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

Priceless Laxman

Khushwant Singh has rightly described master cartoonist R.K. Laxman as a ‘priceless asset’ ( Saturday Extra, November 12). People identified with his ‘common man’ and his cartoons carried a punch that is sorely missing in these days of 24x7 television. Laxman helped us get over our blues and his cartoons were truly sedatives without side effects.

—A.K. Sharma, Chandigarh

Medical murders

Unethical and unscrupulous medical professionals are said to have killed five million girls between 1986 and 2001 although one of the first such cases was registered in Amritsar in 1979. But the practice is continuing and the deep-rooted obsession for having a son appears to be as strong as ever. Society cannot afford to allow the Satanic right and the onus is clearly on law-enforcing agencies and the judiciary to send out the right signals. The incidence in Punjab and Haryana is so rampant that there is no fear or shame associated with infanticide.

— Usha Taneja, Fatehabad

Coffee houses

Coffee houses ( Good, old coffee houses by M.J. Raju) have been great levellers besides being popular haunts for intellectuals. The aroma-rich filter coffee and reasonably priced fare, attract all. Once called Penny Universities in England, they were so popular that they remained overcrowded. Distinguished patrons and regulars had to wait for a long time for waiters to serve them. To ensure quick service, they placed wooden boxes with ‘To ensure promptness’ written on them (giving rise to the practice of tips). Patrons dropped pennies into them for quick service.

— Roshni Johar, Shimla

Star & style

Athletes and sportsmen have complained for years about the poor conditions at the Guru Nanak Stadium. But all pleas had fallen on deaf ears. But now the government appears to have gone on an overdrive, sprucing up the place for the Kabaddi matches. Roofs leaked, seats were missing or needed repairs, taps disappeared and water flowed for over a decade. But now that Kabaddi is being played and stars like Deepika Padukone are due to visit, departments seem to have woken up from their deep slumber. Can we request the stars to come more frequently and visit other facilities also, so that similar government action follows ?

— Karandeep S Kalra, Via e-mail

On razor’s edge

While Capital punishment should not be based on confessional statements or circumstantial evidence ( On a razor’s edge, November 6). The recent release of nine innocent people charged with engineering the Malegaon blasts also demonstrates how investigating agencies can , deliberately or otherwise, nail innocents. Most of the countries have abolished capital punishment and the delay in disposing the mercy petitions of Afzal Guru, Arivu and Bhullar are rightly being contested. Our scriptures hold that ‘life and death’ is in the hand of God. Who are we to interfere with his scheme of things ?

— B.M. Singh, Amritsar

Delays fatal

Mercy petitions must be disposed within a specified time-frame and no further appeal should be allowed against capital punishment. Any dilution or delay in the execution of death sentences will only embolden and encourage criminals.

— Captain Amarjeet Kumar, SAS Nagar

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