Sorry, Asma — PM did the right thing

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s prompt apology to Asma Jahangir, Pakistan’s noted human rights activist, is highly appreciable (Editorial, “Sorry, Asma”, Aug 5). This reveals his concern for the values he stands for, especially when a person of Asma’s stature is involved.

Quite some time back, Dr Manmohan Singh rose in stature and did the nation proud by tendering an apology on the anti-Sikh riots following Indira Gandhi’s assassination. The apology acted as a soothing balm to the bruised Sikh psyche who bore the brunt of the carnage.

The nation is privileged to have Dr Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minister and salutes him for his exemplary acts of intellect and prudence which essentially form a part of his diplomacy tampered with strands of deep love and affection, irrespective of the country, region or people involved.




The editorial rightly pointed out that the security personnel had no reason to search Asma’s room or to put her to questioning. In such cases, the police should have taken the Home Ministry’s prior permission. Law must be executed imaginatively and need not be used like a machine.

I am reminded of a recruitment poster issued by London Police, in which along with the requisite educational and physical standards was mentioned in bold letters the type of temperament required for a policemen. It was like this, ‘Sheep before law abiding persons; nail before criminals’. This aptly sums up what is required of a policeman.

The way the peaceful protestors are brutally beaten up here and there by the police is outrageous and a blot on their uniforms. Policemen should be recruited with utmost care and they need constant training on decent and civilised behaviour.

During the British rule, administrators like E. P Moon handled difficult situations with great tact and imagination. Moon, who was Lucknow District Magistrate in the 40s of the last century, writes in book Plain tales from the Raj that once he had to deal with Congress women’s dharna. When persuasion failed to disperse them, Moon ordered the fire brigade to spray water on them while taking care that no one was injured. This operation worked wonders.

V.P. MEHTA, Chandigarh


The Prime Minister lost no time in tendering apology to Ms Jahangir, a note human rights activist from the Pakistan. The gesture on the part of the Prime Minister has not only taken the wind off the sails in the wrong direction but has also kept alive the Indian tradition of Atithi Devobhav. The incident has once again highlighted the need for imparting proper training to the police and change their mindset.


Unholy nexus

All right-thinking people would endorse the editorial “Beware of priests” (July 29). The people are well aware of the influence the priests wield on them. Of late, owing to the increasing God-fearing population, a strong priest-politician nexus has emerged. Sadly, the government is turning a blind eye to this unholy nexus.

Empowerment of women continues to be a mirage. Many religious places debar women’s entry though they receive government grants and offerings in cash and kind from women. This shows the hypocrisy of the system.

Funds amassed by religious places are often grabbed and turned into private institutions of those who control the shrines. There is a cut-throat competition between various religious heads. Yet, the government looks the other way. India is now standing on the threshold of dangerous religious fundamentalism. This is a disturbing trend.

Lt-Col CHANAN SINGH DHILLON (retd), Ludhiana

EC must tame parties

Whenever elections are announced by the Election Commission, political parties issue their respective manifestoes and make a plethora of promises. After the polls are over, the winning party/parties form the government and are thus safely ensconced in the saddle. They forget about their promises made to the electorate and start implementing their hidden agenda. The voters feel cheated and find themselves helpless.

The Election Commission, the constitutional body responsible for the conduct of elections, should empower itself to tame and force these parties to sincerely implement their manifestoes and thus do justice to the electorate.



Back to square one

In response to persistent complaints that heads of departments at various levels — state, district, sub-division, tehsil and block — are generally not available to visitors at their offices, the Himachal Pradesh government imposed years ago a blanket ban on plying of government vehicles on Mondays. This was intended to make officers available in their offices at least once in a week. The experiment clicked and the people heaved a sigh of relief.

The authorities have now lifted the ban in question reportedly on the ground that it would help improve administrative efficiency. Things are back to square one. The aggrieved people trek long distances for an appointment, but return disappointed as the officer concerned does not turn up for one reason or another. The government should set things right in the public interest.

TARA CHAND, Ambota (Una)



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