Letters to the editor
Apropos of ‘Ordinance to curb pollution in Delhi’, the air quality in Delhi-NCR has been dismal for a long time, and all efforts to improve it have been in vain. What’s unfortunate is that Delhi’s air pollution, especially during this time of the year, is due to the actions of its neighbouring states. To make this sustainable, what’s required is a shift in the mindset of not only the farmers burning stubble, but also the residents of the states to adopt eco-friendly measures for a better future. It’s only a matter of time before an exodus takes place if sustainable measures are not taken to improve the state of affairs.
‘Combating air pollution’ points to this hydra-headed environmental problem. So far, all efforts by the apex court or the government to check pollution have yielded only mixed results. Statutory measures in the form of a commission to control the pollution is welcome, but the real test of capability for the administration will lie in providing good and healthy environment at ground zero, as the NCR is the face of India on the move. Let the NCR be divided into small segments to drill a sense of responsibility and awareness. Problems like pollution need cooperation and coordination at various levels.
Jagvinder Singh Brar, Patiala
Inking of BECA
The latest dialogue between India and the US has sealed the last foundational agreement in the form of BECA. This makes India a close strategic partner of the US even in the absence of a formal alliance. India can now technically acquire sophisticated platforms such as armed drones from the US that can shore up defence capabilities in the face of the China-Pakistan axis. It will allow the Indian and US armed forces to exchange geo-spatial information. BECA marks the end of the prolonged phase of mutual trust-building and sets the stage for more expansive security cooperation. Growing India-US ties pose credible deterrence against the Chinese aggression, which will shape the regional and global environment in favour of peace and stability.
EL SINGH, by mail
Victims of stalking
Apropos of ‘The chilling pattern’, changes in law after the Nirbhaya case included notifying stalking as a criminal offence, but in many such cases, pursuing police action against stalkers is not the norm. In the Faridabad case, a complaint was made in 2018 against the stalker. In Mumbai, one Yogesh Kumar stabbed a woman he met at work. The takeaway is how quickly stalking, an everyday crime, can escalate into murder. Besides the police, a host of other institutions, from schools to families, also need to do a better job of socialising gender relations. Today, dominant notions reek of male entitlement. While modernity is making men and women engage on equal terms on the outside, the transition needs to happen at the mental level, too. It is vital to talk about what a relationship means. It's not coercion, but a choice.
PS KAUR, by mail
Let law take its course
It is unfortunate that personal conviction and belief have overshadowed a former celebrated policeman (‘The unfair arrest of Fr. Stan’). He is unhappy that the NIA has arrested Fr. Stan without proving his guilt. But as a seasoned police officer, he should have known that the NIA can prove guilt only after taking him into custody. How can the NIA investigate and prove charges against any individual without his or her custodial interrogation? Ribeiro should have faith in court. If Fr. Stan is not guilty, the court would automatically exonerate him. Then, Ribeiro has every right to condemn the NIA. Why jump to conclusions when the case is in its infancy only?
AK SHARMA, CHANDIGARH
Refer to ‘Married daughter eligible for jobs on compassionate basis’; the decision of the High Court will further strengthen the empowerment of women. This decision is altruistic and will help courts in finalising pending cases expeditiously. Sons and daughters are equal in every way. Property inheritance is equally shareable. In this particular case, the descendant is only a married daughter and cannot be construed for denial of opportunity for compassionate appointment.
GIAN P KANSAL, AMBALA CITY
Refer to ‘Sujanpur battles bat menace’; I wonder if the forest department has verified whether the mammals are actually bats and not flying foxes! Rumours that they carry the contagion may be nonsense. Many species of these creatures are endangered and we should not foolishly push them closer to the brink.
Vinay Tandon, Kasauli
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
With reference to ‘Need better ties with neighbours to counter China, says Bhagwat’; Bhagwat praising Modi government’s handling of the China threat, lauding the battle against the pandemic, defending CAA and equating Hindutva with the nation indicates a high degree of synergy between the BJP and the Sangh. Given that BJP derives its ideological inspiration from RSS, and there is a close coordination between the government and the party, Bhagwat’s speech on Vijayadashami has assumed great importance. But the most significant element of Bhagwat’s speech was on the economy. A closer reading of the speech indicates that on political and cultural issues, to a large extent, and on economy to a lesser extent, the government and the RSS have a close overlap.
PS HANSPAUL, by mail
It’s not enough
The bottom line of ‘Improve productivity, efficiency to beat China’ is not as simple as proposed. Creating a synergy or generating the willingness or capacity to assert is a subsequent step. The basic issue is to create a work culture in offices, factories as well as freeing up economic policies from the clutches of populism and vote bank politics. Other countries mean business and focus their efforts for competitive advantage. We focus on the peripherals like catchphrases, slogans, emotions, and then converge at the core issue. By then, much energy is already spent.
Rakesh Sudan, Kurukshetra
Apropos of ‘BECA boost’, the signing of BECA is a step towards integration of the Indo-Pacific strategies of the two countries. This makes India a close strategic partner of the US, even in the absence of a formal NATO-like alliance. India has made the right move by not giving a free hand to the US, as it has preferred to wait for the next administration to assume office. This has been rightly done, as moving rashly away from Russia would have meant bad diplomacy, given the erratic nature of the US strategy in the past.
Rajiv Boolchand Jain, Zirakpur
Apropos of ‘DC directs MCs to ensure safe disposal of waste’, it is a commendable and inspiring decision. People are concerned about environment protection, but there is no proper system for the dumping and disposal of waste. It is imperative to ensure the working of this system without fail. Organisations like the Sulabh International must come forward to take up the task. Proper recycling of waste, particularly glass and construction waste, needs attention.
RS Kishtwaria, Palampur
Low interest on deposits
When a person deposits money in his bank account, the bank can lend other people that money. The depositing customer gains a small amount in return by way of interest on the deposits and the lending customer pays a larger amount to the bank in return as interest on loans. Despite the fact that deposits are bread and butter for the bank, the banks are offering benefits to the borrowers instead of depositors. All benefits are for the borrowers at the cost of depositors. Senior citizens who are dependent on income from interest are suffering because of banks.
SC DHALL, ZIRAKPUR
The menace of discarding elderly parents who spend their life and exhaust all resources in bringing up their offspring is difficult to understand (‘Why not adopt the elderly?’). Elders need only a few words of love and affection and a warm touch to get enthused. Nobody can repay parents for the sacrifices they make for their children. It is the duty of everyone to look after the elders so that they do not feel lonely.
Raj Kumar Kapoor, Ropar
Voters being careless
In the Bihar elections, people have turned up to vote in large numbers, about 54 per cent, in the first phase, despite the prevailing threat in the aftermath of Covid-19. It is the sign of a healthy and vibrant democracy. This is the first election in India post pandemic. However, people were seen violating the special code of conduct set by the Election Commission, like coming en masse to polling booths and not wearing masks. The Chief Election Commissioner thanked the people for coming out in large numbers and exercising their right to vote, but he should also make efforts to spread awareness about social distancing, the use of masks and sanitisers for the successful and safe conduct of elections.
Yashi Bairagi, by mail
Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribunemail.com
The killing of a 21-year-old woman outside her college in a Haryana town is a case of lax laws and negligence of the police when it comes to taking strict action against the accused. All this has made the stalkers fearless. Often, the police puts pressure on a complainant to withdraw the complaint and reach a compromise with the accused, leaving scope for him to be more bold to commit crime in the future. The government should be rigorous in issuing arms licences and the police need to be proactive to curb such crimes in future.
Abhilasha Gupta, Mohali
Ravanas of today
The burning of effigies of Ravana is concluded with a sense of complacency that the evil is now dead. But unabated crimes make this practice meaningless. The Ravanas of today, without any fear of law, throw acid on girls, who are also gangraped and killed. Cruel parents, on the pretext of protecting family ‘honour’, kill their daughters. Soon after the Hathras tragedy, another woman was shot in Faridabad. Another shocking news is from Panipat, where a woman fell prey to an acid attacker. If we analyse the misdeeds of Ravana of Ramayana and the depraved Ravanas of today, the latter come off worse. He committed the felony of abducting Sita in a fit of rage and retaliation, but didn’t violate the canons of morality. The cruelty inflicted upon womanhood is an indelible stigma. The perpetrators deserve the death sentence. Their properties should be attached/auctioned and the proceeds thereof should be given to the victims.
Vibhawna Singh, by mail
Away from truth
The PM addressed the challenge of ‘dynastic corruption’ and urged citizens to fight against it collectively. Another incident took place days back when a 21-year-old woman was shot by two men, including the grandson of a former MLA. The seven-year-old government is now misleading the nation. When people who are in power harass women, they do two things: abuse authority and normalise such treatment. Seeing cases of physical, mental and sexual harassment regularly, the government and the public has brushed the atrocity and sensitivity of each case under the carpet. The PM’s speech is futile as the trend of using political power (Unnao rape or the Swami Chinmayanand case) to harm women has not changed even a bit.
Ankita Sharma, Panchkula
Politicians and their wards have ruined the country. The killing of a 21-year-old woman by an MLA’s grandson shows how lightly they take the law. The security provided to them is misused by the politicians and their kin. It’s sad the country is now earning notoriety for crime against women.
Opinder Kaur Sekhon, Chandigarh
Refer to ‘Centre’s farm laws assault on agriculture’; I agree with the reference to the hunger crisis as prevailed in Ethiopia. I was witness to the unfortunate, mostly man-made, famine there, while working as a teacher in the provincial capital town of Kaffa. Students and farmers rose unitedly against the agricultural laws that favoured the feudal lords and the US corporate houses procuring coffee beans at throwaway prices and selling the finished products, earning huge profits. They called these exploiters ‘leba’, meaning ‘thief’. Ultimately, the large-scale unrest saw the downfall of emperor Haile Selassie in 1976. It’s a pity that India now lags behind Ethiopia on the Global Hunger Index due to the wrong policies.
Amritlal Madan, Kaithal
Tug of war
The tug of war between Punjab and the Centre has been on for over 25 days. Punjab has become the epicentre of this tussle. The Centre is rigid and unwilling to relent over the new farm laws. Punjab farmers, too, won’t give in. The farmers’ apprehensions might be real, but the mode of protests is unacceptable. ‘Rail roko’ and dharnas at petrol stations and toll plazas are directly impacting the economy of the state and the Centre. Manufacturing has come to a standstill for want of raw material. People from all walks of life are being hit hard by these agitations, and are facing difficulty in getting essential commodities. The protests will push the state many years back and won’t help to make good the loss caused by Covid-19. Political parties and farmers should seek legal advice from farm experts to find a way out.
BANSI RAM RAHUL, Hoshiarpur
Apropos of ‘Test of governance’, the question of joblessness in Bihar is a question of life and death for the poor. It is going to impact the election results. Tejashwi Yadav’s alliance with the Left parties is attracting tremendous crowds, but it may not guarantee a clear-cut majority. No doubt, Tejashwi and Chirag Paswan have raised the vital issue of mass migration for the first time in state politics. This is a positive, pro-people concern.
RAJ BAHADUR YADAV, Fatehabad
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
Starting with the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A in 2019, there has been an aura of secrecy till the passing of an Act by Parliament. The CAA was passed and people against it started protesting only after its clearance by Parliament. Recently, three Bills relating to agriculture were approved by Parliament and most stakeholders came to know about these only when these were being passed. The agenda of Parliament is circulated well in advance to all MPs, but they don't bother about it. They don't study it and don't discuss it with voters and stakeholders in their constituencies. That is why the current trend of protests after passing of the legislation. It is a great failure of MPs, whether ruling or the opposition! It's nothing but betrayal.
Vinay Kumar Malhotra, Ambala
Cut out politics
One wonders where the intelligensia of the country has disappeared. We have the best brains, yet there seems to be an absence of seriousness in handling important problems which the nation is facing. Sadly, it’s the health sector which is being neglected. How is the country unable to muster resources to help the farmers overcome the parali problem? It should be taken up as a national or, and cut out the politics.
Col Kulbir Singh (retd), Chandigarh
Every year, Delhi University sees a spike in cutoffs for admissions. But this year, the cutoffs have shot through the roof, with its many colleges releasing a 100 per cent cut-off. Being a DU aspirant myself, I perceive this trend as an unfavourable indicator of our education system. The massive surge in cutoffs is attributable to the fact that our system gives more importance to marks instead of knowledge and the holistic development of a student. Even students who get over 90 per cent are left with few options. I hope that the National Education Policy-2020 will emerge as a game-changer.
Harshita Sharma, Sonepat
Out of line
The scathing remarks by Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray against Himachal Pradesh are neither warranted nor acceptable. It appears he is a novice and inexperienced politician. He must preserve the dignity of his constitutional post and avoid talking like a local party worker. Recently, his controversial stand on some policy matters has damaged his public image.
Deepak, by mail
Daughters are a blessing
I am a proud father of two daughters and strongly feel that daughters are the most adorable gift of God. When a daughter is born, I don’t think that any couple has a feeling of regret, but orthodox people in our society make them feel time and again that it is a sad thing. They sympathise with you, consoling that it is God’s will. Due to all this, in many cases even the happy parents start thinking that something bad has befallen them. My wife and I had ourselves experienced this bitter situation. But I am really happy that daughters are accepted whole-heartedly by the families. I may offend people in saying so, but daughters are far more loveable than sons.
Bir Devinder Singh Bedi, Sangrur
Reference to ‘Acceptance of daughters growing, shows survey’; it is a welcome change which will improve the sex ratio in northern states. Couples with one or two daughters only is also a good change to see, as traditionally, many couples would go for more children in the hope of having a son. Hopefully, it will reduce the population growth and discrimination against the girl child. One must accept any child as a blessing of God, irrespective of the gender. Every child is special and unique.
Vikramjit Singh, Amritsar
A chance bond
I was shocked to learn about the demise of Kuldip Singh Dhir (Obituary, October 18) and was reminded of Allama Iqbal’s verse: ‘Kalba-e-iflaas mein, daulat key kaashaaney mein maut/Dasht-o-dar mein, shaihr mein, gulshan mein, veeraaney mein maut.’ Dhir was a great admirer of my letters published in The Tribune and often asked me over the telephone to explain the meanings of difficult Urdu and Persian words. He appeared to be very gentle, polite and polished. Everytime, he asked me to see him when I visited Patiala, I recited the couplet: ‘Milti hai kab ijaazat-e-deedaar dekhiey/Ab tak to telephone pe guft-o-shuneed hai.’ Once, when I went to see him, he was not at home. May God bless his soul.
BHAGWAN SINGH, QADIAN
A propos of the news report ‘Farooq elected Gupkar alliance chairman...’, he claims that the alliance is not anti-national and the Centre has attempted to divide the nation. He is wrong. How could Kashmir with special status be called an integral part of India, where people of other parts could not feel at home? The removal of Article 370 has not only made the country practically one in its form, but also it has filled the people of the country with a feeling of oneness from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. So, leaving aside personal interests, the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration should come forward to accept it for the sake of national integration. Abdullah and Mehbooba should contribute to the development of the country equally and win the appreciation of the people across the country.
Ravinder Kwatra, Shahabad Markanda
Act of sedition
In her first media interaction after her release from 14 months in detention, Mehbooba Mufti said her party workers would not hoist the Tricolour unless they were allowed to hoist the flag of J&K, which ‘has been taken away by the dacoits’. Earlier, Farooq Abdullah had said they would restore Article 370 with the help of China. Both statements are seditious. The J&K administration should book them. I wonder why the so-called liberal leaders like P Chidambaram and MK Stalin, who have been vocal for these Kashmiri leaders, are silent on their anti-national outbursts.
AK Agarwal, Chandigarh
Trump spoke truth
People in North India, particularly in Delhi, living under choking conditions would not really disagree with Trump’s statement about India’s air being filthy. They should hope that this ultimate repudiation of our ambient quality and pollution in a US presidential debate might force the government to finally do something about it. The persistently poor air quality in India is now officially a global joke. Hundreds of crores have been raised as green cess in Delhi. Why is this money not being used to subsidise agricultural machinery for farmers so that they can get rid of crop waste in an eco-friendly manner? Delhi's air knocks years off the lives of its citizens, the lives of children are being ruined by chronic pulmonary conditions such as asthma. The government can't even blame the automotive industry as it has moved to very low emission BS-6 vehicles now. Trump was proven right about China and he is absolutely right about India’s air quality. The right to air quality should be a given. While the well-healed classes with access to air purifiers can afford to live with it, the poor and unprivileged are impacted.
N Sadhasiva Reddy, Bengaluru
Reference to ‘India’s filthy air’; earlier too Trump made such comments. He questioned India's Covid death toll and called it ‘tariff king’, the result of ‘Howdy, Modi!’ Trump described the air in India as ‘filthy’ as he defended his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord and lauded his decisions with regard to reducing carbon emissions. It is an insult to the people of India under the Modi government.
This shows the PM’s friendship with the US President is bogus and a waste of public money and precious time.
Bhagwan Thadani, Mumbai
Art of defiance
Apropos of ‘Pompeo, Esper arrive today for 2+2 amid LAC tensions’, quick on the heels of Jaishankar meeting Pompeo in Japan at the Quad meeting, the joining of the Defence Secretary assumes great significance and a clear warning to China. India has taken a principled stand on China’s aggression in Ladakh, and has left China with no tactical advantage. With the Quad meeting, and the US openly coming to India’s defence, China’s occupation of Ladakh area shall become untenable in the long run, and with the diplomatic and strategic pressure India is building. China is learning the new art of defiance being pursued by India with a cool head and hot pursuit.
Ashok Goswami, New York
A new, strong India
Apropos of ‘Amid LAC tension, nod for 47 ITBP border outposts’, the ITBP got the approval to establish 47 border outposts along the LAC. The ITBP has got upgraded weapons, better vehicles, bulletproof jackets and helmets and upgraded communication system that will strengthen the force. This is a big step forward for the country as it will boost economic development as well as internal security. Today’s India will pay others back in the same coin.
Kamalpreet Singh, Bihar
Apropos of Nous Indica (‘Politics of, by and for TRP’), it is a case of ‘TRP ke liye kuch bhi karega’. Electronic media has made a solid ground to manipulate the psyche of viewers. To mint money by any means is of more concern, even though it undermines our human and democratic values. Television channels are spreading venom on political and social issues, besides serving soft porn. Serious journalism has been hit hard. Freedom of expression is the hallmark of democracy, but presenting only an orthodox viewpoint is condemnable. People are fed up with the interference of the political class in the day-to-day affairs of the common man. Unnecessary shouting and repetition of content that cause a rush of adrenaline in the youth are encouraged, which lead to crime. Let the viewers decide for themselves about the content and subject coverage by the electronic media, which will be the ultimate TRP measure.
Jasvinder S Humsafar, Maloudh
Refer to ‘Politics of, by and for TRP’; in India, with TV and social media as the primary source of information for most people, TRP as a measure of viewership (manufactured or not) is understandably important for the businessman-politician nexus. What is very disturbing in this case, and recent others, is the blatant way in which the CBI is being repeatedly misused to block the course of possible justice. One wonders whether the powers that be are at all interested in getting to the bottom of things.
Vinay Tandon, Kasauli
Wooing with vaccine
Reference to ‘Covid vaccine politics’; the BJP’s decision to make free Covid-19 vaccination an election promise in Bihar is a bid to reap political benefits. All parties should remember that they are answerable to all citizens of the country, not just to the people of poll-bound states. The BJP will need to pursue collaborative politics on vaccination, as distribution will require the Centre and states to work together.
Satish Sharma Majra, Kaithal
Back to politics
It is obvious how politicians are befooling the innocent masses. No vaccine’s efficacy and safety has been established, but politicians have started grinding their own axe. Politicians are degrading themselves day by day and it is beyond one’s imagination how and when the bottom line will come. It seems impossible to improve the system, where everyone can degrade himself or herself to any extent for political gains.
RC Garg, KotKapura
With regard to ‘It’s farmers, not arhtiyas’ protest: SAD’, there cannot be a worse lie than this. Based upon my experience of about 39 years in a leading public sector bank, I can say with confidence that innocent farmers normally fall prey not only to arhtiyas but also a section of bank staff, while seeking money for immediate requirements. I had to make a lot of efforts as a manager to ensure that proponent borrowers approached me directly instead of coming along with ‘middlemen’. I enlightened them even through my interviews aired by AIR as a panellist for topics on banking operations by Prasar Bharati. The government should also spread awareness among them.
Upendra sharma, by mail
The many Ravanas
Refer to ‘Let’s fight the forces of evil together’; the writer is right when he pleads for the nation’s strength in the context of Ravana-like enemies, but what about the inner strength of our great nation? There are certain forces that are constantly out to weaken the moral fibre and integrity of the nation, backed by a particular religion. How can the nation be made strong through naked polarisation, and brazen discrimination of minorities, Dalits and women. They are being made to feel like second-rate citizens who need no protection. Curiously, the evil of communal discord is missing from the list of the evil-heads of Ravana, while irrelevant virtues of certain yugas have been glorified. The need of the hour is that the meek and the weak are not only to be protected, but also empowered to fight the enemy bravely.
Amritlal Madan, kaithal
Warning to Twitter
Apropos of ‘Government warns Twitter against misinterpreting India’s map’, the government had rightly told Twitter to respect the sensitivities of Indian borders, and has also made it clear that any attempt to disrespect its sovereignty and integrity, which is also reflected by maps, is unacceptable and unlawful. Such attempts not only bring disrepute to Twitter, but also raise questions about its neutrality and fairness as an intermediary.
Mahak Arora, Chandigarh
Reference to ‘Ration kits for poor rot in Abohar’; the latest report of ration kits rotting at Balluana constituency in Abohar once again reminds one of the negligent and insensitive approach of the officials in charge towards the most vulnerable section of society. It is not by pandemic alone that the poor are being pushed to hunger but due to the apathetic attitude of the people in power. When the government has sanctioned food kits intended to feed the hungry, how can the officials be so heartless? Indeed, the option for the poor remains the poor option.
Joshna Sweezal Moras, Mangaluru
Apropos of ‘Virus of communal hatred’, wherever in any country of the world, any type of religious or racial fanaticism has deepened its roots, all kinds of social, economic and political rights of the people have got trampled. Growth and development has been taken over by destruction and devastation. All fundamentalist Muslim countries, especially Pakistan in our neighbourhood, are a perfect example. Do we too want our nation to go that way? We must stand for inclusive nationalism which is essential for a strong and developed nation.
Ashwani Bansal, by mail
In farmers’ interest
Corporate houses are being encouraged by politicians to grab the crop of farmers, in the name of development that benefits politicians and corporate houses. This approach will not bring us at the top in development, but will definitely push us towards poverty. No corporate can double crop production. If they are superior in technology, why don’t they buy stubble from farmers and make superior products out of stubble? The courts should also direct the government/corporates to make stubble viable by using the knowledge of science and technology. This will help increase farmer’s income and reduce their liability.
T Singh, Panchkula
Buy produce jointly
Apropos of ‘Discord on MSP’, the state government and farmer leaders may go for the purchase and procurement of produce at MSP jointly, and then assign the sale through traders of the state at profitable rates in the open market within the state or country, and even outside the country where best prices can be obtained. Profits gained through this exercise can be shared proportionately. Simultaneously money for procurement can be arranged by all three segments jointly, and further safe storage, transportation and sale. It will not interfere with new farm laws as these allow producers to sell their produce at premium anywhere instead of local mandis.
Jagdish Singh Jassal, Patiala
Poll code violation
The ruling BJP has violated the model code of conduct by specifically announcing during campaigning for the upcoming Bihar Assembly elections that the state will first get the coronavirus vaccine for free. Will the Election Commission initiate any action against the offender?
Balvinder, by mail
Sexism in politics
Reference to “Kamal Nath gets EC notice on 'item' jibe”; the Congress leader did cross the line, calling BJP's Imarti Devi an ‘item’. He attempted to brush off the comment, saying that 'item' term is commonly used everywhere. MP's Food and Civil Supply Minister Bisahulal Singh also invited ire for allegedly calling his opponent's wife ‘mistress’. Both senior politicians have been booked for their highly derogatory and offensive remarks. But it raises a question: do politicians really care about women's respect? Women empowerment and eve-teasing can't go together by playing dirty politics. The government and law bodies must take tough action against them.
Pulkit Jain, Banur
Fill in the details
Apropos of the news report ‘SAD, Cong engage in verbal duel over scholarship scam’, the entire report does not tell anything about the scam. It just talks about the sparring among the ruling and opposition parties. For the benefit of readers, a brief background about what the scam/issue is should be given. It would enlighten the readers about the actual issue at hand. For reports on accidents, the cause of the accident (driver not wearing helmet/overspeeding/stray cattle/vehicles not having proper brake, lights/potholes etc) should also be given so that people may be more aware of the lurking dangers while driving.
Bhushan Chander Jindal, Shimla
You cannot expect farmers to understand intricate laws and regulations. It is natural for people to be apprehensive as soon as the existing state of affairs is changed without any consultations. The Centre’s new laws are an archetype of how lack of communication can cause misplaced apprehension and trust deficit among people. Farmers have been dependent on government subsidies and protectionist policies for decades. A sudden transition to a free market model, however good or advantageous that might be, will lead to concern. Therefore, the Centre must reach out to the farmers in order to allay their fears. Furthermore, it should work in tandem with the state governments for effective implementation of policies.
Nissim Aggarwal, Chandigarh
Revive procurement price
Refer to ‘Discord over MSP’; to reduce the distrust among farmers, we need to create a consensus on issues. Being concerned about the remunerative price, the Punjab Government should have revived the scheme of procurement price, which used to be more than the MSP. There is a need to be consumer-friendly, too, and reconsider the price of food grains. To convince the farmers is not a difficult task, which can be entrusted to those who are sincere to their cause and without lip service by politicians who exploit their sentiments. The farmers may even be ready to pay tax if the remunerative price of their produce is ensured, as they work under conditions of uncertainties.
MM Goel, Kurukshetra
Reference to ‘Punjab’s farm Bills’; economic recovery will surely be delayed due to the Centre-state tussle. The Centre has to take realistic decisions in the wider interest of peace in Punjab. The state’s soil and water resources have already been used extensively to feed the nation in difficult times by adopting modern methods and technology in the Green Revolution era, and after. Insistence on MSP is the only weapon left with its farmers, in the absence of income from other diversified crops or allied vocations which have not been encouraged in right earnest. The state’s small and marginal farmers did not get any Central scheme benefit, except a few big private milk chilling centres and agro produce units that have received large subsidies for new investments. Farmers rightly fear corporates since globally they are eying profits from farming and agribusiness thus ruining and uprooting the farmer class.
BRIJ B GOYAL, LUDHIANA
Refer to ‘Reform police station, give it all it needs’; in retrospect, the Jat reservation agitation of 2016 that ‘paralysed Haryana state for 10 days’ is an abject reminder of the ineffectiveness of the government as well as the state police in safeguarding the life of citizens and property. According to many surveys, the public is most distrustful of the police, courts and the government. The success of a state depends on various factors, of which safety and dignity of human life are of paramount importance. But in our state, the thought of taking help from the police is often the last resort, pointing to the sorry state of affairs. The filing of an FIR is still dreaded upon and indeed a Herculean task for ordinary citizens. It is issued mostly under political pressure or extreme grievousness of the crime. It is high time the much-delayed police reforms are implemented by the government to rid the force of political or other undue interference in their day-to-day working, thereby making them efficient and accountable for any lapses.
RAMIT BAGGA, Panchkula
Distance education is a hope for those students who can’t get themselves enrolled in regular education due to various reasons. IGNOU is the sole Central open university in the country, with branches abroad. A big section of students who enrolls themselves with it are working in the private sector, and want to study along with work. There are many administrative deficiencies in IGNOU that one gets to know only after admission. It used to give prescribed time limit to the learner for the completion of courses. It was five years in the case of a postgraduation degree. If anyone could not complete his/her degree during the time limit, he/she could go for re-registration after giving a nominal fee. But recently, IGNOU has stopped this facility, which is not in the interest of working students. It is an anti-student decision.
Hitesh Arya, Bhiwani
Service above all
Apropos of “‘Service before self’ far more than a motto”, as stated by the Buddha, the world is transient and changes every second. Service remains unchanged. The Bible says, ‘Let not your left hand know what your right hand gives’. So, in this material world, while we take care of our own needs, we must also bear in mind the meaning of service with no selfish motive — Seva parmo dharma.
Jashan Goyal, Bathinda
The farm reform Acts passed by Parliament have been rejected by the Punjab Legislative Assembly, and now, a new legal battle shall start in courts on whether Acts passed by Parliament can be nullified by a State or if the Acts shall prevail. During this period, Punjab shall not allow the provisions of the Acts to be implemented in the state. A strange situation has been created here. Had there been proper discussions, and the Opposition, media and people had been allowed to say something, the results would have been better. The people of India are not in a mood to adopt revolutionary changes and the state, too, must go ahead slowly. Most of the farmers still do not know what Parliament passed and why Punjab has nullified the Acts.
Dalip Singh Wasan, Patiala
Atal Tunnel has been dedicated to the nation. It’s a great feat of human advancement in the field of technology. It has brought much relief to the people of Lahaul and Spiti, but at the same time, the atmosphere of this district is likely to be polluted. There are reports of large-scale littering because of the tourist influx. There is a need to give due attention to this fact so that the sanctity and virginity of Lahaul remains intact.
Santosh Jamwal, Hamirpur
Go easy this festival
PM Modi’s speech regarding the pandemic should be taken as a wake-up call. At no cost should we let our guard down during the coming festival and winter days. We will have to celebrate with caution. Norms on mask use, social distancing, hygiene etc. should be followed very seriously. Let us not congregate this year, and also avoid ostentatious celebrations. Why not pray and appease our gods this year from our abodes only?
SUNIL CHOPRA, LUDHIANA
Need maximum caution
Reference to ‘Positivity rate below 8%...’; however heartwarming the news, we should consider it cautiously. Laxity by the people can be seen everywhere. They are behaving as if the coronavirus can’t infect them. Moreover, developed countries like the UK and US have also been battling more acute waves of the virus. Apathy can become a suicidal scenario for all of us, since we won’t have a vaccine for the next nine-12 months.
Mehul Monga, Amritsar
Apropos of ‘Paper for HRTC posts leaked from Shahpur HIET: cops’; the Himachal Pradesh Police has booked a candidate under Section 420 of the IPC for leaking a question paper. Unfortunately, myriad recruitment question papers are leaked every year. These incidents raise questions about the security arrangements being made by organisers at examination centres. It is also an injustice with students who study hard with a dream to crack examinations and get jobs. Apart from this, it leads to the creation of distrust among jobless youth. No doubt legal actions are taken against delinquents, but these are not enough to make the system transparent. The government should ensure complete transparency and strict measures must be taken during written examinations so that such incidents do not recur.
PULKIT JAIN, BANUR
Follow Delhi’s lead
The ‘Red light on, gaadi off campaign’ is a welcome move amid these challenging times and is expected to help Delhi withstand the spectre of increasing pollution. The unlocking process, on the one hand, has bestowed life on various stagnant sectors of the economy, while on the other hand, it has undone all the good done to nature during the nationwide lockdown. Moreover, the recent surge in the cases of stubble burning is worsening the situation. Thus, other states should also take a leaf from the Delhi CM’s book and initiate some steps in order to curb pollution.
Harshita Sharma, Sonepat
International Stammering Awareness Day is celebrated on October 22. In India, millions of people are confronting the challenge of stammering. It creates problems with regard to education, interpersonal relationships, social activities, and finding employment. Our society recognises that every individual must speak fluently. Those who stammer are isolated and many times judged incapable of jobs and marriage. People should accept stammering as human diversity. If you meet someone who stammers, listen to him patiently, give time to speak, and do not make any assumptions. Equal opportunities and full participation may empower people who stammer. At the same time, those who stammer should accept stammering and talk to more people and remove any fear.
Amit Singh Kushwaha, Satna
The news ‘Foes NC, PDP forge 6-party alliance’ is ominous. These pro-Pak elements would endanger the hard-earned fragile peace in Kashmir, which is limping back to normalcy. Winter is setting in, and Pakistan would try to push terrorists into the Valley. With pro-Pakistan elements making their intentions clear, the security forces will have a tough time. The government move to release them seems slightly premature. These politicians would certainly try to reignite anti-India sentiments for their own petty political gains.
AK SHARMA, CHANDIGARH
Social media reality
Some days ago, there was a tell-tale video on Bihar elections, ‘Gaon mein vikas aaya?’ that went viral. The video exposes the harsh reality of the condition of the downtrodden people. ‘Development’ becomes an integral part of political campaigns in name only and is hyped in manifestos and rallies. The reality is that there is no significant economic and social development to be seen in cities, towns and villages. The objective of elections is to gain power, not social and economic development to improve the quality of life of people. Whereas mainstream media has become a pawn of political parties, it is only through social media that the lack of development is reflected through videos and memes which go viral.
Sukanya Roy, Chandigarh
Fine for littering
Apropos of ‘In Lahaul, Rs 1,000 fine for littering’, the decision of the Sissu panchayat deserves kudos. Swachhta Abhiyan has certainly been helpful in spurring the cleanliness drive, but in the absence of a stringent law, it is difficult to maintain it. The Himachal Government should include this decision through legislation in the Panchayati Raj Act, to be followed throughout the state. Anti-social elements deliberately flout rules.
IQBAL SINGH, Hamirpur
Refer to ‘Farm fires under scrutiny’; states should take up the issue of stubble burning very seriously, as still the menace is not being tackled. Several incidents are reported where the crop lying ready has been damaged on account of fire in the fields due to negligence of farmers who burn stubble. Eminent academicians and agricultural research scientists should frame a process to make the performance of states on environment one of the parameters to put an end to stubble burning, and impose heavy penalty on violators and disconnect electric supply to tube wells of defaulting farmers. Efforts must also be initiated to sensitise farmers on the issue.
Harpreet Sandhu, Ludhiana
Apropos of ‘No slide for Sonar Bangla’, IMF’s forecasting that Bangladesh will edge past India economically in per capita GDP should put a stop to our political negative rhetoric referring to our eastern good neighbour. In a world undermined by the pandemic, Bangladesh’s economic progress has been consistent, signifying its gains are durable, and its explore-oriented economy is expanding. India’s trajectory is a marked contrast, its growth rate has been uneven, and this year the IMF has projected a contraction. Following the ill-conceived demonetisation, India’s growth rate sputtered, while Bangladesh’s expansion only got better. Its fertility rate has fallen faster than India. As a Muslim majority country, this belies the right-wing myth that Muslims (in general) reproduce faster than Hindus (in general). Bangladesh’s growth springboard has been a tighter integration into a global value chain for textiles. An export-oriented approach remains the best bet to revive India’s economic performance. The government must expand economic cooperation and connectivity with Bangladesh. China is courting Bangladesh, and if we diss Dhaka for petty domestic politics, we may lose the economic as well as strategic game.
SK SINGH, by mail
Banned fuels have affected the health of citizens, resulting in respiratory ailments, heart problems and also heightened risk of cancer (‘Don’t use banned fuels industrialists’). Prohibition will help restore good health and bring down air pollution. This will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to climate change
Parul Gupta, by mail
Making history in IPL
History was created in the ongoing edition of the IPL being played in the UAE when Kings XI Punjab beat defending champions Mumbai Indians in the second super over. Till now, winners were decided in the first super over, but this is a tale of a win in the second one when the Punjab outfit was tasked to score a dozen to earn two points. ‘Saada Punjab’ achieved this with distinction. The competition is stiff — most of the matches are decided in the last over.
Gurdeep S Dhamrait, Dharampur
The best solution to the ongoing problem created by the new farm Acts is to exempt Punjab, Haryana and western UP from the new laws for five years. The above region consists of only 6 per cent of the total farming population of the country. Let the private players prove during the next five years the benefits of the new Acts to the remaining 94 per cent farmers. There would be a healthy competition between the old APMC Acts and new farm Acts to prove which is more beneficial to the farmers’ community.
Naresh Mohan Johar, Amritsar
Resolve farmers’ issues
Refer to ‘No minister, angry farmers walk out of meet’; the issues raised by the agitating farmers are serious and need immediate redress. Widespread agitation is causing heavy loss to the economy. Humiliating treatment was meted out to the farmer leaders who visited Delhi for talks, but no minister turned up to listen to them. This attitude must be condemned. If the new farm laws are really beneficial for the farmers, why has the government failed to convince the agitating farmers? And if the fears raised by the farmers are genuine, the government must listen to them and resolve the matter forthwith. Farmers are very important to sustain the economy of India. Farmer-friendly laws are needed to enhance their income, as promised by the Prime Minister.
KARNAIL SINGH, Kharar
Will it yield anything?
This refers to the appointment of the toothless Justice Lokur Committee aimed at containing environmental pollution due to unabating crop residue fires. It is a moot point why the apex court should take on itself the responsibility of the executive? There are instances when orders of the SC have remained on paper only, with no heads rolling for defiance — blocking of rail track by protesters against the new farm laws is the latest example, despite the mounting public inconvenience and loss to the economy. Vote bank politics is the culprit. But, who bothers?
Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula
The lone wish expressed by Sudha Murty at the first digital KSLF that poor kids should get three meals a day, have three sets of clothes, get education till class 12 and learn survival skills is, indeed, a bare necessity (The Sunday Tribune; ‘When pandemic forces…’). During the litfest, the plight of millions of migrant labourers was also highlighted, which, with the passage of time, has been forgotten in the wake of the Bihar Assembly elections. As of now, the political parties are not concerned about the distress of the workforce of the state and other burning issues.
Shadi Lal, by mail
No end to rape incidents
Every other day we read news of rape, murder, loot, snatching etc. Despite stringent laws to curb rape incidents, they are still occurring. Even the execution of three rapists was not a deterrent. In the recent Hathras rape case, the girl’s family says that she was raped, but, surprisingly, the charge has been denied by the police. It is also shocking that the police cremated the body by stealth at night against the family’s wishes. The police’s apathetic attitude is condemnable. Such rape incidents bear testimony to the fact that women are not safe anywhere and they are being objectified. Mindsets need a massive change. At the same time, the perpetrators must not be allowed to go scot-free and should be awarded the strictest punishment.
SANTOKH SINGH, Jalandhar
Demand for democracy
In Thailand, there is a big agitation against the monarchy. People are on the roads, seeking the implementation of democracy. In modern era, there is no place for monarchy. Britain also has monarchy, but its powers are limited. In Thailand, too, the king should make way for democracy. He will earn the respect of his people.
Rohan Kumar, Mohali
Power of youth
October 20 is observed as National Youth Confidence Day, which celebrates the energy, spirit and potential of youth, and encourages us to connect and inspire today’s youngsters for tomorrow’s success. India is home to a fifth of the world’s youth, while the rest of the world is ageing. From a young student’s perspective, I know how hard the path to success is, but with confidence and hard work, there are no limits. The youth of a nation are trustees of prosperity. So, what we invest into young people will impact their success in future, which, in turn, will impact the success of the country.
Beefathima, via mail
Apropos of ‘Anti-terror braveheart shot in Punjab’, he and his family set an example of patriotism, fighting against terrorism. It was unfortunate that his security was withdrawn and not restored even after many requests by his family. The state government and the Centre are equally responsible for his killing. Things were visible to all, only giving awards was not sufficient. The Centre should have ensured his security in a way that the state government could not have withdrawn it. Steps should be taken to keep the morale high of the people dedicated to the country.
Ravinder kwatra, Shahabad Markanda
Comrade till the last
The killing of Balwinder Singh is painful. His tales of bravery are well-known. He was a fearless leader who hurt the susceptibilities of those whose only strength was gunpowder, and not ideas. He was patriotic and selflessly worked for the poor and weak around him. The extremists might have taken his life but he will go down in North India’s history as a sort of legendary comrade who braved 42 attempts of elimination on behalf of the separatist forces active in this border area.
Raj Bahadur Yadav, Fatehabad
A day after PM Narendra Modi said his government had fed 80 crore people over the past 7-8 months, India has been ranked 94th out of 107 countries on the Global Hunger Index (GHI), even lower than neighbours such as Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Pakistan. The government's claim that not a single person starved to death during the lockdown is unpalatable. The bitter truth is that we are still a third world nation where people are dying of lack of food, even as lakhs of tonnes of foodgrains are being allowed to rot.
Bidyut Chatterjee, Faridabad
Many life-saving medicines carry five to 10 times more MRP than the cost price whereas it should not have been more than double the cost of production. Some medicines have MRP 100-200 per cent more than the cost of production. The issue has been raised many times, but no action has been taken against erring companies. Poor patients are being allowed to be looted by such companies. This cannot happen without the connivance of officials and ministers who get huge amounts from these companies as a bribe. Even some doctors recommend costly medicines, for which they get hefty commission. They hardly recommend generic medicines which are cheaper. Shops like Modikhana that sell medicines at prices much lower than the MRP should be opened in all cities. The licence of defaulter companies should be cancelled.
BL Gohal, Nabha
At what cost!
Refer to ‘Remdesivir not effective: Study’, so far Remdesivir was considered as a gold standard and a wonder drug for moderate to severe cases. Attendants of patients used to run frantically from pillar to post to buy it, even at the cost of 40,000 or more, against its MRP of about Rs 5,500. And now comes the report that it is not effective. The biggest beneficiaries of this fallacious information have been drug companies who have pocketed billions by now. This is called ‘finding opportunity in adversity’.
Balbir Singh Kakkar, Jalandhar
Refer to ‘Online studies make it worse for special children', online learning has come to the rescue of students in a virtual world, but there is a plethora of issues, too. Students without devices and proper Internet facility can’t rely on e-learning. Those helpless are forced to drop out. And those who are attending the classes also face strain on eyes and suffer headache due to longer screen time. Sometimes, the data is used up midway. Reopening educational institutions seems to be the only solution.
Pulkit Jain, Banur
Refer to the news that PSPCL engineers have opposed the move to ‘sell’ land of Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant at Bathinda at the throwaway price of Re 1/acre, when the market price of the land is over Rs 4,000 crore. The proceeds can be best utilised to infuse equity to acquire assets of supercritical technology under the state sector. The issue has been highlighted by experts in various articles and at other platforms to reduce electricity tariff to give relief to the common man and other sectors of the economy. It is surprising that the decision to hand over the land to PUDA was taken during the tenure of one of their own CMD, who had earlier been advocating that the plant can be run efficiently. Where were these leaders then?
Bhupinder Singh, Patiala
Refer to news report ‘Will counter BJP narrative on farm laws, say Punjab unions (Oct 16)’, the BJP’s narrative can be termed only as rhetoric. The ruling party leaders have come out to inform the farmers on farm laws but may not be able to convince them as farmers have apprehensions over the guarantee that their paddy, wheat, pulses, fruit and vegetable crops would fetch a higher rate. They also want assurances about the place where they would be selling their produce after the dissolution of the mandi system and the modalities of procurement by the government agencies. Will the government fix a higher MSP or do away with it totally? The government should have taken the farmers into confidence before enacting the farm laws instead of thrusting it upon them.
Roop Singh Negi, Solan
The news that the Covid curve in India is finally flattening is a positive development. But it does not mean that we should lower our guard. The festive season is approaching and our social responsibility has increased. We need to take all necessary precautions like wearing a mask, not crowding public places etc. Social distancing needs to be maintained at all places. Not only the festival season, burning of crop stubble can also trigger a second wave of the pandemic. Thus, we should follow all necessary precautions to check the pandemic and prevent a second wave.
Saikrit Gulati, Chandigarh
After the release of former J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti, it is time to make another push for bringing normalcy in Kashmir. A way must be paved for the resumption of the political processes, which have remained in limbo since the nullification of Article 370. Mehbooba’s continued detention after the release of Farooq and Omar Abdullah had raised eyebrows. However, her release came just ahead of a Supreme Court hearing on her daughter’s petition, alleging illegal detention, which indicates that the J&K administration has not worked out a political deal with her. An economic package and allowing 4G services could help break the political stalemate and change the popular sentiment in J&K.
PS Kaur, by mail
Apropos of the ‘Battle of the gladiators’ (Oct 16); before switching on to Republic TV channel, said to be owned by a BJP bigwig, Arnab Goswami was regarded as among the best TV anchors. The rise of Republic TV, through alleged TRP irregularities, needs to be investigated, if it leads to scams and fraud. Sushant Singh Rajput's suicide case has taken an ugly turn mostly to derive political mileage. In Bihar, from where Sushant hailed, masks have been manufactured with Sushant's photo on it for distribution. But the matter is now settled, with technical reports of the case being a 'suicide'. TRP scam or fraud if any, must reach its logical and legal conclusion for the good of the Indian media.
BM Singh, Amritsar
Reference to the article ‘Oppn needs a positive campaign in Bihar (Oct 16)’, the role of most channels reeks of bias. The voters of Bihar seem to be caught between the devil and the deep sea. Nitish Kumar betrayed the mandate given by the people in favor of the Mahagathbandan by deserting the grand alliance and forming a government with the BJP. He may have established law and order but on all other fronts, his performance has been nothing to write home about. Anti-incumbency would have been a big factor if people had a credible alternative before them.
Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa
The Shaheen Bagh protest is long over. It ended in March, but in many small towns across the country, taking inspiration from Shaheen Bagh, similar sit-ins had come up to express opposition to the discriminatory CAA law. With due respect, the court response shows a restricted view of the public sphere. Certainly, it is unexceptionable that sit-in protests must not inconvenience the citizens who wish to go on with work and play. But in a democracy which assures the right to dissent, this is surely a negation, not a flexible rule. The onus was on the court to understand why the protesters converged at Shaheen Bagh and not elsewhere. A public space must have not just consensus, but be a common ground to give expression to new needs and demands to dispel old inequalities and discrimination.
EL Singh, by mail
Cinema hall protocol
Cinema halls are reopening across the country. However, strict measures need to be taken so that they don’t become a space for mass infection. Social distancing norms and the use of face masks and besides steps for ensuring hygiene need to be taken. Prevention is always better than cure.
Jubel D’Cruz, Mumbai
Refer to ‘China's Ladakh rant (Oct 15)’; China claims that it doesn’t recognise Ladakh or Arunachal Pradesh is nothing but a farce. It indicates that the multiple rounds of talks between India and China at various levels in recent months, after the Galwan incident, haven’t changed the latter’s position in creating tensions along the LAC. China’s claim that the standoff has been triggered by India’s action of ramping up border infrastructure is a lame excuse to defend its aggression. India is a sovereign nation and it is legitimate for it improve its border infrastructure to defend its territory. It is no nation’s business to interfere in the internal affairs of India, either with respect to Ladakh or Arunachal Pradesh. A beleaguered China, facing attack from the international community for mishandling the pandemic, is desperate and trying to shift the blame on to India. India should stand firm and engage in diplomatic process to checkmate China’s evil designs.
N Sadhasiva Reddy, Bengaluru
Economic forecast bleak
The IMF’s World Economic Outlook puts in perspective a symbolic but dismal fact: India will end this year with a per capita GDP below Bangladesh’s and thus become the third poorest nation in South Asia (only faring better than Pakistan and Nepal). What is disappointing is that Bangladesh’s GDP per capita was 40 per cent lower than India’s only five years ago.While the last five years saw a rapid growth in Bangladesh led by a rise in exports and increase in manufacturing competitiveness, India became a laggard with tepid exports and lack of job creation. The handling of the pandemic has further exacerbated the gulf, leading to a lull in the economic cycle. The recovery will be long and tedious.
Gurjyot Singh, Shimla
Refer to ‘Cabinet nod to 33 per cent women quota in direct recruitment’ (Oct 15); on the one hand, the government is planning recruitment possibilities while on the other, it declared that there would be no government jobs until March 31. There is no explanation on how this is going to work. It will be beneficial for women’s uplift and to ensure financial independence. Also, the elections are near. Is this genuinely for the welfare of society or just another political stunt?
Diya Arora, Bathinda
Apropos of ‘Women panel chief meets woman held captive in toilet by husband,’ human rights and women/child welfare commissions should mandate village panchayats and municipal councillors to constitute welfare committees in every locality, mohalla or group housing complex for easy access by victims or their informers. Neighbourhood is the first watchdog.
Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula
Fall in carbon emissions
A research shows that in the first half of this year, global carbon dioxide emissions had fallen by 8.8%. It was because of the restrictions imposed due to Covid-19. These restrictions have proved to be beneficial as the global temperatures were increasing and leading to the depletion of the ozone layer. Every year, governments should impose such restrictions for some time as it would help to maintain the global temperatures.
Parwinder Kaur, Ludhiana
Half the story
It is strange that the writer (‘Shaheen Bagh and dissent in democracy’) has eulogised the protests without debating the contents of the CAA, as expected of a former Law Commission member. In the accompanying photo, a burqa-clad woman is seen holding a placard, ‘Who the hell are you to say, I am not an Indian?’ Who could she be? An Indian citizen afraid of losing her citizenship, for which there is no provision in the Act? Or a Bangladeshi infiltrator demanding that she be placed in the same category as a persecuted Hindu, Sikh, Christian and Buddhist fleeing Pakistan, Bangladesh or Afghanistan? The protesters at Shaheen Bagh, mostly uneducated Muslim women, were brainwashed into thinking that the CAA would threaten their citizenship. There is no provision in the Constitution to annul the citizenship of a person who is a citizen by birth.
Priyadarshi Dutta, New Delhi
Need another Gandhi
It is courageous of the writer to ask ‘why it should be so?’ (‘Tales of love, steeped in legend’). Indeed it was gracious of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government to purchase the old buildings and convert them into museums. Even after the carnage of the Partition, Indians appreciated Muslim artistes like Rafi, Naushad, Dilip Kumar, Mehboob Khan, Meena Kumari, Nargis and Madhubala. We were secularists. Hindus are supposed to be liberal. Lord Ram spread the message of love and equality. Then, what has gone wrong? Leave aside the sufferings of Muslims, Dalit girls and women are raped and butchered. We Indians, especially Ram bhakts, need to introspect. How I wish Mahatma Gandhi were born again.
Gurdev Singh, Mohali
It has been observed that whenever the Abdullahs are out of power in J&K, they vent their frustration by spitting venom against the country and the government of the day. Farooq Abdullah is now looking towards China for restoring Article 370. It is astonishing that an MP who is drawing his pay and perks from the national exchequer makes such an absurd, anti-national statement. Can the people and the government of an independent country tolerate such a statement? The government should take a serious note of his utterances and take stern action under the law of the land.
Jagdish Banyal, Una
Farooq Abdullah wrong
It was shocking to read the statement of Farooq Abdullah, MP and three-time CM of J&K, that Article 370 may get restored with the help of China’s might. He must keep it in mind that it is an internal matter of India and no one can intervene in it. All leading newspapers have criticised the detention of state opposition leaders. Abdullah’s statement will not be helpful, rather he has downgraded his status.
Subhash C Taneja, Gurugram
More than meets the eye
‘The Hathras question (Oct 14)’ casts aspersions on the intent of the UP administration in its inhuman act of the midnight cremation of the rape victim. The DM could not have taken such a drastic step on his own. The decision to cremate the body must have been sanctioned by the CM himself. The Yogi government is selectively planting misinformation through a friendly electronic media that it was a case of ‘honour’ killing and not of rape by upper caste culprits of the same village. Another bogey of Rs 100 crore being pumped into India to begin caste riots has been planted by the UP Chief Minister. Surprisingly, the ED has not confirmed the news of confiscation of this money. The UP administration has mishandled this sensitive case since the beginning.
Arun Hastir, Gurdaspur
RTI potential not fulfilled
Refer to ‘Plug gaps to make RTI Act realise potential (Oct 14)’; I have been using this Act since its inception on issues concerning the maladministration of our universities and colleges. To my dismay, I have found the Act to be ineffective. State public information officers (SPIOs), mostly superintendents of the department concerned, have scant regard for the rule of law, being at the fag-end of their career. Some of them are so brazen and incorrigible that they simply transfer the application to other public authority for doing the needful. The First Appellate Authority (FAA), mostly the senior functionary of the department, acts in unison with the incompetent, apathetic SPIO. The politically appointed State Information Commissioners (SICs), mostly unscrupulous retired bureaucrats having nothing at stake, have a lackadaisical attitude. They simply pass orders without giving any cogent reasons. The Act enacted for bringing transparency, accountability and good governance has failed to help the common man. Unfortunately, RTI applications are treated as complaints and RTI applicants as criminals. In 90 per cent cases, the SPIOs conceal information and the FAA upholds the order of the SPIO.
Anil Bhatia, Hisar
Strict policing needed
Apropos of ‘Shootouts in Chandigarh (Oct 14)’, it’s shocking to read about yet another killing. With the recent spurt in crime in the tricity, it looks like criminals have no fear of the police. Aggressive and efficient patrolling and frequent checking of vehicles, particularly at night, can help check crime. The police need to use its intelligence wing to nab the culprits before or after the incidents.
Eliminate farmers’ doubts
It is the responsibility of farmers and all political parties not to let Punjab’s environment deteriorate. Commuters to Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar are facing difficulties due to the disruption in the running of trains since September 24. Railway revenue is declining. The Central government and the Government of Punjab should jointly introduce amendments to agricultural reform laws, eliminating the doubts of representatives and organisations of the farmers. Also, the trains should be made operational as soon as possible.
Yugal Kishore Sharma, Faridabad
Take bull by the horns
Apropos of ‘Dispute part of China mission: Rajnath’, the tensions between India and China continue to prevail despite numerous efforts to resolve them. It is time India should take strong action either strategically or from the defence angle. As many as 44 bridges made by the BRO were inaugurated by Rajnath Singh, all in strategic areas that gives India an advantage for the movement of troops. It is time to catch the bull by its horn and do what it takes to resolve this conflict once and for all. Diplomatic steps should also be taken to build pressure on China.
Ishita Kukreja, Ludhiana
A propos of ‘LTC cash vouchers, fest advance to spur demand’ (Oct 13), these steps are too feeble to spur demand, and needless to say, in the wrong direction. What does festival advance mean to millions of employees stuck by the Covid syndrome, and when the government is advocating social distancing? These steps look contradictory at best. People cannot be expected to spend in times of crisis and uncertainty. The government should open up businesses and markets with caution and care. The WHO is changing guidelines daily, and with no foolproof methods in place to stop Covid spread, the widely accepted norm of keeping distance and washing hands should be strictly advised. As soon as the fear goes away, generation of demand will be automatic.
Ashok Goswami, New York
Apropos of ‘Lahaul hotels witness 80% occupancy’ (Oct 12), the Atal Tunnel has proved to be beneficial to the economy of the hill state and has changed the dynamics of tourism as for a long part of the year, the area was shut down for the movement of people. It will create multiple employment opportunities in the state and improve connectivity with other parts of the country, especially during the winters. Even though the cost of such projects is high, the benefits are immense.
Ishita Kukreja, by mail
I applaud the Union Government’s Svamitva scheme, under which every villager will get a property card (land, house, etc) for what they own, but don’t have any ownership document. The scheme is a game-changer that will not only empower villagers, but will also reduce a huge burden off the judicial system. It will complement the recent agriculture reforms and open up avenues for various economic and development activities in rural India. The digital map produced as a byproduct of this scheme will be another game changer in the field of agriculture, forestry, rural infrastructure, healthcare, security, law enforcement and disaster management.
Chander Sangra, Ireland
Refer to ‘Fighting for farmers’, Punjab political parties are thinking about the 2022 elections. The Akalis said their party sacrificed for the farmers by giving up the Cabinet berth. The Congress said the sacrifice of the Akalis was a drama, and then its leaders sat comfortably on tractors with Bisleri water, to show support to farmers. But in reality, sitting under the sun, on the ground, on the railway track, and taking a huge risk during the pandemic, it is the farmers who are struggling and making a sacrifice.
Nikita sharma, by mail
Refer to farm laws, the GOI certainly has not done its homework before pushing and passing the farm Bills. Earlier, at the ground level, it failed to interact with the farmers’ bodies to understand what they wanted and tell them about the reforms. The farmers’ protests in prominent agrarian states of Punjab and Haryana and many others too are an indicator of the resentment which is spreading across India. The Centre’s pro-urban and pro-corporate policies are visible, as it always asks for comments from MSMEs and other big industrial bodies before framing policies for the manufacturing sector. Never before have the farmers united, as is being seen now. They apprehend that the big corporates are going to benefit, and not the farmers as most of them are small and marginal farmers, with no understanding of commercial issues in these laws. In fact, in such an impasse, the role of cooperatives of the farmers should be explored rather than just encouraging industrial corporates who are known for profiteering at the expense of farmers.
Brij B Goyal, Ludhiana
The way the police have behaved with a former Sikh ex-serviceman (‘Minorities panel moved…’) in West Bengal is highly deplorable. It seems the present state government cannot tolerate the activities of any opposition party. Instead of development politics, it has been adopting narrow politics with an eye on the vote bank. A thorough investigation should be undertaken and the police personnel at the helm of affairs must be punished.
Shankar Chatterjee, Hyderabad
Address the issue
Many Indians, specially employees working in the government or private sectors are in the same dilemma, but have the privilege of having several home addresses due to frequent transfers and a sense of belongingness to place of work (‘Where do we really belong?’). In today’s ‘one India’ era, permanent address generally asked for in every application/form has no meaning and should be dispensed with.
NARENDRA KUMAR SINGHAL, NOIDA
‘When the entire system fails’ (The Sunday Tribune) provides a graphic account of the soul-stirring misery and eventual death of a young woman victim of the system. The Hathras incident is a comment on the falling and failing social, law and order, health and political system which stands inherently weakened and subverted by vested interests. Frequent demand and transfer of cases to the CBI bespeaks poorly of the state police, besides denting the image of the Central agency which politicians are out to manoeuvre to shift the focus from them. Such a situation develops when various institutions are without spirit and exist only in form, as is evidenced by the treatment meted out to the poor victim at the hands of various authorities from the time of deadly attack to the day of her death.
Jagvinder Singh Brar, Patiala
It is high time the police and the bureaucracy are freed from political influence. Police reforms must be implemented at the earliest. The investigating agencies must follow SOPs for serious crimes so that valuable evidence to prosecute the accused is not lost. Senior civil servants and police officers must implement the rule of law for every citizen as per the guidelines.
Sanjay Kapoor, Samrala
Physician, heal thyself
Following the Hathras case and its subsequent mishandling by the UP Police, the Centre’s advisory to all states and UTs regarding mandatory police action is like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. The Central leadership kept silent for long to let the dust settle down. But the Yogi government touched the nadir of ignominy by not allowing the victim’s family to see her body, and then cremating it at midnight. Realising the damage to the party image and possible loss in the forthcoming Bihar elections, now comes the MHA advisory which is just a repetition of the one issued on December 5, 2019, prescribing proactive action in crime against women. Is the government serious about impartially enforcing the law? Instead of giving the incident a communal colour, the government should acknowledge its blunders from the beginning of the case, and then apply balm to the injury.
Arun Bala, Bathinda
Apropos of ‘Hathras and Hindutva’ (Nous Indica), criminals do not belong to any caste, creed or religion nor do they believe in any ideology or nationality. Thus, so long as society lives, crime will take place, but it can be contained to the minimum through active vigilance and by creating the fear of law among criminals. Rape is the meanest of mean crimes. It leaves a black spot on the face of society. When such a heinous crime occurs, all merits of the government are negated. In view of the gravity of the Hathras incident, the government should deal with the case honestly and abide by the law of the land. Justice should be delivered to the victim and her family. Gandhi’s teachings should become a way of life for the people.
NIRMAL KUMAR, PANCHKULA
Tales of love and hate
Refer to ‘Tales of love steeped in legends’; had the writer made serious efforts in Indian universities, he could have met eminent scholars and poets of the Urdu language in India. In Ambala, every year an Indo-Pak mushaira used to be organised to promote cultural ties among the people of the two countries. India has invited Pakistani singers, actors, and poets on various occasions for better relations. The writer should tell tales of love to the rulers and the army of Pakistan, who send terrorists to India. Unfortunately, the creation of Pakistan was the result of communal hatred which still lingers on in the minds of the political leaders and religious clerics and fanatics.
KRISHAN MALHOTRA, Ambala Cantt
Refer to ‘Active cases fall…’; it is heartening for Punjab, but it is not so for all states, like Kerala, that once had a recovery rate of 95% and seemed to have contained the virus spread. They are again undergoing a harsh resurgence. Globally, too, the second wave is round the corner. There should be no laxity by the administration and the people till a sure-shot vaccine arrives. Some incorrigible elements can lead to a catastrophic spurt in cases.
Mehul Monga, Amritsar
Some good steps
The government has taken a praiseworthy step in making the charging of interest on interest illegal for the loans below Rs 2 crore. It will give a good boost to the industry during these days of pandemic. The government has also increased the moratorium period for tourism and other important sectors. This is also a welcome step. It should also increase the moratorium period for builders and real estate.
NPS Sohal, Chandigarh
Refer to ‘Hathras and Hindutva’ (Nous Indica); the point that ‘Hindu nationalist politics, or Hindutva is instinctively benign towards dominant groups’ is one of the old caste-and-gender fault lines in our social scheme of things, where lower caste women's respect, modesty and even life are still at stake. Not only do proponents of Hindutva politics go soft on rapists or perpetrators of other crimes (such as cow vigilantes or anti-Romeo squads), but also the police, bureaucracy, upper-caste women and mahapanchayats shut their eyes to the suffering of lower-caste victims. Caste equations among Hindus and power opportunism are so intricately and astutely woven into our politics that the concept of social justice and gender equality for the poorest of the poor remains an elusive phenomenon.
Abhimanyu Malik, Jind
Symbol of atrocities
Refer to ‘Hathras and Hindutva’; Hathras is becoming a symbol of atrocities against the Dalits. Despite the promise of the Constitution that everyone is equal before the law, the reality is otherwise. Dalit women often find themselves at the bottom of India’s hierarchy. Can we call it an ‘encounter cremation’ aimed to destroy evidence and bury justice? Even during the rule of Mayawati, herself a Dalit, there was hardly any noticeable decline in crime against women. There is a culture of impunity, which removes any fear of accountability.
Lajwant Singh, by mail
Apropos of ‘Province status for Gilgit-Baltistan helps China’; it is suspected that the decision to hold polls and annex Gilgit-Baltistan as the fifth province of Pakistan is influenced by China. The Karakoram highway linking China and Gilgit-Baltistan to the Pakistani hinterland and the port of Gwadar is being built by Chinese enterprises. More than $40 billion is invested in this project. Pakistan’s annexation of Gilgit-Baltistan and the holding of polls will give political and legal fig leaf cover for China and its belt and road projects being built in PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan. The longer-term plan of China is to connect Nepal to the highway, bypassing India again through disputed Aksai Chin. India has rightfully objected to the project, and now the polls.
HN Ramakrishna, Bengaluru
It is sad to read that the youth who were earning handsome salary before Covid have to now search for new jobs. What is more disturbing is that most of them have work experience of over 10 years. Never even in their dream would they have thought of such a situation. The condition of small businessmen and shopkeepers is worse. Many of them have been forced to shut down their business establishments and are unable to pay the salaries of their employees. The government will have to make a strategy to help them. The problem is grave in India due to the large population.
Bir Devinder Singh Bedi, Sangrur
Why quote Yadav?
Refer to Subir Roy’s article on agriculture reforms (Oct 7); a portion of the writeup is devoted to what Yogendra Yadav says about these reforms. He is not an authority on this subject. He is a politician and is misguiding farmers to justify his own political existence. There has been no article on why precisely the Prime Minister had to go in for these reforms, in such haste, and why only the farmers of Punjab are so incensed. The PM calls the reforms a game-changer, while farmers call them a death warrant. Where lies the truth? Even Dr Ashok Gulati, a renowned agriculture economist, could not give answers satisfactorily in his article published earlier.
RS Rathee, Gurugram
With reference to ‘Swanky Lamborghini registered in Indora a surprise’ (Oct 9); it is the loopholes in the system that impel people of other states to get their vehicles registered at a cheaper rate. Though the law states that one can register a vehicle in Himachal Pradesh even if he is a tenant, the department of vehicle registration needs to make a physical check whether the owner is really staying in the state as a tenant. As long as such checks are not done, and, the fact that rules are silent on the ‘minimum’ stay of a person in the state to qualify to get the registration done, this will keep going on. And, of course, the state can rake in money through such transactions.
VS Jayaraman, Chennai
Support local vendors
The power of social media can be gauged from the outpouring of support for the kiosk ‘Baba ka Dhaba’, run by an elderly couple struggling to make ends meet during these unprecedented times. We need more good Samaritans to aid such livelihoods. I request everyone to support all local vendors.
Abhaysher Mann, by mail
This refers to the editorial, ‘Shaheen Bagh’ (Oct 9); the protests were largely spontaneous, mostly leaderless, sheltered under the portraits and banners of the founding fathers of the Constitution along with the Tricolour, with the agitationists demanding the rollback of a law that specifically excludes Muslims from its promise of fast-tracked citizenship to religious minorities. In its response, the government sought to label the protests as anti-national, and even criminalise them. By ignoring it, the Supreme Court constricts the definition of the public sphere.
SS Paul, Nadia
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has rightly pulled up the Punjab Police for having unfit cops entrusted with the task of raiding drug peddlers and bootleggers. It is not only physical fitness but a bigger malaise which facilitates the escape of accused from the spot. Apart from agility, it is the deliberate willful act of cops which helps the accused flee from the spot with an intent to weaken the case in lieu of illegal gratification. There is a need to identify the black sheep in the force besides overhauling the primitive mechanism associated with the raids.
Anil Vinayak, Amritsar
Justified or not
This refers to the news item ‘Accused write to SP, hint at honour killing’ (Oct 9); how can it be ascertained that what the accused have said in the letter is true? Definitely these four men want to save themselves by saying ridiculous things about the victim’s family. The two sides, that of the accused and the victim, only want to prove their point. Between them, justice will not be served. And again it will take another few years to get justice.
Nikita Bhati, Rajasthan
Why such rumours?
The media, apart from being the fourth pillar of democracy, is a powerful source of information. When people lose all hope of getting justice, the media helps them raise their voice. If the media is being trusted, then why are they indulging in unhealthy rivalry? By doing so, they are losing respect and only trying to gain publicity. Much wrong stuff is shown without evidence which creates anger among the people.
Ekta Sharma, Gurugram
Paswan leaves a void
The death of Ram Vilas Paswan will lead to a paradigm shift in the Bihar elections. Paswan had an uncanny acumen of reading the political pulse, which his son, Chirag, seems to have inherited. The issues in Bihar are numerous, but this time, it will be a plebiscitary election for Nitish Kumar, and may even see a re-run of the Maharashtra post-election scene, with the BJP calling the shots along with the LJP, and Nitish as a bronze medallist. This was evident with the exit of the LJP from the Bihar alliance.
Rajiv Boolchand Jain, Zirakpur
Apropos of ‘IMA questions Centre’s Ayush Covid protocol’ (Oct 9). It is really surprising that Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has advocated Ayush protocol for Covid patients. It’s unbelievable that the minister, who is himself an ENT specialist, can recommend Ashwagandha and Chyawanprash for the treatment of Covid. Would Vardhan care to inform the nation as to how many of his ministerial colleagues have been cured of Covid by these ayurvedic medicines? The IMA is justified in trashing this unsubstantiated treatment protocol.
Balbir Singh Kakkar, Jalandhar
Tale of two girls
Of the two girls, one from Hathras and another from Bollywood, the former’s story is far more heart-rending as it is about the Dalits who continue to suffer at grassroots level. The whole incident is mysterious and reeks of connivance and conspiracy. Not much is expected to come out from the inquiries. Rhea Chakraborty too has endured ordeal and if the charges against her prove to be inconclusive, it will only point to the way in which sensitive cases are handled in the country.
BM Singh, Amritsar
Refer to the news item ‘IAF to scale up combat capability: Bhadauria’ (Oct 9); the induction of the proposed 125 advanced combat jets will help plug the shortages, but the procurement will take some years to complete. The painfully slow procurement process, therefore, needs to be hastened. Otherwise, its very purpose would be defeated. Let us also desist from raising unnecessary controversies as has happened in the Rafale deal. Indigenous production of fighter jets is fast picking up. There has to be a judicious mix. Over-dependence on one source of supply should be avoided. Wg Cdr CL Sehgal (retd), Jalandhar
Apropos of ‘Quad cooperation’, India is playing its cards well to keep China at bay by aligning with the multilateral platform and sharing joint security concerns in the Indo-Pacific region. India, however, should be wary of making it an exclusive anti-China platform. The US appears to be veering in that direction, though its actual intent will emerge only after the presidential election. Emphasis should be on fair play and equity in world affairs and respecting territorial integrity and sovereignty. The focus should be on peaceful resolution, shunning coercive diplomacy, force and expansionism. Our differences with our neighbours also need to be resolved in that spirit by setting up emulative precedents. Issues relating to Covid-19, economic revival, trade, health, education, water resources, solar energy, disaster management etc, can be the likely areas which can make a difference in the lives of people of these countries.
GP Capt JS Boparai(Retd) Bhadsali
Building on Quad
Quad has become a mode of geopolitical signalling and its relevance was evident at the foreign ministers’ meeting. Critics are not wrong to grumble that the dialogue remains informal as it fails to produce a joint statement and that its only tangible accomplishment is its existence. China believes that it can use the power differential it has come to acquire to browbeat neighbours and make strategic gains. Therefore, an effective regional counterbalance is needed. This must be anchored by a credible security partnership. Quad should be open to engaging other like-minded countries in the region.
Yash Pal Ralhan, by mail
Clean up the act
Refer to ‘SGPC members sweep street’; the street being swept remains neat and tidy. Instead of sweeping it, they should have cleaned those streets which cry for cleanliness. How can a symbolic act of sweeping the Heritage Street absolve them of their ‘sin’ of skipping the ‘pashchatap path’? The act was merely an eyewash to beguile the gullible religious-minded people and a publicity stunt. Acts of penance are not done ostentatiously, but are performed incognito.
Tarsem S Bumrah, Batala
Sympathy with accused
Refer to the Hathras crime, the present dispensation seems to be expressing sympathy with the accused and not the victim. Earlier, when the Kathua rape case came to light, BJP MLAs claimed that the rapists were innocent. At Hathras, some BJP bigwigs are echoing the same feelings. The PM leaves no opportunity to remind people that he fasts during the Navratras, when he only drinks water. These people should remember that in justifying that which is wrong, they lose credibility when they are supposed to be upholding it.
Anmol Rattan Narang, Jalandhar
Air Force Day
Our country is celebrating the 88th anniversary of the establishment of the IAF. It started on a small scale, and is now one of the top forces of the world. It has fought many wars and showed its power, skills and bravery. The induction of Rafale has further strengthened its position.
Rohan Kumar, Mohali
A soldier’s family
No words can express our gratitude to the soldiers for their invaluable sacrifice and devotion in protecting borders and citizens of the country. Emotional pangs of long separation of a soldier’s family has no parallel (‘A mother’s heart knows no peace’). The piece has touched an emotional chord in many a people. My village in Ambala district had a fairly large number of youths in the defence forces in the 1960s and ’70s. Parents of a majority of them were illiterate and required someone to read out the letters of their sons to them and to send their reply. They avoided mentioning any unpleasant matter that could disturb their fauji boy’s peace or his devotion to duty. And so, would ask the writer to write in the end: Saddi fikar nahi karni, tun apna khyal changi tran rakhya kar (Do not worry about us, take care of yourself).
SK Dua, Mandi Dabwali
Dr Randhawa was also the father of healthcare engineering, started in 1969 at the PGIMER, which brought in appreciation from the WHO in 1981 (‘Happy birthday, Chandigarh’). He visualised the importance of a multi-disciplinary research comprising health, design, art, technology and environment. On request from the late Dr PN Chuttani and Dr PL Verma (both Padma Bhushan awardees), Dr Randhawa, as VC of the PAU, also joined the PGI. Thus started the journey of hospital engineering in 1969. He monitored the progress by talking to the PGI doctors. In 1982, he supported the need for the National Institute of Healthcare Engineering and Architecture, both for human and animal healthcare. The proposal was approved by the ministry concerned in 2007, but it is yet to start at the PGI.
JC Mehta, Sydney
Over the years, crime against women has increased. There is a delay in registering FIRs by the police. A criminal commits the crime when he is confident that nothing can go against him. Unless on-the-spot FIR, noting the minutest details of the crime, along with semen samples, are done, the courts would be helpless in the absence of evidence, and hence the accused are acquitted. Public prosecutors are also not well trained and are not paid handsomely. The victim’s family is already financially weak. The justice system is not favourable to the poor. The government has been failing to come up with a foolproof system to create fear among the molesters and rapists.
RK Arya, by mail
The CJI has rightly termed the Hathras incident as shocking, extraordinary and horrible. The role played by the police and the district administration is extraordinary and unprecedented. There should be a thorough investigation and those found guilty must be punished severely, that too within a short span of time.
Roop Singh Negi, Solan
The Civil Hospital in Bathinda is guilty of criminal negligence by infusing HIV-positive blood in unsuspected patients. Exemplary punishment is required as it put the life of patients at risk. Moreover, such episodes lead to a breach of faith of those who come for treatment. Earlier also, many such cases of negligence have been witnessed. The government should take strict action.
Amitoj Kaur, Patiala
LJP game plan
It appears to be the LJP’s game plan to downsize the JD(U) in the elections, and help BJP’s claim for chief ministership. Many state BJP leaders have chafed for long, playing second fiddle to Nitish. The younger Paswan wants to test his party’s independent standing in the elections. The BJP may not like to antagonise him. Even if Nitish wins another term, he will have to contend with a more assertive BJP and govern with diminished stature. The LJP’s snub to JD(U) is also another indication that Nitish Kumar cannot keep harping on his earlier achievements. A recent opinion poll points to his unpopularity, while predicting an NDA win.
SK Singh, by mail
Not CM’s fiefdom
The UP CM’s ham-handedness in dealing with the Hathras murder is unbecoming of him. He is slyly following a strategy that is better to be offensive than defensive. He ought not forget that the government is accountable and answerable to the people and nobody is above the law. India is a democracy and not under a despotic ruler. Throttling of voices critical of the government and running the state as a fiefdom is a misplaced approach. Though the erstwhile SP and BSP governments have not covered themselves in glory as far as law and order in the state is concerned, it seems that the Yogi government is striving to outdo them and set a new low in UP politics.
Deepak Singhal, Noida
Diverting public attention
Refer to “Yogi slaps sedition FIR on ‘unknown’ protesters” (Oct 6); in the Hathras rape and murder case, the UP Government is misusing the Act. The family of the victim is the one that is facing defamation because the government is denying the occurrence of rape. The government is trying to save the culprits by using constitutional means. All the political drama is being enacted to divert the attention of the public and the media to the Bihar elections.
TANVI NAGPAL, NEW DELHI
Satta alone matters
Refer to ‘Tales of decadence’ (Oct 6); it is no longer impossible to have an authoritarian government, rather a glimpse of it is already here. Their vision is very clear — power or satta at any cost. Presently, grabbing a tenure as an MLA or MP is regarded as an achievement. No job or business can compete with it. Unfortunately, we have to live with it.
D RAJ ARORA, AMBALA CANTT
Dwindling avian numbers
‘The fading voice of whistling birds’ (Oct 6) was a nice read. It is essential to save birds from the onslaught of rapid urbanisation, climate change and habitat destruction. The yesteryear experience of rising to the chirping of birds has been replaced by the increasing cacophony of vehicles and pollution. The dwindling bird number is a cause of concern, as they are a link between mankind and its ecosystem. Man’s incessant craving for a luxurious life has cast an ugly shadow on the well-being of the other species. We have a moral obligation to protect our environment. Bird diversity is immense in India. Birds must be protected not just for cultural purposes but also to improve the health of the forests and the overall ecosystem.
Vijay Singh Adhikari, Nainital
A PROPOS of ‘LJP out of NDA in Bihar’, the decision of the party, which does not have a large base in Bihar politics to field its candidates against the JD(U), indicates that the move is only to gain popularity than to win seats. Strange things are happening in Indian politics. Regional parties part ways with the ruling coalition at the Centre whenever state elections are held. If Chirag Paswan was so keen to oppose the JD(U), he should have advised his father Ram Vilas Paswan to quit the Union Cabinet first, and also put up his party candidates against the BJP that has decided to contest with Nitish Kumar as the CM face. The decision of the junior Paswan tantamounts to creating more rift between the JD(U) and BJP and will help the united opposition led by the RJD. Like Maharashtra, the Bihar election result may also provide a new coalition, as no individual party is likely to get a majority on its own.
MUKAND LAL KAUSHIK, by mail
It would be interesting to see which way the wind will blow. The positivity and hope with which the LJP has decided to say goodbye to the NDA would also be an acid test for the BJP. But the hint of ‘support’ shows the opportunistic approach and securing political reservation for the party if the wind does not blow in favour of the LJP. Nowadays, regional parties have shown the trend of charting their own way and keeping a distance from the ruling party apparently due to disapproval on some issues.
PANKAJ MADAN, Zirakpur
Refer to the news report ‘23 of Super-100 on JEE merit list’; the success of the Super-100 programme is encouraging. From this initiative, other states too must learn a lesson. Every three out of five students today have a dream to go abroad after high school, study there and eventually settle there. It may be because of issues regarding higher studies like difficulty to get admission, high fee of coaching and ruthless competition. But the fact that the government is helping students through this programme is heartening. All that the students have to do now is work hard. All other things like expenses are being taken care of by the authorities itself. All state governments must consider the matter seriously because the youth are the backbone of a state, and if the most brilliant minds migrate abroad, it will be a problem not only for the state, but also the country as a whole.
Aarzoo arora, Kapurthala
Not conducive for birds
Birds are indispensable for our ecosystem (‘The fading voice of whistling birds’, Oct 6). If their beauty is a treat for the eyes, their melodious chirping is a feast for the ears. By destroying their habitats, we are depriving ourselves of creatures that are vital for controlling pests, pollination, scavenging and maintaining the ecology. Early strict lockdowns considerably reduced air and noise pollution, giving once again a chance to these feathered friends to visit our cities. Such scenes were spectacular and hopefully get preserved.
Sunil Chopra, Ludhiana
Fit India movement
In connection with the raging pandemic, people should start thinking about their lifestyle. Those with poor eating habits, leading to obesity, high blood pressure and blood sugar level etc are at risk. Many deaths have occurred due to these diseases. We should try to improve our health by practising yoga and through improved eating habits. We should also motivate others to do so. We all should participate in the Fit India movement. Good health leads to increased productivity and happiness.
RAJAN SHARMA, CHAMBA
Teachers faltering, too
Reference to the news report ‘Three govt teachers in dock for availing subsidised foodgrain’ has come as a shame for a society that depends greatly on teachers for inculcating moral values and honesty among the students. Devouring what is meant for others by forging identities is embarrassing for society in general and the teaching community in particular. Recently, teachers in Rajasthan resorted to violence to protest against the government. Teachers are awarded for their immense contribution towards education every year. They are also deployed for rolling out welfare schemes for the public. The government must ensure their credibility with impeccable service record to prevent the recurrence of such crimes.
Money Arora, Ludhiana
Hats off to the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) for completing the Atal Tunnel on the Manali-Leh stretch. Though 70 per cent of the work was finished by 2014, the BJP government delayed it by stopping funds for the project. Otherwise, it would have been completed much earlier. The tunnel has two lanes for traffic where 3,000 cars and 1,500 trucks can move comfortably. I have seen the BRO’s works on hilly roads when I lived in NEFA from 1961 to 1965 and am full of appreciation for it.
RK Kapoor, Chandigarh
Tunnel a matter of pride
The long-awaited Atal Tunnel under Rohtang Pass, inaugurated by the PM, is among the first of its kind in the world. The daunting feat by the BRO has added to the country’s strategic strength. The biggest difficulty was in dealing with the unpredictable water inlet in the partly dug-out tunnel. This all-weather road is an engineering marvel and a matter of pride for the nation.
Kuldip Dosanjh, Jalandhar
Recently, a bizarre statement was made by the BJP MLA from Bairia in UP who said Hathras-like incidents can be stopped only if parents inculcate good values in their daughters. The MLA has been known for making controversial statements. He should realise where to fix the responsibility for heinous crimes. It reflects a distorted way of thinking. Society speaks of gender equality and such statements only point to the mindset which prevents it from happening.
Urvi Jain, Ujjain
Test of multilateralism
Reference to ‘UN has been at frontline of multilateralism’ (Oct 2); the ongoing UN General Assembly to mark its 75th anniversary comes at a time when the world body is facing its sternest test. With Covid-19 infecting millions, the world ought to be stepping up the cooperation to tame the disease. But the widening chasm between the United States and China is pulling the international community apart. This is undermining the work of various international bodies as exemplified by President Donald Trump to pull the United States out of the WHO. It is now clear that the UN-driven multilateralism as envisioned 75 years ago needs reforms to reflect the realities of today.
Mona Singh, Amritsar
Dealing with China
Apropos of “Xi reforms military to ‘fight and win’ battles” (Oct 5), as a dictatorial state, China can push measures with force and now wants to do the same with the rest of the world. Covid-19 spread from China, but it has not cared for world opinion. Countries have had to come together to take on China. India too will have to work out a fresh strategy to tackle a nation that has often proved to be deceptive in its deeds.
BM Singh, Amritsar
Tractor as symbol
Refer to the news item ‘BJP takes out tractor rally in Pathankot’ (Oct 5), after the popularity of mobile phone in online teaching, the tractor has become a symbol of farmers’ agitation. A tractor is a matter of pride for a farmer making the politicians adopt it to lead rallies to express solidarity with farmers. During the elections, politicians don various hues, putting on local costumes to enhance their appeal. During the present farmers’ agitation, the SAD and the Congress led a tractor rally to show their support. Not to be left behind, now the BJP planned a tractor rally in Pathankot to make the farmers aware of the benefits of the new farm laws.
Faqir Singh, Dasuya
Reference to the news item ‘Hathras sealed amid outrage, police claim victim not raped.’ It seems the Yogi government in UP has its own different interpretation of the law. After the Hathras victim died, state officials have gone to extraordinary lengths to prove that she was not raped. Since she was cremated hurriedly, in the dead of night and without the consent of her parents, the only evidence is of her dying declaration statement, but will it be enough to convict those she named. The incident has brought out flaws in our democracy.
LJS Panesar, by mail
Apropos of ‘Unreasonable curbs’ (Oct 3); barricading Hathras and putting an entire district under Section 144 to quell protests and preventing politicians from meeting the victim’s family shows the Yogi government’s eagerness to hide its failures. Why should a strong government feel so insecure as to cut off access to the village of a young Dalit girl brutalised by upper caste men? The answer lies in the heavy-handedness of the police and the UP government as it tries to brush under carpets its ineptitude.
EL Singh, by mail
Taking recourse to draconian measures in the face of massive outcry due to the horrific Hathras gangrape speaks volumes about how desperate and helpless a government can be in extremis (‘Unreasonable curbs’, Oct 3). Denying accessibility to the media and the Opposition to the aggrieved family and the victim’s rushed cremation reek of something fishy. Moreover, the precipitous imposition of Section 144 and the attempts to intimidate the public reflect that the government is making every possible effort to stifle dissent. That the judiciary has to often intervene to take culprits to task bespeaks the sorry state of affairs in our country. The government must make honest efforts to create a safe and conducive environment for women and award exemplary punishment to criminals who often go scot-free.
Vimal Sethi, Kapurthala
In a democratic country, the common people enjoy freedom of movement. People are not restrained from meeting one another in times of tragic incidents or social atrocities. Hathras is accessible to social activists, mediapersons and political leaders. Because of curbs under Section 144, the whole nation has become curious and concerned about how things are unfolding. Instead of supporting the victim’s family, the DM of Hathras was seen telling them in a video, ‘Aadhi media chali gayee hai, baaki bhi chale jayenge.’ The CM has reportedly suspended him along with the SP and the DSP over their mishandling of the entire situation. This is in the right direction and will discourage those in the bureaucracy who find it hard to empathise with the poor and weak. In its wisdom, the Allahabad High Court has taken suo motu cognisance of the incident and issued notices to all concerned. Social activists, upright journalists and honest political leaders, irrespective of their ideological affiliations, are a ray of hope in this darkness.
RAJ BAHADUR YADAV, Fatehabad
Being a woman in India
Do parents in India give birth to daughters so they may be raped and their bodies reduced to ashes? A brave girl like me is also wary of going out for a walk at dawn with my brother. The government is incompetent and unable to provide safety to girls, who are at the mercy of such shameless, disgusting men.
Devina Badhwar, Rohtak
Getting away with crime
Brutal gangrapes are taking place not only in UP, but also the whole country. The laws are stringent, and yet, there is little deterrence. Why can’t we have anti-rape laws like in Arab countries? India is called a land of goddesses, and women here are treated in the most contemptuous manner. A woman is not safe anywhere. Our laws, it seems, are not applicable to wicked men, who can do anything they want and get away with it.
DOLLY PAL, CHANDIGARH
Govt and education
Reference to the Oct 3 article regarding the chronic ailments in our education sector, to prevent the government from meddling, teachers’ recruitment should be undertaken by UPSC-type bodies. Unless we get good teachers, learning outcomes will remain poor, more so for the poor who have only education to help them overcome poverty. A volunteer teacher force of willing, retired and carefully chosen candidates could greatly supplement quality outcomes across India.
Vinay Tandon, by mail
Leave the dead alone
Apropos of ‘Defaming the dead’, denouncing a pure, departed soul for one’s ulterior motive and narrow gains is highly deplorable. Slanderous remarks are painful not only to those who have left for their heavenly abode, but also to the surviving members and their admirers, be it Staines, Sushant Singh Rajput or a rape victim done to death. Such meaningless utterances reek of meanness and maliciousness and the mindset of the speaker who knows that the dead cannot come back to defend themselves.
Sunil Chopra, Ludhiana
Wise decision by farmers
The farmers’ refusal to allow parties to take political mileage from their protests is a wise and bold decision. All parties are eager to join the protests, but we all know it is only for vote bank. None of the parties bother about the farmers or the common man. Whenever there is any social issue, these parties are ready to take undue advantage of the situation and befool the people. But today’s farmers are educated and intelligent and they won't be taken in by anybody’s hollow promises. The same is going to happen in the Hathras incident. The protesters need to be vigilant regarding the motives of all parties joining the protests. Genuine leaders, irrespective of political affiliation, should be welcomed to join.
Bir Devinder Singh Bedi, Sangrur
The brutal Hathras gangrape brings shame to humanity. After the 2012 Nirbhaya case, fast-track courts and a tougher rape law that included death penalty, was enacted. Despite continuous media coverage, the case took over seven years, the average being much higher. Governments have changed but nothing much has been done to improve the justice system. Crime statistics indicate the situation has got worse. There is no political will to enforce the laws. Unfortunately, even a heinous crime like rape becomes a political issue in India. Parties start exploiting the situation for political gains. People are fed up with the hypocrisy shown by parties.
K Kumar, Panchkula
Is CM Yogi Adityanath’s intelligence machinery so poor that he didn’t know what his administration was doing in the dead of night? As per Hindu traditions, no cremation takes place after sunset. Why such hasty cremation? Is Adityanath helpless before the high and mighty in his state? The UP government has much to answer for. The matter had not even died when another heinous rape and murder took place in UP. Taking suo motu notice, the HC has asked top officials to appear before it on October 12. Why not today, when the SC can function at midnight to hear a terrorist’s plea? Only quick justice can pacify the people. Heads must roll to fix accountability .
WG CDR CL SEHGAL (RETD), JALANDHAR
Crime against women
The rape and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit teenager exposes the disgusting manner in which crime against women is being approached and dealt with by the UP police which seems to have become a trigger-happy force since Yogi Adityanath took over as Chief Minister. Not only was it outrageous to have cremated the young woman in the dead of night without her family’s consent, but it has also stripped down every value that a human holds. Under the Yogi government, the state has witnessed a 27.9% rise in crime against Dalits. The UP CM must ensure the safety of women, and the state police must be held accountable.
SS Paul, Nadia
The demolition of Babri Masjid had sparked off a cycle of violence and riots across India, but the verdict of holding no one responsible comes as a shock. If no one was responsible, how did the masjid get demolished? The rule of law is at stake. The demolition was a moment of shame for India's constitutional democracy. It proves a disturbing fact that the majority and the mob have the right of way even in a democratic country. India’s track record of prosecuting those instigating communal riots is abysmal, which is the main reason why they recur with regularity. The CBI must examine its failure to prove the documentary evidence.
SK SINGH, by mail
Kudos to Capt Amarinder Singh for paying tributes to Lal Bahadur Shastri on his birth anniversary, along with Gandhi. CMs of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh and others perhaps forgot the great contributions of the second PM during the Indo-Pak War of 1965 and his slogan of ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’. Politicians of today need to remember that Shastri, too, was a son of Mother India and deserves our tributes forever, like others.
Upendra sharma, by mail
Shastri’s birthday too
October 2 is the birthday of two of our great leaders — Mahatma Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri. We all know what Gandhi has done for us, but do we know who was Shastri? Many of us are unaware of who he was. He was the second Prime Minister of India and one who initiated the project to make India one of the largest milk producers. He first dreamt of a new India. Gandhi had gifted us freedom, but Shastri gave the Mahatma’s efforts a direction. He was a man of short stature, but great will power.
SUMIT KUMAR CHOUDHARY, RAJPURA
Farmers must introspect
The innumerable cases of stubble burning, especially by farmers in Punjab and Haryana, show the apathetic attitude of farmers towards their own as well as society’s health and pollution. It’s helpful effects (kills slugs/pests, reduces nitrogen tie-up) are meagre compared to the harm (loss of nutrients, pollution from smoke, risk of fire spreading out of control, damage to electrical/electronics equipment from floating threads of conducting waste). The main adverse effects of crop residue burning include the emission of greenhouse gases that contributes to global warming, increased levels of particulate matter and smog that cause health hazards, loss of biodiversity of agricultural lands, and the deterioration of soil fertility. The farming community must introspect the damage to the environment and people’s health.
RAMIT BAGGA, Panchkula
Twenty-eight years is a long time, but in India, that is how long it can take for the wheels of justice to turn. In keeping with its many failures in high-profile cases, CBI’s prosecution of a criminal conspiracy in the Babri masjid demolition fell flat (‘Babri acquittal’). India’s track record of prosecuting communal riot leaders is dismal, which is a key reason why they recur with disturbing regularity. The CBI must examine its failure to prove documentary evidence like audio and video clips it brought to trial. Authorities are fond of saying the law will take its course, but such a lengthy course doesn’t speak well for the rule of law. The demolition of 1992 will remain a black day for Indian democracy till the conspiracy behind it is uncovered.
SANJAY CHOPRA, MOHALI
There’s little faith
It took 28 years to come to the conclusion that the demolition of the Babri masjid was not pre-planned. It reveals the working of our investigative agencies and the judiciary. That is the reason why people are losing faith in them. Imagine how much money and time was wasted on this case.
Bhupinder kochhar, by mail
Quite in vain
Sanity is drowned in the noise of rabble-rousers. But it is out of ‘innocence’ that one could blame the CBI. Courts can pronounce judgments over the evidence presented. Cages change but the parrot remains the same. Meanwhile, we can imagine where the Delhi riots case shall reach one day. Despite the videos seen by all, we can’t be sure what will finally be presented in the court.
Lalit Mohan Sharma, DHARAMSALA
Eliminating the middleman
Reference to the article ‘Caught in farm reforms’ (Sept 30); the agitation by farmers of Punjab revolves round full procurement of wheat at MSP by the FCI or private traders. Arhtiya is not a middleman as alleged by the Prime Minister. He only charges a commission of 2 per cent from the FCI for handling, cleaning, filling and loading of foodgrains. The role of the middleman comes across in the sale of vegetables in the main vegetable market. The farmer is constrained to sell his produce at a very low price due to the cartelisation of local traders. For example, a farmer sells carrot at Rs 8 per kg whereas it is available for Rs 30 at the consumer end. MS Gill, then Agriculture Commissioner, Punjab, eliminated the middleman by introducing the concept of Apni Mandi in Chandigarh and the cities of Punjab. A temporary market was set up in an open space in a sector, where farmers used to sell vegetables directly to consumers at a remunerative price, to the mutual benefit of both. Farmers’ cooperatives, and not the Bills, can set up such Apni Mandis and easily eliminate the middleman.
RS Rathee, Gurugram
The brutal act of rape and murder of yet another girl by upper-caste men in UP shows how social evils like casteism, patriarchy and inequality are still deep-rooted in our society. We, as a country, have been failing humanity for long, both at the individual and societal levels. It is high time that the UP government takes charge and looks into the increasing crime rate in the state. It should make sure that there is zero tolerance against such accused and that they are soon served with punishment, unlike the Nirbhaya rape case timeline. There is a long way for change to happen, but first, it has to start at an individual level, where we sensitise the boys and ‘educate’ them.
Sanjot Kaur, Ludhiana
Nothing has changed
It seems that the 2012 Nirbhaya rape-murder case has failed to kindle any fear among such gruesome criminals, or sensitise the system. It is again a tear-jerking moment for our country, where people venerate goddesses and are ready to do anything to have their blessings, but at the same time, women become the victims of such heinous crimes, despite stringent laws. The so-called ‘public servants’ should take the bull by its horns instead of indulging in the futile blame-game.
Harshita Sharma, Sonepat
Revolution in journalism
Media, which is the fourth pillar of a democracy, has lost its ethics and values. Instead of showing valuable, fact-based information to the public, some media channels are fooling the public with their over-sensationalised news to gain TRPs, which is disturbing and shameful. People should be aware enough to boycott such media houses. India needs a revolution in journalism.
Sourabh dhiman, by mail
Refer to ‘Another reprehensible rape’ (Sept 30); when lawmakers (MPs and MLAs) involved in gruesome and heinous crime like rape and murder roam free, especially in UP, such incidents are bound to recur. What a shameful picture we are displaying in front of the whole world! We want reforms in the UN for permanent membership, but one of the main objectives of the organisation — to save humanity — is not being adhered to in our own country. Poor conviction rate, police inaction, involvement of politicians and interference have helped rapists in such incidents. Construction of ‘freedom’ mandirs would be more useful than religious temples to save girls in India.
Wg Cdr Jasbir Minhas (retd), Mohali
Long road to justice
Refer to the Hathras rape and murder incident, such cases draw attention only after loud media coverage or public outrage. Sadly, to help rape victims get justice in our country, we need to bring such cases to the attention of our judiciary by protesting. Otherwise, this case would have been hushed or lying somewhere in the case files awaiting the judiciary’s attention. Moreover, even after such cases get the attention they deserve, the judiciary usually takes a long time to punish the culprits. Seems like we have another Nirbhaya whose family will have to fight for justice until they exhaust and break down.
Ayushi Bisht, Dehradun
Apropos of ‘Another reprehensible rape’, it is scary and upsetting. This is the model they wish to implement in every state. When humans act with cruelty, we call them ‘animals’, yet the only animal that displays cruelty is a human being. Boys need sex education and guidance. We don’t need to empower women, we need to educate men.
Mehak Chaturvedi, Mohali
Law of the jungle
The BJP leadership at the national level must take immediate action against those responsible for the law of the jungle prevailing in Uttar Pradesh. Any doublespeak on its part to let the guilty, however powerful and influential, circumvent the law, will only expose the party’s much-touted concern for the welfare of women.
TARSEM SINGH, MAHILPUR
Reference to ‘Another reprehensible rape’; the 19-year-old Dalit woman’s death has sparked outrage just like the 2012 Nirbhaya rape-murder. Since all the four accused have been arrested, their trial must take place in a fast-track court and they must be given capital punishment. With this incident, Uttar Pradesh under Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has become symbolic of the jungle raj.
Bhagwan Thadani, Mumbai
Negotiate with farmers
It is high time the government negotiates with farmer organisations to resolve their issues, else blocking of tracks and national highways would cause huge losses to the Railways and hamper the supply chain that could further lead to inflationary pressures on the economy to both the state as well as the country.
Jashandeep Singh, Amritsar
BJP in Bihar
Apropos of ‘Tejashwi looks to turn the tables on Nitish’ (Sept 30); Bihar in 2020 is radically different from what it was in 2015. Nitish Kumar has failed on numerous fronts during his last three tenures, be it the prohibition misadventure, dismal state of healthcare and education, long hibernation in his bungalow, and above all, mishandling of the return of migrant workers. The BJP’s ‘Chanakya’, Amit Shah, may now try to ensure that his party gets the coveted CM’s chair. The BJP will be the clear winner, leaving JD(U) and LJP far behind, and be the next ruler of Bihar. Tejashwi has no ‘surya’ in him to face the onslaught of the BJP leadership.
Rajiv Boolchand Jain, Zirakpur
Paddy fields on fire
The report ‘Pb sees 600 farm fires in 10 days’ (Sept 30) rightly points to the rising severity of air pollution in Punjab and non-implementation of anti-pollution legal measures. The practice of burning paddy stubble for its adverse environment and health consequences needs to be curbed forthwith. The approach of going soft on stubble-burning activity during the ongoing farmers’ agitation against the recently passed agricultural Bills for fear of reprisals brings to fore the need of prioritising the community health and the acts of pragmatism. Burning of stubble is not an essential part of the production process and it undermines the existing laws against pollution.
Jagvinder Singh Brar, Patiala