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Sanjay Dutt is not above the law

The apex court on Thursday sentenced Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt to five years in jail for possession of illegal arms and ammunition at the time of the 1993 serial blasts in Mumbai. The court, however, considering various aspects, has given Dutt a reduced sentence. The trial ran for 20 years.

Born into a respectable family, Dutt, apart from breaking the law once for which he has got the jail sentence, has been a law-abiding citizen. In the case, he, like a gentleman, has admitted to his guilt and accepted the ruling.

Dutt's life has seen many ups and downs. After the TADA court convicted him for six years, Dutt remained behind bars for 18 months before he was let out on bail. Dutt also fought drug-addiction when he was young.

Even though his image has received a battering over the years, he has always won the audience's love and produced great hits like Khalnayak, Munna Bhai series, Agneepath and so on.

There are rumours that the film industry might lose close to Rs 250 crore with Dutt in jail. The fans might miss their affable Munnabhai.

But, the Supreme Court has made it clear that no one is above the law and rightly considered the offence too serious to be pardoned.

UJAGAR SINGH, via email




Soniaís stand praiseworthy

The return of the two Italian marines to India has been a diplomatic victory for India and Congress president Sonia Gandhi should get her share of praise for contributing to it.

She may be congratulated for her firm stand against Italy. She slammed Italy for its refusal to send back the two marines charged in the fishermen killing case and said "betrayal of a commitment to our Supreme Court is outright unacceptable". This statement should silence her detractors who accuse her of being biased towards her native country.

The Congress leaders in the country had been doubtful about Sonia's stand against Italy. However, Sonia cleared the mist and issued a strong unwavering statement, making it clear that she was as patriotic towards India as any other native.

KA Solaman,via email

Move court to get Guruís body

I am surprised to see the uproar in Jammu and Kashmir over returning the body of Afzal Guru who was hanged recently for being involved in the attack on the Indian Parliament.

The family of Afzal Guru can easily force the government to send his body back by moving the Jammu and Kashmir High Court. There are enough provisions in our Constitution to challenge the government on the stand that it took on burying Guru inside Tihar Jail.

Under Article 25 of the Constitution, it is the fundamental right of any person belonging to any religion to get his last rites performed.

HEM RAJ JAIN, Bengaluru

Pre-primary education vital

Virendra Kumar has elaborated on the connection between nursery and elementary education "Nursery, elementary education inseparable components" (March 20) on constitutional and legal grounds.

The first six years of the child are the most crucial. In one of the studies conducted in the UK, it has been proved that a child with pre-primary education is better adjusted socially and academically than a child without it.

No wonder every parent tries to admit his child to a preparatory school before he attains the age of six. Only the poor fail to educate their children during this age. The government should make efforts to provide pre-primary education to all children. It will help poor children get admission into elementary schools effortlessly, and lower their dropout rate.

S KUMAR, Panchkula





Steps to check suicides

Apropos the editorial "End game" (March 19), the state and society need to watch out for a person showing suicidal tendencies and respond adequately. But, how must the state respond?

One way is to start helplines with the help of psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers on the government payroll. But, how are we going to ensure that helplines will be manned by responsive people when the call is going to be made by a would-be suicidal person? The government needs to ensure that the employees handle the matter with care and are not dismissive in tone or character.

Another solution to the issue is to support NGOs dealing with such persons.

More channels of communication for such persons should be opened, e.g. building a website to offer help. Persons with suicidal tendencies need a re-look into their problems, new source of inspiration. There is a fine line that separates a person who commits suicide from the one who does not. A nudge in the right direction could help a suicidal person tide over the crisis he or she is facing.

The government should also set up a help cell in each subdivision and depute a psychiatrist there.

LT COL JASJIT SINGH GILL (RETD), via email

Crime and policing

The editorial "Crime and policing: Line being crossed a little too often" (March 13), highlighting the foul ways/antics of the police, makes for gloomy reading.

No doubt, if the police performs its duty by the book, crime can't flourish to the extent it has.

It reminds me of a pertinent remark made by a Supreme Court judge some years ago that the police happens to be the largest organised "goonda force" operating in the country. They fail to check crime and demand bribes from the public for doing their job. Instead, sometimes even harass the common man, if he or she fails to grease his palm.

Over to the powers-that-be for some credible explanation for the "misconduct" by the so-called "protectors" of the public!

TARA CHAND, Una

 

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