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Controversy over Bluestar memorial

Kuldip Nayar in his write-up Playing with fire in Punjab (June 18) has called upon the Akalis to explain their conduct on the issue of the SGPC setting up a memorial to Operation Bluestar. He appears to be shocked that no Sikh organisation or person of consequence has condemned the honouring of ‘a killer’ and the laying of the foundation of the memorial. If unity among the Sikhs on the issue could cause such disquiet to a writer of the stature of Kuldip Nayar, who claims to be secular, then God bless Indian secularism.

Memorials are set up to remember the dead or mark important events the world over. There are commemorative memorials to the Vietnam war, the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Korean war veterans. Many towns in the US and Germany have war memorials. Americans observe a ‘Memorial Day’ annually on the last Monday of May to pay tributes to American heroes the world over.

So why raise such a hue and cry over a memorial to Operation Bluestar in which thousands of Sikhs, including women and children, laid down their lives defending their faith? India’s secular ethos should be understood and followed in a much wider perspective. The minorities in the country should not be forced to abandon their religious and political aspirations.

BIR DEVINDER SINGH, Former Deputy Speaker, Punjab


The filing of a clemency petition for Balwant Singh Rajoana before the President of India by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has been termed as a “horrifying act”. This was supposedly “to the horror of the whole country”. How the extent of horror was measured and by whom is anybody’s guess. Can we ask: why is the filing of a clemency plea for anyone wrong or unpatriotic and not a humane gesture?

By the way, when the Tamil Nadu legislature passed a resolution seeking clemency for the killers of Rajiv Gandhi — Perarivalan, Santhan and Murugan — no horror struck the country.

Not very surprisingly, Kuldip Nayar now seeks the scrapping of the Sikh Gurdwara Act and the SGPC born out of it. Let me humbly inform him that he has had the privilege of accepting an honour and a purse on July 2, 2006, from this institution (read SGPC) which “mixes religion and politics”. If the gentleman is so upset, he should return the honour and I am sure the SGPC would gladly accept it, as they can easily see that they had made a mistake.

KANWARPAL SINGH, Spokesman, Dal Khalsa, Amritsar


Mark Tully, who was a BBC correspondent in India for 26 years, writes “June 6, 1984, was a day of terror for the Sikhs”.  On July 12, 1984, Khushwant Singh said in the Rajya Sabha that “Bluestar is another Jallianwala Bagh …No Sikh can ever forget Bluestar”. What has Kuldip Nayar to say about these observations?

I am a Keshdhari Sikh but my mother belonged to a Hindu family. I fully respect both the Hindu and Sikh religions and even have some sympathy for the RSS and the BJP. I am a regular reader of the Organiser but I always voted for the Congress in elections in India.


Political cliché

It’s very clearly stated in your editorial, Disgraceful power play (June 15) that differences in democracy are natural but there are decent ways of resolving or expressing them.

Mamata Banerjee sometimes rides a rudderless ship and a directionless boat, taming such a ship or boat is very difficult indeed. Has her open defiance on different occasions and tolerance shown on various occasions encouraged her? Had she been snubbed on the very first occasion, it would have been much better for the coalition partners.

In Punjabi parlance we say, Budhi drave marno te mutiyar khasan karno”. (An old woman threatens to die by jumping into the well and a young girl threatens to marry a man of her own choice against the wishes of the members of the family). Fake threats provide no choice. If she goes against the senior partner she will bring disgrace and discredit her own party. The UPA hopes for the best but should remain prepared for the worst.

SHAM SUNDER, Kapurthala

Never too late to mend

Better sense has prevailed upon the Central authorities to clear the overflowing godowns of rice and wheat at cheaper rates to make room for the new crop as mentioned in the article “Storage crisis: government to afford 8 MT grains at subsidized rates” (June 20).

Rotten and stinking heaps of wheat and rice grains present a pathetic scene at the storage places. The farmer produces the crop with lot of efforts and money whereas the government purchases the grains with public money and leaves it at the mercy of pests, rodents, and vagaries of weather.

Paradoxically we have bumper crops but don’t have the capacity to store the same which leads to gleets.

Now, the Centre has decided to offload 8 MT of wheat and rice at cheaper rates. We can feed the needy poor as well as utilize the surplus grains. Why not release more wheat and rice in the open market when the prices of these commodities shoot up beyond the capacity of the poor to buy the same. Let us resolve to utilize the surplus grains to feed the very poor who normally die of hunger. Lack of comprehensive plans on food distribution system causes more deaths due to hunger.




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