Recently, four important things happened. Number one, Anna held a rally at Patna on 30 January. This rally was not organised by any political party, nor were there the usual major transportation arrangements or food arranged to collect the crowd. It was voluntary and spontaneous, yet the gathering was huge. I’m sure that various agencies of the Government could learn something from this. Number two, the Cabinet has passed the draft Lokpal bill, which is not even a shadow of what Anna Hazare has been asking. Why this drama? Instead of that it is better to postpone the Lokpal bill, just passing a weak Lokpal Bill makes no sense. I don’t think the Government should take this matter so casually. Number three, in the area of law making, the Justice Verma Committee has submitted its report very expeditiously, while the Law Minister keeps on giving a statement that we have not yet decided this, we have not yet decided that. Number four, a major issue that has arisen is the age of a juvenile. One Member of Parliament has said that a young man who is old enough to rape is old enough to get punished. There is a lot of substance in this matter. We don’t need any proof whether a man has become an adult from a juvenile because he raped a woman. Yes, we have to find out whether he has done it. But if a rape has been committed, I think the age becomes basically irrelevant. The other view is different that a juvenile did not understand what he was doing. What is the purpose of a rape? It is very obvious that it is a deliberate attempt. The perpetrator should be understanding what he is doing and he should be punished like any other normal adult. If the Government is not prepared to address this juvenile age issue, the real culprit of the rape will go free and the other accused will get a life sentence, which is unacceptable. It is high time Manmohan Singh, who is a seasoned person, should appoint a high level committee of a few Ministers, to take into account where the Government stands, what the country’s need is when you want to make laws they should be strict. We should be making the law strict. We should hurt somebody. What is the use of creating a law and nobody is hurt by that law ? If something is missing, if the law is not strict, then the law should be cancelled. That the Government does not want to do, just as it doesn’t want a strong Lokpal Bill and keeps bypassing the lines Anna Hazare suggested. It is high time the Government understands the writing on the wall, otherwise the agitation will only increase and the people’s anger will increase. People may not be able to show their anger today. But it will definitely show at the ballot box. The earlier the Government wakes up, the better.
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