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Put state’s interests above politics

Jul 20, 2024

Power-starved political parties can go to any extent to fetch votes. Bengaluru has emerged as the biggest tech hub in India. Professionals from all over the country are employed by companies based in the city. The decision of the Karnataka Government to reserve a significant number of jobs in management and non-management categories for locals may compel several firms to shift their headquarters to some other state. Notably, courts have struck down such legislation in the past. The government must give precedence to the growth of the state over regional politics.

Wg Cdr JS Minhas (retd), Mohali

UGC shows the way

The UGC’s decision to ban unhealthy food items on campus is commendable. However, the consumption of processed food is not the only reason behind the rise in obesity among students. The youth nowadays lead a sedentary lifestyle. Youngsters, rather than playing outdoors, tend to spend much of their time scrolling on their phones. Very few of them engage in physical activities. Besides imposing a ban on junk food items, the UGC should make it mandatory for students to spend at least an hour a day on physical activities. It must also direct all colleges and universities to arrange the necessary equipment and facilities to that end.

Vikramjit Singh, Amritsar

Let them make an informed choice

Refer to ‘Give healthy options’; the UGC directive to prohibit unhealthy food items on the premises of higher educational institutions, while well-intentioned, requires a more nuanced approach. Simply banning junk food may not be effective, especially since the diverse and vast definitions of ‘unhealthy food’ could also include culturally significant items like samosas and chaat. Change is better driven by awareness and informed choices. Educational institutions should provide nutritious food options at affordable rates. It is important to recognise students as health-conscious adults and promote healthy eating habits while allowing them to indulge in junk food occasionally. An outright ban might push students to seek the prohibited items outside the campus, undermining the purpose of the directive.

K Kumar, Panchkula

Don’t dictate what students eat

With reference to the editorial ‘Give healthy options’; the diktat is completely ridiculous. The statutory body has no business deciding what students should eat or avoid. Even if students don’t have access to fast food items on campus, they can easily purchase them from a nearby market. Statutory committees at colleges and universities are supposed to decide the menu and rates of food items available at canteens. Any interference in the food preferences of the students must be avoided. The UGC’s directive certainly warrants a relook.

VK Anand, Chandigarh

Puja just the tip of the iceberg

Apropos of ‘The sad tale of an IAS probationer’ (Trysts and Turns); the integrity of several state and Central-level competitive and recruitment exams has come under the scanner of late — from NEET to the civil services exam. The case of IAS probationer Puja Khedkar adds fuel to the raging fire. But from Puja to those arrested in connection with the NEET paper leak, the big fish continue to evade scrutiny. There is no mention of big names who probably had a hand in the leaks. It is important to keep in mind that the use of unfair means on such a large scale cannot take place in the absence of a nexus between politicians, bureaucrats and the powerful elite.

BM Singh, Amritsar

IAS selection standards declining

Refer to ‘The sad tale of an IAS probationer’; despite securing a relatively low rank in the UPSC examination, she was picked for the IAS, raising concerns about the declining standards of the selection process. Besides, the case of IAS probationary officer Puja Khedkar highlights the presence of misfits in the civil services. Her case sheds light on the trend of people joining the services for personal gain rather than serving the public. Khedkar’s extravagant lifestyle and the use of a red beacon on her car demonstrate her arrogance and disregard for the service. The government must take swift action to remove such misfits from the service. It is crucial to ensure that officers are committed to serving the public, not their personal interests.

Sargunpreet Kaur, Mohali

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

BJP must brace itself for bypolls

Jul 19, 2024

With reference to the editorial ‘Rift in UP BJP’; the saffron party has dug its own grave in Uttar Pradesh, the most important state in political and electoral terms. Party infighting and overconfidence have cost the party dear. CM Yogi Adityanath’s failure to unite the party had hurt the BJP’s prospects in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections. That is the reason why the party could only secure 33 seats — down from 62 in 2019 — while the Samajwadi Party-Congress combine bagged 43 seats. With 10 Assembly seats in the state set for byelections in the coming months, the BJP needs to get its act together as it seems likely to face another setback.

Bhagwan Thadani, Mumbai

Politics must not hinder education

The Punjab education sector stands at a critical juncture, ensnared in a political tug-of-war between the state government and the Centre. Recent setbacks in both higher and school education systems have set off alarm bells, demanding immediate action to secure the future of students and wellbeing of educators. The blow dealt by the President’s refusal to clear the Punjab Universities Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2023, reverberates through the corridors of higher education. The non-clearance of the Bill meant to replace the Governor with the Chief Minister as the Chancellor of state-run universities has left the administrative structure in limbo. The state and Central governments must resolve the disputes as soon as possible. After all, educational institutions require adequate support and resources to function effectively.

Sahibpreet Singh, Mohali

Middle class getting a raw deal

Refer to the article ‘Budget must aim for inclusive development’; I agree with the views expressed by the author. There is no doubt that the Full Budget should aim for sustainable and inclusive development of the country. Besides, burning issues like unemployment and inflation need to be tackled. It is common to see lakhs of candidates vie for a single vacant post. An increased investment in the industrial sector and infrastructure development can help generate more jobs. Further, education needs to be reformed so that the students are trained in such a way that they can meet the requirements of the industry. Moreover, the middle class has long been getting a raw deal. Checking inflation can bring this segment some relief.

KR Bharti, Shimla

Vance the new face of Trumpism

Apropos of the editorial ‘Vance candidacy’; Donald Trump’s decision to tap Vance as his running mate is appropriate. Vance can prove to be the new face of the ideology championed by Trump. Though the Ohio Senator was once an acerbic critic of the business tycoon-turned-politician, he has transformed into an ardent Trump supporter. Notably, Vance was quick to point fingers at Joe Biden after the assassination attempt on Trump last weekend. In Vance’s much-celebrated memoir Hillbilly Elegy, he fervently pleaded the cause of the White working class, which feels socially and culturally dislocated amid the influx of immigrants. As someone who can win over many undecided voters in swing states, Vance will boost Trump’s electoral prospects.

Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa

US must tighten its gun laws

People around the world are relieved that former US President Donald Trump had a miraculous escape after a 20-year-old gunman opened fire at him during a rally in Pennsylvania last week. Since the shooter was gunned down immediately, there is still a lack of clarity about the motive of the attack. But the rising number of gun crimes in the US is a matter of concern. It is important to ensure that guns do not fall into the wrong hands. Any Tom, Dick and Harry should not be able to own or carry lethal weapons. Keeping in mind the safety of the community, the US gun laws must be tightened.

Tharcius S Fernando, Chennai

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: [email protected]

Review counter-terror approach

Jul 18, 2024

Apropos of the editorial ‘No let-up in J&K terror’; there has been a rise in the number of terrorist attacks and terrorism-related incidents in the region in recent months. Jammu, which remained mostly untouched by terrorism until recently, has recorded an alarmingly high number of casualties. This has raised questions about the effectiveness of the current strategies and the need for a re-evaluation of the approach to counter-terrorism and internal security. Following the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution, there was a glimmer of hope that peace would last in J&K. But with the region slipping back into the cycle of terror and violence, the hope appears to be dimming.

Gregory Fernandes, Mumbai

Intelligence compromised

When militants get away with killing four soldiers, including an officer, in an operation launched by the security forces, it indicates a systemic failure. Jammu and Kashmir DGP RR Swain has blamed regional politics in the Valley for Pakistan’s infiltration into the Kashmiri civil society. It is apparent that intelligence about the operation had been compromised. This calls for a review of the ‘hot pursuit’ strategy. Besides, all efforts at creating a ‘unified command’ since the early days of terrorism have come to naught. With the J&K Lieutenant Governor receiving more powers, the situation is unlikely to change.

Lt Col GS Bedi (retd), Mohali

Time for America to reflect

The brutal attempt on Donald Trump’s life must be condemned in the harshest terms. It throws the spotlight back on the gun culture prevalent in the US. Four US Presidents have been assassinated in the past while they were in office. America is always quick to lecture the rest of the world on human rights, intolerance, the plight of minorities and democracy. Yet, it harbours Khalistani terrorists on its soil. It is time for Washington to reflect on which direction it is heading.

Sham Murari Sharma, Chandigarh

A shot in the arm for Trump

The assassination attempt on former US President Donald Trump has sent shockwaves across the US and the world. The episode carries huge consequences. Trump’s message to ‘fight, fight, fight!’ has already become a rallying cry for his supporters. Notably, the shootout came at a time when Joe Biden’s viability as a candidate was under the scanner. The incident is set to shake up the presidential campaign. Trump, who often portrays himself as a political martyr, will surely benefit from the attack electorally. How Biden gets his campaign back on track will be closely watched.

Dilpreet Kaur, Chandigarh

Vance the right choice

Donald Trump’s decision to pick Senator James David Vance as his running mate may be the shot in the arm his campaign needed. Once a vocal critic of Trump, Vance has transformed into his most ardent defender. Their personal affinity and shared populist ideology could energise the Republican voter base. Vance’s youth, military background and Yale Law School credentials make him an excellent V-P candidate. His connection with White working-class voters and his potential to attract Silicon Valley donors are assets for the party. This ticket may be the most formidable of our lifetime. Love him or hate him, Trump’s V-P pick could reshape the political landscape.

Sargunpreet Kaur, Mohali

Indians take over the world

From US Vice-President Kamala Harris to Usha Chilukuri, the wife of Donald Trump’s running mate, women of Indian origin have been taking over the world. It just adds to the pantheon of Indian women who have brought laurels to the country. Astronauts Sunita Williams and late Kalpana Chawla, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, business executive Indra Nooyi and Akshata Murty — the list of Indian-origin women attaining success in the West keeps growing. It is a matter of great pride for our country.

Sqn Ldr KK Sharma (retd), Nangal

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: [email protected]

Trump now a symbol of courage

Jul 17, 2024

There is no place for violence in a democratic country. Former US President Donald Trump demonstrated sheer courage by raising his fist in the air shortly after a bullet grazed his right ear in an assassination attempt on him during a rally in Pennsylvania last week. World leaders have rightly condemned the attack. With just four months left for the US presidential elections, it remains to be seen if the attempt on Trump’s life will prompt both parties to tone down the political rhetoric. Either way, the episode is bound to impact the outcome of the election. Notably, several polls have been projecting a victory for Trump since Biden’s disastrous performance during the first debate, spurring Democrats to seek a replacement for Biden at the top of the ticket.

Yash Pal Ralhan, Jalandhar

A raised fist of defiance

The assassination attempt on former US President Donald Trump signifies a dark chapter in the history of democracy. Leaders worldwide, including PM Narendra Modi, have rightly condemned the heinous act. President Joe Biden’s denunciation of violence underscores the need for unity and a departure from hatred. This incident highlights the urgent necessity for political discourse to be grounded in respect and civility. Violence has no place in democracy; it threatens the very fabric of society. The image of Trump defiantly raising his fist may become emblematic of his resilience. The incident also calls for deep reflection. Both parties must abandon the rhetoric of hate and violence. The real challenge now is to foster a political environment in which differences are settled through dialogue, not the barrel of a gun. 

Gurpreet Kaur, Mohali

Bloodied but not defeated

Refer to the editorial ‘Attack on Trump’; it seems like toxic political rhetoric triggered the attempt on the former President’s life. But it is Trump’s reaction to the gunfire that almost killed him that will define his campaign. It will be hard to forget the moment he raised a defiant fist as he was ushered off stage by Secret Service officials, with blood streaking across his face. How the incident shapes the rest of the election campaign and impacts the results will be closely watched. Besides, it will also add to the debate surrounding gun control and test the Republicans’ pro-gun stance.

Satwant Kaur Panesar, by mail

J&K remains on edge

Apropos of ‘J&K L-G’s powers’; the Union Home Ministry’s decision to enhance the powers of the Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor (L-G) has ignited a fierce debate. While the Centre contends that the move is aimed at streamlining the administration, critics view it as an encroachment on the rights of an elected government. The L-G’s newfound authority over police matters, public order and all-India services officers raises crucial questions. Is this a prudent step towards efficient governance or a subtle erosion of democratic principles? The absence of an elected dispensation since 2018 adds urgency to these deliberations. Yet, the timing is everything. As the Supreme Court’s deadline for holding Assembly elections in J&K looms, doubts persist about the restoration of statehood.

Gurdev Singh, by mail

Let local cops take on militants

The killing of at least four Army personnel in an exchange of fire in Doda district is extremely tragic and disturbing. As many as 48 soldiers have been killed in action in J&K in the last 32 months. Every single death is a loss for the country. Each life is precious. It is time for the Army to let the local police conduct search operations in the area. It is worth recalling that it was the police that reined in militancy in Punjab, not the Army. Soldiers should only be deployed in border areas.

Arun Hastir, Gurdaspur

End culture of freebies

Refer to the editorial ‘HP cuts power subsidy’; it is a welcome step on the part of the Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu-led state government. The Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board is already reeling under financial losses. It shows that doling out freebies to voters comes at a heavy cost. The free electricity scheme launched in 2022 by then CM Jai Ram Thakur is the reason why the state electricity board finds itself in dire financial straits. The need of the hour is to tweak the election laws to restrict political parties from offering freebies to the electorate.

MD Sharma, Shimla

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit.

These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: [email protected]

Trump ducks death by an inch

Jul 16, 2024

With reference to the editorial ‘Attack on Trump’; the reckless remarks made by anti-Trump politicians and their cheerleaders in the media are to blame for the attack. For years, the Left has described the businessman-turned-politician as an existential threat to democracy, called him a Nazi and compared him to Hitler. It is this kind of dangerous rhetoric that is now triggering violence. Today, America seems divided between people who are shaken by how close a presidential candidate was to being assassinated and those who are disappointed that the shooter missed him by a few centimetres. Trump had a narrow escape this time. Better sense must prevail. Leftists across the world must refrain from peddling fake narratives about democracy or the Constitution being in danger. 

Ajay Tyagi, Mumbai

A victim and a hero

With reference to ‘Attack on Trump’; the fact that Donald Trump is safe comes as a huge relief. It is commendable that leaders all over the world are condemning the attempt on the 45th President’s life with one voice. There were surely some security lapses that allowed the would-be assassin a clear line of sight. If the Security Service personnel had been carefully monitoring the entire area with the help of drones, they would have probably averted the gunfire. However, Trump, who is being seen both as a victim and a hero, is set to benefit from the attack politically. The incident is evoking public sympathy for Trump, leaving the Joe Biden camp bewildered.

Ramesh Gupta, Narwana

Use the ballot, not bullet

The dastardly attack on former US President Donald Trump during a rally in Pennsylvania is most unfortunate and shocking. Thankfully, the bullet just grazed his right ear, and he is still alive and well. An assassination attempt on a man elected to be the US President is not unheard of in America. Four US Presidents have been assassinated in the past. It is important to keep in mind that in a democratic country, the most powerful weapon that a citizen has is the ballot, not bullets.

RK Arora, Mohali

Attack on ex-President disgraceful

The attack on ex-US President and putative Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump during a rally in Pennsylvania last week is a blot on humanity. Luckily, he was just mildly injured and rushed off stage shortly after the gunfire by Secret Service agents. There is no room for violence in a civilised society. Political differences should be sorted out through dialogue. It is important to note that gun violence has long been prevalent in the US. And notably, it is not the first time that an attempt has been made on a US President’s life. The US authorities need to take steps to avoid a repeat of the incident.

PV Srinivas Sreelekha, by mail

Chak de INDIA

The bypoll results have painted a vivid canvas of India’s political landscape. A month after its resurgence in the Lok Sabha polls, the Opposition bloc has once again proved its mettle, securing 10 out of 13 seats in the Assembly byelections across seven states. The BJP, on the other hand, faces a sobering reality, with just one seat each in Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. The Congress, rejuvenated by its wins in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, can now breathe easy. AAP, after struggling in Punjab in the General Election, can take solace in the Jalandhar West seat. Meanwhile, the TMC and the DMK, ruling parties in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, respectively, have consolidated their positions. The BJP’s losses are a wake-up call for the party.

Sahibpreet Singh, Mohali

Bright days ahead for Opposition

With reference to the editorial ‘INDIA shining’; the bypoll results are a sign that there are bright days ahead for the Opposition bloc. Just a month after stunning the Narendra Modi-led BJP in the Lok Sabha elections, INDIA’s impressive performance in the byelections shows that voters are no longer swayed by false promises. It is time for the saffron party to read the writing on the wall — the Opposition bloc is likely to win big in the upcoming polls.

Faqir Singh, Dasuya

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: [email protected]

Close shave for Donald Trump

Jul 15, 2024

Luckily, former US President Donald Trump survived an assassination attempt during a rally in Pennsylvania. It was a close shave for Trump as a bullet grazed his right ear, leaving his face bloodied. An attendee was also killed in the gunfire. Fortunately, the shooter was soon neutralised by the Secret Service personnel present there. Shortly after being hit, Trump got up to his feet and defiantly raised his fist in the air. This has led his supporters to hail him as a hero. A moot question is: how will the incident impact the outcome of the presidential election? Further, the shooting should prompt the US authorities to reflect on the gun violence prevalent in the country.

PV Madhu Nivriti, Secunderabad

Tone down political rhetoric

Ex-US President and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump had a narrow escape as gunfire erupted at his rally in Pennsylvania. This is not the first time that a US President has faced an attempt on his life. Many political observers have rightly noted that massive polarisation in the US, fuelled by hate-filled rhetoric, is to blame for the attack. Trump also contributed to it when he refused to accept the outcome of the 2020 election, claiming that it had been stolen. His denial of the election loss had prompted his supporters to storm the Capitol building. The Pennsylvania incident holds an important lesson for politicians and activists around the globe.

R Narayanan, Navi Mumbai

Time for Biden to step aside

Several congressional Democrats have called on President Joe Biden to drop out of the race and give way to a candidate with a better prospect of winning the November elections. Some major Democratic donors are also mounting pressure on the incumbent to ditch his re-election bid. Concerns about the decline in Biden’s mental acuity seem genuine. Just last week, he referred to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as ‘President Putin’. The 81-year-old has himself publicly acknowledged that Vice-President Kamala Harris is qualified to lead the country. It is time for Biden to step aside.

Vijaya Sharma, by mail

Stay united in face of terror threat

Refer to ‘A Jammu shift in Pakistani strategy’ (The Great Game); the recent terror incidents have triggered panic among not just locals but also those planning to visit the state-turned-UT that is famous for its tourist attractions and shrines. The newly formed Narendra Modi-led Central Government should review the prevailing security situation in Jammu and urgently take steps to restore peace and normalcy in the region as soon as possible. Besides, political parties must stand united in the face of terrorism and extend support to the security forces.

Deepika Chawla Watts, Abohar

Same game, new trick

Apropos of ‘A Jammu shift in Pakistani strategy’; the author has lucidly analysed how there has been a geopolitical move from the Muslim-majority Kashmir to the Hindu-majority Jammu in the strategy. This is evidenced by the recent spate of terror attacks south of the Pir Panjal. The change has certainly come as a relief for Kashmir residents. Pakistan has realised that peace in the Valley can no longer be shattered that easily, thanks to effective militarisation in the region. Pakistan wants to draw attention through its diversionary strategy in Jammu ahead of the fifth anniversary of the abrogation of Article 370.

Gurpreet Singh, Mohali

BJP must stop raking up the past

Refer to the news report ‘June 25 a day to pay tribute to Emergency victims: PM Narendra Modi’; the move is an attempt by the BJP to rub salt in the decades-old wound. Notably, from demonetisation and mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic to the electoral bond scheme and poaching of corrupt leaders from other parties, the saffron party’s own track record is questionable. Therefore, the ruling regime condemning the Emergency is a classic example of the pot calling the kettle black. It is time for the BJP to stop raking up the past to target the Congress.

Avinash Godboley, Dewas (MP)

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: [email protected]

Adding fuel to Russia-Ukraine fire

Jul 13, 2024

Refer to the editorial ‘NATO at it again’; by pledging to Ukraine NATO membership and a minimum baseline funding of 40 billion euros in military aid within the next year, the Western Bloc has ensured that the war will not end anytime soon. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has rightly warned against a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia. NATO allies have announced they are transferring F-16 jets to Ukraine. US President Biden has reiterated that every inch of NATO territory will be defended. If all this is not provocation, then what is? The alliance must try to restore peace in the regions reeling from conflict and not use provocative rhetoric.

Bal Govind, Noida

Don’t let US dictate India’s policy

With reference to the news report ‘Can’t take ties for granted: US envoy after PM Narendra Modi’s Russia visit’; the threat of trade or military sanctions from the US-led Western bloc has failed to deter India from treading the path of strategic autonomy and choosing allies that serve its national interests. Gone are the days when the US could go on policing other nations and dictating what their foreign policies should be. India’s growing global influence can no longer be denied.

Anil Vinayak, Amritsar

Old man in guise of a ‘big boy’

US President Joe Biden mistakenly referred to his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, as Russian President Vladimir Putin at a NATO conference. He also referred to Kamala Harris as ‘Vice-President Trump’ during the ‘big boy’ news conference. The twin gaffes come amid growing concerns about his ability to lead and take on Donald Trump in the November 5 elections. Just weeks ago, the 81-year-old had delivered a shaky performance during a debate with his Republican opponent. The series of flubs from the oldest US President in history — who is in the race for re-election — will certainly diminish the electoral prospects of his party.

DVG Sankara Rao, Vizianagaram

Restore normalcy on priority

Refer to the editorial ‘Shambhu barricades’; the Punjab and Haryana High Court order to clear the blockade has brought much-needed relief to commuters and local businesses. This ruling not only vindicates the farmers’ stance but also underscores the importance of maintaining a balance between civil liberties and public order. Both the Punjab and Haryana state governments must expedite the restoration of normalcy while ensuring that protests do not turn disruptive. This incident exemplifies that judicial intervention is crucial in safeguarding democratic rights and ensuring societal welfare. The episode holds a valuable lesson for both the government and the protesters — they must not take any step that causes inconvenience to the public.

Chanchal S Mann, Una

Govt must promote family values

Refer to the news report ‘In Assam, spl leave to meet parents’; the Assam Government has taken a laudable step. It is distressing how many grown-ups often neglect their parents, leaving them lonely and vulnerable in their twilight years. There is an urgent need to reverse this trend, and the state government’s move can go a long way in that regard. Other states must follow suit by announcing initiatives that will help promote family values and strengthen bonds.

Jagdish Chander, Jalandhar

Leaders must stay humble

Apropos of ‘What Modi can learn from Sunak’ (Trysts and Turns); the piece is a must-read. The writer has rightly brought home the point that a public figure receives more love and admiration when he stays humble, even after scaling the heights of fame and success. One does not need to shout about their achievements from the rooftop. Listening to your critics can actually help you learn and do better. Likewise, it is high time that the ruling regime understood the role of the Opposition in the lawmaking process.

Sadhna Saini, 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: [email protected]

India’s diplomacy shines through

Jul 12, 2024

PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Moscow underscores India’s resilient diplomacy amid the Ukraine conflict. Strengthening Delhi-Moscow relations across various sectors, Modi’s engagement signals a firm stand on bilateral cooperation despite global tensions. His poignant reminder to President Vladimir Putin about the futility of war, especially after a missile strike on a children’s hospital in Kyiv, highlights India’s role as a responsible global player. This visit also conveys a clear message to the US-led Western bloc: India’s strategic partnership with Russia remains steadfast, even under the shadow of sanctions. Modi’s emphasis on dialogue and diplomacy reiterates India’s pragmatic stance, ensuring it remains a crucial, independent voice in global affairs. New Delhi’s nuanced approach solidifies its position, making it indispensable to both Western and Russian interests.

Gurdev Singh, by mail

Maintenance a right of women

The Supreme Court ruling affirming maintenance rights for Muslim women under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is a momentous step towards gender justice. Justices BV Nagarathna and Augustine George Masih have rightly underscored that maintenance is not charity but a fundamental right of all married women, regardless of their faith. This verdict echoes the historic Shah Bano ruling, in which the apex court had upheld a divorced Muslim woman’s right to maintenance. Despite subsequent legislation, the court's decision reinforces the enduring applicability of Section 125. By ensuring Muslim women’s entitlement, the court champions equality and strengthens their social and economic security. This ruling sets a precedent — one that will ensure progress and inclusivity. Let us celebrate this stride towards a more just and equitable society.

Sahibpreet Singh, Mohali

Shed bias to get House in order

Refer to the article ‘Presiding officers must run Parliament sans bias’; the writer has rightly observed that India’s parliamentary traditions are being trampled upon by the presiding officers at the behest of their party. It would be naive of us to expect the presiding officers of Parliament — Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and Upper House Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar — to perform their duties without bias. Unfortunately, when the presiding officer demonstrates his allegiance to the ruling party, democracy begins to degenerate into autocracy. Gone are the days when the Speaker would distance himself from the party he originally belonged to and run the House in such a way that every member got an equal opportunity to participate in the lawmaking process.

Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa

Big relief for Punjab’s farmers

The stepmotherly treatment meted out by the Haryana Government to the rest of the nation is beyond the pale. From intentionally disrupting the water supply to Delhi to installing barricades at the Shambhu border, the steps taken by the state government have spelt trouble for local industrialists, residents, farmers and commuters. In this backdrop, the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s direction to the state to remove the barricades from the border is welcome.

Jakir Hussain, Kanpur

S+4 policy will ease parking woes

The Haryana Government’s fresh approval for the construction of stilt-plus-four (S+4) floors in residential areas will generate much-needed car parking space, easing the woes of the residents. As a result, the lanes in those localities will no longer remain congested. Besides, the policy will also help address the need for proper housing. But it is imperative that comprehensive construction norms are put in place to safeguard the interests of all residents.

Tarzan Sharma, Barnala

Pause and pray for the departed

The middle ‘Death doesn’t move us anymore’ rightly noted that most of us remain unmoved when someone passes away. Attending cremations, last rites or bhog ceremonies of the deceased has been reduced to a mere formality. Values like empathy and concern for our fellow human beings have been lost in the mad rush to the top. We must not become so hardened that the demise of a fellow citizen does not faze us anymore. Remember, we are never too busy to pause and say our prayers for the departed soul.

Beant Singh, by mail

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

Handle local proxies in J&K

Jul 11, 2024

With reference to the editorial ‘Kathua ambush’; India’s military efforts and diplomatic manoeuvres will only partially suffice as local support to ultras is the major concern. Local proxies of handlers across the border must be apprehended. With Assembly elections now only a couple of months away, foolproof action needs to be taken to thwart terrorist activities. Electing a candidate behind bars under UAPA to the Lok Sabha recently is a case in point. Before the Assembly elections in J&K are announced, it is imperative that any chance of anti-national elements entering the fray is aborted.

Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula

Alternatives to rote learning

Apropos of the article ‘It’s time to rethink education’; standardised tests often prioritise rote memorisation and factual recall over deeper understanding, critical thinking and genuine appreciation of the subject matter. On the contrary, in the humanities stream, the exploration of ideas, emotions and human experiences is central. Alternative methods of assessment, such as essays, oral presentations and portfolio reviews, may help shift the focus towards a more holistic and meaningful evaluation of a student’s literary understanding. The goal of education should be to cultivate thoughtful, well-rounded individuals who can appreciate and contribute to the richness of human culture and experience.

Suraj Kathuria, Jind

Man-made disasters

Referring to the editorial ‘Airport roof collapse’; as long as inferior construction material and poor maintenance are overlooked, tragedies like the Delhi airport roof collapse are bound to happen. India’s rapid infra boom has been handicapped by scant regard for the credibility of contractors and companies, lack of regular inspections, and even shortage of qualified inspectors. Inconsistent standards and poor quality of construction material, along with outdated inspection techniques, limited budgets, not to forget corruption and conflict of interest are the main culprits. Heavy rains are the new normal and cannot be turned into an excuse.

LAL SINGH, Amritsar

Expectations from Budget

Refer to news report ‘India Inc demands relief for taxpayers in Budget’; we introduced several saral reforms to simplify the tax system but tied ourselves in knots. Having two tax regimes is confusing. The old one must be scrapped. Deposit limit in PPF accounts can be increased to Rs 2.5 lakh. Senior citizens, especially pensioners above 80 years of age, should be totally exempted from paying income tax. The facility of life insurance is not available to senior citizens when they need it the most, which should be restored. The agriculture sector enjoys tax-free income and farm loans are waived. This drains the national exchequer and taxpayers are further burdened.


Conservatives routed in UK

This refers to the editorial ‘Labour all the way’; as a result of the Conservatives’ crash, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is out of 10 Downing Street. When Sunak’s party elected him as the UK’s first Asian-origin PM in 2022, the buzz was whether Britain had entered a post-race era. Voters rejected the Conservatives this time — was it on account of Sunak not being a white? In America, Democrats’ reluctance to give the presidential ticket to Vice President Kamala Harris, also of Indian origin, seems to be racially rooted. The new UK PM, Keir Starmer, is a white, but was the first from his working-class family to go to university by availing of the National Health Service. It shows that class is as important a political identity marker as race or religion.


VIP hit-and-run cases

Apropos of the news report ‘Mumbai: Woman killed as BMW driven by ‘Shiv Sena leader’s son’ hits bike’; unlike the Pune Porsche accident, the Mumbai police acted swiftly and made arrests. Despite witnessing several such crashes involving ‘influential’ drivers, convictions are very rare. There is an entire system that connives to protect the powerful and wealthy. Young men from affluent families, driving high-powered cars under the influence of liquor, often are a part of such accidents.

PL SINGH, by mail

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

Setback for far right in France

Jul 10, 2024

In a significant relief for Europe and the global community, the outcome of France’s snap election has halted the far right’s advance. Despite President Emmanuel Macron’s success in sidelining Marine Le Pen’s National Rally, the leftist New Popular Front’s (NFP) rise has fragmented the political landscape. As France gears up for the Paris Olympics, the prevailing instability is ill-timed. While the NFP’s economic vision promises substantial public spending funded by wealth taxes, their potential governance might be hampered by coalition dynamics. Nonetheless, France’s rejection of the far right underscores its commitment to democratic values, providing a global beacon of liberty, equality and fraternity. The poll verdict, while averting a geopolitical shift towards Le Pen’s policies, necessitates stable governance. Amid this political turbulence, the safeguarding of democratic principles remains a heartening triumph.

Gurdev Singh, by mail

Farmers left in the lurch

Refer to the editorial ‘MSP promise unmet’; despite the Punjab Government’s efforts, it has failed to procure moong dal at the minimum support price (MSP), leaving farmers in the lurch. Left with no choice but to sell their produce below the MSP, the growers have been put under great financial strain; it also undermines crop diversification and soil health initiatives. Moong dal enriches soil and conserves groundwater. But the dominance of private players in the market exacerbates farmers’ hardships. The government must formulate comprehensive procurement schemes, set up more purchase centres and create accredited warehouses to prevent distress sales.

Chanchal S Mann, Una

Net loss for Punjab’s farmers

The much-hyped moong procurement scheme in Punjab has turned out to be a dud. Despite the fanfare, the government has failed to purchase moong from the state mandis. Private players are exploiting farmers, buying the crop at around Rs 500 to 700 per quintal below the MSP. The result? Farmers are suffering losses, with over 99 per cent of the produce being traded at rates lower than the MSP. The government’s apathy is staggering, especially given the success of the crop diversification plan. Though the highest-ever moong yield this year has mitigated some losses, the authorities’ failure to address the issue is unacceptable. It is time for the administration to step up and ensure fair prices for farmers. The fate of Punjab’s agricultural sector depends on it.

Sahibpreet Singh, Mohali

Biden must bow out of race

Apropos of the news report ‘Won’t drop out of race, Biden tells Democrats’; desperate to remain in power, US President Joe Biden is ignoring the chorus of Democratic voices calling on him to step aside. But the Democrats must read the writing on the wall and replace him at the top of the ticket with Vice-President Kamala Harris at the earliest opportunity. The result of the upcoming presidential election would have far-reaching consequences for the US and the world. It is a make-or-break moment for the Democratic Party. Biden is just lying to his party when he says that he is the right candidate to take on Donald Trump in the November 5 elections.

Upendra Sharma, by mail

SAD has failed its voters

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), the only regional party in Punjab, has failed to live up to the expectations of Punjabis. With its downfall, SAD has ceded space to right-wing extremists in the state. Punjab is yearning for development. More institutes of higher learning and hospitals need to be set up to that end. Fresh policies to overhaul healthcare and infrastructure, diversification in agriculture and a robust industry are the need of the hour. For how long will state residents remain content with freebies? Free electricity supply and ration are not enough to win over the public anymore. Most importantly, the law and order situation needs to be improved.

Ravi Kumar, Amritsar

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

Revisit S+4 decision

Jul 09, 2024

Refer to the editorial ‘Put S+4 policy on hold’; the Haryana Government’s nod to the construction of stilt-plus-four floors in residential areas has come as a bolt from the blue for state residents. As feared, the mighty lobby of real estate holders and property dealers won. The government has failed to take into account the effects of the construction of stilt-plus-four floors in areas already beset by water- and sewage-related issues. The implementation of the controversial policy could compound parking woes. Besides, the weight-bearing capacity of houses also needs to be taken into consideration before additional floors are built on them. The government must revisit its decision.

Gian Kansal, Ambala City

The yellow bird failed to take off

The shutdown of Koo, India’s alternative to X (formerly Twitter), serves as a stark reminder of the challenges faced by startups. Despite its promising start and vision of a hyper-local, multilingual social media space, Koo’s journey was marred by political controversies, its heavy reliance on external funding and an inability to sustain its operations. The social media platform’s failure highlights the importance of sustainable funding, market adaptability and the difficulty of challenging established players. Its shutdown is a sobering reminder that even with a strong vision and user-centric approach, startups can falter without a viable business model. Koo’s story serves as a valuable lesson for entrepreneurs and investors alike. It underscores the need for sustainable growth and a willingness to adapt in an ever-changing landscape.

Dilpreet Kaur, Chandigarh

Support homegrown apps

Koo’s shutdown comes as a blow to the Indian startup industry. The site had emerged in India as an alternative to X, amassing over 20 million users by the end of 2021. This homegrown app also enabled Indians to post or communicate in their native languages. Western apps, on the other hand, have become a breeding ground for misinformation about India. It impinges on India’s global standing. It is against this backdrop that indigenous apps should be promoted. Koo had to shut down following a funding drought. It is time for the Indian government to step in and provide funds to revive the startup.

Jatinder Singh, by mail

Sad state of affairs in India

It is a sorry state of affairs in India. The news cycle has been very grim. From paper leaks calling into question the integrity of exams to the collapse of multiple bridges in Bihar within a span of a few days, and from cases of hit-and-run being reported every week to the drowning of five Army men in the Shyok River in eastern Ladakh, one can’t help but despair. There is a need to overhaul the education system, healthcare and the judiciary. The current state of infrastructure in India leaves much to be desired. Negligence on the part of construction firms and the authorities concerned must not cost more lives. Overall, the government must change its lackadaisical attitude towards its responsibilities.

Tejpal Singh Uppal, by mail

Don’t let criminals into the House

Sikh separatist and ‘Waris Punjab De’ chief Amritpal Singh and Awami Ittehad Party leader Engineer Rashid recently took oath as MPs while out on parole. Can they be expected to pledge their allegiance to the Constitution and make good on it? Someone booked under the National Security Act or the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act must not be allowed to contest elections in the first place. It does not matter if Amritpal and Rashid enjoy public support. Someone with scant regard for India’s sovereignty or the law of the land should not be a lawmaker.

Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee, Faridabad

Agnipath a misunderstood scheme

Apropos of the article ‘Kargil lessons have relevance for the Agnipath ferment’; certain aspects of the scheme introduced by the Narendra Modi-led government have been misunderstood by several political parties, experts and much of the media. Amid rising unemployment, an opportunity to serve in the forces for a fixed term with a handsome pay and allowances is quite a promising career move. There is an urgent need to make the masses aware of the benefits of the Agnipath scheme. Besides, experts and some media professionals should be roped in to carry out an in-depth study on the impacts of the scheme.

Shiv Kumar, Jalandhar

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

Pappu pass ho gaya

Jul 08, 2024

Refer to ‘Kya Pappu pass ho gaya’ (The Great Game); Rahul Gandhi, once mocked by the BJP, has cleared the people’s test. His address in Parliament, invoking Hinduism’s inclusive spirit, was a breath of fresh air. Mahua Moitra’s fiery speech asserted freedom from fear, a new leitmotif for India. The BJP, no longer in majority, is on the back foot. Chandrababu Naidu and Nitish Kumar, allies of the BJP, are demanding their pound of flesh from the Centre. The government can no longer ride roughshod over an empowered Opposition. The people have spoken, and it is time for the BJP to listen. Rahul Gandhi must keep up the pressure. India has changed, and the era of majoritarian dominance is over. The era of democratic dialogue has begun, and the government must pay attention to the Opposition voices.

Sargunpreet Kaur, Mohali

Opposition yet to deliver

Apropos of ‘Kya Pappu pass ho gaya’; it is the Indian voters that deserve credit for the electoral success of the INDI alliance, not leaders of the Opposition bloc. While the electorate has revived the Opposition by handing it big wins, the leaders are yet to return the favour by contributing to the growth and progress of the nation. Most parties in India reek of dynastic politics. Until recently, it seemed like Rahul Gandhi harboured prime ministerial ambitions just because he comes from a political family with members who have held the post. But the Gandhi scion has finally made his presence felt in the political landscape of late, thanks to his outreach to the masses through his Bharat Jodo Yatra and Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra.

Devinder K Bhandari, Chandigarh

Open debate a must in democracy

Rahul Gandhi’s maiden speech in the 18th Lok Sabha has helped him bury his reputation as a leader who could not be taken seriously. He is no longer ‘Pappu’, as he has long been pejoratively called by his detractors. It is inspiring to see a buoyant Opposition take the ruling dispensation to task over issues confronting the nation. Led by Rahul, the Opposition has done well to press the party in power on paper leaks and irregularities that have raised questions about the integrity of exams in the country. PM Narendra Modi also delivered a befitting counter to Rahul with his ‘balak buddhi’ dig. A vigorous debate is a must for a vibrant democracy.

M Somasekhar Prasad, Hyderabad

A criminal lapse that cost lives

The death of more than 120 people in a stampede in Hathras during a ‘satsang’ organised by a self-styled godman, Bhole Baba, is tragic. Reportedly, over 2.5 lakh people had assembled in the venue that was meant for merely 80,000. The stampede was apparently triggered as a crowd of devotees scrambled to collect the dust stirred up by Bhole Baba’s car as he was leaving. The godman did not even bother to offer assistance to the injured. Local authorities must not allow such events unless there are adequate security arrangements in place and an ambulance on standby in case of an emergency.

Tharcius S Fernando, Chennai

Bring those responsible to book

Refer to the editorial ‘Learn from tragedies’; every mishap needs to be thoroughly investigated to identify administrative lapses and fix responsibility. This would be a major step towards ensuring justice and preventing similar mishaps. The death of over 120 people in a stampede in Hathras is an irreparable loss for their kin. Bhole Baba, who hosted the religious gathering, did not even bother to ensure proper arrangements for crowd management. Those responsible for the preventable loss of lives must be brought to book.

Yugal Kishore Sharma, Faridabad

Restrict religious gatherings

More than 120 lives were snuffed out as a ruckus broke out at a religious gathering in UP’s Hathras. A time-bound probe into the matter is in order to fix accountability. Further, lessons should be drawn from the tragedy to avert a repeat of such mishaps. Organising events in a staggered manner can help prevent overcrowding. It is time to stop allowing religious congregations in public places altogether. Religion is something that should be practised within the four walls of one’s house.

Sudershan Walia, Amritsar

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

Bhole Baba did a vanishing act

Jul 06, 2024

With reference to the news report ‘6 arrested for Hathras stampede, Rs 1L bounty on satsang organiser’; even though more than 120 people died in the stampede that broke out during the religious gathering held by Bhole Baba, the self-styled godman has not been named in the FIR lodged in connection with the incident. The investigation into the matter and the criminal proceedings must be fast-tracked to ensure a speedy delivery of justice to the victims. It is disgraceful that the preacher disappeared after the tragedy instead of coming forward and offering assistance in the relief operations. He has shattered the trust of lakhs of gullible people. It is a pity that self-proclaimed godmen like him often enjoy political patronage in our country.

Jagdish Chander, Jalandhar

Don’t let Blue eclipse Olive Green

Winning the T20 World Cup is a huge achievement, and Team India players deserve kudos for the feat. It was magnificent how thousands of people filled the entire stretch from the Nariman Point to the Wankhede Stadium to welcome the Men in Blue. The show of love was a testament to the Indians’ undying love for the sport and respect for the players. However, it is unfortunate that our troops, who put their lives on the line to protect their motherland and stand guard day and night at the border, are never welcomed back home in a grand fashion. Students at schools across the country must be mandatorily taught about the challenges faced by soldiers in the event of a war and those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the country.

Tarusha, Kapurthala

Down with the cricket craze

Rohit Sharma and his team got a hero’s welcome in Mumbai on Thursday as they returned from Barbados following their T20 World Cup triumph. The champions were congratulated by PM Narendra Modi and greeted by a sea of cricket-mad fans upon their arrival. These players are revered as heroes in India, even though only a handful of countries participate in the cricket World Cup. Let us not forget that there are close to 200 countries in this world. The Indian public needs to snap out of this craze for cricket. George Bernard Shaw once rightly said, ‘Cricket is a game played by 11 fools and watched by 11,000 fools.’ Our real heroes are the soldiers, who are willing to lay down their lives to protect the country. It is a matter of shame that most people don’t even remember that this year marks the 25th anniversary of the Kargil War.

GS Bhullar, by mail

Road connectivity in rural areas

Refer to news report ‘Deprived of road, Banjar villagers carry patient on shoulders’; it was shocking to learn that residents of Brehtha village in Kullu district have to bear the brunt of a lack of proper road connectivity. It is a pity that a 70-year-old patient who had recently undergone a critical operation at a private hospital in Kullu had to be carried back to the village by fellow residents. It is safe to say that it was not an isolated incident. Many people living in far-off, rural areas of the state do not have access to even the basic amenities that those living in developed cities take for granted. Successive state governments have failed to address the woes of village residents.

Ramesh K Dhiman, Chandigarh

Character of a leader matters

Apropos of the middle ‘Biden, Trump go golfing with gusto’; the back-and-forth between the incumbent US President and his predecessor brought to the fore their lack of maturity. The trade of barbs between the two contenders for the Oval Office was unbecoming of them. Unfortunately, the acrimony between the two leaders and their supporters goes well beyond golf. Clips of their exchange have been doing the rounds on the Internet. Being the President of the United States is not about scoring in golf or winning a debate. Many youngsters look up to their leaders for inspiration. As Walt Whitman put it, “Sanity and ensemble characterise the great master.”

Pawan Kumar, 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: [email protected]

Bhole Baba can’t escape blame

Jul 05, 2024

Refer to the editorial ‘Hathras stampede’; there are many questions that remain unanswered. Instead of helping the devotees stuck in the melee or rushing the injured to the hospital, the organisers were reportedly busy cleaning up the site before the arrival of a forensic team. Why did they try to hide the evidence? Why were 2.5 lakh devotees allowed to gather at a venue that could host just 80,000? Why did the organisers not enlist the help of the police or an agency for crowd management instead of roping in 10,000 devotees for the job? Bhole Baba and his servitors are all complicit in the tragedy.

Bal Govind, Noida

Hold organisers accountable

Refer to the editorial ‘Hathras stampede’; it appears that the organisers of the ‘satsang’ and the local administration failed to draw any lessons from past incidents of stampede and ruckus at large gatherings. It is just unconscionable that 2.5 lakh people were allowed to stream into a tented area that could only accommodate 80,000. The tragedy points to a systemic failure on the part of the authorities concerned and the organisers of the religious gathering to strictly regulate the entry and exit of devotees. Godmen and others involved in hosting such congregations must be held accountable if any untoward incident occurs as a result of poor crowd management or security arrangements. Those injured and the kin of the deceased must receive relief soon.

MD Sharma, Shimla

Take steps to avoid overcrowding

The stampede in Hathras was an avoidable tragedy. Such ‘satsangs’ should be conducted in a staggered manner to avoid a commotion. Besides, devotees must have the option to join a session virtually so that there is no overcrowding. The entry and exit points of the venue must be strictly monitored by professionals. The attendees should be made to move in a queue to avoid a stampede. And most importantly, more than two lakh devotees must not be packed in a venue that is meant to accommodate just 80,000 people.

PV Madhu Nivriti, Secunderabad

Lessons from Hathras tragedy

Refer to ‘Hathras stampede’; with around 2.5 lakh devotees stuffed in a venue in which only 80,000 were permitted by the authorities, it was a disaster waiting to happen. The problem lies in poor crowd management, which has resulted in several stampedes over the years, claiming hundreds of lives. The incident brings to the fore many glaring lapses, from the negligence of the administration to the unchecked influence of godmen over the masses. The cause of the stampede must be investigated. Those responsible should not be spared. Further, the authorities should work out modalities and guidelines to ensure that such tragedies don’t recur.

Gregory Fernandes, Mumbai

Need to change farmers’ mindset

Apropos of the article ‘Roll out a roadmap to rebuild agriculture’; the writer has failed to suggest any concrete, workable ideas to alleviate the farmers’ plight. Various factors, such as unforeseen weather conditions and diseases, can hamper the growth of crops. The author’s view that a technological intervention will not help does not hold water, especially since he is advocating an increase in the budgetary allocation for agriculture, though he has not specified how it should be utilised. The need of the hour is to focus on changing the farmers’ mindset. Just blaming the industry for cornering the market in agribusiness will not help.

Devinder K Bhandari, Chandigarh

Revisit S+4 floor decision

With reference to the news report ‘S+4 floors: Govt ignored expert panel’s critical recommendations’; much to the detriment of state residents, the Haryana Government seems to have succumbed to pressure from the builders’ lobby. It is unfortunate that the authorities are putting the interests of the builders above the concerns of the residents. The move will deprive residents of fresh air and natural light. Once again, the common man is bearing the brunt of the undue influence that the rich and powerful have over decision-makers and policy framers. The state government must revisit its decision in view of concerns about the four-storey buildings putting a strain on water and sewage systems and causing other problems.

HMS Nagra, Faridabad

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: [email protected]

Stop revering godmen

Jul 04, 2024

Refer to ‘116 killed in stampede at UP’s Hathras as disciples vie for their guru’s glimpse’; as many as 2.5 lakh people had reportedly crammed into the venue meant to accommodate just 80,000. It is a pity that so many people still revere self-proclaimed gurus. These godmen hold massive sway over the masses. Hordes of gullible people credulously believe everything these godmen say. It goes without saying that Bhole Baba bears responsibility for the stampede. But those who had crowded into the venue are also to blame for the tragedy. Their irresponsible behaviour cannot be excused. The ongoing probe will help fix accountability for the harrowing episode.

O Prasada Rao, Hyderabad

An avoidable tragedy

The stampede in UP’s Hathras that has claimed more than 100 lives was an avoidable tragedy, which makes it all the more heartrending. The deadly mix of utter negligence on the part of the organisers, indifference of the authorities concerned and widespread ignorance among the masses is to blame for it. Why were hordes of people allowed to throng the venue without adequate arrangements in place? As is the norm, the government is going to set up a committee to ascertain what went wrong. Authorities across the country must draw lessons from this tragedy and take effective steps to prevent a repeat of it.

DVG Sankara Rao, Vizianagaram (AP)

Rahul leads the Opposition charge

Rahul Gandhi’s maiden speech as the Leader of Opposition (LoP) was significant. It has set the tone for a revitalised Opposition. His searing remarks, though expunged, reflect the truth. The Opposition’s newfound confidence is palpable, and its determination to hold the ruling regime accountable is a welcome change. PM Narendra Modi’s jibe at the Congress’ lack of strength in numbers notwithstanding, Rahul has made a mark. The Opposition must continue to speak truth to power, but with facts and evidence, not hearsay. Mahua Moitra’s feistiness is an inspiration, and the Opposition must draw strength from her.

Gurdev Singh, by mail

Don’t disrupt the session

Led by LoP Rahul Gandhi, a buoyant Opposition has asserted its position in the first session of the 18th Lok Sabha without constant heckling or interruption. However, much to the dismay of the countrymen, PM Narendra Modi’s address in the House was marred by sloganeering and walkouts by a disruptive Opposition. It is imperative for a vibrant democracy that our lawmakers utilise the time during a session to hold productive discussions for public welfare. Regardless of politics, MPs must exercise restraint and not do anything disruptive.

Krishan Kant Sood, Nangal

Manufacturing on the rebound

India’s manufacturing sector is on the rebound, with the HSBC India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) reaching 58.3 in June. The remarkable growth, driven by domestic demand and government infrastructure spending, showcases India’s resilience and potential. The sector’s strong performance is a testament to the country’s status as the fastest growing major economy in the world. The record pace of job creation, with hiring surging for the fourth consecutive month, is a significant achievement. While inflationary pressures persist, manufacturers have managed to maintain profit margins by passing on higher costs to consumers. As the government prepares to present the full Budget, the manufacturing sector’s growth is likely to be a key highlight.

Sahibpreet Singh, Mohali

Biden’s age not a hurdle

US President Joe Biden’s debate performance has sparked calls for him to step aside and let a younger candidate take on the mantle. The whole world watched as Biden struggled to string his thoughts together while on the big stage last Thursday. But his poor debate showing must not distract American voters from the achievements of his administration. Unlike Biden, Donald Trump puts his interests above those of the public. He is not fit for public office. The American electorate must not focus on Biden’s age while casting their ballots this November.

Himanshu Tandon, 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: [email protected]

Embrace new criminal laws

Jul 03, 2024

With reference to the editorial ‘New criminal laws’; keeping in mind that the three contentious farm laws were eventually repealed, the Opposition is likely to push for the scrapping of the fresh criminal laws, too. The repeal of the agricultural laws stymied much-needed reforms in the sector. It remains to be seen if the growers gained anything from their repeal. Hopefully, the new criminal codes will not be done away with despite the growing political pressure. After all, only criminals will benefit if the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam are thrown out. If the statutes have some shortcomings, they should be addressed through dialogue.

WG CDR CL Sehgal (retd), Jalandhar

Rahul’s conduct disrespectful

Apropos of the report ‘Rahul takes “not Hindus” dig at BJP in Parl, PM calls it attack on community’; the Congress leader’s remarks are despicable. Also, displaying pictures of Lord Shiva, Guru Nanak and other deities in the House during a political back-and-forth is a disrespect to them. Gods hold a special place in the hearts of their devotees; they must not be dragged into politics. What the Leader of Opposition (LoP) did was not only disrespectful but also a violation of the rules. Strict action should be taken against him.

Tarusha, Kapurthala

LoP’s remarks uncalled for

Refer to the news story ‘Rahul takes “not Hindus” dig at BJP in Parl, PM calls it attack on community’; the Leader of Opposition’s comments attacking the BJP in the Lok Sabha are proof that he lacks maturity. His tirade sounded like he was addressing a crowd gathered at a political rally and not Members of the House. With his criticism of the ruling party, he has lost another opportunity to present himself as a senior leader who can be taken seriously. Having said that, the BJP-led government needs to do a lot of soul-searching.

Sham Murari Sharma, Chandigarh

Modi has failed NEET aspirants

It is disappointing that PM Narendra Modi did not discuss the alleged irregularities in the NEET-UG exam or the last-minute postponement of the NEET-PG in the latest episode of his ‘Mann ki Baat’ show. His failure to address the matter will send a wrong signal to the student community. Modi should have seized the opportunity to console the disheartened aspirants and assure them that their grievances would be looked into. The youth are the future of our nation. Their concerns must not be left unheard. More needs to be done to prevent a repeat of the NEET fiasco.

Sunil Chopra, Ludhiana

Biden still fit to lead US

With reference to the article ‘Biden’s debate fiasco deals a blow to his campaign’; the incumbent’s poor showing on the big stage has raised doubts about his ability to lead. Unfortunately, our focus has been shifted from the achievements of his administration to his advanced age. Americans must look at the larger picture and not be distracted by widespread concerns over Biden’s health. Make no mistake, the 81-year-old is fit to be at the helm of affairs for another four years. The fact that Biden himself conceded at the recent rally in Raleigh that his debate performance was not up to the mark shows that he is self-aware and believes in being honest with the electorate. He still has a fighting chance to beat Trump.

Jatinder Singh, by mail

Need new Democratic candidate

Apropos of ‘Biden’s debate fiasco deals a blow to his campaign’; the article has rightly highlighted the consequences of Joe Biden’s shaky debate performance for US politics and the world alike. The President’s faltering speech, lack of clarity and inability to string his thoughts together have sparked fresh concerns about his health. Despite having a number of achievements under his belt, Biden has shot himself in the foot by seeking an early debate and failing to perform in it. Many commentators have rightly noted that Biden, if re-elected, would be 86 years old by the end of his second term. The Democrats must understand the urgency of the matter and find an alternative candidate soon.

Dilpreet Kaur, Chandigarh

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: [email protected]

Team India on top of the world

Jul 02, 2024

India’s triumph in the T20 World Cup is a testament to the team’s resilience and determination. After a string of disappointments in previous tournaments, India has finally emerged victorious, proving that they are a force to be reckoned with in the world of cricket. The finale was a thrilling conclusion to a tournament that saw its fair share of ups and downs. From Virat Kohli’s triumphant return to form to Suryakumar Yadav’s spectacular catch, the match was filled with moments that will be etched in the memory of cricket fans forever. India’s win is not just a victory for the team; it is a reflection of the country’s love for the sport. As the team celebrates its well-deserved win, we can’t help but feel a sense of pride and joy.

Gaganpreet Singh, by mail

A game of uncertainties

Apropos of the editorial ‘Worthy championships’; cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties. As the players prove their mettle on the field, millions of fans remain on edge until the last minute. There are highs, and there are lows. The India vs South Africa final was a grand spectacle, right from the beginning till the nail-biting end. The Indian team has buried the ghosts of its loss to Australia in the 50-over World Cup held in November last year. Kudos to the players!

BM Singh, Amritsar

Tall claims washed away in rain

With reference to the editorial ‘Airport roof collapse’; all claims of world-class infrastructure made by the government have been washed away by the rain. It remains to be seen if any action will be taken against the officials who were in charge of the projects. An investigation is in order to determine if corruption is to blame for the lapses in the construction and maintenance of the airport building. The tragedy calls for the intervention of PM Narendra Modi. All the talk of zero tolerance to corruption will ring hollow if the culprits go unpunished.

Anthony Henriques, Mumbai

Rein in anti-social elements

Refer to the report ‘Bajrangi booked for instigating mob in Faridabad’; it is a matter of grave concern that cow vigilante Bittu Bajrangi — who had earlier been arrested for his role in escalating tensions during the Nuh riots — attempted to disturb harmony again. It points to the fact that he may be enjoying political patronage and that the law enforcement agencies did not deal with him stringently. The failure to rein in anti-social elements like him has adversely affected the law and order situation across the country. The rise in incidents of mob violence and lynching needs to be taken seriously. Ordinary, law-abiding citizens must not bear the brunt of lawlessness.

Sharanjit Singh, Chandigarh

Need an equivalent of Sec 377

Refer to the front-page lead story ‘IPC makes way for Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, curtain on British-era laws’; stringent punishment for heinous crimes is welcome. Under the new rules, those convicted of the rape of a minor girl or organised crime could receive the death penalty. However, since Section 377 of the IPC was struck down as unconstitutional in relation to sexual intercourse between consenting adults in 2018, the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) lacks its equivalent. There should be a specific provision in the BNS to protect men, women and animals from unnatural offences.

Rani Dogra, Pathankot

SAD in throes of leadership crisis

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has been in decline ever since it parted ways with the BJP. Successive defeats have pushed it to the brink of collapse, sparking rebellion within the regional party of Punjab. Under the leadership of Sukhbir Singh Badal, the Akalis suffered a humiliating rout in the 2022 Assembly elections. Ten of the 13 party candidates lost their security deposit in the recent General Election. It shows that the party, which was in power in Punjab for two consecutive terms starting in 2007, has lost touch with the electorate. As SAD faces a leadership crisis, many of its supporters turn to other parties.

Karnail Singh, Kharar

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: [email protected]

India treading the Middle Path

Jul 01, 2024

Refer to ‘Why Moscow matters to Modi’ (The Great Game); the piece has aptly captured India’s delicate balancing act between major global powers. PM Narendra Modi’s upcoming visit to Moscow amid the Ukraine conflict exemplifies New Delhi’s pragmatic foreign policy. Despite increased trade with Russia, primarily driven by discounted oil imports, India remains committed to its strategic partnership with the US, which is crucial for technology transfer and investment. Modi’s one-day trip to Russia reaffirms our ties with Moscow while minimising the strain on our relations with Washington, reflecting India’s non-aligned stance and strategic autonomy. By engaging with major powers and treading the Middle Path, India can secure a brighter and more prosperous future for its citizens.

Chanchal S Mann, Una

Modi’s Russia visit an opportunity

As PM Narendra Modi prepares to visit Moscow, the world watches with bated breath. With the Ukraine war unlikely to end anytime soon, India’s neutral stance on the conflict remains a beacon of hope. Moscow, once a city in chaos, now shines with resilience and unity. The war may have affected local residents, but Russia’s determination to assert itself as a big power is evident. India must continue to straddle the Middle Path, listening to all, be it Biden, Trump or Putin. By doing so, it can leverage the strength of its ties with other nations. New Delhi must not be swayed by the whims of other global powers but instead forge its own path, keeping our national interests in mind. Modi’s visit to Moscow should be embraced as an opportunity to strengthen India-Russia ties and foster peace in a world torn apart by conflict.

Gurdev Singh, by mail

Biden must step aside

Refer to the editorial ‘Biden stumbles’; a section of the mainstream American media is calling upon the President to pull out of the race following his dismal performance in the debate with his predecessor, Donald Trump. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee’s poor showing in the debate has renewed concerns about his advanced age. Biden has himself conceded that old age has robbed him of the vigour that he once had. It is time for him to step aside and let some other Democrat take on Trump, who still has massive sway over much of the American electorate, in the elections. 

PR Ravinder, Hyderabad

Let Kamala take over

Apropos of the report ‘Biden acknowledges age, debate debacle, but vows to beat Trump’; it would be unwise of the Democrats to field Joe Biden as their presidential nominee. The 81-year-old’s feeble performance in the debate is being read as a prologue to what is to come in the months leading up to the November 5 elections. His verbal stumbles during the debate and his failure to counter Trump’s assertions have understandably set off alarm bells in Democratic circles. Besides, his son Hunter Biden’s alleged involvement in illicit activities has deeply dented the image of the President, with just months left for the polls. Vice-President Kamala Harris, who is younger and more energetic, should be picked as the Democratic candidate for the Oval Office.

Vijaya Sharma, by mail

Policymakers need to buckle up

With reference to the editorial ‘Biden stumbles’; the incumbent’s shaky performance in the presidential debate has cast a shadow over his campaign. He stuttered and lost his train of thought, accentuating concerns about his age and raising questions about his ability to run the country for four more years. Another contrast that came to the fore during the debate was how Biden and Trump have starkly different views on matters of foreign policy. While Biden believes in taking the rest of the world along, Trump feels that Washington should take more unilateral decisions in the interest of the US. Policymakers should be prepared for any eventuality.

Anmoldeep Singh, Rupnagar

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: [email protected]