Tuesday, November 26, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Tension in Jhajjar: why spare officials?

Apropos your editorial Tension in Jhajjar (Nov 16), I fully agree with the concluding observation: “No one, Dalit or upper caste, is above the law of the land. To allow the rule of law to collapse would result in anarchy”. Some Acharya Vijaypal has been quoted as having said that the “cow is sacred to us and we cannot bear to see it being killed the way it was”. The carcass of the cow allegedly killed was subjected to a post-mortem examination in the Civil Hospital, Jhajjar, and it was found that the cow had died a natural death.

It has been made clear umpteen times by the district administration that the Dalits, the victims of the mob fury, were skinning only a dead cow. Instead of showing any remorse, some elements keep on repeating that a cow was killed. In the panchayat in Surah village held on November 15, it was reiterated that the Dalits in question were butchers.

An attempt is being made by some vested interests to hijack the medieval institution of khap-panchayat to advance their divisive agenda. This is evident from the fact that the 21-member committee constituted by the Surah panchayat is not headed by a village mukhia but by the mahamantri of the district Vishwa Hindu Parishad.

Whether the villagers arrested so far are innocent or guilty is for the court to decide. However, there is no doubt about the complicity of the police force and some civilian officers in the crime. The five Dalits were lynched in their presence and no effort was made to avert this gruesome act. But no action has been taken against them so far. This brazen attempt to save them and shield the kingpins who instigated the mob has complicated the matter.


There is an apprehension that the matter might eventually be hushed up. This is what has happened in the case of the Loharu episode. In the wake of the Bharat bandh call given by the VHP in March, some communal elements had spread the rumour in Loharu that a cow was being killed and several dozen houses and shops of the minority community were set on fire. In all 39 persons wee booked. Some were arrested, while others were declared proclaimed offenders.

Recently the government withdrew the case under political pressure and the miscreants have been let off. Any such attempt in the Dulina case would boomerang as the issue has assumed the gravity it deserves.

There has been several cases of Dalit baiting in the state after the Dulina episode. The scare in the minority community is growing apace. Haryana state is a tinder box at the moment and ripe for caste and communal flare-up. One wrong move on the part of the administration might push the state into conflagration. The state is likely to slide into anarchy unless timely and effective measures are taken. It is of utmost importance for the citizens to maintain communal harmony at this juncture.



Choudhry Shahabuddin

This refers to Bhagwan Singh's letter The rusk factor (Nov 4) in which he has described Choudhry Shahabuddin as a minister before partition. This is factually incorrect. Choudhry Shahabuddin was the Speaker when Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan was the Premier of Punjab.

Of course, there were many anecdotes about his being dark complexioned. Be that as it may, he was an effective Speaker. He commanded respect and obedience of the members of the Assembly. He was knighted by the British Government.



Teachers on contract

The step of appointing teachers on contract can wreck our higher education. Talented persons already shy away from the teaching profession. When they know that they are going to be exploited on low salaries with long hours of teaching overcrowded classes whose students are admitted indiscriminately to swell the number for money, subjected to capricious codes and browbeaten by managerial overlords, they are not likely to feel particularly inclined to accept contractual jobs when the mighty and secure civil services, the opulent corporate sector and the money-minting medical profession are beckoning them.

You say in your editorial that the system once attracted talent from the overseas. Then what went wrong? The subversion of the system by vested interests, who had neither aptitude nor concern for academic values. They filled our educational institutions with me who from a lecturer to a Vice-Chancellor secured their positions not purely on merit. When the system worked well earlier, the professors used to hold permanent, not contractual, tenures. Our IITs and IIMs, which are respected as model educational institutions in and outside the country, also have permanent teaching staff.


Kidney racket

This refers to the letter by Navdeep Singh Khaira (Oct 28) Criticism directed at me is totally ill-conceived. No where and never had I, even by implication, "tarnished the entire community of doctors". However, I do maintain that a mafia headed by some doctors and supported by some politicians has organised an illegal but flourishing kidney market in Amritsar. The worst victims are the poor donors whose kidneys are "purchased". In many cases even those who receive kidneys become victims of connected malpractices.

If some choose to call efforts to expose this racket as "rabble-rousing", that is not going to dissuade me from doing my duty as a committed social activist.


Biomedical engineering

Costly medical equipment can be seen rusting or lying unused in governmental hospitals due to the shortage of biomedical engineers and technical personnel who can maintain such machines.

It is the need of the hour to develop a strong workforce of biomedical engineers to handle dialysis machines, ventilators, imaging systems, digital signal processing and ultrasonic in medical diagnosis. Clinical engineering has remained neglected in our medical colleges.


Retirees hit

Reducing interest rates on bank deposits is bad news for the retired persons who are not covered under any pension scheme. Interest is the only source of their income and survival. Within a span of five years the interest rates have been brought down from 10per cent to 6.25 per cent p.a.

K.L. BATRA, Yamunanagar

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