Monday, January 7, 2002, Chandigarh, India 

National Capital Region--Delhi



Samjhauta Express stoppage: why punish poor travellers?

One can hardly comprehend as to what diplomatic pressure the stoppage of Samjhauta Express will exert on Pakistan. India and Pakistan have more than one half of the world Muslim population on either side of the border, some of whom are closely related. It is the poorer section of the community on both sides who benefited from the train. The rich of course use air travel and luxury bus.

Cutting off human interaction tentamounts to violation of human rights. The European Union High Court ruled against England when it stopped close relations of the immigrants from joining them there due to violation of human rights. Stoppage thus, is very hard on the poorer mass of the visitors.

Even otherwise the train had been constant harbinger of goodwill to both sides. The allegation that it was used by smugglers and other anti-social elements could very well be checked by the vigilant staff. Smuggling etc has been a common feature with the railway system. The train continued running during the decade of terrorism in Panjab. Let us, therefore, not punish the poor travellers for the misdeeds of terrorists.

The partition had failed to divide the hearts of the people as the emotional scenes on the last journey would show. The people on both sides want the train to run. The train, of course, helps create a congenial atmosphere for peace between the two countries. Pakistanis would carry tales of Indian democracy, freedom of speech and liberty. The train was an automatic media for the exchange of literature and living culture. The train represents the silent majority who wanted peace. So it must run on.

D.S. DHILLON, Jalandhar


Handling terrorism

While none favours for war in peace time, sitting idle even after being hit in the face is simply foolishness. The world elsewhere is asking us to show restraint, but only restraint and no action makes a nation lazy, coward and backward. We have shown enough restraint, not for a couple of years, but a couple of decades have passed since terrorism has been created in this land. I prefer the word “created”, because it is the vested interest which “creates” terrorism.

All the hue and cry is made in the name of Kashmir, while the people of Kashmir do not gain anything from this. We should have settled the dispute once for all when Lt Gen Jagjit Singh Aurora and Gen Niazi signed the historic pact for surrender in the 1971 war.

We should forthwith demand the extradition of all those suspected to be involved in terrorism & hijacking and have taken shelter in Pakistan. We should fix a time limit for their surrender and extradition and try to get a firm commitment from Pakistan that it would henceforth not support terrorism. Should it fail, we are at liberty to take all steps to uphold our country’s integrity and sovereignty.

V.V. NARAYANAN, Chandigarh

Keep it up

After reading your online paper over the past several months, since 9/11. I felt that I should express my appreciation for your timely news and thoughtful editorials.

I believe your paper is superior to many of the local papers, including the Los Angeles Times, and, on occasion, even The New York Times. Keep up the good work.

PAUL R. MEYER, Pasadena, CA, USA

Human rights panel

The report “Vaidya takes charge as panel member” compels public notice for making a shocking revelation: members of the state human rights commission “dislodge” the commission’s Chairman by adopting a resolution on the subject at a meeting held in the latter’s absence. How rediculous!

Did the members act in the matter whimsically or is the course of action adopted by them justifiable vis-a-vis the relevant Act?

On the face of it the mindless antic seems to have lowered the dignity of the august institution, necessitating a fresh look at the Act as also the constitution of the commission under question.

TARA CHAND, Ambota (Una)

Cotton growers

Mr D.R. Chaudhary in his article “Sad plight of Haryana peasantry” has correctly said that the real cause for the woes of cotton growers of Haryana is the unhealthy nexus between official machinery and the manufacturers of spurious pesticides. However, Mr Chaudhary has not suggested any remedy for alleviating the lot of the farmers of Haryana.

In my opinion, this unhealthy nexus can be broken if the government constitutes a quasi-judicial machinery comprising renowned agricultural scientists and men of integrity from the judiciary which should be empowered to track down and punish the manufacturers of spurious pesticides and its selling agencies.

In addition, it should be mandatory that no pesticide is sold without any valid bill/receipt. This can be possible only when no tax is levied at the selling point. Whatever tax is to be levied should be done at the manufacturer’s stage.


Against war

Former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar has rightly warned: “War will destroy both countries. I will keep opposing it even if our Army decides on war and our government okays it.” Hawks are insisting on war without thinking about its horrible and disastrous consequences. Now war means nuclear war which will be suicidal for both countries.


Insulting gods

As mentioned in the news item “Sunanda’s recital charms, flattery irks”, the compere of the Harballabh Sangeet Sammelan organised in Jalandhar, equated Union Minister Shanta Kumar and Haryana Minister Sampat Singh with Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma respectively.

Was not it an outrageous insult to these gods? No man, howsoever exalted his social or political standing may be, can be equated with Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma. The sycophantish behaviour of the compere exceeded all bounds of decency and hurt the religious susceptibilities of the devout adorers of these gods.

If my memory does not fail me, once a member of Parliament equated Mr Morarji Desai, who was then Prime Minister, with Gandhiji. Mr Desai immediately stood up and said: “There is no comparison between us. I feel distressed that the member has insulted Gandhiji by equating me with him”.

The report does not suggest that the ministers even slightly expressed their disapproval of the compere’s remarks. Apparently, they felt happy on being glorified as gods.


Helping a soldier

It was nothing unusual to read about 81-year-old Ali Hussan, a soldier who had retired from the Pakistan Army and took courage to settle down in his native village in Ladakh. The extraordinary thing is that Lt Gen Arjun Ray, the Indian Army Corps Commander, took up his case. He got his son enlisted in Ladakh Scouts. This will certainly go a long way to overcome the financial crunch which the old soldier has been facing.

Lt Col ANGAD SINGH (retd), SAS NagarTop

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