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Bluestar questions

This refers to the news item “White paper returns to haunt Punjab leaders” (February 13). Recorded history cannot be distorted by any number of white papers. The fact is that the Sikhs' estrangement began to grow when promises made to them by Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Nehru before Partition were not fulfilled. Speaking at the Congress committee meeting in Calcutta in July 1946, Pandit Nehru had declared: “The brave Sikhs of Punjab are entitled to special consideration. I see nothing wrong in an area and a set-up in the north where the Sikhs can experience the glow of freedom.”

Politicians of all hues need to answer certain pertinent questions: (a) Which political party had propped up Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and for what purpose? (b) Why was the Golden Temple complex allowed to be fortified during President's rule in 1984, right under the nose of the police and paramilitary forces? (c) Why was Operation Bluestar carried out when hundreds of innocent pilgrims, including women and children, had gathered in the Golden Temple complex to celebrate the martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev?

It is a recorded fact of history that Swaran Singh, a former minister in the Central Cabinet, was deputed as a mediator between the Central government and the Akalis and he found a solution which was acceptable to both parties. But Indira Gandhi spurned the settlement at the last moment for some inexplicable reasons. Operation Bluestar could have been easily avoided, provided alternatives to it were considered thoughtfully.


Bluestar: Move on

With the General Elections round the corner, political parties in our area have started an unhealthy debate regarding the role played by them prior to and/or after Operation Bluestar, events which occurred about 30 years back. This debate is meant for vitiating the minds of peace-loving people, who had started to forget those black days and started moving ahead for the welfare of humanity. They would do well by focusing their debates on the issues of poverty, corruption, employment/job-opportunities, social amenities, developing infrastructure and improving the living standards of Indians. The common man is more interested in the fulfilment of his daily needs and expects them to play a more positive role.

ASHOK K. ASHU, Patiala

Bhullar: Resolve conflict

The report “Terrorists don't deserve mercy” raises questions about the government's fundamental vision for the country. Does the Centre believe in punishing people twice? or, more troublingly, does it oppose conflict resolution?

Bhullar, who has been declared mentally ill by doctors, has been imprisoned since 1995. While there are now debates about the actual years intended by life sentence, when Bhullar began his time, 14 years was the norm. He has served 19 years.

Bhullar was part of the troubled years in Punjab. Given his health, the Centre will prove that the trouble is indeed in the past if by accepting his time served, it lets him live with his family. This case is especially symbolic because of the concerns raised, including public statements by the prosecuting attorney and Supreme Court Justice Shah, about the illegalities in his arrest and confession.

His release would reflect a commitment to conflict resolution by closure, not repeated punishment.

Kirpa Kaur, via email

Police reforms needed

In “Repairing a broken justice system” (February 14), the suggestion of Justice KS Garewal (retd) for empowering the prosecutor at the cost of police investigator will not find ready acceptance in the police department. Even the political masters may not be in favour of the move. Without strengthening the infrastructure available to the police and its investigators and its functional independence, adding another layer of supervision/control over them will not even serve the purpose of cosmetic reform. If bolstering the prosecution wing is a necessity, police reforms are equally, or probably more, essential.

Some comments about improvement in the functioning of judicial courts and corrections of procedures would have made the article more balanced.

Anil Kaushik, Chandigarh

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