India should help rebuild war-torn Iraq

THE editorial “New Iraq resolution” (Oct 18) rightly opined that mere passing of the resolution by the Security Council is unlikely to provide relief to the coalition forces in Iraq. Even though Saddam has been defeated, he is still at large and like Osama bin Laden, he may continue to evade arrest. Humiliated and stripped of political clout, the pro-Saddam mafia inspired and funded by Islamic fundamentalists would continue to block restoration of normalcy in Iraq.

Peace keeping in Iraq, even with the induction of troops from other world nations would remain an uphill task till Saddam and his inspired hoodlums continue to exercise influence over the sizeable disgruntled and indoctrinated elements in the Iraqi society. As long as the American military domination remains, anti-American posture would continue to prevail to the detriment of peace and economic rehabilitation of that war-torn country. Not till the United Nations take over complete responsibility for administering Iraq with the involvement of Muslim nations can Iraq hope to attain political stability and economic rehabilitation.

India has always had friendly relations with Iraq, even when Saddam was in power. We must contribute in every way to rehabilitate Iraq. We should not dither from participating in a multinational force, under the UN flag, even though peace-keeping in Iraq involves exposure to the militant Iraqi snippers and suicide bombers. As the response would be to a call from the UN Secretary-General, any decision to send Indian contingent to Iraq should not cause political backlash at home.

Brig H.S. CHANDEL, Malangar (HP)


Emulate Maharashtra

According to a report in India Today, Oct 20, Maharashtra Governor Mohammed Fazal was successful in convincing, through persuasion, 20 of his staff male members (which is one-third of the Raj Bhavan’s 60-male employees in the reproductive age group) to get them sterilised. As an incentive, each of these employees will be paid Rs 3000 in cash. This will be funded through cost cutting exercise, economising on food and transportation. This, the Governor claims, will send a strong message to the people that population control is a must.

Undoubtedly, population explosion is the number one problem of the country. When most Chief Ministers are out to play the numbers game to save their “kursi” or running helter-skelter to save themselves from the court cases, it will be too much to expect them to think, much less to solve, the population problem.

It is then left to Governors like Mr Fazal Mohammed to take up the initiative. It is hoped that other Governors will follow suit. May be, it will lead to a chain reaction and force even the Union Government to wake up to the problem. May the tribe of people like Mr Fazal Mohammed rise!

Y.P. MAKKER, Malout

Dengue menace

The recent spurt in cases of Dengue fever in Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi is a matter of concern for the health authorities of the four states. People have been at the receiving end for long. But the authorities are paying no heed to their complaints.

Proper sanitation and cleanliness are the local bodies’ responsibilities. The roots of poor sanitation and mosquito menace both in rural and urban areas can be traced to choked sewerage and overflowing water in the streets. The disposal of the sewerage water in the Agra Canal and its further flow in a network of its tributaries and drains for irrigation has made the entire countryside a breeding ground for mosquitoes. The indifference of the authorities concerned has reached its height. They have not spared the Yamuna river. The overflow of sewerage water into the river has affected sanitation and health of the neighbouring states as well.

I appeal to the authorities to improve the sewerage system and sanitise the Yamuna, the Agra Canal, its tributaries and its related drainage system.


Freezing of jobs

The Punjab government has frozen government jobs with the lame excuse of “financial crunch”. Professional and other courses are still going on and there are no curbs on admissions or closure of courses. The government should find a middle way to reduce the rising rate of unemployment. The sooner, the better.


Against world Sikh meeting

THE proposed World Sikh Sammelan on October 26 at SAS Nagar by the supporters of Kala Afghana and some of his “intellectual” friends and scholars is ill-conceived as it will set off an intra-Sikh SGPC-Akal Takht controversy.

The Sikh code of conduct, “rehatmaryada”, and the power and role of the Jathedar of Akal Takht is well-defined and the Sikhs do not need self-appointed professors of religion to educate them on these matters. The real problem with the Sikhs is not the interpretation of their scriptures but the clutch of a few shortsighted and power-hungry political leaders.

The commanding and extraordinary position of Akal Takht cannot be compromised in any manner. The SGPC has always been ridden with factionalism, with the Tohra and Badal groups slugging it out till recently, and very regrettably drawing in in their orbit even the institution of the revered Akal Takht and the Head Priests.

The SGPC needs a radical revamp. Regrettably, with the eviction of the Sehajdharis from the electoral roles, the moderate lobby within the SGPC is going to lose out. Any person, institution or political party that cares to question the relevance and supreme status of Akal Takht (covertly or overtly) and its Jathedar is no friend of the Sikhs, and must be brought to book, not by issuing “hukumnamas” but by social ostracisation and public debate.

The setting up of a 21-member committee to advise the SGPC too is unnecessary. The present committee with the odd exception of one or two persons is unlikely to generate any confidence in the Sikhs, much less be in a position to render fearlessly any sound advice to those who have appointed it.

The Sikh diaspora, which is often roped into some of these sammelans, needs to tread with caution, lest they miss out the real issues confronting their community and why a particular conclave is being held.

Mag-Gen HIMMAT SINGH GILL (retd) Chandigarh


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