Marrying Kids; Stifling Dissents; Buying Populism

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Opinion Watch

Marrying Kids

The headline ‘Stop the Arrests’ should hit the progressive thinkers of the country. India’s national newspaper The Indian Express is asking the Assam government to stop the arrests of the accused who marry kids! After seven and a half decades of Independence, Assam has 32 per cent of women marrying before the permissible age, while the state has the worst numbers for maternal and infant mortality. The Noida-based daily dishes out delusional arguments – empower women first before arresting, etc. – to almost mock at the rule of law in the country.

The daily in an Editorial stated that the Assam Police have arrested over 2000 men as part of the drive against child marriage. The daily listed out the findings of the National Family Health Survey-5 – 31/1000 children die before their first birthday, 20 per cent of women in 15-49 age group never went to schools, only 17 per cent of women were employed in non-agricultural field, etc. In effect, the daily opined that Assam has one of the worst record for women empowerment.

But the daily failed to explain how the state could abandon enforcing laws. If one has to accept the arguments of this daily, all such laws be put in abeyance until women in India are fully empowered. This newspaper for years has been suffering from editorial bankruptcy, and the editorial here is a reason why. Indeed, 25 per cent women in India get married before the permissible age, and that must be firmly dealt with, including by ways of stringent punishment of the guilty. If there is a law, it be enforced; if not, the statue pages listing them be torn off.

Stifling Dissents

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is not yet implemented, as rules have not yet been framed, and the ambitious law is stymied because of the fear of the political cost in Assam for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. But several youths have spent years in jails for dissenting against the CAA. The court have thrown eggs on the face of the Delhi Police by ordering release of the students, who were arrested in the 2019 Delhi Jamia Nagar violence case.

Opining on the court order to release the accused, the Asian Age in an Editorial stated that “…the state grossly abused the process of law to stifle dissent”. The daily analysed that the court made two pints – “the police made them (accused) scapegoats, and dissent must be encouraged”. The daily also underlined that while the innocents suffered, those who committed crime those who jailed the innocents walked scot free. The daily also stressed court’s assertion that dissent is an extension of the freedom of speech and expression, and is an inalienable right of the citizen.

The Jamia case is in spotlight, but 75 per cent of under trials are in jails for charges against them not yet proved in courts. The police thrive at the timidity of the political class to unleash reform and fix accountability of the law enforcement agencies.

Buying Populism

Kerala is a paradox. The state is ‘God’s Own Country’. It’s is socially most advanced. The state may have more shops of gold than anywhere in India. Yet, Kerala’s finance is in a state of disarray.

The Pioneer in an Editorial has come down heavily against the Kerala and Tamil Nadu model of economy, accusing the two states of chasing welfarism at taxpayers’ money. Kerala has hiked prices of petrol and diesel to fund welfarism, noted the daily, charging that the state is burdening the people.

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