By Anand Mazgaonkar,
“A law and order problem, one small incident of rape in Delhi advertised world over is enough to cost us millions of dollars in terms of lower tourism.” ~Mr Arun Jaitley‘s speech at National Conference of Tourism Ministers
Rape is not good….Even Mr Arun Jaitley believes so. Now, Mr Jaitley is not only a legal luminary but also a very senior minister of this Government so this could also be taken to be the official view of this Government.
Since it affects the Tourism Industry there are many things we could do and should do forthwith:
* starting at the top we could perhaps rechristen the Ministry of Tourism as ‘Ministry of Tourism and Prevention of Rape’, or more accurately as ‘Ministry of Tourism and Prevention of Rape, for Dollars’;
* we could divest the Police of powers of investigation and prosecution of rape cases and turn it over to the Ministry of Tourism
* we should put CBI under the Ministry of Tourism
* there should be a ‘Ministry to Prevent Women from wearing Jeans’, with additional charge of confiscating all mobile phones from women (while this should apply to all women for the moment – we should set up a Commission under some Khap luminary to investigate whether older women – say, women above the age of 85 – can be exempted from such a blanket ban)
* the 282 ruling party MPs should then be sent to countries around the world carrying posters and billboards with Mr Jaitley’s and Modi’s smiling pictures, assuring that we have taken stringent corrective action against rape (our $ earnings cannot suffer).
Indeed, we need sweeping legislative, policy, administrative and executive reforms in order that our $ earnings never suffer. For a start Government should consider imposing press censorship so that if rape cannot be prevented at least Media can be prevented from reporting it. Then, IB should be commissioned (this time officially, so that its findings do not have to take the form of leaks) to investigate the funding sources of all organisations that insensitively demonstrate and publicise rape.
Farmers and farm-workers who resist land acquisition also give ‘our’ development efforts a bad name and will chase away the Enrons, Union Carbides, Galleon Groups, Rajat Guptas, Raj Rajaratnams et al. The recent Revenue Ministers’ conference suggesting wide-ranging changes in the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 is a step in the right direction. Any developing country wanting to compete with China, Pakistan, North Korea must institute kangaroo processes and procedures to deal with such issues. Provisions relating to farmers’ consent and social impact assessment are very damaging to our Modi-Jaitley-$ economy.
Khap Panchayats should not only deal with cases of inter caste or same-gotra love affairs and elopements but must also be empowered to handle Government’s love affairs with the Adanis, Ambanis, Jindals et al, and farmers, farm-workers’, displaced peoples’ treason against ‘development’. The first thing that Khap should do is accept Mr Ambani’s demand for higher gas prices. Mukeshbhai has been very bashful and hesitant in asking for anything more than $ 14 mBtu. The Khap should assure him that he should not be so coy about his sweat and tears and perhaps fair-mindedly fix the price at $ 34 or $ 44 mBTU. We should ensure that he doesn’t have to penny-pinch while choosing Nitabhabhi’s next birthday gift.
And the Government must immediately appeal the lower court’s order in Irom Sharmila’s case. There can be no doubt she’s hurting our $ earnings. AFSPA is absolutely essential to take care of Mr Jaitley’s $-law and order concerns.
Indeed ‘Acche Din’ are here to stay with the blessings of Asarambapus, Nityanand Swamis and all the other Gurus and Babas.
Anand is a senior activist with the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) and National Alliance of Peoples’ Movements (NAPM) in Gujarat.