Monday, October 10, 2011

Blinking links

Swapan Dasgupta: "Everyone loves a good poverty business" India except the poverty stricken on poor human being.
  • "It certainly didn’t need a familiarity with complex econometric models and either Keynes or Hayek to realize that the Planning Commission’s extrapolation from the Suresh Tendulkar method of poverty measurement was just another example of economists living in a make-believe wonderland. The wise men of Yojana Bhavan had once again demonstrated to the public’s satisfaction that after lies and damned lies comes statistics."
Gurcharan Das on, "Duty or revenge":
  • On a sweltering afternoon on September 29, 2011, principal district judge S. Kumarguru began to hand out sentences. There was a hushed silence in the packed courtroom in Dharmapuri, Tamil Nadu. He began at 3.30 pm but could not finish until 4.40 pm because he had to read aloud the names of 215 government officials. Among those convicted were 126 forest officials, 84 policemen and five revenue officials. Seventeen were convicted of rape and they were sentenced from seven to 17 years; others received from one to three years on counts of torture, unlawful restraint, looting and misuse of office. Had 54 of the accused not died in meantime, the sentencing would have taken longer.
  • Early on June 20, 1992, four teams of government officials descended on the adivasi hamlet of Vachathi, near Sathyamangalam forest, also home to the dreaded brigand Veerappan. They assembled the villagers beneath a neem tree and let loose a reign of terror as they searched for smuggled sandalwood. They picked up 18 teenage girls and dragged them into the forest, where they raped them repeatedly. They only brought them back at 9 pm.
  • Claiming a haul of sandalwood from the riverbed, the officials then put 133 villagers in jail. How does the human mind begin to cope with this soul-numbing news? My first reaction was horror at the rape of teenage girls by men in uniform. Second, was a feeling of relief and catharsis when punishment was meted out to powerful men. The third emotion was outrage at those who allowed the case to drag for 19 years. Then questions arose in my mind. How could this happen in the first place? And was this not as serious an act of corruption as the 2G scam? And why was the nation quiet?

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