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Frisking Kalam an act of disgrace

The editorial, “A disgraceful act: US airline must mend its ways” (July 23) has rightly questioned: “How will Americans react if Mr Bill Clinton or Mr Gorge W Bush are searched here?” Indeed such incidents stand out as irritants in the way of Indo-US relations.

The frisking of former President, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, by the Continental Airlines should be condemned by one and all. By asking a man of Dr Kalam’s stature “to take off his shoes and pass through a metal detector before boarding the flight”, the airlines has humiliated a billion people of the world’s largest democracy. The fact that the VVIP was exempted from frisking makes the act even more shocking.

A mere apology from the Continental Airlines is not sufficient. The government of India should lodge a strong protest with the US government. It should also be ensured that the guilty airlines staff is punished and such disgraceful acts are not repeated. After the 9/11, the US has tightened its security, but that is no excuse for such abominable behaviour.

R K KAPOOR, Chandigarh


The frisking of Dr APJ Kalam, at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi is shocking and shameful. This is a blatant breach of protocol and irreparable damage has been done. It is a case of national disgrace. The guilty deserve an exemplary punishment so that such unfortunate incidents are not repeated.

O P COUSHIK, Kurukshetra


The wilful disrespect to one of our most distinguished citizens and former President is an insult to every Indian citizen. However, as always the government’s response has been ineffective and pusillanimous.

As citizens, we need to ask ourselves — is an apology enough? The least that should have been done is to suspend the airline’s licence to operate from India. Perhaps, a fine if permitted under rules, could also have been imposed. If our government will not stand up for the self-respect of its citizens, then patriotic Indians should boycott Continental Airlines.

Maj-Gen PUSHPENDRA SINGH (retd), Panchkula


Continental Airlines, whose officials frisked Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, issued an apology; “We apologise to Dr Kalam for any inconvenience caused. Our intention was never to offend the sentiments of Dr Kalam.” But the airlines added, “We reiterate our commitment to comply with the rules”. What a sham of an apology?


Censure khaps

The editorial “Punish the khaps ” (July 21) succinctly analysed the arrogance of the khap panchayats of Haryana and their open defiance of the law of the land. These panchayats nurse a medieval mindset.

Their outdated decisions prove that caste is still a major factor in rural India. But then, it should hardly come as a surprise. In India even today, elections are contested on the basis of caste.

The “zeal” with which the villagers resisted the police force shows that reforms and social progress are still a distant dream. The gender bias against fair sex is deep-rooted. The parallel judicial system poses a threat to individual liberty and freedom. The defiant attitude of khaps has been boosted by the Haryana government’s soft stance.

In a way, the government seems to have surrendered before the decision of the khap panchayat. Interestingly, the silence of the opposition parties underlines that they, too, do not want to risk losing their vote banks. This appeasement of vote banks has eroded democratic values and norms.


Resume Indo-Pak dialogue Indo-Pak relations (H K Dua’s front-page editorial “Why be afraid of talks with Pakistan?”, July 18) should become normal. It will be in the interest, well-being and prosperity of the people of both countries. But there is one irritant that Pakistan ought to erase. It must stop aiding and abetting terrorists morally, politically and financially and should not allow the so-called “non-state actors” to operate from it soil.

Enough time has elapsed since the tragic and gory events of 26/11. Now, it is time for two nations to think compassionately and to resume the dialogue. India’s approach should be free from confusion. The cynics should not be allowed to prevail as nothing concrete and endurable can be achieved through violence. A semblance of trust will have to be restored even though at present it is woefully lacking.

India has gone to great lengths to create cordial atmosphere in the subcontinent and has given its nod for reconciliation. It is now Pakistan’s turn to reciprocate the goodwill shown by India.I endorse Mr Dua’s views that peace making is difficult and requires patience, wisdom and statesmanship of a high order. Even a small step like the one taken at Sharm-El-Sheikh should be welcomed rather than criticised.




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