Letters to the editor
The whole anti-CAA protest has been hijacked by political elements and organisations with questionable records. The recent ED revelations about the dubious transactions connecting the PFI with violent protest are going to jeopardise the pro-protest sentiment among non-Muslim communities. Although such protests bring the democratic ethos of right to freedom of speech and right to dissent to life, but blocking roads, damaging public property, using provocative statements at rallies, and calls for ‘intifada inquilab’ harms the secular fabric and communal harmony of the nation.
Bharat Bhushan, Fatehabad
Statements by BJP leaders are becoming dirtier each passing day. Modi spoke about ahinsa in Mann ki Baat, but at the ground level, the exact opposite is happening under his nose. The latest is from a UP minister saying that anti-nationals will be shot like dogs. Earlier he said those speaking against Modi and Yogi will be buried alive. It seems that there is no authority left in this country that can stop this nuisance. Once for all they should make clear the definition of anti-nationals and traitors. Or do we suppose that whoever speaks against their policies/ ideology is an anti-national?
Bhupinder Kochhar, by mail
Is that all EC can do?
The ridiculously undesirable statements of Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Verma are a matter of shame. The former has been banned from electioneering for 72 hours and the latter has been banned for 96 hours. It is more agonising that Thakur is a minister and Verma is a BJP MP. Is it all that we expect from the Election Commission? They will be seen sitting by the side of our Home Minister at election meetings. It is most disappointing that the PM is not speaking even a word about it.
SL Kataria, by mail
Take stern action
The EC has ordered the removal of Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Verma from the list of star campaigners of the BJP. This is a good step as the quality of language in our politics is getting worse day by day. Politicians of almost every party are using abusive language for one another, and if the EC will not interfere, Indian politics will become a joke. It must take more strict steps against the use of foul language, so that no politician will dare use objectionable words in public.
Vishesh Goswami, by mail
Reference to the editorial ‘Reining in hate-mongers’ (Jan 30); in every election, we watch the use of unparliamentary language by our politicians. When anybody approaches the EC with complaints, it seems to take ambiguous and ineffective actions. If a political party does not take stern action, the EC must take legal action against both the party and the accused. If our role models will spread venomous utterances among society, the masses may follow the same incendiary track. The government, our constitutional bodies and the civil society should preserve the holy thread of fraternity and universal brotherhood.
DILWAR ALI MEERAK, TOHANA
Refer to ‘Out of poll fray, SAD to back BJP in Delhi’ (Jan 30); SAD was slighted by the BJP in Haryana elections. In Delhi, too, after having failed to get what they wanted from the saffron party, they walked out of elections on the pretext of expressing their dissent against CAA. Now on what grounds have they decided to back the BJP in Delhi? They should stop fooling Sikhs whose interests they proclaim to safeguard. Sukhbir changes his political colours, because of which many stalwarts of the SAD are deserting him. He treats the party as his fiefdom. He is a visionless leader thrust upon the SAD.
Tarsem S Bumrah, Batala
Indira era notable
Apropos ‘An era that shaped a nation and its polity’ (Jan 12), Indira Gandhi’s tenure was remarkable. She succeeded in taking IMF loan unconditionally and encouraged real investment by discouraging speculative activities. Strategically, the nation was made secure and India became the sixth nuclear power in the world. A successful bid in the space was made. India won the hockey and cricket World Cup, and women made a mark in the Asian Games. Under her well controlled political, social and economic system, India made good progress in agriculture, industry, trade, commerce, exports, services, education, etc. Banks were nationalised. The benefits were reaped by crores of people. Education, employment and health services were given top priority. She aptly handled the Bangladesh crisis when the US was a mute spectator. She took challenging decisions at the cost of her life and saved the nation from disintegration. Above all, freedom and liberty was considered more important than economic emancipation.
NIRMAL KUMAR, 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
The provocative statement by BJP MP Parvesh Verma, warning that anti-CAA protesters will enter homes and rape and kill women, is aimed at instigating people. It is highly unfortunate and unacceptable that an elected representative could go to this lowest level for votes. To make it worse, minister of state Anurag Thakur went a step ahead with his slogan, ‘Desh ke gaddaron ko...’ These motormouths masquerading as peoples’ ‘messiahs’ need to understand that these cheap gimmicks of spreading venom have earned India a bad name.
Ramesh Dhiman, by mail
No need for rollback
Reference to ‘Govt faced with protests that are not dying down’ (The Sunday Tribune, Jan 26); yes, the CAA does contradict the secular feature of our Constitution, but when seen de facto, there is nothing wrong with it. It excludes Muslim immigrants who have entered India illegally, not legal Indian Muslim citizens. Also, it won’t apply to autonomous tribal-dominated regions in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland. Thus, the CAA needs no rollback.
Ojaswini Sachdeva, Kullu
Actors do their bit
Apropos the middle ‘When actors stood up for a cause’ (Jan 29), whatever actors do, it often becomes a statement which comes under speculation. This is both a blessing and curse. But if the flag-bearers of the film industry walk the path where citizens can be inspired to stand up for themselves, it will result in greater good. Celebrities voicing out their opinion on the CAA should not be ignored. Anyone, famous or not, who comes out in support of democracy and a good cause should be acknowledged and supported, even if not appreciated.
Sukhmani Anand, by mail
It’s nothing like a jail
After the report ‘7 mobiles seized from prisoners, five booked’ (Jan 28), another news, ‘Three phones seized from Roper jail’ appears on January 29. Such reports appear almost daily. One wonders how mobile phones reach prisoners in high-security jails. This can only be possible if security men are bribed. Are jails ‘reform homes’ or dens of corruption and crime? Sometimes liquor and drugs are seized, sometimes gunshots are fired. Everything illegal is done in the so-called ‘sudhar ghars’. Jails should be cleansed of all illegalities.
RK KAPOOR, CHANDIGARH
Why shift statues?
Bowing before the struggle by Sikh activists, the Punjab CM has directed the department of tourism and cultural affairs to relocate the statues of folk dancers installed on Heritage Street (‘Shift Heritage Street statues, orders Capt’, Jan 29). It is claimed that the statues violated Sikh religious sentiments as they were installed near the Golden Temple. In my view, the statues of folk dancers were depicting Punjabi culture and were in no way a violation of the sentiments of the Sikh community. It is an irrelevant issue.
Muskan Sharma, Parwanoo
Apropos ‘Indigo, AI suspend comedian from flying’ (Jan 29), Kamra was banned for asking questions and inconveniencing ‘one’ passenger on board, but no such action was taken against BJP MP Pragya Thakur when she delayed passengers and the crew of Spicejet. The passengers even complained about her behaviour as being unacceptable and that she be put on the no-fly list. But how many airlines banned her? This shows the hypocrisy of the airlines.
Ayushi Bisht, Dehradun
Crackdown on students
The voice of students is being muzzled because leaders do not want them to speak out against the government (editorial ‘Cover-up in UP’, Jan 29). They know the voice of students is strong, and by raising it, the government may fall, just as it happened during Indira’s time. The police should work without any pressure.
Prof Hans’s death is an irreparable loss to the scholarly community working on Punjab across the world (Prof Surjit Hans, who translated all of Shakespeare to Punjabi, dies at 89’, Jan 17). He was a progressive historian of multiple talents whose translation of Shakespeare into Punjabi will remain his crowning achievement. I remember my first meeting with him. I was at the beginning of my academic career when we were both interviewed by the editor of a political/literary magazine Lakeer on the Left perspective on the changing cultural, social and political milieu in Punjab in the 1980s. I was apprehensive of discussing the issue along with an established scholar, but within a few minutes, all hierarchies melted away and it became an exchange between equals. I will remember him as an independent-minded and remarkable scholar beyond ideological divides.
Pritam Singh, UK
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
Will politicians, for once, think about the nation and not ways of increasing their vote bank? Recently, the Uttarakhand CM said anti-CAA protesters were raising anti-India slogans and they won’t succeed. The BJP has blamed the Congress for protests. The Shiv Sena is changing its stand over CAA. Leaders are busy playing the blame game to grab people’s attention, at a time when the country is going through a major crisis.
Ridhsimar Sethi, Dehradun
Don’t cloud their thinking
It was disappointing to listen to PM Modi’s partisan political rhetoric against the BJP’s opponents before NCC cadets assembled in New Delhi. Let the PM and other ministers not use such official functions for vote-bank politics by influencing impressionable young minds that are a non-partisan national asset.
Brij Bhushan Goyal, Ludhiana
The middle ‘Death and community healing’ (Jan 28) made for a sad reading. Our social web is degenerating into painful alienation. It impelled me to recall an old incident involving the sudden death of my mother at midnight in a remote village. While all family members were in deep shock, some village residents managed to enter the locked house after scaling the walls to offer help in anticipation of some tragic happening. All gathered there mournfully and voluntarily made all arrangements regarding the last rites. Not only that, they managed to inform our relatives and cooked for us for three days.
JAGDISH CHANDER, JALANDHAR
End this nexus
Reference to the editorial ‘Tackling taint on politicians’ (Jan 28); indeed, when politics becomes a full-time business and means to reach the seat of power, the result is criminalisation of politics. Criminals need the patronage of politicians while politicians need their muscle and money power to win elections. This dangerous mix is the cause of the present grim political scenario, where even the apex poll body, ECI, flags the urgency to curb the entry of criminal elements in the poll process. All parties must ponder over it and bar tainted people from gaining access to the electoral arena.
Anil Vinayak, Amritsar
Hold them accountable
Refer to ‘Tackling taint on politicians’ (Jan 28); our national psychology remains to shirk responsibility and merely criticise everything. We have brilliant ideas for good governance, but expect someone else to perform. We never evaluate how our chosen representatives are working. ‘Who listens?’ is a popular but evasive refrain. We have never dared to make our representatives listen. Brilliant minds rush to foreign shores for ‘recognition’, discarding India as unamendable. Praising foreign nations, have we tried or contributed to make the India of our dreams? Every omission or commission by MPs and MLAs is the fault of the public. Every citizen needs to become an active instrument of good governance.
MPS Chadha, Mohali
Apropos ‘CBSE relaxes norms for soldiers’ children (Jan 28), it is a welcome initiative, as it will help students who lose focus because of mental and emotional stress during examination. But along with the children of soldiers, the norms should also be relaxed for those who lose their loved ones during exam time.
Yash Bhalla, Allahabad
Delay in punishment
Refer to ‘Nirbhaya convict seeks urgent hearing by SC’ (Jan 27); due to this petition, again their sentence will be delayed. The Supreme Court should take a decision, so that criminals cannot take advantage of the law. All four victims are doing every possible thing to delay their punishment. The court should give its decision urgently otherwise these criminals will never be punished.
Jasmine kaur, by mail
All eyes on Budget
People are eagerly awaiting the Budget. The government will have to pay special attention to the ongoing economic slowdown, unemployment and inflation. It should also offer some concessions in the current rates of income tax and introduce farmer-friendly schemes. In addition, the banking and real estate sectors also require special attention.
Bhupender Ranga, Panipat
Kobe Bryant’s legacy
Apropos ‘Black Mamba no more’ (Jan 28), the death of Kobe Bryant has not only shocked the sporting world, but also fans in India. Basketball may not be popular in India, but he was in the league of our cricketing, wrestling, hockey and football legends. He mesmerised fans with his commitment and motivated other team members with his larger-than-life image. His legacy will forever be embedded in the history of sports. RIP.
Rajiv Boolchand Jain, Zirakpur
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
Reference to ‘Govt faced with protests that are not dying down’ (The Sunday Tribune, Reflections, Jan 26); Muslim women’s voice has been gaining strength and finding support. They have asserted their Indianness by joining protests led by the students in various parts of the country. It is a celebration of India’s diversity and pluralism. The Modi government will have to rethink its politics if this collaboration of citizens from a diverse background continues to consolidate. This can have lasting consequences for our multi-faith and multi-cultural democracy.
PS KAUR, by mail
Pushing their agenda
The protests against the CAA and NRC have caused a huge jolt to the ruling government (‘Govt faced with protests that are not dying down’, Jan 26). The statements given by the Home Minister to implement the CAA, come what may, are seen as the government’s frustration. The nation is in turmoil: J&K issue, CAA protests, economic slowdown, unemployment and the downgrade of our democracy. There is need to find a solution to bring back normalcy for the development of the country. The egoistic approach towards imposing unpopular agendas cannot achieve any purpose. Parties are elected by the people to govern them for their betterment, and not for a particular party’s agenda or ideology.
Wg Cdr Jasbir S Minhas (retd), Mohali
Acid use in school
Apropos ‘Pupil cleaning school toilets gets acid burns’, it speaks of loose administration and perfunctory display of duties of a teacher. The plea that students were cleaning toilets may be forgiven on the plea of a lesson in labour, but indiscriminate use of acid is inexcusable. Times have changed, and so should change the pedagogical skills of a teacher. There is a dire need to not only update the teacher education programme in terms of duties and social sensitivity, but the heads should also be made to take part in an induction programme before holding office. The administration should also provide contingent expenditure for cleaning toilets and the school campus.
S Kumar, Panchkula
Don’t influence them
In a twist to the Elgar Parishad-Koregaon Bhima case, the Union Home Ministry has transferred the probe to the NIA, which reports to the Centre. Police investigations and judicial cases should not become a political football between the Centre and states. Not only does this undermine justice, it also puts strain on the federal setup. Law and order is a state subject. The NIA does have the power to suo motu take over cases, but it wasn’t envisioned that the agency would exercise this option without keeping states in the loop. In an era of hyper-polarisation, such powers need to be exercised carefully. A breakdown of the Centre-state relations is in no one’s interest, certainly not the nation’s.
SANJAY CHOPRA, MOHALI
Refer to ‘Govt to sign pact with Bodo militant group’ (Jan 26); the initiative will benefit the tribal people on the political and economic front. After a hard and brutal NRC programme, the government is again trying to woo the people of Assam.
SAKSHI MATHUR, DEHRADUN
Lagging in sports
Refer to ‘World of sport has been zooming ahead, we’re laggards’ (Jan 26); when India gained freedom, despite poverty and limited resources, the country managed to win in the Asian Games. Every player was given proper training. Lack of awareness couldn’t stop our players from winning. Every sport was treated as important. But now, we haven’t really moved forward. Only a few players are famous, that too because they have won medals through their own hard work. We are lacking somewhere. The government must provide good infrastructure for sports in small towns too.
Sugandha Jain, by mail
Refer to the Republic Day gift to Chandigarh by the Governor and UT Administrator; hope in the race to ‘manufacture’ more doctors, it is essential to ensure the best practices of digital planning and sustainability. However, it is regretted that a project in the hi-tech areas of medical architecture and healthcare engineering approved for Chandigarh has not been started for the last so many years in PGI, though the Governor and VC of PU have offered all help for joint degree programmes. Named the National Institute of Healthcare Engineering and Architecture, it is ready to start tomorrow if the ministry concerned confirms a budget of Rs 3.3 crore per year for two master courses for the first time in India. The delay needs to be probed.
JC Mehta, Sydney
Reference to the editorial ‘Downwardly mobile’ (Jan 24); spiritually, we are already sick and morally corrupt. The picture is grim but not irredeemable. There is a ray of hope at the end of the tunnel, and that lies in the indomitable spirit of patience that the people at present are showing in the matter of CAA-NRC-NPR. The ruling dispensation will not like it, but the truth of the matter is that the real masters of a truly democratic setup will guide as well as goad the self-styled ‘servants of the people’ to walk the talk. The day of reckoning is never far away.
DV Sharma, Mukerian
Refer to the editorial ‘Defiant against CAA’ (Jan 20); the CAA has opened up divisions along religious, ethnic and linguistic lines. Non-BJP state governments have passed anti-CAA resolutions in their Assemblies, calling it a divisive exercise. When Congress leader Kapil Sibal said states could not say no as it would be unconstitutional, he spoke like a lawyer. But later, when he backtracked and said states have the right to pass any resolution, he spoke like a politician. It has to be acknowledged that states have a right to challenge any legislation or policy, and they can assert their right to go to the apex court if it appears to be unconstitutional. But at the same time, it is a fact that unless the SC repeals the CCA, no state can refuse to implement it. In a federal structure such as ours, state governments are necessary for the smooth functioning of our polity. The Centre should try to have a meaningful dialogue with the states.
LAL SINGH, Amritsar
Not democratic enough
Reference to ‘India ranks 51 on democracy index’ (Jan 23); the Economist Intelligence Unit has declared India’s downfall on the Democracy Index. The score is 6.9 on a scale of 10. The BJP is trying to accelerate it by exploiting the fundamental rights of the people. The CAA, NRC and abrogation of Article 370 has led to protests in the nation. The government was responsible for economic downfall, and is now responsible for the downfall of democracy.
TANVI NAGPAL, NEW DELHI
Heart not in it
Apropos ‘10,772 cows, calves die in Sirsa gaushalas in 16 months’ (Jan 24), it indicates the lack of devotion as the overall figure of all areas is very high. These mute creatures are not ‘stray’, they are ‘abandoned’ by humans, the most selfish species on the planet, and in a country where they are worshipped. It has also exposed the working of government agencies. Animals deserve compassion. Lip service alone won’t work. Such institutions need to be run in the public-private mode, with people who actually care.
RS Kishtwaria, Palampur
Not yet alarming?
Apropos ‘Drastic decline in avian guests at Harike wetland’ (Jan 23), the survey by the World Wildlife Fund has found a drastic fall in the number of birds in the region’s largest wetland. This decrease shows the increase in the measures we have to take to protect our environment. Due to poor visibility, they are unable to locate water. We are interfering with birds’ natural migration patterns by polluting the environment. According to officials, this is not an alarming situation, as they expect more species till March, but does that mean one should wait till a situation gets out of hand?
Ayushi Bisht, Dehradun
As with most left-liberal intellectuals, the writer, too, does not have his chronology right (‘Piece de resistance’, Jan 24). Islamophobia predates the rise of Hindutva rather than the other way round. The latter, in fact, is, to a great extent, the result and a product of the former, rather than vice versa. The writer is blind to this fact due to his antipathy towards the present regime.
Kastinder Johar, Palampur
Blockade uncalled for
The writer is all praise for Shaheen Bagh protesters who have been holding to ransom 10 lakh commuters on a daily basis (‘Piece de resistance’, Jan 24). He sees in it pluralism and demonstration of religious diversity. I do not know how. How come he has not heard threatening and provocative statements from Shaheen Bagh? Protesting women should be advised to understand the CAA to know that it is not against Muslims. What was the rationale behind these protests, except walking into the trap laid by disgruntled pseudo-secular leaders and fanatics on account of being rejected by the people? Praising this uncalled for blockade of public road for over a month as ‘movement of this kind’, makes one wonder if he cares for the country, let alone persecuted Hindus in the other countries.
Shiban Khaibri, by mail
The terms CAA, NPR and NRC are finding the maximum space in print and electronic media. While the CAA is already an Act ratified by Parliament, it is the NPR and NRC which are causing more confusion nowadays. Implications of these are not clear to the educated class, let alone the masses that are not literate. People are for or against the issue, based only on preconceived notions and not out of clarity on the subject. Protests are also taking place because there are unsubstantiated fears in the minds of the public. Statements, if any, from leaders of the ruling party, are only regarding the CAA, and not any clarification on the NPR and the NRC. In the interest of the country, senior functionaries of the government must come out clean to remove uncertainties and misgivings of the people.
Yoginder Singhal, Ladwa
The SC has done well to segregate Assam and Tripura-related petitions on the CAA because both the states have a complex history of dealing with immigration. The CAA is the most pressing issue in the country because of political, constitutional and the law and order challenges it has created. Giving the Centre more and more time delays the matter further. The final word must come sooner than later.
Khyati Kataria, Panchkula
Apropos of ‘Come what may, won’t roll back CAA: Shah’ (Jan 22), the CAA appears to be a piece of legislation that has been poorly drafted and does not seem to be inclusive and coherent in nature. Many Muslims migrated to India from neighbouring countries because of persecution and oppression and it would be unfair to exclude them from the CAA. In a sense, protests against the Act have highlighted the fragile nature of this legislation.
Devendra Khurana, Bhopal
Refer to ‘No clarity on NPR’ (Jan 23); the government should immediately withdraw the NPR because of its requirements of parents’ date of birth and residential proof etc. Even the PM and his ministers can’t furnish such documents. It is an example of diverting attention from the real issues of skyrocketing prices of essential commodities. The PM’s foreign tour expenses, falling GDP, and now, India’s drop on democracy index are disturbing. People are fed up with the dictatorial attitude of this government.
RK KAPOOR, CHANDIGARH
People are giving a serious thought to CAA-NRC-NPR as there is no clarity on the issue. The government has not clarified the doubts, rather its statements have led to major confusion. Initially, the government said it was mandatory, and now, it is saying that disclosure of NPR information is not mandatory. All this is leading to protests not just against the NPR, but the CAA and the NRC as well. Earlier too, Aadhaar implementation initially was not mandatory, but later it was linked to everything. The same will happen with this also.
Shivam Bajaj, New Delhi
Why no action?
The report ‘SC reinstates staffer who accused ex-CJI of sexual misconduct’ (Jan 23) is baffling. If the serious allegations levelled against none other than a Chief Justice of India, and that too on the premises of the highest temple of justice, were found baseless, why no action was initiated against the woman for making a frivolous complaint on a very sensitive issue? No laxity whatsoever is warranted in the administration of justice in view of the country’s pathetic scenario of sexual crimes against women.
JAGDISH CHANDER, JALANDHAR
Eyes on Budget
With February just days away, pre-Budget discussions have already started. The two key economic statistics released this month, indicating low growth and high inflation, will matter a lot. Dealing with these requires a different policy orientation. The Budget ought to focus on reviving the economy. It should also address unemployment, boost demand and push policy reforms.
Muskan Sharma, Parwanoo
Neutrality at stake
Apropos of the editorial ‘Redefining Speaker’s power’ (Jan 23), the SC directive to Parliament to seriously consider amending the Constitution to ‘substitute’ Speakers of the Lok Sabha and Assemblies as arbiter of disputes concerning disqualifications is justified. In the case of a hung verdict, the neutrality of the Speaker is compromised to political machinations since he/she continues to belong to a particular political party either de jure or de facto.
SS Paul, Nadia
I lived in the Valley for six years, (1974 to 1980) during my medical studies. Kashmiri Muslims were very hospitable and good to us. We never experienced any discrimination. But I observed that top posts in government offices were mostly held by the Pandits, and lower-rung work was done by the Muslims. There was palpable heartburn, but it was not reflected outwardly. It was after 1989 and with the taking over by Muslim clerics that the small bonds that held together the two communities broke and each began to view the other with suspicion. Now, the Pandits do not have the faith to go back, and Muslims there do not want them to return, as again the jobs will be taken away by this educated minority.
Saroj Kumar Patial, by mail
No end to acid attacks
Apropos of the editorial ‘Litmus test for acid’ (Jan 22), despite many years of Independence, women are still facing such cruelties. Weak laws embolden the perpetrator. In spite of strict rules on the purchase of acid, there has been an alarming growth in such attacks. If acid is expensive, not easily available and the government has put curbs on its purchase, how are such attacks taking place? Restricting the sale through licensed shops and recording the purpose of the purchase are not enough to stop this crime.
ASHU ARORA, Chandigarh
A valid point
By asking Parliament to reconsider if a Speaker should continue to decide disqualification petitions, the SC has flagged a vital point. What purpose is the anti-defection law when all the drama is being played out blatantly? We have a poor system of disqualification. Parties should not deviate from their declared alliances and ideologies else it is the electorate that stands fooled.
Perminder Kaur, Patiala
Speaker should be fair
Refer to ‘Rethink Speaker’s power to disqualify lawmakers’ (Jan 22); Parliament is the place where laws and decisions are taken for the welfare of public, and there should be no biases there. A Speaker should not be partisan. If someone crosses the line, the Speaker should punish him or her without any personal interest. It is their responsibility to serve the nation with integrity. Their powers should be revised.
Sonali Choudhary, Jammu
National consensus must
Apropos of ‘What about all the promises?’ (Jan 22), the BJP came to power promising the moon to disillusioned people. But demonetisation and GST dashed their hopes of achhe din. The BJP worked on the nationalist-jingoistic agenda for its second term. Rather than ameliorating the lot of people, the government took more interest in the reorganisation of J&K and CCA-NCR-NPR which sparked protests across the country. The Centre should evolve a national consensus on emotive issues and take steps to revive the economy.
DS Kang, Hoshiarpur
No, thank you
Reference to ‘Trump again offers to help resolve Kashmir’ (Jan 22); politicians intensively work towards improving their image, especially around polls. Trump is talking of being a mediator again, at a time when he is embroiled in impeachment proceedings. Mediation on Kashmir, which is India’s internal matter, is not a valid argument, especially when Trump wishes to get involved at the behest of Pakistan.
Shivam Bajaj, New Delhi
Citizenship for minorities
Refer to ‘Come what may, won’t roll back CAA: Shah’ (Jan 22); in one of his statements, he exclaimed that the population of minorities living in Pakistan had come down from 23% to 3%, and the missing are nowhere to be found. It doesn’t seem wrong if the PM is giving citizenship only to legal migrants of the country.
Tanishka Bahl, Dehradun
Simplify tax terms
The concept of ‘assessment year’ needs to be amended. There are two such terms — assessment year and previous year — which are widely used in the Income Tax Act, and which have generally been a source of confusion for taxpayers. Assessment year is the period of 12 months commencing on April 1 every year, and previous year is ‘the financial year immediately preceding the assessment year’. There were times when it was necessary to have the concept of ‘previous year’, which then meant to include different accounting periods like calendar year, Diwali year or Baisakhi year. But amendments were made in tax laws to merge all these different ‘previous years’ in only one ‘financial year’. This was done to bring uniformity and simplicity in law. After that amendment, this concept had virtually become redundant, and these two terms ought to be omitted and substituted with a simpler one term of ‘financial year’. By doing so, the complication of understanding and mentioning the two terms on every return, notice and assessment order will be removed.
SS THIND, Patiala
Apropos of the January 21 editorial ‘30 years of pain and loss’, the return of Kashmiri Pandits could have been possible if no politics was played. Three decades ago, there was remarkable harmony and interdependence between the Kashmiri Muslims and the Pandits. But after the persecution of the Pandits by vested interests, the gulf widened so much that it seems almost formidable to bridge. Unless there are sincere efforts on the part of political parties and leaders, it will not be safe for them to return. Their safety should be ensured and some reservation introduced in jobs for them. It would also revive the traditional bonds. Only true reconciliation can provide for sustainable peace in the Valley. But it is hoped that the abrogation of Article 370 does not widen the gulf further.
MS KHOKHAR, by mail
Suffering for too long
Thirty years is a very long period, and Kashmiri Pandits have been suffering for much too long (editorial ‘30 years of pain and loss’, Jan 21). It is an insurmountable loss in their lives. They have suffered a lot since their relocation to other states. No government can compensate them in monetary terms for separation from their native state. However, the government must try its best to restore peace in the state and resettle the Pandits.
SANJAY CHAWLA, AMRITSAR
Slack on index
Refer to the editorial ‘Skewed mobility’ (Jan 21); the World Economic Forum (WEF) report on India’s status on the social mobility index gives an insight into the real impact of all measures taken by the current government in the past six years. India ranks 76th out of 82 nations on the parameters of health, education and work opportunities. The policies and their implementations need to be assessed and the government must bring in highly professional people to run the economy if it is serious about the well-being of the common people.
Speeha Makkar, by mail
Kejriwal means business
Refer to ‘Hit by sobering realities, AAP not brash now’ (Jan 21); undeniably, Kejriwal has steadily transformed himself from a sprint runner to a marathon runner. This is what a very large percentage of residents of Delhi believe. Such belief is based on incontestable facts. His honesty of purpose has cemented his reputation as a well-meaning politician. However, he should be prepared to absorb many barbs against him and the party.
SPS NARANG, NEW DELHI
Nothing changing for poor
In a country where a vast majority are deprived of two square meals, shelter and water, such surveys mock reality (‘India’s richest 1% are four times wealthier than poorest 70%: Oxfam’, Jan 21). They feed the feel-good factor of the affluent class, which deluded itself as being the country’s wealth creator. Doubtless, they create wealth. The issue is not the generation of wealth as much as its fair and equitable distribution, which alone can eradicate poverty. What if the club of dollar millionaires in India grows by 20 or 40% every year? The majority are left wondering why their share of the cake gets smaller even as the cake itself is getting bigger by the day.
Ramesh Gupta, NARWANA
Punjab power tariff
Reference to the news ‘Fix state’s power tariff issue, Sonia tells Capt’
(Jan 21); it means that there is someone in the Congress who is concerned about the woes of the people of the state. The Punjab Government has recently overburdened people by hiking the rates of electricity. Keeping in mind the Vidhan Sabha elections in Punjab in 2022, the party president’s concern can be understood. The rates of electricity being too high in the state as compared to most other states, the party wants the state government to rethink over the issue. But the Chief Minister has not given a clear assurance.
Faqir Singh, Dasuya
So far so good
India won the ODI series 2-1 against the mighty Australia, proving the Boys in Blue are the best in business (‘Done with Oz, Kiwis next’; Jan 21). The Aussies have been superlative in cricket. In today’s game, no one is a winner/loser forever. The peaking of KL Rahul has raised the confidence of Team India. He is superb both in front and behind the wickets. Will India be able to beat the Kiwis? Playing in New Zealand conditions, it is going to be tough. In order to pay tribute to veteran cricketers, the naming of series and trophies after them will be laudable.
Gurdeep Singh, Dharampur
APROPOS of ‘Sanskrit to replace Urdu at U’khand rly stations’ (Jan 20), politicians of a particular hue are not content with changing the names of some cities and railway stations. They have now proceeded to tinker with the nomenclature of stations in Uttarakhand. However, their Sanskrit pronunciation will not be the same as in Hindi/Urdu, with the introduction of sounds like ‘m’. Besides presenting technical difficulties, it sounds ridiculous and is an exercise in futility. If Sanskrit had a different script, other than Devanagri, the proposed change perhaps would have been justified, as in the case of southern states. Let the zealot state government use it in daily communication or even in courts. Denying Urdu its just place on railway signboards would be an act of prejudice under the present surcharged circumstances.
Amritlal Madan, Kaithal
No to marginalisation
I visited Shaheen Bagh protest site after reading the article ‘A new nationalism’ (Nous Indica, Jan 18). The atmosphere there was surcharged with nationalism and brotherhood as people of all communities had gathered in large numbers to support the protest against CAA-NPR-NRC. The scene was reminiscent of Anna Hazare’s protest in 2012, except that TV channels were conspicuous by their absence. It is a hard fact that the BJP rules India and the RSS rules the BJP. The BJP of today is not the BJP of Atal-Advani days. Modi-II government is now clearly pursuing the RSS agenda, which means isolation of Muslims who essentially come from Hindu stock. Their forefathers were persecuted by the Mughals through forcible conversion. Now, they are being persecuted in pursuance of Hindutva agenda. It is this marginalisation that has made this community stand as one and protest throughout India. The government is adamant. All eyes are now on the Supreme Court.
RN Malik, Gurugram
Keep welfare in mind
Refer to ‘Need policy on population control, asserts RSS chief’ (Jan 20); the BJP is not focusing on providing jobs to the youth but on exploiting the country based on religion. Calling everyone Hindu just to impose the ideology of Hindutva brings with it religious exploitation. Any Act should be made for economic integration and welfare of society.
TANVI NAGPAL, NEW DELHI
Done in a rush
Refer to the editorial ‘Defiant against CAA’ (Jan 20); it is a national decision without the nation’s consent. It is becoming evident that if matters of national importance are dealt with in such a blatant way, as the Central government has done with CAA, there will be some repercussions. The combined stance of various state governments against the Act is just a glimpse of what could happen if a decision which will ultimately affect the people is taken without their consent. If the Centre does not retrace its steps soon, the aftereffects could be even worse.
PRATEEK GHAVRI, CHANDIGARH
Trade with EU
Reference to ‘More trade to mute EU on Kashmir’ (Jan 20); boost in trade between India and the EU will not only benefit the Indian economy, but also will help build a positive relationship. It will be beneficial for India to keep the EU on its side for any future discussions on international platforms on Kashmir or the PoK.
Raktanjali Sharma, Shimla
Apropos of ‘Two-step procurement can boost grain gains’ (In Focus, Jan 20), the government should procure wheat and paddy in two steps. The second step should be six months after the first. This way, the government can have the benefit of delayed payment of thousands of crores of rupees, reduced workload and requirement of storage capacity, easy grain movement to other states, etc. Farmers will gain by utilising vacant village space, earn more as cost of storage charges and have the option to sell at better market prices. The country will gain due to economy in reduced procurement, storage, transportation, moisture content and wastage of grain. The two-step procurement will be an innovative change over the 40-year-old expensive and obsolete system.
ASHOK Kumar Goel, Panchkula
India in Pro League
India made their debut at the FIH Pro League hockey competition with a bang. Well begun is half done, but there is no room for complacency. India are to play next against Belgium, the formidable World Champions. They have ample time to fine-tune their skills in scoring field goals. They have it in them to vanquish Belgium by believing in themselves. They should not look back.
Tarsem S Bumrah, Batala
Apropos of ‘A new nationalism’ (Nous Indica, Jan 18), our politicians have been playing divisive politics between the two major communities for so long, and so ferociously, that even those who espouse the cause of inclusive nationalism without any ulterior motive are ridiculed as pseudo-nationalists or anti-nationalists. Bigotry and parochialism are running through our polity and vitiating the atmosphere. There seems to be no room for the Gandhian philosophy of inclusiveness. Divide and rule has been the mantra that has been ruling the roost. The youth has taken the lead and hit the streets to champion the cause of inclusive nationalism. Such a movement, if pursued earnestly, and in a non-partisan manner, can transform society in an integrative and cohesive way.
Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa
More must be done
Wish that the optimism of the writer regarding the ongoing anti-CAA protests as uprising of the aware middle class is not misplaced (‘A new nationalism’; Nous Indica, Jan 18). CAA-NRC-NPR combine has the potential to further polarise the electorate. Unless the majority community notably joins protests and resists all policies of the government that hit the common man and serve only the elite, they cannot be termed as inheritors of Gandhian nationalism, notwithstanding the placards of Gandhi and martyrs or singing of the National Anthem during the protests.
HL Sharma, Amritsar
It is a reality that toilets in public places stink, the reason being a lack of civic sense among the users and non-availability of handwash, naphthalene balls, etc (‘All for cleanliness, DC asks staff to use public toilets’, Jan 17). Even at railway platforms and Metros, many toilets lack jet or a properly functioning water tank. Even those in charge do not bother to get them repaired or cleaned, keeping in view the footfall. The initiative taken by the Sirsa DC in respect of public toilets is commendable. This must be implemented in all public places, in toto. Only then can the swachh yojana become significant.
Lk Handa, by mail
Apropos of the editorial ‘Be the change’ (Jan 18), despite sanitation being recognised as a fundamental human right globally by the UN, it is being ignored in India. Since the officials have been given the privilege of using private washrooms instead of the dark and dingy public lavatories, it amounts to unreasonable discrimination, and consequently, an infringement on a fundamental right. In this regard, the decision of the DC is appreciable. Hope it would also be executed enthusiastically.
Harsimran Malwa, Ludhiana
Fresh offer to Pak
Refer to the editorial ‘Prospect of a thaw’ (Jan 18); India has initiated peace efforts with Pakistan many times but has never got a positive response. The deep state in Pakistan has always been contriving to harm India. The problem is Pakistan’s India policy which is controlled by the ISI. All their leaders follow its dictates. The LoC is frequently violated by disrespecting the ceasefire. Drones are sent with narcotics, arms, ammunition and explosives to disrupt peace in India. Pakistan’s continuous interference in Kashmir is also a sore point. PM Imran Khan can utilise his visit to India during the SCO meet to enhance trade, commerce, tourism, sports and cultural ties. In the interest of the people of Pakistan, exporting terror must be shelved. It would also prevent Pakistan from restrictions under the FATF, and help achieve prosperity and peace in the region.
Subhash Vaid, New Delhi
Need two-child norm
Refer to the two-child law next on Sangh agenda; this agenda is the need of the century. India’s resource is unable to form an equilibrium with its population. Environmental degradation, low per capita income etc., is being experienced because of overpopulation. However, some may link it as an indirect attack on the Muslim
community. Therefore, this agenda would need proper consideration of the government.
Raktanjali Sharma, Shimla
Justice to test
Apropos of ‘Nirbhaya convicts to hang on Feb 1’ (Jan 18); in spite of fresh black warrants, there is still ample scope for curative and mercy petitions by some other convict and the consequent deference, or even escape of execution. It is moot whether our laws are salve or salt. Appeals to forgive and forget are ridiculous. Since death penalty is awarded in the rarest of rare crimes, it is time the leeways in our system that are exploited, are plugged, so that justice delivery is not hijacked. There ought to be an equitable, just and fair resolution of the conflict of rights of an accused and the victim or protesters/strikers and the public.
Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula
APROPOS of the editorial ‘Sorry state of schools’ (Jan 17), it is really disturbing that there is only one teacher for 600 students. We talk of building a $5-trillion economy sans teachers and guides. This is an obvious case of diversion of funds. The state doesn’t have money to appoint teachers but has plenty to buy Innovas and fuel for cavalcades. State governments divert funds to hoodwink the public to secure vote banks. The biggest scam is to use money earmarked for education for some ludicrous purpose. Education plays a great role in a nation’s progress and development. It is important for one’s maturity, personality and character. The government should immediately appoint teachers on all vacant posts. Alexander the Great had rightly said: ‘I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well.’
AK Joshi, Amritsar
Replicate Delhi model
Refer to ‘Sorry state of schools’ (Jan 17); sincere policies to provide good school education to all, a prerequisite for the uplift of society, were visible for just a couple of decades after Independence. Now, education remains a priority only on paper, except perhaps what is being, reportedly, done by the AAP in Delhi. Both Punjab and Haryana should replicate the model.
HL Sharma, Amritsar
Recently, following in the footsteps of many BJP leaders and in consonance with the party’s ideology, Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar stated that Arjuna’s arrows had atomic power and ‘udan khatolas’ existed during the time of the Ramayana. It seems currently there is one-upmanship among various leaders to make such ridiculous, illogical and bizarre statements. In the past, Tripura CM Biplab Deb and UP Deputy CM Dinesh Sharma also gave unscientific interpretation to our mythology. Sharma said Sita was a test-tube baby and as per Deb, the Internet existed during the time of Mahabharata. They are leaving no stone unturned to make India a laughing stock. As per Article 51-A of our Constitution, it is the fundamental duty of all citizens to develop a scientific temper. The way our leaders are playing with the religious emotions of the gullible, it reminds one of an Urdu couplet, ‘Barbaad gulistan karney ko bas ek hi ullu kafi hai/Har shakh pe ullu baitha hai, anjam-e-gulistan kya hoga’.
Balbir Singh Kakkar, Jalandhar
Apropos of ‘Arjuna’s arrow had atomic power: WB Guv’ (Jan 16), atomic power came to be known to mankind only in the early 20th century. It led to the development of the atomic bomb in 1942. How can one believe that it was used in pre-historic times? Assigning it to an epic is highly uncalled for. There is no point in misleading the public.
Vidwan Singh Soni, Patiala
They played foul
The SIT report is a stinging slap on the face of law enforcement agencies — the police, the administration and the judiciary — which entered into a criminal conspiracy to protect the alleged perpetrators from the long arm of the law (editorial ‘Justice delayed, denied’; Jan 17). Instead of functioning independently, they succumb to the whims of their political masters in promoting their ulterior motives. In a mature democracy, public servants are held accountable for the abuse of powers, and political culture is not allowed to undermine the justice delivery system. The ruling dispensation should take action against those guilty and ensure that the law enforcement agencies are kept free from political interference.
DS Kang, Hoshiarpur
Middle path on CAA
Reference to ‘IUML moves SC for stay on new Act’ (Jan 17); the apex court has already before it some pleas filed earlier. A quick decision would be desirable. CAA is neither all black nor all white. All parties are guilty of pandering to their vote bank. Consolidation of votes, one way or other, is an essential feature of democracy to prevent fractured verdicts leading to unwieldy coalitions. CAA would provide citizenship to Hindus who were persecuted and fled to India. Nothing wrong in it. But persecuted Muslims, too, migrated to India. Will CAA send them back? Is it possible to identify genuine Muslim migrants and bring them under the ambit of CAA? Solution lies in finding a middle path.
WG CDR CL SEHGAL (RETD), JALANDHAR
Ball in Imran’s court
Refer to ‘India to invite Imran for SCO meet’ (Jan 17); India will host the annual meeting of the council of heads of government of SCO. The announcement to invite Pakistan PM has come in the midst of frayed ties between the two countries. It is a positive development. Now, it depends on Imran Khan whether he accepts the invitation or sends a representative.
Janvi srivastava, New Delhi
The report ‘Activists vandalise statues at Amritsar’s Heritage Street’ (Jan 16) is indeed shocking. The unfortunate incident indicates how vested interests can exploit religious sentiments just for grabbing attention. Both religion and culture are indispensable to each other and are important pillars of human history. The government should restore the vandalised statues immediately, and at the same time, ensure that there is full protection in future as huge funds of the cash-starved state are involved.
Jagdish Chander, Jalandhar
Apropos the news report ‘Activists vandalise statues at Amritsar’s Heritage Street’ (Jan 16), it is disturbing that youngsters of our country are now turning more violent. They vandalised statues depicting bhangra and giddha performers, as they believe these are against Sikh maryada. They came armed with hammers and even attacked the police team that tried to stop them. It is our duty to protect our heritage and not destroy it.
Kanika Barjatia, Dharamsala
Not a leftist movement
Apropos ‘Understanding Left, the crucible of resistance’ (Jan 16); people are bound to be driven by different schools of thought. The very purpose of a democracy is to inculcate dissenting opinions to devise a better alternative. Therefore, the government should pay heed to the exigencies of the aggrieved public. However, it is busy shrouding the ongoing right-wing narratives by labelling resistance against its policies as ‘Left propagated’. The citizens have in no way pledged subservience by voting a party to power. The outrage is real, and it is the aggrieved citizens causing the outrage, not the leftists, not the anti-nationals.
Nissim Aggarwal, Chandigarh
Refer to ‘SC junks curative petition of two Nirbhaya convicts’ (Jan 16); the convicts are still trying to postpone their punishment for the cruelty they inflicted on Nirbhaya. She faced so many complicated surgeries and died in pain. Eight years from her death, these men are still alive. Such a shameful thing for our nation with regard to women security and justice. Thousands of rape cases are pending decision and many cases haven’t been filed due to shame and the long judicial procedure.
Shivya Mahajan, by mail
Another police failure
Another failure of the police administration and the judiciary has come to light in the scathing report of the SIT set up by the apex court in 2018. The whole effort of investigation of the 1984 riot cases by the law-enforcing agencies was neither responsible nor fruitful. It only paved a direct way for the delay in judgment and punishment to the culprits.
Harshjot Kaur, Patiala
All that’s wrong in schools
The quality of education is deteriorating in government schools (‘Here, 1 maths teacher caters to 601 students’, Jan 16). Teachers are hired on contractual basis as exams near, so that the syllabus can be completed on time. No stress is actually laid on maintaining a regular curriculum. On the one hand, we say that students are not going to government schools, whereas on the other, the administration is not even able to ensure that the teachers who are appointed are doing their job properly.
Sehaj Preet Singh, Chandigarh
Curbs still not lifted
It is surprising that in spite of directions by the SC recently, the Centre along with the J&K state machinery has just initiated the process of easing out Internet restrictions only at government offices, hospitals, banks, etc. It has not completely lifted the data restrictions. The SC must again intervene after monitoring the actual ground realities in the state and must take serious note of the situation arising out of the Internet restrictions on the common man.
Bank stir justified
Apropos ‘Bank staff threaten stir’ (Jan 16), the proposed strike of the bankers can be justified because they are paid less compared to their counterparts in the private sector. The pay and perks are not commensurate with the nature of their work. Public sector banks play a pivotal role in the development of the nation, and without the hard work of staff, we cannot expect to reach new heights. Bank pensioners are also hit hard because the updation of pension has not taken place because of the lukewarm attitude of the government towards pensioners.
Roop Singh Negi, Solan
It was shocking to read the report ‘Court: Police behaving as if Delhi’s Jama Masjid is Pak’ (Jan 15). If the judge feels so bitter about police behaviour, our political hierarchy must sit up and correct the wrong being wreaked on citizens in our secular democracy. There was complete harmony in pre-Partition India. I was born at Lyallpur (now Faisalabad, in Pakistan). There was no religious divide till politicians started their game of kursi. Iqbal had composed the poem ‘Saare jahan se achha’. He was a nationalist. Jinnah was also a nationalist. It was shoddy political fire that burnt civic sense and harmony. And today, the country is still burning in it.
PRITAM BHULLAR, CHANDIGARH
Police as puppet
Apropos ‘Court: Police behaving as if Delhi Jama Masjid is Pak’ (Jan 15), the Delhi HC has given a strong and factual statement, rebuking the police for its failure in handling protests and presenting the required evidence. It raises a major question over the administration of public services departments. It shows that the police have tried to suppress the voice of public against CAA. It is acting like a puppet of the Central government these days.
The recent development in drones is dangerous (‘Forces await Israeli tech to tackle high-speed drones’, Jan 15). Earlier, we had read that the Punjab Police had caught drones carrying bombs from Pakistan. The main concern is the increasing reach of the drones, with a payload of 7-9 kg. They also bring narcotics from Pakistan. It may be very dangerous for the youth of India. Another thing is that drones fly without any noise, and are hard to detect. Heroin weighing 7-9 kg is worth over Rs 20 crore. A drone worth Rs 6 lakh is cheaper for smugglers.
Lakshay Anand, by mail
Reference to ‘First Indian e-device to control smog is here’ (Jan 15); it is a great development by the Chandigarh-based CSIO to counter pollution by dust particles and smog. The device works on the principle of storing electronically charged water droplets, which get released when they come in contact with PM2.5 and PM10, and smog. It will lead to healthy environment in India.
Hardik Gupta, Solan
Oppn not as one
Monday’s meeting of the Opposition was not attended by some major parties like the Shiv Sena, TMC and BSP, among others. This shows cracks in the non-BJP camp, which will be an asset for the ruling government. Local factors, state-level competitive dynamics, unwillingness to accept Congress’s leadership besides ideological and tactical confusion will affect the umbrella coalition that hopes to take on the BJP.
Khyati Kataria, panchkula
Hats off to Kerala
Where all states are busy protesting against CAA and NRC, Kerala has taken a good initiative to challenge CAA in the apex court (‘Kerala becomes first state to move SC against CAA’, Jan 15). We youngsters, instead of understanding the situation, are making it more problematic by protesting in universities by raising slogans like ‘Hindustan murdabad’. Violence is not the solution to this problem. On the other hand, the Delhi Police have arrested a Muslim without any evidence, only because he was allegedly staging a dharna against CAA. Jama Masjid is a holy place, not a terrorist ground. The government should either abolish this Act or make changes so that such cases do not harm India’s peace and secularism.
Akshara Gurbani, Chandigarh
Prices go through roof
Refer to ‘Alarming inflation’ (Jan 15); be it poor, middle class or the rich, everyone works for food, the basic necessity of life. After onions touched Rs 200, the prices of tomato and potato have begun to rise owing to bad weather and crop damage. Experts expect consumer inflation to spike further to 6%. It has shaken all classes. Gujarat has seen a 163% increase in suicide due to poverty. Where is our government lacking?
Army Chief on PoK
The Army Chief’s reference to PoK is being blown out of proportion. The Army operates as per government decisions but time and type of operation are the sole prerogative of the Army. Those talking of capturing PoK are ignorant about the challenges of a war in high-altitude zones. The Army needs to be equipped with hi-tech weapons and overwhelming air power. We are 10 squadrons short of our authorised strength. Can we stretch our neck into PoK?
COL KULDIP S GREWAL (RETD), PATIALA
There appears no end in sight to the confrontation on CAA and NRC. The Home Minister’s declaration to not budge an inch, and the assertion by several CMs to block the move is likely to result in a constitutional crisis. The continuing opposition by large segments of the population may result in anarchy. The damage to the country’s image and economy, polity and social fabric is likely to be immense. Crises produce their man of the moment, but there appears no one on the horizon, as of now. The sidelined Margdarshak Mandal of the BJP has a historic opportunity to play the role of statesmen. The time to act is now because once the confrontation reaches serious proportions, it will be too late even for them to make any meaningful contribution towards its resolution.
Rattan Lal, Jalandhar
Why go ahead with NPR?
Refer to ‘Drop NPR work, Cong-led Oppn directs non-BJP CMs’ (Jan 14); what is the government trying to prove by bringing a new version of NRC called NPR? Are the citizens blind? Be it CAA, NRC or NPR, all of these would factor in religion. Why practice such things which would bring sorrow all over? If citizens are against it, the government should not go ahead with it. The government itself is not clear about such a thing that is leading to protests.
Simran Ahuja, Yamunanagar
Don’t fiddle with autonomy
Apropos ‘JNU teachers adamant on VC’s removal’ and ‘Jamia VC mulls moving court against cops’ (Jan 14), these are not good signs for the highest seats of learning. It is high time the government restores the autonomous status of universities in letter and spirit. Any compromise with the education system would be disastrous. Thanks to the autonomy of universities after independence, they got recognition the world over.
RS Kishtwaria, Palampur
Ties with Russia
In reference to ‘India, Russia resolve to strengthen bilateral relations’ (Jan 14), improving friendship between India and Russia can put our ties with the US at stake. Weakening relationship with America can put India at a dangerous place in the global market and warfare. Moscow and Washington have never been comfortable with each other, and India’s stand will be questionable, irrespective of which side it gets closer to.
Varun Malik, Chandigarh
Detention doing no good
Reference to the January 14 editorial ‘Prolonged detentions’; the act doesn’t seem to be accruing any political or socio-political advantages to the masters of this so-called political and strategic stroke. On the contrary, it has caused enough irreparable damage to our nation’s reputation, notwithstanding the seemingly doctored fact-finding mission by some international experts of different hues visiting the Valley. If that was not enough, another black dot on us is the continuing agitation by the student fraternity, with teachers acting as catalysts. The woes don’t seem to be ending. In fact, whenever there is little hope, some politically motivated loose cannon shoots off his mouth with self-proclaimed pearl of wisdom, or lack of it.
SPS NARANG, NEW DELHI
Terror in uniform
Apropos the news report ‘Arrested DSP kept ultras at his house next to cantonment’ (Jan 14), the arrest of DSP Davinder Singh for his alleged terror link is shocking and astonishing. The J&K Police has been questioned and the government has been blamed because for years, the DSP has been involved in objectionable acts like terror attacks, possession of cash and arms besides providing accommodation for terrorists. Terrorism cannot be stopped if police officials are themselves involved in such activities.
Shefali Kohli, Jalandhar
The public must cooperate with the government in implementing new policies, like FASTag. Chaos at the Kherki Daula toll plaza, (‘FASTag trial fails again in Gurugram’, Jan 14), leading to a number of queries, spats and confusion shows that people are still careless or unaware about FASTag. People should act patiently and understand that by having the tag on their vehicles, they will get rid of traffic congestion and their time will be saved.
Abhilasha Gupta, Mohali
Apropos ‘Identify issues on gender bias in religious practices: SC to lawyers (Jan 14)’, resolving the differences between genders should be an important part of the development of the nation. Carrying all citizens on an equal level would benefit the country as a whole. Worshippers don’t have any gender. The order issued by the Supreme Court is a crucial step toward eliminating biases. Equality would be given as per the Constitution.
NAMRATA JAWHRANI, CHANDIGARH
It is hard to know who the real culprits are in the JNU fracas because both have their own version. But the question is, who were those who stopped new registration and damaged the system? Who gave them the right to beat those who registered themselves? Then, why did guards allow those who covered their faces? The police is being blamed for not stopping the violence, while a few days ago, it was being abused for entering the campus. The main reason of violence in universities is political interference, because they can easily find such mischievous elements there. Some of them have spent so many years in universities, as their aim is not a degree, but goondagardi and politics. The aim of a university should be to decorate students with degree, knowledge, good experience and a bright career. But these selfish politicians have not only ruined the country, but also students. Some political leaders reached the university as if they knew something was going to happen there.
SUKHWANT S BHULLAR, Chandigarh
Sense of importance
Apropos ‘Would have prevented JNU violence: Ex-top cop’ (Jan 13), it has become a fashion for those who enjoyed power and perks liberally when they were in saddle, to become critics of those who are in their place after retirement, or while leaving the office. They want to remain in news by self-praise. There are many such examples: a former RBI Governor, Raghuram Rajan, wants to remain in the headlines by criticising the present dispensation, forgetting his past tenure. In this case, the former cop has said the police could have acted even ‘without the VC’s request’. On the contrary, in the case of Jamia Millia Islamia, the police’s entry into the university campus, without VC’s permission, was questioned.
Ashok kumar, Jalandhar
SC shows the way
The decision of the apex court to restore the Internet services in J&K will go a long way in constraining the ability of governments. This decision has certainly brought a sigh of relief to residents. The communication clampdown has hugely impacted the people, especially those engaged in trade, commerce and academics. The decision will strengthen the march towards democracy and transparency, as the court has said Internet freedom is part of the freedom of expression and cannot be curbed. Not only has the court opened the door for liberty, it has strengthened democracy.
SK Khosla, Chandigarh
Acid attacks continue
The recent NCRB report estimated the number of acid assault incidents in 2018 at 228. Two out of every three victims are women. And criminals are not proven guilty. Is this the status of security for women in the country? The criminals are moving freely, and they will do this again and again. Keeping CAA aside, the government should focus on women safety and make strict and effective laws.
Sonali choudhary, Jammu
Films change little
Apropos ‘Burning issue’ (Jan 13), the question is, is the life struggle of a victim of such a heinous crime just a script for Bollywood? The case of Lakshmi is being highlighted by the media for years, yet, according to the NCRB, there were 228 incidents of acid attack in 2018. Do movies on such subjects really change the mindset of people? Such movies can be termed successful only if they are able to make a positive difference.
Surbhi Attreya, Meerut
Reference to the January 13 editorial ‘Burning issue’; kudos to the producer and the lead actor of Chhapaak, who have again brought to the fore the vital issue of women safety. The government’s inability to implement the laws stringently shows its apathy towards half of the nation’s population. While the Home Minister is busy deciding the nationality issue, women of this nation feel insecure, uncared for and vulnerable to attacks. It is indeed a sorry state of affairs for our country that even in the 21st century the patriarchial mindset of society still hampers the equal status for women. It is time our nation stands up for its women if we wish to achieve a big economic target.
More power to IAF
Refer to ‘IAF to receive 200 more fighter jets’ (Jan 13); the way the government is focusing on defence, it is clear that the government is aware of the challenges being faced by its neighbours. The decision to bring 200 fighter aircraft will prove to be a boon for the IAF, as recently the MIG 27 fighter aircraft has been retired from the IAF. The decision to induct 200 aircraft will increase the strength of our Air Force. But these aircraft should have been brought before the retirement of MIG 27. The government is not compromising with the security of the country, which is reassuring.
Narayan Hari, Chandigarh
The current sordid state of affairs in our country indicates that the rule of law is conspicuous by its absence. The crime is not judged by its severity etc, but by the political affiliation of the criminal. The lackadaisical attitude of the police investigation of violence on hapless students of JNU bears testimony to this fact. The fixing of responsibility for this free-for-all goondaism is mired in identifying those belonging to the right or left. Similar is the case with the film Chhapaak. The controversy isn’t about the script, but Deepika Padukone, who just visited the JNU campus to sympathise with the traumatised student community. The present arrogant dispensation must develop a temper of tolerance of dissent. — BAKHSHI GURPRIT SINGH, JALANDHAR
SC comes to rescue
Apropos the Jan 11 editorial ‘Relief for democracy’, again, it is the apex court which has come to the rescue of democracy. The court’s order, though belated, is laudable as it has made it clear that freedom of speech, even through the Internet, is a fundamental right. This is particularly important since India has now seen the longest Internet blackout in any democracy. The SC has rightly asked the Centre to produce orders justifying the use of Section 144 and other restrictions, and also saying that these are subject to judicial review. The court has ordered the resumption of Internet services. But one wonders why the SC has taken so long to order a review. — PS KAUR, by mail
Will check curbs
Reference to the news report ‘Net access constitutionally protected right’ (Jan 11); accessing Internet is indeed a constitutional right. Right to express has become an essential part to communicate, without which it becomes difficult for those dependent on it for basic earning, and businesses too. Adding Internet to the basic rights is much appreciated. It will also help to avoid curbs in future, not only in the Valley, but also elsewhere. — Shivam Bajaj, New Delhi
Allow leaders to visit, too
It is strange that the government allowed a delegation of foreign dignitaries to visit Jammu and Kashmir to apprise it of the ground situation, but our own elected leaders are in jail and people have been living under various restrictions for the past five months. Our own national leaders are not allowed to visit Kashmir. It is strange why PM Modi has so much affection for foreigners and not the people of India. If people from outside India can visit Kashmir, why not our own elected leaders?— Bhupinder Kochhar, by mail
Apropos the editorial ‘Relief for democracy’ (Jan 11), law is only a medium and justice is the end it seeks to achieve. The government cannot use law as a tool to legitimise its actions that are unconstitutional in nature. It is the inherent prerogative of the citizens to organise peaceful protests to oppose unlawful exploits of the government. The government used Section 144 as a ploy to disable people from gathering altogether and voicing their opinion in J&K. The SC’s order is a positive development and an encouragement for the citizens of the country. — Nissim Aggarwal, Chandigarh
Muslim women not at risk
The article ‘Not at home, yet’ (Jan 10) is an example of spreading misinformation, at least with respect to Indian men marrying Pakistani women. CAA in no way affects such women. In fact, the BJP government earlier, in 2016-17, had relaxed rules, when Rajnath Singh was Home Minister, to make it easier for such women to get Indian citizenship. As a result, many women, whose cases were pending for years, got citizenship rights within months. Now, the writer is raising the spectre of ‘breaking families’ and sending such women ‘back to Pakistan’. This is, to say the least, obnoxious, as CAA has no such provisions. I belong to Malerkotla and have checked the facts with my Muslim friends there. — Kastinder Johar, Palampur
Same law for all
There are only two major parties, the Congress and the BJP. People are compelled to elect one of the two, forgetting their previous promises and performance. The government had sacked 12 IT officers and 15 senior customs and central excise officers. It is appalling that corruption in India in all pervasive. No politician is honest. Those sacked indulged in corruption worth lakhs, whereas politicians are caught in scams and corruption running into several crores. Corruption flows from the top, and not from babus and other employees. In India, the law is for the poor, not for the rich and politicians. — BANSI RAM RAHUL, Garhshankar
Refer to the editorial ‘Shocking theft’ (Jan 10); the news report was shocking because officials, as senior as Chief Engineer, were found stealing power. A raid on such high officials could be possible because of the presence of the Power Minister himself in the raiding team, otherwise no junior could have dared to lay hands on a senior official. Ignominy in such cases is a harsher punishment than fine. Flouting of law with impunity by people in high position shows how they consider themselves above law. To show off their status in society, defiance of law by the high and mighty should be condemned by one and all.
Yoginder Singhal, Ladwa
Society’s black sheep
Apropos ‘Shocking theft’ (Jan 10), it is deplorable that officials at higher posts resort to ‘enrichment’ at the cost of the middle and lower classes, despite the fact that they carry home a neat pay packet. Such tactics not only cause loss to the department, but also have a bad impact on the economy of the country. Power thieves inhabit rural areas also. Unable to contain such thefts, the powers that be increase energy rates en bloc, causing discontentment among the honest consumers. There should be coordinated efforts between the utilities and enforcement agencies with regard to random checks to eliminate such thefts by the black sheep of society.
AK Joshi, by mail
Good news for J&K
Reference to the January 10 SC order on J&K; the SC may have given a late decision, but finally, the people’s rights mentioned in the Constitution, like the right to speech and expression under Article 19, stand protected. Now, the people of J&K have got the platform to share their views on the abrogation of Article 370. With all the freedoms in place, J&K will develop as a new UT.
Sonali choudhary, Jammu
Verdict comes as relief
Contrary to the Modi government’s claim of normalcy in Kashmir, the Supreme Court’s verdict that the suspension of free movement and indefinite Internet shutdown is abuse of power, and the direction to the J&K administration to review within a week all restrictive orders in place over the past five months and make it public, so they can be challenged legally, have brought massive relief to the people of Kashmir after months of communication and Internet lockdown.
SS Paul, Nadia
The Government of India taking diplomats from different countries to visit J&K is a good initiative (‘Centre takes 15 envoys to Kashmir, Jan 10). This will increase the trust of various countries in India. The absence of any kind of protest during this visit of foreign diplomats, and the removal of PDP leaders who talked with these diplomats from the party, clearly shows that the removal of Article 370 by the government was a reasonable step, as it hindered the development of the state. But the regional parties were using Articles 370 and 35A for vote-bank politics. Now that their vote bank has gone out of their hands, they are misleading the youth and opposing the decision of the government.
Narayan Hari, chandigarh
Suicide by farmers
Refer to ‘10,349 farmers ended life in 2018: NCRB’ (Jan 10); it is shocking that such a large number of farmers committed suicide. Suicide is not the solution to any problem. If the farmers are not able to pay back loans, the government can give them concessions on loans. After all, the government is also a consumer of the crops grown by the farmers. It is awful to be the reason of death of the person who is responsible to feed us. They should be given some grant and the government should take responsibility that such a thing does not recur.
Simran Ahuja, Yamunanagar
Apropos ‘Money power eroding democracy, says Naidu’ (Jan 9), the need for electoral reforms is a welcome suggestion, but simultaneous polls across the country may not be a good proposition. We need to make transparency of funds received by parties and restrict election expenditure, besides bringing drastic amendments in the public representation Act to debar tainted candidates from contesting. The Election Commission should be vested with vast powers. There should also be a check on political funds, besides bringing the political parties under the ambit of the RTI Act to curb money power and a host of other corrupt practices like floor crossing.
ROOP SINGH NEGI, Solan
Apropos the editorial ‘State of the economy’ (Jan 9), our economy was regarded as one of the fastest-growing in the world, and was all poised to register phenomenal growth, but has now degenerated into a shambles. All our plans for inclusive financial growth seem to have gone haywire. It is worrisome that the projection for GDP growth rate has plummeted from 7% in July to around 5%. This situation, which is plagued by escalating joblessness, agrarian crisis, spiralling prices and declining exports and the worst rate of investments since 2005, calls for a thorough analysis. All this cannot be attributed to the bleak global economic scenario. Our country seems to be caught in a vicious cycle of political and economic unrest. Peace and stability are the prerequisites to set the engines of growth moving. The massive mandate enjoyed by the government should be used to create a conductive atmosphere to attract investors.
Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa
Find other ways to protest
The strike by various kisan unions and employee organisations against the government was constitutionally correct, but the way of the strike needs to be looked into. The stoppage of trains and road blockades causes inconvenience to the public. The unions must devise other methods to protest as the one used now causes no problem to the government. People book trains to their destinations for various purposes, but strikes create problems for them for no fault of theirs.
Wg Cdr Jasbir Minhas (retd), Mohali
Speedy justice effective
Apropos the editorial ‘Justice for Nirbhaya’ (Jan 9), the case may have reached its conclusive end, but the execution of the four rapists after a frustrating gap of seven years is hardly expected to act as an effective deterrent. Unabated reports of gruesome attacks on girls in different parts of the country expose the weakness of our system, which in the absence of expeditious implementation fails to fetch timely results. Influential oppressors, indifferent investigating agencies and tardy judicial system discourage most families of victims even from reporting the matter. Hats off to Nirbhaya’s family for the relentless battle. Onus is on the government to provide a safe environment for girls, and speedy justice in such cases.
Deepak Kaushik, Radaur
Right to safety
Refer to ‘Justice for Nirbhaya’ (Jan 9); what took the court so long to take a decision in such a significant case? Why a wait for seven years? Nirbhaya case has been highlighted by the media, but what about thousands of Nirbhayas whose cases are pending for years? Such cases should be heard on priority. The safety of women should be the key concern of the courts. Every citizen, be it a girl or a boy, should feel safe and secure in their own nation.
Surbhi Attreya, Meerut
Taking on drug mafia
Refer to the news ‘HC commandments on war on drugs’; these steps were necessary against the drug mafia. It is one of the major issues which is eroding our society. Youth are the main victim. If it continues to go the same way, the results will be devastating. It is now the sole duty of other state courts, too, that they take stringent actions against the mafia and those involved in the violation of rules and trafficking of drugs.
Vivek choudhary, Kangra
Bushfires & climate change
The news ‘Bushfire-hit Australia to cull 10,000 camels’ (Jan 9) is quite sad. Bushfire is not uncommon in Australia, but the current fires are more ferocious. A large number of animals have been killed by the current fires. Human and property losses have been colossal. We are still in denial mode about the realities of climate change and are on a path of irrational and irreversible overuse of the natural resources. Any further disturbance in an already fragile ecosystem will have far-reaching implications on our very existence. The world needs to awaken to protect the environment. If we do not act now, the situation will go out of control.
K Kumar, Panchkula
The middle ‘Village has changed, and all in it’ (Jan 9) is a short but telling and evocative account of the toll urbanisation and modernisation has taken on the picturesque sights of villages, which are a welcome relief from the deafening din of modern cities. Urgent attention needs to be directed towards retaining the pristine beauty of our villages by checking haphazard development resulting in various maladies like pollution and soil erosion.
Vimal Sethi, Kapurthala
Nirbhaya rape case had certainly shaken the conscience of the entire nation. A strong punishment was required, not only to bring justice to Nirbhaya and her family, but also to set an apt example. But capital punishment is not the right way. Real deterrence is created when the ‘potential criminal’ knows that if he commits crime, he will not escape the law. In such a scenario, even if the punishment is milder than capital punishment, it will still create deterrence. Moreover, capital punishment presumes that a criminal is beyond reformation. The need of the time is to enhance the policing capacity. States need to enforce police reforms.
Jashandeep Singh Kang, Chandigarh
Not free to protest
Refer to ‘No goon held, but JNUSU prez booked’ (Jan 8); Aishe Ghosh was wounded badly and has been booked for vandalism. Does the youth of the country not have the freedom
of speech under this Hindutva government? If they are fighting for their rights, how are they disloyal to the country? This means that the government is now not working on the Constitution, but on its party agenda.
Shruti Sharma, Ludhiana
Clean chit before probe
The Tribune has raised some pertinent questions on the credibility of the probe into the brutal attack on JNU students and teachers (‘Fair and unfair FIRs’, Jan 8). Even as the complicitous conduct of the JNU administration stands out, the Delhi Police response was tardy. They have not apprehended even one goon. On top of that, the Minister of State for Home has given a clean chit to the right-wing students’ union, ABVP, even before any inquiry concludes. It may be made a case of anti-nationalism versus ultra-nationalism, instead of students’ demand for quality education at affordable cost.
Prem Singh Dahiya, Rohtak
Cut their perks, too
Apropos ‘Govt to cut revenue expenditure by 20%’ (Jan 8), in order to improve the precarious fiscal health of the state, the government of Punjab has imposed a 20 per cent cut in standard object of expenditure (SOE) of the revenue budget. Though belated, it is a step in the right direction. So poor is the financial health of the state that government employees have yet to get pending DA instalments and arrears. The government also proposes to cut non-practising allowance of doctors, among other steps. To tide over the crisis, it would be appropriate to curb the perks and freebies being enjoyed by our elected representatives. The government needs to have a relook on the payment of a number of pensions to former MLAs, ministers and CMs.
NK Gosain, Bathinda
Tribute to Idu Sharif
‘Idu Sharif’s powerful voice falls silent’ (Jan 8) is a sad comment on the poverty of the cultural policy of the Punjab Government. The pathos of his voice was capable of touching the chords of the heart of the audience. I had heard him at the cultural segment of the 83rd session of the Indian Science Congress held at Punjabi University in 1996. But like other organisations, the university, too, missed the opportunity to develop his musical talent. It reflects the prevalent approach to human resources of the state. Being the ‘voice of the people’, The Tribune has paid a befitting tribute to him by carrying the news of his demise on the front page.
Jagvinder Singh Brar, Patiala
Oil crisis on horizon
Apropos the article ‘Oil crisis looms as West Asia simmers’ (Jan 8); if preventive measures are not taken, the situation can take a turn for the worse. There is need to exercise restraint in the use of petroleum products. The use of huge personal cars should be avoided, and as far as possible, public transport should be made use of. In rural areas, conventional sources of energy such as firewood can be used as there is a thick growth of bushes.
Santosh Jamwal, Hamirpur
Too cold to be in school
Reference to the news ‘Thin attendance in govt schools amid immense cold’ (Jan 8); in immensely cold western countries, life goes on as usual. Children go to school and other people go to work when it is still dark and return home when the sun has already set. Most of our people are poor. When they have no shelter to save themselves from cold, how can they provide their children with warm clothes? It is their poverty which does not allow their children to attend school. The school administration should take a sympathetic view towards such students, or close school for some days to avoid any tragedy.
Faqir Singh, Dasuya
This refers to the editorial ‘JNU vandalised’ (Jan 7). Violence on university campuses is unfortunate. The administrators should know about the brewing trouble and take all steps to pacify the students and control the situation so that a peaceful environment prevails. The JNU authorities failed in this regard and ensure that no violence occurs on the campus. Temples of education prepare future assets for the country and parents and teachers should instill habits of dignified behaviour among the children. The students should also gauge the intentions of politicians. Subhash Vaid, New Delhi
Intolerance on display
Refer to the editorial, ‘JNU vandalised’ (Jan 7); the Sangh Parivar is determined to leave its imprimatur on educational campuses, particularly JNU, considered to be a Left bastion. The Hindutva dispensation’s intolerance towards intellectuals in general and institutions in particular, has been on display since 2014. The treatment of JNU students is proof that ideological differences in a place of learning will be crushed with brute force. SS Paul, Nadia
Ruckus by goons
Apropos the editorial, ‘JNU vandalised’, violence on the campus has exposed the deteriorating law and order situation in the nation’s Capital. Not only the vice chancellor, the police and others concerned with the maintenance of law and order also are to be blamed. The ruckus created by the goons and lack of police intervention is painful as everything could have been controlled had the administration so desired. Strict action should be taken against officials who allow violence to take place in universities as they are guilty of not controlling the situation at the right time. Sanjay Chawla, Amritsar
Blame game uncalled for
The unfortunate happenings in JNU and other universities are condemnable. However, blame game by the political parties is uncalled for. Instead of finding a solution to the problem and defusing the situation, politicians, by making irresponsible statements, are only escalating the situation. Has any institution tried to find out the root cause of the violence and strikes in Indian universities? This is amazing that such unrest is not distantly visible in any private Indian university. The answer is clear. Private universities never compromise with talent, and above all, there is no political interference in running such institutions. The present confusion, unrest, hooliganism, strikes and discontent among the students and teachers in the universities is the net outcome of interference. This should be stopped for normalcy to return on campuses. VK Anand, Chandigarh
Take dissent in stride
Apropos the article, ‘Taking recourse to brute force’ (Jan 7); in a democratic set-up, no ruling dispensation, howsoever powerful it may be in terms of the mandate, can escape criticism for its policies and programmes. The Rajiv Gandhi government had an unprecedented mandate, but it also had to face trenchant criticism for its acts of omission and commission. If any ruling dispensation suffers from self-righteousness and does not learn to take criticism in its stride and instead treats its critics disdainfully, it amounts to departing from the path of democracy.
It is easy to regard one’s critics as ‘anti-national’ and to project themselves as ‘ultra nationalists’. But such an approach only breeds disaffection. Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa
CDS above politics
General Bipin Rawat, while serving as the Army Chief, was known to speak his mind. Now, as India’s Chief of Defence Staff, he will need to be above politics, and a lot more diplomatic. With his vast military experience, he must concentrate on the welfare of the defence forces and their preparedness to face challenges in war and peace. For that, he has to advise the political and civil authorities, and ensure that his comments do not invite flak and are given a political colour. PL Singh, by mail
Remarks on Dilip Kumar
Apropos ‘Will unmask Cong on CCA: Dhankar’ (Jan 6); former minister OP Dhankar’s remarks against legendary actor Dilip Kumar are uncalled for. He has ignored that the ‘tragedy king’ used a Hindu name (changed from Yusuf Khan) just to avoid negative reactions. Dilip Kumar acted in Hindu religious films like Jogan and patriotic movies like Naya Daur and Paigham and was involved with social initiatives. He planned the famous Jogger’s Park in Bandra and got clearance for it. The actor’s name should not be used to further Hindutva agenda. Vidwan Singh Soni, Patiala
This refers to ‘Students, staff attacked at JNU’ (Jan 6), it’s shocking that people entered the campus and attacked JNU students. Where were the security guards at that time? How did the assailants manage to locate JNU Students’ Union president Aishe Ghosh? The government can’t ignore these questions. Maybe some insiders from the campus were giving information to the goons. It seemed that the attackers were familiar with the campus. Hope the government will ensure that a high-level inquiry is conducted to ascertain the truth.
Nikita Bhati, Rajasthan
Beef up security
Apropos ‘Students, staff attacked at JNU’ (Jan 6), the attack has raised questions about security on the campus. How did a group of masked men manage to enter hostel rooms with sticks and rods and attack students? Why were the miscreants not stopped at the entry gates? The authorities must beef up security in and around the university campus to prevent violence and make it a peaceful temple of learning. Strict rules and regulations must be implemented to avert such incidents.
Abhilasha Gupta, Mohali
Dens of politicking
The violence at JNU is highly condemnable and unpardonable. Incidents of violence are increasing day by day on university campuses in India. Recently, unruly scenes were witnessed at Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi and Aligarh Muslim University in UP. The aim of founding these national-level universities was to impart higher education to the deprived sections of society through sponsorship by the government. But it is a pity that these prestigious ‘temples of learning’ have become dens of political activities for various parties. The ban on police entry without the permission of the university authorities, even if violence is taking place inside, is one of the reasons for the escalation of campus violence. The police should identify the attackers with the help of the JNU authorities. No one should be spared, even if they are students, and all must be brought to book.
Ashok Kumar, Jalandhar
Persecution of minorities
With reference to the editorial, ‘Minority report’ (Jan 6), coming on the heels of the mob attack on Nankana Sahib gurudwara in Pakistan, the killing of a Sikh youth has sent shock waves throughout India. The persecution of minorities in Pakistan is not aimed at non-Muslims only. Even a sect of Muslims, the Ahmadis, were declared non-Muslim and persecuted. Regarding recent cases in which Sikhs were targeted in Pakistan, the Imran Khan government is trying to appease the fundamentalists and radical elements. In Pakistan, there have been many cases of forcible conversion of non-Muslim minority girls, but the attack on Nankana Sahib gurdwara, the birthplace of Guru Nanak Dev, has highlighted the rule of radical mobocracy. However, this particular case of minority persecution may have given a shot in the arm to those who are clamouring in favour of the CAA.
LJS Panesar, by mail
Apropos ‘World opinion unlikely to force CAA rethink’ (Jan 6), the BJP top brass does not bother about people’s opinion. Their top leaders have said that they won’t budge an inch on the CAA. Democracy is being replaced by majoritarianism. A government which does not care about its own people can’t be expected to worry about world opinion.
BM Singh, Amritsar
Use diplomatic channels
The BJP is organising pro-CAA rallies throughout the country. The CAA is meant for six minority communities which fled persecution in three countries till December 31, 2014. What about those who are persecuted after the cut-off date — for example, the Sikhs at the receiving end in Pakistan recently? The legislation is no solution to the problem. Instead, the government should use diplomatic channels to stop the persecution of minorities in the three neighbouring countries.
Naresh Johar, Amritsar
With reference to the article, ‘The options before Iran’ (Jan 6), while the world grapples with the aftermath of a seemingly whimsical act by the US in killing the commander of another sovereign nation, it is easy to be pulled into unwanted situations, as far as India is concerned. The attempt by US President Donald Trump to invoke India is one such situation which needs to be handled with great caution and adroit diplomacy. One hopes our diplomats know how to steer clear of the baits and pitfalls arising out of the situation. Traditionally, India and Iran have had a long history of a love-hate relationship. It would be wise for both nations to be level-headed.
Syed Ahmed Ali, Hyderabad
Refer to ‘Pak metaphor the new pivot’ (Nous Indica, Jan 4); in order to be new and modern, we have to rein in our religious and communal angularities. We should stop pandering to tribal prejudices. The concept of ‘pre-modern Hindu mind’ requires a democratic and inclusive debate in order to arrive at rational and logical inferences. Going through the ancient, medieval and modern phases of our history, I feel that Indians are not very religion-conscious. In the ‘pre-industrial’ society, we were guided by our religious scriptures, including Manu Smriti and Vedas. We became more conscious of our religious identity only after Prithviraj Chauhan’s defeat at the hands of Muhammad Ghori. It was a serious cut-off date in our medieval history. Saints like Kabir and Guru Nanak taught us to be kind and liberal towards people practising alien creeds. As a student of philosophy, the concern about our collective welfare is genuine, when the writer cautions us about the ramifications of communal politics — ‘It cuts deeply, creating dangerous fault-lines within society.’
RAJ BAHADUR YADAV, Fatehabad
End Manu-vad first
Apropos the article ‘Pak metaphor the new pivot’ (Nous Indica, Jan 4), Manu-vad is more dangerous than mulla-vad and padri-vad. The Hindu orthodox society wants it to be such, in the name of Hindutva. It has already weakened the roots of our society. For India to be new and modern in the real sense, the worst system should be destroyed first.
Om Parkash Sandhu, Naya Nangal
The editorial ‘Infant deaths in Kota’ (Jan 4) forcefully stresses on the need for strengthening public healthcare. The road map for public and primary healthcare was ready in 1946, with the Bhore Committee recommendations, but those were slowly and steadily diluted under the influence of commercialisation and privatisation, so much so that India is now facing a virtual collapse of public and primary healthcare. The much-glorified Ayushman Bharat insurance scheme is a camouflaged medium to transfer public money to private hands, otherwise why can’t the same money be used to strengthen our public health institutions for providing the same facilities given by the insurance companies? As a health and rights activist, I believe that such tragedies can only be prevented by strengthening the public healthcare institutions and increasing the health budget to at least 2.5% of the GDP, along with radical reforms in medical education. The stress must be on quality rather than quantity. The blame game has to stop, and the Centre as well as state governments need to work together to provide affordable, equitable and universal healthcare to all, irrespective of caste and creed.
Vitull K Gupta, BATHINDA
Overhaul judicial system
Refer to ‘HC reopens with pendency of 5 lakh cases’ (Jan 2); justice delivery is the basic ingredient of a civilised society, but it seems to have collapsed in our case. This is the root cause of evils like increased crime rate and corruption. Unfortunately, the government and judiciary are indifferent to the situation. Most civil cases are against the government, its agencies and corporate houses, who do not even file reply to the complaints for years together. Courts remain mute spectators and allow adjournment after adjournment without any consideration for the sufferings of petitioners. There are multiple agencies like courts, consumer forums, PLAs, ombudsman, etc., for civil cases, but none is delivering because of the absence of accountability, adequate manpower and infrastructure. The system needs to be dismantled and recreated. Let there be unified forums at district and state levels, with specialists in seat and accountability, to decide the complaints within a stipulated time frame. Adjournments should not be allowed in routine. Appeals of these forums may lie with HCs, but should be carefully scrutinised at the filing stage itself.
Pradeep Gur, Hisar
Apropos the editorial ‘Another bus tragedy’ (Jan 4), once again a private bus driver ignored safety rules that led to a tragic accident, killing nine passengers. The blame squarely lies on the driver who was talking on the phone while negotiating a curve. Agreed that the authorities concerned adopt a chalta hai attitude and overlook overloaded buses, but we, too, have the responsibility to adhere to driving rules. Self-precaution is the key to safe driving and avoiding tragedies. So, let’s be sensible and strictly follow the rules of safe driving for our own safety and of others on the road.
RK KAPOOR, CHANDIGARH
Refer to ‘Kota infant toll 102’ (Jan 3); the deaths of so many infants in the Kota Government Hospital point towards a deeper crisis of healthcare in our country. There was an acute shortage of staff and sanitation was in a deplorable condition. Broken windows, non-functioning radiant warmers, absence of oxygen pipelines in the special newborn unit, pigs roaming on the hospital campus were also noted by the investigation team. An inquiry by the state government had also found infrastructure challenges. The primary and secondary segments need to have better resources and equipment, and adequate staff to ensure that the first response to critical cases is effective. Rajasthan and the Centre should see the Kota tragedy as a wake-up call, and embark on more comprehensive reforms. There is no need for UP CM Yogi Adityanath and BSP chief Mayawati to indulge in political blame game.
PRAKASH HANSPAUL, by mail
Cut down court vacation
Refer to the editorial ‘Clogged courts’ (Jan 3); the staggering number of pending court cases has exposed the rot in the judicial system. Apart from a shortage of judges, long adjournments and lesser number of HC Benches, the practice of observing vacations in courts is also a cause of burgeoning pendency of cases in India. Except educational sector, no other government organisation observes such breaks. The government should dispense with the British era practice of vacations in courts, as it not only adds to pendency, but also puts financial burden on litigants, denying them the right of justice due to delayed delivery.
Anil Vinayak, Amritsar
Apropos ‘Clogged courts’ (Jan 3); expeditious disposal of cases has become an urgent need to solve pendency problems and grant timely justice to citizens. Fixing a mandatory time frame for every trial seems like a desirable solution, but is irrational since every case is different. Moreover, rushing with cases might compromise justice and certain facts relevant to the case might not be looked upon. To tackle this issue, it is necessary for lawyers to stop asking for unnecessary adjournments and be prepared with their cases for the sake of the justice system. Also, vacancies need to be filled by appointing judges as soon as possible.
Nissim Aggarwal, Chandigarh
Now, it’s Faiz poem
Refer to the dispute over revolutionary poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Our country is going through a strange phase. Faiz wrote the poem in 1979, two years after Pakistan was eclipsed by a military coup. The poem came at a time when Zia executed Bhutto and turned Pakistan towards an Islamic state. Since inception, IITs have been a dream place for engineering aspirants. I think the dispute arose over the line ‘Bas naam rahega Allah ka’. While writing a poem, the poet has to take care of the meter scheme. What’s wrong if he mentioned Islamic god? In school, we would sing ‘Teri hai zameen, tera aasman’. It was when I saw the movie The Burning Train that I learnt that it was another version. The original had the word Khuda, which had been replaced with Prabhu. The Sikh ardaas has the line ‘Raj karega Khalsa’. Will it be next on their target?
DS Thukral, Ambala
Talk to Bangladesh
Apropos ‘Why mum on Pak minorities’ plight, PM asks CAA protesters, (Jan 3), the PM should have asked his Bangladesh counterpart to stop the persecution of minorities to end their migration to India in the form of refugees. CAA is meant for minorities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is a well-known fact that most refugees/infiltrators are from Bangladesh. Instead of advising crores of people, our PM should talk to his Bangladesh counterpart to address the problem.
Naresh Johar, Amritsar
PM’s question irrelevant
Our Prime Minister is questioning CAA protesters why they are ‘mum on Pakistan minorities’. Since the protest is not about minorities of this or that country, but is against the new law’s discriminatory tendency on the basis of religion, his question is irrelevant.
Balvinder, by mail
According to reports, on the first day of 2020, an estimated 67,385 babies were born in India, followed by China (46,299) and Nigeria (26,039). According to the UN World Population report, India is projected to overtake China as the most populous country by 2027. Overpopulation gives birth to several serious problems in any country. India must undertake expeditious measures to prevent such huge increase in its population.
RK Arora, Amritsar
Reference to the news ‘LPG cylinder dearer by Rs 19; jet fuel too’ (Jan 2); it is a New Year gift of the government to its people. When the world was busy welcoming the year, the Government of India was wrapping a sugar-coated quinine tablet for them in the shape of price rise. Not only this, train fares have also been increased. People are already burdened with high prices of commodities of daily use. The Punjab Government also does not want to lag behind, and has imposed a hike in electricity rates from January 1. Ours is a welfare state and people expect their welfare at the hands of the government, and not an overload on their head.
Faqir Singh, Dasuya
Bus fare hike
Refer to ‘PRTC hikes bus fare by 2 paise/km’ (Jan 2); New Year may not be good for the poor, as the government is continuously increasing the prices of bus fare, gas cylinders, electricity, etc. Such hikes may cause them to pay more than they are earning. Providing various facilities like AC buses mean nothing if people cannot afford them. The government should think about all kinds of financial categories of people.
Nikita Bhati, Rajasthan
This refers to ‘Give farmers a viable crop alternative’ (Jan 2). The Swaminathan report cannot be implemented in the prevailing circumstances as it will add to the sufferings of farmers. The only alternative is systemised diversification of crops, wherein the government should advise the farmers in each state to grow particular crops, keeping in view domestic/exportable demand, and then, the agencies must procure the crops at MSP. To overcome the tyranny of the prevailing market system, the farmers should be facilitated to directly export their produce which they have grown defying the government advice. Industrialists should be exhorted to establish processing units in areas where farm raw material is readily available. This will maintain not only the market price level, but also recompense farmers for labour and other expenses.
COL KULDIP S GREWAL (RETD), PATIALA
Apropos the article ‘Give farmers a viable crop alternative’ (Jan 2), agrarian crisis is deepening, as indicated by the substantially reduced share of agriculture to GDP and by the growing incidence of suicide by farmers due to escalating indebtedness. In such a grim situation, if the MSP system is dismantled, or if procurement is curtailed in order to reduce the burden of subsidies, our agriculture sector will be devastated. If diversified cropping pattern is to be made viable, adequate MSP needs to be fixed. If the government is keen to ameliorate the economic condition of farmers, MSP needs to be made more broad-based and should be streamlined on the basis of the recommendations of the Swaminathan report.
Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa
Put things in order
Apropos the editorial ‘Baby steps in Kashmir’ (Jan 2), the Modi government was voted to power the second time with clear majority, not because of its policies but due to lack of a credible leader in the Opposition. The year 2019 witnessed the dictatorial rule of the Modi government, especially on two counts — scrapping of Article 370 in J&K and legislation of the citizenship Act. The way these two are being implemented forcibly is bad for the nation. Now, the only hope for the New Year is that peace and normalcy is restored in the states which have been affected on account of such dictatorial policies of the government.
SANJAY CHAWLA, AMRITSAR
Duty schedule for cops
Refer to the editorial ‘Breather for cops’ (Jan 2); the government should hire more cops and allot them different duty schedule, say half in the day and half at night. This will help them work efficiently and we will get fruitful result. It will not make them feel fatigued and crime will decrease. It will also help to reduce unemployment.
Bhavya Chhabra, Ambala Cantt
Apropos ‘For her mishap a blip in larger scheme of things’ (Jan 1), the example shown by Dr Anupma is encouraging. Complaints and criticism deplete our soul energy. She has positively accepted her fate and given us an example that we human beings keep cribbing about our situation, people and the past. But one should always have gratitude for countless blessings. Emotional abuse or peaceful acceptance is our personal choice. The purpose of our life is not to survive, but to serve, and such a selfless act as done by Dr Anupma empowers the self. Let’s pledge in the New Year to have an attitude of gratitude, and do selfless service to humanity.
Dr Anupma Gupta has set an example before society that nothing more than worst can stop a person from achieving her goals, as she is brave enough to live happily and satisfied in her present condition (‘For her, mishap a blip in larger scheme of things’; Jan 1). She has performed her duty as a doctor and as a human being very well. Society must learn from this incident that while some people were busy making videos, she put her life at stake to save someone’s life.
Abhilasha Gupta, Mohali
Rare act of sacrifice
Refer to ‘For her, mishap a blip in larger scheme of things’ (Jan 1); the compassion shown by Dr Anupma Gupta is the rarest of rare act of social responsibility. Despite losing her legs for a public cause, she has maintained an indomitable spirit and shown deep faith in the ways of God. This courageous act would go a long way in inspiring society to help mankind. Society and the State must acknowledge and reward her for this laudable act of self-sacrifice and kindness for fellow beings.
Hardish sandhu, Amritsar
No more hydel projects
Refer to the editorial ‘Himalayan danger’ (Jan 1); in Kinnaur district, hydel projects are proving to be a bane to local people and environment. Sometime ago, the Indian Council of Forest Research and Education (ICFRE) had said in its report that hydropower projects on the basin of the Sutlej had damaged environment. A committee had also warned the government not to venture into any power project above the height of 7,000 feet above sea level, but who cares? The government should not go in for more such projects, so that Kinnaur and other places could be saved from disasters.
ROOP SINGH NEGI, Solan
Himachal can do better
It was heartening to read that Himachal has been ranked second in development goal index (Jan 1). It is at the top in peace, justice and strong institutions category. Here, presuming that justice is delivered by the civil courts. This isn’t the case in revenue courts. A glance at the case list of any of these courts would show cases of demarcation, partition and mutation pending in appeal for as long as 20 years. There have been instances of the court of Divisional Commissioner not being held for years because of the officer being ‘busy with administrative work’. An indication of good governance includes the system’s ability to identify bottlenecks within and to suggest reforms. To avoid delay in the delivery of justice in these courts, a separate judicial service for revenue courts should be set up.
Rajender Sharma, by mail
On short fuse
Apropos ‘Happy New Year’ (Jan 1), indeed, we have still to master the art of being agreeable even as we disagree and have to take notice of demonstrations before they become protests. The bane of the present times is that aggression has engulfed us. Sometimes, the situation takes such an ugly turn that people are killed over minor issues. The need is to inculcate the virtues of tolerance and sympathy. Educational institutions can play a vital role in this direction.
Nitin Chani, Ludhiana
The article ‘Exodus without an end’ (Dec 31) was thought provoking and depicted the true scenario of Punjab. Hope sustains life. The hope of getting a big car, dollars, the tag of an NRI and lack of jobs owing to the calibre of the person are aggravating the trend among youth to migrate abroad. Push and pull factors are at work. Migration occurs when there is dissatisfaction because of variegated reasons, which is happening in Punjab.
Harleen Pandher, by mail
No relief for pensioners
Pensioners of Punjab are crying for pay commission recommendations and DA arrears, but the government will use up its five years blaming the Akalis for ‘khali khazana’. Unfortunately, the luxury of ministers, the Chief Minister and Congress MLAs seems to be a priority. Buying Innovas for 17 MLAs is an attempt to please them. On the other hand, pensioners who are above 70, and most are suffering from chronic diseases, are still awaiting their dues. I think the government will give that money to the families after their death, so that they may vote for them.
SUKHWANT BHULLAR, Chandigarh
Out in the cold
With no let-up in the biting cold wave conditions, the poor people continue to die. Most deaths go unreported. The rulers and ruled have no qualms about it. Our conscience is dead. Dead men tell no tales. In a way, those who have died unwept are fortunate than those dressed in tatters and leading an unprotected life, with no roof over their head.
DV JOSHI, Zirakpur
The Tribune is rightly ‘the voice of people’. Its editorials represent the voice of the right-thinking common man and every word echoes his conscience. Such a person may not dare speak up against the mighty, but when he finds the editorials speaking on his behalf, his happiness knows no bounds. The editorial ‘Crossing the line’ (December 31) rightly states that the reprimand is not enough. Such provocative utterances must be punished and condemned. General Rawat recently made a statement not behoving the august office of the Army Chief. A dangerous trend has set in — utter derogatory words against a particular community and become a hero. One will be praised and elevated to the highest post even if one is undeserving. Government servants are simply required to work under conduct rules and observe reticence on a public platform.
BR DHIMAN, Hamirpur
Neutral to all
Apropos the editorial ‘Crossing the line’ (December 31), the communal remarks of SSP Meerut were unfortunate and uncalled for. People in a democratic, secular country cannot be differentiated on the basis of religion, region, caste and class. Government officers should deal with all people as citizens of India. The Tribune editorial written in 1939 is relevant even today. Government servants should not consider themselves as Hindus, Christians, Muslims or Sikhs.
Ajay Bagga, Hoshiarpur
Goes for the crowd, too
The same advice for utmost restraint, which the editorial gives to the police officer concerned, should also be extended to the rallyists who chanted pro-Pakistan slogans (‘Crossing the line’; December 31). This anti-national behaviour on the part of the crowd is inexcusable. The crowd had no business to raise provocative slogans.
Kastinder johar, Palampur
Sad state of Punjab
The article ‘Exodus without an end’ (December 31) focuses on the rising rate of migration from Punjab and its adverse socio-economic, political and demographic consequences. Half-baked policies and their shoddy implementation by successive governments, faulty education system, stagnation in agriculture and industrial sectors, unemployment, corruption, drug trade, lawlessness, and liberal immigration policies have added to the aspirations of the gritty Punjabi youth for a better life in foreign lands, whatever the cost. International out-migration from the state reflects poorly on its numero uno status in the country. The state leadership must introspect to stem the trend and channelise the physical and mental prowess of our youth for the development of Punjab and save it from a bleak future.
DS Kang, Hoshiarpur
Drugs another factor
It is true that Punjab is heading towards becoming a state with an aged population because of its youth migrating to the West due to lack of job opportunities here and the unwillingness of the rural youth to take up farming (‘Exodus without an end’; December 31). Another contributing factor that has led to this crisis is the drug menace and failure of the government to crack down on the drug mafia. Adolescents and youth are not only being rendered unfit to take up jobs, but also end up taking their lives by drug overdose, which is why we see an aged Punjab deprived of its vibrant youth.
Playing with public health
Refer to the unfair practices prevailing in the pharmaceutical field (December 30); one is reminded of the positive role the media played years ago in getting the prices of stents, implants and artificial limbs lowered to affordable levels. The most unethical practice is the shameless manner in which records are manipulated and substandard batches released to the market, from where they fall into the hands of innocent, ignorant and poor consumers. The margin of black money changing hands when a Re 1 tablet bears an MRP of Rs 20 can be imagined. The Centre that swears by zero tolerance to corruption should take cognisance of the issue.
MOHAN SINGH, AMRITSAR
Glacial lake threat
Apropos ‘Himalayan danger, glacial lakes growing’ (December 31), this is not happening for the first time and we all know the cause behind this. This unwelcome change is affecting climate adversely. The 2013 tragedy in Uttarakhand was correlated with the ‘bursting’ of an 8 hectare lake. Natural disasters cannot be prevented, but we can at least contain man-made disasters that we are creating and contributing to. Glacial lakes may cause flash floods, which is a major and real threat.
Arti Chaudhary, Una