L E T T E R S    T O    T H E    E D I T O R

Leaving the armed forces alone

I read the article entitled “Leave the armed forces alone” (March 24) by Gen V.P. Malik, in your esteemed newspaper, with interest. In a democracy, the armed forces and the civil services have to be apolitical. There is no escape from this principle, whether we like it or not. So there is no point in emphasising that these services should be “left alone” or else they will become politicised, as argued by the General.

If India is a democracy then it has to function under the rule of law that makes every one equal. Then we also know that in a democracy Parliament is supreme. Therefore, we can’t make anybody or a group of people a holy cow or a Shibboleth. India is also a republic where no one is unequal. Article 14 of the Constitution clearly states this.

My party and I clearly think by keeping the armed and paramilitary forces out of the purview of the National Human Rights Commission, India has made a mockery of its Constitution and the republican principle. The civil services and the armed forces enjoy immense powers. They help in the formulation of government policies and sometimes make policy when Article 356 is imposed. Therefore, their real power comes from keeping the code of anonymity and operating in the shadows. On retiring, just disappearing, like the great general Cincinnati’s.

I think if they go before the cameras and the press, Members of Parliament are well within their rights to comment unless General Malik wants all ex-armed forces men to be like our ex-Captains in Punjab’s politics who prefer like children to be seen and not heard!

SIMRANJIT SINGH MANN, President, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Camp: Dalhousie (HP)

On tenterhooks

Two-and-half- year old Vandana fell into an uncovered borewell in Agra very recently and the entire nation was on tenterhooks, courtesy news channels competing to get maximum TRP.

From Prince of Kurukshetra to Vandana in Agra, several children have fallen into uncovered borewells in different cities. The common denominator in these cases is that these children are from lower income group, and financially compensated for the unfortunate ordeal by the political and administrative authorities concerned to cover up their inefficient administrative lapses of not covering the borewells.

How many more Vandanas and Princes have to be trapped in borewells before our sleeping nation wakes up to the recurring problem of children falling in uncovered pits? Anyone leaving a borewell uncovered should be given exemplary punishment. Instead of financially compensating the victim’s parents, they should be reprimanded for leaving their little children unattended.

A first grade child doing homework at home was rebuked by his father, “You have nothing else to do except studying. Go out, play, and jump into a borewell if you want to become famous and rich”. The joke is on our insensitive sensibilities and little regard for human life.


The PIL menace

I read the article “PIL as industry” (March 16). It is time the judiciary woke up to the plight of the poor and disadvantaged masses. Even a pro-active, pro-poor legislation — proving reservation for OBC students aspiring to study in institutions of higher learning — passed unanimously by Parliament is being held up because of a PIL filed in the Supreme Court by upper caste forces, whose public campaign was openly funded by MNCs.

The Supreme Court has ordered a stay on the legislation. The final judgement is yet to come. The careers of thousands of OBC students have been jeopardised for the second consecutive year.

The Mandal Commission report, documents and judgements from the high courts and the Supreme Court since 1960s have effectively delayed the reservation concession to the SCs, STs and OBCs extended by duly elected representatives.




HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |