Kashyap, a victim of callousness

The editorial Death as ‘tamasha’” (Jan 26) rightly says that words are insufficient to describe the tragedy in Patiala. Gopal Krishan Kashyap’s death shows how inhuman and insensitive our bureaucracy and political system have become.

The Punjab Government has sanctioned Rs 10 lakh as compensation to Kashyap’s family and a government job, but at what cost? Had the government acted promptly on his appeal, his life could have been saved.

The electronic media’s coverage of the event was most disturbing. This shows how insensitive our television channels have become. In the West, the incident would not have been shown the way our channels have done. Even death was not given its dignity. The TV crew was busy shooting the reality show. What a pity!

ARUN HASTIR, Gurdaspur

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I fully agree with the editorial. The irresponsible television channels were too eager to shoot the event of self-immolation and, in the process, forgot to save Kashyap’s life. The television standards are deteriorating day by day. The tragedy proves that they can go to any length to climb the TRP ratings.

In the name of fashion parades, they can show what no one can dare discuss openly. Gudia hogged the limelight for several days. One of the channels even set a national panchayat to decide her future. But Gudia died unsung!

The cable culture is a new entrant in India’s entertainment arena. There should be a Laxman rekha for the television and like other professionals it must also be made accountable to the public.



Kashyap resorted to the extreme step of self-immolation when all his pleas for rehabilitation failed. Deplorably, the incident occurred in the hometown of the Punjab Chief Minister.

It is the callousness, indifference and insensitivity of the higher mortals that led to this profound tragedy. The media — print and electronic — seemed more interested in taking photographs and video-recording this poignant and pathetic incident rather than saving the poor, innocent life. This is deplorable.



After 58 years of Independence, mob mentality is getting stronger day by day. The bureaucracy and the police find themselves caught in a cleft stick of dividing loyalties.

They seem unable to work independently. I recollect the Mandal agitation when budding university students, instigated by opportunistic politicians, immolated themselves on the campus.

Unless politics is used as an instrument of social welfare, cutting across party lines, and the law and order authorities function independently, such tamashas are bound to grow, proving detrimental to peace and amity.

Lieut-Col CHANAN SINGH DHILLON (retd), Ludhiana


Only a judicial inquiry will help ferret out the truth behind Kashyap’s death. It is deplorable that he died when some police personnel were present on the scene.



Kashyap is no more and an FIR against him had been filed for attempting to commit suicide. Paradoxically, a person who committed suicide is now being glorified.

In such cases, ex-gratia compensation on humanitarian grounds may be a potential danger because others will also try to take a leaf out of Kashyap’s book and follow in his footsteps to highlight their hardship. Kashyap’s action should be condemned, not glorified.

GURJIT SINGH, Advocate, Patiala


This tragic incident has sent shock waves in the region. Surprisingly, a large number of people and police personnel watched the incident passively and some even garlanded Kashyap before he set himself afire. All those responsible should be severely punished.

It is not only the question of one life but the callous and shameless attitude of the law enforcing agencies. This incident could have been averted had the police used its reflexes and responded promptly.

Dr VITULL K. GUPTA, Bathinda


All those present forgot that saving a life was the most important thing to do. It was not difficult for them to stop Kashyap from going ahead with his threat, but everyone present there wanted to be a part of the tamasha.




Why everyone listened to Kashyap’s speech and let him perform the act? Surely, it must have taken some time for him to pour kerosene and then set himself on fire. Wasn’t this time enough for the onlookers to prevent Kashyap from committing self-immolation? The people around are guilty of abetting the crime; the police must be blamed for gross dereliction of duty.

An anguished individual may do anything in disgust, but is it fair to let him do it and then try to do the fire fighting? Take action after the crime, but don’t prevent it seems to be the police doctrine.


An elevating experience

Watching the Republic Day parade in New Delhi either on the spot or on television is an elevating experience. It is an audio-visual splendour that makes one proud to be an Indian. Organising and coordinating such a mammoth parade requires enormous planning, hard work, dedication, skill and eye for details.

If those who control the reins of power in the country can organise such a magnificent parade, why can’t they show the same commitment, skill and dedication in their day-to-day duties?

If they do, I am sure, they can put the country on the road to rapid progress and leave millions of our poor countrymen above the poverty line.

Brig DALIP SINGH SIDHU (retd), Patiala


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