A bunch of self-styled guardians force themselves in a posh city pub and thrash women in the name of upholding our much-maligned and much-abused traditional Indian moral values. The incident portends the ominous truth that these are grave times indeed.

A frenzied media went haywire in the aftermath of the ugly attack as social activists and ministers alike ranted against what they described as the ‘Talibanisation of India’.

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Over the past two months, none of us has remained insulated from the public discourse that has ranged from faint-hearted defeatism accepting a rotting order to boisterous and repetitive calls seeking “action” and “change.”

These words, however, are deceptive devices; they invoke the images of a euphoric, bright destiny but fail to vanquish the darkness along the road that has to be endured.

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When Mrs Indira Gandhi again became Prime Minister in 1980, she recalled Kao from his retirement and appointed him as her senior advisor on internal and external developments. She used to consult him on political and intelligence matters. His professional guidance was of general nature.

In one major development, when Mrs Gandhi wanted to go USA she was not getting her choice of appointment date with the US President through External Affairs Ministry channels. Kao through his friend George Bush Senior – who was then US Ambassador in China – arranged her meeting with the US President.

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Let the Government not forget that in Mumbai-like situation where the terrorists are in their aggressive best and the Government might in its fiercest form, the media presence cannot be blocked in any healthy democracy.

And there were no operational details that we were privy to. We had disseminated only that which was in public gaze and was most obvious.

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The issue is not of empowering the police. It is of having a police which looks up to the laws of the land and the Constitution of the country in the discharge of its functions. The harsh truth is that the police today is more concerned with carrying out the diktat of the executive, right or wrong, legal or illegal rather than protecting the life and property of the common man.

There are a number of other administrative measures which would need to be taken to give greater muscle to the police. We are heavily under-policed.

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