When the accused of the horrific rape and murder of the 26-year-old woman veterinarian doctor in Hyderabad, were killed in an extra-judicial encounter, politicians across the party lines lauded the Telangana police force for executing “instant justice”.
At a time when leaders are joining the nationwide outrage condemning the crimes against women and Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan demanding lynching of the rape suspects, it is essential to once look at the Indian politicians and their alleged involvement with the crimes against women.
Indian politicians and the crime against women
According to data released in 2019 by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), in the newly constituted Lok Sabha Assembly, nearly half of its members have criminal charges against them. While talking about the crime against the women, the ruling Bhartiya Janta Party tops the list. According to the ADR list, about 30 per cent of the MPs and MLAs of the BJP, are facing grave charges like rape, murder and kidnapping of women. Among the newly elected legislators, 19 MPs have declared cases related to crimes against women. While three have reported cases related to rape, six have announced cases related to kidnappings and murder registered in their names.
According to 2018’s record, BJP alone had at least 12 incumbent lawmakers (in central or state legislatures) charged with crimes against women, the highest for any Indian political outfit.
Here are a few cases where politicians’ were involved in the horrific crimes against women
- Expelled BJP legislator Kuldeep Singh Sengar allegedly kidnapped and rape of a minor in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao district in 2017.
July, the car of the rape survivor was hit by a truck, and she was severely injured. The victim was battling for her life, and she lost her two aunts in the fatal accident. The family alleged foul play. The CBI later filed a charge sheet against Sengar and his associates, but no murder case was registered.
- Muzaffarpur Shelter Home case: In the horrifying incident, several minor girls were sexually and physically assaulted in a shelter home in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur. The People’s Party MLA Brajesh Thakur was the prime accused. The horrifying case came to light after a TISS report was submitted to the Bihar government on May 26, 2018. Former Bihar Social Welfare Minister and the then Janata Dal-United leader Manju Verma was also named among with 11 accused.
- Kathua rape case: The 2018 rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in a temple in the Kathua village shocked the nation. People took streets to condemn the gruesome rape of the nomadic girl. However, Hindu organisations took out protest marches in defence of the rape accused. Two sitting BJP ministers of the J&K government also attended one of such protest. Following the national uproar, the two ministers were forced to resign.
- UP law student case: BJP leader and religious guru Chinmayananda was accused of sexual harassment by a law student from Shahjahanpur district of Uttar Pradesh. On August 24, she released a video seeking the help of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The victim said: “Modi Ji, please help me, he (Chinmayananda) is threatening that the police, DM (district magistrate) and everyone else is on his side and no one can harm him.”
Alleged that Chinmayananda had sexually harassed many women including her and police, refused to register even a single complaint against him despite her repeated pleas. The release of the video that went viral, and under media pressure police arrested the monk. He later filed an extortion case against the victim.
Chinmanayanda is a former minister of state for home affairs, and in 2011 a rape case was filed against him. In 2017, when BJP came in power in UP, the case was withdrawn.
- In April this year, an FIR was registered against a Congress MLA for allegedly raping a widow several times.
- In August, a BJP leader and former MLA Manoj Shokeen allegedly raped his daughter-in-law. The Delhi police had registered a case based on the complaint filed by the daughter-in-law who accused him of raping her on 2018 New Year’s eve after pointing a gun at her.
Leaders’ remarks and what they say about the “rape culture.”
“Not even Lord Ram can stop rapes,” a BJP lawmaker in Uttar Pradesh, was quoted as saying by the Quarts India last year.
Such remarks reflect the sick mentality and their understanding of the subject. He is not the only one who is laying the foundation block of the rape culture.
BJP’s women leader Kirron Kher did not shy away from victim-blaming. In 2017 she said that it is the rape victim who should have been more cautious.
In 2013, Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat said rape was an urban issue, and that it didn’t exist in rural India at all. He blamed “western influence” for rape and went on to advise women to be good housewives. RSS is the parent organisation of the BJP.
“Hypocrisy ki bhi seema hoti hai,” this famous statement made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi suits perfectly on Indian politicians. They are protesting, condemning and assuring strict actions against the executors of the heinous crime against women, but refuse to denounce their own colleagues.
The politicians, however, are not alone the flag bearer of ‘hypocrisy’. The voters are too wrongdoers. There is a saying in Hindi — कीचड़ में पत्थर फेंकोगे तो छींटे तुम्हारे ऊपर आएंगे
Election Commission of India ensures that a political candidate declares criminal cases registered against him/her. Despite it, rarely any voter would take the pain to read the affidavit or login to myneta.com before stepping out to cast their vote. Firstly, we send criminals as the lawmakers and then we expect them to take strict actions against the people of their own community (criminals)!
What could be hypocritical than this?
ADR correctly concluded: “Democracy is undermined, and its institutions are rendered ineffective when criminals control them. The ready excuse of politicians that they cannot be considered criminals unless courts convict them is acceptable only in a strictly technical sense. It is well-known that cases go on for years and decades and most often, politicians are able to extricate themselves from this in various ways and means”.
All You Need To Know About National Institute Of Food Technology Entrepreneurship And Management Bill 2021
On July 26, 2021, Lok Sabha passed a bill under the ministry of Food Processing Industry. The bill is titled as National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management Bill, 2021. The main motive of this bill is to address issues with the Food Processing Industry, Entrepreneurship and one Institution for National Importance. With the passing of this bill, the Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology (IIFPT) and National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM) is now merged as Institutions of National Importance, and it aims at providing various research and advancement in learning about the Food Industry and its associated branches. The bill was first introduced in the house in February 2019 but was pending due to protest by the opposition.
Significance of Institutions of National Importance (INI)
With the passing of this bill, the institutions enjoy greater autonomy through which they can carry out various courses, research attracting skilled faculties and students from all over the country and overseas. Good standards in education will be adopted to improve the present and future of education in this branch and sector, overcoming the technological gap in the country. This law aims to improve and introduce new changes in food, bio-nanotechnology, cold chain technology etc. The desired efforts will be taken in terms of human resources and infrastructure developments, labs for research etc. Liberty to open centres anywhere in India is also granted to INI and include courses regarding food technology certification and improving the workforce of the country.
Some other important features of this act are the Institution has been authorized with the Board of Government, Senate and other acting Authorities. The Council of Board will include 16 members from different branches from the same field. The Head will be Chairperson, who will be a skilled person from the Food Industry, the Director, Dean and Registrar. Members appointed from Centre and State Governments, Members from FSSAI and Council of Agriculture Research, as mentioned in the bill. The 16 members of the board will carry out work of taking administrative decisions, creating annual budgets and paths for institution progress as an organization, establishing departments, their appointment terms of services, faculties etc. The Board of Council also holds power to grant Honorary Degrees and Diplomas. The Senate shall be the principal academic body of the Institute, consisting of the people such as Director as the Chairperson; Registrar; Full-time skilled level Professor; and Three academically skilled Individuals nominated by the board from the field.
The Union Minister of Food Processing Industry, Mr Pashupati Kumar Paras, expressed his gratitude to PM Modi for this landmark step in this industry from his Twitter handle, indicating new opportunities in Food Technology Industries. Therefore, this Act looks promising on paper with new opportunities and in Educational Development. Amidst the Pegasus Spyware and repeal of the farm laws, this looks positive from the Modi Government.
लोकसभा में आज, राष्ट्रीय खाद्य प्रौद्योगिकी, उद्यमिता और प्रबंध संस्थान विधेयक, 2021 (निफ्टेम विधेयक, 2021) को पारित किया गया।
इस विधेयक के पारित होने पर इससे जुड़े हर व्यक्ति को बधाई देता हूँ और साथ ही खाद्य प्रसंस्करण से जुड़े छात्रों को भी बधाई देता हूँ। @MOFPI_GOI
— Pashupati Kumar Paras (@PashupatiParas) July 26, 2021
Fake News: Accountability Of News Organisations
Fake news is false news stories or hoaxes, which are deliberately released to misinform and to create chaos in society or among readers. Fake news is one of the main reasons behind the disruption of peace in society and it becomes more dangerous in volatile places. Fake news is generally shared with propaganda to mislead the audience by hiding or twisting the truth. However fake news isn’t new to the web, it recently became an enormous problem in today’s digital world. Fake news mostly comes from sites that are bogus or have sensationalized stories.
Most of the users do not check the facts before sharing the information on their social media, which can be a reason for widespread fake news. So, it is important to differentiate between fake news and authentic news to maintain harmony in society and to avoid false news and its repercussions.
Fake News Stories
- On 2nd April, a team of doctors, health workers, and revenue officials were attacked by the family members of a 65-year-old man who died of COVID-19 in Indore, Madhya Pradesh because of the fake video which claimed that healthy Muslims were being injected with the virus, reiterating the risks and physical manifestations of misinformation.
- On March 22, 2020, Mr. Modi’s new term ‘Janta curfew’ has sparked a buzz on the Internet. Social media users started interpreting PM Modi’s concept of ‘Janta curfew’ in their own ways. Social media was flooded with a certain ‘scientific explanation’ behind the curfew as to how it will break the chain of transmissions of the deadly coronavirus infection. The claim was found out to be misleading. PM Modi, while announcing the curfew, didn’t mention this particular ‘scientific’ logic behind it.
- Rumours were circulated on WhatsApp groups about a kidnapping gang operating in India’s western state of Maharashtra in 2018. The rumors eventually cause a mob lynching, that killed five migrant workers because they were suspected of being kidnappers.
- On November 13, 2016, when the government of India has demonetized Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes and planned to replace them with new Rs 500 and Rs 2000 notes, rumors were spreading about Rs 2000 notes. Rumors claimed the new higher denomination currency comes with a Nano-GPS chip which acts as a reflector, giving precise location coordinates of the currency to permit every note to be tracked. However, the RBI officials had dismissed these as false and said the new Rs 2000 note does not have a Nano-GPS chip as is being claimed on social media, WhatsApp.
- In the pandemic situation, where vaccination has become crucial, in a series of viral videos it was seen that people are claiming that magnet was attracted to the arms of alleged COVID-19 vaccinated recipients. This kind of fake news can create misconceptions about vaccines and people may not take their jab of vaccines. The Centre has declined the claims that Covid-19 vaccines can make people ‘magnetic’. It has also dismissed theories about microchips in coronavirus vaccines.
Need of Accountability
False information on social media can cause huge problems. It is often done to influence political processes. Need for Accountability increases in such situations because the false information provided by certain news organizations can create a ruckus in society. Before publishing the news, it is necessary to check the facts.
If the news organizations, shared misinformation unintentionally they must remove the content right away and they should apologize to the readers. If fake news is spread with propaganda to create chaos in society, then the news organization should be punished under the law. The information must be checked before sharing it with other people.
Curious Case Of Pegasus: Explained
Pegasus is a spyware that can hack the victims’ mobile phones and read their SMS messages and emails. The Pegasus spyware is owned by an Israeli software company named NSO Group. According to the various reports, this company has targeted more than 50,000 phone numbers at the Global level, of which 300 are in India for surveillance.
The news broke out after the 17 media partners investigated. This investigation brought into the picture information about a leaked database of mobile telephone numbers of Indian Ministers, Opposition leaders, journalists, the legal community, business people, government officials, scientists, activists and many influential personalities of the nation.
Pegasus Spyware and India
According to the report by the agency, the Israeli company which sells Pegasus around the world says that its clients are confined to ‘vetted governments”, believed to number 36. The NSO Group also says that ‘the target list in India is not ours, never was.’ Their refusal of the leaked database has created a loophole in understanding this case.
This whole case has violated the integrity of democratic institutions. According to the report by the agencies, after the mobile phones of the opposition leader Rahul Gandhi and various other leaders were hacked under the Pegasus spyware surveillance. Multiple tweets were made against the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) government in India. This whole case has become one of the major threats in the political arena and the Indian Democracy.
Though at the start, it was used for national security purposes. The explosive expansion of surveillance technology vendors has become a vast human rights and a global security issue. If such surveillance technologies increase, it might cause a lot of problems to countries around the globe. Hence, as a precaution, all these countries need to work on regulating this technology.
According to the reports by the agency, one of the targeted phones by the Pegasus spyware was of the former election commissioner of India, Ashok Lavasa. Various such people and such opposition leaders were somehow against the BJP government having their phones hacked with the NSO-owned spyware. All these instances and the names in the leaked list have pointed figures towards the Modi Government.
The Modi government’s stand on this case was put forward in Lok Sabha by two serving ministers, Ashwini Vaishnaw and Prahlad Singh Patel. These two leaders were also featured in the leaked database. The recent Information Technology Minister, Ashwini Vaishnaw defended the BJP government in the parliament by saying, “the expose was an attempt to malign Indian democracy and its well-established institutions.” She even said, ‘any form of illegal surveillance is not possible with the checks and balances in our laws and robust institutions.’
This case has adjourned the parliament proceedings due to the protests inside and outside the house of parliament by the opposition party.
Pegasus Spyware and World.
In the statement given to the agency, Access Now, an organisation defending the digital rights of global users, said it was outraged that products sold by NSO were allegedly “used to hack and invade the private communications” of thousands of people across the globe.
At a global level, France’s Emmanuel Macron was targeted in the Pegasus spyware case. As the phone of French President Emmanuel Macron was hacked, the investigation was carried out and later on was published which was directed by the Paris-based non-profit journalism group Forbidden. After this case came in front of the whole world, the Pegasus spyware surveillance came into the picture.
If this continues for some more time, it will ruin India’s Democratic values at a global level. As well as this might become a huge technological threat between the different nations around the globe.
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