119 years of Trust M A I L B A G THE TRIBUNE
Monday, September 20, 1999
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Neglected heroes of Rashtriya Rifles

THE points raised in the letter “Neglected heroes of Rashtriya Rifles” (The Tribune, Sept 11) deserve serious consideration. It is a hard fact that the soldiers fighting insurgency operations deserve better treatment.What has been happening is that those who laid down their lives in a sudden upsurge have been well-recognised and honoured, while those whose lives are under constant threat and who are meeting the challenge 24 hours a day have been singularly ignored. I could feel the agony in the big questionnaire that “the soldier” has put before us.I strongly urge upon the Government of India to take corrective measures not only to keep high the morale of the soldiers of the Rashtriya Rifles and other outfits confronting the insurgents but also to save a situation when they may rise demanding “Kya unka khoon hi khoon tha, hamara khoon pani hai?”

It is also necessary to solve the problem urgently and in a statesmanlike manner so that the need to deploy soldiers for such duties may not arise in future.

Dharam Pal Goel

DISCRIMINATION MUST GO: This has reference to the letter of Prof J.S. Yadav of Kurukshetra, “Neglected heroes of Rashtriya Rifles”. It is highly unfair on the part of our society, especially leaders and officials, to discriminate against one section of the soldiers from the others when both are fighting to safeguard national honour and resources. It is always the act of discrimination that hurts.

The letter became an issue of discussion among a group of my colleagues. I was not surprised to find a unanimous opinion going in favour of the feelings expressed in the letter. It was strongly felt that fighting the enemy from within the borders is rather more difficult than from outside (against whom we are otherwise also alert). The task becomes still more difficult with the human rights cry. The soldiers of Rashtriya Rifles are fighting those who are weakening our nation and in turn encouraging and serving our enemy.

We strongly feel that our brave jawans and officers who are fighting militants should not be discriminated against. Rather they should be encouraged, compensated and rewarded adequately.

R. K. Kohli

Misusing the name of religion

As mentioned in The Tribune of September 11, the Pakistan government has withdrawn 15 per cent general sales tax imposed on small traders and asked them to pay a nominal development tax in the name of Allah.

According to the Pakistan Finance Minister, Mr Ishaq Dar, in the new agreement the government has “included Allah as a party to get the new tax collected honestly.”

Perhaps the day is not very far when the Pakistan government will ask its tax collectors to go to every trader with a beggar’s bowl in their hands, singing the verses: “Jo rab ney diya tujh ko to naam pe rab key dey/ Gar yaan na diya too ney vaan devey ga kya bandey/ Kuchh raah-e-khuda dey ja, ja tera bhala ho ga.”

It is a pity that the rulers of Pakistan drag the name of Allah and Islam in their political, social and financial matters. The Washington Declaration, made after a meeting of the US President, Mr Bill Clinton, with the Pakistan Premier, Mr Nawaz Sharif, in Blair House, was described as an insult to Islam. Likewise, Mr Sharif was considered to have brought disgrace to Islam by withdrawing troops from the Kargil heights.

A few months ago, a young woman, Samia Sarwar, was killed allegedly with the connivance of her parents in the Lahore office of the most vocal human rights activist, Asma Jahangir, for seeking divorce from her husband. The Pakistan Senate refused to take up for a debate a resolution condemning the murder considering it against the “religious sentiments” of the people.

Every massacre of innocent persons by Pakistan-trained terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir is regarded as a virtuous deed in the path of God. And now Allah has been inducted as a party to the agreement to collect the development tax in His name.

Ahmad Faraaz, a Pakistani poet, who has often incurred the wrath of the government for his outspokenness, has rightly said about the rulers of his country:

Mazhab ko mudaam bechtey hain ye log.
Eemaan to aam bechtey hain ye log.
Jannat key ijaara-daar ban kar shab-o-roz.
Allah ka naam bechtey hain ye log.
“Mudaam” and “ijaara-daar” mean “always” and “monopolists”.

Bhagwan Singh

Sugar vs Bofors

This refers to the editorial “Sugar vs Bofors: a poll treat” (September 8). The mere fact that sugar was included in the OGL list by the Congress government is no defence for the BJP-led government. The BJP-led government should have curbed its import by raising the import duty once the same had started adversely affecting local producers. Besides sugar, edible oil is another item which has been imported much in excess of its economic justification.

Last year the domestic production of oilseeds was lower and the prices of edible oils in the international market were much higher than the current year. As such, the government had reduced the import duty on edible oils from 25 per cent to 15 per cent with a view to increasing the availability of edible oils at reasonable prices to the Indian consumers.

But this year domestic production had increased considerably and the international prices had drastically fallen by about 50 per cent over last year’s prices. In view of the changed international scenario, the edible oil importing countries like China and Pakistan had taken steps against excessive imports to safeguard the interests of their farmers and the vegetable oil industry. But in spite of much hue and cry by the farmers and the industry, and recommendations of the Agriculture Ministry to raise import duty to protect the interests of the growers, the government had not bothered to raise the duty in order to curb excessive import of edible oils.

As against the officially estimated gap of 1.4 to 1.5 million tonnes for the current oil year, the import of vegetable oils has crossed 3.1 million tonnes for the period from November, 1998 to July, 1999, and is likely to cross 4.0 million tonnes by the end of October, making India the world’s largest importer of edible oils.

An excessive import of edible oils has helped only the foreign suppliers or the political parties in power to appease the consumers in an election year at the cost of the farmers who could not fetch even the minimum support price in respect of oilseeds due to the unreasonably low prices of imported edible oils. Such policies may prove to be disastrous for the nation in the long run and are never expected from the government headed by a leader of Mr Vajpayee’s stature.

We must develop some mechanism for restraining the political parties from pursuing policies meant for merely winning elections by appeasing a particular section at the cost of another section or at the cost of broader and long-term interests of the nation.

A. R. SHARMA, President,
Solvent Extractors’ Association of Punjab.

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Status of defence chiefs

It is well known to all countrymen that the Indian Army and Air Force have proved their worth during the Kargil operations and gave maximum sacrifices to save the country from disaster. The armed forces chiefs are considered fathers of their respective services. These senior officers are aged, well educated, well disciplined and highly experienced people to face any security problem in any part of the country. They have been promoted as chiefs because of their past remarkable performance. These officers took active part in different wars and militancy operations all over the country. We hope their status will be upgraded as it was before Independence.

It has been proved beyond doubt that without the defence forces the country cannot survive under the circumstances. We hope our political leaders will appreciate the performance of the defence forces in different fields, such as natural calamities, railway accidents, floods, proxy war and militancy. Their tasks are very difficult. One must have the guts to face bullets. Sometimes soldiers cannot change their dirty clothes for a week what to talk about bath, etc. During an operation they eat their food while walking. No correspondence with kith and kin. Sometimes we feel prisoners get better facilities than soldiers. A soldier’s life is horrible.

Maj D. C. Katoch (retd)

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Gutter politics

The writeup “Gutter Politics in First Phase” by S. Sahay (Sept 6) is a sad indicator as to what level the Indian politics has degenerated spoiling the whole cultural ethos of society. The polluted lips are unhesitatingly using the phraseology, which is not taken in good taste in the civilised societies. It is not politics that has downgraded itself to the gutter level, but it is the gutter culture that has been exalted on the stage by the politicians who have foresaken all norms of decency in public speech.

Since the ignobles have no other modus of propaganda than to use the filthiest language, which was once used by the pimps and eunuchs the younger generation may pick up this polluted phraseology from their elders whom they held in high esteem. Thus the gutter culture may penetrate deep into their minds and pollute their lips. Should we allow all the niceties and sophistication to be so replaced in our social ethos?

But the question is wherefrom the oligarchs, i.e. the nobles with high quality of public behaviour and sophisticated speech, shall come who can restore the lost dignity of polity and who can save the present day “gutter politics” from falling to the level of alleged “rule of ignobles”? Surely, we shall have to distinguish between the behavioural modes of culturally advanced societies and those of the street urchins.


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CAT & Punjab students

The common admission test (CAT) to be conducted by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) falls on December 12, 1999, for the session starting in 2000. In Punjab, the examination dates of the seventh semester of engineering students (which is generally held from December 8 to December 24) clash with the date of CAT.

It may be mentioned here that the various institutions such as Punjab University, Chandigarh; the Management Development Institute, Gurgaon; Zavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar; Nirma Institute of Management, Ahmedabad; International Institute of Management, New Delhi; Kirloskar Institute of Advanced Management Studies, Karnataka; and many other institutes short-list their candidates on the basis of the CAT results. As such, it is requested that the dates of the examination of the seventh semester should be fixed in such a way that the students of the engineering colleges in Punjab are not deprived of an opportunity to appear in this prestigious test (CAT).

The examination should be rescheduled in such a way that it is held after December 20 or after the Christmas holidays.



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