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Marines controversy mishandled

Apropos the editorial, "Tragedy of errors" (March 23), the Italian marines row could have taken an ugly course but with the return of the marines, the matter stands defused for now. The issue was in fact mishandled by both the countries from day one.

Italy can trust Indian courts for a just decision. It will be open to Italy to put forth its claim that the shooting occurred in the international waters or that the fishermen were mistaken as sea pirates. If the court finds merit, the marines may be let off lightly.

As for diplomatic immunity, India was duty-bound to honour it. The government should have put forth before the Supreme Court its desire to comply with its international obligations, but it did not do so. The government seems to have abdicated its executive duty and fighting from the judiciary's shoulders. The judiciary cannot run the government.

Both the governments, due to their own follies, landed themselves in an absurd position. Italy's ambassador was barred from leaving India. Italy could not have called him even for consultations. The diplomatic post was thus rendered dysfunctional. Tomorrow, an Indian ambassador or an envoy of another sovereign state may meet the same fate at the hands of some country. We seem to have set a dangerous precedent.


Charge toll tax in multiple of Rs 10

The road from Phagwara to Mohali, a stretch of about 100-km, has three toll barriers which charge Rs 33, 33 and 38, respectively, giving a clear message to the commuters that the pothole-free journey can only be purchased by the owners of private four-wheelers and the government is not bound to provide a safe journey. Traffic jam and wastage of time can be avoided if these taxes are in the multiple of Rs 10. Day in and day out the government advertisements on the electronic media herald about social audit of government expenditures. Cannot the political bigwigs and owners of these companies indicate on the tax slips month and year up to which this open loot is to be tolerated by the public? The regular commuters are hard-pressed to part with their hard-earned money for their journey.

Shyam Sunder Airi, Kapurthala

Persona non grata

On his return to Pakistan after his four-year exile, the former military ruler of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf (retd) said he was "proud" of the Kargil operation and blamed the political class for squandering away a military victory. Before the general elections in Pakistan for which Musharraf landed in Pakistan, his speech is not a premonitory sign of militarisation of Pakistan's sprouting democracy? The participation of Pervez Musharraf in general elections is the Pakistan's internal matter. But, the way Pakistan year after year denying that the Pakistan Army was not involved in Kargil and now to win the hearts of the Pakistan voters Musharraf openly admits that Kargil is indeed engineered by the Army of Pakistan, and thus he has direct involvement in it. It's a pity that there is nothing wrong when some Pakistanis believe that Indians held the former Army chief in greater esteem than his own fellow nationals.

How can we forget that the NDA regime led by BJP organised cultural programmes on Musharraf's futile Agra visit. Why the BJP was snoozing even just after the Kargil war? Whatsoever, is the UPA government has enough courage to lead Indian diplomacy to take Pakistan to International Court of Justice for Kargil aggression, side by side Pervez Musharraf should be declared persona non grata in India.

Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee, Faridabad

People's issue

"War cry, mock assembly", all these gimmicks by the Punjab Congress amount to wasting of tax payers' money. The Akali-BJP combine has the people's mandate and they have the right to rule. The Congress should behave as a responsible Opposition and should raise the people`s problem on the floor of the House. There are so many issues to be raised.

Ram Narayan Maheshwari, Bathinda



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