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M A I L B A G

Pakistan should punish its guilty

Apropos of Dr Kalia's appeal to stir the national conscience against the brutal torture inflicted upon his son, late Lt Suarabh Kalia, and five members of his team captured inside the LoC in Kargil on May 15, 1999, by Pakistani interrogators, the appeal speaks volumes of an aggrieved father's laudable cause to pressurise Pakistan to punish those guilty of this brutal act. Their terrible torture was glaringly visible from their scarred and disfigured bodies handed over to the Indian authorities.

History is replete with examples of brutality committed by captors on their captives. In World War II, many prisoners of war died of malnutrition in Japanese jails. However, the excesses committed by the Pakistanis upon Lt Kalia and his men are utterly inhuman. India has always treated Pakistani prisoners of war well, in keeping with the Geneva convection, to which both India and Pakistan are signatories.

Disregarding the Geneva agreement, Pakistan has time and again flouted the rights of a POW. Dr Kalia's appeal should even force the international community to compel Pakistan to punish its guilty.

Brig H. S. CHANDEL (retd), Malanger (HP)

 

 

II

We the following citizens of India fully agree with the viewpoint of Dr N. K. Kalia. The brave soldiers of India were subjected to inhuman treatment and barbarism by Pakistani soldiers. Their human rights were violated with impunity. We condemn this behaviour of the enemy soldiers. The matter should be taken up with authorities concerned so that the culprits of this heinous crime are brought to book in the neighbouring country. This will be a tribute to our soldiers who were maltreated.

DHARAM PAL and other 10 lecturers, MLN College, Radaur

Of Ks and Qs

THIS refers to Saroop Krishen's middle "Mind Your K's and Q's" (July 31) and Dr H. K. Lall's letter (August 6).

Q is employed as equivalent of "kaaf", 27th letter of the Urdu alphabet, appearing in the words of Arabic extraction and K as equivalent of "kaaf", 28th letter, as in "Qadah" (Arabic": bowl, wine cup) and "Kadah" (Persian: place, abode of). Yet even some well-read people use K where Q is required. Pakistan's Foreign Minister, Khurshid Mehmood, writes his cognomen as Kasuri instead of Qasuri, implying as hailing from Qasur. Likewise, many people incorrectly write Quran as Koran and Qandhar as kandhar or Kandahar. Those who absolutely do not know Urdu cannot determine whether 'Q' or 'K' is equivalent to the "kaaf" occurring in a particular word.

Dr Lall has rightly remarked that while "Iqbal" means prosperity, "ikbal" signifies one hair and that "one word can have different meanings in different contexts". Besides hair, "baal" also means child, heart, life, arm of a man, wing/pinion of a bird, spike of corn, crack in glass or china, luxury, magnificence, honesty, etc. It is also the name of a big fish.

With all due respect to him, the spelling of the word mentioned by him as "aeetraff" (confession) is "e'tiraaf". This is not to question his erudition. "Ye taab ye majaal ye taaqat nahin mujhey" (Ghalib).

BHAGWAN SINGH, Qadian

 

Who deserted them?

This refers to the editorial "Deserters no longer: will scars of their family heal" (August 11). The return of two soldiers to India after five years in Pakistani jails has exposed the hollowness of the Army top brass who declared a soldier deserter without examining other possibilities.

During these five years, the two families suffered the agony and shame of being labelled bhagora (deserter), while their men were actually heroes and lodged in Pakistani jails. The Army authorities cannot absolve themselves from this lapse on their part by merely saying that the arrears of the soldiers have been released. Those who are responsible for declaring these soldiers deserters should not be allowed to get away with clumsy arguments.

Major NARINDER SINGH JALLO (retd), Mohali

II

The release of two Indian Armymen from Pakistan is a happy event. Still, thousands of Indians are in Pakistani jails and a large number of Pakistanis are in Indian jails. The VIPs from both nations meet often and exchange visits keep happening all the time. It will be in fitness of things to try and get these prisoners released, to bring cheer to not just two families happy, but to thousands of families on both sides. Keep making efforts consistently for this purpose.

LAKSHMI SAGAR, Ambala
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