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Dalit uplift: Who is to blame?

Kuldip Nayar in his article Ignored cause of dalit uplift (April 25) has no doubt made a strong plea for social revolution passionately urging upon the Hindu society to end their age-old prejudice and biased mindset against the dalits, yet many grey areas were left unaddressed. For the misfortunes overtaking the SCs decades after independence and promulgation of Constitutional guarantees and safeguards, the writer has blamed not only the upper castes for maltreating the dalits but the dalits themselves, the so-called creamy layer among them for appropriating the benefits of reservation meant for the deserving lot. This view is not wholly correct. What is the numerical strength of such people enjoying that status?

On the question of reservations, to say that Dr Ambedkar, the architect of India’s Constitution, was opposed to reservation but was prevailed upon by the then PM Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru to accept it is again not in conformity with facts.

The reservation package that was first brought on statute book under Government of India Act 1935 and later on carried into the Constitution of India in 1950 was a mere fallout of the Ambedkar-Gandhi agreement known as Poona Pact 1932. The ‘communal award’ granting separate electorates to the Scheduled Castes was replaced by the system of joint electorate in the wake of Gandhi’s fast unto death. Thus, reservations should not be taken to mean any kind of charity or generosity doled out to the dalit community by any one. It is, on the other hand, a solemn national commitment that should be honoured by one and all.

The time limit for reservations of ten years was imposed only in the case of political reservation under Article 336 of the Constitution and not in the case of reservation in government services granted under Article 335. If the society or the government for that matter has failed to bring the deprived sections on par with the rest of the society with the support of these provisions, which was really the intention and aim of this policy, who is to be singled out as the culprit- the ruling or the suffering class?

KC SULEKH, Chandigarh

Cancer train

The rapidly rising cases of cancer in Malwa belt of Punjab need immediate attention of central and state governments. Cancer is spreading like wild fire in Malwa belt comprising Mansa, Bathinda, Muktsar and Faridkot districts of Punjab, but the Badal government is mum on the issue for the last 5 years. Many innocent and poor people are dying everyday while the preliminary survey is said to be still in progress. When will these surveys actually materialise into action?

The Health Department data reveals that there are one crore cancer patients in the world out of which 50 per cent die every year. In India, there are 25 lakh cancer patients out of whom 25 percent die every year and 35 per cent new ones arise.

In the Malwa belt of Punjab there are more than 200 cancer patients per lakh persons. Some villages have more than 10 per cent cancer patients and 10 to 15 deaths in a year in a village.

Underground water samples collected by a central government team revealed presence of uranium in water. The agriculture experts say that farmers in this cotton belt used excessive pesticides out of sheer ignorance.

These four districts having numerous cancer patients do not have any cancer hospital or oncologist or facility for cancer histopathology test that can give relief to the poor people for early detection of this disease. The cancer patients catch the Bikaner-Bathinda train, also known as the cancer train. If Bikaner can have a big charitable hospital, why not Bathinda? This chronic disease is ruining many families due to huge expenditure and mental stress which disturbs all family members. Some families live in penury and are unable to purchase medicines.


Bofors ghost

By virtue of disclosures made by former Swedish police chief Sten Lindstorm, the Bofors ghost has again come to haunt us. The Opposition has demanded judicial probe into the matter, the public in general is not interested in politics, but definitely wants to know the truth which is their right.

The Congress party dismissed allegations and sought an apology from the Opposition. Instead the Congress should have let the probe happen conveying a message to the general public that there is no substance in the allegation.

In the fitness of things, if the Congress party wishes and plans to lead the country again, it should come out clean on all allegations of corruption.

The ‘open hand’ symbol of the Congress claimed to be for the common man has practically taken a tilt at right angle to become a slap on the common man’s face. In the Gettysburg address, Abraham Lincoln said about democracy –“that government of the people. by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

MS Shienh, Phagwara 

Ingrained value system

Maj Gen G G Dwivedi’s middle 'Aligning the moral compass' (April 30) comes straight from the heart of an army veteran who recounts his formative years as a cadet. Deep-seated values are ingrained into the officers entering the armed forces to keep the welfare of the country at the top followed by honour, welfare and comfort of countrymen with own ease, comfort and safety coming last. When aberrations in the conduct of armed officers surface in the media, even the common man suffers the agony.

S C CHABBA, Panchkula 



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