Sri Lanka must remain a united country

Apropos of H.K. Dua's article "Between war and peace" (Aug 30), it would be an achievement for India if, without getting into the mess, it ensured unity in Sri Lanka. Personal and parochial interests, both by Indian and Sri Lankan politicians, must be sacrificed in the larger interests of Sri Lanka.

All parties in Sri Lanka should unite for peace and justice. For this, Mrs Chandrika Kumaratunga and Mr Ranil Wickremesinghe will have to sort out their differences before the next round of talks with the LTTE.

Mr Dua has very rightly pointed out that India should not directly involve itself in the affairs of that country as it did in 1987 by sending its troops as a peacekeeping force. I was part of the IPKF (Indian Peacekeeping Force) in Sri Lanka and have seen the results of the decision of sending Indian troops to that country. Commanders at all levels did not have any answer for the prolonged presence of the IPKF in Sri Lanka, other than following the orders of the government.

Col. JASWANT SINGH CHANDEL (retd), Kalol, Bilaspur (HP)





H.K. Dua has rightly advised India not to repeat the 1987 blunder of rushing the IPKF to Sri Lanka and repent later. However, India should help bring the LTTE and political parties to the negotiating table with a view to promoting peace in our neighbourhood. The LTTE activists were Indian Tamilians a few generations ago and as such they enjoy the sympathies of Indians in general and Tamilians in particular. All Sri Lankan Tamilians are not LTTE activists just as all LTTE activists are not terrorists.

Like Sri Lanka, the erstwhile USSR was a multi-national country, having two chambers — the House of People and the House of Nationalities, the latter having equal representatives of each nationality, irrespective of one's number of votes. Let Sri Lanka follow this model, with a House of Nationalities having equal representatives of Sinhalese and Tamilians. It worked well in the USSR. Why can't it work well in Sri Lanka?



Though India had a better experience for sending its peacekeeping force in Sri Lanka in 1987, it should not shy away from helping Sri Lanka to restore peace there. It should learn from its blunders committed in 1987 but should extend a helping hand when it is being sought by a beleaguered nation with lots of hopes and aspirations.

According to Mr Dua, India's primary concern is to ensure that Sri Lanka remains a united country. It should not shy away from its responsibility which, though onerous, is not impossible to carry out. India should come out of the 'once-bitten-twice-shy' syndrome and respond to Sri Lanka's call positively.


Bias against bankmen

The editorial "Banking on unity" (Aug 25) displays a strong bias against bankmen and their trade unions. It raises a moot question whether seeking a wage hike to meet the ever-increasing cost of living is sin in our society. If it is so, then, why even a murmur of protest is not heard when MPs and MLAs get for themselves hefty hikes in pay and perks approved without any debate or discussion, that too, mostly on the last day of the session of Parliament or State Assemblies?

The workforce in the banks has boldly accepted the challenge thrown to the Indian banking industry by the foreign banks. To meet this, the bank unions have also voluntarily cooperated with the management to introduce modern technology and bring about changes in the work culture. It is the result of their hard work and dedication that almost all public sector banks are showing positive growth and rising profits today.

The Union Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) patiently held negotiations for over 22 months without any fruitful outcome. It was the rigid and irrational stance taken by the Indian Bankers' Association, which forced the UFBU to take recourse to the agitational path.

D.S. THAKUR, President, State Bank of India Staff Assn, Chandigarh Circle, Chandigarh

Defence security

The article "Overhand defence security" by Col P. K. Vasudeva is interesting. How can a non-existing item be ever handled? The preparedness of Indians is poor mentally, materially and militarily. What have we Indians been doing for the last 50 years? Unfortunately, our rulers have no military training or background. How will they understand the concerns and problems of our men in uniform?

ARTHUR, Chandigarh

Teachers and society

Teachers’ Day will be observed in the country on September 5. Former President Dr S. Radhakrishnan was a great teacher and that's why his birth anniversary is observed as Teachers' Day every year. According to him, "a good teacher is hundred times better than a priest and a good educational institution is hundred times better than a temple". Everyone recognises that the quality of education depends on the quality of teachers. The teachers are indeed the architects of a nation's destiny. However, the teachers are not being looked after well. Neither the government nor society is making any serious effort to improve the quality of teachers or to create satisfactory service conditions for them.

The teachers are denied the facilities and concessions to which they are entitled. Things will improve only if the teaches are given better emoluments and proper status in society.



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