Monday, March 5, 2001,
Chandigarh, India



Himachal rumblings

The editorial, “Rumblings in Himachal BJP” (Feb. 28), fails to take note of the constitutional impropriety committed by the dissident ministers — their public outbursts against the Chief Minister’s style of functioning. The discontented ministers should have quit their ministerial posts before washing the party’s dirty linen in public.

The subsequent dropping of four dissident ministers from the Cabinet was predictable. The antics of the dissident ministers had left Mr Dhumal with no alternative.

Dissidence flourishes whenever there are parallel centres of power as seems to be the case with Himachal Pradesh at present. The dissident ministers have not acted with far sight. Rather, they have put the Union Consumer Affairs Minister, Mr Shanta Kumar, in an embarrassing position.

TARA CHAND, Ambota (Una)

Drive against rabies

It is hard to understand why more than 50,000 deaths should occur in India every year due to rabies when England has been free from rabies since 1922. Experts in India have not so far formulated an effective strategy to control this dreadful disease which permits no treatment. It does no credit to the government to have left this gigantic task to NGOs which operate under the umbrella of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI).

The AWBI seems to have shown its inability to formulate an animal birth control programme. The NGOs restrict their activities to cities and towns and no effort is made to tackle the problem in the villages.

The rabies control programme demands vaccination of all dogs. Vaccination and sterilisation of stray dogs should be done at sterilisation camps which should be held frequently.

The failure of the government on this account stems from a communication gap between the experts, veterinarians and the NGOs. This challenging project should be entrusted to a network of veterinary institutions where dog immunisation and sterilisation should be done on the pattern of the family planning programme. Experts should lay down the necessary guidelines.



Crime against wildlife

The killing of five elephants in Jim Corbett National Park in Uttar Pradesh is not the first incident of crime related to wildlife. Such crimes are committed even in protected national parks. A tigress was killed and skinned in Hyderabad’s Nehru Zoological Park.

Such acts cannot take place without the connivance of forest officials. Poaching becomes possible because of the nexus between politicians and forest officials. Photographs in newspapers of a bleeding elephant with its truck and tusks chopped off was a heart-rending sight. It is a shame that in a civilised society there are persons who make illegal gains with the blood of innocent animals. Equally blameworthy are the politicians, officials and the public whose inefficacy allows such things to happen.




Poets and singers in Pak

Recently, Pakistani classical singer, Asad Amanat Khan said that Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, who visited Pakistan as Indian’s External Affairs Minister in 1979, had asked him to return to India and that he had declined the offer.

No great poet or singer has received due honour in Pakistan. Despite Mr Nehru’s dissuasion, Shaair-e-Inqilab, Josh Malihabadi, migrated to Pakistan. He was treated shabbily because he had eulogised some Indian personalities and criticised some political bigwigs of Pakistan.

When Ustad Bare Ghulam Ali Khan returned to India after being insulted by a thanedar in Pakistan, Mr Nehru went to the airport to receive him.

Faiz Ahmad Faiz, the doyen of progressive poets and recipient of Lenin Peace Prize, and Ahmad Faraaz, a great poet of socialism, incurred the wrath of the powers that be, because of their outspokenness.

Some fanatic mullahs accused Malika-e-Tarannum, Noorjehan, who recently died in Pakistan, of insulting Allah by her observation that music was God to her. There were only 19 persons present when her body was lowered into a grave near a nullah on the edge of a cemetery in the darkness of night.


Drug abuse

In recent years, India has become a major consumer of different kinds of drugs. This problem is faced by all segments of society, particularly the adolescents, slum dwellers and transport workers. Drug abuse has acquired alarming significance with the rise of intravenous drug use, leading to the spread of HIV and AIDS.

Most of the addicts start taking drugs out of curiosity or for fun and pleasure, often under the influence of friends. Some take drugs to overcome boredom, fatigue, depression or frustration. Lack of affection from the family is also one of the reasons of drug abuse.

To check this menace, non-governmental organisations associated with the welfare of society must come forward and initiate awareness and rehabilitation programmes. Parents and teachers can also play a vital role by taking an interest in the activities of the children and by sharing their problems with responsibility.


Pak Islamic schools

The decree to destroy statues in Afghanistan was issued by the Afghan leader, Mullah Omar. It is important to note that the Mullah was educated in “Islamic schools” in Pakistan as is most of the Taliban leadership.

These schools have been turning out a large number of fanatical young students schooled similarly as the Afghan leader. They are taught to kill the “infidels” and destroy their culture. Pakistan finds it convenient to keep these schools as a tool to wage an Islamic “holy war” in Kashmir.

One of the main sources of funding these schools is the fundamentalist Islamic country, Saudi Arabia. Both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, no doubt, share the ultimate responsibility for creating and sustaining the intolerant and violent monster, the Taliban, in the name of Islam.



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