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Friday, February 04, 2005

Activism by the common man.

It is a relief to hear that Kisalay Kaushal is back home. The 14-year old student was kidnapped near his residence in Patna when he was going to board the school bus on January 19.

The protests by schoolchildren against the kidnapping and lack of any headway in the rescue of Kisalay was one of the most important aspects of this case. Inspite of this, Lalu Prasad Yadav decided not to meet the students of the DPS school when they tried meeting him at the Patna airport, and was ultimately, forced to meet them. The students intensified their protest by engaging in a chain fast and refusing to take their tiffins to school. Their efforts were partly rewarded, when parents and teachers joined the agitation. Increase in pressure made the authorities to intensify their operation to find the abducted student, finally, meeting with success. It shows that activism on behalf of the common man can make the society a much better place.

Involvement of the general public in forcing the authorities to take stronger measures is a welcome sight. Such an involvement by the citizens was lacking upto some extent since we received freedom from the British. Probably, we were getting complacent in our new-found independence. But, this recent participation in this kidnapping issue suggests that many of us are realizing that it is our duty to keep the government under check, whenever they falter. Incidently, people's movement is a part of the developmental process of India. Recent years have shed more light on such movements. There are groups working on re-educating the citizens about their duties, which doesn't stop after casting their ballots as far as electing a government is concerned. Such activism on their part is commendable.

On a side note, now that the student has been rescued, the kidnapping issue has turned out to be a big election issue in Bihar with mudslinging from both the political parties, which is unfortunate, considering that the politicians themselves were initially hesistant to talk about the kidnapping.


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