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Jails-homely for Few, Hell for Many

Despite its superficial appeal, this so-called dream ticket could be a nightmare for both: 1)He’s trying to be a unifying force. Obama’s appeal to independent voters and disgruntled Republicans rests on the promise of a nonpartisan approach. Hillary Clinton is a super-partisan figure. Putting her on the ticket would be like John McCain picking Newt Gingrich as his running mate. 2)All but one reason for selecting a running mate don’t apply. Geographic strength (Obama can win New York without her); ideological appeal (she’s just slightly more conservative); and compensating skills (both are senators) don’t favor her. The role of attack dog, however, is one Clinton, among others, could handle. 3)Race would be back. Clinton’s declaring that Obama is weak with “hard-working white Americans” would allow the news media and McCain allies to more legitimately discuss Obama’s race and bigoted voting. 4)Working-class voters aren’t permanently attached to her. Winning blue-collar and older white voters against a black man is one thing; winning them against a white man (and war hero) is quite another. 5)Bad chemistry. Remember Obama’s comment at a debate after she said she liked him? “You’re likable enough,” he replied with what was called the warmth of a divorced man handing over the alimony check. Clinton has since called him “patronizing” and “elitist” and said she would never have stayed in his pastor’s church. All of this can be seen on YouTube, the website that could affect

presidential pardon process
by dbking

Jails in India are generally no better than dungeons. Thousands of men and women are under-trials waiting for years for the courts to decide their fate, one way or another. Many of them have been languishing for years because of the slow judicial process. The arrears in the courts are so huge that even petty crimes cannot be disposed of in a hurry- the result is that hundreds are spending their years in cells confined with hardened criminals because there is none to bail them out, even if the bail amount is a paltry Rs 500; the pile-on of pending cases in courts is only matched by the pile-on in jails. A telling, if chilling, example is that of that unfortunate man in Assam who was thrown behind bars when he was a young man and was there for decades without his case ever coming up before a court until he was released because of media glare. By the time he saw the open skies he had turned old and feeble, his mind a little unhinged.

Amid such distressing scene, one can find a few influential men, finally nabbed by the long arm of the law, for whom a jail sentence is not all that distressing. The recent elections focused on many such characters. Take the case of Mitrasen Yadav who lent a helping hand for his party, a co-accused in murder case who enjoyed presidential pardon after being given life imprisonment, later accused of cheating, dacoity and rioting is no stranger to jail. He is one of the VIPs of Indian jails.

Amarmani Tripathi, prime accused in poetess Madhumita Bhukla murder case, addressed a public meeting in Lakshmipur assembly segment over a mobile phone from inside Dehradun jail. Another Politician, Abhay Singh with a known criminal background, conducted a meeting of his supporters inside the jail working out a strategy for the election campaign of his wife. He was also accused of giving threatening calls to voters from inside the prison. That he is an accused in several murder cases is in fact his card of notoriety as well as influence brought about by fear. Yet another don, who found virtue in politician’s clothes, was reported to have been constantly sending “messages” to voters to vote for him.

A report prepared at the instance of the Allahabad High Court showed a long list of criminal cases pending against politicians, the longest dating back to 22 years. What was more alarming, the status of a number of criminal cases was not known and the State Government admitted to the court that the case files against some Members of Parliament and members of Legislative Assembly were missing. The cases relate to rioting, murder including the killing of Manjunath, the official who sought to expose the petrol adulteration scam and the nexus with politicians.

For influential politicians and others, jail is no barrier to their normal lives. A raid in Meerut Jail recently led to recovery of cell phones and other prohibited items. The recovery led to a fight between to police and the inmates of the high-security prison. The inmates injured several policemen and snatched back the cell phones and other articles seized from them. Selling unauthorized and contraband items inside the jail, for a heavy price, is common. Cigarette could cost Rs 20 a stick, a meal of the inmate’s

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