Letters to the editor
Apropos ‘It’s getting worse for Xi Jinping’ (March 28), the complacency in the initial days of the corona outbreak and the opacity in the distribution of information has cost Xi Jinping his credibility. If it was not for China’s selfish attempts to conceal information, the coronavirus, in all likeliness, would not have exacerbated into a pandemic. An evident fiasco, China’s misgovernance has cost lives, livelihoods and economies. Most countries are in a state of lockdown. This incident is an important lesson for the citizens of India — favour only those governments that are transparent with regard to communication of information.
Nissim Aggarwal, Chandigarh
Stand by one another
Refer to ‘Sorry, had no option but lockdown’ (March 30); the government is hustling to create a system for providing essentials to people and ensure the supply chain of products. This is a challenging time for all, be it the rich or poor, but it is more difficult for daily wage-earners who are struggling for even one meal a day. It is the moral responsibility of every citizen to help one another and follow social distancing. It is vital to not have emotional distance with people around.
Deepakshi Seth, Uttar Pradesh
Safety gear for cops
Along with health professionals, the police are doing a laudable job throughout the country in the fight against Covid and in ensuring the safety of citizens. Though the police have dealt with the public patiently, there are times when they are forced to take action when people flout rules. If not for the police, the lockdown in most parts of the country would have ended in chaos. Health protection gear and devices are a must for the police as they have to handle all kinds of people on the streets. The medical fraternity should help and guide them with frequent checkups and safety measures.
SC DHALL, ZIRAKPUR
No donation from parties
The worst-affected due to the lockdown are the daily wagers. A lot of money is required to provide them with food, shelter and other basic needs. Many individuals and corporates have liberally donated for the cause. One wonders why our political parties, whether in the ruling or the Opposition — the self-proclaimed champions of the poor — have not made donations from their own funds, despite the fact that some of them have their coffers overflowing. Are their funds meant only to secure power?
HL Sharma, Amritsar
Bold step by RBI
The RBI’s decision to reduce the repo rate is an effective step towards dealing with the stagnant economy of India. Keeping the economy slowdown in mind, the need of the hour was to counter the cash crunch prevailing in India. It was a bold move by the RBI to reduce the repo rate by 75 basis points at one go. This will enhance liquidity.
KHUSHNASEEB KAUR, Patiala
Will help economy
Refer to the March 28 editorial ‘Handholding borrowers’, RBI’s announcement may help efforts to address the economic upheaval. Measures like lowering cost of capital, ensuring ample liquidity and providing a moratorium for three months on payments of all loans of retail and corporation borrowings will help ease financial burden and also protect against defaults. On the liquidity front, the measures are significant as the new cash-reserve ratio can bring liquidity to the corporate bond market. But the amounts involved may have to be expanded. The expansion of the scope of cash transfers, especially in the unorganised/informal parts of economy, should be considered.
PRAKASH HANSPAUL, by mail
Ensure unhindered supply
The efforts by the district administration, especially in Punjab, with regard to the provision of essential items are falling short of the challenge thrown by the Covid outbreak. The drying up of retail kirana stores because of disrupted wholesale supply has added fuel to the fire. Before the situation gets worse, the state governments, in cooperation with the Centre, should ensure unhindered supply of essential items.
Arun goyal, Dirba
Attack on Sikhs
Apropos ‘Kabul gurdwara attack turns spotlight on CAA’ (March 30), the writer seems misinformed about the ground realities in Afghanistan and Pakistan regarding persecution in the backdrop of theocratic rule. The CAA is a legitimate and timely enactment, and could have kept the nation free of processions and riots had the present dispensation used the right language, to include ‘anyone’, irrespective of religion and State. The government should take immediate steps to accommodate Sikhs from Afghanistan or Pakistan in view of the recent attack.
BM SINGH, AMRITSAR
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
Apropos ‘Helpless, and homebound’ (March 28), despite the PM’s appeal to the business community to not retrench employees, many labourers have been left in the lurch. Forced to leave their jobs, they are heading towards their distant destinations on foot. Their plight calls for urgent comprehensive action. The noble gesture by Spicejet to help the needy by arranging special flights should be emulated by other organisations. The government must mitigate their sufferings.
Vimal Sethi, Kapurthala
Full curfew not needed
The Punjab FM is right that the state is suffering a daily GDP loss of Rs 1,700 crore (March 26). This is the direct outcome of the curfew. Punjab has 39 cases in six districts, and 19 of these are in Nawanshahr district alone. Curfew in these districts was enough to contain the contagion. Other districts needed only sealing of borders. The problem in Punjab is of tracing NRIs. The government should follow the direction of the J&K High Court to punish those who do not disclose their travel details. About 80 per cent of cases show symptoms within a week of infection, so most new cases would be known by March 29. They can be isolated immediately. Except few villages, corona has not reached rural area. The government should not panic and must allow people to do their normal duties, including harvesting of wheat crop.
RN Malik, Gurugram
From boosting banks’ liquidity to providing relief to customers, the RBI has come out all guns blazing to tackle economic disruptions caused by the corona outbreak (‘EMIs on hold for 3 months’, March 23). This was a much-needed relief to the middle class after the package of Rs 1.7 lakh crore to poor people, employees and women. The measures announced also had a fair bit of firepower to get companies kick-started after the lockdown. It can also be extended to MSMEs and the farm loan sector.
Anjani Sharma, Chandigarh
Will boost morale
Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, when unprecedented fear is prevailing around the globe, the statement of the RBI Governor is worthwhile to remember — tough times never last, only tough people and tough institutions do (March 28). It will definitely boost the morale of the masses. We should strictly follow all guidelines issued by the government, stay at home, do yoga and meditation. The air is pure following the halt in air and road traffic and industrial production. To fight against this common enemy, the cooperation of every citizen is of immense importance.
RAJESH SHARMA, Jalandhar Cantt
The ongoing curfew in Punjab is causing a lot of inconvenience to the people. In Amritsar, we are not getting fruits, vegetables, medicines, groceries and other essential supplies. There is no effort from the government to ensure the daily supply chain management. If it cannot help, the curfew must be relaxed for some time to allow people to buy essential items. Otherwise it shall result in illness due to malnutrition and other health complications.
Hartaj Singh, Amritsar
Reference to ‘Sukhbir Badal disagrees with Punjab Govt’s use of “brute force” to implement curfew’ (March 26); the way the Punjab Police are handling those violating curfew is creating indignation among citizens. The government must understand that people were not prepared for it and it has caused a disruption in their daily lives. There are other legal means to make people follow the PM’s edict. At this juncture, cooperation from both sides is much needed.
Drishti Doel, Jalandhar
It’s not a vacation
Lockdown is not vacation time to move out, but to stay at home. This should be understood by all citizens. At the government level, more isolation wards should be set up and suspected patients should not be given a chance to escape. All public gatherings should be prohibited for a month. Helplines should be operational at all times and hospitals should be active 24x7. The police should act against those going out of their homes without reason. Action against fake news senders should also be taken.
Saikrit Gulati, Chandigarh
Today, when the outbreak is posing a massive challenge, we understand that we should be quarantined — meaning we should observe ‘sutak’. This tradition has been practiced since ancient times; at the time of birth and death. We should be proud that the whole world is looking at our culture with respect, be it the namaste salutation or the cremation of body. Indian culture and lifestyle is the best and most advanced.
Ekta sharma, Jalandhar
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 ‘Another recipe for disaster’ (Nous Indica, March 27); the PM’s lockdown decision was taken in haste, leading to disruption in the food supply chain. The government should allow private vendors and shopkeepers to supply essential goods. It must also ensure the procurement of Rabi crops because these are the main source of income for the farmers. The government did well to take a strict decision to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but at the same time, it should work on providing food to every individual. Starvation at such a time will only make it worse. The adages that hungry people need food, definitely not advice and a hungry man is not a free man stand true.
RAHUL GOYAT, JIND
Media role significant
Media is playing an important role at a time when the entire world is combating the deadly virus. Without the media, people would not have understood the situation. It made people aware and helped to spread an appeal to the public to stay at home. Mediapersons have been giving us an update about the pandemic, without thinking about their own safety. Today, because of the media, people from different religions, castes and regions have come together to fight against coronavirus and understand the importance of hygiene and health.
Ramanjot Kaur, Jalandhar
Test, treat, trace
India’s lockdown decision is being widely appreciated by world leaders. Being the second most populated country, with a scarcity of infrastructure, testing kits and rising cases of infection, such a decision was bold and tough. The WHO, while hailing it, has categorically said more aggressive measures are needed. Lockdown will help buy time and reduce pressure on the health system. While reinforcing aggressive measures, the authorities must find, isolate, test, treat and trace to prevent its spread.
Ramesh Dogra, Panchkula
Comprehensive road map
Refer to ‘Rs1.7L cr aid, govt reaches out to 80 cr poor’ (March 27); for the time being, it is a good step, but the future impact is not so promising. India is already not in a good position in terms of GDP growth and fiscal deficit, and the banking sector is likely to see a significant rise in NPAs. India has to make a road map for manufacturing, service sectors, MSMEs, banking sector and the people at large to cope with the slowdown and revenue loss.
Anjani Sharma, Chandigarh
Package with shelf life
The government has done well to prioritise direct transfer through banking to the vulnerable sections of society. But this package will benefit only for three months because of its limited shelf life. This crisis will hit the crucial sectors of the economy hard. The US has agreed to a $2 trillion aid package, which is a large and much-needed amount. Since our economy is already in slowdown mode, it is impossible for the government to provide a larger package to the citizens. But more will have to be done.
Isha Sharma, Bathinda
Don’t shun health staff
We doctors have stopped performing elective surgeries to conserve resources for any Covid emergency. Only dire emergencies are being attended to. A senior OT nurse was told by his Mohali PG owner that if he continued to work in a hospital, especially at odd hours, he would be evicted. This is unacceptable. There have also been instances in other cities where doctors have been summarily evicted as they might bring infection. If we cannot guarantee basic housing for our frontline healthcare workers, where will we be? As it is, masks, sanitisers and even some medicines, are being hoarded by the general public, leading to an acute shortage of these items. We need to encourage our corona warriors, not treat them like pariahs. They are our major line of defence and need full protection. Where will we be if these bravehearts are forced to refuse to treat cases because of problems like these?
Harinder Singh Bedi, Mohali
Poor health infra
Seeing the Covid threat in Punjab, I am amazed at the types of government we have elected over decades. No government has built sufficient medical infrastructure. When this threat wanes, we should think twice before exercising our franchise.
Rajesh Goyal, by mail
A long walk home
Refer to ‘Maha labourer walks 135 km to reach home (March 27); despite the efforts of governments and NGOs, a large number of people are still suffering from starvation and unemployment. The government must do more for such people, so that we all can get out of this chaos together. No person should be in a situation where people have to trudge long distances. It is heartbreaking.
Surbhi Attreya, Meerut
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 Ministry of Health and Family Welfare deserves appreciation for its efforts to fight Covid. But what about the present exercise of test-track-treat in years to come? The Health Minister should initiate research in areas of environmental health planning, integrating health, design and technology in urban planning, housing and infrastructure. We need to build up futuristic designing capabilities based on institutional environmental health in hospital engineering. The PGIMER, Chandigarh, already has approvals/sanctions with 100% financing to start five master programmes in these areas but appreciation has been lacking so far. It is now accountable to the nation and hope it will fast-track these unique programmes already approved by its own academic committee.
JC MEHTA, Sydney
Check fake news
While combating Covid is the only matter of concern for each one of us right now, there is another serious issue that needs to be addressed i.e fake news. We all are contributing towards the prevention of coronavirus spread by following the lockdown orders, but we have to make sure not to spread the virtual virus of fake news. It creates panic and rumours that may lead to bad results. We must ensure that the messages we forward are factual by verifying facts from a news site or the WHO site.
Vaishali Mishra, Shimla
After the lockdown, people are spending their entire time at home. People can’t get out of homes, can’t go to parks. In such a situation, they should opt for yoga etc. to avoid mental stress. They can walk on the roof of their houses. Reading is also a good way to spend time. One should avoid spending too much time viewing news channels, as it may add to stress. Instead, spend time with family members. Practical engagement will reduce stress.
Bhupender S Ranga, Panipat
No cash in ATMs
Due to curfew restrictions, banking operations in Punjab have come to a standstill. Most bank branches are closed. Even ATMs are not working, causing hardship to customers. Although the IBA and RBI had advised banks for the curtailment of non-essential banking services, the blanket withdrawal of these services has worsened the cash crunch being faced by the public, especially in carrying out non-digital transactions. The authorities should allow the banks to open currency chests during staggered hours and replenish cash in the ATMs as a large section of salaried and pensioner class uses it as a preferred mode of payment.
Anil Vinayak, Amritsar
Refer to ‘All the makings of recession’ (March 26); the Covid pandemic will definitely add to our present economic woes, including rising NPAs and slowdown. But little do we know what will happen after the lockdown, which has catapulted millions of daily wage-earners, health workers, essential services sectors, social schemes and industry into an uncanny situation. Not having much leveraged resources, or capacity to build, India’s situation, if the community transmission chain is not arrested during lockdown, will be far more vulnerable than other countries. There should be a well-coordinated strategy involving the Centre, state governments, the RBI and the private sector, besides public support, to avert health emergency and also the possibility of recession.
Abhimanyu Malik, Jind
Lockdown will yield result
Apropos ‘Stick to lockdown’ (March 24), harder measures like curfew have to be taken if people violate lockdown restrictions. There was an encouraging response to the janata curfew but the very next day there was a violation of movement restrictions, which could be potentially dangerous. This forced the Punjab Government to impose a curfew. The impact of the lockdown will not be discernible soon, but if we stick to it, we can expect lesser and lesser positive cases.
LJS PANESAR, by mail
CAA makes sense
Refer to the editorial ‘Attack on Afghan Sikhs’ (March 26); it is a matter of grave concern to see the plight of minorities in Islamic nations. It shows the enormity of intolerance towards people having different faith. Historically most of the countries surrounding India were not Islamic originally. Indian civilisation is the most tolerant and has embraced divergent faiths and assimilated different ethnicities without changing its beliefs. Keeping in view the above facts, the CAA has been brought in to give shelter and citizenship to persecuted minorities. It is the most rational and humanistic piece of legislation. However, due to political gains, certain sections of society were misguided and used to create unfounded fears in the minds of people against this Act. Let us hope better sense prevails.
Harjinder Singh Thandi, Mohali
Reference to the editorial ‘Omar’s detention ends’ (March 25); after eight long months, the detention of state leader Omar Abdullah has finally come to an end. The whole nation now empathises with detained leaders after experiencing a lockdown. The Centre should also restore the Internet facility to make it easier for the people confined to their homes, so they may remain connected with the world. The Centre should stand by J&K to win the hearts of the people.
Akash Bhakri, Phillaur
Another right step
Apropos the March 25 editorial ‘Omar’s detention ends’, after the release of Farooq Abdullah, ending the detention of his son, Omar, is another right step taken by the Centre, whose intransigent attitude is showing good signs of change. There was hardly any justification for the continued incarceration of the Abdullahs under the PSA. Hopefully, Mehbooba Mufti would also be released shortly. Both Abdullahs and Mehbooba, all former CMs, are seasoned politicians. Their active participation in politics may help repair India’s tarnished image quite substantially. The Centre’s changed attitude has kindled hope for the release of other political leaders. With 1.3 billion people of India under a three-week lockdown — Kashmiris also being Indians — we need to empathise with them, too.
MS KHOKHAR, by mail
Make use of time
As the corona pandemic has disrupted our lives and locked us indoors, it is time to rise above all our worries. The key is to prepare a daily schedule of screen time, hobbies, reading, family time and other chores. The lockdown can be used by spending quality time in reading and self-exploration. One should limit one’s screen time and spend more time with the family. This can be done by playing board games and finishing household chores as a team. Writing a journal can be a great activity to incorporate at this time. An optimistic attitude is a must to combat this difficult phase.
Seerat Kular, Bathinda
Refer to ‘1.3 bn Indians under 21-day lockdown’ (March 25); it is good that PM Modi has declared a lockdown in the country in view of the escalation in corona cases. Social distancing is the only key to restricting the spread of this deadly disease, but unfortunately, still, the public is not taking full care and can be seen roaming here and there in spite of strict restrictions. Relaxation in curfew or lockdown in various areas will lead to the assembly of public at groceries or vegetable shops, and so the authorities must ensure the delivery of essential commodities at the doorstep of every household. At this critical juncture, people must behave responsibly and remain indoors.
Comply with guidelines
The lockdown decision taken by the Centre for entire India is a commendable step. Since it is for our own safety, the public should follow it strictly. Social distancing is a must for the next 21 days as it will decide our future. India is doing this in the second stage of the spread of the disease to avoid what happened in Italy and China. We all need to be responsible citizens and comply with the government guidelines.
Kartik Leekha, Zirakpur
Olympic spirit will prevail
The 2020 Olympics are the fourth Olympics to be put off. Earlier, the games were cancelled in 1916, 1940 and 1944 due to the World Wars. This step is in the interest of all. If the games were held as scheduled, the attendance would have been thin and would have defeated the purpose of the games. When the Olympics were held in London in 1948 after 12 years, the josh of the participants was immeasurable and they displayed the Olympics motto — ‘Citius, Altius, Fortius’. It is here that India won its hockey gold.
Col Gurdeep Singh (Retd), Dharampur
Need a fair probe
The recent sectarian violence that wreaked havoc in the National Capital has left an indelible black spot on the world’s largest and vibrant secular democracy (‘One riot after another’, March 25). Amid allegations and refutations, the role of political parties, religious groups and civil society organisations in perpetrating violence cannot be ruled out. Also, the failure of the police, intelligence agencies and law and order machinery to take prompt action to contain the rampage raises serious concern. The government should display political will and introduce much-needed reforms in the state police. Only a fair and impartial probe to reveal the truth behind the Delhi carnage and fix responsibility will give confidence to the minority community.
Tajpreet S Kang, Hoshiarpur
Covid-19 has badly hit the tourism industry all over, including India, what with all train, bus and airline services coming to a halt. The airlines have been adopting cost-cutting measures because they are fast running out of cash. The longer the crisis lasts, the more likely it is that the future of aviation cannot be guaranteed without the government’s aid. At present, no one can foresee the consequences. The aviation industry has to counter this extraordinary situation with drastic and sometimes painful measures. Airline companies may stare at ruin if the problem persists for too long.
Gurpreet S Malhotra, Mohali
The country has gone into a lockdown mode. The situation should be used to regain or enhance the quality of domestic life. People will get enough time to introspect and think, discuss ways to make life happier or doubts. Even in cases where couples have a strained relationship and are not on talking terms, this is the best time to restart. They can spring a surprise by exchanging conventional roles and teaching life skills to children. These times can also be used to add to knowledge about the things people wanted to know, but did not have the time to find the answer to. Additionally, people can play indoor games with family members.
SC Dhall, Zirakpur
Take to distancing
The Janata Curfew announced by the PM was laudable and followed by the public. But the second part of the appeal, to thank the doctors and other workers during this crucial time of beating thaali, was taken as amusement and people came out in groups, unmindful of distancing from each other. As a result, states have been forced to impose curfew in the interest of the public. It is our duty to follow the orders. Also, we need patience as the infection has created panic and fear. That is why the government is pressing upon avoiding non-essential travel. We should avoid travelling to crowded places. It is very important to take control measures. So, avoiding social gatherings, crowed places and shaking hands is a must.
Raj Kumar Kapoor, Ropar
The Covid outbreak has become one the biggest considerations today for the common people. This has varied effects on people. But, this pandemic has had one common effect on every person — it has disrupted the everyday life of people. First, students have been adversely affected. School and colleges have been shut down, their daily activities like playing outside and meeting friends has been disturbed. Being a Class XI student, I can understand it well. Second, working class people have also been disturbed as they see livelihoods shut down totally. Everyone is worried about income and daily needs, despite the PM assuring that no one will suffer due to lack of supplies. We should hope for things to be normal again.
Guntas Singh Gill, Ludhiana
Bhagat Singh’s legacy
This is with reference to articles on Bhagat Singh (March 23). Non-violence is the hallmark of our nation, but it came as a setback when Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated. Those who seek to portray Bhagat Singh as one committed to terror show inadequate regard for his commitment. Cheering in the name of Bhagat Singh is justified, but it should be controlled as the aim is not to injure anyone. Their anniversaries should be taken seriously. We must not shy away from his ideas. His followings are tough but his iconic stature makes our belief more impressive in him. Social groups and civil society organisations have taken up the issue time and again for installing of Bhagat Singh’s portrait. I stressed on the setting up of a Bhagat Singh Chair in one of our universities. By ignoring Bhagat Singh, we are just half-heartedly reposing faith in him. Make him a part of the school curriculum. If we are unable to put Bhagat Singh on the national scene, let us make it in our own state. The choice lies in the court of the decision makers.
Jasvinder S Humsafar, Maloudh
Drama in MP
Refer to the write-up on the political scenario in Madhya Pradesh — what has happened as well as future assessment about the toppling of the BJP government if the byelections on 23 seats went in favour of the Congress. While anticipating the results of these seats in favour of the BJP, the writer forgot to analyse whether the previous candidates of the BJP, who fought elections against the Congress and lost, resigned and sided with the BJP, will not demand the party ticket. And in case they failed, they may sabotage the chances of the official candidate. Let the byelection be announced and the country will see another power struggle in the state.
R Bansal, Kurukshetra
IT is praiseworthy that our government is trying its best to combat Covid, but people should not be misled with any kind of superstition. The beating of thali will not stop this virus. A large number of people are uneducated and the educated are behaving like uneducated by beating utensils and bursting crackers. It is ridiculous. We should follow the WHO norms. We have no words to express our gratitude for the health staff working 24x7 for saving people. Others should shun coming out. It is not the time for entertainment or to visit relatives with potential danger.
Opinder kaur Sekhon, Chandigarh
Ensure total compliance
With the growing number of corona cases across India, there are people who have gone missing after being diagnosed as suspects, especially in Punjab. On top of that, the PM announced a clapping ceremony for appreciating our healthcare workers, but one could see people gathering in groups to celebrate it, rendering the efforts for isolation (janata curfew) futile. There should be complete lockdown under the supervision of the police and anyone found non-compliant should be fined or jailed. The action should be punitive, only then we Indians will respond.
Abhijeet Singh Sidhu, Ludhiana
Feeling of oneness
The deadly virus has brought people of different castes, creed, religions and regions together. PM Modi’s request to applaud those in the health services was a great way of showing respect to all those on national duty. Suddenly, the whole nation has forgotten about the Hindu-Muslim divide and became humans first. Above all, this virus is cultivating a strong feeling of unity among the Indians and proves that ‘health is wealth’.
Drishti Doel, Jalandhar
Keep check on prices
We can tackle coronavirus if every citizen understands his/her responsibility towards safety. We should focus on personal hygiene, garbage should be cleared and surrounding areas kept clean. Medical stores should be fully equipped with masks and sanitisers and these should not be sold at higher prices. It has been seen many times that whenever there is any emergency, the price of everything shoots up. This should be controlled and checked by the government.
SUBER SINGH PARIHAR, Hamirpur
Apropos ‘7 more contacts of 70-yr- old man tested positive for virus’ (March 23), it is astonishing that a single person infected 14 persons, out of 21 cases reported so far in Punjab. It needs to be inquired how this man escaped medical checkup and why he was not quarantined and allowed to visit his native place on March 7, when it was well known to the airport authorities that the airplane was coming from virus-affected Germany and Italy. The checking at the entry level should be more stringent and foolproof.
Bhupinder singh saini, by mail
The news of Naxals killing 12 CRPF personnel is horrifying at a time when the nation is aggressively tackling the onslaught of Covid. The incident should not be taken lightly. The menace must be tackled by scanning Naxal-infested areas by drones and liquidating them, perhaps by using armed helicopters. Forces operating on the ground are required to be led by effective leadership, like the Army’s counterinsurgency standard operating procedure. Training level has to be stepped up to counter ambush head on and minimise own casualties. Finally, change operative policies to allow the use of the Air Force as they are no longer nationalists.
Col Sajjan Kundu (retd), Hisar
Certainty of punishment
Reference to the hanging of the convicts in the Nirbhaya case, statistics from the National Crime Records Bureau still points to the fact that there is no let-up in crime against women. More than the severity of punishment, it is the certainty of punishment that will act as an effective deterrent and will prevent instances of women ending up as victims of sexual crimes.
SC DHALL, ZIRAKPUR
Death penalty needed
Reference to ‘Obiter Dicta’ (March 23); in the Nirbhaya case, the four convicts were given every opportunity to save themselves and their execution was deferred four times. Capital punishment is inflicted in most heinous acts. If this punishment is given moratorium, crime will go on unabated. The death penalty is the rarest of rare punishment. The Indian judiciary is very much reserved while awarding such punishment. Hardly one or two capital punishments were awarded in India in four years. This punishment must be in the rule books in India.
RL Bansal, Kurukshetra
The observing of Janata Curfew on Sunday, an idea of the Prime Minister, was good in intent. Its implementation will serve as a successful trial. More steps, similar to it should be taken to save the people from falling prey to it. The lockdown of sorts, without officially declaring it to be so, may also create some inconvenience for the people, but one hopes that this too shall pass.
JS Jassal, Patiala
PM’s public message
The PM wields great influence, but it is a crucial time and he has to understand the urgency of the matter and could’ve done it on more days rather than just on Sunday. Obviously, very few go to the office on Sundays. Is it a strategy to make it look like he really does care?
Padma Dolma, Leh
Covid blues for singer
Bollywood singer Kanika Kapoor returned from London to Lucknow and was well aware of the safety protocols for coronavirus. With developing symptoms of coronavirus, she attended three parties, met a former Rajasthan CM, her son and mingled with a large number of people. Well aware of the situation, it was her duty to get diagnosed and quarantine herself. This insouciant behaviour from a literate person was ironical and may lead to more cases of Covid-19.
Rajinder Sharma, Chandigarh
In view of the alert over the spread of a disease like coronavirus, which has ambiguous symptoms and practically no known method of treatment, one should take precautionary measures to prevent from falling prey to it and also to stop it from spreading. Adhere strictly to the dos and don’ts. Stay home if you can and avoid gatherings. Practise social distancing by keeping a distance of about six feet from others, if you must go out in public. Call your doctor for medical advice if you think you have developed symptoms.
Ritika Chugh, Sirsa
Asha Devi, the mother of Nirbhaya, the December 2012 gangrape victim, saying ‘Justice at last’ (March 20) indicates a kind of satisfaction on the hanging of the four convicts — so eagerly awaited by her all these years. Yes, the perpetrators of the fiendish crime got what they deserved. The sad end of the evil, however, reminds us of our social mores. A woman is deemed to be safe only when accompanied by male members of her family or close acquaintances. Otherwise, a woman fails to get enough respect, so necessary for her safety. Sufi saint Muhammad Bakhsh had said: Dushman maray te khushi na kariye, sajan ne bhi mar jana ein; Deegar te din gaya Muhammad, har ghadeech dub jaana aei. It means that death is death, it should be respected, not celebrated!
KL Noatay, by mail
The public rage and revulsion that followed the Nirbhaya gangrape was unprecedented. It has taken more than seven years for the death sentence to be carried out- seen as an exemplary punishment for an extraordinary crime. However, rape remains a terrifyingly widespread crime in India. NCRB data show 33,356 cases of rape reported in 2018 — roughly 91 a day. This is despite the fact that it is grossly under-reported. Victims are discouraged by the hostile investigative system and tardy judicial process, and immense social shaming. It requires reform, for the police and courts to switch their defaults and keep the victim's interests first and foremost.
Sanjay Chopra, Mohali
Flak for Gogoi
What a pity that the Chief Justice of India, who is ranked sixth in the warrant of precedence and administers the oath of office to the President of India, had no qualms in accepting the Rajya Sabha seat. When Ranjan Gogoi stood up to take oath, Members of the House shouted ‘shame, shame’. As a matter of fact, he cannot justify his position. As Arun Jaitley had advised, members of the judiciary should avoid accepting offers that might smack of a quid pro quo.
Subhash C Taneja, Gurugram
Public concern over ex-CJI
This refers to the editorial ‘Cries of shame’ (March 21); all said and done, only ex-CJI Ranjan Gogoi surrendering his Rajya Sabha membership can redeem the lost ground. Surely, being a public-spirited individual, he cannot remain oblivious of the vox populi. To nip all future controversies, the retirement age of judges in the superior courts should be raised to 70 with no appointments funded from public purse permissible thereafter to pre-empt the notion that pre-retirement judgments can be influenced by desire for post-retirement assignments.
Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula
Covid-19 may be rampaging through the world, victimising people at will, yet this curse is bringing in its wake countless blessings. Social distancing, for instance, has brought friends and families together. What Swachh Bharat Abhiyan couldn’t achieve, the invisible virus is accomplishing nicely. Sanitisation of public transport and public places is being done thoroughly. Vulnerability has brought not only people of different castes, creed, regions and religions together, but also warring nations, to fight commonly against it. The biggest service this virus has done is to popularise the Indian way of greeting — namaste — and encouraging vegetarianism. Above all, it is teaching us to be a warrior and not worrier. All this gives credence to Shakespeare’s belief — ‘Sweet are the uses of adversity’.
Deepak Kaushik, Radaur
Refer to ‘PM appeals for Janata Curfew on Mar 22’; amid a lot of fake messages, growing fear and paranoia in society, PM’s address to the nation was a welcome move and much needed to calm anxious nerves, especially since it addressed all sections of society. In such time of crisis, it is not only the state machinery, but also people who need to be supportive and work for the larger cause, while adhering to medical guidelines. Hence, this self-imposed curfew is a viable option. Considering how our country progresses over the next few days, in terms of positive corona cases, this curfew may be tried again for a longer period of time. We all need to understand that in such desperate times, we need to be ready for some sacrifices and inconvenience, so that we may emerge stronger and safe from it.
Bal Govind, Noida
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation on the pandemic Covid-19, is a sane, sober and sensible word of precaution and a code of prevention to overcome a threat to human lives (‘PM appeals for Janata Curfew on March 22’, March 20). These are the words of a concerned leader who is prepared — and is not panicking — and who knows that the key to tackle this menace is in the hands of each one of us. The PM’s address will not only boost the morale of the medics and paramedics, but also will buck up the man in the street.
DV Sharma, Mukerian
The world is embroiled in a severe health crisis. This inevitably shall affect economic activity drastically at the global level. The Canadian PM has announced an economic package, whereas PM Narendra Modi has suggested percolation of money from the affluent to the poor. Without a shadow of doubt, the Indian Government should ensure financial support to the business environment.
MUNISH MODGIL, BATALA
Refer to ‘PIL seeks immediate eviction of Shaheen Bagh protesters’ (March 20); in view of the Covid threat, it is not only the responsibility of the government, but also the citizens of the country to take precautions and
be safe. By ignoring this hazard, the anti-CAA protesters at Shaheen Bagh are endangering their own lives and others too. They should be made to understand the consequences and removed from there at the earliest.
Tanishka Bahl, Dehradun
Hate-mongers & posts
Reference to the news report ‘Delhi House panel asks Whats- App, FB to help identify hate-mongers’ (March 20); it is certainly an appreciable move to seek help from social media to nab thousands of people who post highly provocative and inflammatory posts, igniting hate between religious communities, leading to riots. Apart from hate posts on social media, there should be a check on public speeches of leaders of political parties and religious outfits, IT media cells of parties, handouts and videos. All those guilty should be brought to book and dealt with sternly.
ROOP SINGH NEGI, Solan
In reference to former CJI Ranjan Gogoi’s Rajya Sabha nomination and an independent judiciary; no doubt, all judges have immense knowledge that can be helpful in making efficacious policies. Their knowledge should be harnessed for the growth and welfare of the country, but there should be a cooling-off period after their retirement, so that people’s trust in the independence of the judiciary can be maintained.
Prabhjot Singh, Ludhiana
Apropos the editorial ‘Blue water status for women’ (March 19), despite a semblance of egalitarianism, equal opportunity and modernity, we are still living in a highly prejudiced world. Though the feminist movement has succeeded in making some inroads, the whole discussion around equality and liberal education hasn’t overcome gender stereotypes, rigid social mores and orthodox mindset. No doubt, the setting aside of ‘101 excuses’ of gender discriminatory nature by the Supreme Court is a breath of fresh air, yet we should note that the developments like women suffrage, right to property and equal civil rights are not too new, belonging to the last one and a half centuries only. So, the journey has just begun.
Rajender Singh Redhu, Gurugram
Toward true equality
The SC judgment on granting Permanent Commission to Short Service Commission women officers in the Navy within three months, has brought true equality, overcoming ‘histories of discrimination’, in keeping with the movement across the world asserting women’s right to dignity and honour with men. There is enough documentary evidence to suggest women officers in the Navy brought accolades to the force.
SS Paul, Nadia
No to bouquets
Refer to ‘Now, no bouquet for dignitaries’ (March 19); it is a good step by the government as it will reduce the use of plastic as bouquets are covered with it and help in saving the environment with the idea of presenting flowers or saplings in a small pot. It would be even better if we use flowerpots made by local villagers. Also gifting khadi handkerchiefs will provide a boost to local industries. This step should not be limited to officials only, but all citizens should also adopt it.
Say it with khadi
The decision to say no to bouquets for dignitaries by the Manohar Lal government in Haryana is a great initiative. The suggestion of gifting plant saplings, khadi handkerchiefs and gifts without any use of plastic will help create a balance between humans and their surroundings. It will encourage environmental awareness and also boost other industries and culture. The bouquet culture only leads to a wastage of flowers. We need to take steps like these which will result in environment-friendly future. The government should also make use of strict guidelines for the plantation of saplings by the officials. This will put an end to the wastage of flora and fauna.
Perminder Kaur, Patiala
Poor safety net
A slew of measures by the government are needed to combat the spread of Covid (‘No safety net, daily wage earners hit hard by lockdown’, March 19). But it is unfortunate that the Punjab Government has not provided any monetary benefit yet to daily wagers who sustain on the income earned per day. We make comparisons with developed nations like the US and Canada, where the needs of all citizens are seen as the sole responsibility of the government, but we are far behind. There is a dire need to look after every individual, so that no one dies of mental pressure in such circumstances.
Manjinder Singh Saini, Moga
Help wage earners
Covid is spreading like wildfire and simultaneously resulting in numerous problems, especially for daily-wage earners. People’s earnings have dropped drastically. A juice seller stated that his wages had fallen from Rs 500 to Rs 100. The government is shutting down public areas and construction in order to keep citizens safe. The government should make sure such people get food or some monetary compensation, so that they may not starve due to poverty.
Tanishka Bahl, Dehradun
More than meets the eye
The RS nomination of former CJI Ranjan Gogoi has triggered a controversy. Close on the heels of the Rafale row and impending other critical cases in the SC, allegation of harassment against Gogoi abruptly surfaced, which, if upheld, could have even led to his impeachment. The scandal vanished equally suddenly. By its own logic, it may be surmised that it was concoted to coerce the CJI to fall in line. It may not be incorrect to perceive that the arm-twisting paid off as ‘favourable’ judgments, one after the other, were delivered. Of late, senior SC judges have made statements which are harmful to the ethos of separation of powers enshrined in the Directive Principles of State Policy. A senior judge has eulogised the PM. Whether former judges should be offered government/political appointments and/ or if there should be a cooling off period is a separate matter of discussion.
Lt Col BACHITTAR SINGH (Retd), Mohali
Apropos ‘Crude in downslide, but govt looting people: Oppn’ (March 18), raising excise duty to collect more taxes during the Covid crisis is not a supportive attitude of the government towards its people. In 2004, when crude was the same as now at $35, petrol was selling at Rs 35 a litre and diesel at Rs 22. In 2020, crude price is the same as that in 2004, but petrol is selling for Rs 70 and diesel for Rs 62. Why is the government keeping this large margin when people are already in fear of economic downslide and bank crises? Why is the government not passing the benefit to the people when they need it the most?
ASHU ARORA, CHANDIGARH
Why no cut in fare?
The prices of petrol and diesel have come down by about Rs 6 per litre since January. But roadways buses have not reduced their fare so far. Whenever the price of diesel increases by Rs 2-3, the fares are increased straightaway by Rs 5 for a journey from Patiala to Chandigarh or Patiala to Sangrur. Is this not fleecing the public by the state government?
NK Bhalla, Patiala
Faith in judiciary shaken
The judiciary is the upholder of the Constitution. Though earlier, too, CJIs like Ranganath Misra and Justice Baharul Islam were nominated to the Rajya Sabha, Gogoi’s nomination, just after four months of his retirement, has seriously eroded the independence of the judiciary. It is not only the appointments that threaten the very principle of an independent judiciary, but a senior SC judge had also recently hailed PM Modi as a ‘versatile genius’. Several executive orders are under the ambit of the judiciary to adjudicate upon. Such developments diminish the confidence of the public as judges are expected to decide cases impartially, and by upholding constitutional principles.
SK Khosla, Chandigarh
Reference to ‘Gogoi defends RS nomination’ (March 18); the nomination of Ranjan Gogoi is unfortunate. He was one of the four judges who held a press conference against the then CJI Dipak Misra, targeting him and raising their concerns about the independence of the judiciary. And he himself forgets the concerns he raised. Instead of presenting himself as an ideal judge by denying the RS nomination, he went ahead hastily with it. At a time, when the judiciary is struggling to maintain its trust among the people, such an incident is a black mark on the judiciary. It is disappointing to see judges running for post-retirement benefits by compromising on verdicts given by them.
Vishiwjeet Singh, Chandigarh
No masks in buses
Apropos ‘Give feedback on Covid steps, RS urged’ (March 18), buses from Chandigarh to different destinations are normally fully loaded with passengers and luggage, but hardly three or four passengers are seen with a mask. I commute daily from Chandigarh to Shahabad. Drivers are seldom seen wearing a mask. Conductors, too, are without masks, even though they come in contact with a large number of passengers. The conductors take the help of sputum to segregate tickets, which is against the guidelines. It is an extremely sorry state in which buses in Haryana, Punjab and some other states plying on the Chandigarh-Delhi route are.
Baljit Singh, Chandigarh
Amid grave concerns over the corona pandemic and humanity’s desperate efforts at combating it, it is time we paid attention to nature’s warning signs. What is striking about this calamity is that it seems to have vengeance only against the human world — the rest of the natural world seems to be indirectly benefiting by this temporary suspension of human activity across the globe, in terms of reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases, improvement in air quality and a drastic reduction in the exploitation of natural resources, flora and fauna. While the entire human race joins hands to fight this disease, we need to introspect and rethink our lifestyles, which are largely governed by a mindless pursuit of sensory pleasures, material comforts and with the least regard to the health of our planet and survival of our fellow denizens.
Neeraj Sankhyan, Solan
More power to women
Apropos ‘SC grants permanent service to women in Navy’, last month, the SC ordered equal rights for women in the Army, and now the same order has been given for the Navy. Women in service have proved that they are no less than any male officer and that they deserve it. Women are working shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts in every walk of service, so there should not be any gender discrimination in granting Permanent Commission to women in defence services.
SIMRAN CHOUDHARY, CHANDIGARH
Apropos of the news report ‘Former CJI Gogoi nominated to Rajya Sabha’ (March 17), those enjoying proximity to the powers that be can scale the heights of career, or even get away with grave allegations. It raises a million-dollar question over the propriety of those in the justice delivery system. The appointment of former Army Chief, General Bipin Rawat, as the first-ever CDS, was also a clear departure from established norms. There is no denying the fact that the Modi-led government has been demolishing the credibility of our ‘tallest’ institutions. The appointment of the former CJI to the Rajya Sabha gives a sense among a vast majority of people of the country, and many second and third-generation litigants, that justice can be ‘delayed’ or ‘denied’ at will by those helming the judicial juggernaut.
RAMESH K DHIMAN, Chandigarh
Smacks of quid pro quo
Though the nomination of anyone to the Rajya Sabha is within the ambit of the government, and no finger should be raised on its constitutional propriety, in this case, the nomination smacks of quid pro quo. Memory of some controversial judgments delivered by Ranjan Gogoi just before his retirement is still fresh in the public mind. The nomination might not have raised as many eyebrows if more time had lapsed after his retirement. Judiciary is the most important pillar of democracy. With faith in all other institutions being shaken, the common man looks up to the judiciary as his only hope. Sometimes, a decision being technically correct may not seem to be ethical. Judiciary, like Caesar’s wife, should be above suspicion.
Yoginder Singhal, Ladwa
The Modi government appointed a retired apex court judge as the first Lokpal in 2019. If this elevated both the level of public discourse and the regard for our upper judiciary, we now see the government inducting a retired CJI into the political arena to a seat of power that is covered under the investigative ambit of the Lokpal. The apparent contradiction of policy approach of the government vis-a-vis the judiciary has either been missed or it is too sanguine to fret over. It may yet redeem itself by entrusting the portfolio of law to this new incumbent. This, however, may leave an awkward aftertaste, as the judiciary chooses to rub shoulders with the government that appears before it as a plaintiff or defendant in a majority of the cases for adjudication.
R Narayanan, Navi Mumbai
Refer to the editorial ‘Gujarat muddle’; Bhajan Lal had mastered the art of large-scale defection and Amit Shah has done a doctorate in this field. Our wily politicians have found a way to circumvent the anti-defection law. Does an MLA resign midway without any material gain? The BJP is flush with electoral bond money and can buy MLAs of any party. The drama in Karnataka is now being reenacted in Madhya Pradesh. One had hope in the apex court but the nomination of former CJI Gogoi to the Upper House has put crucial decisions taken by him in his tenure under a cloud. We need to amend our laws. Any legislator resigning midway should be barred from taking any office of profit for a minimum of five years.
Arun Hastir, Gurdaspur
The strategy by political parties to manage defection by trading in greedy elected representatives to harness majority is a serious threat to the survival of Indian democracy. The recent occurrences of horse-trading in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh are stark instances that bring shame to our political system and the country. The civil society should mobilise itself against this rising trend to reverse it before it is too late.
RM Ramaul, Paonta Sahib
Why this distrust?
Apropos of ‘How to undo our distrust of Muslim brethren’ (The Sunday Tribune, March 15), the writer has highlighted the aberrations which need consideration of our Muslim brothers, like their lifestyle, coming out of segregated colonies, orthodox practices and equality to women as per acceptable traditions of the country. I am also pained by the change in the attitude which has come in the thinking of the rest of the communities towards Muslims in recent years. To my friends with changed attitude, I say: Char saal ek saath padhte hue/ Kabhi dharm ki baat na ki/ Issi pyaar ke aadhar par/ Pachhas saal ke upar ki dosti hamne ji/ Aaj aisi kaunsi baat hai/ Jo dharma ki zaroot aan padhi/ Ae dost vaimnasya bhadhne ki baat na kar/ Mulk me batware ki baat na kar. History of India cannot be changed and revenge of any kind to undo is insurmountable. They, too, are sons of the soil.
Gurdev Singh, Mohali
Apropos the article ‘Asian nations should join hands for rural revival’ (March 16), with Pakistan being a recalcitrant member of SAARC, any proposal for a coordinated regional effort to collectively provide succour to the ailing agricultural sector by stamping out the common maladies from South Asian agriculture would remain a far cry. Pakistan is more inclined to perpetuate its pseudo and festering mentality rather than closely collaborating with its neighbours in negotiating the common challenge of poverty, hunger and disease afflicting its people. Only the other day, when PM Modi took the initiative of offering a $10 million fund to combat corona in the region, Pakistan brazenly raked up the bogey of Kashmir, rather than cohesively reiterating PM Modi’s initiative.
Vikram Chadha, Amritsar
Resorting to hoarding
With news of corona pandemic spreading like wildfire, more and more people are resorting to hoarding, especially FMCGs. Shopkeepers are also leaving no stone unturned to create an artificial scarcity in the market, leading to imbalance in the demand and supply chain, thus escalating the prices of daily essentials. The need of the hour is for all to act prudently and unite to fight against corona rather than indulging in such acts.
Aastha Bagga, Hoshiarpur
No relief in fuel prices
The fuel prices remain high even though international prices of crude oil have decreased due to Covid. Another Rs 3 has been levied on diesel and petrol as excise duty. Oil prices have crashed by about 50 per cent since mid-January. Whenever international prices of fuel increase, the oil companies immediately increase the retail price. There is a need to pass on the benefit of price reduction in the international market to the people. The major portion of the country’s revenue is generated from the sale of fuel and liquor, but unfortunately, both are kept out of GST purview.
Wg Cdr Jasbir S Minhas (retd), Mohali
Rise of Hindutva
Refer to ‘Ashis Nandy: It’s very difficult to go back to pre-violent days after you’ve once participated, killed’ (The Sunday Tribune, March 8); according to Nandy, religion can weaken only if some aspect(s) of it are suspect. This is true as English education exposed the more vulnerable part of Hinduism — caste. Hinduism was progressing till Hindutva, a political ideology which even its progenitor does not equate with the former, began to assume centre stage in the wake of the demolition of the Babri Masjid. Hindutva is a divisive force, which does not accord equal status to followers of other religions. The fascist tendencies of its practitioners are revealed by the call for ‘ghar-vapsi’. Hindutva clearly put a brake on Hinduism, which would have evolved as a pact between God and individuals. It is, however, a moot point if this eventuality would have been liked by all the people — Nandy including — as a positive development. But the experience of North America and Europe demonstrates that this arrangement between religion and political space works well.
Overspeeding on highways
Apropos ‘Speed radars along NH-44 to check mishaps’ (March 16); more than one lakh people lose their life every year due to road accidents, and many of these accidents are because of overspeeding. This is a great decision by the Haryana Government to install a network of speed radars, automatic number plate readers and cameras on the 187-km stretch of the NH-44. It will help in reducing road accidents.
Varun kohli, by mail
Get tough with defectors
Defection of MLAs from one party to another as per the law is all right. Indulging in horse-trading for forming a government is illegal and a blot on democracy. The huge wastage of taxpayers’ money involved in the elections is unfortunate. The apex court needs to take cognisance of it. The law-makers are unlikely to ban horse-trading for obvious reasons. Legislators indulging in such defections should be banned from contesting elections for a specific period.
Ravinder Singh, Jalandhar
Talks with Taliban
Reference to the article ‘Start afresh in Afghanistan’ (March 16); India can start anew and engage in talks with the Taliban, like other countries. It will be a good initiative and also necessary to be in a global village and maintain its priority and relevance.
Shruti Sharma, Chandigarh
Apropos of ‘Survival of the opportunist’ (Nous Indica, March 14), the culprit remains the overall decline in ethics and values. The vicious circle of power begets money and money begets power goes on. Alas, there is no one to look into the money trail in the current underhand deals in resort-politics by both the BJP and Congress in MP. Any post-poll cobbling up among rivals is unholy. The remedy lies in stringent electoral reforms with in-built mechanism to curb unethical manoeuvres, starting with mandatory one-year party membership norm for any party nomination for election or a berth in ministry to disincentivise turncoats. But who will bell the cat?
Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula
Ideological considerations for individuals as well as parties are now not the heart of the matter in politics (‘Survival of the opportunist’; Nous Indica). Rahul Gandhi can hardly count on himself to lead the party or to outwit Modi or Shah. The Congress of the day has no well-defined ideology vis-a-vis alliances, power, caste, religion or region. The BJP conveniently welcomes those ideologically opposed to it till yesterday. Ambitious Scindia’s somersault to join the BJP should not be seen detached from the prism of politics, which is a ruthless art of the possible.
Abhimanyu Malik, Jind
Freedom at last
Reference to ‘Farooq is free after 7 months’ (March 14); after months of detention, Farooq Abdullah has finally walked free. The government revoked the draconian Public Safety Act but the order did not give any specific reason for his release. He described his ‘freedom’ as being ‘incomplete’ until other detained leaders, including his son Omar Abdullah and former J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti, are released. They should also be released.
Shefali Kohli, Jalandhar
Bringing nations together
It is not the end of the world but it may be the beginning of a new dawn ushered by a tiny virus that has unified all nations to cooperate with one another without any politics. I remember UNESCO had spent millions worldwide to convince people to wash hands before every meal. But now, everyone has access to soap and water wherever they are. The impact of global economic slowdown might compel us to learn how to do with less and how to change our lifestyle. After all, air and water pollution have an obvious interface with uncontrolled populations and industrial production. This virus will run its course, but leave behind an empathetic humanity.
MOHAN SINGH, AMRITSAR
Army’s secular ethos
The article ‘Follow Army’s secular ethos to tackle riots’ (March 13) is a glimmer at the end of the tunnel. The secular ethos is deeply imbibed across all ranks and should be a source of inspiration for all citizens of this largest democracy. If the challenge of a huge population was not there, a compulsory stint in the Army, as in Israel, for the youth would instil a strong sense of nationalism which would override any divisive feelings and horrendous happenings like riots. This would propel India towards the path of unstoppable development.
Harshvardhan Singh, Kangra
Cut in interest rate
The SBI has announced a cut in deposit rates, making crores of depositors poorer. All other banks are likely to follow suit. Why do our FM and RBI have neither any answer nor any solution? At the most, the FM will say that she has meagre income, and hence no savings and no deposits. Many, like senior citizens, depend upon interest on savings. The government should at least take care of them and permit 2% more interest on their deposits.
NPS Sohal, Chandigarh
Mohali medical college
Refer to the March 13 report that the Mohali medical college is set to start from the upcoming session; it is a good step by the Congress government for the youth of Punjab. The students will get an opportunity to opt for higher studies rather than shifting abroad due to lack of facilities in the state. It will give impetus to higher education.
Shruti Sharma, Mohali
Refer to ‘Goodbye, spectators’ (March 13); the ODI series between India and South Africa will be rescheduled due to the coronavirus outbreak. The sports ministry has done well to issue an advisory to postpone sporting events or conduct the event without a large public gathering. This is a good decision because there is always a risk of the spread of Covid in large gatherings.
Vishesh Goswami, Kurukshetra
Refer to the editorial ‘Scindia’s switch’ (March 12); Scindia joining the BJP is a clear evidence of the strong game of position and chair in politics. It shows how even the loyalists don’t settle for less, and want a chance to make their existence count in the game. It is a major reality check for the Congress, who has always given an upper hand to veterans in the party while ignoring the younger leaders. The Opposition needs to do something in this regard to keep its pawns from shifting sides.
Sanjot Kaur, Ludhiana
Scindia joining the BJP and being nominated for the Rajya Sabha shows that the BJP is following our ancient policy of saam (negotiation), daam (money), dand (punishment) and bhed (division). But it forgets that this policy is meant for enemies, and not political rivals.
Naresh Johar, Amritsar
As many as 241 people lost their lives in Haryana in the past two years in accidents involving stray cattle. Haryana has set up a full-fledged force for the protection of cattle, but has somehow failed to provide shelter to them. Cattle can be seen roaming on roads and are the main cause of accidents. If the goverment is spending huge amounts of money on the protection of cows, it should make proper arrangements for their shelter, so that such accidents can be prevented.
Divyangi Arora, Faridabad
Cattle on roads
Reference to ‘In Haryana, stray cattle kill 241 in 2 yrs’ (March 11); 200 deaths is not a low number, when even the government has set up the Haryana Gau Seva Aayog. By claiming that these stray animals come from other states, the government cannot hide the failing of its Aayog. Even if the animals are coming from the other states, it is the duty of the Aayog to rescue them. They cannot be left loose to endanger lives on roads.
Geeta Thakur, by mail
Apropos of ‘Stem the rot’ (March 10), it is shocking to learn that private universities in Himachal Pradesh are selling fake degrees. The malaise in our system has crept in because these education vendors have a nexus with politicians and government officials. This practice should be rooted out by clamping down on the portals of such institutions and sealing their finances. The students of these universities should be shifted to state universities and colleges. Stringent steps must be taken to put these people behind bars. Such corruption is also found in other states. The UGC and education ministry must take immediate and effective steps.
KRISHAN MALHOTRA, Ambala Cantt
Too dependent on China
The fear of corona has led the government to suspend all visas, which is a good step. Even the US has stopped the entry of all Europeans, except from Britain, for 30 days. As the drugs imported from China have stopped due to the virus, the government must check its stock of medicines to combat corona. The government has not paid attention to the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector. Dependence on China for drugs, etc., can become a problem for our country.
Lk Handa, by mail
Back to old ways
Covid has brought to importance ayurvedic and homoeopathic medicine systems, and also Indian traditions like namaste, no kissing on cheeks, keeping a minimum distance from the others, washing hands with water instead of using tissue papers and giving due importance to the cleanliness of the body instead of clothes. It is better to follow a healthy and systematic lifestyle.
SS Verma, Longowal
Economy hit further
The Indian market has suffered its biggest hit due to coronavirus. In this hard time, the government must look into the matter and take steps accordingly, so that the faith of investors is reposed in the market and the government. The matter of economy is as important as of coronavirus. No politics should take place in these two matters. The government should take major steps to improve the condition of the economy.
Divyanshu singh, Chandigarh
Close schools, colleges
Apropos of ‘Visa suspension’ (March 13), we must appreciate the government for a blanket ban on the entry of foreign tourists. The government has shown political will. Like the Kejriwal government in Delhi, other governments should also shut educational institutions and cinemas for a specified period. At the local level, the district administration should not allow fairs etc. People should avoid crowded places.
Ajay Bagga, Hoshiarpur
In reference to ‘Covid pandemic, all visas on hold’ (March 12); had the measure of suspending and controlling flight routes from country to country and putting visas on hold been taken earlier, such a bad situation would not have taken place. It is clear that the main carriers of this virus are people travelling via flights. Basic precautions to fight this virus should be available at all airports and on airplanes.
Raktanjali Sharma, Shimla
Curbs on visa valid
Refer to ‘Covid pandemic, all visas on hold’ (March 12); it is a good step taken by the government for the safety of all citizens. In this manner, we can at least prevent further cases of coronavirus from entering India, and can focus on treating the existing patients. Every country is prioritising their own citizens first, hence, India has taken a good initiative by putting visas on hold. Prevention, indeed, is better than cure.
Surbhi Attreya, Meerut
Congress must wake up
Apropos of the editorial ‘Scindia’s switch’ (March 12), one of the key next-generation leaders of the Congress, Jyotiraditya’s decision to join the BJP is yet another huge blow to the grand old party. It also shows the party’s inability to understand the aspirations and provide a direction to its younger leaders, which leads them to seek opportunities elsewhere. The Congress is losing its political vision and resources, allowing the BJP to gain in strength. Without realising the importance of its leaders and taking radical decisions, the Congress would soon find itself in the clutches of a bigger crisis.
SEHAJ PREET SINGH, CHANDIGARH
The greed for a ‘seat’ has led Jyotiraditya Scindia to work as a game changer in Madhya Pradesh. If any politician wants to work for society and people’s welfare, he can do so without a seat. The resignation of 17 MLAs after a long time of elections, simply because they did not get the desired seats, and seeing the opposition wind blow in their favour, is nothing but a game of pure politics.
Shruti Sharma, Mohali
Kamal or Kamal Nath?
There is speculation over whose government will be formed in Madhya Pradesh — will it be Kamal Nath government or kamal government? The BJP’s ‘Operation Lotus’ should not turn out as a major embarrassment for it, like in Maharashtra. It should first ensure that all 22 MLAs join the party before making any statement. Many Congress MLAs who have quit do not want to join the BJP. The BJP should wait till the no-confidence motion and not be in haste.
Saikrit Gulati, Chandigarh
Nurture younger leaders
There is no denying the fact that Jyotiraditya Scindia was instrumental in Congress’ success in the MP elections, but the Gandhi family made Kamal Nath the CM because of his proximity to them. The Congress should give prominence to deserving candidates and the younger leadership needs to be developed in order to sustain the party.
Ashwani Kumar, Chandigarh
RBI not doing enough
Yes Bank has been red-flagged for over a year, yet the country’s top regulatory body RBI could not halt its downslide leaving the depositors in the cold. Recurring collapse of banking institutions has shaken public faith in the system, a sign of mismanagement in the financial mechanism of the country. The RBI’s failure to check the burgeoning NPA portfolio of the bank smacks of its own in-house connivance. The RBI needs to have a separate body to look after the affairs of private sector banks run mostly by big corporate houses. The financial regulator, burdened with too many tasks, needs institutional revamp. A two-Governor norm is the need of the hour. The RBI should be vested with more powers to keep a tab on big corporate borrowers who continue to fleece bankers in spite of various checks and balances. It should evolve a preemptive mechanism and not knee-jerk measures to safeguard the interest of small depositors.
Anil Vinayak, Amritsar
Refer to ‘Key operative held from Karnal’ (March 12); why universities accused of issuing fake degrees are now suddenly under action? Why the matter was not given a serious thought earlier? Is it because many politicians themselves have used this option? The fake degree scam is popular, many people having taken advantage of it. The government itself is responsible for it. If it would walk the right path, no one would have the courage to indulge in corruption or any wrong deed.
Simran Ahuja, Yamunanagar
The adamant attitude of the Congress president is responsible for Jyotiraditya Scindia joining the BJP. What wrong had he done to be denied steadily the rightful place he was aspiring for in the Congress? He should have been the first choice from Madhya Pradesh for the Rajya Sabha. Earlier, the inflexible attitude of Sonia Gandhi led to the exit of Mamata Banerjee, Sharad Pawar and Jagan Mohan Reddy from the party. The party is aware that the ruling party is silently working to finish the Congress by dubious methods, but instead of being on guard, the Congress has facilitated the BJP’s move to destabilise the Congress government in MP. With love you can win the world, but with the sword of stubborness and a haughty attitude, you will suffer irreparable losses.
Gurdev Singh, Mohali
Jyotiraditya Scindia’s resignation comes as a major setback for the Congress. Ever since the Congress government was formed in MP under the leadership of Kamal Nath, the BJP was trying to topple the government. The Congress was able to secure majority only because Kamal Nath, Digvijay and Scindia fought together. Scindia was naturally infuriated for being ignored, but two key questions remain — is he really the mass leader as is made out to be? He lost in the general election with over 1.25 lakh votes in his family bastion, Guna. Second, is it so easy to change ideology? The party he has opposed for the past 18 years is his newfound love. Having political ambitions is one thing, but is comprising the ideology which you have embraced in your entire political career the right thing to do?
Minanshu Mittal, Indore
Beginning of end
The exit of Jyotiraditya Scindia from the Congress signals the beginning of the end. The young leaders of the party are waiting to take a final decision for their political survival and relevance. Scindia has set the ball rolling. The party has wasted one precious month after the Delhi election results when it scored a duck. The rank and file of the party is demoralised. It is high time that the Congress leadership wakes up and gets a new leader in place who understands the pulse of the Indian masses, has nationwide acceptability and is energetic and communicative.
Clash of ideas
Reference to ‘Delhi a redux of the 1984 carnage’ (March 10); we proudly claim to be the largest democracy in the world. Unlike many newly independent nations, we have never undermined our unity and democratic ideals. Religious identity has played an important role in our politics and the Constitution has always protected the marginalised minority groups. Unfortunately, the image of our democratic polity has been tainted in the recent past. Besides corruption, criminalisation, horse-trading and nepotism, political parties rampantly use caste and religion to polarise votes for electoral dividends. Today, the clash between a democratic entity and the votaries of Hindutva philosophy threatens our founding secular vision.
Tajpreet S Kang, Hoshiarpur
Arrest the slide
Apropos of ‘Stem the rot’ (March 10), it is alarming that private universities in Himachal Pradesh are creating bogus assistant professors and helping students in examinations by dereliction of duty. It is admirable that the CAG has gathered information about the malpractices of these universities, but it is no use crying over spilt milk. Auditing is good, but it is important that the CAG work on controlling things, so that every worthy student gets his/her dues.
Arpana chaudhary, Amritsar
Choose helmet over mask
There have been 62 confirmed cases of coronavirus in India with zero casualty, and most Indians are wearing a mask as a precaution. But about 17 people die every hour in India due to road accidents, but still people ride two-wheelers without helmets. How hard is it to follow such a simple traffic rule? This issue is as important as the issue of coronavirus. India has 1% of the world’s vehicles, but 6% of the world’s road traffic accidents! People should realise that helmets are more important than these masks because one can still recover from this virus attack, but the chances of recovery in case of a road accident are less.
Dhriti Anand, by mail
The middle ‘Chief ki Daawat all over again’ (March 10) is sarcastic and timely. I am reminded of a historical instance. In 1931, at the time of the Round Table Conference, Gandhi dared to wear dhoti, kurta and chappals and sipped tea with the king of England. Here in India, at the time of Trump’s visit, we orchestrated a drama in hiding the real life of slum-dwellers by erecting a wall, and other shows.
Rikhi Dass Thakur, Hamirpur
Kudos to the Allahabad HC for rising to the occasion to uphold the Constitution. Taking suo motu cognisance, the court termed the act of displaying photos of alleged rioters at chowks in UP as ‘unjust’ and has ordered the removal of ‘name and shame’ posters and hoardings, as they impinge on privacy and freedom of people. This reprimand should be a lesson for the overactive bureaucracy also, to counsel political masters properly, and not add fuel to the fire. Those in power need to remember that in our democratic polity, means ought to justify the end and not vice versa.
Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula
Not proven guilty
Apropos of ‘Posters on anti-CAA Act unjust’, the Allahabad HC has done well to slam the UP government’s move to put up banners, naming and shaming those who have not been proven guilty of any kind of violence. The government is playing politics to attract Hindu voters and pro-CAA voters. This is a good decision by the court to safeguard the rights of the people whose images are on the posters. No one can be assumed guilty unless proven by a court of law. The duty to punish is in the hands of the judiciary, not any political party.
Vishesh Goswami, Kurukshetra
Reference to the editorial ‘Channels off air’ (March 9); good sense prevailed and the Information and Broadcasting Ministry lifted the ban on two Malayalam news channels over their alleged biased coverage of the Delhi riots. The media is the fourth pillar of our democracy and banning it without establishing the offence is injustice. At the same time, it is true that the media is biased. Some are indirectly supporting one political party or the other. The media must also introspect.
Divyangi Arora, Chandigarh
Curbs on media
Even after Independence, restrictions on the freedom of press remains an imperative concern (‘Channels off air’, March 9). Though some sections of the media have become a conduit for fake news, some coverage, like that by Malayalam channels of the Delhi riots, attempts to show the reality. Instead of going for excessive measures to suppress the media, the government should focus on controlling situations that are hampering development.
Depositors losing faith
Refer to ‘KCC bank hopeful of getting deposits in Yes Bank back’ (March 9); it is very disturbing that India’s fifth largest private sector bank, Yes Bank, has run into trouble due to loan defaults and NPAs. The crisis shows that banks do not have adequate regulations to oversee their style of working that can ensure a satisfactory outcome. Rates of interest on fixed deposits are at an all-time low, and when a bank runs into trouble, depositors can lose faith in the banking system. One hopes that adequate regulations are put into place to avoid such a crisis in the future.
Devendra Khurana, Bhopal
Refer to ‘Scooty for all women panches: Dushyant’ (March 9); it is a good initiative by the Haryana government to give Scooty to women members who work well in their fields. This will not only empower working women, but also encourage more women to come forward and serve. It is appreciable that the Haryana government is making efforts to empower women.
Geeta Thakur, by mail
Not the same doctors
There was a time when doctors used to go all out and were devoted to treat their patients. But things seem to have changed. In most cases, it is money first — the treatment can be left to take its time. A doctor in a particular setup charges Rs 1,000 as consultation fee by writing the name of a political VIP (to whom he is personal physician), while all other doctors there charge Rs 500. In my 94th year of existence, I am flabbergasted to see this. When I was younger, doctors were, indeed, noble.
PRITAM BHULLAR, CHANDIGARH
Just the right focus
Experts in agricultural economics have interpreted the recent Punjab Budget in the same manner they have been doing for several years without making any headway. The emphasis has been misplaced with an obsession that there is nothing in Punjab but agriculture. Small-scale farmers are encouraged to take loans and when the burden is unbearable, there are suicides all over. Big farmers make millions and pay no taxes. For the first time, we have a Budget that gives priority to education. The allocation to education is more than that of agriculture that has been wasted over the years. There are more funds for classrooms, for general infrastructure of schools, colleges and research in universities. There are numerous posts, especially for school teacher, which is welcome. But much more needs to be done. Still, it is a good beginning.
Harjeet Singh Gill, Prof Emeritus, JNU
The Yes Bank crisis is an implicit signal that the NPA crisis is still brewing for Indian banks. People in India believe in savings. They want their hard-earned money to be secure. For this, they trust the banks. Therefore, despite the lower rates of interest, they opt for banks to invest. Suddenly, the safety of bank deposits has become an issue. The recent crises with PMC Bank and Yes Bank have shaken the faith of people. The government must take stock of the situation. Regulatory laws need to be tightened to ensure the recovery of bad loans. It is important not only to restore people’s faith, but also to revive the already stressed economy.
K Kumar, Panchkula
Refer to the editorial ‘Trouble at Yes Bank’ (March 7); the account holders are in distress. The Finance Minister says that since 2017, the RBI has been monitoring and scrutinising the bank. There was wrong asset classification. A statement was also made blaming the UPA. A former FM, P Chidambaram, says he had tweeted many times, asking Nirmala Sitharaman to explain how the loan book jumped in five years from Rs 55,633 crore to Rs 2,41,499 crore. Earlier, PMC Bank faced similar problems in Maharashtra. Depositors stood in long queues to withdraw their money. We have faced such situations during notebandi. A dreadful time!
M Lal Garg, Chandigarh
Banks, too, unsafe
Another crisis in private banks, this time in Yes Bank, shows the failure of proper maintenance and administration of the economic pillars. This poses a great threat and fear among the depositors. Sudden strict measures by the RBI come in the way of the needs of the depositors. It is said banks are the safest place for parking our savings, but these kind of scams belie this sentiment.
Difficult for depositors
One can understand if moratorium is put on withdrawals from big fixed deposits for a short time, but such a restriction on savings and current accounts is not only wrong, but also amounts to harassment. It also shows insensitivity and lack of understanding of the problems faced by the common man. In both these accounts, money is deposited for day-to-day needs. For example, if salary is sent to savings account, how can one keep his/her expenses within Rs 50,000 if, say, the tuition fee of a child must be paid. The provision of Rs 5 lakh for special events like wedding or an illness is only on paper. When you approach the bank, they say that they are awaiting guidelines.
Neela Sood, chandigarh
AAP shows the way
Refer to ‘No fresh taxes proposed, HP Budget gives top priority to edu, connectivity’ (March 7); after the Delhi elections, the budget presented in three states has given more emphasis to education and health. It is clear that these state governments are implementing the Delhi model, and not the Gujarat model. The AAP government in Delhi fought elections in the name of education, health, electricity and water, and won. Now, perhaps even other state governments have understood that the people will vote for development and not just the campaigner. It has become clear from the Delhi elections that young voters need only development.
Narayan Hari, Chandigarh
It is good to see that the Budget presented by the Himachal Government mainly focuses on the shaky education system, with maximum investment in it. The second area of priority is road construction, and then, healthcare. All in all, the Budget presented this year aims to support the weaker sections and to bring about a substantial change in the prevailing system.
Ambika Adhikari, Panchkula
More to racket
Refer to ‘40L tablets worth Rs 4 cr seized in Barnala, 4 held’ (March 7); how can we believe that suppliers are not paying money to the politicians? This racket proves that intoxicant tablets in such large numbers are being transported easily. The deteriorating drug scene in Punjab should be a major concern for even the Centre. This scourge is destroying the state’s youth.
Nikita Bhati, Rajasthan
Essence of a woman
International Women’s Day is not just another day. It is an opportunity to appreciate the remarkable contribution of women to society. On this day, we must extol and eulogise women who are the essence of our lives. Today, they are at top positions in various fields and also contribute to running the family. Women are serving the country on a par with men. They are heading some countries too. All societies must ensure women’s safety. It is a day to inspire women and promote the cause of social equality.
Harpreet Sandhu, Ludhiana
Yes Bank takeover by the RBI has exposed some deep loopholes in the Indian banking system, especially private banks. With the limit of Rs 50,000 per account withdrawal, the savings of the common man is at stake. Earlier, PMC Bank rendered depositors helpless, resulting in many suicides. In the case of Yes Bank, the RBI has taken a proactive measure, but this alone is not enough. Strong lending norms and keeping a regular watch on such banks can help in preventing such bank crises. With bank NPAs rising every day, stricter norms are needed.
Vishiwjeet Singh, Chandigarh
Apropos ‘Yes Bank crisis deepens’ (March 6), it is very disturbing for the depositors that with immediate effect, the RBI has decided to cap withdrawal at Rs 50,000 per account. A few months back, depositors of PMC Bank suffered immensely due to a similar crisis. Account holders are fast losing their trust in banks due to the wrongdoings of people at the top. Bad loans and frauds are just some of the symptoms of pandemic illnesses afflicting the Indian banking sector. The RBI must come out with a foolproof plan to mitigate banking problems and instil a sense of security among the depositors.
Balbir Singh Kakkar, Jalandhar
Yes, another crisis
The decision to limit the withdrawal to Rs 50,000 by Yes Bank has raised anxieties among depositors. This has also affected the stock market. The shares have slumped and investors are worried. The Finance Ministry should take immediate action as the economic condition is already precarious. Having seen the PMC Bank crisis previously, the restlessness among the depositors is more evident.
Khyati Kataria, Panchkula
High drug fatalities
Refer to report ‘Pb de-addiction drive detects high fatalities’ (March 6); an analysis of the data shockingly reveals that the government has not taken the drive very seriously, even though eradication of drug menace was a major poll plank of the ruling party. Also, the frequent drug seizures in the state indicate that the epidemic, which has ruined the youth of the state, is still persisting and no coercive strategy followed by strong and time-bound implementation is in place.
JAGDISH CHANDER, JALANDHAR
The latest contact campaign reports of the de-addiction drive point at a slew of serious shortcomings in the working of drug de-addiction and rehab centres across the state (‘Pb de-addiction drive detects high fatalities’, March 6). The data reveals that almost 50% of the patients have never visited these centres even once in three months, and of those, 5% were found to be dead. It portrays the inefficiency and ineffectiveness of our system.
Manjinder Singh, Moga
Covid has created unfounded panic, all because of fast communication through social media. Two billion users have created a sense of fear and uncertainty. As many as 400 people die in road accidents every day, but there is no urgency to switch to helmets. But the scare created in the social media has led to panic buying of masks and sanitisers. It is good to take precautions, but is futile to get scared and spread panic.
MS Tandan, Ambala Cantt
MPs’ pension burden
Refer to ‘Ex-MPs’ pension costs exchequer Rs 70.50 cr’ (March 6); a huge amount of money is being spent on people who don’t need it. Dictionary explains ‘pension’ as an amount of money paid regularly by the government or a private company to a person who has stopped working because of having reached a certain age. These people are called retirees and pension is granted to them for their old age. But the pension to MPs defies this principle because most of them are actors and renowned industrialists, who have a lot of money, while retirees are dependent on pension or their children in their old age. The pension to MPs is a great burden on the public exchequer, which should be avoided.
Faqir Singh, Dasuya
But where are the buses?
Refer to 50% rebate in bus fare for women in Punjab; indeed, it is a good step by the government to cut the fare for women travelling in government buses. But what is the purpose of announcing such a cut when most of the transport business is controlled by private players. There is a monopoly of private transporters on many routes. The government should first improve public transport facilities and route timings. Making announcements without checking the ground realities make little sense.
Geeta Thakur, by mail
Refer to the news report ‘Sengar guilty of culpable homicide’ (March 5); the conviction of Kuldeep Singh Sengar in the murder case of Unnao rape victim’s father in police custody will give people the confidence in the court and some public representatives, who consider themselves above the law, will show fear of it. Earlier, most victims would not lodge a case against such politicians, but the people will come forward after this decision.
Narayan Hari, Chandigarh
Must gear up
Reference to the editorial ‘Containing Covid’ (March 5); had preventive steps been taken, India would have not been affected at all. But now that many cases have been detected, no efforts should be spared to fight and control the virus. However, it may not be easy, considering our poor and overstretched healthcare system. India must rapidly escalate its preparedness in anticipation of confirmation of more cases. China’s secrecy and delay in reporting the outbreak made matters worse. India should show transparency in sharing information, so people may protect themselves. Public awareness, active surveillance for early detection and isolation of cases, clinical care, training medical staff and more labs for rapid diagnosis will help India control and contain the virus.
LJS PANESAR, by mail
The government should give its full attention to the alarming mushrooming of the deadly coronavirus instead of engaging in political wars and destroying peace in the country. Political leaders should be more focused on how to use the already limited healthcare supplies rather than offering ridiculous remedies like cow dung. There has to be proper planning, both at the national and individual level, to contain this epidemic, if India does not want to be second in line after China — first in density of population, and now, in high death toll.
Speeha Arora, by mail
Ayurveda docs mum
Surprisingly, practitioners of ayurveda are maintaining a conspicuous silence over coronavirus, though in normal times, they claim to have a cure for every disease. They should, at least, come up with some solution or tell their followers of doing something in this regard.
LR Sharma, Sundernagar
US deal with Taliban
Refer to the March 2 editorial ‘US-Taliban deal’; while the deal between the US and the Taliban may well mark the end of the US war in Afghanistan, whether it would actually end the conflict remains to be seen. During presidential elections, Trump will claim that he has delivered on his promise of bringing US soldiers home. How the deal will affect India will have to be watched, as it faces two dilemmas — how to ensure political coherence in Kabul and whether it should engage with the Taliban. Nobody knows what the Taliban really want. Short of boots on the ground, India should endeavour to strengthen President Ghani’s hand and further increase political, diplomatic, financial and intelligence support for Kabul.
PL SINGH, by mail
Shaheen Bagh blockade
Refer to ‘Expedite riot cases, apex court tells HC’ (March 5), hate speeches by some may have triggered the Delhi riots, but how about Shaheen Bagh? Did it also not provide a spark? Prolonged blockade of a main road, putting people to inconvenience, was bound to rouse anger. The Delhi Police have already earned the blame for not taking timely action. To avoid further blame, it should clear Shaheen Bagh of protesters to prevent recurrence of another unfortunate incident. Even from coronavirus point of view, it would be advisable for the protesters to disperse since a large gathering can prove dangerous.
WG CDR CL SEHGAL (RETD), JALANDHAR
Right step by Haryana
Apropos of ‘Hry to give guarantee for edu loans’ (March 5), Haryana has taken a crucial stride towards giving priority to the education sector. It is offering loan programmes through different departments that support individuals, communities, and businesses as per need. This will help in improving the quality of life of its people and the overall national economy.
Mansi Bhardwaj, Ambala
Weakening edu sector
Refer to the news report that the Solan university management has again been booked for cheating (March 5); it appears to be the tip of the iceberg. Such educational institutions are adding ‘uneducated qualified class’ throughout the country, which needs to be checked with a strong hand. Any compromise with education will weaken and destroy a country.
RS Kishtwaria, Palampur
The loss of precious lives and property worth crores and damage to social fabric across India may have been avoided had the Supreme Court acted with alacrity over petitions filed before it on the Citizenship Amendment Act. Even though more time and a larger Bench is needed for a detailed hearing, an immediate interim stay on the issue would have calmed tempers and avoided much of the strife we have witnessed, without prejudicing the final verdict. A full examination of the entire matter would then have been taken up in a less heated atmosphere. Whatever the eventual decision of the court is, there is definitely a prima facie case still for such an order.
Lalit Mohan, Gurgaon
Why no action?
Apropos the news report ‘Riots rock both Houses again’ (March 4), why does the government not want immediate discussions on the Delhi riots and why action is not being taken against those involved. What action has been taken against those police personnel whose videos have gone viral, where they can be seen damaging windowpanes of parked vehicles and CCTV cameras? Being an important matter, the government should have allowed discussion forthwith instead of delaying it for a week, as in a democratic setup, the people have every right to know all about the riots and the reasons for not taking action against the leaders concerned. What problems does the government have in delaying the debate in Parliament is anybody’s guess!
ROOP SINGH NEGI, Solan
Not the time for politics
Apropos ‘Ruckus in House’ (March 4), both the Houses should discuss the issue and fix responsibility for the communal violence in Delhi. This is not the time for politics. It is essential for all parties to work together because on the one side, we had violence in Delhi, similar to the riots in 1984, and now, coronavirus has created an atmosphere of fear in the country. The government should talk about handling the crises of the country and work for the good of the nation and its people.
Will only create divide
Refer to the article ‘The fire has been lit’ (March 4); if the Delhi Police did not act in time, it is mainly because there was no order from the Home Ministry. And soon after the Delhi Police Commissioner took charge, the situation was brought under control. Indeed, all three stakeholders — the Centre, state government and Delhi Police — will have to share the blame equally. Since it was the worst riot in the past few decades in the Capital, it is bound to create scars. Such hatred may win the ruling party some votes, but it will create a divide between the two communities, which will become too big to fill later. The government must take a long-term view of the situation.
Bal Govind, Noida
Apropos the article ‘The fire has been lit’ (March 4), the Delhi riots have disturbed the peace among the two communities. Political parties are using religion to polarise the vote bank, which is not only unethical, but also a cruel act. Parties are not talking about the deaths and the losses, but are creating confusion among the masses. Politicians are spreading hatred. The citizens of India must question their leaders and parties about the real work that they are doing.
SAURAV SHARMA, JAMMU
With reference to the decision of slashing the fare for women in buses by the Punjab Government, it seems that the successive governments have not learnt any lesson from all the illogical and immature decisions taken in the past. The decision will again put a huge burden on the empty coffers of Punjab, which is under a debt of over Rs 2 lakh crore. Providing freebies to the public does not fit in a democratic and growing economy. If the state is following the path of the Delhi government, again it is a blunder as the previous Delhi governments have never provided freebies to the public. It is a matter of concern that when the Punjab Government is not able to pay salary to its employees, and when its revenues are decreasing day by day, how will it sustain this?
Navneet Seth, DHURI
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s decision to reduce the bus fare for women passengers by 50% and focusing on the education sector shows that he is following the Delhi model of development just to win elections.
Ashwani Kumar, Chandigarh
Apropos ‘BJP, Cong members scuffle in House’ (March 3), our country is cursed to have unpatriotic politicians who cannot see beyond party politics. For them, the welfare of their party is more important than the welfare of the nation. The widespread gloom of death and destruction, which descended on Delhi, is the handiwork of these petty politicians. Their venomous speeches have done irreparable damage to our social fabric. Instead of forging solidarity among aggrieved factions of society, they are indulging in mudslinging. All parties, whether in the government or Opposition, are equally responsible for this ruination.
Deepak Kaushik, Radaur
Sign of weakness
Refer to ‘SC to hear plea on hate speech FIRs tomorrow’ (March 3); the inability expressed by the CJI to handle riots is somewhat strange and surprising. Instead of divulging such weakness, the CJI could have given a powerful statement, promising a speedy trial and exemplary punishment for the perpetrators and conspirators. One wonders whether it is the pressure of communal violence that is bothering the court, or the pressure of trial.
Amarjeet Mann, Nangal
Death warrants in a rush
The hanging of Nirbhaya rape and murder convicts has been deferred again, as all four convicts have not exhausted their legal remedies. I fail to understand why death warrants are issued when all the legal remedies have not been exhausted? Death warrants should be issued only after the convicts have availed of these options. If there are some lacunae in the law, they should be amended.
IPS Anand, Gurugram
Loopholes in law
Convicts in the Nirbhaya case are using one or the other weapon of law to stave off the hanging. All four criminals are strategically using the available lawful options. No doubt, the law must give some legal options to criminals to appeal, but only to some extent. They are playing with the law. Three death warrants have been cancelled till now. Necessary amendments are required so that culprits can be given punishment without any delay.
Harmandeep Singh, Amritsar
Flaw in legal system
Once again, truth has lost. For a third time, Nirbhaya’s rapists and murderers have escaped the gallows because of serious lapses in our legal system. Our legal system is obsolete and needs a complete overhaul. There should be crystal-clear instructions in the law of the land. Finding loopholes in our legal machinery, the lawyer of the convicts is taking advantage, even as her mother is crying for justice. Everyone knows what they did to Nirbhaya, but our law is sending out a wrong message.
HPS Sandhu, by mail
SYL to divert attention
Reference to the statement of the Punjab CM on the SYL issue, he is unnecessarily issuing statements to divert the attention of the people of Punjab from significant issues. Instead of issuing threats of not giving water to Haryana, he should focus on saving the groundwater of Punjab by stopping free and unmetered supply of water to more than half of the households in the state. He needs to shun Sikh agenda or his party should quit pseudo-secular agenda. The government should focus on curbing drug menace, controlling law and order, lowering power tariff, stopping illegal mining, reducing stamp duty and generating employment so that the youth do not migrate abroad for better future.
Puneet Garg, Patiala
Refer to ‘The high road to growth’ (March 3); it is surprising that Bangladesh has a high apparel export of $36 billion as compared to India’s $15 billion. India needs to seriously look at its trade policy to rejuvenate economy. We are entangled in unnecessary skirmishes related to religion, caste and politics, which are hampering growth. Companies from other countries invest only when they feel secure in a nation.
Nitin Dogra, by mail
Kohli should show grace
After India’s humiliating defeat in the second Test against New Zealand, the statement of Virat Kohli that they would see the Kiwis when the latter visit India is in poor taste (‘Kohli’s warning: Will show them when they come to India’, (March 3). This is not a mature response from a captain who is held in high esteem by cricket lovers across the world. If the Indian team has not played well, Kohli should admit it gracefully. His handling of the media in the post-match conference simply shows that ‘aggression’ is the only word he knows on and off the field. Kohli should take a cue from his predecessor MS Dhoni, who won the sobriquet of Mr Cool from cricket fans.
Ravinder Kumar Jain, Ludhiana
Refer to ‘Booster dose for education’ (March 2); priority given to the education sector is heartening. The fact is that Punjab and Haryana are focusing more on real issues and areas of development rather than getting involved in religion-based and blame-game politics. It is a heart-winning move by the governments of both the states. The states, which till now have focused mainly on sports and agriculture, will now shine in the field of education as well.
Surbhi Attreya, Meerut
It is a praiseworthy decision of Punjab and Haryana to allocate more funds to education. Quality education is essential, but for that, trained teachers and sufficient infrastructure with modern facilities are necessary, besides ample funds. The most important organ is proper monitoring under experts with an honest evaluation system. Primary education needs immediate attention to strengthen the basic concepts. Rural areas need special attention. Science, maths, language and environmental curricula may be updated to inculcate the fundamentals to compete globally. Teachers should not be engaged in non-teaching work.
Dilwar Ali Meerak, Tohana
Will uplift society
Punjab and Haryana have taken a crucial stride toward the evolution of human resources. Increased priority to education is vital for every state. This will create the aura of equality and help in the uplift of every aspect of society. The spotlight is on allocating the resources on literacy at the primary level and to reach out to the majority who cannot afford education.
Ashu Arora, Chandigarh
Now, to make it work
The Budget focus of Punjab and Haryana is on education and health. Perhaps, they did so as Arvind Kejriwal contested the elections in Delhi on these issues and won. Funds for agriculture have also been increased. It remains to be seen how well the governments use this Budget, only then will the move be successful.
Fiaaza Gour, Chandigarh
Where are we headed?
Refer to ‘Oppn to raise Delhi riots, CAA’ (March 2); the recent communal violence in Delhi has left a trail of destruction, death and despair, and it is very difficult for those who have lost their loved ones to pick up the pieces and move on. The scars inflicted by communal violence will take a long time to heal. But the government is still not in a mood to withdraw the Citizenship Amendment Act. One does not know where things are headed for. The parliament session is likely to be heated and opposition parties are sure to put the government in a tight spot.
Devendra Khurana, Bhopal
Writing on the wall
Home Minister Amit Shah’s stance on CAA is as strong as the violence it has caused in the country (‘Won’t stop till all refugees are given citizenship, says Shah’, March 2). The flak the Modi government has received from all over should be enough for it to stop conducting pro-CAA rallies. Having received no major support from the country, the act is a complete fiasco. The communal rampage that the Act caused in Delhi is a clear sign.
Maitri Bhardwaj, Patiala
Apropos of ‘1968 Olympic medallist Balbir Singh passes away at 77’ (March 2), it was a sad day for Indian sport as the nation is grieving the demise of Balbir Singh and Joginder Singh Saini, two of its distinguished sportsmen. Balbir Singh’s name is synonymous with hockey. At one point of time, India had four-five Balbir Singhs in its team on a tour to France. The French commentator had problem describing Balbir Singhs. He approached his Indian counterpart for a solution. Thereafter, he described them as Balbir Singh (Senior), Balbir Singh (Junior), Balbir Singh (Railways), Balbir Singh (Punjab Police) and Balbir Singh (Services)! Balbir Singh was a member of the Indian hockey team that won gold in the 1966 Asian Games. The other legend, Joginder Saini, was the Dronacharya of Indian athletics. He proved his mettle when he coached the athletics team that won 18 medals, including eight gold in the Asian Games in 1978.
Gurdeep Singh, Dharampur
Valid concern over deal
Apropos of the editorial ‘US-Taliban deal’ (March 2), since the Kabul government was kept out of the deal, the US withdrawal will pave the way for the Taliban’s return to power and facilitate increased Pakistan-sponsored terror activities. China, too, may be waiting in the wings to fish in troubled waters. The deal marks the beginning of a potentially dangerous phase in the unfortunate recent history of Afghanistan. New Delhi has every reason to worry about the massive investments made in Afghanistan since it rallied behind the Ghani government, whose legitimacy has eroded.
SS Paul, Nadia
Reference to ‘Harking to dog whistle’ (Nous Indica, Feb 29); no rioting is possible without the police either remaining proactively passive or even participating in it. The riots in Delhi bear testimony to it. The Kejriwal government is a toothless tiger, which cannot order the Delhi Police to do its bidding. The control of the police, a vital organ of administration, should be given to the Delhi Government. The Home Ministry should have nothing to do with it. The CM is to run the city, not the Centre. Seemingly, the government let the situation go out of hand for some ulterior motives. Such narrow thinking is playing havoc with our composite fabric. Hatemongers, irrespective of party and religion affiliation, should be booked without delay.
Tarsem S Bumrah, Batala
Act of revenge
Refer to the article ‘Harking to dog whistle’ (Nous Indica, Feb 29); surely, the BJP instigated the Delhi riots to take revenge from Kejriwal’s AAP that swept the polls, leaving BJP humiliated. Shame on this dirtiest vote-bank politics that has claimed the lives of over 40 people. Such murky politics of the day must be condemned.
RK Kapoor, Chandigarh
No visible change
Reference to the Punjab and Haryana Budget, the amount on outstanding debt in both states is higher than the total Budget outlay, and in Punjab, it is almost double the outlay. While being in such huge debt, how is the state moving on the path of development? Agriculture and education sectors form the biggest part of Budget outlay, yet the system is not getting any better even after massive investment. Officials must show some development in proportion to the amount spent, so that the public can believe in the statistics they provide.
Gautam Jain, Rohtak
Victim of greed
It was painful to read about the tragic death of three young girls at a PG accommodation in Chandigarh — Phool to khil kar bahar-e-fiza dikhla gaye/ Hasrat un guncho pe hai jo bin khile murjha gaye. One wonders how 25 girls were living in one house. They have fallen victim to the greed and recklessness of the owner. The rentals in PG accommodations are exorbitant but the living conditions are poor. The estate office has not been able to enforce norms regarding the construction of PGs and academies, which is criminal. The offenders should be brought to book without delay.
RK Sharma, Kurukshetra
Safety norms ignored
Refer to ‘Playing with their lives’ (Feb 25); as usual, corrupt practices seem to have blinded the police and the administrators, who let illegal activities go unchecked, resulting in serious mishaps. Three young lives have been lost. The rooms of a PG accommodation were partitioned with inflammable material to accommodate more and more students to extract money. Being an education hub, students from far-flung areas flock to Chandigarh. Due to high demand, every nook and corner of the city is full of PGs, where safety norms are ignored. Those patronising illegal PG stays must be given exemplary punishment, so that no one else dares to play with innocent lives.
Karnail Singh, Kharar
Fight is over golak
All right-thinking people should come forward and suggest to the SGPC to remove golaks from all gurdwaras because the basic reason for the fight among the SGPC, jathedars and leaders is the golak. There is no sewa bhavna in our politicians. Why should those who come to gurdwaras with shradha offer money? Or do taxpayers donate money, so they can get a proper receipt for rebate? We have put marble in our gurdwaras, and now, some babas have started destroying old construction to make new. When there is no money in the gurdwaras, the race for presidentship of the SGPC and control of the gurdwaras will automatically end.
Sukhwant Bhullar, Chandigarh
Lowering retirement age
The decision to bring down the retirement age to 58 by the Punjab Government is welcome. It would be even better if in the years to come, government employees retire at the age of 50. This way, lakhs of jobless youth can get employment. We should think about our youth. The biggest scourge in Punjab is unemployment. All is not lost yet. The younger generation has high hopes from the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, who is known for taking bold decisions.
Rajeev Bansal, Nabha