Wednesday, January 16, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Govt is huffing and bluffing for political gain

It is not amazing to learn that an American journalist Mr Nicholas D. Kristo, quite in the mould of neocolonialist tradition, made some despicable remarks against India in The New York Times on December 28 last.

He lectures: “Essentially what is happening is that the Indian govt is huffing and bluffing, both for domestic political gain and to scare Pakistan into making concessions.... Washington must do more, partly by extracting concessions from Pakistan, mostly by emphasising to India, that it must come to its senses and stand down. The nub of the problem today is that India is behaving, as if it and Pakistan are still two-bit countries. Talk to Indian officials and journalists, and the same refrain arises: Americans are destroying terrorists in Afghanistan, and Israelis are swathing militants in the West Bank; so why can’t we whack Pakistan, for the attack on Parliament building..... There is a double standard in international affairs, and India had better recognised it quickly, it is this: major powers periodically invade minor countries that irritate them, but they do not lightly mess with other nuclear states. For a variety of reasons, most of them foolish, and having to do with national prestige, India created a nuclear arms race in South Asia..... Musharraf cannot arrest Kashmiri militants and hand them over to India. He would be overthrown 10 minutes later. Indian leaders, having created a dangerous situation, with their brinkmanship; might well relish a concession, that allows them victory and retreat....”.


Mr Nicholas, the nuclear arms race and the present instability in the region flows from the cold war strategy of the USA, building up an inconsequential local player like Pakistan in order to deny the logic of geopolitics.

During the cold war, the USA armed and strengthened China, to contain the Soviet Union. In turn, China armed and strengthened Pakistan to pin India down; while the USA went to conceal the evidence of China’s military collusion with Pakistan because it benefited from Chinese stratagems in its diplomatic dealings with India.

The cold war is over, and if the USA truly seeks a new relationship with India in preference to kings and military dictatorships it has been fond of, it must end the farce of worshipping American democracy while contriving to cut the biggest Indian democracy down to the size of a banana republic.

Instead of such flawed US policy that would entitle Americans to shower money, arms and technology on Pakistan without giving a thought for the consequences, it must go beyond making President Musharraf to make arrests or freeze some bank accounts of terrorists, to hand over the guilty to India for trial and stop Pak-engineered acts of terrorism on Indian soil. The USA must not ignore the fact that India has more Muslim population than Pakistan.

B. C. MAKHAIK, Shimla

Noise pollution

So much is said and done to curb air pollution, but little has been done to reduce noise pollution, which is increasing at an alarming rate not only in cities but also in small towns and villages.

It not only poses health hazards but also disturbs peace and tranquil atmosphere, besides being a constant nuisance to students and elders.

Religious places are mostly responsible for disturbing the tranquility of the dusk by blaring loudspeakers, followed by vehicular horns during school/office hours and the use of the DJ system at social parties.



Build-up on border

I fail to understand the ban imposed on the movement of media persons in certain border areas. Life in the border is like living on the razor’s edge. In the wake of some inward migration and disruption of agricultural operations, people in the border districts of Ferozepur, Amritsar and Gurdaspur require special development.

A border cadre should be created within the services so that doctors, teachers and employees of other departments living in the border districts were treated as a separate entity in matters of promotions, postings and transfers.

The government should also take care of landless labour and compensate them for the losses. It should also take care of transport facilities because private operators try to exploit the grave situation.

Another thing which worries me is the future of children who are to appear in examinations in the next few weeks. With the education system disrupted, the examinations should be postponed.

It is practically impossible to hold free and fair elections in the prevailing situation. I make a humble request to all political parties and the Election Commission to do something meaningful as the situation really demands.

Dr NARESH RAJ, Patiala

No war: In “A view of war from border” the writer speaks for the common Indian walking down the street. Indian and even Pakistan, cannot simply afford to go to war in these times of a stiffled global economy. The politicians who are playing arrogant and laying down policies concerning the extinction of terrorism will all be provided the highest degree of security if there occurs a war.

And once the war is over, they will come out of their secure shells with a patriotic saga of their stubbornness regarding the security of the nation merely to score a political point. But it will be the ordinary Indian who will face the consequences of war.


A view of war: Apropos the write-up “A view of war from border” (Jan 10), if today politicians are not coming up to protect the hapless migrating population from the border areas, they will not, mind it, come forward to help you and me if there arose any need in case of an actual war.

BALVINDER, Chandigarh

New challenges

The editorial “Terrorist challenge to HP” (Jan 3) is timely and tells the ground reality for facing the changing challenges, specially in terrains and snow-fed mountains on the long border of Chamba touching J&K. The Himachal Home Ministry/police started forming police public committees at the “thana” level in 1993 to strengthen the security of villages.

Today all such committees have become ineffective. Their functions have been taken over by the corrupt cops who, overriding the views of these committees, directly inform the SP, turning and twisting the truth suiting to them.


HUDA plots

HUDA discriminates against the residents of Narnaul. In most advertisements for HUDA plots in various cities of Haryana, we cannot apply locally as no bank in Narnaul is authorised to sell and accept application forms. One has to go to neighbouring towns to get the forms and deposit them.

We also have to spend extra to get a draft made payable in that city. When a refund cheque comes to an unsuccessful candidate, it is not payable at Narnaul. Again, we suffer a loss of bank commission for the outstation cheque clearance.


Train sans toilet

The other day I boarded the train for Jalandhar leaving Hoshiarpur at 7.40 a.m. I was horrified to learn that there wasn’t a single toilet provided in the train. Worse, train-stops en route to Jalandhar are far too brief to enable any passenger to avail himself/herself of this facility at any intermediary station. Will the rail authorities look into this elementary requirement and take corrective action?

Besides, there was so much rush in the train that passengers sat or stood packed like sardines. Some commuters I talked to confirmed that their ordeal was much worse on week-days. They suggested that an additional carriage or two could considerably ease the situation, particularly for lady passengers.

Maj Gen O. P. PARMAR (retd), Hoshiarpur

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