‘Horse Trading’
Goa and Manipur have got hung-assemblies in recently held elections to state assemblies. To prevent Horse-Trading of MLAs through corrupt means, and to ensure full-terms of these state-assemblies, Chief Ministers in these two states should be elected through secret and compulsory votes of all members of respective legislative assemblies (MLAs) through Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) on nominations signed by at least 34-percent MLAs. Members not participating in the democratic process of electing Chief Ministers may lose voting-right in the assembly even though retaining membership. Rather Speakers and Deputy Speakers may also be elected in the same manner simultaneously with Chief Minister. Such elected persons may only be removed through no-confidence motions passed in the same manner but with a condition to name alternate leader in the same motion.

This is only a modified version of the formula once adopted in UP assembly on directions of Supreme Court in the matter—UP government (Kalyan Singh) vs Jagdambipal. If the experiment is found successful, then it can be adopted in electing Prime Minister and Chief Ministers of all states. It is also the only way for paving dream-idea of holding simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabhas.
Subhash Chandra Agrawal

Bashing Labour
The sessions court in Gurgaon on 18 March, 2017 sentenced 13 workers of Maruti Suzuki to life imprisonment for murder. Twelve of these are the erstwhile leaders of the Maruti Suzuki Workers’ Union. Eighteen others were sentenced from these to five years for rioting and causing griveous injury. Cases against these workers were filed in July 2012, after violence in company’s Manesar Plant during which one official unfortunately lost his life. On company’s complaint police arrested 148 workers and charged them with conspiracy and killing the company official.

The court ruling after a four-and-a-half year trial is based on filmsy evidence. The prosecution failed to establish even circumstantial evidence to show that any of those convicted caused the violence that took place, leave alone the death. The ruling also goes against the forensic evidence and post-mortem report that was placed before the court. Critically, officers of the company, who were produced before the court as prosecution witnesses denied they were present at the time of the incident. Some of them even admitted that they were acting under Maruti-Suzuki management direction.

117 of the arrested workers have been acquitted of all charges, though there was a common change against all 148 workers. The acquitial of eighty percent of the accused workers shows that terrorisation of workers was one of the main motives of police action in this case, and that courts were wrong in denying them bail. These workers were forced to spend 31 months in prison for no fault of their own. Their fundamental right to life and liberty was attacked, yet no one is going to be punished for it.

The Maruti verdict is the latest in series involving violence at plants of Pricol (Coimbatore), Graziano (Suraj-pur) and Regency Ceramics (Yanam) in which workers working for their unions have ended up being charged with murder. While all governments show little interest in attending to violations of existing labour regulations by employers, retribution against workers has been severe and swift. It is an indication of the class nature of justice in the country, that courts have convicted workers on trumped up charges and have gone out of their way to deny them justice. In May 2013 the Punjab and Haryana High Court had denied bail to Maruti workers with the argument that if bail is given foreign investors not likely to invest in India out of fear of labour unrest, as if citizens's rights of justice were subservient to foreign investors' confidence. This is a clear example of the degradation of criminal justice system and its failure to stick to first principles of justice. It should be a matter of grave concern for every Indian that while the leaders of some of the most henious pogroms in independent India have not been even touched by criminal justice system workers of Maruti Suzuki have been sentenced to life imprisonment on filmsy evidence. Another development is the use of private armed guards by employers for threatening workers. According to workers of Honda scooter plant in Alwar, Rajasthan, their strike last year was broken by the management with the help of armed thugs, who had assaulted them inside the plant, and also in the city in full public view. Maruti Suzuki workers have also alleged that on the day of violence large number of hired bouncers were roaming insde the plant and threatening workers.

Working class movement is a great bulwark of democracy in any society. People without property were able to get voting rights and other democratic rights only after sustained campaigns by working class organizations. Working class politics tries to build solidarity among working people across regional, linguistic, religious and caste divisions. On the other hand, the right wing politics is a politics of hatred which divides people.
Battini Rao, Convenor PADS

Shubham was studying in class 12th in Modern School, Lucknow. An elected Prefect and the Sports Captain of his school, Shubham was loved by everyone in his school, and was a loving child of Soti parivar.

Shubham met with a tragic road accident on 15th of July 2010 and left this world forever. The world lost a young boy of principles, a kind hearted person full of love and care for the underprivileged.

One person is killed every 3 minutes on the Indian roads. Someone would have lost their life by the time you finish reading this!

Laws are in place. But who will implement and ensure that the Indian roads are safer? Historically, implementation in India is a bigger challenge than presence of laws.

Absence of a local road-safety authority for effective and immediate implementation of the law, is felt more than ever before. If there's an institution or an individual leading road-safety as a role, people will feel much safer on the road.
The bereaved family of Shubham Soti requests Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Mr Nitin Gadkari, to instruct every state to set up road safety authority.
Subham Soti Foundation, Lucknow

Locker Charges
Central Bank of India suddenly jumped locker-charges from 01-07-2016 without informing the locker-holders, introducing a new system on charging rent from First July to Thirtieth June. Earlier system was rent to be effective from the day locker was taken on rent. It may be that such changes might have been done by other banks also including public-sector banks also.

It was not proper to effect such major changes without informing customers. Since Know-Your-Customer having details of e-mail IDs and mobile-numbers is available with banks, they should have been informed through SMSs and e-mails if not through most-desired Registered-Post.

More importantly, such a rational change should be systematic in accordance with fiscal-year of rather than First July to Thirtieth June. It may be recalled that earlier banks used to observe calendar-year as banking-year, which was later changed to fiscal-year. Likewise system for lockers should be changed to fiscal-year. Banking-year including for lockers may be auto changed to be in tune with fiscal-year whenever fiscal-year may be changed to calendar-year, an aspect presently under consideration.
Madhu Agrawal, Delhi

Martyr’s Day
Prime Minister has tweeted to pay homage to great Indian martyrs Bhagatsingh, Sukhdev anJ Rajguru who were hanged to death by erstwhile British rulers of India on 23-03-1931 at Shadman Chowk of Lahore, now in Pakistan. At a time when even people in Pakistan are fighting to keep their memory alive by demanding naming Shadman Chowk of Lahore after Shaheed Bhagatsingh, Indian government should also take some unique steps to honour these great sons of India.

*     An attractively designed statue of the trio Bhagatsingh, Sukhdev and Rajguru should be installed in empty India Gate canopy at New Delhi to fill the vacuum created long back by rightly removing statue of King George V installed there by the British.
*     Monopoly of Mahatma Gandhi portrayed on currency-notes of all denominations should be broken by putting martyrs of pre-independence era like Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Rajguru, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Lala Lajpatrai, Chandra-shekhar Azad, Ashfakulla Khan, Khudiram Bose.
*     Pre-independence Indian leaders should be named and shamed, who did not assist in preventing hanging of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru.
Madhu Agrawal, Delhi

‘‘Hindi Hindu Hindustan’
The so-called cow-belt is embracing their religious Hindu identity as an alternative to their suppressed lingua cultural identity.

Hindi (Nagri) which was engineered by the British in early 19th century (see King Christopher 1994, One Language Two Scripts....) has engulfed over twenty one local languages of the so-called Hindi Cow-belt of today's India.

As lingua-cultural identity of the people has been suppressed, the confused new generation has opted for their religious identity.

Thus "hindi hindu hindustan" has emerged as a new identity for the people of following linguistic groups who have sacrificed their mother tongue to Hindi (Nagri) created by the British East India Company.

1. Hindi (Khariboli), 2. Awadhi, 3. Bagheli/Bagelkhandi, 4. Banjari, 5. Bhojpuri, 6. Braj bhasa, 7. Chattisgarhi, 8. Garewali, 9. Harianvi, 10. Knigri, 11. Kumauni, 12. Kurmali Thar, 13. Laria, 14. Lodhi, 15. Magdhi, 16. Maithili, 17. Mali, 18. Marawari, 19. Nagpuria, 20. Pahari, 21. Sadan/Sadri......

Given a choice between one's mother tongue and religion people of Bengal and Southern states still have two options. But people who have lost their mother tongue have no other choice. This is the tragedy of the new genaration of youths of the so-called Hindi speaking cow-belt.
Dipankar Dey, Kolkata

Vol. 49, No.42, April 23 - 29, 2017