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Bring public officials under the Lokpal

This refers to the article, “Anna Hazare’s agenda” (August 10) by S Nihal Singh. I totally disagree with the views of the writer. The agenda of Anna Hazare is quite selfless, and it is progressive. The two major political parties — the Congress and the BJP — are not interested in passing the Jan Lokpal Bill for their own selfish motives. Anna Hazare, the social reformer, wants to eliminate corruption that is now rampant in the country

All MPs, public representatives, judicial officers and our Prime Minister should come under the purview of the Jan Lokpal Bill to eradicate the evil of corruption once and for all for the first time in independent India.

ER. SK MITTAL, Panchkula


Irrespective of whether the draft Lokpal Bill, being debated currently by a standing committee of Parliament, has sufficient provisions to fight corruption decisively at all levels, the verdict of the Home Minister declaring Anna’s stand as unjustified is simply out of place.

It is unfortunate that Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal as also Pawan Bansal seem to be fighting a court case as lawyers in defence of the draft bill. These worthies are lawyers of high standing in their profession, but out here what they ought not to forget is that democratic process must prevail to ensure a better tomorrow. Let no remark against our parliamentary and democratic propriety be invited in a misplaced hurry to push the bill with a brute force.

Major BALDEV SINGH, Ambala Cantt


The government’s attitude towards a social activist was not something one would expect in democracy (Cong goes ballistic against Anna, August 15). The government attacked Anna Hazare on Sunday levelling charges against him. The Congress seems to have a strategy to allow one set of its leaders to attack their opponents. The core issue of corruption remains buried in this confrontation between the government and the civil society group. If Anna is corrupt, the government must prove it. If he is not, will the leaders who call him a corrupt man apologise?

We, the people of India, have full faith in democracy and its institutions, including Parliament. But shouldn’t the government in a democracy respect the wishes of its people? If the government is sincerely committed to rooting out corruption, what is the problem in allowing the Jan Lokpal Bill to be tabled in Parliament? There is no need to create a chaotic situation in the country by stifling the voice of those who want to fight against corruption.


Turmoil in Afghanistan

The continuing violence in Afghanistan does not augur well for the region, especially in the context of the withdrawal of US troops from the country. In a recent suicide attack 22 persons were killed. The Taliban had claimed responsibility for the attack (Suicide attack on Afghan guv’s house; 22 killed, August 15).

Earlier this month, the Taliban had shot down a helicopter in a western province killing 38 American and Afghan troops. The attacks may further intensify after the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. India is currently engrossed in fighting corruption, and the government is involved in dealing with agitators. Amidst domestic problems in India, there is always a risk of terror attacks if the government and its agencies are not careful. I only hope that the government is keeping an eye on the situation in Afghanistan. Domestic problems must be solved at the earliest so that a stable India can focus entirely on thwarting any attempts by external forces to destabilise it.

Capt RAJIV SINHA (retd), Faridabad

Punjab schools

Punjab Education Minister Sewa Singh Sekhwan had set up a 12-member core committee about three months ago to look into the education system in the state. The core committee submitted its interim report in which it painted a dismal picture of the education system in Punjab, and recommended sweeping changes for improving the quality of education. The education system in Punjab is divided into two streams solely on the basis of income of parents, one for the rich and the other for the poor. Government schools, particularly in rural areas, are nowhere near the quality standards prescribed by the Central Advisory Board of Education.

While the syllabi of these schools are good, their implementation is very poor. Though teachers in government schools are well paid, they always seek private extra income from groups of students. The schools are also not well equipped with inferior buildings and poor infrastructure. In some schools, there are no toilets, no facilities for drinking water, no furniture and no fans for children. On the other hand, there are public schools, which are run by private persons or societies. They charge high tuition fee, but do justice by providing favourable teaching environment and facilities for sports.

Unless the state government spends money to improve the infrastructure and quality of schools, the education system cannot be improved.

Dr H KUMAR KAUL, Director, Gandhi Arya Sen. Sec. School, Barnala

Kashmiri Pandits

I was shocked to learn that the number of Pandits in Kashmir had dwindled from four lakh to only 4000 because of the ethnic-cleansing campaign of Pakistan-supported terrorists (editorial, “The forgotten community”, August 12).

Kashmir was renowned not only for its romantic beauty and salubrious climate, but also for communal unity and cultural harmony. It is this secular fibre that the terrorists are hell-bent on destroying. They have transformed the peaceful Valley into a killing field and are recklessly determined to make it an Islamic State. Pakistan has illegally and forcibly occupied about 78,000 sq km of Jammu and Kashmir. It is from this side that the Pakistan-trained terrorists sneak into the Valley. No effort has been made to regain it. Can the Pandits living in unhygienic camps be said to have a country when they cannot live in their native houses?

Now even a healthy person visiting the Valley returns acutely distressed by the gory happenings there. Unless there is peace and Kashmiri Pandits are allowed to live in their ancestral houses with honour and dignity, the pristine glory of the paradise on earth cannot be brought back.




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