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People-Friendly Police Stations 

AS one moves through the capital city of Panaji, one sees several huge paintings on the walls of well-known Goan personalities painted by an artist of Goan origin. In today’s context, wall paintings serve different purposes. Not only do they bring art into a public space, the artists also receive more recognition. They are also used effectively for social causes and serve to put across a message to the general public. In this context, authorities in Kerala have reportedly decided to put up positive cartoons at the police stations in that state. This is being done to change the conventional perception of police stations and make them people-friendly. It is understood that all the 481 Kerala police stations would have at least one positive cartoon within the next two months. It must be said that many citizens could be harbouring fear when they have to visit a police station. The sight of a people-friendly cartoon painting on the walls of a police station, which depicts the service the police departments do to the members of the public, can help remove this anxiety to a great extent. The authorities in Goa could borrow this novel idea from the Kerala police and also decide to put up cartoon paintings on the walls of police stations in the state in order to make them more people-friendly.  


Royal Showdown

THE British royalty in the persons of Prince Harry and Princess Meghan Markel, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have injected intrigue as regards their decision to tangentially distance themselves from royal duty while choosing the freedom to contribute by sheer dint of work. After laying low, the royal couple have spiralled a twist in the royal tale that has peeved the royal family. Harry and Meghan seem to want that extra elbow space to conduct their lives with greater freedom without the loss of royal entitlements. However, they have laid claim to the fact that they should receive royal protection and security. Queen Elizabeth II has directed the royals to find a ‘workable solution’ to the intrigue besetting the royal family in Britain. It is interesting to know if Harry and Meghan will encounter a roadblock or be given special status.

Elvidio Miranda, Panaji

Lessons From Vivekananda

A star was born at 3 Gourmohan Street in Kolkata on January 12, 1863. He told us to serve man as God. Yes, he is Swami Vivekananda. If we try to realise his teachings, we will find that it is diametrically opposite of any orthodox religion. Now, let us recall the incident when Swami Vivekananda was in Kashmir in the autumn of 1898. He prayed a poor Muslim boatman for allowing his four-year-old daughter to be worshipped by Swamiji himself. The boatman was overwhelmed. He thought as if God was asking him through Swamiji and he readily agreed. Swami Vivekananda worshipped the girl as Goddess Uma on Mahasaptami day during Durga puja. Then he knelt down to touch the feet of a poor Kashmiri Muslim girl. With this singular act he defied divisions of religion, region, race, caste, class, creed, occupation, gender and generation to hoist the flag of universal humanhood. Actually, Swami Vivekananda did a Sri Ramkrishna who himself practiced Islam, Christianity and other religions to live his words- “many opinions, many paths.”

Sujit De, Kolkata

Reform India’s Judicial System

FINALLY the curtain appears to be falling on the seven-year-old saga which held the nation in rapt attention over the manner in which the collective will of the people would sway the government into retributive action against the perpetrators of a crime which numbed the countrymen beyond words. Renowned for its ‘peculiarities’ where the juvenile alleged to be the most brutal of the rapists convicted in the crime walked free after serving the maximum sentence of three years imprisonment in a reform house had already set the tone for a nationwide censure on the shortcomings of our criminal justice system; the delays in executing the death sentence on the other four, after one of them had committed suicide in police custody, further enraged the public. Petitions intending to wake up our law makers and enforcers to reconsider the case and set an example by enforcing extremely stringent laws for such devilish crimes by juveniles however failed to elicit any response and ‘potential’ offenders like the ‘minor’ in the Nirbhaya case continue to be a threat to the society. Meanwhile, lodged in Tihar, the four convicts awarded capital punishment in the heinous rape and murder case continued to enjoy the hospitality of the jail authorities as much uncertain about their fate as the government was about carrying out their death sentences. Legal hurdles along the way making it certain that there will always be a considerable delay between the passing of an order and the actual execution, such matters will continue to be debated. For that matter, some of the legal ‘recourses’ taken to by death-cell convicts have been preposterous, to say the least. As in the Nirbhaya case where one of the condemned in an apparent bid to escape the noose had asked the Supreme Court to spare him the death penalty since life in Delhi is anyway getting ‘short’ due to air and water pollution! Perfectly within his rights, as until all legal remedies are exhausted the execution cannot take place. But it is these very loopholes in our judicial system which gives rise to the feeling that one has been denied justice. Now with a Delhi court issuing a death warrant, the four convicted in the Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case will be walked to the gallows on January 22, at 7am – hopefully!  


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