H C Singh

Controversy Over Nuclear Bill- Implications of Civil Nuclear Liability

 It is surprising that neither the PM or a senior Minister has tried to explain the nuclear liability bill. It was Shivshankar Menon, National Security Advisor who briefed a group of Congress MP’s claiming that this Bill “would introduce a transparent, orderly and predictable system of compensation to victims and fix responsibility for nuclear incident” He has not said that the liability of an Indian operator will be insignificant compared to liability, because of an incident, in USA to an American operator which will be 20 to 25 times more than in India or compensation for an Indian citizen. Payment of compensation to a victim of nuclear accident will be on the basis of a complex formula which has not been explained by Menon or the PM in Lok Sabha.

The government favours the passage of the Indo-US Nuclear Bill, as of high priority. But its retreat indicates its worries over its smooth passage. Mamta Banerjee has opposed the bill and is ready to play spoiler. As in 33 percent reservation for women’s bill Sonia Gandhi’s prestige is involved, so in the Nuclear Bill Manmohan Singh’s prestige is much more involved.

BJP the main opposition party is vehemently apposed to nuclear bill. BJP’s Yashwant Sinha, former Union Minister, has even gone so far as to say that BJP will never accept this bill which favours USA and “transfers a large part of liability to the government in other words to tax payer”. Sinha further elucidated that the bill violates Article 21 of the constitution, right to protection of life and personal liberty and is also violation of Article 14 ‘Right to Equality’ as the liability under Price Anderson Act of the US is 12.5 billion Dollars (Rs 49,266 crore), while that of India is Rs 2,142 crore, which is 23 times higher than the liability fixed for an Indian operator. That means an American life is valued 23 times more than that of an Indian.

All the left parties, CPM, CPI, Forward Bloc and RSP in a joint statement have condemned haste to pass this bill with unjust liability to government of India and Indian operator. These parties have written an open letter to all MPs to oppose the Bill. The left parties have “questioned the government’s rationale to put a cap on liability at Rs 2,142 crore out of which amount Rs 1,642 crore would be borne by the government and the rest by nuclear operator.” Considering the damage that was caused by nuclear explosions i.e. dropping atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan in 1945, the damage caused is million times more in lives and property. Who will bear the cost, unfortunately if it takes place? There are many loopholes in the Bill which USA is insisting for India to ratify. PM and the government of India have not clarified in detail the implications.

There seems lot of confusion as well as lack of clarity. That is the reason for the opposition parties to declare strongly rejection of the nuclear liability Bill. The government of Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh should not forget that 33 Percent reservation for women Bill could only be passed in Rajya Sabha because of complete and wholehearted support by the opposition parties. Neither 33 Percent women representation Bill nor the nuclear liability Bill can get through in Lok Sabha as Congress and UPA do not and can not have two third majority for the passage of these two important and rather historic Bills.

Indo-US Nuclear agreement has brought hope for nuclear development in India for peaceful purposes. Nuclear energy is to provide in due course, maximum share of the electric energy required in the country, demand for which will be manifold in coming two decades. It will reduce pollution in India as well as reduce global warming which is posing danger to our planet. Hydro electric power, wind energy as well as solar energy can meet the demand marginally though progress in these sectors, too, will be there. Production of nuclear energy even for peaceful uses has many problems to name a few like heavy cost of construction of nuclear power stations as well as safeguards against incidents, radio activity and disposal of nuclear waste.

Article 2-4 of Indo-US agreement gives India freedom to use nuclear material available in India that has not been supplied under the Indo-US agreement. But the crises in India as outlined above, is strong criticism by left parties and BJP about the details of civil nuclear liability which require to be clarified by the Indian government so that opposition to the Bill is diluted. Whatever modifications in the nuclear agreement in India’s interests are required should be done and taken up urgently. Infact detailed clarifications should have been given long back.

March 25, 2010 Posted by | India, USA | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bill for 33 Percent Reservation for Women- Its Implications

Though the Bill has been passed in Rajya Sabha after heated debate it will not suffice because in India women are not regarded equal to men or even are considered inferior to men, socially and intellectually. Besides most of women are confined to homes for being fit to do domestic work and raise children. Though 33 percent seats in Parliament are reserved for women in Russia, Norway, Sweden, France and Germany, and in East, in Korea and Philippines, women in these countries and where there is no reservation like USA, Australia and England, women are in a position to take full advantage because they are socially equal and in nowhere and in no sphere considered inferior in Society in intellect and efficiency etc. Reservation for women in these countries has done well and is considered as women’s achievement.

In India even in the Parliament of 1999-04 the percentage of women members was only 7.8 percent i.e., there were only 42 women in the House of 543. As these women members of Parliament came mostly from upper middle class and upper class and most of them were highly educated, they were vociferous, significant and even dominating like Sushma Swaraj (BJP), Brinda Karat (CPM) to name a few.

More important for uplift of women are education particularly in rural areas, their social equality which means they should have equal right of inderitence of property and assets, end of discrimination on caste basis. It must be stated that though the Bill was passed by a majority of 186 against only 1 and 39 obtained, something unbecoming happened. Seven members of the parliament went up to the Chairman of Rajya Sabha and snatched the copy of the Bill from hands of the Chairman and tore into pieces. This was a shameful act by these seven opposition members who were overpowered by Marshals and evicted later suspended from Parliament. Such an unbecoming behavior of MP’s had never happened before. Worst of all these seven have not apologized, or even are not ready to apologize. Such male members of Parliament do not deserve to be members of any elected House .

Rajya Sabha had to be adjourned a number of times and could take up the Bill next day for voting and the Bill was passed. Sonia Gandhi was very happy considering the passage of Bill in Rajya Sabha as her personal victory. However because of controversy and many members of BJP and even Congress, besides other small parties though are not openly apposed to the reservation of 33 percent for women, are at heart not willing to support the Bill. This is one of the reasons that discussion in Lok Sabha has been postponed to May 2010. It may be further postponed, as it has already been done. Thus at this stage there is no reason for Sonia Gandhi or Congress to be happy and Jubilant.

Another issue that has cropped is quota within quota for Muslim women. Infact Muslims have been demanding reservation for Muslims in all spheres and elected bodies from Panchayat onward to Parliament. But because of the present Bill of 33 percent reservation for women, this demand for reservation for Muslims has risen once again. To recollect, this demand by some Muslim leaders was raised even after independence. But Sardar Patel who was Home Minister retorted that those Muslims who want reservations should go to Pakistan. Can this demand be accepted, because of vote bank politics, or brushed aside? Hypothetically, if Muslims demand for quota is accepted, there may be demand for quota by Christians, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists.

The Bill for 33 percent Reservation for Women is not even half way through. It is the Lok Sabha which has to pass by two third majority, as it would be a constitutional amendment. As there are already many MP’s of all the Parties including BJP and Congress who are opposed to the Bill, it is becoming doubtful whether in May it will be taken up and passed after discussion in Lok Sabha or it will be postponed further.

Democracy presupposes equality of men and women and also equality of opportunity for all women and men. It is regretted that this equality is lacking even after 62 years of independence though Article 15 of the constitution prohibits discrimination on ground of sex. Even the Directive Principles of State Policy which urge that the state shall direct its policy towards securing adequate livelihood for women as well as equal pay for equal work, seem to have been ignored or half heartedly attempted.

It is noteworthy that empowerment of women by giving them 33 percent seats in Panchayats all over India has resulted in induction of “at least one million” women to public life in rural India at the grassroot level. It is heartening. Though 33 percent reservation of seats in Parliament for women requires some vital amendments and considerations with all political parties as to how 33 percent seats will be distributed or effected keeping in view SC and ST quota. It is definitely not as simple as 33 percent quota for women in Panchayats. However when this amended Bill is passed in Lok Sabha by two third majority, which at this stage seems difficult, even in May 2010, this will bring a corresponding revolution, much more significant than that of Panchayats. It will herald a new era in advancement of women in India in all spheres. As and when this Bill is finally passed by Lok Sabha and becomes a Constitutional Amendment, India will, in the comity of nations all over the world, be recognized as an advanced and progressive country.

Though the Bill has been passed in Rajya Sabha after heated debate it will not suffice because in India women are not regarded equal to men or even are considered inferior to men, socially and intellectually. Besides most of women are confined to homes for being fit to do domestic work and raise children. Though 33 percent seats in Parliament are reserved for women in Russia, Norway, Sweden, France and Germany, and in East, in Korea and Philippines, women in these countries and where there is no reservation like USA, Australia and England, women are in a position to take full advantage because they are socially equal and in nowhere and in no sphere considered inferior in Society in intellect and efficiency etc. Reservation for women in these countries has done well and is considered as women’s achievement.

In India even in the Parliament of 1999-04 the percentage of women members was only 7.8 percent i.e., there were only 42 women in the House of 543. As these women members of Parliament came mostly from upper middle class and upper class and most of them were highly educated, they were vociferous, significant and even dominating like Sushma Swaraj (BJP), Brinda Karat (CPM) to name a few.

More important for uplift of women are education particularly in rural areas, their social equality which means they should have equal right of inderitence of property and assets, end of discrimination on caste basis. It must be stated that though the Bill was passed by a majority of 186 against only 1 and 39 obtained, something unbecoming happened. Seven members of the parliament went up to the Chairman of Rajya Sabha and snatched the copy of the Bill from hands of the Chairman and tore into pieces. This was a shameful act by these seven opposition members who were overpowered by Marshals and evicted later suspended from Parliament. Such an unbecoming behavior of MP’s had never happened before. Worst of all these seven have not apologized, or even are not ready to apologize. Such male members of Parliament do not deserve to be members of any elected House .

Rajya Sabha had to be adjourned a number of times and could take up the Bill next day for voting and the Bill was passed. Sonia Gandhi was very happy considering the passage of Bill in Rajya Sabha as her personal victory. However because of controversy and many members of BJP and even Congress, besides other small parties though are not openly apposed to the reservation of 33 percent for women, are at heart not willing to support the Bill. This is one of the reasons that discussion in Lok Sabha has been postponed to May 2010. It may be further postponed, as it has already been done. Thus at this stage there is no reason for Sonia Gandhi or Congress to be happy and Jubilant.

Another issue that has cropped is quota within quota for Muslim women. Infact Muslims have been demanding reservation for Muslims in all spheres and elected bodies from Panchayat onward to Parliament. But because of the present Bill of 33 percent reservation for women, this demand for reservation for Muslims has risen once again. To recollect, this demand by some Muslim leaders was raised even after independence. But Sardar Patel who was Home Minister retorted that those Muslims who want reservations should go to Pakistan. Can this demand be accepted, because of vote bank politics, or brushed aside? Hypothetically, if Muslims demand for quota is accepted, there may be demand for quota by Christians, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists.

The Bill for 33 percent Reservation for Women is not even half way through. It is the Lok Sabha which has to pass by two third majority, as it would be a constitutional amendment. As there are already many MP’s of all the Parties including BJP and Congress who are opposed to the Bill, it is becoming doubtful whether in May it will be taken up and passed after discussion in Lok Sabha or it will be postponed further.

Democracy presupposes equality of men and women and also equality of opportunity for all women and men. It is regretted that this equality is lacking even after 62 years of independence though Article 15 of the constitution prohibits discrimination on ground of sex. Even the Directive Principles of State Policy which urge that the state shall direct its policy towards securing adequate livelihood for women as well as equal pay for equal work, seem to have been ignored or half heartedly attempted.

It is noteworthy that empowerment of women by giving them 33 percent seats in Panchayats all over India has resulted in induction of “at least one million” women to public life in rural India at the grassroot level. It is heartening. Though 33 percent reservation of seats in Parliament for women requires some vital amendments and considerations with all political parties as to how 33 percent seats will be distributed or effected keeping in view SC and ST quota. It is definitely not as simple as 33 percent quota for women in Panchayats. However when this amended Bill is passed in Lok Sabha by two third majority, which at this stage seems difficult, even in May 2010, this will bring a corresponding revolution, much more significant than that of Panchayats. It will herald a new era in advancement of women in India in all spheres. As and when this Bill is finally passed by Lok Sabha and becomes a Constitutional Amendment, India will, in the comity of nations all over the world, be recognized as an advanced and progressive country.

March 17, 2010 Posted by | Achievers, Corruption, India, Indian Economy, Indian History, Muslims, Political Commentary, Politics, Religion, Women reservation in India | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Defeat Of Churchill And Victory Of India

  In a recent book written by Arthur Herman ‘Churchill and Gandhi’, there are many aspects which reveal both Gandhi’s ideology and Churchill’s anti-Indian views because Gandhi wanted and worked for India’s independence while Churchill was on the other extreme to deny India independence by all means. Gandhi felt that independence was India’s birth right while Churchill worked hard in and out of Parliament to put obstacles in the way of India’s Freedom Movement. Churchill was convinced that if India won freedom “sun will set on British Empire” and this is what happened. Here are some enlightening facts.

Winston Churchill who was Prime Minister of UK during Second World War and remained so till the end of war was considered virtually by all the people of UK as savior of England as well as of British Empire. Accordingly after end of war, Churchill vehemently opposed India’s independence saying “I have not become His Majesty’s First Minister to preside over liquidation of Empire. Churchill thus considered, as his and British empires enemies all those Indians who were fighting for independence whether by Gandhi’s non violence or by taking up arms against the British like Subhash Bose of Indian National Army(INA). Accordingly when after the war PM Attlee of Labor Party tried to negotiate for independence of India, though at that time as a Dominion, Churchill started through Jinnaha, to create problems for unity of India and even went so far as to encourage Jinnaha to demand a separate state for Muslims (Pakistan) with all the Muslim majority provinces including whole of Punjab and entire Bengal.

Churchill was convinced that if India gains independence, it will herald end of British Empire all over the world. Therefore Churchill and Gandhi were irreconcilable opponents throughout, particularly after 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

It is best to know how Winston Churchill grew up. Winston’s father, Randolf and his mother ignored him even during his illness. Later Churchill said about his father, “He treated me as if I had been a fool: barked at me whenever I questioned him… He wouldn’t listen to me or consider anything I said”. This type of bringing up made Winston, like his father, Lord Randolf Churchill who was Secretary of State for India in 1885.So Winston became more self-centered and aggressive than his father. Even at the young age of twelve Winston was called by his teacher: “The naughtiest little boy in the world”.

From 1920 to 1936-37 Churchill considered Gandhi a “fakir” and “fanatic”, a threat to British rule in India. He became a threat to everything Churchill believed in and in the end Churchill would fight him with everything he had. (Arthur Herman).

As war clouds gathered in 37-38, Churchill feared Axis between Germany and Japan. He got worried about Japan’s military effort in the East just as that of Germany against England and rest of Europe except Italy. Thus Churchill to keep India on British side had couple of dinner talks with G D Birla in July 1937 to apprise him of Japan’s dangerous intentions about India. Churchill discussed with Birla for two hours. “Well a big experiment has begun” Churchill asserted meaning the new Indian constitution (1935 Act).

For the first time because of danger of imminent war by Germany, Churchill “swore” that he had not said a word against India Act since the King had signed it. Churchill even said that viceroy of India had invited me to visit India “I will go” if Mr. Gandhi also desires it. He even told Birla that he had great respect for Gandhi. The statement of Churchill was in complete contrast to what he said and meant for the last 20 years about Gandhi. Thus when in September 1938 Churchill heard PM Chamberalin going to meet Hitler at Munich to sign an agreement with Hitler,Churchill lost control and said: “This is end of British Empire” The agreement was duly signed.

Gandhi said “Peace has been preserved but at he cost of honour”. But 41 year old Subhash Bose announced “The time has come, for Indians to take advantage of it”.

But in mid March just six months after the signing of agreement, Hitler’s army invaded Czech capital. All England wanted Churchill to be at helm to lead Britain in war against Hitler. Accordingly at first Churchill was included in the Cabinet. In May 1940 he “pushed the door of Downing street” and was PM. Chamberlein and many had preferred Holifax to be PM but Holifax realized Churchill potential on the war and said “I think Winston is better choice”. There were shouts against Chamberalin and demand to resign, “Go, in gods name go”. This is how Churchill became PM.

During Second World War India decided to fight for India’s independence through mass satyagraha i.e. agitations and civil disobedience. Viceroy Linlithgo, unlike Churchill, wanted some compromise, some promise of independence after war. Gandhi met Linlithgo before launching the mass agitation and told the viceroy “He would encourage every Indian to refuse to support the war effort”.

The fall of Singapore, virtually without a fight by British officers and Indian Army heralded the end of British Empire in India and South East Asia. Fall of Singapore was first and greatest shock to Churchill as PM as Japanese had sunk both the ships ‘Prince of Wales’ and ‘Rapulse’. Next shock was for Churchill and his war cabinet during the headlong flight from Burma. “He got worried whether Indians will help Britain in their war effort. Even more frightening possibility was that Indians would rise up against British workers and join the Japanese. One man was already working to make that happen ‘Subhash Chandra Bose’ Head of INA in Singapore “worshiped Bose as God”.

Bose spoke the language of Indian manhood and heroic self confidence…..like Churchill, Bose was committed to waging war to the hilt to win that struggle (independence for India) Bose famous and inspiring words became a maxim “Give me blood and I will give you independence”.

India, wrote Leo Amery who was Secretary to State for India during Second World War, “when the conflict between Indian nationalism reached climax particularly in 1942. Churchill had “wholly uncontrollable complex” Churchill’s outburst were sometimes so intemperate that Amery wondered in his diary if ‘on the subject of India he (Churchill) is really quote sane”.

Though Churchill one of the greatest British politicians and Prime Minister, he was also a great British writer on Political History and won Noble Prize, but he was utter failure so far his hatred for Gandhi, India and Indian Independence was concerned. Despite Churchill’s all efforts like encouraging and helping Jinnaha and to an extent Mountbatten, though at cost million of lives in partition riots India won Independence on 15th August 1947. It was a day of India’s victory and Churchill’s personal defeat.

March 10, 2010 Posted by | Achievers, India, Indian History, Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa, Political Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Sajjan Kumar’s Case before High Court and 1984 Anti Sikh Riots

  It is more than 25 years that thousands of Sikhs were mercilessly butchered, their houses burnt and looted in anti-Sikh riots of 1984. The rioting, killing and looting went on for four days as the Congress Government of Rajiv Gandhi did not call the Army from Delhi cantonment, part of the capital itself. The looting and killing were encouraged and led by Congress politicians of Delhi with the help of Delhi Police which did not prevent or even intervene. It was blemish of extreme lawlessness and murders of thousands in the capital of India, the so called biggest democracy of the world: worst of all, not even one criminal out of hundreds and even one Congress politician like Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler, out of untold numbers, was arrested, not to speak of being sentenced.

So many commissions were appointed to probe, hear the evidence and decide about punishment of guilty. Hundreds of crores of rupees were spent or wasted but to no result. But because of our political system and our politicians and political rulers, even when there were tangible evidences and recommendations, particularly before Nanavati Commission, not a single arrest was made. Infact proceedings and recommendations of all the commissions were put in cold storage.

Latest case, though not before a commission, but before Delhi High Court is that of Sajjan Kumar, an ex congress MP. He was found guilty by a Distt Court and as such non-bailable warrants were issued against him. Had Sajjan Kumar appeared or surrendered before the court he would have been arrested then and there and ordered to be put behind bar. But Sajjan Kumar, though found guilty, went missing with the help of his guard.

 The case came before the Delhi High Court on appeal.

 The High Court taking severe note of his ‘missing’, but it is noteworthy, that while giving anticipatory bail to Sajjan Kumar in two 1984 anti Sikh riot cases against him, learned Justice Pathak termed the charges against Sajjan Kumar of ‘grave nature’. However the court added that as “25 years have gone by and the delay undoubtedly tilts the balance in favour of politician”. The High Court even questioned the “CBI move to arrest Kumar now that charge sheet has been filed while it never felt the need while investigations were going on for the past five years”. It is virtual indictment of CBI, which is government appointed agency for investigation.

It will not be out of place to recapulate some facts that led to torture, massacre and burning of thousands of Sikh men, women and children during four days, when hell itself broke out on the Sikhs of Delhi, killing as per official figures 3000 but actually many times more unarmed and innocent, mostly poor Sikhs who had no knowledge of politics or were absolutely unconcerned with politics .

Hundreds of men were burnt or killed in the presence of their parents, their wives and children. Some were put to death by putting burning tyres in their necks.

Hundreds of children were taken away from the lap of their mothers or snatched from their fathers and killed in the presence of their parents and their grand parents. Also hundred of women were molested before their husbands and children.

In many families more than five persons were done to death. In a rare case there were seven widows from one family and many orphans.

It is not known in Indian and in world history of at least more than hundred years that such atrocities were committed by citizens of the same country on their own country’s citizens and that, too, in the capital.

There is much more to be said and has been recorded by many commissions and by few Sikh survivors who could have the courage to appear before commissions despite threat to their lives.

It is hoped that now, after long last, gap of 25 years, there will be justice in the present case of Sajjan Kumar. Which may set an example for others. The learned Judge has already said that charges against Sajjan Kumar are of “grave nature” and has even indicted CBI for inordinate delay “while investigations were going on for five years”.

Who is to be blamed for delay of 25 years in convicting hundreds of guilty, politicians and policemen? As explained above, it is country’s politics and politicians who care only for vote banks to get into power and remain in power, irrespective of political party or combination of political parties to which they belong.

March 5, 2010 Posted by | Anti Sikh Riots 1984, Corruption, India, Indian History, Political Commentary, Punjabi, Religion, Sikhism, World History | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment