Not custodial deaths, but murder

Over the past few days, two more young men have lost their lives in police custody. In Balachaur (Hoshiarpur district), a young man taken to the police station “for questioning” in connection with a petty complaint died under mysterious circumstances, provoking violent public protest, which in turn left one man dead in a police firing.

In Khalra (Amritsar district) another young man died — beaten to death by the police while in illegal detention, according to the statement of his brother, who was also detained and who was an eyewitness to the assault. Many similar incidents preceded these cases.

The record of the Punjab Police is replete with the blood of the innocent. Let us stop referring to these cases as “custodial deaths”, a sanitised term, and start calling these the blunt old-fashioned “murder”. A murder does not become less because it is committed by a policeman; rather the offence is all the more heinous.

Only one thing explains why all this is happening: the police believe that they will never be called to account for their crimes. The only hope for correction lies with an upright, demanding and persistent judiciary.




Nowhere in the ranking

Apropos of your bold and critical editorial "The UGC Radar", in the Academic Ranking of World Universities given out by Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China (http://ed.sjtu.edu.cn/ranking.htm), none of the Indian universities found a slot among the top 500.

I was surprised to find that 35 universities were in Japan, 18 in China, eight in South Korea, six in Israel and more than a 100 each in the USA and Europe.

Our five-star universities are indeed no match for the universities in the US and the UK, but the World Rankings Survey reveals that we are lagging behind even Israel, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Political appointments for the topmost post in the universities have ruined higher education in India and the UGC radar may prove to be another fraud.

H.S. Virk, Mohali

Criminals in the House

Apropos of H.K. Dua views in his editorial, "Criminals in the House" (June 12), the only sensible solution seems to me that a law should be passed in Parliament for the quick disposal of all pending criminal cases so that this controversy come to an end. All parties should collectively approach the Chief Election Commissioner and apprise him of this situation.

KHAZAN SINGH SURI, Hoshiarpur City

Helmets for safety

I am a Sardarni, and for the past two years, the helmet has been firmly placed on my head. I have been cruising the Chandigarh roads with the strong cap on my not-so-strong head since I started driving. I have been greeted with outlandish looks and queries from friends and passers-by. With due regard to religious sentiments of the masses, the UT government needs to draw a dividing line between whom to challan. Sardarnis with the five ‘Ks’ may be treated like the turbaned Sikhs, but not others. The law should hold firm and ensure safety head-on.


Losers are victors

Apropos of A.J. Philip's article “Losers are Victors” (June 21), surely we are evolving a democratic system in which both elected and selected members shall run the House. The aim envisaged in the Constitution is national well-being rather than personal or party gain. The potent danger of the evolving system is dictatorship in the grab of democracy or a rule by remote control. The last straw would be a mafia group controlling elections. Aren’t these trends suicidal for the parliamentary democracy?

S. SWAROOP SHARMA, Dharmashalae

All over a movie

Apropos of the editorial “Your girlfriend or mine” (June 16), a movie is a movie and if one does not like it, no one's forcing anyone to go and watch it. However, when a bunch of hot-heads don the mantle of India’s cultural custodians and violently dictate what's in and what's not, it’s trouble. It’s only in India that the right to freedom of speech is at times exclusive to the political parties. This is deplorable. A firm stand, as the one you have taken, is needed for the common man (or artist) to live well.

SUSH KOCHAR, Baru Sahib (Sirmour)

Partition victim

Nirupama Dutt's poignantly penned piece, "Partition victims look back" (June 28) was moving. However one needs not always "look back" to trace gory humane failures.  For, women folk are still being traded unabashedly. Girls are still being killed/burnt-alive shamelessly — may be soon after their marriage or soon before their births.

People are still killed/burnt-alive mercilessly in the name of religion. Perhaps to act inhumanely we do not need partitions alone! What in fact is needed is a collective dead conscience.

BALVINDER, Chandigarh


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