From: Vaidyanathan R
So many lobbies in Delhi, but none to bat for India
DNA / R Vaidyanathan / Monday, November 8, 2010 22:52 IST
New Delhi is like a huge five-star hotel, flooded as it is with lobbies of all types, shapes and interests. What is missing is an Indian lobby. We all know about Warren Anderson, former chief of Union Carbide during the Bhopal gas tragedy. He landed in Delhi and went to Bhopal. Based on a non-bailable warrant, he was arrested and kept inside a guest house. Miraculously, its doors opened, and a flight took off by itself from Bhopal to Delhi and from there onwards to the USA. Anderson left on December 7, 1984. Meanwhile, Adil Shahriyar, son of Muhammad Yunus — a close confidant of Indira Gandhi — was released from a 35-year prison sentence for illegal possession of firearms and drug trafficking following a pardon by president Ronald Reagan. Are the two events — the release of Anderson and Shahriyar — mere coincidences?Rajiv Gandhi, who was also foreign minister in 1984, was apparently not aware of anything and a group of ministers (GoM) is looking into Anderson's escape. Incidentally,home minister P Chidambaram and surface transport minister Kamal Nath, who were ministers of finance and commerce respectively in 2006, endorsed a proposal to let Dow Chemicals — the current owner of Union Carbide — off the hook with regard to "remediation," or the clean-up of the contaminated site. Both are part of this GoM!
Another example is more bizarre. Naga political and student groups have been starving the Manipuris for more than two months by blockading the state. Petrol sells for Rs200 per litre and everything is scarce. But the Centre is still requesting (cajoling/begging) Naga militants to lift the blockade. Now imagine what would have happened if it was the other way round: the Manipuris blockading the Nagas. It would not have continued for more than one day. The global Baptist Church would have created a ruckus and many delegations of leaders from Europe and the US would have rushed to India and our PM would have been forced to go to the north-east to make amends. But Manipur can starve since they don't have a lobby.