local authorities, 150 people have been pulled from the debris, and the injured are being treated at local hospitals.
Apparently, the explosion destroyed a wet market there and greatly affected nearby residents. “Hearing the loud bang, I immediately scrabbled beneath the table, thinking it was an earthquake,” a resident surnamed Liu, told the Global Times via phone.
Images are circulating on social media, which appeared to be from the scene, showed rescue workers in orange jumpsuits working through the wreckage of flattened houses.
The cause of the accident is under investigation, according to the city government, which informed on the Chinese microblogging platform Weibo.
Rescue operation is underway and more details are awaited. ANI
SAUDI ARABIA BARS FOREIGN PILGRIMS FROM HAJJ DUE TO COVID-19
Amid the raging Covid-19 pandemic, Saudi Arabia has once again barred foreigners to perform the Hajj, and set a limit of maximum of 60,000 pilgrims inside the Kingdom.
“Only 60,000 vaccinated residents and citizens living in the Kingdom will be allowed to perform this year’s Haj pilgrimage due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic,” the Ministry of Haj and Umrah announced in a statement cited by Gulf News on Saturday. The Hajj is one of Islam’s five pillars. Every able-bodied Muslim who has affordability tries to visit it at least once in a lifetime.
“Against the backdrop of what the world is witnessing and due to the continuous developments of the coronavirus pandemic as well as the emergence of new mutations, Haj registration will be limited to residents and citizens from inside the Kingdom only,” the ministry also Twitted.
“Muslims between the ages of 18-65 and are fully vaccinated, or those who received their first dose at least 14 days prior, those who are vaccinated and have recovered from a Covid-19 infection are allowed to register,” the ministry added.
This is the second year in a row that Saudi Arabia limits the Haj pilgrimage to Muslims inside the Kingdom. However, only 10,000 Muslims were allowed to perform Hajj last year.
US AND JAPAN DEEPEN TIES WITH TAIWAN, DRAGON FINDS ITSELF IN TIGHT SPOT
The US and Japan have been deepening their engagement with Taiwan to help guard it against a growing threat from China. The move has out Beijing in tight spot.
J. Michael Cole, writing in The National Interest said that the regime in Beijing, which continues its effort to isolate Taiwan internationally, is now in the difficult position of having to express its discontent over coronavirus response while avoiding overreaction that could create the rationale for even closer relations between Taiwan and other countries. Taiwan has had a fairly positive past month in terms of its engagement with, and support by, regional partners.
Beijing’s setbacks began back in April, with the joint statement between US President Joe Biden and his Japanese counterpart, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, which “underscore[d] the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and encourage the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues.”
Such direct reference to Taiwan by a Japanese prime minister had not been heard for more than half a century, reported The National Interest. This was followed the next month by a similar statement, this one by President Biden and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, which again “emphasise[d] the importance of preserving peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait”.
The unprecedented reference to Taiwan by a South Korean leader also signalled those countries within the region were becoming increasingly alarmed with China’s destabilising behaviour—particularly the high number of intrusions by aircraft from the People’s Liberation Army Air Force and Navy into Taiwan’s southern Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), wrote Cole.
Four days before the Biden-Suga joint statement, a total of twenty-five PLA aircraft–14 J-16 multi-role fighters, four J-10 multi-role fighters, four H-6K bombers, 2 Y-8 anti-submarine planes, and one KJ-500 airborne early warning and control plane–entered Taiwan’s ADIZ, a new high since the PLA began intensifying its military activity in the region in 2020, reported The National Interest.
But now, China is in a tight spot as Taiwan is receiving more attention from allies. One strategic mistake Beijing may have committed earlier this year was its refusal to reduce its military activity around the Taiwan Strait during the transition period in Washington, wrote Cole.
WHO chief asks China to cooperate with probe into Covid-19 origins
World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Ghebreyesus has called on China to cooperate with the ongoing investigation into the origins of the Covid-19 amid renewed call to further probe the virus.
Dr Tedros made these remarks after taking part in the Group of Seven (G7) summit by video conference on Saturday, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.
The WHO Director-General hoped there would be better cooperation and transparency when the next phase of the probe into the virus’s origin is underway. “As you know we will need cooperation from the Chinese side,” he said. “We need transparency to understand or know or find the origin of this virus…after the report was released there were difficulties in the data sharing, especially in the raw data.”
He further said that the preparations for the probe’s next steps were underway and that the issue of the origin of the virus was discussed by G7 leaders on Saturday, WSJ reported.
Earlier this week, the US and the UK had extended support to a “timely, transparent and evidence-based independent process” for the next phase of the WHO-convened study of Covid-19 origins. “We will also support a timely, transparent and evidence-based independent process for the next phase of the WHO-convened COVID-19 origins study, including in China, and for investigating outbreaks of unknown origin in the future,” a joint statement said after US President Joe Biden met British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday.
This comes amid growing calls for a timely, transparent, and evidence-based independent process for the next phase of the WHO-convened origin study.
Recently, the calls to investigate further the origins of the virus have intensified. President Biden has also ordered a fresh US intelligence inquiry into the origins of the pandemic.
The origin of novel coronavirus that caused havoc around the world has remained a mystery even after 1.5 years the first case of infection was reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Now, scientists and world leaders are calling for further investigations to figure out whether the virus originated naturally or leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
G7 NATIONS CALL OUT CHINA OVER XINJIANG, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN
In a veiled criticism of the Dragon, Group of Seven (G&) leaders called on China to respect human rights in its Xinjiang region, allow Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy, and refrain from any unilateral action that could destabilise the East and South China Seas, Reuters reported quoted a draft version of the G7 summit communique.
“We will promote our values, including by calling on China to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, especially in relation to Xinjiang and those rights, freedoms and high degree of autonomy for Hong Kong enshrined in the Sino-British Joint Declaration,” the G7 said in a communique that was almost finalised.
Before the G7 criticism emerged, China cautioned G7 leaders that the days when “small” groups of countries decided the fate of the world were long gone.
The G7 also said they underscored “the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and encourage the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues”.
“We remain seriously concerned about the situation in the East and South China Seas and strongly oppose any unilateral attempts to change the status quo and increase tensions.”
“We also call for a timely, transparent, expert-led, and science-based WHO-convened Phase 2 Covid-19 origins study including, as recommended by the experts’ report, in China,” the communique, which is almost finalised, said.
“The days when global decisions were dictated by a small group of countries are long gone,” a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in London said.
“We always believe that countries, big or small, strong or weak, poor or rich, are equals, and that world affairs should be handled through consultation by all countries.”
Beijing has repeatedly hit back against what it perceives as attempts by Western powers to contain China, and says many major powers are still gripped by an outdated imperial mindset after years of humiliating China.
UN experts and rights groups estimate over a million people, mainly Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities, have been detained in recent years in a vast system of camps in Xinjiang.
China denies all accusations of forced labour or abuse. It initially denied the camps existed, but has since said they are vocational centres and are designed to combat extremism. In late 2019, China said all people in the camps had “graduated”.
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