The illegal migrants’ debate is truly turning ugly. Instead of the North East and finding a solution, the focus has sadly shifted, rather turned into a big battle–Maharashtra vs Bihar. Mumbai’s Thackerays and Patna’s Nitish Kumar are embroiled in a sordid tu tu mein mein spat (tit-for-tat) this past week, belittling the critical issue. It comes on the heels of Nitish objecting to the manner in which the Mumbai police on Sunday last arrested a person in Bihar for vandalising the Amar Jawan memorial during the Azad Maidan riot in Mumbai last month. The Mahrashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray promptly reacted by calling people from Bihar infiltrators and threatened to throw them out of Mumbai. Not to be left behind cousin and Shiv Sena Executive President Uddhav Thackeray joined in by demanding that there be a ‘permit system’ for these migrants if the Mumbai police is not allowed to track down a criminal from Bihar. Nitish has promptly dismissed these by saying that the comments came from a sir phira (crazy) Raj and that Udhav has a penchant for speaking without applying his mind! While the three leaders may be enjoying this diatribe, the Centre should not be amused. It already has its plate full with the critical issue of Bangladeshi illegal migrants and can ill-afford a fresh portion.
TN Lankan Tirade
One-upmanship between political rivals is never ending. Bereft of any issue against each other, both the ruling AIADMK and Opposition DMK have sadly made Sri Lankan nationals a common target, to outdo one another. Since last week, while both parties have been hounding the Centre to stop the training programme for Lankan defence personnel, Chief Minister Jayalalitha has gone a step further. On Sunday last, she suspended a stadium official in Chennai for allowing a friendly match between a football team from Colombo and the Customs Department. The team was also asked to pack their bags and leave. Worse, a special flight had to be arranged to take back 180-odd Lankan pilgrims back to Colombo after they were heckled by Tamil activists during a visit to a church. This hostility has put New Delhi in an awkward position with its Colombo counterpart, with the latter issuing a travel advisory to its citizens.
Bengal’s Good Performance
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has reason to smile. At least on one front, the State government can claim efficiency under the new regime. According to Home Ministry statistics, about 205 districts across the country are under Naxal influence. Of these while 84 are said to be “violence affected districts”, 119 are known to be under Left wing extremists’ influence. The good news is that in Mamata’s Bengal three of the most Naxal-affected districts—Purulia, West Midnapore and Bankura—have not reported a single casualty in the past eight months! Obviously, Mamata’s tough stance against the Maoists is paying off but more importantly she has not picked up cudgels with the Centre on this front. In addition, the fact that the Central paramilitary forces have got the full support of the State police and enjoy a good working relationship is welcome. North block is keeping its fingers crossed that if the Trinamool Chief doesn’t mix politics with internal security issues, like she does in development matters, her State could well match Andhra Pradesh’s record of reporting “zero casualty.”
UP’s Hollow Policy
Uttar Pradesh young Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is yet to get his act together. Tall promises and change in policy were announced with much gusto. However, all is not well on fronts other than law and order. In a bizarre sequence of events it comes to light that a shocking 407 junior engineers in the State’s Public Works Department were shifted last month, in clear violation of the Government’s transfer policy. Worse, these transfers were announced not on merit of the cases but demands of Samajwadi Party leaders, MLAs, ministers and some by the engineers themselves. And, the reasons cited were either mediocre performance, unsatisfactory work, or simply because they were appointed by the previous BSP Government or that some SP leaders wanted the good performers in areas of their choice. By this one single act, Yadav’s assurance that not more than 15 per cent of the employees in any category should be transferred in the annual transfer season, stands exposed. The Diploma Engineers Association is gravely upset, but it can do little against the whims and fancies of the State politicians. Unless of course, Akhilesh means what he says and is able to show the difference between his raj and that of his predecessor Mayawati.
The Karnataka government of Jagadish Shettar is embarrassed pink. Reeling under a severe drought it is unable to rein in its MLAs from enjoying junkets at the Exchequer’s cost. On Tuesday last, the Chief Minister was forced to issue a directive to the first batch of a dozen legislators to cut short their so-called “study tour” in Latin America. The group, under the committee on Public Undertakings chose Brazil and Argentian to study urban local governance. Interestingly, they also packed in a world heritage site, Cuzco (Peru) as part of it. The news has led to an outcry by the civil society, which has rightly questioned the justification of the tour at public expense. With the media glare on this tour, Shettar has been forced to cancel three other study tours, which would cost the exchequer a whopping 8 crores.
Mizo Women Warning
Women in Mizoram have sounded the bugle against child rapists. The biggest women’s organisation, Mizo Hmelchhe Insuihkhawn Pawl (MHIP), has called for the severest punishment for offenders. In a special assembly session held in Aizawl on Thursday last, the MHIP has resolved that any man who rapes a minor should be made impotent by castration and nothing short of it! While the resolution may not have takers in the administration, it may not be taken lightly at least by the men as the organisation has a wide reach in the Christian-dominated State. This apart, the organisation has an equally strong message, on morality, for all women i.e. they, whether single, married, widowed or divorced, should not get involved with married men nor indulge in lesbian relationships. However, it offers no drastic action against those found guilty, but takes it upon itself to ensure that such activities by women are stopped. How many cases surface, would be worth a watch. –INFA