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Resolve issue of status of J&K

This is apropos Kuldip Nayar’s article, “Kashmir remains bilateral issue” (October 30). With Pakistan Prime Minister raking up the Kashmir issue at every forum and the Pakistan army repeatedly indulging in ceasefire violations, their aim seems to be to grab Kashmir somehow. J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has provided them further ammunition by his irresponsible statement that unlike other Indian states, J&K had acceded to, but not merged with, India. Intriguingly, the Congress-led union government is silent over it.

Is a merger different from an accession? Had the other states signed two instruments — one of accession and another of merger? If what Omar has said is true, why do we keep howling from the rooftop that Kashmir is an integral part of India? If there was any doubt, why couldn’t we complete the merger formality in the past six decades? Instead, haven't we widened the wedge by our unwise decision of giving J&K a special status and allowing it to have its own constitution and a separate flag? The Congress, which was in power all these years, has to answer.

Now that the merger of Kashmir has come under question from our own people, it is time we undo the mischief, scrap special status given to J&K and complete the merger so that it really becomes an integral part of India like other states.

Wg Cdr CL SEHGAL (retd), Jalandhar

Help domestic helps

This refers to the editorial, "Cruelty to servants: Make screening of employers must" (November 8). How shameful it is that a Member of Parliament and his doctor wife tortured and killed their maidservant and then destroyed the evidence. These people must be put behind the bars for life.

In most cases, it has been observed that it is the educated rich and men wielding authority who ill-treat their domestic helps. Tthe maids belong to poor families and work in houses at meagre amounts without being registered. The employers also flout rules by not getting their background verified by providing photographs to the local police as required under law.

The maids are treated by employers as if they are their personal properties. In many cases, they are molested and sexually assaulted, and murdered if they raise their voice. It's a shame that this is going on despite the Sexual Harassment Bill passed by the Lok Sabha in 2011.

A record of the domestic helps’ age, qualification, address, photograph must be maintained as a handy profile with the agencies who supply them to the employers and should be in the knowledge of the local police. Minimum payable salary must also be mentioned in the record book. I agree with the suggestion that the authorities must make the screening of employers a must so that they can be taken to task in case of any ill-treatment.

R K KAPOOR, Chandigarh


You have rightly observed that while emphasis is laid on the screening of servants, no employer is screened to check his suitability. It is time the domestic servants and daily wage workers are protected from their greedy and insensitive employers. We earn lakhs, but grudge paying a few hundred rupees a month to an ayah who cleans our house and utensils. We expect her to work even when she is sick and are not bothered about her family obligations. The lady of the house deducts money from her meagre pay for the days she has been ‘absent’. The same is the case with the daily wage workers: be it at a construction site, or in a factory. Many employers do not even pay them the minimum wages laid down by law and make them work beyond the permissible eight hours. They are also guilty of employing child labourers.

Col R D Singh ( retd), Ambala cantt

Scribbling on notes illegal

Scribbling and writings on Indian currency notes have become a bad habit. The Indian Government loses Rs 2,638 crore per year due to this habit. You don’t find written notes in ATM delivery machines. The next time anyone asks you to write on higher denomination notes (Rs 500 or Rs 1000), refuse. Writing on currency notes is a punishable offence as per the Reserve Bank of India’s clean note policy.

In November 2001, the bank had stated that writing on the watermark window of bank notes is punishable under Section 35A of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949. It also prohibited the stapling of fresh, re-issuable or non-issuable note packets. In 2002, the RBI had pulled up a public sector bank for continuing with the stapling practice.

When will we learn to value and respect our currency? Have you seen a dollar bill or a pound with anything written on it?

The RBI has said that from January 1, 2014, no bank will accept any note with scribblings. You will not be able to deposit such notes in banks.

Dr Ranbir Singh Pannu, Amritsar 



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