Wednesday, February 21, 2001,
Chandigarh, India



Donation through banks

AFTER the tragedy in Gujarat, there have been appeals for donations from various quarters. It will be appropriate if instead of asking for drafts and cheques in favour of the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund, one nationalised bank is nominated to collect donations from the public on a proper voucher, and credit it to the account of Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund.

By depositing the amount in the account of the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund in a bank, the donor will be sure that the money will reach the government.

The counterfoil of the voucher will act as a receipt and the donor will be able to claim tax exemption on its basis and the receiving authority will not have to send receipts to the donors, thus avoiding the labour and the cost of printing receipts and despatching them.

The government will also get the amount quickly as against the present system.



Cultural policing

Your editorial, “V-day vandalism” (February 16) has rightly pointed out that the self-appointed guardians of Indian culture cannot be allowed to hold the country to ransom. It has also been correctly mentioned that the question is not whether Valentine’s Day should be celebrated or not.

The real danger is that these elements, with their “cultural policing”, are leading the country towards intolerance, which if not checked will do irreparable harm to all of us. Anyone opposed to any particular happening, has the right to protest, but not to vandalise.

It should not be forgotten that a Shiv-Sena government had organised Michael Jackson show in Mumbai and Bal Thackeray had adored the front rows during the show. How did it strike him now to oppose Valentine’s Day?

It seems that bereft of issues, this organisation has developed the habit of trying to remain in the news, even by sheer hooliganism.

They dig up cricket pitches, stop shooting of films and disrupt celebrations by others. They have stepped up their activities because democratic minded people have been silent for long. It is for all rational people to stand up and expose such forces.


Might is right: It is shameful that the ABVP and Shiv-Sena activists should indulge in rowdyism in the name of protecting the country’s culture. These self-appointed ‘culture cops’ and their violent and arrogant ways are worse than the malady they claim to cure.

What message were these self-appointed protectors of the Indian culture trying to convey with their brute ways of harassing people, forcing hair-cuts, tearing others’ clothes and even attempting to strip them? These hooligans have only displayed that our law and order system is still governed by the feudalistic concept of ‘might is right’.


Police brutality

Police brutality or barbarity is a result of the loopholes in the system and tainted officers. Whenever a policeman is found involved in a crime, the names of seniors also come in. Sometimes the policemen even blackmail their seniors to get their cases hushed up. This brutality can stop only if there is transparency in the recruitment procedure. Graduation should be the minimum qualification for recruitment at any level. A test by a psychiatrist at the time of the interview and proper training will also be helpful.

Yogesh Dewan, Ludhiana

Safer without cops: Life will be safer without the police in its present form. A custodial death a week has become normal, not to mention the other kinds of human rights violations. Senior officers make every attempt to hush up crimes committed by their subordinates.

It is only after large-scale protests that some action is initiated, which is again put into the cold storage once the public fury abates.

It is common to see policemen threatening and extorting money from people. Women taken to police stations for interrogation are molested and raped without any fear of the law.

The citizens will feel a lot safer without this kind of police and will also be relieved of the huge burden of the salaries of policemen.

Gaurav Khanna, Chandigarh

Proper training: Deep frustration has grown in the ranks of policemen due to political interference in promotion as well as in investigation. The barbaric murder of a young man from Ludhiana for objecting to drinking by policeman at a public place became known because of media exposure.

The “search raid” on Ashok Sandhir’s house without informing the local police is equally alarming. Proper training of all ranks in public dealing or public relations will do good both to the public as well as the police.

Vijay Ahlawat, Jind

TV coverage

It is a matter of great relief that people all over the country are doing their best to help their fellow citizens affected by the disastrous earthquake.

It would have been better if the T.V. channels had observed a mourning period of at least seven days. It came to me as a shock to see that entertainment programmes continued when people were shedding tears and extending every type of help.

We learn from the interviews of some affected persons in The Tribune that Sewadars of Gurudwaras were the first to reach the affected people to serve them Langar (meals).

These Langars were arranged even on the roadside. Out of 10 trucks of relief, seven or eight went from Punjab. Some important T.V. channels which were extensively covering the earthquake and the relief operations did not notice these facts although they were telecasting news every 15 minutes.




Unfair comments

The media print as well as electronic, is in a race for sensational, rather negative reporting of the post-earthquake situation. The operations are being projected as deficient, lethargic, lacking coordination, and what not. They are thus censuring the round-the-clock efforts put in by 25,000 jawans (from the Army, Navy and Air Force), scores of NGOs, dozens of medical and rescue teams, dispatched by friendly countries, and of course the International Red Cross. Knowingly or unknowingly, the ground realities are being lost sight of.

Earthquakes have no calendar. This record-breaking quake, deadliest in the last 100 years, caused devastation in an unbelievably vast area involving more than 10,000 villages and cities. Roads and bridges were damaged, communications broke down, railway lines were fractured and houses tumbled, creating massive mounds of debris.

As ill-luck would have it, the day was a holiday and was followed by Saturday and Sunday. Despite all these handicaps, all praise to our jawans, NGOs, rescue and relief teams, both national as well as international, and the bureaucracy (except some irresponsible shirkers), who put their heart and soul into the gigantic task of mitigating the sufferings of the people. Harsh comments by the media on the work of these devoted persons are unjustified, and should be avoided.

J.K. MAGO, Panchkula

Need for a ramp

Strangely, there is no ramp at the main entrance to Shri Durbar Sahib at Amritsar. Aged persons find it difficult to negotiate the stairs. There is ample space for a ramp along the stairs and by constructing one the SGPC will earn the gratitude of the old and the infirm who wish to visit the holy shrine.

K.S. Ahluwalia, Amritsar

Unity of nation

The entire nation today unitedly stands behind the earthquake sufferers of Gujarat. Every citizen has come forward to do something for the victims. It is heartening to note that at this critical juncture the whole nation stands as one man.

Let us now take a pledge that we will remain united. Why should we wait for an adversity to show our unity. Let us show to the world in general, and to our enemies in particular, that we are one. We should dedicate ourselves to the service of our motherland in whatever way we can. If we are able to do this, we shall usher in an era of development and self-reliance.


Signals from Kashmir

It is a well known fact that Pakistan tried to use the Sikhs against India and militancy in Punjab caused great loss to the Sikhs. A community which had always been on the forefront of in all fields, was branded a danger to the unity and integrity of India. But because of their history, the Sikhs could regain the prestige which they had lost during those dark days.

When Pakistan realised that it would not be able to mislead the Sikh community, it started killing Sikhs. Pakistan should know that the Sikhs are Indians and they will teach a lesson to Pakistan for all the killings it is doing in Jammu and Kashmir.


MiG crashes

Yet another MiG 21 of the IAF crashed on February 10. Aircraft mishaps can be broadly grouped under three heads: Pilot error or faulty training, bad maintenance, and ageing machines. The lowering of recruitment standards and poor pilot aptitude among the fliers can also be the cause. Whatever the reason, the frequency with which MiG crashes are taking place is unacceptable and needs immediate corrective measures.

Combat flying demands from the pilots professional commitment, a disciplined life, physical fitness and alertness of a very high order. It also involves a well co-ordinated harmonious functioning on the part of the operational and support wings of the service, whether in the air or on the ground, while maintaining a high state of morale among all ranks. Is enough attention being paid to these aspects? Our pilots are the best and the bravest. Yet we cannot afford to be complacent.

S.C. Kapoor, Noida


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