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50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

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M A I L B A G

SC, NHRC must probe encounters

Time and again we Indians are offered traumatic evidence that all is not well with its greatest boon called democracy. The latest instance is the Gujarat government’s chilling confession in the Supreme Court that its police killed Sohrabuddin Shaikh in cold blood in November 2005 and passed it off as an “encounter” with a Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist.

The Modi government, notorious for its scant respect for legality, had no option but to admit to the barbaric killings. Thanks to senior police officers who investigated the case and concluded that three IPS officers were guilty of the crime. What was more shocking was that these killings also included Shaikh’s wife Kausar Bi and the motive was obvious, i.e. to destroy evidence by physically eliminating witnesses to Shaikh’s detention and interrogation thus increasing the officers’ culpability.

The BJP, which claims to be the party with difference, is seen trying to turn the tables by claiming that Shaikh had 60 cases pending against him. While the fact is, Shaikh was never accused of terrorism. Nor does Indian law permit extra-judicial killings, no matter how grave the crime. Yet, the Gujarat government demands credit for arresting the IPS officers. It wants to resist a CBI inquiry into the episode. It is a measure of the moral and political depths to which the BJP has sunk that it should advance such arguments.


 

If the BJP leaders think that they can take shelter behind “patriotism” for fighting “terrorism”, they are mistaken. Gujarat has witnessed 21 “encounter” killings in the past three years. It is time the Supreme Court and the National Human Rights Commission ordered high-power inquiries into these and returned to the virtually abandoned task of ensuring justice for the long-suffering victims of the Gujarat carnage.

Md ZIYAULLAH KHAN, Camp: Pune

II

The editorial, “Faking encounters” (April 26) was timely. A system of political governance that puts great stake on its bureaucracy and where political leadership is more opportunistic than idealistic, custodial tortures and extra-judicial killings would not surprise a common man who has often experienced the wrath of the babus and feudal lords of the system.
But what pricks one’s conscience is that we take pride in shouting from our rooftops that our democracy is run on the rule of law which follows a due process and respects the legal rights of every single individual.

Yes, perhaps it does, when it comes to punishing the high-handed and well-connected IPS officers like D.G.Vanzara, Dinesh Kumar and R.K.Pandyan or politicians like Babubhai Katara.

VED GULIANI, Hisar

III

India is fast becoming a blunderland. One criminal is eliminated and there is so much hue and cry by the secularists and the media. The brave police officers, who are fighting a war against all odds, are ridiculed and hounded like petty criminals. We should not ignore the harsh reality that we are fighting a very tough war against the Islamic Jihadi terrorism, unleashed by Pakistan’s ISI. The situation is far from normal.

In such circumstances, one cannot follow the rulebook always. Innocent Indians are being butchered by the Islamic Jihadis. The Jihadis and their local sympathisers should also be caught and punished.

If we keep on following the rulebook, then the war against Islamic terrorism is as good as lost and the nation is doomed. Let us all wake up to the harsh ground realities for India’s sake.

A.K.SHARMA, Chandigarh

 

Govt must protect Patiala Gharana

In the report, “Patiala Gharana losing ground” (April 23), Dr Surinder Kapila has rightly pointed out that the famous art form associated with Patiala is losing ground. Of the five gharanas of Indian classical music, Punjab should feel proud of having one of them at Patiala.

The Patiala gharana has produced eminent musicians like the late Begum Akhtar, Begum Parveen Sultana, Ustad Ali Bax and Fateh Ali. They were unparalleled masters in the 18th century and were honored with the titles of General and Colonel of music by the then Maharaja of Patiala.

Patiala gharana is dying out due to the lack of government support. Effective measures should be taken to preserve its dignity and glory. I agree with Dr Kapila that the government should establish a museum to document its heritage on the pattern of Lucknow gharana.

The Punjab government should establish an institution where the instructions in music should be imparted strictly in accordance with the principles of Patiala gharana. Already, this gharana is dominated by other gharanas of music and it will disappear if remedial measures are not taken.

RANJIT SINGH CHOHAN, Mohali

Consider this, too

The Punjab government allowed its employees and pensioners the reimbursement of actual cost of knee joint replacement from April 1, 2004. But the hip joint implant, though equally important, escaped its notice. Since then, through numerous representations, the pensioners have been craving for similar provisions for hip joint implant also, but without success.

A person suffering from hip joint trouble becomes totally bed-ridden. The government should accede to this long-standing demand of the pensioners.

H.C. BANSAL, Secretary, Punjab Secretariat Services (retd) Officers Association, Chandigarh

DA delayed

The Punjab government should release the DA instalment due on January 1, 2007 at the rate of 6 per cent to its pensioners. The government did show such gestures in the past. Unfortunately, the government always delays the release of DA to its pensioners for reasons best known to it.

S. P. ARORA, Jalandhar City

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