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The going gets tougher

Saturday June 16, 2012 10:49:32 AM, Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam

Remember the famous remark of presidential candidate Ronald Reagan: “It is the economy, stupid.” Everything must begin with the economy, on which we don’t have much to write home about. After all, what is optimistic in Standard & Poor’s report about our growth story? That in April industrial growth rate was 0.1 percent and in March – 3.2 percent?

The strategic affairs expert and Time magazine columnist Fareed Zakaria wrote recently that if the economic decline was not arrested quickly, the “I” of BRICS would be for Indonesia not India.

Statistics and strategic affairs are not the staple of aam aadmi. What concerns him / her is whether they are getting their daily bread, have a proper roof on their head and a stable job, or some other source of income. Also, whether they are allowed to live a life free from state oppression.

On all these counts we are in dire straits. But what bothers one more deeply and consistently is the grim human rights situation, to which we will get back in a while.

There is a general sense among the preponderant majority of the country that the prices of food like grains, vegetables, edible oils and fruits, besides fish, chicken and mutton have virtually shot through the roof. This is one issue that is top of the list for most wage earners and housewives.

The point is whether hundreds of millions of people can go on living in such a severe situation. The ruling UPA does not have much to offer, but its counterpart, NDA, has even less. That is, if you do not count NDA leader BJP’s great talent for constructing spectacular anti-minorities stir.

That leaves us with the airy-fairy idea of a “Third Front”, which some people are enamoured of, even though it is a symbol of hope overcoming experience. Interestingly, the uncontrollable ambitions of individual leaders, who have never been known to compromise for a larger cause, are already manifesting themselves in different forms.

So, where does the aam aadmi find shelter? The answer is: Nowhere at present, but things would change and aam aadmi would get the opportunity to decide the fate of the political class.

Finally, the human rights situation. It is at a record low, and Muslim organisations have made representations to government leaders regarding the lawless campaign of Central and state agencies against Muslim youth.

We have written to the Prime Minister, the UPA chairperson and the Union home minister several times, bringing all this to their notice. Over the last week, too, we have repeated the exercise, followed by a press conference. We have still to hear from the government.

The two latest high-profile cases (there are many others that are less known) show the connivance of state organs. We are talking about the murder of Qateel Siddiqui in Yerawada high-security prison and the disappearance of Fasih Mahmood. The UPA government has much to answer for. We are looking forward to hearing from it.








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