America cares a damn for treaties

AFTER World War II, a War Crimes Tribunal was established at Nuremburg, mainly to try Nazi war criminals. Fifty years later, a temporary War Crimes Court was set up at the Hague to try Bosnian war criminals like Gen Milosevisch and others.

The UN had suggested two years ago of having a permanent International War Crimes Court (IWCC) at the Hague. Although the original statute was signed by 139 member states, including President Clinton in December 2000, with the invasion of Iraq, President George Bush backed out of this stating that this might victimise American military personnel serving there, which is not acceptable.

This is not the first time that the US has backed out to suit its own selfish interests, but forcing others countries to comply with them. It repudiated the Kyoto Protocol on environment; it withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty; it rejected the Test Ban Treaty; it repudiated the protocol to Biological Weapons Convention; and it violated the Geneva Convention on prisoners from Afghanistan located at Guantaname.

Of course, the biggest backout was when it waged the present war against Iraq, breaking all signed conventions enshrined in the UN since the end of World War II. To the US, international conventions and treaties are meant only for other countries, and not for America.

Brig N.B. GRANT (retd), Pune


Divali brings misery for animals

IT’S Divali time. There is hectic activity all over the country. Divali brings joy for us but misery for animals. Many animals are injured, maimed or even killed every year through the irresponsible and callous use of fireworks and crackers. The bright flames and unrestricted noise of fireworks present an exquisite sight which is thrilling to us but have a gruesome effect on animals.

Every year, the district administration slaps ban on the sale and use of dangerous fireworks, but strangely, firework displays are increasing every year with impunity. Wildlife, livestock and pet animals may get injured in a bid to rush to safe places. Pet and stray animals can run into the path of incoming vehicles or get lost in panic.

It is a pity that the owners of the animals do not understand the gruesome effect of fireworks and crackers on animals. They do not take precautionary measures for the safety of their animals.

The fireworks should not be let off near any animal. All the animals, especially the pets, should be kept indoors after dark. Dogs, cats, rabbits are very sensitive and as such should be kept in safe rooms. Close the curtains of the rooms and keep television/radio on, in loud voice enough to camouflage the noise of crackers. Extra sensitive pets may be given a sedative under the advice of a vet. The cows and equine should be herded into safe places for guarding against any mishaps.

We must also spare a thought for the stray dogs and cows roaming unprotected on the roads. Wrapping explosives round the dogs should be condemned.


Exam centres

The NOS examination is being conducted from October 8 to November 1 for Secondary and Senior Secondary classes throughout the country. I was appointed as an observer for the smooth conduct and effective supervision of the examination centres. I have observed that in some of the centres, due to no boundary wall and wide open space outside the centres, there was disturbance, interference and outside help being given to the candidates.

I was shocked to know from the centre superintendents and later on from the Regional Director that unlike different universities and School Board examinations, there is no provision for the appointment of outside Deputy Superintendents to prevent outside help which is being given by the parents and teachers of private academies.

In the absence of effective supervision, examinations cannot be conducted smoothly. Therefore, I suggest to the NOS Head Office authorities in Delhi that Deputy Superintendents should be appointed to check the menace of outside help being given to the candidates. Otherwise, the examination will be reduced to a farce.

R.C. SEHGAL, Dharamshala

PPSC interviews

The Punjab Public Service Commission had invited applications in 1999 and 2001 for 272 and 276 posts, respectively of college lecturers. Thousands of candidates applied for the posts. The interviews were held in January/February, 2002 and about 400 selections were made. But later the selections were cancelled by the Punjab government and the PPSC was directed to hold interviews afresh. The PPSC is yet to announce the schedule for interviews. How much more time will it take to hold interviews?

Deplorably, more than 700 out of about 2,200 posts of lecturers have been lying vacant in government colleges in Punjab. And there has been no recruitment of lecturers for the last seven years.


UK police station

This has reference to the news-item “UK police to open station in Srinagar” (Oct 13). Soon we may have the US opening a police station in UP, France in Tamil Nadu, Canada in Punjab and Russia in West Bengal. Hopefully, India will be allowed to reciprocate by opening its “thanas” in London, Washington, Paris, Ottawa and Moscow!

K.J.S. CHATRATH, Panchkula

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