Gujarat riot victims must get justice

Apropos of your editorial “Hope of justice” (Aug 19), while the Modi government in Gujarat has been hostile to justice, particularly for the victims of the post-Godhra riots of 2002, our judicial system seems to have ignored the government’s inability and unwillingness to uphold the rule of law in the state.

How else would the Supreme Court accept shoddy investigation and complete lack of sincerity of the administration towards the riot victims, which amounts to the government’s staunch refusal to let justice prevail?

Two major issues arise in this context. First, victims must get justice and this would be possible only when Mr Modi is shown the door. Second, and more important, a message should go to the whole nation that any trifling with or bending of the law to suit vested interests, personal or political, will not be tolerated and taken seriously. This would be possible if all those officers are punished for their lack of efficiency and a willful neglect of duty.

It is now time and opportunity to start weeding out the criminals in politics and their accomplices.





The editorial “Justice for Bilkis” (Aug 9) rightly maintains that Bilkis Yakoob Rasool could not get justice in Gujarat. The fact that the state government opposed the transfer application tooth and nail and insisted that in case the application was allowed the case may be transferred to Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh speaks for itself (res ipsa loquitor). For they are also BJP-ruled states like Gujarat.

Normally, the states do not oppose transfer applications under Section 406 of the Criminal Procedure Code and leave it to the wisdom of the Supreme Court to be used for expediency and in the interest of justice. But when a state government opposes vociferously to retain the case within its jurisdiction, the apprehension of high-handedness will always keep on hanging like a Damocles’ sword on the victim.


Expedite Rohtang tunnel

THE Himachal High Court’s directive to the Central and Himachal Pradesh governments to clarify on the construction of the Rohtang Tunnel by September 15, 2004, on a public interest litigation (Aug 6) is welcome as this important project has been hanging fire for a long time.

Rohtang Tunnel has great strategic importance. The all-weather road that shall be passing through this tunnel would not only improve the economic lot of the tribals residing in the Lahaul-Spiti valley but also provide a shorter and secure land route to Ladakh where a large force is deployed. During winter, the Srinagar-Leh road gets blocked frequently, disrupting the normal flow of supplies to that sensitive region intermittently. At times, air traffic has to be resorted to maintain the normal flow of provisions to that sector, which is a costly alternative.

The Shimla-Manali-Leh route is a strategic defence highway. Not only it is closer to major military supply basis in Punjab, the early opening of the tunnel on this important National Highway would ensure uninterrupted flow of vehicular traffic across Banihal into the enchanting Lahaul-Spiti valley, thus giving a boost to tourism in that region.

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



Shimla’s woes

Shimla remains the apple of the eyes of the revelers. Being a hill station and a favourite tourist spot, it should be topmost in cleanliness. The rain god alone can expose the superficial nature of the cleanliness campaigns. Come rainy season and the whole town is flooded with filthy water. The drains overflow and it is difficult for one to bear the stench coming from the drains. The Municipal Corporation does little about it.

Adding to the problems is the absence of street lights in the area. Shimla is at its worst in the rains due to improper sanitation and neglect. The authorities concerned should try to rectify the situation and bring relief to the people in distress.


Interesting quote

Winston Churchill’s quote “Headmasters have powers at their disposal with which Prime Ministers have never yet been invested” (‘Thought for the day’, Aug 6) is interesting. Headmasters would have wielded enormous powers in British schools when Sir Winston Churchill (1951-55) was the Prime Minister.

May be, during the British regime in India, Headmasters were enjoying more powers. But in a parliamentary democracy like ours, Headmasters or even top officers in the Education Department enjoy very limited powers, that too, subject to the pleasure of the politicians at the helm of affairs. How I wish Headmasters enjoyed similar powers in India as their counterparts in Churchill’s time did!

IQBAL SINGH, Bijhari (Hamirpur)

Mapping Siachen

I don’t share the optimism evinced by Maj-Gen Himmat Singh Gill (retd) in his article “The Siachen impasse: Solution is in a step-by-step approach” (August 9). He said “since everyone knows on the maps and the ground which area falls in whose territory, once the region north of NJ9842 is demarcated, this will have a positive impact on the present situation.”

One fails to see how. If each other’s maps are accepted by the two countries, why this brawl? It’s reasonable to presume that the impasse since 1984 has existed at the icy heights because neither side is willing to concede that that sector is not a part of its territory.

AKHILESH, Hoshiarpur

Interest on deposits

An inflation-linked rate of bank/post office interest rate on term deposits seems fair. I suggest that it may be pegged at 7.5 per cent corresponding to 6 per cent inflation. For senior citizens and for trusts and societies engaged wholly in charitable work, it should correspondingly be 9 per cent.

For every positive or negative change in inflation, it should vary proportionately, on a month-to-month basis.

V.C. NANDA, Chandigarh

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