Troop cut in Kashmir not desirable

In his piece, “Troop reduction in J and K”, Lt-Gen Harwant Singh (retd), has lucidly analysed the Progressive Democratic Party’s real motives behind its demand for troop withdrawal from the valley. He aptly observes, “Continuation of insurgency and uncertainty suits the political class with bureaucracy equally content with it both in Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi”.

Politicians in the valley have a vested interest in keeping the valley simmering. Once their nefarious demand for troop withdrawal is acceded to (which does not seem to be a remote possibility owing to the Centre’s weak, and inexperienced leadership), the valley would come to boil which will suit the political class all the more. Some of them openly espouse the cause of the terrorists and anti-national elements and yet they receive red carpet welcome in New Delhi, thanks to the sheer political expediency of the coalition coterie at the Centre.

With the situation in Jammu and Kashmir drifting from bad to worse and politicians busy in the game of one-upmanship, the people have been left to fend for themselves. The dastardly killings of the civilians and the migration of the minority community continue unabated. What a pity!



PM on Kashmir

At the Third Round Table Conference on Jammu and Kashmir, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh rightly said that lasting peace will not come through instant deals, but when the stakeholders — the people themselves —become the torchbearers of peace.

During the Second World War, Japan wanted to free India through her army of invaders while England wanted the same through slow and steady democratic elections — the true “Azadi” as prevalent in Jammu and Kashmir today. However, India got freedom through the novel mutiny of 1946, supported by mass upsurge.

Self-rule through democratic elections is a part from secession, which under Nehru was rightly avoided by remaining in the British Commonwealth. Consequently, India remains free and strong, instead of becoming moth-eaten or a lackey of super powers.


Stamp duty: HP shows the way

Inflation has hit the housing sector hard and there is considerable increase in the home loan interest rates and in the value of land for residential purposes. The increased property rates have pushed up the burden of stamp duty payable on property transactions by people.

Against this background, the Himachal Pradesh government’s decision to reduce the stamp duty on instruments of conveyance amounting to sale of immovable property (sale deed), gift deed and mortgage deed from 8 per cent to 5 per cent is timely and just (April 19).

This would encourage people to disclose the true value of such transactions which would benefit the state and thus discourage black money operations. It is time the Haryana government also reduced the stamp duty rate from 8 per cent to 5 per cent to accelerate property transactions and economic activity in the state as envisaged by the Union Urban Development Policy, which favours low and uniform stamp duty rates in the country.


Change the system

I agree with Dr D S Bhullar’s letter, “Waiting in the court” (April 24). Things are much worse. I am a senior psychiatrist. I have been attending courts as an expert witness for over 30 years. I often receive summons one or two days before the hearing (though these have been issued weeks earlier).

One has to leave the visiting patients in the lurch and proceed to the court. Once when I reached the court, I was told that a holiday had suddenly been declared. I returned. I was shocked when a bailable warrant was served two months later! I was told that if a holiday is declared, one must be present the very next working day just to be told the next date of hearing. I did not follow this. Hence the bailable warrant.

We don’t even get a chair to sit in the courts. Judicial officers often treat “expert witnesses” like ordinary litigants. Summons are often issued indiscriminately. Twice I was told that my presence in the court wasn’t required and so I wasn’t examined.

Things are worse in lower courts. One must visit thrice in 3-4 months to complete expert’s evidence. Most people respect the judiciary, but some systemic changes brook no delay.

Dr A. K. KALA, Ludhiana

Pay disparity

The Haryana government recently revised the pay scale of assistants at the secretariat level from Rs 5450 to Rs 5500 from Jan 1, 1996. However, it has not changed the pay scale of assistants at the directorate level.

As the qualification for the post of assistant at both secretariat and directorate levels is the same, the Haryana government should do justice to the staff of both levels by revising the pay scale of those at the directorates.

ANIL MITTAL, Chandigarh



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