Edits In Short: December 24
Didn’t get time to read the edit pages in today’s papers? Don’t worry. We’ve read them for you!
The Hindu, December 24, 2012
The rage after the rape – Editorial
The silent and impassive government this edit states, is responsible for the spontaneous protesters “who found themselves face to face with a state apparatus that was not interested in a conversation”.
Instead of shutting down the public transport system and preparing for battle, the government should have acted to assure the women of India that a serious national review of all legal issues surrounding rape, sexual assault and gender rights would be undertaken on a war-footing.
Death penalty and castration of rapists is not the answer. The answer lies in serious systematic reform of law enforcement and justice delivery. The government needs to implement its recommendations on reforms and “not simply cherry pick those that are politically the most convenient”.
Great hope for science – Editorial
The edit lauds the decision of the UN General Assembly to grant “Observer Status for the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN)”. CERN has been sharing important digital library tools with several countries in Africa for empowering and changing the way people access information. It also makes available some of its technologies “free of royalties”, provided they are developed to “benefit the economy and society”.
“The new status and global platform will help the organization direct and set a course so science and technology will ultimately benefit people.”
Castration is not the right legal response – Main Article
In a must-read article, Anup Surendranath, Assistant Professor of Law, National Law University, argues against the view that castration will deter rape. The view he writes “is misplaced and based on a narrow, sexual intercourse-definition of the crime”.
He writes that chemical castration – injecting anti-androgen drugs that suppress the production of testosterone as long as drugs are administered – won’t help because rape is not about sex. It’s about power, violence, intimidation and humiliation. Not all sex offenders are the same and chemical castration won’t deter sexual assaults which don’t involve sexual intercourse.
Any meaningful attempt to protect women against rape, according to him “must engage with gendered notions of power entrenched in our families, our marriages, our workplaces, our educational institutions, our religions…and worst of all in our minds”.
The Hindustan Times, December 24, 2012
Getting it right in business – Editorial
The edit comments on the Companies Bill passed last week. Although it has been delayed (it was tabled in 2008), the edit says that the wait may have been worth it as the “The role of independent directors, often a weak spot in detecting fraud, has been defined better as are the obligations of auditors”. Listing the new provisions it says that the bill could improve “boardroom behaviour”. “Besides the policing provisions, the bill also tries to instill a value system within India Inc.”
However, it cautions that just one piece of legislation will not change everything and a conducive economic environment is also needed.
Misplaced perceptions – Editorial
The edit suggests that BJP’s improved performance in Muslim-dominated constituencies in Gujarat is due to reasons other than Modi. Among the explanations, are that people are voting less aggressively for the Congress due to its internal squabbles, and delimitation.
‘… if there was no delimitation Modi would have ended with a score of just about 100 and the verdict would have been interpreted differently.’
Restore our rights – Editorial
On National Consumer Rights Day, journalist Pushpa Girimaji – a commentator on consumer rights issues – writes about a recent court order which says that subscribers can’t sue telecom companies in consumer courts. The court based its decision on section 7B of the Indian Telegraph Act, which according to the court provides for arbitration. However, Girimaji contests this and says that it is not applicable and the order “shook the foundations of the consumer justice system and created confusion”.
The Indian Express, December 24, 2012
Justice, not vengeance – Editorial
On the recent protests at India Gate the IE edit stresses that the government must “sift the message from the slogan”. It states that the protestors are angry and seek to articulate their frustrations and demands. The edit steers clear of any strong criticism of the government in their handling of the protest but makes sure to add that Sushma Swaraj’s idea of a special session of Parliament is not good, and laws to increase punishment could make conviction more difficult.
Talking to the Taliban – Editorial
The edit states that Delhi is rightly warning America of the perils of having “kissed and made up” with Pakistan to ensure a smooth exit from Afghanistan in 2014 and believing in Taliban’s moderation. US has agreed, among many things, “to release nearly $700 million in military assistance to Pakistan, consider the renewal of arms supplies, welcome the Taliban into Kabul, and highlight the Pakistan army’s agenda towards India”.
One day too many – Editorial
Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement from ODIs can’t go uncommented. This edit includes the usual cliché about Sachin being the god, not of cricket per se (here), but of ODIs. Waxes eloquent about Tendulkar’s many achievements on the pitch, but no word of any criticism of his career or even what some see as dubious timing of the announcement of his retirement.
Occupy Raisina Hill – Main Article
In this column by Amulya Gopalakrishnan, IE has predictably taken the UPA line, and has gone a bit too far this time. It says that the protests in Delhi have become “a mechanical tirade against the government” and the protestors are “childishly self-centered” for wanting the PM to address them. Blaming the police for bad handling of rape cases and denial of justice to women, she says that it is the society and not the government that is responsible for the dismal state of affairs!
“It is not the government’s job to soothe and handhold you, or a politician’s duty to make a strident production of her feelings. It is their job to provide security and a responsive administration. But the reason rapes happen, are rarely reported, and are listlessly investigated, is not because of our government, it is because of our society.”
Rude awakening for Pakistan – Op-Ed
Talking about the 1965 war, senior journalist Inder Malhotra starts with an interesting anecdote of when Ayub Khan was told by the US ambassador that “Indians have got you by the throat”. He lists the war tactics used by India and Pakistan (both good and bad) and also mentions the refusal of an Indian GOC (General officer commanding-in-chief) to follow orders – a decision which proved to be correct in the end. An interesting read for those interested in military history and strategy.
The Times Of India, December 24, 2012
Reigniting bonds of friendship – Main Article
CII President Adi B Godrej writes on how “the new economic engagement between India and Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) opens up exciting possibilities for both partners”. This foundation of friendship was marked by the Asean India car rally celebrating 20 years of Asean-India dialogue partnership.
“Both sides are embarking on ambitious infrastructure construction programmes and can participate in each other’s roads, ports and power sectors. India offers business potential in its effective model of public-private partnerships.”
Outrage swells – Editorial
There are signs, this edit feels, that the gang rape in Delhi will not become yet another high-profile but soon forgotten scandal. It warns that – “In the face of emotive calls for the death penalty for rapists, we must remain focused on long-term solutions.”
As the Delhi High court has announced the setting up of five fast-track courts to address such crimes, “an example must be made by delivering an expeditious trial in this instance, and then living up to this example from now on.”
With almost 1,000 rape cases awaiting justice, prompt punishment instead of death penalty must be given a thought.