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Shift in China’s Afghan policy

The new Chinese leadership under President Xi Jinping has made a major paradigmatic shift in its Afghan policy. Growing Islamic fundamentals in its Xinjiang province and high economic stakes in Afghanistan have forced China to share its deep concern with India over the situation that might emerge there after the withdrawal of the NATO forces in 2014 ( Editorial, ‘China in Afghanistan’, April 4). Along with Russia, both India and China are vehemently opposed to the Western policy of appeasement and reconciliation with the Taliban who, despite a decade-long US-led war against terrorism, enjoy mammoth public support in Afghanistan.

Contrary to President Hamid Karzai’s political game plan, they fear that the Taliban might capture the power structure in Afghanistan, implement their destructive agenda again and endanger peace and stability in South Asia and China. India must accept the Chinese offer of cooperation in rebuilding an embattled Afghanistan and counter the Taliban threat. But for that, China must first rein in Pakistan so that its stops hobnobbing with the Taliban and Al-Qaida elements to foment trouble in Afghanistan. Once India and China plan a common strategic agenda, it will not only promote their vital trade and investment interests in Afghanistan, but also help in improving their relations and solving their border and other disputes.

DS KANG, Hoshiarpur

Rahul’s CII speech

The editorial Rahul speaks (April 6) has rightly pointed out that Rahul Gandhi is to be assessed not as the Prime Minister candidate but only as a Congress vice-president.

Rahul’s address at the CII meet recently was bereft of any histrionics. The young leader rightly spoke about the aam aadmi’s problems, which the poor face in day-to-day life. His approach to highlight the issues faced by the down-trodden was genuine and worthy of appreciation. It is true that he is not yet a matured politician and lacks practical experience to negotiate intricacies and pitfalls of coalition governance. But one thing is clear that he is not power-hungry and ego-centric.

Rahul’s exposition was similar to Rajiv Gandhi, unassuming and unpretentious. Presently, in the role of a party organiser he does not need to be assertive, but he should gear up for a bigger role soon.  

RM RAMAUL, Paonta Sahib

BJP poll plan

Senior BJP LK Advani has exhorted his partymen to take pride in the Ram Janam Bhoomi movement that led to the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in December 1992.  The rath yatra that Advani undertook across the country with a call to build a Ram temple in Ayodhya led to mass mobilisation of BJP and Hindutva cadres and culminated in the demolition of the mosque. Top BJP leaders, including Advani, were in the forefront in the triumphant celebration as the mosque was razed to the ground. 

The religious sentiments attached to Ayodhya and construction of a grand temple there brought rich political dividends for the BJP and catapulted it to power at the Centre.  No wonder, Advani feels proud of his achievement, albeit destructive and controversial.  Since then the issue of the Ram temple has become a political card for the BJP, which the party plays to garner Hindu votes.

For the 2014 General Election, the party has adopted a two-pronged strategy of highlighting the Hindutva agenda and focusing on development of the country and promotion of secularism.  Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who is being projected as prime ministerial candidate, has provided good governance. It now remains to be seen whether these discordant notes of Advani, Modi and other leaders on the Ram temple, development and secularism will translate into votes for the BJP or not.


Don’t tax kids

The decision of the Punjab Government to merge 690 primary schools with other schools is totally unjustified. Merger is a polished name for closure of these schools in villages. The decision is also not in consonance with the policy of free and compulsory primary education under the Right to Education Act. Compelling a six or seven-year-old child to walk one kilometre to attend school doesn’t make any sense. The reason given by the government for the merger is that the number of students in schools is very less. But this actually works in the favour of students. If the number of students is less, a dedicated teacher can do quality work and attract other students of the village going to urban or semi-urban schools.

Those teachers who are in the favour of this merger, they are doing disservice to their community. The government should revise this decision and avoid discomfort to little children.


Lift ban on ‘Sadda Haq’

This refers to the news report Sadda Haq unit cries foul (April 6). It is most unfortunate that the governments of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and the UT administration have banned the film that depicts the dark days of terrorism. People, especially the younger generation, have every right to know and see as to what went wrong that led the youth to take up arms at that time. History should not be kept under the wraps. After viewing the movie, the youth will come to know that vested political interests led to violence and mayhem. There are lessons to be learnt after viewing the film.

It is very surprising and shocking to note that the film has been banned on the advice of some bureaucrats even as it has been cleared by the Censor Board of India and the highest authority of the Sikhs, the SGPC. The Punjab Government, in particular, must immediately lift the ban and other states should follow suit. The ban is shameful and unjustified.

RK KAPOOR, Chandigarh



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