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

Is death penalty actually a deterrent?

Ruchi Gupta in her article “Framing the debate on death penalty” (August 24) rightly observes that what needs to be established is whether the State has the ability to be absolutely sure of a person’s guilt, or even has the right to take life at all. Such a crucial debate should be initiated only after case studies across the country have been done to establish whether or not death penalty actually acts as a deterrent to serious crimes, which fit into the category of “rarest of rare cases”. This solemn phrase must, in the first place, be also clearly defined by a consortium of legal luminaries, psychologists, sociologists, and select members of the victims’ families.

The writer has done a good job in outlining the hitherto untouched issues that impinge on death penalty but were ignored as an offshoot of what I call “the scourge of specialisation”. The unbridled urge “to know more and more about less and less” distorts the overall perspective so much that it becomes well-nigh impossible to make sense of the problem eventually. Such an approach had naturally, though irrationally, led to “arguments for and against capital punishment revolving around details of specific cases” at the unaffordable cost of the whole.

Dr S S BHATTI, Chandigarh

The Punjab model

The Punjab Government has asked all its departments to pre-maturely retire the corrupt and inefficient officers to provide a clean and transparent administration. Why can’t the same rule be extended to Kerala too?

Many of the government offices in Kerala are doing little or no work, indicated by the heaps of files pending on the tables of ‘babus’.

They give lame excuses for non-performance. A thorough review of the work record of these employees should be done. Since officials are reluctant to do their duty on time, the ministers interfere and often land up in trouble oblivious of the rules and facts. It is finally the court that rectifies the failing. The intervention of the judiciary in day-to-day matters of the government points out at the inefficacy of the bureaucracy.

K A SOLAMAN, Alappuzha, Kerala

What justice?

It brings solace that the culprits responsible for the Naroda Patiya riots have been awarded appropriate punishment. It is difficult to understand why different treatment is accorded to different rioters –in Naroda Patiya case, 32 persons have got life term and in ‘84 Sikh riots not even a single person was apprehended.

Is it because the 1984 Sikhs riots were sponsored by Congress leaders? To add fuel to the fire, instead of bringing the culprits to book, they were suitably placed as cabinet ministers.


Brazen political class

In a tragic air accident, 5 officers and 4 men of IAF lost their lives in Gujarat. The news was reported prominently in all national dailies and news TV channels.

However, it is extremely sad that no national or regional leader found it worthwhile to regret the loss of its soldiers who died in the line of duty. The Parliament is in session, yet the leaders did not think about their duty to atleast pay homage to the departed souls.

Compare this with the US, the most powerful nation in the world. Six Sikhs died in a senseless shootout by a private person and the US President condemned the bloodshed. The US flew at half-mast throughout the world. Even if one soldier dies on duty in Israel, the entire nation does not take food.

Col MANMOHAN SINGH (retd), Chandigarh


After the shootout in a US gurdwara where Sikhs lost their lives, US President Obama expressed condolence to the bereaved. In India, when genocide of Sikhs occurred in India in November 1984, the then PM Rajiv Gandhi said “Jab bara darkhat girta hai to dharti kampti hai”. No killer of the Sikhs was punished; on the other hand the people who facilitated the gory acts were rewarded with high positions in the government.

AMAR JIT SINGH GORAYA, Griffith, Australia

Deep roots

The relation of mythology with modern medical science is very interesting as depicted in Dr S K Jindal’s article “Mythology in modern science”. The coiled snake around a rod is a symbol of medicine. The medical term Caesarean section is rooted in Roman Imperial Law (Lax caesarean), Atlas vertebra is related with God Atlas, Phobias with Phobos, son of Aphrodite, and many more examples abound.

It tells us that the roots of modern medicine lie in our culture and history. Every form of science has some time or the other stepped on its links with human history. Old beliefs should not be made to affect modern life. These are matters of interest and added knowledge to be used rationally.


Free for a day!

Ashok Kumar Yadav deserves to be complimented for his fascinating middle “Seeking independence” (August 30) for giving a soul-stirring account of his freedom from ‘husbandry’.

The writer’s candid disclosure that on the auspicious occasion of Independence Day, his wife “lavishly applauded” services rendered by him all these years in the interest of “matrimonial peace” and therefore granted him “freedom” for a day to rejoice the way he wished, was simply hilarious.

TARA CHAND, Ambota (Una)



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