Step up efforts to get back our heroes

When Indo-Pak talks are held, we try to know the fate of the missing defence personnel in the 1971 war. Before the talks, we urge the government to press Pakistan to release the prisoners. Major Suri's father, Dr Suri, without knowing the fate of his son, has passed away.

Major Ghosh's photo appeared in Time in a Pakistani jail. Major Suri's letter reached his father in 1975 from a Karachi jail. Wg-Cdr Gill and Capt Singh were befriended by a Pakistani Major Ayaaz A. Sipra in the Fort of Attock. Maj Waraich was reportedly in Dargai jail in NWFP in 1972, according to Gen. Riaz.

Pakistan says some prisoners, having lost their mental balance, cannot identify themselves. So India asked them to send photos which haven't come yet. Recently when the Orissa government published the photo of a man in a Pakistani jail, one Vidyadhar Patri claimed it to be of his father, a POW in the 1965 war.

Mr Arun Singh of the Ministry of External Affairs had asked Pakistan for a full-length photograph six months back. We don't know the response of Pakistan. India has to step up efforts to get our missing defence personnel back.

Dr SIMMI WARAICH, Missing Defence Personnel Relatives' Association, Patiala



No bias please

I am very happy to know that the Jammu and Kashmir Permanent Resident (Disqualification) Bill has been defeated in the State Assembly. Had the Bill been passed, denying the legitimate rights of state subjects to women who marry outsiders, we would have been guilty of gender discrimination.

No state, not even Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Manipur or Arunachal Pradesh, should be allowed to have domicile laws that discriminate against residents of other Indian states. The Centre should take the initiative in scrapping the existing laws that discriminates against Indians of one state with those of another.


Drug trafficking

If a drug costing about Rs 2 per a strip of ten (like Stannist, Nensonil, Nicip etc) is marked for sale at MRP of Rs 25 plus taxes, then such profitability should be equally attractive for the drug mafia to switch over to legal pharmaceuticals instead of the risky business. A whopping profit margin of 1200 per cent is not only open loot but also quite unethical earned on human suffering. Union Chemicals Minister Ram Vilas Paswan deserves appreciation for his attempt to understand the chemistry of drug trafficking.


Case against school

According to a report in The Tribune, a school girl attempted to commit suicide after being punished at Saraswati School, Dhanas. I commend the father of the girl for filing a case in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the school authorities, the police and the village panchayat. This is the only way by which we can save our children from the misdeeds of our education system. The innocent child deserves justice.


Astrology not science

Apropos of Prof Yash Pal's column "Understanding the Universe" (Science page, Sept 3), I agree with his observation that "astrology is not a science at all but preys on the human need for sustenance and support when in trouble, on his greed, or for transferring the responsibility of failure on the stars…" How I wish Dr Murli Manohar Joshi(s) have read this column in The Tribune.


The God of rain

In the Delhi Durbar column (Aug 24), it has been stated that the Garuda is the vehicle of Lord Indra , the God of rain. This is incorrect. According to the Indian mythology, the Garuda is the vehicle of Lord Vishnu, one of the three dieties called the Trimurti, the other two being Lord Bramha and Lord Shiva.


Welcome step

Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has done justice to ex-servicemen by releasing the first and second emergency benefits. He has corrected the injustice done to ex-servicemen in 1982.

Capt. KANWALJIT SINGH GHUMAN (retd), Jalandhar

Slums are indispensable

T.D. Kumar's letter "Slums at what cost?" (Aug 6) is biased. There is a symbiotic relationship between a city and its slum dwellers. The city needs them more than they need the city. What will happen to Panchkula, Chandigarh and Mohali if there are no construction workers, sweepers, domestic servants and so on?

They are not polluting the city. It is the other way round. The upper and middle classes pollute the environment with their cars, air-conditioners and other gadgets. The National Commission on Urbanisation, headed by Charles Correa, noted in 1988: "Slum dwellers are in the present position because of societal injustice and inequalities on the one hand and poor planning and inept management of resources on the other."

The planners and administrators have an unrealistic and insensitive attitude towards them. Majority of them consider slums as a cancerous growth of a city and as areas of darkness and despair. But recent studies on slums in India and abroad, both from large and small cities, dispel these views, maintaining that they are an integral part of a city and are indispensable for a city.

Prof RANVINDER SINGH SANDHU, Dean, Arts & Social Sciences, Dept. of Sociology, GND University, Amritsar 


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