Saturday, March 9, 2001,
Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Ban all fundamentalist organisations

Nurturing a communal situation and religious fanaticism for years has resulted in explosions which the people of West Bengal and the state government have always resisted and been extremely vigilant. This time, too, there has not been an exception. People have been ringing me up from other parts of the country full of praise for our government. It’s nice to hear them say so. Those who are calling me are mainly from Gujarat and its neighbouring states.

I have appealed to the President in an open letter on March 2. Today I want to say that Gujarat has made it clear that they are continuing their affront against the minorities. A few Hindus and Muslims, especially a few Hindus, have sheltered that helpless victims, distributed food to victims of both communities, and done honour to humane ideals.

But the central and Gujarat governments have proven their incompetence beyond doubt.

The Prime Minister himself is paying heed to the demands of the Sangh Parivar. Does everything have to wait till the Supreme Court passes its verdict?

Like many of my peace-loving countrymen, I believe:

Silence only proves our complicity.

Those accused of the inhuman killing of the kar sevaks in Godhra need to be given exemplary punishment.

The same applies for those responsible for communal riots and carnage in Gujarat.


The central and state governments have largely remained passive. I have already appealed to the President to intervene. I want to tell the Union Government that there’s only one way they can control the shameful situation. Ban all religious institutions which are aggressive, violent, war-like and blood-thirsty.

We, the majority of Indians, do not want a bloodbath in the name of religion.

Please ban all such institutions. We have brought enough insult to the name Bharatvarsha by allowing such fundamentalist religious institutions to prosper and turn violent.

We Indians do not want such aggressive, malevolent institutions in the name of religion.

Say No, say “Ban them now”.


FDI in print media

This refers to the editorial "No FDI in print media" (Feb 28). Until recently I was a member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee in Information Technology. I am one of the few members of the committee that gave a dissenting note before I was shifted to the Standing Committee on Home Affairs. My reason for dissenting was that the Indian print media does not carry the point of view of India's minorities. I had hoped that if the participation of the foreign media was allowed then things would be seen impartially and not with a biased view as is being done now.

The editorial talks about an archaic 1955 Cabinet Resolution, endorsed by Rajiv Gandhi and P.V. Narsimha Rao. Do you really wish us to live in the old days? There is an explosion in information technology. I would have thought your progressive newspaper would have joined the ranks of the rebels in the field. Nehruvian socialism and foreign policy have failed this country. So has the edict of 1955.

No print media is ready to oppose the deployment of the Pakistani and Indian armies on the borders today, much to the chagrin of the people who want peace in South Asia. No paper wants to lead a crusade against the nuclearisation of Pakistan and India.

I am sure with the advent of the foreign media some of these holy cows and shibboleths would break and a new era would dawn. After all with the coming of the foreign electronic media, no damage has been done and only the monopolistic print media barons wish to hold on to the good old times.


Leave it to readers: It is true that only a handful of newspapers have not compromised their freedom and still believe in serving society by giving a true picture and The Tribune is one of them. It should have been left to the readers to judge whether the newspaper they read is free or has compromised and the specific name, "The Tribune", should not have been mentioned.


Ex-servicemen in HP

Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal says: “Ours will be the golden period in Himachal Pradesh’s history”. But for us, ex-servicemen, it is a period from the Dark Ages. Ex-servicemen in the state have to wait for eight to 10 years for re-employment while it is six months to a year in Punjab and Haryana.

The gallantry awardees of the Vir Chakra series have been getting a monthly pension of Rs 1,500 in Punjab equivalent to a freedom fighter since 1999 but in our state they are ignored, in fact, not even given the minimum courtesies of a ceremonial funeral as they are entitled to Wg Cdr I.J.S. Parmar, VrC, died recently. The Chief Minister did not have even time to send a letter of sympathy. The golden period indeed, Mr Dhumal!

The BJP announced that the Congress was giving the families of Kargil martyrs Rs 15,000 only. We will give them Rs 5 lakh each. Yes, they gave the 50-odd Rs 5 lakh, not from the state coffers, but from the contribution of us all to the Kargil fund of the CM. They are giving Rs 25,000 to the martyrs who are dying in action today. What have you done for the martyrs of Himachal, Mr Dhumal?

The privilege of getting the service rendered by us, ex-servicemen for the country being counted when re-employed and pay fixation had been given to us way back by the Congress government and you have snatched it back, Mr Dhumal.


V. P. Singh

Mr V.P. Singh, the great crusader for the backward classes, spends six months of a year in London where health care is better than India — all at the tax payers’ expense. What about the health of the tax payers and the poor whose messiah he claims to be?


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