ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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BANKS Non-Priority Sector

Deadly Conscience-Keepers IT is a matter for serious concern that seven panels in an exhibition in the country's capital titled 'Hiroshima-Nagasaki Never Again', depicting the horrors of a nuclear holocaust, were quietly removed on instructions from the department of atomic energy for reasons which appear to be rather obscure. The exhibition is on its second leg in Delhi after having attracted a large and enthusiastic public response in Mumbai, In Delhi the exhibition was inaugurated by the mayor of Hiroshima, Takashi Hiraoka, together with the mayor of Delhi. Shakuntata Arya, The exhibition is a vivid portrayal of the horrors of the atomic bomb, through panels which show the devastation wrought by the two bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. While most of the exhibition comprised familiar photographs of the mushroom cloud and the cities before and after that fateful day, it also included such objects as window glass which had fused, coagulated pieces of mortar, pictures of clocks which had stopped to record the moment of horror, agonising photographs of survivors of the holocaust and detailed descriptions of the effect of radiation on the human body. It also contained panels describing the 50-odd years of international effort at putting a leash on the proliferation of nuclear weapons, including the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It is these last panels apparently which the DAE or perhaps some self-appointed keeper of the conscience in the department found indigestible. Reportedly, the panels listed India as a non-signatory state along with Pakistan and Israel "suspected to possess nuclear weapons". It is puzzling that this in itself should have caused offence to anyone. Or it may have been simply an exercise in abundant caution on the part of a DAE official, not quite knowing which way the new Vajpayee government would lean with regard to non-proliferation and India's stand on the development of nuclear weaponry, Interestingly, there appears to have been no clarification from cither the DAE or the defence minister or the PM's office regarding this questionable action on the part of a department bureaucrat. Even the fact that Hiraoka has been quite outspoken about his dismay "We are only telling the truth about nuclear weapons. Why should the government be afraid of the people knowing the truth? It seems weird to me" does not seem to have prompted a response from the external affairs department either.

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