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

Terrorists deserve no clemency

I fully agree with the editorial, Dealing with mercy petitions (August 12). Capital punishment is awarded very rarely and when it is done, there are compelling reasons behind it. A terrorist is no ordinary criminal. He is a nihilist without normal human values or sentiments. Once let off, he would set about redesigning against society. Law does give such people the right to make an appeal for mercy. However, such petitions need to be taken up on priority, though without showing haste, especially when the petitioner has been convicted for genocidal offences.

No nationalistic Indian would buy the excuse that there has been delay because of absence of guidelines or timeframe. Issues concerning the nation’s sovereignty and safety of the general fabric of society cannot be resigned to such political or bureaucratic lethargy. The nation has been waiting for the disposal of Afzal Guru’s petition. There are narrow political motives behind the delay. Political masters may refuse to admit it, but the masses clearly understand it, though with much bitterness and helplessness.



Breaking deadlock

This refers to the editorial, No room for theatrics, and the article, The Anna effect (both August 22). Most of the ministers, who are PM’s advisers, are lawyers-turned-politicians. They take a narrow legalistic view of everything. They have failed to gauge the mood of the people. But for Rahul Gandhi’s intervention, the situation could have worsened.

If those in power are not corrupt, why are they creating hurdles in the way of a strong Lokpal Bill? The deadline of August 30 may appear to be bulldozing the bill through, but haven’t we often seen important bills being passed just in 15 minutes without any debate or discussion?

The Congress, as a party, would be the biggest loser in the long run, if the government, in its arrogance, antagonizes the people. Dialogue is the best course of action, but both Team Anna and the government should shun their rigid posture. Rahul Gandhi should step in again to make the dialogue a success and not leave it to the government alone.

Wg-Cdr CL SEHGAL (retd), Jalandhar

Development projects

The editorial, Riders to growth (August 23), has quite rightly pointed out that India’s leadership no longer dreams big. The government has realised that even to attain a growth rate of 9%, it has to take “hard decisions”. But this is nothing new for any economy that is developing. In fact, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has always been in favour of reforms. It all started in 1991 when he was the Finance Minister. However, political compulsions seem to have slowed down the process of economic reforms. At a time when the government has failed to tame inflation, if the growth rate falls, the consequences can be disastrous for the country.

The editorial has pointed out that China is growing at a much higher rate, and implementing projects there is easier than in India. This is true. But it is erroneous to think that the people of India will not allow development projects to go ahead. The problem lies in lack of proper communication pertaining to these projects. The government, the media, and social activists need to understand that they all must move together in building national consensus on development-related projects. They should also make the people of this country understand the benefits of a given project. This seldom happens. Besides, our politicians play dirty games and unnecessarily arouse public sentiments against an issue of national importance.



The editorial, Riders to growth (August 23), is full of economic wisdom. To restore the shattered public faith, there is certainly a strong case for hard decisions, including political reforms.

The voting rate can be enhanced by making it mandatory for the eligible voters to vote. This can provide a stable government without compulsions due to dependence on regional parties least interested in national issues.

We need to learn from China, which has adopted technology in a big way. China’s domestic saving rate is 10 per cent higher than that of India due to the one child norm there. We need to consider the family welfare programme as a basic human resource development activity in addition to a revolution in agriculture, by bringing it in the domain of military service for developing military farms for cultivating barren land. This will ensure food security in addition to discipline and morality needed urgently.

Prof M M GOEL,
Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences,
Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra

Fighting Naxals

This refers to the editorial, Deadly force multiplier (August 23). It is important for us to understand that when the paramilitary forces deal with Naxal extremists, it is not a political game they indulge in. When you are fired upon, you retaliate. It is often a challenging task to face the extremists because they mingle with civilians. If an innocent life is lost, newspapers are full of allegations that the forces have not acted with caution. Counter-insurgency operations are not video games one plays on a computer. It is a real operation fought against real forces that want to destroy you. It must be kept in mind that the paramilitary forces do not intend to harm civilians. That is also one of the reasons why so many jawans and officers die in a single operation.

The issue of training of jawans and officers of the paramilitary forces should be addressed at the earliest. Naxal extremists are well-equipped, and use sophisticated weapons. Our forces are capable but need to be adequately trained. The use of snipers can only be of temporary help. The training of the forces is more important.

Capt RANJAN SHARMA (retd), Jalandhar 

Teaching profession

Teachers no longer realise or perhaps feel the need to realise that they have a big role to play in the life of their students (middle, Teacher, teach thyself, August 23). Now, it seems corruption and greed have ruined this noble profession. A teacher needs to have the moral strength to stand before her students and teach without fear or favour. If money is her only consideration, she can join some other profession.

I have come across teachers who give undue advantage to their students even at the cost of spoiling theirhabits.

But then there are also teachers still around who inspire students to build their personality. Such teachers may be very few, but they do exist. In fact, our education system is such that teachers have become ‘technicians’, who are required to teach only the requisite skills so that their students can earn money later on in their life. There is no focus on character building.




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