While the stringent punishment awarded to the convicts in the Shakti Mills gangrape case may have been a victory for the Maharashtra government – with the first ever conviction and death sentence handed to three rapists as per the amended section 376 E of the Indian Penal Code – Ujjwal Uke, principal secretary of the state Women and Child Development department, is clearly not in its favour. Openly expressing his discontent, Uke has been putting up messages on social networking websites against the quantum of punishment. In one of his status updates, he asks, “What is this concept of justice? An eye for an eye. Does the quantum of punishment really act as an effective deterrent? What are the victims feeling? Do they feel justice has been done or will they be carrying another load on their heads?” In another social media post, he pointed out, “As per the chargesheet, Tarun Tejpal committed rape twice. If there are separate convictions for the November 7 episode and the November 8 episode, he too will be liable for the death penalty.”
At a BMC standing committee meeting held recently, a furore broke out as corporators of the BJP and Shiv Sena accused the civic administration of purposely not doing their jobs to ruin the parties’ chances in the Lok Sabha elections.
Following a spate of civic complaints such as water shortage, poor road works, and burning of garbage on the roadside, corporators raised the issue at the committee meeting as, in some cases, residents have reportedly decided to cast a NOTA vote in protest against the poor civic services. Dissatisfied with the administration’s response to the problem, corporators slammed the officers. “Deliberately burning garbage and causing smoke irritates the public during election time. This is disturbing the Sena-BJP image. The additional municipal commissioners are acting as agents of the state and Congress and doing this purposely,” committee member Ameet Satam (BJP) said.
A rally by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) turned out to be a rather interesting event, with a group of people from various professions walking alongside South Mumbai AAP candidate Meera Sanyal to campaign for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. While AAP claims it does not have enough funds for putting up banners in the constituency, candidate Meera Sanyal of South Mumbai constituency tried other forms of display to trump her competitors last week. As she walked through the narrow by-lanes of chawls lined opposite Marine Lines station, Sanyal made sure that she posed for a picture every time a banner of a competing candidate came her way, indirectly, taking a dig at the candidates who spent money on the hoardings. The point, AAP says, was to show that people on the banners are present only on the advertising space, while Sanyal has come down to the chawls in person. An AAP volunteer said, “Other parties can put up as many banners as they want. We are going from door-to-door to give a personal touch.”
‘HOT SHOT’ COPS
As far as wacky WhatsApp profile pictures go, the Mumbai police seems to be catching on. After posing in full uniform, with or without a licensed weapon, the latest trend seems to be photoshopping faces onto surfaces. A deputy commissioner of police even pasted three different profiles of his face on stationary display boards in what could either be a mall or an airport lounge. However an assistant inspector posted in South Mumbai takes the prize in this cheeky competition. The officer posted a photograph of himself with his face photoshopped on a large billboard in a foreign city. A blonde model is seen kissing the billboard, that is the officer’s cheek.
A ‘GONE’ CASE
Officers of a particular cell of the Mumbai Crime Branch, known for a recent streak of successful detections as well as a level of media-friendliness that came with it, were seen seated uncharacteristically silent outside their superior’s cabin last week. Several reporters who passed by stopped to exchange pleasantries, hopeful of another breaking story, only to be met with evasive answers. It was only a lot of cajoling that the officers grudgingly admitted with a sour face, “We let the accused get away this time.”