Letters to the editor

Postpone elections Other

Dec 31, 2021

Apropos of ‘Lockdown no solution’, it is the politicians who are actually responsible for spreading the virus. In March-April this year, the election rallies held in West Bengal and other states had turned out to be major superspreaders. The forthcoming Assembly elections in five states can cause massive spread of this Omicron variant. Politicians are holding rallies, in which lakhs of people are invited daily, where they don't wear masks and social distancing is next to impossible. The Election Commission must ban such rallies and elections must be postponed till the situation becomes conducive for holding the elections.

Ramesh Gupta, Narwana

Committing hara-kiri

Overcrowded markets with people without masks and proper distancing is the order of the day. Politicians, especially the Prime Minister, too, is conducting election rallies daily, where lakhs of people are seen without masks. The only solution is to ban all these gatherings and stop playing with the lives of people who are being hired to commit hara-kiri (suicide). The media, too, is not proactive in questioning the government. Why impose night curfew only? Is the virus ineffective during the day? Is it friendly to politicians who violate Covid norms? A common man driving a car alone is challaned for Rs 2,000, whereas the Prime Minister addressing election rallies with thousands of people without masks goes scot-free. How can a PM violate norms and expect people to follow the same? No politician has the moral and ethical right to play with the lives of people to win any election.

Capt Amar Jeet, Greater Mohali

Night curfew not needed

The number of people moving on streets at night is significantly less as compared to the day time. Then, what is the rationale behind imposing night curfew by some states to control the spread of the virus? It is sheer wastage of police efforts and inconvenience to people who have to travel at night for unavoidable reasons, as they have to pass through several checks. What is required is forcing people to follow Covid protocols in public places 24x7.

Dr O Prasada Rao, Hyderabad

Dealing with Omicron

Apropos of ‘Health challenge in New Year’ and the ‘Thought for the day’ (It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver); in the end, it is health that is the bulwark of the nation and its citizens. The ongoing Covid crisis is going to make 2022 a daunting year. All agencies concerned are gearing up for the challenge, but what dents our efforts and makes us lag behind is the lack of awareness and active participation on the part of people at large. Their indifference nullifies the efforts of the dealing agencies. It is the responsibility of the masses also to meet the Omicron challenge.

DV Sharma, Mukerian

No to New Year celebration

In view of the anticipated third Covid wave, particularly due to rapid spread of its new variant — Omicron, it is time not to get swayed by the temptation of New Year celebrations. Rather, let us protect ourselves, our family members and others from getting infected by following all norms and making those aware who have not been jabbed yet. Hope by the beginning of the Indian New Year — Samvat 2079 on April 2, 2022 — we will be greeted and welcomed with a positive spirit.

Krishan Kant Sood, Nangal

Music in flights

Refer to ‘Striking right note’, even if Indian music is needed to connect people with their tradition, are flights and airports the place to do so? Most airlines choose soothing music in flights as well as at the airport lounge. To ask airlines and airport operators to confine themselves to Indian music is at best silly and at worst mere lip service to preserving India’s rich music, which requires more meaningful steps for preservation.

SS Paul, Chakdaha (WB)

Prioritise safe travel

Apropos of ‘Striking right note’, everyone today has access to music of all types. We’ve all seen how bus travel has become a disadvantageous proposition in Punjab in view of loud and jarring music adding to the noise pollution one is subjected to during travel. The Ministry of Civil Aviation and the airlines would in fact do a service to travellers by not subjecting them to this unwarranted ‘ordeal’ of destroying the sheer beauty and value intrinsic to air travel. Instead, in the current times, the basic requirements of quality travel — safety, security, comfort, efficiency and economy — should be top priority.

Jagvinder Singh Brar, Patiala

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribunemail.com

Tight rein on rallies a must Other

Dec 30, 2021

Refer to ‘Yellow alert in Delhi, Punjab tells unjabbed to stay home’, a new version of Covid has again entered India and is spreading its tentacles. Whether the new restrictions imposed by Punjab and other states will be applicable to political gatherings and rallies in poll-bound states is a big question. In the second wave, these very political gatherings had also contributed to a surge in Covid cases, resulting in deaths on a large-scale with bodies thrown unceremoniously in rivers due to the collapse of poor health support system. We will have to pay a heavy price if the Supreme Court fails to act or keep a tight leash on political activities now.

Ashok Kumar, by mail

Learn from Kerala

Apropos of ‘Unhealthy states’, Kerala impressively scored well in the health sector for the fourth year in a row on the NITI Aayog’s Annual Health Index score. In all spheres and in development, the coffee belt in the south outshines the ‘cow belt’ in the north, particularly the sHindi-speaking areas such as UP, Bihar and MP. In China, a major chunk of the population has no religion, and they have brought in a lot of development, especially in the education sector, in the last three decades. We should take a leaf out of Kerala and China’s book, in education at least. Kerala has many religious communities, living peacefully and cordially. Why can’t the rest of the country follow suit?

Sudershan Walia, Amritsar

Implement Odisha model

Apropos of ‘Unhealthy states’, it is great that Kerala has emerged as the best performer among large states on NITI Aayog’s Annual Health Index score. It has been rightly observed that the lowest-ranked states on the index have lowest per capita income and lowest Human Development Index scores. But Odisha has shown that if you have the will, you can improve things. It would be great if Bihar, MP, Rajasthan and UP too, study the Odisha model and improve conditions for their people.

Subhash C Taneja, Gurugram

FCRA registration

Reference to ‘Missionaries of Charity’, the Home Ministry’s refusal to renew FCRA registration to MoC, founded by Mother Teresa, is a step-motherly treatment meted out to a renowned charitable NGO. This shock is being shared by many across the world, who support MoC either in kind or in spirit. The specific foreign-funding law is intended to check activities detrimental to the national interest, but if one of India’s most venerable NGOs is indeed being accused of this, some evidence needs to be provided. Set up in 1950, it has had plenty of critics over the years. Of course, no misuse of funding should get a free hand, but the nature of misuse must be completely clear. Its application for renewal shouldn’t be refused.

MS Khokhar, by mail

Onus on the ECI

This is in reference to ‘Fearing denial of ticket, Cong MLAs join BJP’. Party-hopping will begin once the election schedule is announced and nominations finalised/denied leading to new permutations and combinations. Now, the onus lies on the Election Commission of India to cleanse the electoral process as choices must reflect our hopes, not fears. Mandatory one-year membership norm for party nomination is the panacea. Those elected as Independents must stay so for their entire term and not (mis)align to be in power. Ban anyone convicted of moral turpitude or heinous crimes from holding a public office for life.

Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula

Sukhbir expecting miracles

The assertions of SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal regarding ‘giving Chandigarh to Punjab’ during meetings in Dinanagar Assembly segment indicate that he is expecting some miracle to happen next year. His party could not get Chandigarh during their long rule in Punjab. Neither did they encash their goodwill with the Chautala family to solve the SYL row. Even during their long partnership with the BJP, they failed to solve the problems of the state.

Upendra Sharma, Ludhiana

Outreach panel ill-conceived

The BJP’s decision to set up a four-member outreach panel is an ill-conceived one. Dividing voters on the lines of caste ill-behoves the ruling dispensation. Brahmin voters have their own mind and are not liable to be lured or misled by the political parties such as the BSP or the Samajwadi Party. They are well aware of the utterances of Mayawati against this community during the past. The Ram temple in Ayodhya does not belong to a particular community. Even the Brahmin leaders cannot force a member to cast his vote in favour of a particular candidate.

Vijaya Sharma, by mail

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribunemail.com

Walk the extra mile Other

Dec 29, 2021

Refer to ‘Reviewing AFSPA’, the formation of a panel to look into the withdrawal of the Act from Nagaland is a welcome move. But the panel will have to keep in mind the groundswell for peace in Nagaland, a result of the extraordinary work put in by civil society groups such as the Naga Mothers’ Association. The Naga insurgency is a far more complex phenomenon, of course, but a new generation, more invested in peace and prosperity, has come of age. Their future needs to be guarded from the vicious cycle of violence that has laid previous generations to waste. The government needs to walk the extra mile.

SS Paul, by mail

Make a fresh start

Apropos of ‘Reviewing AFSPA’, the Union Home Ministry’s decision to set up a panel for reviewing it is timely and a welcome move. AFSPA confers a wide range of powers and protection to the armed forces — even the right to shoot or kill on suspicion. While its application to maintain security in sensitive and disturbed areas is seen as a justification, tangible peace continues to evade the affected states. On the contrary, incidents like botched Army operations in Nagaland that resulted in civilian deaths inflame passions and provide leverage to militancy movements. Now, since a call to repeal AFSPA has been made, the political leadership — both at the Centre and states — should walk the talk on revoking this draconian law. The Northeast states affected by AFSPA have suffered enough; it’s time to move beyond this painful legacy.

Lajwant Singh, by mail

A step in right direction

Apropos of ‘Democracy in peril’, Joe Biden’s initiative for a summit is a step in the right direction, as it envisages participation of people and nations with shared responsibility after exhaustive discussions. It provides a better chance for peace within and worldwide. History hints at devastating sufferings at the hands of authoritarian regimes. In the backdrop of the one-man rule in China and North Korea, such summits are essential to tame the rogue nations.

BM Singh, Amritsar

Public apology a must

Navjot Singh Sidhu’s disgraceful comment on cops during a Congress rally has hurt the sentiments of many brave and hardworking officers. He must realise that it is due to this security fleet that he moves around safely. Police officials like Harjeet Singh risked their lives during the pandemic and led from the front. It is they who make us feel safe. One must remember brave policemen, like Tukaram Omble, who laid down their lives in the 26/11 attack, before making such remarks. Sidhu has a huge stature in public and he should choose his words responsibly. Sidhu should publicly apologise for it.

Harsimranvir Singh, Patiala

Not a cakewalk

Though the Aam Aadmi Party’s win in the Chandigarh MC poll is encouraging, it won’t be easy to win the Punjab Assembly elections. It’s a different scenario altogether this time with new entrants — Capt Amarinder’s Punjab Lok Congress and Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa’s SAD (S) collaborating with the BJP, as well as farmers’ unions, too, getting together under the banner of ‘Sanyukt Samaj Morcha’. It will not be a cakewalk for AAP.

Bir Devinder Singh Bedi, Sangrur

Omicron threat

Refer to ‘New Year gift’, PM Modi’s announcement on booster shots and children’s vaccination is welcome, but much needs to be known about how India’s third-dose programme will play out. While the decision on vaccines for children has been on the cards for some time, the emergence of the Omicron variant seems to have lent greater urgency to the government’s efforts to introduce booster shots. The highly contagious nature of the variant also increases the risk of infection in the unvaccinated younger population. The decision to broaden the ambit of the inoculation project is welcome. Five states are in the poll mode and rallies would be a potent super-spreader. To counter this infection surge, the booster programme must be rapidly executed.

PS Kaur, by mail

HP’s epoch-making win

HP’s recent win in the Vijay Hazare trophy, trouncing giants Tamil Nadu, is an epoch-making event in the state’s sporting history. They have effectively shed the ‘minion’ tag and taken a giant leap forward. The players naturally need felicitation, but the ground work done by HPCA also needs equal appreciation. It has been a concerted effort and journey over the last two decades. Despite political impediments, the association stayed the course and remained steadfast for the development of the game. They ramped up the necessary infrastructure and developed structured programmes to nurture young talent. The association has done wonders and deserves to be applauded.

Gurjyot Singh, Shimla

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribunemail.com

Check intolerance Other

Dec 28, 2021

Reference to ‘The hate propagandists’, the unabashed hate speeches on stage in Haridwar were nothing but deeply offensive. The open Muslim-baiting and exhorting Hindus to take up arms for violence are a direct challenge to our Constitution. As cases against activists and comedians point to the weaponisation of law to shrink the space for free speech, the problem showcased in Haridwar requires a political, more than a legal, response. It needs the BJP, as the ruling party in the state where the conclave took place, to distance itself from the frenzy of hate and repudiate hate speeches on stage.

MS Khokhar, by mail

BJP stakes in Himachal

PM Modi’s visit to Mandi is being seen as a fillip to HP CM Jai Ram Thakur, who completes four years of rule in the hill state. The BJP was humbled by the Congress in the recent bypolls to Mandi parliamentary constituency and three Vidhan Sabha seats. Mandi is the home district of Jai Ram Thakur. All four seats were won by the Congress. The image of JP Nadda has also suffered tremendously. By holding that the bypoll victory for the Congress is a sympathy vote for Virbhadra Singh, who passed away earlier this year, the BJP is only losing contact with the masses. The recent police strike is an example. Thus, the 2022 Vidhan Sabha elections will be a litmus test for Thakur.

LR Sharma, Sundernagar

Farmers in poll arena

Is fighting elections the birth right of political parties? What have the Congress and other parties done for the betterment of farmers? Farmer suicides continue even almost 75 years after Independence. Farmers continue to be exploited by traders despite MSP. Now, it is the turn of the farmers to play kingmakers and take care of their issues. When a small agitation of Anna Hazare can make a common man a Chief Minister, why can’t the Samyukt Kisan Morcha play a key role in government formation?

Capt Amar Jeet, Greater Mohali

Appointment of judges

Reference to ‘Judges appointing judges a propagated myth, says CJI’, there is no denying the fact that in the recent past, judges have been appointed on extraneous and political considerations in higher courts. It is normal in all democratic countries to make the appointment or removal of judges beyond the reach of arbitrariness of the executive. The collegium method has come as a result of two judgments of the Supreme Court in 1993 and 1998 by a presidential reference, and the decision needs to be modified for a new method. In America, the appointment of judges to the apex court is subject to the approval of the senate. In Switzerland, judges are selected by the legislature. We cannot think of such a practice being given a trial in our country. Here, the judiciary has always remained the last hope of the helpless. We must choose our judges with utmost care.

Anil Bhatia, Hisar

Foster secularism

Anti-religious activities are on the rise in our country and the silence of the government on the issue only aids in emboldening the perpetrators. These acts defy the very basis of our country — secularism. Furthermore, states curbing even voluntary conversion only exacerbate the present condition by aggravating animosity among various religious groups. It begs the question — when sedition is imposed on innocent activists and citizens, then why no stringent action is taken against these elements?

Aanya Singhal, Noida

Remembering fire victims

Apropos of ‘Tributes paid to Dabwali fire tragedy victims’, the families of victims need our heartfelt sympathy. Though none of us can bring them back, yet we can learn a lesson from such bitter experiences. It is heartening that Surbhi Manav Kalyan Samiti, a self-help group founded by ex-ADGP Surender Narang, organises blood donation camps in memory of the victims of that tragedy.

Vijaya Sharma, by mail

An apostle of peace

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize winner and veteran of South Africa’s struggle against apartheid, was revered by both blacks and whites. Tutu won the Nobel in 1984 in recognition of his non-violent opposition to white minority rule. In his passing away, the world has lost an apostle of peace and harmony.

Rukma Sharma, by mail

Expansionist China

Apropos of ‘India in a world at war’, Moscow knows the ramifications of Ukraine jumping on NATO’s bandwagon. Breaking bread with Beijing is different. China has always downplayed India’s interests despite its attempts to normalise relations. The author is right — improving relations with China will increase India’s strategic depth, but sadly it seems to be a Herculean task, keeping its expansionist mindset in mind.

Ishan Chauhan, Jalandhar Cantt

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribunemail.com

Alarm bells ringing Other

Dec 27, 2021

The editorial, ‘Ludhiana blast’ expresses fears and apprehensions of all patriotic, sane and sensible people of the country about the tragic incidents in Punjab. The alleged sacrilege attempts and the lynching of two persons have set the alarm bells ringing. The Ludhiana blast clearly underlines the deeper conspiracy of vested interests to create communal disharmony for petty electoral gains. The sinister intervention on the sly from across the border cannot be ruled out. It’s the ordinary people who suffer whenever social harmony is disturbed in this border state. The ‘big fish’ who wish to thrive by operating behind the scenes must be exposed and punished.

Raj Bahadur Yadav, Fatehabad

Stay vigilant

It is a matter of grave concern that a blast occurred inside the court complex in Ludhiana, in which a person was killed. And, this happened days after the sacrilege attempt at the Golden Temple. It is shocking that all this is happening when the Assembly elections are just round the corner. Troublemakers have become active and are disturbing the peaceful atmosphere in the state. People in Punjab need to stay vigilant as more disturbances cannot be ruled out.

Subhash C Taneja, Gurugram

Replace ‘flying coffins’

Refer to ‘MiG-21 crashes in Jaisalmer, Wg Cdr killed; more than 400 accidents have taken place involving MiGs, claiming 200 precious lives of pilots. MiG-21 is infamously known as the ‘flying coffin’. Many are of the 1960s vintage, upgraded from time to time. Still, we have about 100 such seemingly obsolete aircraft. It is time these are phased out and replaced with technologically advanced fighters. We cannot afford to lose our trained pilots in such accidents.

Subhash Vaid, New Delhi

Fatal liabilities

Once again, a MiG-21 has crashed, wherein a pilot lost his life, raising many questions. Why are these obsolete flying machines not being phased out? It is high time the authorities expedited the process. More than two weeks have passed and the next CDS is yet to be appointed in place of General Bipin Rawat, who also lost his life in a helicopter crash. Top priority must be accorded to military matters in letter and spirit.

Ravi Bhushan, Kurukshetra

Shrouded in mystery

It is unfortunate to learn about the death of the pilot in the crash during the training sortie of a MiG-21. While the customary inquiry ‘is being ordered’ to ascertain the real cause of the accident, one fails to comprehend the rationale behind using these ‘flying coffins’ despite these enjoying a dubious track record. Why can’t the govt/IAF urgently consider utilising some other domestic or imported fighter plane with better safety record instead of regularly putting the lives of our pilots at risk? But, what truly prevents them from doing so always remains shrouded in mystery.

Kumar Gupt, Panchkula

Decommission ‘Fishbed’

Apropos of ‘MiG-21 crashes in Jaisalmer, Wg Cdr killed’, these supersonic jets flying at a speed of around 2 mach may have helped India in the 1971 War, but it is time officials put a halt on its use. As many as 482 MiGs have crashed so far of the 872 procured from the Soviet Union in the late 1950s. In 2021 alone, this is the fifth crash of MiG-21 and due to this, it is also called the ‘flying coffin’ or ‘Fishbed’. In addition to outdated systems and airframe, it has landing and pilot seat ejection problems as well. It is time the government decommissioned these fighter jets.

Gurshan Sidhu, Mohali

All lives matter

The middle ‘Lest they are forgotten’ has refreshed sad memories of the 1962, 1965 and 1971 wars. Thousands of families lost their young members during these wars, which were perhaps avoidable. Let us not forget that the same number of families are ruined across the border as well. Sahir Ludhianvi conveys a beautiful and meaningful message: “Khoon apna ho ya paraya ho, nasle-aadam ka khoon hai aakhir, jang mashriq mein ho ya magrib mein, aman-e-alam ka khoon hai aakhir.”

VK Anand, Chandigarh

Elections can wait

In reference to the editorial ‘Milder Omicron’, whether the milder Omicron remains mild and under control only the Election Commission’s way of handling the poll will tell. Allahabad HC’s observation on whether UP polls should be deferred and an IIT-Kanpur study forecasting an Omicron peak in early February, when elections are also due in Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur, gives the EC much to mull over. If need be, it must consider deferring elections if a third wave gains pace. Elections, while absolutely necessary for a democracy, can surely wait to tide over a public health emergency. The EC mustn’t spare any effort to safeguard people from the risks invited by reckless electioneering.

Lajwant Singh, by mail

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribunemail.com

Repeal UAPA Other

Dec 25, 2021

The UAPA is being used unabashedly to harass, intimidate and stifle the voice of journalists, political adversaries, peaceful protesters and human rights activists. It would not be erroneous to presume that the Act is slapped in an arbitrary and vindictive way to terrorise dissenters. But for the prompt, judicious and impartial handling of these fabricated cases by the judiciary, a huge number of journalists and political adversaries would have been languishing in prisons. The judiciary is playing its role as a guardian of our rights and liberties in a laudable manner. Given the gross misuse of the Act, the sooner it is repealed the better it would be.

Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa

Spreading terror

There is a dire need to put a break on the misuse of UAPA. Every citizen has a fundamental right to expression and protest responsibly. Its reasonable use can’t be labelled as a terrorist activity and attract the penal provisions of the Act, under which bail is an exception. There are instances galore where, on account of mere dissent, the people were booked under this draconian law.

Maheshwer Sharma, by mail

To what end?

Refer to ‘Stormy winter session’; the oxymoronic description of the winter session as heated was apt and it emitted more heat but very little light. The government may make claims about the productivity of the Lok Sabha (82 per cent) and the Rajya Sabha (48 per cent), but the quality has been substandard. The raising of the Electoral Laws (Amendment) Bill 2021 and the Bill enhancing the threshold of the marriageable age of women was given short shrift. In this tale of sound and fury, the only saving grace, it appears, was the merciful decision to conclude the session ahead of schedule. The Modi government’s approach towards the Opposition and parliamentary proceedings has not been in the best spirit of democracy.

SS Paul, Nadia

Allow debates

It is not the first time that the winter session has been abruptly adjourned sine die (‘Stormy winter session’). The events leading to the suspension of 12 Opposition members in the Rajya Sabha and the boycott of both Houses by the Opposition were unfortunate. It is wrong that the government did not allow Opposition MPs to debate on pressing issues, like the dismal picture of economy, price rise and linking electoral rolls with Aadhaar. Though it is the joint responsibility of the government as well as the Opposition, but in this piquant situation, the government must be more accommodative in Parliament. A country that is facing many challenges can ill-afford such disruptions and suspensions.

SK Khosla, Chandigarh

Benign influence

Refer to ‘Fallacy of forced conversions’; the presence of Christians in India is felt by a common man by the presence of quality educational institutions and hospitals across the country. No instance of any forced influence of Christianity on students or patients has been noticed. Attacks on minorities are not because of any threat from them, but are aimed at fanaticising the majority population to vote in favour of the party that projects itself as the saviour of their religion. Karnataka’s present anti-conversions law is also meant for further polarisation of people.

HL Sharma, Amritsar

Ayodhya ‘land grab’

Refer to ‘UP Govt orders probe into Ayodhya land “grab”’; we grew up hearing ‘Ram naam ki loot hai, loot sake toh loot’ (for the pious, the name of Rama is up for grabs, make the best use of this opportunity). The Supreme Court verdict on the construction of the temple at the Ram Janmabhoomi site has lent it an altogether different meaning. Transliterated, it reads, ‘Under the holy name of Lord Rama, for you greedy ones, everything is up for grabs, make the best use of the situation.’ A news report claimed that MLAs, mayors, relatives of a Commissioner, SDM and DIG bought land in Ayodhya after the verdict, obviously with the objective of making huge profits. Lands were purchased by these sharks from Dalits at throwaway prices and sold to the Mandir Trust at astronomical prices, thus abusing the trust money.

Beant Singh Bedi, Mohali

Congress ticket

Apropos of ‘Cong poll panel for one family, one ticket’, the decision of the AICC-appointed screening committee to stick to one family, one ticket and disallow swapping of seats among sitting legislators is a move in the right direction. It will discourage certain leaders from monopoly and lessen the chances of heartburn. Deserving candidates will get ample opportunities now.

Upendra Sharma, by mail

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribunemail.com

Idea of Hindutva Other

Dec 24, 2021

Having tasted success on the basis of using religion to influence voter preferences, it should come as no surprise that the BJP is doing all it can in order to win the UP Assembly elections (‘The Varanasi spectacle’). The spectacle of the PM performing all the rituals was broadcast in a manner which would do credit to Cecil B DeMille. The BJP has successfully sold the idea that only it could take the nation back to its glorious Hindu past. It is an India which has probably never existed. Those who are critical of the actions of the PM are likely to be called anti-nationals by the propaganda machinery of the BJP, which includes some sections of the media too.

Anthony Henriques, Mumbai

Drinking young

Refer to ‘Haryana Govt lowers the drinking age from 25 to 21 years’; the Haryana Vidhan Sabha has approved ‘without any discussion’ the Haryana Excise (Amendment) Bill, 2021, paving the way for reduction in the age limit for drinking. One wishes that the state government had concentrated on providing the youth with better and affordable higher education facilities and making available much-needed job opportunities rather than encouraging them to go in for self-destructive drinking. The Manohar Lal Khattar government seems to be following in the footsteps of the dispensation in New Delhi, where Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP had recently lowered the drinking age to 21.

Vinayak G, New Delhi

No vaccination, no pay

Refer to ‘No vax certificate, no pay: Govt’; aimed at pushing reluctant individuals to get vaccinated in the light of the emergence of the new coronavirus variant, Omicron, the governments have to issue stringent and coercive orders when employees/people, regardless of their personal safety, find one excuse or the other to avoid getting vaccinated. Governments are duty bound to take necessary actions to check the spread of this deadly diseases. Regular vaccination camps should be held at educational institutions and public places for the convenience of the people.

NK Gosain, Bathinda

Tughlaqi farmaan

Apropos of ‘No vaccination, no pay, Punjab tells its staff’ and ‘In Hry, access to public places only if jabbed’; such ‘Tughlaqi farmaan’ smack of high-handedness and must be withdrawn forthwith. Nonetheless, all Covid-appropriate protocols must be adhered to and strictly enforced by the administration as we cannot afford to lower our guard. Mass awareness and facilitating vaccination remain the better options.

Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula

Fill vacancies on priority

The Education Minister, Haryana, has stated in the Vidhan Sabha that there are about 40,000 vacancies of teacher in government schools of the state. Some of the vacancies have not been filled since 2015. The question of availability of sufficient number of PGTs and TGTs has also been raised. No private school can afford to have vacancy of a teacher for a single day. The destiny of the students is at stake when a school is run without a teacher and a head. The minister could have suggested ways to fill the vacancies within a particular time frame.

S Kumar, Panchkula

Not for bureaucracy

The news that IAS and state civil service officers will teach once in a fortnight at schools of Himachal is strange. Either the state bureaucracy is overstaffed, or the schools need a bureaucratic stamp on their service. Far from improving the image of the government schools in the eyes of the public, the decision is likely to make schools as uneasy places for teachers as well as students. Experience has shown that colleges in Haryana, that had civil servants as administrators, had to withdraw this measure. The nature of work in the bureaucracy and schools is poles apart. Neither side would be able to perform in an efficient way when such experimental shuffling of duties is done.

Rakesh Sudan, Kurukshetra

Exercise caution

Information has started trickling in about the rise in Omicron cases. It seems that we have not taken the preventive measures seriously, as evident from the crowds thronging markets in this festive season. We should not wait for any directions from the government but observe caution on our own. Lessons learned from the second wave should be kept in mind by our leaders, industrialists, businessmen, medicare agencies, suppliers and those controlling travelling modes. Common people, especially migrant labour, should not face any difficulty. Sooner the precautionary measures are exercised, the better it is to keep the devastating effects of the deadly virus at bay.

Subhash Vaid, New Delhi

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribunemail.com

Linking voter ID to Aadhaar Other

Dec 23, 2021

Refer to ‘Electoral reforms’; the passage of the Bill by voice vote in such a hurry has set off a political storm. However, the Centre has said furnishing Aadhaar number is not mandatory as voters will not be deleted from the rolls or stopped from enrolling due to their inability to do so, if they can present other identification documents to prove their identity. Both Centre and the EC agree that seeding Aadhaar to voter rolls will help weed out duplication and bogus voters. But from the amendments, it isn’t clear how this will be achieved. The provisions allowing the electoral registration officer to ask any voter to furnish their Aadhaar number will end up giving the bureaucracy tremendous discretion. The right to vote is a statutory right. It is unfortunate that such legislations are being passed at a short notice and without debate.

SK SINGH, by mail

Election laws

Refer to ‘LS passes Bill to link voter card with Aadhaar’. One shudders to imagine the rationale behind the government not only rushing with the introduction of the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021, around noon, but also getting it passed by around 3 pm! Would heavens have fallen if it had acceded to the Opposition’s demand to send the Bill to a Standing Committee of Parliament? The government continues to toy with the idea of not taking the Opposition parties into confidence even in respect of various key national issues. Does such a self-serving practice befit democratic norms?

Kumar Gupt, Panchkula

Laugh it off

Apropos of ‘Duty to laugh’, with a refined sense of humour, Justice GR Swaminathan adds a new chapter to judicial discourse. Modi and Amit Shah are hovering over the Constitution. If only they could heed the suggestion of Justice Swaminathan and laugh, India would feel much relaxed.

Beant Singh Bedi, Mohali

Why advertise?

After lodging an FIR against Bikram Majithia, the next day the Punjab Government published an advertisement captioned ‘Drug Free Punjab’, claiming that stern action was being taken against drug traffickers. It is not a secret that FIR has been registered against Majithia. Everyone is aware of it through print, electronic and social media. Why is there a need to spend public money to inform people about the news through advertisement and take credit for the action which is the duty of the government? Is Punjab going to be drug free after registering an FIR against a single person?

Sukhdev Singh Minhas, Mohali

Ken-Betwa project

Refer to ‘Ken-Betwa project can ravage Bundelkhand’; the irony of independent India is baseless opposition by pseudo-environmentalists for every water conservation project, be it Tehri or Sardar Sarovar Dam or any interlinking canal system. The Green Revolution was not possible without construction of Bhakra Nangal system, etc., which made the barren and dry lands of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan the ‘Granary of India’ and ushered in food security. Bundelkhand, the driest region of Central India, will be benefited by interlinking of the Ken-Betwa project which has been delayed ever since it was proposed in 1970 by Dr KL Rao in his master plan ‘National Water Grid-Interlinking of Rivers’ as the solution for conservation of rainwater that India wasted to the tune of nearly 90%.


Learning in Urdu

Japuji Sahib was introduced to us in Class V at Sri Guru Ramdass Khalsa High School, Amritsar, but ‘Gutka’ prescribed for it was in Urdu (‘Not in good faith’). Even algebra was in Urdu. Many candidates appearing in ‘Gyani’ (Honours in Punjabi language and literature) exam of the PU wrote their scripts in Persian. The Council for the Promotion of Urdu Language is doing a yeoman’s service. There have been efforts to polarise society on the basis of script, but it is not going to last long. It is not easy to distinguish between simple Hindi and Urdu from speech. The couplets quoted by the writer say it all.


Marriage at 21

An 18-year-old girl is a teenager, who is hardly fit to face the challenges of married life (‘Raising girl’s age to marry’). The government has done well to raise the marriage age of women to 21 years, the same as for men — underscoring the law of equality. The law will have far-reaching benefits. Girls too can pursue higher studies and a career, which will make them self-dependent. A mature woman can plan her life intelligently. It will also go a long way in controlling population growth. For every major decision in the family, she needs to be consulted. It will prove to be a boon for women in remote areas where married girls of a tender age turn anaemic after repeated deliveries. To achieve these goals, we have to provide affordable education to all girls to equip them well for future challenges.


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Nothing to say Other

Dec 22, 2021

Apropos of ‘Lynching indefensible’, two incidents of lynching in two days raise big worries over the law and order situation in Punjab. The Golden Temple incident caught on camera looks like an attempt to commit sacrilege, but political leaders are calling it a conspiracy. The subsequent incident at Kapurthala gives more heft to the conspiracy angle, but the brazen lynching of the suspects is a vile crime. Mob violence is unacceptable. Punjab politicians and the SGPC have rightly condemned the sacrilege attempts, but their stunning silence on the lynchings is chilling. The failure to hand over the suspects to the police has prevented the justice system from trying and awarding punishment. The police must be given a free hand to investigate both the sacrilege and lynching incidents. The Punjab Government led by CM Charanjit Singh Channi faces a litmus test.

EL SINGH, by mail

Why so quiet?

In the politically surcharged atmosphere, no political leader or party has uttered a single word of sympathy for the victims of lynchings at the Golden Temple and in Kapurthala district (‘Lynchings indefensible’). The young man who crossed over the railing in the Amritsar incident should have been handed over to the police after he was caught by sewadars. He could have been interrogated to know the motive behind his misdemeanour. But instead of this, the crowd lynched him, which was shameful.

Ravinder Kumar Jain, Ludhiana

Discredits Punjab

The Punjab lynching incidents call for a strict action against the accused for taking the law into their own hands. Similarly, at Lakhimpur Kheri when four farmers were mowed down by an SUV, the protesting farmers took the law into their own hands and beat to death three workers of the ruling party. A journalist who was covering the event was also killed. At the Singhu protest site, a man accused of sacrilege was brutally murdered with his hands and legs chopped off. So much for the tall claims that the farmers’ agitation was peaceful. While a murder charge has been slapped on the culprit driving the killer SUV, no action has been taken against the farmers. Such incidents bring a bad name to Punjab and Punjabiat.


As deplorable as sacrilege

The instant lynching of two men on alleged charges of sacrilege in Punjab is as reprehensible as the desecration. It is quite possible that the men who were killed might be mentally unsound and were not aware of their actions. How can any sane person have the gumption to indulge in such unholy acts, that too when there are hundreds of devotees present? The mobs that carried out the killings under the guise of safeguarding religiosity should introspect what they have accomplished by the barbaric acts. In no uncertain terms, this is a disservice to their religion, as no religion under any circumstances advocates violence. Sikhism is known for its magnanimity and has rendered yeoman’s service during the second wave of Covid and such ghastly incidents are distasteful and cannot be condoned.

Deepak Singhal, Noida

Free for all

Electioneering in Punjab is in full swing. Political parties are announcing free perks to the electorates to elicit maximum votes in their favour, which is unfortunate. This money will be doled out of the taxes paid by the people from their hard-earned money which is meant for the welfare and development of the state. In Punjab, the government employees are paying Rs 200 as tax separately from their salaries. The parties should pay for the freebies from the party fund instead of the government treasury.


Suicide by students

The removal of ceiling fans by an engineering college to prevent purported suicides is laughable, and an attempt to trivialise an important issue which should be discussed widely in the academic community. Students pursuing doctorate studies are often under pressure to publish in high-quality journals, leading to huge stress and anxiety. Further, the attempts by supervisors to delay the award of PhD on flimsy grounds, even after the required number of publications are achieved often leads a student towards depression. To reduce stress among research scholars, an objective criterion needs to be established. A decision regarding when the degree is to be awarded to a student should not be left on the whims of a particular individual. The faculty should also be counselled regarding fixed work timings, student privacy and professionalism. Suicides are a systemic failure and require an urgent intervention.

Shivam Jain, Bathinda

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Silence uncalled for Other

Dec 21, 2021

The sacrilege attempt at the Golden Temple is condemnable. But the silence on the crime — lynching of the suspect — is uncalled for. The religious and political leadership have denounced the attempt and called for a thorough probe. But disturbingly, they have offered no words of condemnation on those who clearly took the law into their hands and beat the accused to death. This silence is not incidental. With elections only weeks away, parties and leaders are measuring their words on an issue that is seen to be emotive in a state where religion segues into politics in a seamless, and sometimes, precarious ways.

N Sadhasiva Reddy, Bengaluru

No hatred, please

Every religion talks about peace, love and harmony. No religion teaches hatred. To express faith in God, one shouldn’t resort to killing people who commit some mistake at their place of worship. No one has the right to kill a person. Followers of any faith should not take law into their hands, as religion never teaches one to kill those who disrespect religious sentiments.

Ritish Pandit, by mail

Lynching wrong

We can’t but take strong exception to the incidents of lynching within holy places in the name of sacrilege. Newspapers are replete with strong condemnation of sacrilege, but who has spoken even a word against the two killings by the mob? We must have an exclusive law against lynching. If you can’t identify the accused, this doesn’t mean the case be shut and closed. Two wrongs don’t make a right. If sacrilege is wrong, lynching is equally wrong.

Rakesh Sudan, Kurukshetra

Change of guard

Apropos of ‘In search of an Opposition’(Nous Indica), much is being talked or written about the probable alternative to the present dispensation. It is indicative of the people’s wish, though not very vocal yet, for a change. Whenever there has been an assertion of secular identities, it is countered by the right-wing parties with hyper religiosity to create a larger vote bank which aims to submerge or assimilate the caste identities. Because of the year-long farmers’ agitation, the peasants started consolidating into a political block. As a counter balance, in the run-up to the UP elections, a great show of religiosity at Kashi and Ayodhya has been launched. The Indian masses are looking towards their political leaders to renounce their self-interest or egos for the sake of a secular, democratic alternative alliance. The issue of prime ministership can be resolved post-elections.

Chandvir Hooda, Panchkula

Role of Congress

Reference to ‘In search of an Opposition’, the Congress is the only national party which can act as an effective Opposition. But it can only be possible if it sets its house in order and prepares to form a dynamic coalition. It must win over the estranged colleagues. It must value the constructive criticism of its members for a change of the high command and not treat them as rebels. If the Congress does not change its political strategy, it cannot emerge to win the 2024 General Election as a major party or even offer a strong opposition.

Krishan Malhotra, Ambala Cantt

Masking up important

The warning by WHO and Centre over drop in mask usage and subsequent infection dangers comes amid the Omicron variant being detected even in those with no history of foreign travel and also in fully vaccinated persons. The upcoming holiday season and the multi-state Assembly elections pose a bigger threat. While vaccination has been proven to reduce disease severity, there’s no viable method other than masking to curb infections. According to the data, India’s mask usage has slipped to 59 per cent at present, after touching 80 per cent in April-May in response to the second wave surge. Indians need to follow Japan and South Korea, where over 92 per cent citizens adhere to masking norms. India needs masking because of its population size and density. Consequently, a surge-like situation also implies a tsunami of cases potentially overburdening healthcare facilities.

Sanjay Chopra, Mohali

Legal age for marriage

As the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Likewise, raising the age of marriage for women to 21 years is only in letter and not in spirit. Furthermore, the prevailing laws have failed to serve their purpose. Child marriage is prevalent in the hinterland. Awareness about women’s reproductive health and encouraging them to pursue their career are the key to preventing early marriages. Also, laws should be enforced stringently so that these serve as a deterrent.

Aanya Singhal, Noida

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Opposition Unity Other

Dec 20, 2021

The panacea proposed for Opposition unity in ‘In search of an Opposition’ (Nous Indica) is unacceptable to the ‘yes men’ in the Congress, with the exception of Rahul Gandhi himself. None in the party is ready to read this writing on the wall. The sooner the Congress realises the importance of the regional satraps the better it stands to gain its lost ground and fading glory. It will have to stoop to conquer. Federalism is going to be the dominant spirit of the pragmatic political scenario in the days to come.

DV Sharma, Mukerian

Selfless leadership

Reference to ‘In search of an Opposition’, the writer has rightly suggested the role of Rahul Gandhi as facilitator for a non-BJP PM in the next Lok Sabha polls. History is witness that whenever any selfless leader, without any political ambition, tried to dislodge the contemporary regime, he got success. Mahatma Gandhi, Jayaprakash Narayan and Anna Hazare have proved it.

Naresh Johar, Amritsar

Credit goes to Indira

PM Modi deliberately omitted the name of Indira Gandhi while addressing a congregation to celebrate the Swarnim Diwas of the 1971 war. He named Mukti Bahini and our brave soldiers, but failed to mention Indira Gandhi in his speech. This reminds one of an incident when Vajpayee was foreign minister in the Morarji Desai government. He noticed that Nehru’s portrait was missing from South Block. He asked his staff about it. He quotes, ‘I then asked where did it (portrait) go? I got no reply. That portrait was restored.’ This shows his statesmanship. By not mentioning Indira Gandhi, Modi has confirmed that he stands nowhere close to Vajpayee in stature and statesmanship.

Arun Hastir, Gurdaspur

Celebrate together

On the eve of Swarnim Vijay Diwas, while paying tributes to the Indian Army, the wilful omission of the name of Indira Gandhi smacks of political vendetta (‘Forgetting Indira’). When the nation celebrates such achievements, it should be above politics, and all political parties must participate in them, forgetting their political rivalry.

TR Bajaj, by mail

Not a true picture

Apropos of ‘Not a licence to kill’, surprised to see the poor knowledge of the learned former DGP, a known name! And in his own words ‘that I have no business pontificating on something I have not experienced myself’ and still writing on the subject! Rashtriya Rifles soldiers are young soldiers and are not ex-Army soldiers. The officers likewise are young and not at the fag end of their service as claimed. The Indian Army is the most humane army in the world and most experienced in fighting insurgencies. It is wrong to state that ‘to use their lethal weapons is embedded in their psyche.’ When the CAPFs are not able to control insurgencies as a last resort the government calls the Army. What an absurd logic has been put forward by Patricia Mukhim that the ‘hill tribes are not one of us and are “aliens” or the “other”, will not arise when the combatants are both tribesmen fighting on opposite sides.’ Assam Rifles have for ages been considered the friends of the hill people and the Army has a large percentage of hill people. I am also amazed at their arguments on ‘to have or not to have AFSPA!’

Col RC Patial (retd), by mail

Rape no laughing matter

The shameful statement on rape made by a Congress MLA, who was also a former Speaker of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly, is highly deplorable. It is more shocking that along with him, many members laughed at his quote. This kind of attitude is unpardonable, as it is one of the reasons why rape is not viewed seriously as a crime in India. As such women are not safe anywhere, and such statements, made while sitting on constitutional posts, make it all the more harrowing. Such men with a perverted mindset are not fit to run the nation. They need to be condemned in public.

Gehna Vaishnavi, Panchkula

Terror havens

It is known that Pakistan has numerous terror outfits on its soil and those are supported and tasked by the deep state (‘Pak’s terror havens’). As Pakistan has covert nod of China, the terror activities go on unabated, especially against India and Afghanistan. It is time for the international community to take concrete steps to force Pakistan to shut these terror havens.

Subhash Vaid, New Delhi

Twin factor

Apropos of ‘Amritsar conjoined twins Sohna, Mohna excited to vote for first time’, they should be given individual voting rights as they are two different souls living in the same conjoined body. It will be better to give them separate rights so that they can choose their own candidate and be part of our democratic society.

Passang dema, Mohali

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribunemail.com

Probity in public life Other

Dec 18, 2021

Refer to ‘Minister must go’; in 2000, Ajay Mishra was booked on the charge of murder. Though he was acquitted by the trial court, the victim’s family has filed an appeal against it in the Allahabad High Court. On December 15, the MoS pounced upon a mediaperson, snatched his camera, abused him and dared him to ask questions on the SIT report in the Lakhimpur Kheri case. A businessman-cum-politician, Mishra has considerable influence on a particular community in the area that could fetch votes and secure seats. Probity and high political standards are required in public life. When such values are thrown to the winds and the miscreants have patronage of higher authority, any hope of getting justice from such rulers is trampled under the feet of arrogance. What a shame.

BR DHIMAN, Hamirpur

Not PM-like

The report ‘BJP CMs in Ayodhya as party tests Hindutva model to keep votes intact’ does not emit pragmatic and healthy vibes. As per our Constitution, no government is authorised to follow any particular religion, though there is no such bar on political parties to exploit religion for electoral gains. At times, it appears that the Prime Minister is behaving like a spokesperson for a particular religion rather than governing like an undisputed leader of secular India.


A war well fought

The 1971 war was a formidable display of coordination in waging war. Unlike the American invasion of Iraq and its withdrawal from Afghanistan, the 1971 war showed what clarity of purpose could achieve. Bangladesh today is a rising star among emerging economies and a steadfast partner of India. The war showed India’s potential to be a positive force. It remains the high point of our national journey.


Dilemma over AFSPA

Refer to ‘Not a licence to kill’; those police officers who have dealt with insurgency and terrorism during their service know better the difficult situations they encounter vis-à-vis the civilian population. Insurgents and terrorists belong to the local milieu and draw some degree of support from their kith and kin and people. The line of judgment becomes very thin for the law-enforcing agencies to act as per their mandate. On the other hand, political parties in opposition exploit the situation, as is being seen in the context of the Manipur incident. AFSPA was in force during the UPA regime, too, but it never thought of repealing it.

LR Sharma, Sundernagar

Brain drain

Reference to ‘Talent migration has now come full circle’; MNCs the world over value Indian talent and are assigning them key responsible positions. Not all such people are groomed in IITs and IIMs, but in our own ordinary schools and colleges. The rugged grind of children inculcates in them the habit of working hard and is a strong Indian hallmark. It is a matter of recognition of talent and giving them well-deserved opportunities which India perhaps lacks, as we as a nation are stuck in nepotism and bureaucratic red tape, thus neglecting human resource which propels brain drain.

Brij B Goyal, Ludhiana

Boycott Beijing Olympics

With regard to boycott of the Beijing Olympics, India should follow western countries in boycotting the Olympics since tensions with China have been escalating. Many of our brave young men have been martyred in border skirmishes. We should send out a strong message to China and show it that we are not afraid of its military might.

Saikrit Gulati, Chandigarh

Age to tie knot

Refer to ‘Step towards women empowerment’; a nod to increase the age of marriage of girls from 18 years to 21 will help in the growth and development of women in society. They will now be able to complete their education up to graduation level. They will get an opportunity to take a stand for themselves and mature mentally to take a decision about marriage, making them physically strong and financially independent. This decision will have a positive bearing on our socio-cultural environment and will usher in a change in society.

Abhilasha Gupta, Mohali

Bible Chair

The Punjab Chief Minister’s announcement to set up the Bible Chair at Guru Nanak Dev University is a good move for the long-neglected and political orphans — the Christian community of Punjab. There is hope for their long-pending demands, like land for burial grounds, unemployment among Christian youth and other socio-economic issues.

Raj kumar, Pathankot

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Tainted must leave Other

Dec 17, 2021

The stubborn attitude of the Central government to save the minister is highly insensitive (‘Minister must go’). How can a person remain a minister of the Home department when his son is being tried for murder? It is time the government asks the minister to resign on moral grounds. The son of a minister cannot take such a serious step without his backing. An impartial investigation cannot be carried out without the removal of the minister from his post.

Wg Cdr Jasbir Minhas (retd), Mohali

Justice first

Apropos of ‘Minister must go’ and ‘Investigative journalism is vanishing: CJI’, politics or parallel power centres must not vitiate the course of justice. While the Lakhimpur Kheri episode is condemnable and the minister’s reaction to a journalist’s query is unbecoming of his position, but when the matter is sub judice, no one need be declared ‘guilty’ by the media, as the authority vests with the judiciary only. It is imperative that procedural wrangles must not be allowed to delay justice.

Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula

Superior roads

‘Wider roads for Char Dham’ has rightly highlighted the importance of hi-tech roads in the present context. They are the lifeline of citizens in general and the country, especially at the borders. The technology for the roads for the defence forces needs to be such that the enemy shouldn’t be able to damage them, and if damaged, they should be repairable within a short time. Environmental issues also need to be taken care of on priority. The Road Research Institute and DRDO are capable of providing dependable indigenous technology to construct terrain-based high-altitude roads with tunnels and fly- overs which would reduce distance, mechanical wear and tear, protect fragile ecology, and be all-weather.

RS Kishtwaria, Palampur

Combating inequality

Refer to ‘Poor and unequal’; poverty has a close relationship with inequality. In poor countries where the level of per capita income is very low, inequalities in the distribution of income and wealth have given rise to many problems, the most serious of which is poverty. If the development of a person is hindered, the development of the country gets blocked. The main causes of inequality in India are unemployment and under-employment and consequently low productivity of labour. This means that there is a low rate of economic development, which becomes the main cause of poverty and mass inequality. Along with education, health and skills, we have to find opportunities for self-employment.

Sikandar Bansal, Shimla

Strive for equality

The report shows India in poor light in terms of unequal access to resources. It is not just inequality in income and wealth that plagues India. The report also points to extreme gender and carbon inequality. Studies in several countries suggest that a sound and fast growing GDP alone cannot be the guiding force for any country, especially when it comes to reducing inequalities. It is crystal clear that the affluent ones must be taxed highly so that the income so generated can be directed to the uplift of the underprivileged sections of society in terms of social security, healthcare and education.

Vijay Singh Adhikari, Nainital

Temple ‘guides’

The middle ‘Blessed and cheated at the same time’ reminded me of a similar experience 15 years ago. I got an opportunity to visit Kolkata as manager of a girls’ cricket team for inter-university matches being held at Calcutta University. On a Sunday we decided to go for Mahakali darshan. As we neared the temple, I was shocked to see several goats tied for sacrifice during Navratras and Ashtmi. While Hindu religion advocates vegetarianism during this time, it was loathsome to imagine those innocent animals being butchered in the temple. Due to heavy rush, we were taken in by the promise of close darshan by one of the many so-called guides pestering us. Once inside, he took us to an upstairs corridor, asked us to have peaceful darshan from there, chanted some mantras, broke a ‘nariyal’ and took his fee. The next day after the matches, we again went to the temple. As few people visit temples at 5 pm, we stood comfortably in front of the majestic Mahakali and had a blissful experience of saying our prayers in ease. The Goddess didn’t let us come back only with bitter memories.

Arun Bala, Bathinda

A thought to veterans

Refer to the celebrations of Swarnim Vijay Varsh, we, the veterans, feel though we are being remembered through the media, not much is happening for our welfare. Earlier, post war, the then government gave us the ‘reward’ of reducing the pension entitlement to 50 per cent from 70 per cent of the basic pay. Now also the government has withheld revision of OROP since 2019. The government should show magnanimity in this regard during the golden jubilee celebrations.

Col Sajjan Kundu (retd), Hisar

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Scourge of casteism Other

Dec 16, 2021

Refer to ‘Caste-based violence’; casteism and communalism are the blackest spots on our Indian polity that are undermining our national solidarity. The accused Balwant Singh should be booked not only for inflicting cruelty and indignity on two Dalit men, but also for trying to ‘buy’ voters by offering them enticements of liquor and cash. How long will Dalits continue to be humiliated? Our cultural legacy will remain tainted till the evil of casteism is eradicated.

Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa

Caste injustice

The editorial ‘Caste-based violence’ rationally diagnoses the millennia-old sickness of our caste-based social life. The horrible incident of caste oppression from Aurangabad in Bihar should wake us up from our deep slumber. The hair-raising incident in which a defeated panchayat candidate, Balwant Singh, is seen forcing Dalit men in a video-clip to spit on the ground and lick it deserves to be strongly opposed and condemned by all and sundry. It is pathetic and shocking to find the remote rural areas of Bihar still haunted by the barbaric hangover of caste injustice and discrimination. For the Dalits, life has not changed much in the countryside even after 75 years of our Independence. The dream of social equality still remains a mirage to many of them. I support the view that those who play with their honour and trample on their dignity must be given an exemplary punishment.


Belated action

Reference to ‘Recover Rs 1 cr from 79 schools, DEOs told’; it is a complicated narrative as the department, DEOs and the schools concerned are in confusion. The amount was not released to the schools year-wise in one instalment. It appears that the department is trying to conceal its inefficiency by making the schools the scapegoat. The list of defaulting students, along with the amount recoverable, is neither available with the department nor the schools. Further, the parameters for finding the defaulting amounts and wrongful student beneficiaries are also not known. Also, it is wrong to say that the schools claimed amounts by faking enrolments because no school can dare commit such a blunder. The solution is to close this chapter by writing off the amount which cannot be recovered at this belated stage.

Raj Kumar Kapoor, Ropar

Rebuilding heritage

Reference to the news report ‘Modi inaugurates Kashi Vishwanath corridor’; it is a historically and archaeologically proven fact that Indian civilisation was invaded, destroyed and robbed of its cultural heritage and richness several times by ‘vistaarvaadi’ tyrants and powers. As such, rebuilding, redeveloping and refurbishing our heritage testifies to a new India in the making, where infrastructure development and perseverance of cultural Indianism will go along simultaneously and will supplement each other.

Krishan Kant Sood, Nangal

Honouring war veterans

Apropos of the report ‘Rajnath: 1971 War showed India’s commitment towards humanity’, it is rightly said that the Bangladesh war was fought against the atrocities on common people that shows our commitment towards humanity. Having participated in the war, I know how people were tortured and women raped. We recovered girls from bunkers. Our soldiers gave their turbans to cover the naked bodies. An army which lacks morality can never be victorious. This government ordered to give Yudh Sewa Samman Award to those Emergency Commissioned and Short Service Commissioned Officers who participated in the 1965 and 1971 wars and were not granted permanent commission in the Army. There are hardly 400 such officers, many of them are above the age of 80 years. It will be a good gesture to award such veterans.

Capt Amar Jeet Kumar (Retd), Mohali

Women judges

Apropos of ‘Being Chief Justice is stressful, says Ramana’, the CJI must take up the demand of women lawyers for representation of women beyond 50 per cent on the Bench not only with his colleagues in the Collegium, but also with the government. This will help women victims in the cases of rape and domestic violence, as female judges would have more empathy and patience as compared to their male counterparts.

Upendra Sharma, by mail

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Terrorism in J&K Other

Dec 15, 2021

As expected, there hasn’t been a significant improvement in curbing the acts of terrorism in J&K since its inception as the Union Territory, which may lower the morale of the security forces. The attack on an unguarded bus, leading to the death of three cops, is unfortunate and indicates lack of preparedness and intelligence inputs, that too on a significant day (20th anniversary of the Parliament attack), which security agencies seemed to have forgotten. Such acts are a serious blow to the peace process.

RS Kishtwaria, Palampur

Kashi corridor

Reference to ‘Raising poll pitch, Modi inaugurates Kashi Vishwanath corridor amid chants’, the project is admirable in its scale and in the apparent efficiency of implementation, as it was needed for a better pilgrimage experience. The visual spectacle that accompanied its inauguration, in the run-up to the UP elections, also proclaims the remarkable success of a political project. It is quite clear that by refreshing Hindutva with muscle power and such projects, redefining it in terms of nationalism and self-respect, the BJP is throwing down the gauntlet, steadily and purposefully. It needs to be picked up by the other side to make a tough political fight.

EL Singh, by email

State of Congress

Apropos of ‘Sidhu heads Punjab poll panel’, the formation of a mammoth poll panel is the height of the Congress high command's indeterminate policy of appeasement. It is neither going to contain the maverick Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief nor bring around the other discontented leaders. Dilution of power hierarchy is no solution to power hunger. It is a sure way to self-destruction. To be a viable political party, the Congress high command will have to assert itself and put the state organisational structure in its proper place.

DV Sharma, Mukerian

Row over Gogoi

Reference to ‘2 TMC MPs move privilege motion against ex-CJI Gogoi’, the TMC MPs have rightly submitted a notice to move a privilege motion against former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. The eligibility criteria for membership of the Upper House are different from that for the Lok Sabha, as more maturity is expected from members of the ‘House of Elders’. Such remarks lower the dignity of the House in the eyes of the public.

Upendra Sharma, by email

Booster shots

Indian genomics consortium conducting sequencing — INSACOG — has rightly recommended a booster dose for those over 40, first targeting the high-risk and high-exposure individuals against Omicron. This advice needs to be heeded by the government because there isn’t any vaccine supply problem. Obviously, jabbing the unvaccinated and partially vaccinated is the topmost priority. Every country that has mandated booster shots has done so on the basis of scientific advice. The same urgency should be shown by the Government of India too.

MS Khokhar, by email

Soldiers’ families

‘Tribute to a silent soldier’ is an aide-memoire for the common people about the sufferings of the family members of our brave soldiers, who are deployed at the borders or non-family stations. The hardships of scattered families, especially of jawans and officers, can best be appreciated only by those who suffer. Such families, at times, have to undergo traumatic suffering at the societal level. The government must own up responsibilit for them.

VK Anand, Chandigarh

Bank deposits

Apropos of the editorial ‘Safe deposits’, cooperative banks were formed with the objective of lending to the rural masses, but some of these indiscriminately lent to risky sectors such as real estate, jeopardising the savings of depositors and their trust. The RBI Governor’s note of caution to the public, though well-intentioned, is not practical. Depositors, especially senior citizens, invest their savings in the nearest bank, due to the convenience of operation. They expect the central bank to ensure that their deposits are safe and are repaid in full in the unforeseen event of a bank failure. A solution may be to provide unlimited DICG (Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee) cover on all bank deposits, with the premium borne by the banks concerned. Else, the government may witness the public shifting their deposits to safer avenues such as post offices.

V Jayaraman, Chennai

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Time to repeal AFSPA Other

Dec 14, 2021

It shouldn’t have been the senseless massacre of 14 civilians in Nagaland to remind us that it is time to repeal the draconian AFSPA. The Act grants extraordinary powers to the armed forces for search, seizure, arrest, the right to shoot to kill and conduct operations in a way that makes a mockery of individual rights and dignity. Admittedly, moral and legal judgement on the conduct of security forces in the face of palpable violence, insurgency and terrorism is a tricky matter and should not be the subject of easy moralising. But even then, there is no denying that AFSPA is a moral abomination. The repeal of AFSPA is necessary and not just for restoring constitutional sanity, but also as a way of acknowledging the brutally dark history of our conduct in Nagaland. It is high time that all parties come together to repeal AFSPA.

SK Singh, by email

Delhi’s borders

Refer to the news, ‘At Tikri, petrol pumps, shops reopen after a year’. It is celebration time for the farmers who have won their prolonged fight against the government. But neither the farmers nor their leaders uttered a word of sympathy for those who suffered unseen and untold miseries in the loss of livelihood, business and commuters using highways to reach their place of work or any health urgency. People who died and were assaulted at the protest sites also need justice.

Ashok Kumar, by email

Funds for women’s uplift

The Beti Bachao slogan was introduced with great fanfare when the BJP came to power in Haryana. But not much has been done for the welfare of women even as there has been a massive spending on advertising. ‘Revisiting Beti Bachao’ rightly points out that child sex ratio cannot be addressed merely by generating awareness which has been prioritised. It is disappointing to note that the states which were given funds for the welfare of women was spent on media advocacy instead. Of course, both the Centre and the states are equally responsible for this mess.

Subhash C Taneja, Gurugram

Interlinking benefits

Apropos of ‘Moving rivers’, the interlinking of Ken and Betwa rivers is a great endeavour on the part of the union government. That the joining of these two rivers will benefit the parched areas of Bundelkhand and also areas in Uttar Pradesh shows the importance of this project which will cost a whopping Rs 44,605 crore. As an engineer, I observe several such possibilities in my state of Himachal Pradesh which, if implemented, can transform the lives and lands of people under water stress in summers. Here, the BBMB had linked the Beas river with Sutlej back in the 1970s, exclusively for power generation and supplementing the famous Bhakra reservoir. But later, this interlinking proved a boon for the Balh Valley of Mandi district as it got water for irrigation from this interlinking of canal at Baggi. The Balh Valley flourished by producing several vegetables as well as cash crops. The same Balh Valley is now being threatened by an imprudent proposal of turning this granary into an airport. We pray this does not happen.

LR Sharma, Sundernagar

A reinvigorated alliance

When President Putin and PM Modi met in New Delhi, they duly acknowledged and reiterated the importance of this old friendship between their countries. The two leaders have signed a contract for joint production of assault rifles and also a pact for military technology co-operation. Also, Russia has reportedly shipped the first deliveries of the S-400 long-range air defence systems, and India has rightly decided not to back off from this agreement, despite the possibility of sanctions by the USA. Under the slew of agreements signed, there appears to be the unstated understanding on both sides that each needs the other, and that the drift in bilateral ties needs to be arrested. The reasons for this bonhomie are that Russia had to play second fiddle to China after its tensions with US and the West, and Moscow is quite aware that it could undercut its own interests in Asia.

PL Singh, by email

Sidhu’s problems

Reference to ‘Sidhu: Won’t be showpiece to win elections’, the PPCC chief has got this status because he has never taken his political assignments seriously. When he was the local bodies minister, he was handed over a report alleging land encroachment in Punjab by politicians and police officials in 2019. But he did nothing in this regard. He has been busy criticising the others. So, his present predicament is of his own creation.

Naresh Johar, Amritsar

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Issue unresolved Other

Dec 13, 2021

Apropos of ‘End of protest’, it is a great relief to the entire nation, and more so to the farmers who are heading home with a sense of victory and satisfaction. A peaceful protest with conviction for a just stand has been vindicated. But the task is not yet over, neither for the government nor the kisan unions. Politics and other extraneous considerations apart, the fact is that the farmers need a better deal to make agriculture more profitable and remunerative, breaking the vicious circle of indebtedness, exploitation and frustration. Is government protection and MSP a panacea for all? How can it be supported, and at what cost? How can marketing be made more organised digitally and exploitation free? How can the displaced population be accommodated in other sectors with a definite time frame for alternative employment? The government, domain experts, various stakeholders and the intended beneficiaries need to be willing partners in the reform process.


Free to choose, eat

Refer to ‘Food choices sacred’; the Gujarat HC has taken the Ahmedabad MC to task for its drive against street carts selling non-vegetarian food, asking how people can be stopped from eating what they want. The virus of intolerance has also travelled to Karnataka, where seers of various mutts have protested the state government’s decision to introduce eggs in the midday meals served to schoolchildren in the backward districts of Kalyana-Karnataka and Vijaypura. They have threatened to launch a stir if the government refuses to withdraw the order. This is how the liberty of thought and belief granted to the citizens is being eroded. Where is India headed?

Beant Singh Bedi, Mohali

Generate revenue

With the Assembly elections in Punjab nearing, all political parties are offering freebies to woo the voters. Everybody knows that Punjab is under heavy debt and unable to afford freebies. No party is coming up with a concrete programme to increase the revenue of the state. If the revenue increases, all problems relating to higher prices, unemployment, poor education, medical facilities, etc., shall be resolved; no one shall need anything for free. We need a solid blueprint to raise the state’s revenues. Any party?

SS Bhathal, Ludhiana

Anything but equal

With reference to the article ‘As unequal as 70 years ago’; it is sad that the bottom 50 per cent of India earns the same as what the poorest 50 per cent of the US earned in 1932 after the Great Depression. Why could no single government in India make a positive difference in inequality among the citizens? The rich are becoming richer and the poor poorer.

Ritish Pandit, Sunhet

Gurdaspur’s history

Apropos of ‘China, Pak want to keep J-K border relevant’, I have written a book on the history of Gurdaspur, and would like to add that Maharaja Hari Singh, at the time when Pakistan and India were declared separate nations, was given the choice of joining his state with either of the two. He had expressed concern that he could not join India as there was no territorial link with the country since Gurdaspur district bordering J&K had been give to Pakistan. Lord Mountbatten was annoyed and remarked that it could not be altered as Radcliffe had returned to England after announcing the details of the Partition. But he did feel that Maharaja Hari Singh was right. He, thereafter, ensured that Gurdaspur was given to India. An announcement in this regard was made on August 18, 1947. After Gurdaspur was allotted to India, Jinnah was furious and said he would never allow Mountbatten to enter Pakistan. Thus, Gurdaspur district remained with Pakistan for three days.

Lt Col MS Behl (retd), Zirakpur

Too many dropouts

It is shocking that the closure of schools due to the pandemic has affected a whopping 320 million students. What is more surprising is that out of them, 158 million are girls. The education of girls, which remains a contentious issue in rural India, has suffered another setback. It is true that sons will be given preference to access online classes and the girls will get residual time, if any. Whatever we have achieved with regard to the education of women over the past few years will turn to nothing if some concrete and quick action is not initiated. Otherwise too, the data of school dropouts in the current year as compared to the previous one is disturbing. This trend needs to be checked at the earliest for the betterment of our education system. Already we are spending too little on education.

Bir Devinder Singh Bedi, Sangrur

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Education reforms Other

Dec 11, 2021

The news report ‘94 schools in Nuh district without teacher, 87 have only one’ is shocking and a reflection on the lackadaisical attitude of the state education department. The scenario in colleges and universities is equally grim. Incompetent teachers drawing a paltry salary of Rs 10,000-15,000 have no interest and accountability. The structure of education is like a pyramid, but unfortunately, the system is reverse in our country. Sound school education is the strongest base of every child. MC Chagla, during his tenure as minister of education, aptly remarked that ‘we made a serious mistake when we drafted the Constitution by making education a State subject.’ Education is the most crucial investment in human development, and even after 74 years of Independence, we are still far away from the goal of literacy. We spend too little on education, and poor planning and implementation have dogged the system. We lack the political will to take the right step in earnestness to streamline our rotten system.

Anil Bhatia, Hisar

Can’t go scot-free

This refers to ‘Stir off for now, farmers head home from Dec 11.’ The farmers are ending their agitation following the acceptance of their demands. But, two demands need to be rejected: retracting all criminal cases against them and no criminal liability on stubble-burning as it goes against law enforcement. Their activities during the tractor rally on Republic Day in New Delhi were illegal. The government will be creating a wrong precedent by not punishing the perpetrators and interfering in law enforcement by the police. Why should the police risk their lives to protect public lives and property during protests, if the government does not allow them to punish the protesters who carry out these criminal acts?

O Prasada Rao, Hyderabad

Voters understand

Refer to ‘Stir off for now, farmers to head home from Dec 11’, policy-makers need to learn from botched attempts like the poorly drafted farm laws. One lesson is the importance of attention to detail. In intent and overarching vision, the package of farm laws got it right, but the design of the legal framework limited the potential impact of such a far-reaching reform. Though the BJP government has taken the decision to repeal the laws to appease farmers ahead of the elections in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, but its image has already been damaged. Voters understand vote politics. There is no doubt that reforms are needed in each area, but a certain procedure must be adopted in framing and implementing any new reform.

Sanjay Chopra, Mohali

‘Combat General’

India’s quest for supremacy over the developing China-Pakistan military axis has suffered a major blow following the death of CDS Rawat in a helicopter crash. The threat perception was deftly handled by the Indian forces under the able guidance of the CDS during Doklam and the Galwan Valley skirmishes. General Rawat, better known as ‘Combat General’, was responsible for the surgical strikes in the PoK and Balakot to destroy terror camps. His death is a setback to the process of theatre command and modernisation of our forces to take on the challenges of futuristic warfare.

Anil Vinayak, Amritsar

CJI’s concern

The deep concern shown by the Chief Justice of India over ‘formative years in prison-like institutes’ is a strong rejoinder to those who are responsible for the holistic growth of students to build the future India into a strong and dynamic country. The most serious challenge is from those private residential educational institutions that are run in the name of promoting religious cults and sectarian beliefs. But ultimately, such organisations encourage violent, unscientific and lopsided growth of their ‘inmates’, which needs to

be checked.

Jagdish Chander, Jalandhar

Idealism missing

Reference to ‘Formative years in prison-like institutes a concern: CJI’, the advice of CJI Ramana to future lawyers to combine ‘idealism with ambition’ is most relevant in the present context, where materialism has taken over all idealistic principles of life. The CJI is right that in residential schools and coaching centres, pupils are treated like robots and are devoid of holistic development. Can’t we device a new model where ‘gurukul’ values can be a part and parcel of modern-day educational system?

VK Anand, Chandigarh

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Questions remain Other

Dec 10, 2021

The unfortunate air crash which claimed the life of CDS Gen Bipin Rawat, the most decorated Army officer, has stunned the whole nation and left behind a trail of many unanswered questions regarding the possible cause of the mishap. How could the double-engine IAF chopper — the latest version of its exclusive class — which would have gone through strict inspection protocols before take-off, and piloted by a highly experienced Air Force officer, crash? The black box will provide crucial details, but the painful fact remains that our country has lost one of the greatest patriots and a hero who spearheaded the modernisation of our armed forces.

Deepak Kaushik, Radaur

A true patriot

Apropos of ‘A down-to-earth General, at times misunderstood’, the air mishap has moved the entire nation. General Rawat was eloquent about taking on our hostile neighbours and the drastic needs to modernise our forces. Many of us might have not have fully agreed with his views on downsizing of the non-essential manpower in the Army, yet we all respected our brave, genuinely patriotic and highly decorated General Rawat.

Raj Bahadur Yadav, Fatehabad

Thorough probe a must

The demise of the CDS, Gen Bipin Rawat, is immensely saddening news for the country. The chopper crash also claimed the lives of other Army personnel. A proper inquiry must be carried out by the government to know the reason behind the failure of such an advanced helicopter that is known for its ability to fly even in adverse weather conditions.

Saikrit Gulati, Chandigarh

Another crash

Apropos of ‘Gen Bipin Rawat, first CDS, dies in crash’, it is unfortunate that India has lost its CDS, along with his wife and 11 other persons in the crash. The government appointed him for the top post to bring about force transformation through the creation of theatre commands. The tragic crash is another addition to the long list of fatal accidents involving VVIPs. However, the first question that would arise is whether bad weather had been taken into consideration when the trip was planned.

Gregory Fernandes, Mumbai

Tragic loss

It was shattering to hear about the tragic demise of Gen Bipin Rawat. We lost a man of true calibre. His patriotism, excellence and dedication never raised a question on his diligence. He would not mince words. Although this tragic mishap can’t be reversed, a thorough investigation should be conducted to find out the cause of the crash.

Agam Garg, Jalandhar

Don’t paint them ‘villain’

Apropos of ‘Revisit AFSPA’, it is sensible to review the need for its continued use in a particular state at least once a year. Similarly, there is the need for reviewing the state of insurgency, preparedness of the state police forces and the political processes to meet the challenge of counter-insurgency in that particular state. It has become fashionable for the media to project the security forces as villain whenever an incident like that of Nagaland tragedy occurs. The use of words like operating with ‘impunity’ and having ‘immunity’ from prosecution mislead the public. The truth is that the security forces are subject to the law of the land and suffer the most deprivations during such operations. Every public servant enjoys immunity for all things done in good faith.

Lt Col GS Bedi (Retd), Mohali

Inequality in education

Rising inequality in India is worrisome and needs to be addressed by policy-makers (‘Unequal Nation’). Lower rating indicates the more equal distribution of wealth in society. Stark inequality brings with it inherent evils of unrest, suspicion, hatred, corruption, etc., among citizens. Unequal education and accessibility systems for rural and urban population may be the reason of increasing inequality. It must be considered to replace them with an education system equally accessible to all sections of society to narrow down inequality in income and more rationale distribution of wealth.

Krishan Kant Sood, Nangal

Protest by teachers

Refer to ‘Protest over pay scales hits teaching in 184 Pb colleges’; teachers in Punjab are observing education bandh to seek the implementation of salary as per the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission of the UGC. They are also perturbed over the move of the state government to delink UGC grades. When eligibility conditions for jobs conform to UGC norms, why not match the UGC grades as well? Keeping in mind the loss of studies earlier due to the pandemic, and now due to teachers’ strike, the state government should redress the genuine demands of the teachers so that educational institutions can function normally and impart education to students.

NK Gosain,Bathinda 

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Raining freebies Other

Dec 09, 2021

THE Delhi CM, Arvind Kejriwal, declared during his Hoshiarpur rally that if his party comes to power in Punjab, it will provide free education and coaching to the SC community, bear the cost of SC students going abroad to pursue higher education besides the medical expenses of the community. It is sheer politics to garner votes. Instead of the SC community alone, Kejriwal should give guarantee to provide financial help to the economically weaker sections of society, irrespective of their caste. Other parties are also offering freebies to different sections of society. This is not a healthy trend. The people of Punjab should not fall into the trap of political leaders who are dividing the common people on the basis of caste and community.

Sukhdev Singh Minhas, Mohali

Not in God’s name

Refer to ‘Killing in God’s name’; all religions accept that God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent and omnibenevolent. We must respect all faiths which teach us spiritual ways to reach the divine. Our behaviour towards other life forms should be respectful and our speech dignified. Nothing hurtful may be uttered to injure the feelings of anyone in society. Such qualities need to be inculcated among all citizens right from childhood. God’s message is to love and support one another. This way, there would be no blasphemy, the factor which medieval minds use to settle personal scores. God is above human praise or hate and maintains the universe, irrespective of our feelings towards Him.


Rail travel concession

The Railways recently reverted to the pre-Covid era in respect of operationalisation of trains by restoring their normal numbers, instead of special numbers assigned to them during the pandemic. However, the government is now unwilling to ‘restore’ the basic fare concessions that were available to various eligible categories of passengers, like senior citizens, women aged 58 years or above, and the differently-abled, among others. The Railway Minister informed the House that the government did not find it feasible to restore the same now, though these categories of commuters constitute only 12% of the total train passengers. One wonders whether the government will also withdraw the free train/air travel facilities available to the MPs on the same plea.

Vinayak G, New Delhi

Judicial autonomy

Apropos of ‘Cong flags govt’s indirect control over judiciary’, clear separation of powers between the judiciary and the executive is a prerequisite in modern India to avoid overlapping of authority of the latter over the former. Judicial appointments ought to be transparent, lawful and unprejudiced, free from the influence of the state. Delay in some matters of paramount importance, along with some sceptical judgments in the recent past, are violative of the constitutional rights of citizens. With pending cases soaring, it further delays the delivery of justice to the aggrieved, tarnishing the image of the judiciary as the protector of the Constitution.

Akshay Kapoor, Amritsar

One of a kind

The middle ‘Why Nehru was loved the way he was’ is a tribute to one of the grandest leaders of the masses. Nehru is remembered not only for his great vision for free India, but also for his great love for children and compassion for the poor and the needy. No one could ever forget him after having a word with him. Such was the aura of his personality. My sister, who is 70 years old, still cherishes the memory, when in her early childhood, Nehru stopped to talk to her, asking, ‘Kise dhoond rahi ho beti?’It was when he was visiting a government school headed by our father. I can recall people weeping and worrying about the future of India when he passed away in 1964.

Sadhna Saini, by mail

UGC pay scales

Except Punjab, all states and UTs have granted the benefit of new pay scales to their teachers as per the UGC 7th Pay Commission. In due course, all other departments in Punjab have been granted the new scales, but only teachers have been left out. In addition, the state is the only one in the country to delink higher education from the UGC to shed its responsibility to pay UGC scales to teachers. These policies will affect the quality of education and further destroy the public education infrastructure which is already in a shambles. Moreover, the mushrooming private varsities will commercialise education. Teachers will be exploited with no academic freedom and no regulatory framework to save their interests. Also, the students will be financially burdened.

Karan Singh Vinayak, Chandigarh

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Chinese game plan Other

Dec 08, 2021

Soldiers are risking their lives daily to fight terrorists and their supporters in J&K and Nagaland. If civilians travelling in a vehicle do not stop when soldiers order them to, they are justified in opening fire. The civilians were guilty and could have been supporting terrorists. Why did the Home Minister not constitute an SIT during the farmers’ agitation and the deaths that followed, as has been ordered against the soldiers in Nagaland? Any illogical and unwarranted action against the soldiers will adversely affect their morale. This is a game plan of China which is actively supporting and funding terrorist organisations and such incidents are engineered to create hatred against the defence forces engaged in counter-insurgency operation, and destabilise the area with politically motivated incidents.

Capt Amar Jeet (retd), Mohali

Ensure justice

The Army operation that resulted in the death of 14 civilians in Nagaland should lead to quick and credible investigation so that justice is done. It is established that the commandos acted on faulty intelligence, but no wrong information can justify the deaths of innocent citizens. The fact that those miners were non-combatants has to be the driving point of both the Army’s Court of Inquiry and the SIT probe. Past inquiries haven’t inspired confidence as no soldier operating under AFSPA has been charged for killing civilians. The draconian law continues in Nagaland. With Myanmar reverting to a military junta, refugees and weapons have started flowing into the Northeast. This gives insurgent groups who are unwilling to join the peace process elbow room to manoeuvre.

PS HANSPAUL, by mail

Civilian deaths

It is unfortunate that the horrific death of 14 civilians in Nagaland occurred following a botched Army operation. This incident may be attributed as an outcome of impunity accorded by AFSPA. The ‘normalcy narrative’ in J&K of the government was punctured following the unfortunate civilian killings in the Valley. India has already earned criticism globally for this draconian Act. Looking at the gravity of the situation, the Chief Ministers of Meghalaya and Nagaland — alliance partner of the BJP — have demanded the repeal of AFSPA. The continued reliance on AFSPA must be reviewed. In the meanwhile, various agencies should ensure that such shocking incidents do not occur during action against insurgents. The immediate priority of the government is to ensure that the tragedy in Mon does not escalate into any further violence.

SK Khosla, Chandigarh

Botched operation

The avoidable killing of innocents in Nagaland has painted the forces involved in counter-insurgency operations as trigger-happy. If the ones responsible are not brought to book soon, there is a real danger of the simmering anger of the denizens getting exploited by insurgent groups to further consolidate their hold in the area. Such botched operations will further alienate the people from the mainland. The state government and forces should be on ground zero to try and bridge the gap and act as guardians to the bereaved. There must be an investigation that is transparent, quick and fair.

SS Paul, Nadia

Nagaland killings

Refer to the Nagaland outrage; the civilian deaths are regretted, but it must be noted that the paramilitary forces deployed in Nagaland are also citizens of India who have the same right to life. Law and order is a State subject, hence elected leaders must be held accountable when civilians take law into their own hands and assault the Assam Rifles camp.

Brig HS Ghuman (Retd), by mail

Compensation for ‘death’?

Refer to ‘The enduring legacy of farmers’ movement’; the Kisan Andolan began in earnest, but went astray midway. Its control slipped into wrong hands. The protests were anything but peaceful. How did 700 deaths, as claimed by them, occur? Were these natural deaths? If so, why the compensation? Ever heard of compensation for a natural death? It is unethical to use death to make money.


Permanent Commission

Apropos of ‘487 got Permanent Commission: Govt, Army inform SC’, it is a matter of pride for the female fraternity that 487 women Short Service Commission officers were granted Permanent Commission in the Army after the apex court verdict last year. This action will boost the morale of women officers and the Army will benefit from the hidden talent of its women wing. The court has also directed that 12 such officers, released from service during the pendency of proceedings, be granted Permanent Commission.

Vijaya Sharma, by mail

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Judicial accountability Other

Dec 07, 2021

Apropos of ‘The injustice of justice’, it goes without saying that justice delayed is justice denied. Accordingly, a burden of responsibility rests upon the judges to do right with the realisation that their dithering and procrastination in a case can cause immense hardship to the litigant. The Anand case was a high-profile case and one cannot imagine the plight of an ordinary litigant under such circumstances. As there is no limitation of time fixed for finalisation of trial by courts under the CrPC, a heavier sense of responsibility entails upon the judges to expedite the proceedings at the earliest. This would also obviate any pangs of suffering by the litigant in respect of unnecessary delays, financial strains, etc. It also behoves the State to consider providing compensation not only in acts of omission by the executive, but also of the judiciary. Judicial accountability is a must. Roman poet Juvenal’s legal maxim is apt: ‘Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?’ (Who will guard the guards themselves?)


Justice delayed

‘The injustice of justice’ brings to public view the seamy side of Indian justice. The agony of the accused, who were ultimately found innocent, during this long period, touched the limits of human endurance. The article also hints at the faltering of judges, which is not infrequent. It may be caused by many factors like the personality of the judge, social background, life experience, parties to litigation, nature of the crime, etc. It may be reduced by recruiting better quality of judges. The problem of judicial delay is perennial. Despite efforts of the SC and the government, they have not been able to resolve the issue. The onus is on the higher judiciary and the Bar to break this logjam. Compensating innocent victims of judicial delays is also a problem which needs to be addressed.

Beant Singh Bedi, Mohali

Legalisation of MSP

Apropos of ‘Diversification best bet, not price intervention’, the fears expressed on legalising MSP are misplaced and not favourable to farmers’ cause. How it is going to affect the end-user and his/her dietary pattern depends upon price determination mechanism at retail outlets controlled by traders after farm produce reaches them. The government should take proper policy decisions to keep inflation under control. Farmers will adopt diversification provided they get assured MSP. Reforms in agriculture are useless without assured MSP.

Darshan Singh Bhathal, Nangal

Farm reforms

As commoners, we should try to get to the bottom of the matter and suggest workable solutions (‘Diversification best bet, not price intervention’). Some vested interests are trying to stoke a fire and create problems for gullible farmers. The article has provided and placed before ‘men in power and position’ the ideal wherewithal and inputs for examination before implementation for optimum results. The ministry concerned should take a cue and enact long-lasting laws for an amicable solution to the farmers’ agitation.

Rajagopalan V Iyer, Navi Mumbai

Desperate act

Refer to ‘Making MC polls a prestige issue; it was interesting to learn that apart from Amit Shah and JP Nadda, three CMs of the BJP-ruled states of UP, HP and Uttarakhand, accompanied by Union ministers and actors, among others, will be the star campaigners of the party for the civic body elections. The party could be testing the political waters, following the Centre’s recent repeal of the three controversial farm laws, as also the impending Punjab Assembly elections next year. But, what if, the party still fails to regain control of the local body, following its shoddy performance as evidenced by its downgraded ranking in the Swachh Survekshan, 2021, from the 16th position that it had achieved last year?

Vinayak G, New Delhi

Humanity above all

Going through the middle ‘Across barbed wire, an awkward hush’ was both a heart-warming and heart-wrenching experience. One wonders how the natural instinct of friendliness and bonhomie gets suppressed in the presence of barbed wires, whether at Doklam’s hostile altitudes or at Wagah-Attari’s docile plains. The atmosphere of shared humanity gets vitiated by the wildly expansionist, ultra-nationalist or pro-terrorist policies of arrogant rulers. Instead of high-pitched slogans of one’s own country’s victory or glory, let there be the slogan of insaniyat zindabad, amid handshakes across the wire.

Amritlal Madan, Kaithal

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Easy way out Other

Dec 06, 2021

Apropos of ‘Reforms are not sell-offs’ (Nous Indica), it is not in the fitness of things to privatise the two banks as it may prove to be disastrous in the coming times. Privatisation is not an end in itself. Its success is assessed on the whetstone of whether it has been able to better the quality of all people for whom the so-called reforms are meant. An economic superstructure cannot be built on weak social foundations. The criterion for measuring the lines of advancement must not be private profit, but social gain. The pattern of development and the structure of the socio-economic relationship should be so planned that they not only result in considerable increase in national income and employment, but also in greater equality in incomes and wealth of the masses. The private and corporate sectors are impelled by profit and least interested in the overall social and material uplift of millions of poor people or any of the social or welfare programmes. Hence, rather than selling them, the public entities should be turned into vibrant banks to serve agriculture, trade and commerce.

Tarsem S Bumrah, Batala

Govt doesn’t own deposits

It is not just the question of selling government holdings in PSBs, one should look at the colossal amount of deposits which the government seeks to expose to private sharks. Vajpayee refused to listen to people who pushed him to denationalise banks. The government may be owning a major portion of stocks, but it does not own the deposits. It is bound to obtain the consent of the depositors before attempting to sell banks. Nationalised banks did, and are still doing, a lot to uplift socially and economically backward people.

MR Anand, Vrindavan

Not a solution

Behind every ill that plagues the country is the prevalent politics (‘Reforms aren’t sell-offs’). If in the true spirit of democracy, people are to be empowered, Indian politics needs immediate reforms. After banks were nationalised, they became engines of economic growth and played a vital role in Green Revolution. Becoming accessible to the common man, they started a process of social uplift. Then came politicians’ greed. Loans with differential rates of interest and interest subsidies were diverted and grossly misused. A mountain of NPAs is the making of politicians’ interference, favouritism and patronage. Nationalised banks were weakened because of this, besides government-forced takeover of several private banks that failed because of the loot of their promoters. Even profit-making public entities are being sold, because for offering freebies during elections, the government needs more and more money. Law and order and investigating machinery must be freed from the clutches of politicians. Voters need to be awakened, but in the absence of socially-responsible media, it is a tough task.

HL Sharma, Amritsar

Judicial deterrent

The crackdown by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on complacent, inefficient and corrupt judicial officers is a welcome step. Doing so will help in restoring public faith in the judiciary. If the judiciary is ridden with such malpractices, where will people go for justice? Legal action against guilty judicial officers will deter others from indulging in such undesirable activities. Continuous monitoring by the high court will go a long way in improving the image of our judiciary.

Ravinder Singh, Jalandhar

Penal action must

Apropos of ‘Cleansing lower judiciary’, the deterrent action of compulsory retirement may be aimed at improving justice delivery, but even if the allegations ranged from corruption to insubordination or indiscipline, forcing retirement arbitrarily does not auger well as fair play. The charges have to be specific and substantiated and an opportunity provided to contest, if required. Forcing retirement is not enough. Penal action as per law and service rules should be exhibited tangibly to deter any wrong-doing.

Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula

Talk about real issues

Instead of doling out sops to make the people of Punjab dependent on freebies, the parties in the fray, be it the Congress, AAP, SAD or BJP, need to chalk out a clear roadmap and declare at public forums how they are going to make them ‘independent’ against the backdrop of rising unemployment, if voted to power. In addition, since the three farm Bills stand repealed, what other agrarian plans they are likely to draft to double farm incomes and offset the problem of depleting groundwater levels, owing to overdependence on wheat, maize and paddy. In recent years, religious fundamentalism, hate speeches and communal polarisation have raised their ugly head. Punjab needs a broad-minded, secular CM who will put the welfare of the people and state before his own chair.

Upant Sharma, Panchkula

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribunemail.com

Opposition unity Other

Dec 04, 2021

‘Churning within Oppn’ and ‘Congress leadership not right of one individual: Kishor targets Rahul’ call attention to the fact that Opposition unity is the need of the hour, but the Congress will have to shed the self-illusion that it is born to lead. It should not rest on its past laurels, and must give due space and recognition to the regional satraps. Mamata Banerjee, Sharad Pawar and other political bigwigs can play a dominant role in presenting a stronger and more effective alternative to Modi in the 2024 General Election. But all involved will have to overcome their narrow and short-term gains that can jeopardise our democracy. It is the wish of every awakened Indian.

DV Sharma, Mukerian

Congress key player

Mamata Banerjee is digging her own political grave by going around for a united front by ignoring the Congress to fight the BJP. Regional parties have no power to fight national parties, which have a grassroots base in every state. She should keep her ego aside, as the Congress is the only national party which can fight, and is an alternative to the BJP.

Bhagwan Thadani, Mumbai

We let down PoWs

Apropos of ‘Untraced PoWs remain a tale of neglect, apathy’, no words can explain the distress and pain of the families of these unfortunate soldiers who have been left to fend for themselves in miserable conditions and at the mercy of the enemy by successive governments. Every year the nation celebrates the heroic acts of our soldiers to appropriate their legacy, but does anybody feel the ordeal of these soldiers and their families? It only indicates indifference towards a grave human rights predicament, wherein this sensitive issue has not been followed to its logical conclusion. Did we not fail to leverage a very favourable situation after the 1971 War? Why and how we as a nation forgot these soldiers?


Sirsa on wrong side

It is strange that Manjinder Singh Sirsa, former president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Managing Committee, who was vocal for Sikh cause and the farmers’ agitation, and recently lodged a complaint in Mumbai against Kangana Ranaut’s statements, has suddenly switched over to the BJP. He now describes the BJP as a party which thinks about the welfare of the Sikhs. His act has betrayed the Sikh sangat and forces one to think about the degradation of our political and religious leaders. Sukhbir Badal and the jathedar of Akal Takht claim that Sirsa joined the BJP under pressure from the Centre. This excuse is not acceptable.

Sukhdev Singh Minhas, Mohali

Make up mind

One man thinks, three laws are passed by both Houses and the President gives his approval. A lot of agitation happens. Again, the same man thinks otherwise, the same laws are reversed, approved by both Houses and the President relents. Are the members of Parliament there only to raise hands? Are they not supposed to apply their mind? Who is accountable for the loss of hundreds of lives and the loss of crores of rupees as revenue and indefinite man-days? Is it a one-man democracy?

SS Bhathal, Ludhiana

Adjourn sine die

After passing the Bill on the repeal of the farm laws, no serious business is taking place in Parliament. The Opposition has boycotted the Rajya Sabha, which is being repeatedly adjourned. Only few members are seen in the Lok Sabha and the discussions are drab and unimportant. It appears that both the Government and the Opposition are not interested in the functioning of Parliament, hence it is best to adjourn sine die the Houses to save public money.

O Prasada Rao, by mail

Not this green

This refers to ‘Green tax on electric vehicles opposed’. The HP Government must remove the green tax on the purchase of electric vehicles as it is against the policy of the Union government. Also, this will lead to low sales of these vehicles. The state government must ensure proper infrastructure development for these vehicles as there are no charging points at petrol stations of the state. The transport department must initiate immediate action.

Ritish Pandit, Sunhet

Judicial propriety

Refer to ‘HC cracks whip on lower judiciary, 2 judges retired’; the decision will send a message of zero tolerance to subordinate judiciary which will also curb corruption, indiscipline, complacency and other factors. The common people consider courts as temples of justice. This decision will boost the confidence of the people of both Punjab and Haryana to get justice from the judiciary. It is very important to maintain this trust.

Shakti Singh, Karnal

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribunemail.com

House disruptions Other

Dec 03, 2021

Apropos of the editorial ‘House ruckus’, the suspension of 12 Opposition MPs from the Rajya Sabha for the entire Winter Session is unfair and unreasonable. When the BJP was in the Opposition for a decade till 2014, it was responsible for disruptions too. The absence of the Opposition will only leave the government even more unchecked. The ruckus that happened in Parliament four months ago was uncalled for, but it should not be allowed to disturb the current session. Otherwise, the exchequer will be saddled with another wasted session.

Gregory Fernandes, Mumbai

Political colour

The BSF DG’s clarification that his personnel wouldn’t act as parallel police is welcome, but his comment that ‘demographic imbalance’ has been upset over a period of time in border states like Assam and Bengal is unwarranted. Although his comment comes in the wake of the Centre’s notification enhancing BSF’s jurisdiction from 15 km to 50 km in Assam, Bengal and Punjab, as head of a paramilitary force, he should have refrained from making a political comment about the issue. As it is, objections have been raised against BSF’s enhanced jurisdiction. If the DG wades into the controversy and gives a seemingly political colour to the issue, it casts doubts on the Centre’s move and questions the force’s neutrality.

SK SINGH, by mail

Start booster dose

Vaccination to protect Indians from Covid was started in January this year. Most of the people who were administered both doses will again become vulnerable in the next month as the effect of the vaccination will cease after a year. The threat of another variant, Omicron, is looming large. Lest the virus spread again in India, the government should immediately take necessary steps to contain it, including administering the third dose as booster to the public free of cost. People are becoming careless, so the government should rigorously enforce masking and social distancing.


Appropriate call

With respect to news related to restrictions on international flights, it is an appropriate decision at this point, keeping in mind the global spread of the new Omicron variant of Covid. This step will not only reduce the outbreak of this variant in India, but also will act as a bubble that stops its spread from other countries. Also, the Serum institute seeking nod for a booster dose from the drug regulator will go a long way in boosting the immunity of people.

Hardik Gupta, Solan

No scope for lapses

The unprecedented Covid situation has changed one’s mindset and the aftermath has taught readiness in wake of new variants. But despite the advisory in public domain, people are not adhering to appropriate guidelines. In wake of the threat of the Omicron variant, travellers are being disembarked without any test. These lapses might lead us towards the erstwhile situation and the repercussions may be catastrophic.

Prabhash kumar, Dharamsala

Pong oustees

Apropos of ‘300 Pong oustees to be allotted land by Dec 31’, it is unfortunate that the oustees are to be allotted land after over five decades. But it is heartening that the Kangra DC has directed officials to finish the task in a time-bound manner, a rare gesture by the administration during the present setup. It is more surprising that the officials have been asked to complete the exercise within three weeks of submission of applications by the oustees.

Vijaya Sharma, by mail

Circulating soiled notes

The middle ‘When nostalgia hit the right note’ was not in good taste. Soiled and mutilated notes can be exchanged for equal value at all branches of the State Bank of India. At places, all banks offer such services. Deliberately passing off mutilated notes of any denomination, as the writer narrates with elan, does no good to her position. It inadvertently sends a bad message that small cheatings are justified. But she is not to blame entirely. Expediency rules over ethics in our society.

Kiran Sharma, Sundernagar

Hockey win

Apropos of ‘Quarter of job done’, India has ousted Belgium from the junior hockey World Cup. Drag-flicker Tiwari scored the match-winning goal. Goalkeeper Pawan made a brilliant diving save to thwart Duvekot’s attempt to score a goal. People of India hope that we will again become No. 1 in hockey, like we were at the time of Major Dhyan Chand.

Anwita Dixit, by mail

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribunemail.com

Growing pollution Other

Dec 02, 2021

Apropos of the editorial ‘No action on pollution’, it is a matter of concern that in spite of efforts by the Central and some state governments, air quality in Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh has not improved. The Supreme Court had directed the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) to hold an urgent meeting to control the worsening air quality but not much effect is to be seen.

Subhash C Taneja, Gurugram

Cryptocurrency Bill

The Bill on cryptocurrency is expected to lay the ground for ushering in a framework for the introduction of digital currency that is to be issued by the RBI, though earlier, its Governor had rightly raised concern. But at the same time, it seeks to prohibit all private cryptocurrencies in India. The RBI is right to advise caution, but an outright ban is not a prudent way forward. Considering the nature of cryptocurrency, restrictions on such transactions may end up having the opposite effect, pushing them beyond the realm of scrutiny and making it harder to enforce the law in case of felony. The government should not make the mistake of ramming this legislation through without detailed discussions like in the case of the three farm laws.

PL Singh, by email

Omicron threat

Within hours of the WHO designating Omicron a “variant of concern”, more than 40 countries imposed new travel bans, places that had loosened restrictions reintroduced mandates, and anxieties ran high. The government also issued fresh guidelines for passengers from ‘at-risk’ countries. For its success, the IGIA in Delhi has made seating arrangements for people as they wait, and around 600 samples can be collected per hour. If the volumes increase, the facility for testing and seating arrangements can be increased. The emergence of the variant should spur people to get vaccinated or get booster shots.

Bidyut K Chatterjee, Faridabad

State of economy

At a time when we can rejoice in the GDP figure of 8.4% for Q2 of 2021-22, the Periodic Labour Force survey presents a bleak scenario of 15+ age jobless figures for October-December 2020. The fact that the GDP period precedes by half year of PLF survey cannot do away the fact that we are having a jobless growth. A shrinking public sector, increasing non-development expenditure of states, Covid pressure on real growth rate, is all a matter of concern. Growth with joblessness is not self-sustained growth by any measure.

Rakesh Sudan, Kurukshetra

Army engineers

Corporatising the Army Base Workshops on the government-owned contractor operators (GOCO) model is an ill-conceived move. The CAG says that implementing this model is fraught with risk. The Army Base Workshops conduct repair of weapons, equipment and vehicles by skilled manpower of the EME. Why should the workshops go to private contractors when the Army has a trained and trusted workforce? Giving sensitive departments to private contractors will be risky and demoralising for the Army engineers, who are among the best.

Capt Amar Jeet, Kharar

Traffic jam

Of late, there have been a series of protests by the ETT teachers and NHM workers in and around Kharar city, the hometown of the Punjab CM. They gather in large numbers and block the Kharar flyover both from over and underside connecting Chandigarh and Mohali with Ropar and Ludhiana and also all other entry points to Kharar city. This causes a lot of inconvenience to the travellers and office-goers commuting daily between the tricity and offices as well as institutions located on Ropar and Ludhiana roads. If the CM can’t handle such a petty issue, then how can we expect him to handle the bigger political and other administrative matters?

Vandana, Chandigarh

Repeal of farm laws

The PM’s announcement of the repeal of the contentious farm laws is a victory for the agitating farmers. The fact is that politics is all about polls and can’t be overlooked. As elections in Punjab and UP near, the BJP needed a course correction. And with the SC staying the implementation, the three farm laws were as good as dead. The ordinance route and rushed passage to parliament was poor optics. The greater political threat for the BJP stemmed from western UP where BKU leader Rakesh Tikait was threatening to spread the stir wider.

MS Khokhar, by email

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribunemail.com

On merit alone Other

Dec 01, 2021

‘Haryana’s job scams’ raises the genuine concerns of the common man about the ever-burgeoning scandals in the state. The dangerous ecosystem in which lakhs are exchanged and government officials are suspected to be involved needs to be dismantled. There was hope that things would change with the arrival of the BJP in power in 2014. At the initial stage, there was remarkable transparency in the online transfer of government employees. Many people got D-category jobs on the basis of merit, but the recent murky revelations about HCS recruitments and exchange of huge amounts of money for different posts have dealt a heavy blow to the credibility of the Haryana Public Service Commission and other recruiting bodies. The unemployment rate at 30 per cent in Haryana is alarming and must be checked in time by selecting only the deserving candidates.

Raj Bahadur Yadav, Fatehabad

Like a monarch

The article ‘Modi alone knows best’ is a clarion call for us to ponder over the present state of our democracy. Calling the present government ‘Modi government’ is like being ruled by a monarch. Do we have to unlearn the definition taught by our schoolteachers that we are proud citizens of a country, being run by a government of the people, for the people, by the people? All ministers of the Cabinet are overshadowed by one name only. The way decisions are made and Bills are passed in Parliament is against the very principles of democracy. Sycophants are busy projecting the PM as a magnanimous leader and a great well-wisher of farmers, little realising that the farmers had to spend a year on the roads in scorching heat and harsh winter, sacrificing several precious lives before these unwanted farm laws were taken back. Despite all this, it is heartening to see that our people are aware and want their voice to be heard.

Sadhna saini, by mail

Back on high alert

Apropos of ‘WHO calls for global accord on pandemics’, the latest Covid variant is a reminder that the pandemic isn’t yet over. Not much is known — its rate of transmission, virulence and whether existing vaccines are effective — and scientists across the world are working to understand its various dimensions. The world is back on high alert. Stepping up vigilance, testing and tracking protocols, and doubling down on vaccinations, rather than panic, is the way forward. Without 70% of global population being vaccinated, new variants are bound to keep emerging. Omicron calls for a scientific race against time to learn more about the virus and efficacy of vaccines and drugs, and development of vaccines targeting new variants must be on the priority list of governments.

N Sadhasiva Reddy, Bengaluru

Demographic challenges

The National Family Health Survey-5 shows favourable age and gender-based population ratios. As the average longevity, too, is growing, care and sustenance of the elderly population must reset our social allocations. Retirement age may need to be raised and safety nets reviewed. We need to find fresh avenues for employment of the young. Technology interruptions will compel us to innovate on quicker reskilling to enable them to qualify for new genres of jobs and openings. Food security and addressing malnutrition among children can be daunting due to its very scale, as would their primary and secondary education. Our enviable demographics come with large-scale socio-economic challenges. Eschewing narrow vote-bank politics, political parties must come together to evolve an action plan for the next decade to derive sustained benefits from this favourable demography.

R Narayanan, Navi Mumbai

Debates a must

Apropos of ‘No debate, Parl passes Bill to repeal laws’, it took just four minutes to repeal the farm laws. This is reminiscent of the manner in which the controversial laws were rammed through Parliament last year, without due consideration, as demanded by the Opposition, leading to deep distrust among the farmers. The obstinacy of the government was the major reason why it failed to convince the protesters, despite many rounds of talks and intervention of the SC. Many ministers had taken to social media and hailed the PM’s climbdown as a great gesture in the national interest, but what was against ‘national interest’ was never explained. It would be advisable that the Centre henceforth let the states decide their own agricultural reform paths, as per the demand of local political economy, rather than push centralised solutions. It is hoped that by now, the Centre would know that agriculture is a deeply contested territory and policy-making in the sector calls for conversations across fences. Passing Bills without debates, which are the lifeline of Parliament, will diminish this great institution.

EL SINGH, by mail

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribunemail.com