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Letters to the editor

Joint efforts to check food wastage

Mar 30, 2024

Apropos of the editorial ‘Food wastage’; although the problem of food wastage is a global crisis, there is no doubt that it is very pronounced in India. The fact that one-third of all food in India is wasted or spoiled before consumption and that 19 per cent of the food in the world gets wasted paint a bleak picture of food management in India and the world. India’s ranking on the Global Hunger Index — 111 out of 125 countries — is disappointing. Nobody should go to bed on an empty stomach. A comprehensive strategy encompassing policy measures, public awareness campaigns and community initiatives can help mitigate the problem. Collaborative efforts between government agencies, NGOs and private enterprises can contribute to minimising the wastage of food.

Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa

Restoration of normalcy in J&K

With reference to the editorial ‘Hope for J&K’; every initiative for the return of normalcy in the UT is a welcome decision but should be taken with the utmost caution, considering the long history of instability in the region. The willingness to consider revoking the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and the plan to leave law and order duties solely to the Jammu and Kashmir Police should not lose sight of the upcoming elections. It will be in the best interests of UT residents if the status quo is maintained until polls are held in the state.

Krishan Bhatia, by mail

Investigate Ansari’s death

Refer to the report ‘Jailed gangster Ansari dies of cardiac arrest’; the death of Mukhtar Ansari, a dreaded gangster-politician, needs to be thoroughly probed amid allegations of slow poisoning in prison. His career in politics brought into focus the unholy nexus between criminals, mafias and politicians. His rise from the underworld to the political arena wouldn’t have been possible without some kind of patronage. Political parties of every hue use such anti-social elements to browbeat their opponents. It is imperative that the new generation is taught to shun the world of crime.

Anil Vinayak, Amritsar

Stay out of India’s business

India must take a firm stand against interference in its internal matters by other nations. The recent remarks by Germany and the US on the arrest of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal are unwarranted. Such unmerited criticism must not be tolerated. Other nations should not go on preaching democratic principles and values to target New Delhi. India is a sovereign nation, and it should not let any other country lecture it on domestic affairs. It does not matter if Kejriwal’s arrest is justified or politically motivated; Berlin and Washington have no business commenting on it.

Pratibha Sharma, Chandigarh

Kejriwal’s arrest raises doubts

With reference to the news report ‘Kejri to stay CM, HC junks plea for ouster’; getting a democratically elected leader arrested with the intention of his ouster on the eve of the Lok Sabha elections is a politically motivated step. It can lead to a constitutional catastrophe. The electorate must never forgive the ruling BJP for depriving its opponents of a fair chance in the General Election. The Delhi High Court is right to dismiss the PIL seeking Kejriwal’s removal from the post of CM following his arrest in a money laundering case related to the excise policy scam.

Jagdish Chander, Jalandhar

Food scarcity in Gaza

The world needs to wake up to the great human suffering caused by the scarcity of food in Gaza amid the Israel-Hamas war. There are long queues of trucks laden with food near the Gaza border. It is time for India to use its good relations with Israel to prevail upon the latter to allow humanitarian aid to flow into the region so that more people do not starve to death. The negotiations for peace and the release of hostages can go on, but relief for innocent civilians should not wait.

Hari Krishan Chaudhary, 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]

Invest in education

Mar 29, 2024

Apropos of the editorial ‘India’s job crisis’; the finding that the youth account for a staggering 83 per cent of jobless Indians is not merely a statistic but a dire call to action. The alarming surge in unemployment among educated youth having at least secondary education, soaring from 35.2 per cent in 2000 to a daunting 65.7 per cent in 2022, unveils a bleak reality. Behind these numbers lie shattered dreams, unrealised potential and a nation at risk of squandering its demographic dividend. The narrative of progress is marred by high dropout rates, skill deficits and widening gender disparities in the labour market. As the nation grapples with this crisis, it is imperative for policymakers to prioritise investment in education, vocational training and job creation initiatives.

Gaganpreet Singh, Mohali

Rights of inmates

With reference to the editorial ‘Bail & electioneering’; the SC is right to uphold a politician’s right to engage in political activities. Bail should be the norm, and jail only an exception. Restraining an individual not only from electioneering but also from exercising his right to vote is an onslaught on a citizen’s basic rights. An inmate, whether under trial or convicted, does not cease to be a citizen. The democratic exercise of political engagement must not be curbed through the imposition of restrictive conditions as a prerequisite for the grant of bail.

Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula

Bail, not jail

Refer to ‘Bail & electioneering’; the Supreme Court ruling striking down bail conditions that restrain individuals from participating in political activities is welcome. It will go a long way toward protecting the democratic principles of our country. However, the reluctance of courts to grant bail to prominent political leaders is telling. It is ironic that the same courts that believe in the principle of ‘bail, not jail’ often do not grant such relief to jailed politicians. Further, it is imperative that the apex court lay down some uniform guidelines for the grant of bail. 

Lt Col GS Bedi (retd), Mohali

US should mind its words

Apropos of the news report ‘Unwarranted: MEA summons US envoy’; India rightly summoned US Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Gloria Berbena on Wednesday and took exception to a US State Department spokesperson’s unsolicited remarks in Washington on the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. India expects the US to respect its sovereignty and not interfere in its internal affairs. Such remarks set a dangerous precedent and create bitterness in the bilateral relations between two friendly countries. India never expressed its objection to the trial of former US President Donald Trump. Why is the US interfering in our domestic affairs?

Upendra Sharma, by mail

Kejri’s arrest an internal matter

At least two countries — Germany and the US — have called into question the integrity of the legal process in our country by commenting on a sub judice matter. It is worth noting that other AAP leaders, such as Kejriwal’s former deputy, Manish Sisodia, have also been behind bars. Even the Supreme Court refused to grant bail to Sisodia, who is facing corruption and money laundering charges. Berlin and Washington must not raise a finger at the Indian judicial system. Their remarks on India’s domestic affairs are unwarranted and condemnable. India must make it clear to other nations that they have no business interfering in internal matters. Otherwise, it may have a chilling effect on New Delhi’s diplomatic relations with them.

MD Sharma, Shimla

Stem the rot

Refer to the report ‘Guava orchard case returns to haunt high-profile officials’; the guava orchard scam in Punjab is not just a case of corruption. It is a blatant mockery of justice and a stain on the integrity of our institutions. The orchestrated deception, involving revenue and horticulture officials, is a disgrace. The perpetrators conspired to exploit loopholes and forge documents to make money. The fact that a staggering Rs 137 crore was claimed wrongfully as compensation points to the deep rot in the system. It calls for swift action and severe punishment for all culprits.

Sahibpreet Singh, 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]

Peace in Gaza

Mar 28, 2024

With reference to ‘Gaza ceasefire’; the editorial echoes the sentiments of all peace-loving people across the world. In the nearly six-month-old war, over 32,000 Palestinians have been killed, and millions of them have been deprived of food and shelter. The UN Security Council resolution for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza is welcome. The fact that the US chose to abstain shows that Israel’s offensive has even pricked President Joe Biden’s conscience now. It is painful to see the visuals of Palestinian refugees scrambling for food in the streets. When the food packets are air-dropped, thousands of desperate people jostle with outstretched hands to catch them. Such heartbreaking scenes from a war-ravaged land must move all of mankind.

Raj Bahadur Yadav, by mail

Ban betting apps

Refer to the editorial ‘Gambling menace’; gambling has always been looked down upon in India as an unethical and immoral practice. It is the rise of betting apps in recent years that has normalised the practice. Youngsters, enticed by the allure of quick money through betting apps and platforms, often wager on cricket matches. This toxic cycle not only ruins the lives of the youth but also devastates their families. To prevent more tragedies, the authorities must take action. The government should ban such apps, as regulating them will not be enough to check the menace.

Vijay Kumar Katial, Panchkula

The perils of gambling

Apropos of the editorial ‘Gambling menace’; anything that promises a good return of money in a short interval should set the alarm bells ringing. People in general, and especially the youth, must not run after easy money. They should not resort to the use of underhanded methods to get rich. What happened to Darshan Babu and his wife, who ended up dying by suicide after facing harassment from creditors, should serve as a wake-up call for the many others indulging in online betting. There is an urgent need for public awareness campaigns, counselling and stricter enforcement of laws prohibiting gambling.

Bir Devinder Singh Bedi, Sangrur

Using agencies to settle scores

The use of investigating agencies to target Opposition leaders raises concerns about the misuse of power by the government. The recent arrest of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal is the latest example of it. Such actions not only undermine the credibility of the agencies but also deprive the candidates of a level playing field. The freezing of the Congress’ accounts appears to be a deliberate attempt to financially cripple the main Opposition party. The attempt to destabilise the Congress government in Himachal Pradesh and the poaching of leaders from other parties highlight the current regime’s strategy.

Vishal Mayur, Bengaluru

Let Kejriwal campaign

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest comes just weeks after that of Hemant Soren, who had to step down from the Jharkhand CM’s post. Opposition leaders have been under investigation in many states. While it is necessary for probe agencies to rein in corruption, it is the selective action against the political rivals of the BJP that is raising questions. Why is it that Opposition leaders earlier accused of graft become ‘clean’ after joining the saffron party? Are investigation agencies like the ED and the CBI acting on the directions of the ruling dispensation? As far as Kejriwal is concerned, the moot question remains: will the AAP national convener’s arrest keep him from campaigning?

Lajwant Singh, by mail

BJP’s double standards

It is interesting to see BJP leaders come forward in support of Kangana Ranaut, who is contesting the Lok Sabha elections on the BJP ticket from Mandi, following a derogatory social media post by Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate on the actor. Even the National Commission for Women has taken suo motu cognisance of the remarks and written to the Election Commission to take action, and the BJP has demanded an apology from the Congress. Where were all these BJP leaders when female wrestlers were being manhandled by Delhi Police personnel during their protest over alleged sexual harassment by BJP MP Brij Bhushan? It shows the double standards of the ruling party.

Bhupinder Kochhar, Panchkula

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

Building on Bhutan bonhomie

Mar 27, 2024

Refer to the editorial ‘PM’s Bhutan visit’; PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Bhutan and the fact that Thimphu’s highest civilian honour was conferred on him highlight the mutual respect between the two countries. Such gestures reflect the two nations’ willingness to support each other’s aspirations. The doubling of New Delhi’s aid for Thimphu’s next Five-Year Plan will give a big boost to Bhutan’s economy. It is noteworthy that India has always upheld Bhutan’s territorial integrity. Since India’s assistance to Bhutan is tied to its own security concerns, especially when it comes to tackling the Chinese influence in the region, Bhutan must reciprocate in ways that benefit both nations.

Chanchal S Mann, Una

Strengthening bilateral ties

With reference to ‘PM’s Bhutan visit’; the fact that PM Narendra Modi chose to visit the Himalayan kingdom even though the country is in the poll mode highlights the significance of Bhutan in India’s foreign policy. New Delhi is mindful of Thimphu’s increased engagement with Beijing and the boundary agreement that they hope to forge soon. The China-Bhutan boundary talks are a matter of concern for India because of the Siliguri Corridor, which connects India’s North East with the rest of the country. By continuing to strengthen its ties with Bhutan, India can also mend its rocky relations with other neighbours.

Gregory Fernandes, Mumbai

Act against liquor manufacturers

Refer to the editorial ‘Liquor tragedy’; it is a matter of grave concern that poisonous liquor claimed 21 lives in Punjab’s Sangrur district. Such incidents have become increasingly common in the state. With elections around the corner, more such tragedies could unfold if the authorities fail to act fast. It is not uncommon for political parties to hand out liquor to gullible voters just to woo them. Such underhanded activities cannot be carried out without the connivance of local police officials or party candidates. The latest tragedy should serve as a wake-up call for the Bhagwant Mann-led government to tackle the burgeoning menace before it gets too late. Stringent action should be taken against the manufacturers of illicit liquor to stem the menace.

MD Sharma, Shimla

Bring culprits to book

Apropos of the editorial ‘Liquor tragedy’; the loss of more than 20 lives in Sangrur is a stark reminder of the dire consequences of negligence and corruption on the part of the authorities. It shows the failure of the system to contain the illicit liquor trade in the region. The incident calls for prompt and stringent measures to check the menace. The arrest of some suspects in the case is a good start. But the rot runs deep, and there is a need to dismantle the entire nexus. Exemplary punishment should be given to the culprits.

Sahibpreet Singh, Mohali

Hope for childless couples

Apropos of the article ‘Make couples aware of risks involved in IVF’; there is no doubt that IVF has gained currency over the years because of delayed marriages, changes in lifestyle and medical complications. The technology has proved to be a boon for couples hoping to become parents. However, the age and health of the woman undergoing the process are sometimes neglected. The onus is on the government to make couples aware of the risks involved in the process. Besides, a couple or a family must make a responsible decision, keeping the health of the woman undergoing IVF treatment in mind.

Abhilasha Gupta, Mohali

Educate public on risks of IVF

With reference to the article ‘Make couples aware of the risks involved in IVF’; it is natural for a married couple to wish to have a child. There are numerous childless couples in the country dealing with infertility. The IVF method provides an opportunity or alternative for such couples. However, the risk to the life or health of a mother and child cannot be ruled out, especially if a couple opts to have a child at an advanced age. Most people in general are not aware of the upper age limit of 50 years for IVF treatment and the risks associated with it. It is imperative to educate the masses about the perils of becoming parents at an advanced age.

Ravi Sharma, Dhariwal

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]

The Kejriwal conundrum

Mar 25, 2024

Refer to ‘The devil is in the timing of ED action’ (Nous Indica); the writer is right to note that the timing of AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest is questionable. But in all fairness, he was given ample time and several summonses by the Enforcement Directorate, but he remained evasive. Around a year ago, his former deputy, Manish Sisodia, was arrested by the ED in this case. If Sisodia was wrongly arrested by the agency, why has he not got bail yet? The ED should expedite its investigation into the matter. The fact that Kejriwal plans to continue as the CM and run the government from jail is ridiculous. There is no doubt that, as the chief minister of Delhi, Kejriwal has transformed government schools and improved healthcare facilities. But offering freebies to garner votes is a sign of bad governance.

Wg Cdr CL Sehgal (retd), Jalandhar

Making a martyr of the CM

Apropos of ‘The devil is in the timing of ED action’ (Nous Indica); the arrest of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal will make a martyr out of him. The alleged targeting of Opposition leaders by the Centre can backfire as it can evoke sympathy for the politicians being victimised and coalesce a divided Opposition into a united bloc amid the threat of a crackdown by government agencies. PM Narendra Modi must understand that there can be no free and fair elections if his key political rivals are behind bars or the accounts of the principal Opposition party, the Congress, are frozen. The misuse of Central agencies raises questions about the BJP’s ability to win the elections for the third consecutive time.

Capt Amar Jeet (retd), Kharar

Onus on ED to prove charges

With reference to ‘Kejriwal’s arrest’; once a champion of the anti-corruption movement, Arvind Kejriwal has now come to be known as a chief minister who got arrested in a money laundering case. But however serious and solid the case may be, the timing of his arrest is doubtful. It seems like the ED action was politically motivated. Going by Kejriwal’s non-compliance with repeated summonses issued to him by the ED in the recent past, it is clear that the Delhi CM is trying to get mileage out of being under the scanner of the probe agency. The real issue should not get lost in the heat of politics. The onus is on the ED to prove the case against Kejriwal.

DVG Sankara Rao, Vizianagaram (AP)

Beleaguered Congress

Apropos of ‘Congress crippled’; it is a matter of great pity that the Congress, which has ruled the country for decades, is facing many challenges. Its electoral performance has declined considerably in recent years. And now, just ahead of the General Election, its accounts have reportedly been frozen. It is obviously hitting the grand old party hard. A party cannot fight an election without sufficient money at its disposal. It remains to be seen how things will pan out between the ruling BJP and the Congress in the Lok Sabha elections.

Subhash C Taneja, Gurugram

The cost of human suffering

Refer to the news report ‘Russia, China veto US bid in UN for immediate Gaza truce’; the veto by Moscow and Beijing on the US-led UN resolution for a Gaza ceasefire is more than just a diplomatic setback. It is a failure of epic proportions. With innocent lives hanging in the balance, the veto shows a callous disregard for human suffering. As the international community clamours for peace, Russia and China hide behind political manoeuvres, ignoring the urgent need for a truce. Their actions speak volumes about their priorities — giving importance to their own interests over the humanitarian crisis. It is time for true leadership to emerge, one that prioritises humanity over politics.

Amanjot Kaur, Mohali

Tap AI for safer commute

Apropos of the middle ‘Artificial intelligence is the road to take’; the writer has rightly highlighted the plight of commuters in this country. Roads everywhere are riddled with potholes. Reckless driving is also common these days. Potholes and many commuters’ blatant disregard for traffic rules often lead to road accidents. Since AI-powered algorithms can predict accidents, optimise traffic flow and facilitate efficient rerouting, the government must use the power of AI to ensure a safer and smoother commute for all in the country.

Amarjeet Mann, Una

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]

Twist of fate

Mar 23, 2024

Refer to the news report ‘Kejriwal in ED net’; the arrest of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal in a money laundering case linked to the Delhi excise policy scam is a blow to democracy. Kejriwal, once hailed as an anti-corruption crusader, now faces allegations that can tarnish his reputation. The AAP national convener’s arrest is not just about him; it is about the erosion of trust in our political institutions. The timing of the arrest, just ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, raises questions of political vendetta. It was AAP’s vow to fight corruption that resonated with the common man. But now, the party stands to lose credibility. All citizens must demand transparency and accountability, not political theatrics.

Sahibpreet Singh, Mohali

Jailing Opposition leaders

Apropos of ‘Kejriwal in ED net’; the arrest of Opposition leaders without a thorough investigation is becoming the order of the day. Ahead of the General Election, the ruling dispensation is out to decimate its political rivals. Probe agencies have become pawns of the party in power. The NDA government’s targeting of political adversaries does not bode well for our democracy. The 18-month incarceration of Prem Prakash, an alleged associate of former Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, is a case in point. The apex court’s observations regarding the Enforcement Directorate and the practice of ‘jail without trial’ are accurate.

Ravinder Singh, Jalandhar

ED shadow on Lok Sabha polls

Refer to ‘Jail without trial’; the Supreme Court is right to criticise the ED’s ways that subject an accused to ‘jail without trial’. The probe agency must mend its ways and take corrective measures. No accused should be kept in jail for an extended period on the basis of mere allegations, especially when a trial is yet to begin. With the announcement of the General Election, the model code of conduct comes into force. However, there can be no free and fair elections if Opposition leaders are kept behind bars arbitrarily. They must be released and allowed to campaign during the polls.

HL Sharma, Amritsar

Win for free speech

With reference to ‘SC stays Centre’s notification on fact-checking unit’; the top court’s decision is welcome. It is a crucial victory for free speech. In a democracy, transparency and the free flow of information are paramount, especially during the election season. The authority of the unit to censor information about the government was a blatant attempt to stifle dissent and manipulate public opinion. The court’s intervention safeguards the fundamental right to information, ensuring that citizens can access unbiased perspectives. This also underscores the judiciary’s role in upholding democratic values against authoritarian overreach.

Gaganpreet Singh, Mohali

Govt policies letting poor down

Refer to the editorial ‘Inequality in India’; despite India’s high economic growth rate, the glaring wealth gap between the rich and poor raises questions about the government’s loud claim of all-round development under Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas. It is safe to say that the yawning economic divide has been caused by the current regime’s pro-rich and corporate-friendly policies. The egregious disparity underscores the dire need for progressive taxation, equitable investments in health and education and creating more jobs to reduce poverty. The Constitution aspires for economic equality. The onus is on the government to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor.

Chanchal S Mann, Una

A mother is irreplaceable

Apropos of the middle ‘A woman of substance’; the writer is right to say that when God cannot come, he sends someone, and a mother is that person. The bond between a mother and her child is irreplaceable. It is rightly said that God created mothers because it is impossible for Him to be with everyone. It is the mother who adds meaning to one’s life. A mother stands by her child through thick and thin. The role she plays in the upbringing of their child cannot be emphasised enough.

Deepak TAAK, Panchkula

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

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

Income inequality concerning

Mar 22, 2024

Refer to the report ‘Inequality soaring, 1% population in India holds 40% wealth, finds study’; the stark economic disparity in the country is alarming. The fact that the income inequality in India is even higher than that in countries like the US and Brazil reflects a troubling trend. The rise of the ‘Billionaire Raj’ has raised questions about the effectiveness of economic reforms and development policies. As India’s economy flourishes, the gap between the affluent and the poor widens, contradicting the narrative of all-round growth. The Lok Sabha polls will present an opportunity to push for a change. Further, it is imperative to address systemic issues that confine many people to low-wage jobs and hinder equitable growth.

Gurpreet Kaur, Mohali

Need for stringent laws

Apropos of the editorial ‘Misleading ads’; it is irresponsible on the part of Patanjali Ayurved to violate its undertaking by allegedly making statements claiming that its products could cure diseases or by targeting other systems of medicine. The firm is still making tall claims about the efficacy of its products. The company is trying to dupe gullible people. It is government inaction that emboldens companies to indulge in unethical or misleading advertising. The Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954, needs to be reviewed and overhauled to make it stringent. Companies must not be allowed to play with the health of their consumers.

Raj Kumar Kapoor, Ropar

Ramdev’s proximity to power

Refer to the editorial ‘Misleading ads’; dubious practitioners, companies and charlatans show little regard for human life. Patanjali Ayurved, led by Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna, must not target other systems of medicine, like allopathy. Clearly, it is Ramdev’s proximity to the political heavyweights of the day that shields the misdeeds of the company. This nexus has helped Ramdev transform himself from a yoga guru into a multi-millionaire. It is good to know that Balkrishna has tendered an unqualified apology to the apex court about the misleading advertisements.

MK Bajaj, Zirakpur

Targeting other practitioners

With reference to the editorial ‘Misleading ads’; it is refreshing to know that the SC has taken the cavalier attitude of both the government and Patanjali Ayurved seriously and come down heavily on them. Ramdev probably thinks that his influence in the corridors of power makes him immune to the law of the land. On more than one occasion, the yoga guru has targeted allopathy. Ramdev is entitled to promote ayurveda and any other form of medicine that he wishes to, but he must not target or disparage other practitioners or types of treatment.

Anthony Henriques, Mumbai

New year, same pollution

With reference to ‘Poor air quality’; it is unfortunate that New Delhi has gained the notorious distinction of being the most polluted capital city in the world and India has emerged as the third most polluted country in the world, after Bangladesh and Pakistan. It is a reflection on the state of affairs. Every year, the residents of Delhi-NCR are left gasping during Diwali and the winter season. It is alarming that the majority of the most polluted cities in the world are in India. The fact that more than 90 per cent of the Indians are breathing air whose quality does not meet the WHO’s safety standards highlights the urgency of taking steps to tackle pollution.

Bal Govind, Noida

Collective efforts a must

Refer to ‘Poor air quality’; the high levels of air pollution in the Capital can be attributed to a number of overlapping factors, such as poor policy implementation, geographical location, industrial and vehicular emissions and crop residue burning. Thanks to stubble burning in the neighbouring states, Delhi residents are forced to inhale noxious air every year. The efforts of the government to control emissions have helped to some extent. But at the end of the day, the onus is on every citizen to do his bit to check emissions and pollution.

Gaurav Badhwar, Rohtak

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]

Pakistan should mend its ways

Mar 21, 2024

Apropos of the editorial ‘Clash on Durand Line’; it is ironic that Pakistan’s fighter jets recently struck in two Afghan provinces since it once looked to Kabul for strategic depth in its war against India. Islamabad must mend its ways or face the consequences of its actions. Its continued sponsorship of terrorism in India is deplorable. Instead of baselessly blaming India for its own misdeeds, Pakistan should stop being a haven for terrorists. The international community must hold Pakistan accountable and facilitate a constructive dialogue between Pakistan and Afghanistan to restore peace in South Asia.

Amarjeet Mann, Una

Incident dents India’s image

Refer to the article ‘Don’t let mobs give India a bad name’; the attack on the five international students at their hostel for offering namaz is disconcerting. The mob violence is likely to damage our global image and lend credence to the apprehensions about growing Islamophobia in India. The case needs to be probed thoroughly, and the assailants must be brought to book. Those responsible for the incident must be shown no leniency. Since the case is sensitive, it will send out the wrong message across the Arab world about the condition of Muslims in India, if not handled properly.

Roshan Lal Goel, by mail

Threat to peace at border

With reference to the news report ‘Absurd, baseless: India counters China’s new claim over Arunachal’; the fresh claims being made by Beijing over Arunachal Pradesh are not only unfounded, but they also undermine the efforts to maintain peace at the border. Arunachal Pradesh has been, is, and will always remain an integral part of India. Such claims by China do not align with historical facts or current administrative governance. It is imperative that both nations focus on dialogue and diplomacy to resolve any disputes, ensuring the stability and prosperity of the region.

Gurdev Singh, Mohali

China plays the big bully

New Delhi’s firm rebuttal to Beijing’s baseless claims over Arunachal Pradesh resonates with the nation’s unwavering stance on sovereignty. China’s absurd assertion of ownership only reflects its disregard for historical truths and international norms. The inauguration of the Sela Tunnel in the state stands as a symbol of progress and connectivity, not a provocation, as portrayed by the Dragon. With tensions simmering along the poorly demarcated border, it is imperative to maintain peace and stability in the region. India’s resolve to defend its territorial integrity remains resolute despite past conflicts.

Gaganpreet Singh, Mohali

Strength in diversity

Apropos of the article ‘Need to break free from prejudice, acknowledge shared inheritance’; diversity is an indispensable part of Indian culture. The Constitution vehemently protects it. Efforts to undermine our cultural diversity will only weaken the fabric of secularism. Learning from the teachings of saints, Sufi poets and Mahatma Gandhi, all citizens must acknowledge one another as a part of our shared inheritance. Inculcating a scientific temper among the youth can help them understand the need to shake off prejudices, superstitions and outdated rituals. Further, promoting a healthy public discourse on the subject can help.

Sudesh Kumar Sharma, Kapurthala

Misplaced outrage over wealth gap

With reference to the article ‘Searching for sanity in the age of hyper-consumerism’; the article read more like a painful rant about huge spending by the elite. The author has called out the Ambanis for spending over Rs 1,250 crore on their son’s pre-wedding ceremony. His criticism is misplaced, and the mention of India’s rank on the Global Hunger Index to question the expenditure on a family event is not a good argument. It is hard to understand why some commentators are up in arms over the richest man in Asia spending his own money.

RC Sharma, by mail

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

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

Putin’s grip on power

Mar 20, 2024

With reference to the editorial ‘Putin’s re-election’; that Putin would secure a fifth term was a foregone conclusion, thanks to the absence of an effective Opposition. Further, the whole world knows how Putin deals with dissidents and his opponents. He is taking advantage of Moscow’s military prowess to keep his opponents, both at home and abroad, in check. At the behest of Putin, Russia has been fighting a small neighbouring country for over two years now without any end in sight. But the ongoing war with Ukraine does not bode well for the country. However, Putin is one head of state who can counter the US, which always tries to pose as the leader of the world.

AG Rajmohan, Anantapur (AP)

Putin here to stay

Apropos of the editorial ‘Putin’s re-election’; Russian President Vladimir Putin has come to be known for his ability to stick to power. The presidential poll was merely a ceremonial affair. But there is no denying that the popularity of the former KGB foreign intelligence officer soared amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The West can dismiss the elections as a sham all it wants, but the inescapable fact is that the US and its allies would have to deal with Putin for some more years. Nonetheless, it goes without saying that iron-handed tactics against opponents and their imprisonment in an era of censorship left a bad taste even for those who rallied for the Russian ruler.

Gregory Fernandes, Mumbai

Citizenship law need of the hour

Refer to the article ‘CAA may dent India’s image as a secular polity in the long run’; the CAA has been brought in to heal the wounds caused by the Partition. The law is not meant for the welfare or rehabilitation of citizens of our neighbouring countries. India is not responsible for looking after the persecuted classes of Muslims in Pakistan, Afghanistan or Bangladesh. Those Muslim-majority countries are not even secular. Why is India being expected to have a secular approach to the rehabilitation and grant of citizenship to migrants or refugees? The implementation of the CAA is the need of the hour.

Ashok Kumar Goel, Panchkula

CAA an internal matter

Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are Muslim-majority countries where the persecution of this community is a rarity. It is the minority communities like Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Christians and Parsis which bear the brunt of persecution there. The number of Hindus living in Pakistan has drastically declined since the Partition. India is right to take a sympathetic view of the plight of the members of minority communities in the neighbouring countries and facilitate their rehabilitation and the granting of citizenship to them. Further, the implementation of the CAA is an internal matter of India, and the US has no business interfering in it. Washington needs to stop policing other nations.

Karnail Singh, Kharar

US criticism unwarranted

Refer to ‘US criticism of CAA’; Washington’s criticism of the Citizenship Amendment Act is unwarranted and misplaced since it is an internal affair of India. India's response to the US that religious freedom and equality of citizens are enshrined in our Constitution is justified. However, the timing of the implementation of the law — just before the General Election — is concerning. Even though the law does not apply to Indian citizens, the notification of the CAA has the potential to polarise voters. Instead of succumbing to knee-jerk reactions, all stakeholders must wait patiently for the Supreme Court’s verdict on CAA implementation.

Chanchal S Mann, Una

The language of Mumbai

Refer to the middle ‘The hilarious spirit of Bombay’; Mumbai is the true melting pot of cultures across India, and it is not unusual for a newcomer to feel overwhelmed by the sheer diversity of languages and traditions in the city. The writer has captured the spirit of the city. The megalopolis has a lingo of its own. However, there is one language everybody understands in Mumbai: the language of money. Here, moolah is respected more than one’s aristocratic roots or learning. Once someone has lived in Mumbai, they know that no other city can hold a candle to it.

Anthony Henriques, Mumbai

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Lack of level playing field

Mar 19, 2024

Refer to ‘Poll bugle sounded’; far from viewing the General Election as a festival of democracy, many voters now have apprehensions about the poll process. The disclosure of the electoral bond data and the arrest or targeting of many Opposition leaders have added to the voters’ fear of a lack of a level playing field, which is a prerequisite for democracy. All this gives weight to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s claim that PM Narendra Modi cannot win an election without EVMs, the ED, the CBI and the Income Tax Department. It will further erode public faith in elections. The onus is on the ruling dispensation and the Opposition to ensure that the masses’ faith in democracy and its institutions does not wane.

Hira Sharma, by mail

Hold those in power accountable

Apropos of the editorial ‘Poll bugle sounded’; elections provide the voters with a golden opportunity to punish power-drunk politicians. The Lok Sabha polls will be a chance for the voters to hold the ruling dispensation to account for undermining democracy by misusing government machinery to target the Opposition. There is a need for all voters to keep issues like social inequality in mind while casting their votes. The widespread circulation of black money, rampant corruption and the unholy nexus between those in power and the corporate giants must weigh heavily on a voter’s mind.

Roshan Lal Goel, by mail

Integrity of polls under a cloud

With reference to ‘Poll bugle sounded’; some recent incidents and revelations have sown fear in the minds of the voters. The electorate is concerned about the possible manipulation of EVMs and a lack of transparency in electoral funding. The delay by the State Bank of India in furnishing complete details of electoral bonds despite the directions of the Supreme Court hints at the possibility of manipulation of the data. The fact that so many firms that had purchased electoral bonds were under the scanner of agencies like the Enforcement Directorate (ED) raises questions about the extortion of crores of rupees in the name of political donations.

Wg Cdr JS Minhas (retd), Mohali

A mockery of the law

Apropos of the report ‘Day after bail, Kejri gets summons in two cases’; the ED and Arvind Kejriwal are both making a mockery of the law. The fact that the ED issued two fresh summonses to the Delhi CM just a day after a local court granted him bail shows that the probe agency is out to get him. It is a sad reflection on the working of the agency. ED officials must not be so quick to issue a summons to any citizen. Further, the AAP national convener has shown disrespect to the law of the land by skipping one summons after another.

Faqir Singh, Dasuya

CAA rights a wrong

Refer to the editorial ‘US criticism of CAA’; America’s criticism of the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is unwarranted. Washington lacks a basic understanding of the history of India. Those in power in the US need to delve into the background of the legislation. The law has been brought in to address some issues that arose during the Partition. The world needs to stop acting like no other country has granted citizenship to a migrant or refugee on the basis of his or her faith or ethnicity. Further, the CAA is an internal matter of India, and other nations should respect that.

Sikandar Bansal, Shimla

Remove hoardings of politicians

It is heartening to know that with the model code of conduct kicking in, the photos of Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann, which have been brazenly displayed on government buildings, are being removed. The photo of a politician should not be put up in public places or government buildings in the first place. The installation of Mann’s photos at Aam Aadmi Clinics across the state was a waste of the taxpayers’ money. Desperate to take credit for the success of every government scheme or policy, the parties in power tend to have promotional hoardings put up in public places. This practice must be checked.

Amit Kumar, Mohali

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BJP must intensify outreach

Mar 18, 2024

Refer to ‘BJP taking nothing for granted’ (Nous Indica); if the BJP wants to win a third consecutive term, it must strengthen its poll campaign at the grassroots level and try to reach out to every voter. PM Narendra Modi’s charisma will work, but the party must not depend solely on one leader to win the elections. The INDIA bloc is disintegrating, but its constituents will leave no stone unturned to put up a fight. The data disclosed by the SBI and uploaded by the ECI is telling. It remains to be seen how it will impact the outcome of the General Election.

Wg Cdr Cl Sehgal (retd), Jalandhar

Oppn should stay united

Apropos of ‘BJP taking nothing for granted’ (Nous Indica); the party’s strategists are aware that unless state-specific dynamics and issues are addressed, a one-size-fits-all national campaign would fail. Multi-pronged strategies will stand the BJP-led NDA in good stead for its target of winning 400-plus Lok Sabha seats. It is high time that all members of the INDIA bloc and others in the Opposition came together and fought unitedly. India needs not only a strong and stable dispensation in power at the Centre but also an equally mighty Opposition to hold the government to account whenever necessary.

Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula

India has a long way to go

Refer to ‘India’s HDI improves’; though the United Nations has hailed India’s progress in HDI over the years, we still have a long way to go. India is lagging behind its neighbours like Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The nation needs to make steady progress on life expectancy, mean years of schooling and average incomes. There is a need to narrow the divide between the rich and the poor. India has shown progress in reducing gender inequality and ranks 108 on the Gender Inequality Index. But there is a tough road ahead of us. We must invest more in social infrastructure.

Bal Govind, Noida

Cash for favour

Apropos of the editorial ‘Electoral bonds’; the electoral bond data reveals the depth of corruption. It is safe to say that most donations were made in exchange for some sort of favour. The revelations about the donations made by the companies under the scanner of probe agencies raise questions about the reason that prompted them to purchase electoral bonds. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is trying to play down the quid pro quo between the donors and the recipients by dismissing the doubts as being based on ‘huge assumptions’. Who is going to stop the political leadership from extorting money from big firms in the name of donations?

Capt Amar Jeet (retd), Kharar

Scepticism should be encouraged

With reference to the middle ‘In praise of scepticism’, the problem is that scepticism is generally not encouraged in families. Children tend to believe what they are told by their parents. And when they grow up, they are easily taken in by the words of religious leaders or godmen. As far as myths and superstitions go, a lot of outlandish claims have been made about the benefits of cow urine that hordes of people do not even feel the need to question. Many people believe that the cow is the only animal that inhales and exhales oxygen. There are also some who think that the sun rises first in India. The need of the hour is to develop critical thinking skills. If people do not want to fall prey to myths and unscientific claims, they must learn to think on their own.

Anthony Henriques, Mumbai

Altruistic kidney donations

Around 17 per cent of the Indian population suffers from chronic kidney disease (CKD). Diabetes and hypertension are among the leading causes of the disease. When CKD develops into an end-stage renal disease, a kidney transplant is generally the recommended treatment option. The number of total eligible patients receiving kidney transplants remains low in India; this is a matter of concern. Altruistic kidney donations and non-near-relative swap transplantation can help address the issue. Further, international collaboration and strict vigilance to check the black marketeering of organs can help the cause.

Kartikeya Singh Chandel, Bilaspur

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Involvement of teachers

Mar 16, 2024

Apropos of ‘Paper for cash’; the leak of papers and the use of other unfair means in exams are worrisome. Such attempts erode public faith in government recruitment exams and educational institutions. The menace of cheating plagues the whole academic setup in the country. There is an urgent need to create a robust mechanism to curb the problem and adopt a zero-tolerance policy towards corruption. The recent incidents of cheating and paper leak call for stringent action against those engaged in such nefarious activities. The alleged involvement of teachers in cheating during board exams is deplorable, as they are entrusted with the job of shaping the students’ careers.

Ravi Sharma, Dhariwal

Failure of probe agencies

Refer to the editorial ‘Paper for cash’; the leaking of the UP police exam paper to over 1,500 candidates is a matter of grave concern. The most astonishing part is the way such unscrupulous elements manage to indulge in these malpractices on a large scale without investigation agencies like the ED or the CBI getting wind of it. It is hard to believe that so many candidates were herded into buses and taken to a resort, where the paper was handed over to them. How do such criminals operate brazenly? Can no law enforcement agency stop them?

Ramesh Gupta, Narwana

Don’t spare the culprits

With reference to the editorial ‘Paper for cash’; the way the paper of the UP police exam was leaked to 1,500 candidates at a farmhouse in Gurugram for Rs 7 lakh each was shocking. It is the honest and hard-working aspirants who always have to bear the brunt of a cancellation or retest. Miscreants should not be allowed to make a mockery of the examination system. The government must not spare the culprits. A strong message can be sent out if exemplary punishment is given to those behind the leak.

Subhash C Taneja, Gurugram

The way forward for polls

Apropos of the editorial ‘Simultaneous polls’; notably, the committee led by Ram Nath Kovind has submitted its report on ‘One nation, one election’ to President Droupadi Murmu just before the announcement of the Lok Sabha elections. The recommendations in the report are more or less on expected lines. The apprehensions that simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and the assemblies will blur the lines and prompt the electorate to vote for the ruling party at the Centre are unfounded. The benefits of holding simultaneous polls are many. As the BJP’s 2019 manifesto had noted, it could help reduce expenditure and ensure efficient utilisation of government resources.

Krishan Kant Sood, Nangal

Rein in objectionable content

Refer to the news report ‘To check vulgar content, govt bans 18 OTT platforms’; the step taken by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in coordination with various intermediaries is laudable. The government should step up action against other OTT platforms, websites and social media sites on which obscene content is available. The easy availability of vulgar content on social media has already done much harm to youngsters these days. It is the right time to rein in the menace. The government must ensure strict compliance with all guidelines for OTT platforms.

Roop Singh Negi, Solan

The plight of Gaza residents

The residents of Gaza are living through unimaginable hardships amid the Israel-Hamas war. Stories about the resilience of the people stuck in the war-torn region as they struggle to survive have touched many around the world deeply. The people of Gaza, including women and children, are not mere statistics or headlines; they are mothers, daughters, sisters and sons who deserve to live in a safe environment. They should not have to live with the constant fear of violence and displacement or a lack of access to basic necessities like healthcare, education and clean water. The impact of this crisis goes beyond physical harm. It will leave lasting scars on the hearts and minds of those who survive.

Jubel D’Cruz, Mumbai

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Old warhorses in the fray

Mar 15, 2024

Apropos of the editorial ‘Biden vs Trump’; the 2024 US presidential election reflects the global trend of old warhorses taking the field. Even here in India, there are many seasoned politicians who are always in the fray. It does not augur well for democracy, as it shows a lack of younger leaders capable of taking charge. It has got to the point where democratic elections fail to serve the voters, who just get a Hobson’s choice. Even though around one in five Americans has an unfavourable impression of the current and the former President, this group will have to make a choice between the two.

DV Sharma, Mukerian

World wary of a Trump win

With reference to ‘Biden vs Trump’; the US election has always been closely watched by the rest of the world because of the implications of the outcome for global politics and economics. President Joe Biden and his predecessor, Donald Trump, are all set for a rematch. A Trump re-election could mean a continuation of protectionist policies, volatile foreign relations and unpredictable economic decisions, whereas a second term of the Biden presidency will have to deliver on the promises of fostering multilateralism and a more collaborative approach to global issues. The choice between these two paths will shape the future of international politics, setting the tone for global cooperation in the years to come.

Gregory Fernandes, Mumbai

Trump’s rhetoric

Refer to ‘Biden vs Trump’; the US presidential poll this year is set to be a bitter slugfest between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. As a business tycoon with wealthy lobbyists behind him, Trump might double down on his ‘America First’ stance. It is the kind of rhetoric that leads to a rise in racist attacks on Black people. Immigrants are the backbone of the American economy, and Trump must not label them ‘job snatchers’. He must desist from banking on hatred and hypernationalism to attract voters this time.

HL Sharma, Amritsar

Govt must uphold secularism

Apropos of ‘CAA rollout’; the announcement of the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act, which is perceived by many as discriminatory, has stirred unrest and fear among members of India’s Muslim community. The timing, merely weeks before the General Election, raises questions about the intent behind this move. While the government may claim that the Act is aimed at uplifting persecuted minorities, the exclusion of Muslims is alarming. It is imperative that the government uphold the secular and inclusive values enshrined in our Constitution, ensuring equality for all citizens, regardless of their religion.

Gurdev Singh, Mohali

Cong can’t buy women’s votes

With reference to the report ‘Congress vows Rs 1L cash, 50% job quota for women’; in a bid to secure more votes in the Lok Sabha polls, the Congress is now reaching out to women. The five guarantees announced by the party for women, including an annual direct cash transfer of Rs 1 lakh to one woman from every poor family and a 50 per cent quota for females for jobs in the Central Government, are a reflection on the Congress’ low opinion of the weaker sex. The party thinks that women can be lured easily with such incentives. The party needs to realise that women across urban and rural areas in the country these days are educated and aware of their rights. Their votes cannot be bought.

Abhilasha Gupta, Mohali

Dialogue must for world peace

Refer to the report ‘Will use nukes if Russia threatened, warns Putin’; Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued a stark warning, conveying his readiness to employ nuclear weapons if the sovereignty of Russia is threatened. Amid conflicts like the Russia-Ukraine and Israel-Hamas wars, China’s threats to Taiwan and tensions between North Korea and South Korea, global stability seems distant. US President Joe Biden, a seasoned politician, must comprehend the perils of further escalation. All world leaders must understand the importance of promoting dialogue over aggression. In view of Moscow’s formidable nuclear capabilities, preserving peace becomes imperative.

Vijay Kumar Katial, Panchkula

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

Law a blow to secularism

Mar 14, 2024

With reference to the editorial ‘CAA rollout’; India’s hasty implementation of the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act is a travesty of justice and a blow to secular values. By favouring select religious groups while marginalising Muslims, the Narendra Modi-led government has forsaken the principles of equality and inclusivity. The announcement of the rules reeks of political opportunism, timed conveniently before the elections to stoke communal tensions. The CAA, coupled with the National Register of Citizens, poses a grave threat to communal harmony and the rights of millions. All citizens must vehemently oppose this assault on our democratic fabric. 

Gaganpreet Singh, Mohali

CAA rollout just political

Apropos of the editorial ‘CAA rollout’; by notifying the CAA just ahead of the General Election, four years after it was passed in Parliament, the BJP is checking another box in its 2019 manifesto, besides the abrogation of Article 370, the consecration of the Ram Temple and the adoption of a Uniform Civil Code. But the timing of the announcement makes it seem like the BJP is willing to risk a breakout of protests. The CAA’s promise of citizenship had helped the BJP’s prospects among Bengal’s Namasudra community in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and the 2021 Assembly elections. But it remains to be seen how many more seats the BJP can wrest from the TMC.

Sanjay Chopra, Mohali

Shakeup doesn’t ensure success

With reference to the editorial ‘Shakeup in Haryana’; if the people of Haryana have already made up their minds to get rid of the current government in the upcoming elections, this last-minute shakeup is unlikely to help the BJP fight anti-incumbency. It is wrong to expect voters to reassess their decisions at this stage. The changing of the guard just before the polls is no guarantee of electoral success. Just because the tactic worked in other states does not mean that it will also work in Haryana. Politics remains a highly unpredictable game where there is no fixed formula for success.

Vinay Kumar Malhotra, Ambala Cantt

TMC must join hands with Cong

After months of strategising and planning by the INDIA bloc, the inevitable happened in West Bengal: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress decided to go it alone in the state in the Lok Sabha elections. Right from the beginning, the Congress had rejected the TMC’s proposal of seat-sharing. Had Mamata not turned a deaf ear to the Congress’ repeated overtures for reconciliation, a seat-sharing pact could have been finalised. Mamata’s decision will now lead to the splitting of Opposition votes, which will only help the BJP. Mamata must reconsider her decision and join hands with the Congress to defeat the BJP.

Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee, Faridabad

Break nexus between pharma, docs

Refer to the news report ‘New pharma code: gifts, travel sops for docs banned’; it is laudable that the government has taken note of the nexus between doctors and pharmaceutical companies. The common man, looking to receive treatment, ends up with exorbitantly high medical bills because of this collusion. Medics are lured into prescribing specific medicines with inflated prices. They are offered costly gifts and trips to foreign countries in exchange. The rules of the Uniform Code for Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices, 2024, must be followed in letter and spirit. It is imperative that doctors do not discard medical ethics.

Yoginder Singhal, Ladwa

Must keep tabs on political funding

Apropos of the report ‘Ahead of poll, Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann promises cheaper power to industries’; in a last-ditch effort to woo voters before the Model Code of Conduct comes into effect, political parties are offering the voters one pre-poll bonanza after another. The Election Commission of India must be empowered to audit pre-poll expenses of the parties to check the use of funds pumped in through illicit means. The poll body must curb the malaise of black money in elections.

Anil Vinayak, 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]

Mamata putting self above nation

Mar 13, 2024

Apropos of the editorial ‘TMC going solo’; buoyed by successive victories, the fiery TMC supremo, Mamata Banerjee, has become drunk on power. She must not forget how the Left ruled the state for decades but then melted away. If Mamata is keen on stopping the BJP juggernaut, she must put the nation and the Opposition alliance above herself and her party. As a prominent leader of the alliance, she could play a major role in strengthening the INDIA grouping and saving democracy. It is imperative that the Opposition bloc leaders stay united ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. 

BM Singh, Amritsar

INDIA members must stay united

Refer to ‘TMC going solo’; desperate to retain their hold over West Bengal, CM Mamata Banerjee and her party have failed to look at the bigger picture. The fact that the TMC has decided to go it alone in the state does not augur well for the INDIA bloc. Only the BJP will benefit from the splitting of Opposition votes. The presence of Mamata’s party is limited to West Bengal, but INDIA has stakes in the entire country. Its constituents must not be rigid when it comes to the sharing of seats. The members of the Opposition bloc must fight the elections unitedly.

Deepak TAAK, Panchkula

Time for full disclosure

With reference to the news report ‘Give poll bond info to EC by today, SBI told’; the Supreme Court is right to dismiss the State Bank of India’s (SBI) plea seeking time till June 30 to disclose details of electoral bonds. By asking the SBI to submit the details to the Election Commission by the close of business hours on March 12, the apex court has dealt another blow to the ruling dispensation. The basis of the SBI’s plea for extending the deadline to make the disclosures was frivolous and specious. It seemed like the bank was just trying to save the BJP’s face ahead of the General Election.

Roshan Lal Goel, by mail

Poll officer’s departure

In a nation where the heart of democracy beats fervently, the abrupt resignation of election commissioner Arun Goel reverberates like a thunderclap. As the expected announcement of the General Election looms, Goel’s departure leaves a void filled with uncertainty. What was the reason behind his exit? Was it dissent, pressure or a silent protest against the erosion of institutional integrity? India, a country with around 98 crore registered voters, now stands on a precipice. Goel’s resignation has cast a shadow over our electoral bedrock. There is a need for greater transparency in matters related to the institution.

Gurpreet Kaur, Mohali

Look out for China’s spy ships

Refer to the news report ‘Another Chinese spy in India’s backyard’; the sighting of yet another Chinese research vessel near India’s coast is a matter of grave concern for the country’s security. The possibility of military intelligence-gathering in our backyard must prompt the government to take timely and proactive measures to ensure the protection of our maritime territory. Moreover, China’s objection to PM Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Arunachal Pradesh highlights the complex geopolitical dynamics at play in the region. In view of these challenges, it is imperative that India bolster its maritime surveillance and defence capabilities.

Amarjeet Mann, Una

Change pattern of exam

With reference to the editorial ‘Chit gangs of Nuh’; incidents of mass cheating in exams have long been prevalent in north India. This is the result of the pathetic state of education in the region, where successive governments have failed to address the issues plaguing the system. The poor infrastructure and a lack of facilities at schools are among the reasons for the decay in education. A change in the pattern of the exam is a must. The introduction of an open-book examination system would make it harder for students to use unfair means. Further, an open-book exam would test the candidates’ ability to think critically, helping them learn and grow.

Anthony Henriques, Mumbai

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Address underlying issues

Mar 12, 2024

Refer to the editorial ‘Chit gangs of Nuh’; malpractices have long been common in state boards and CBSE examinations. Students and those involved in enabling the use of unethical means in examinations take advantage of the advancements in technology in recent decades. It is not uncommon to find candidates using Bluetooth or other devices to cheat. There is a need to ensure that no student brings chits, devices or textbook pages to the examination hall. The local authorities concerned must rein in the malpractices. Besides, there is also a need to address other underlying issues that prompt students to use such dishonest means in exams. Many government schools have been reeling from a shortage of teaching staff. Most students enrolled in such institutions cannot afford additional coaching. Hence, they are left with no choice but to cheat.

Dilwar Ali Meerak, by mail

Authorities to blame

With reference to the editorial ‘Chit gangs of Nuh’; it is a matter of grave concern that chit gangs are fearlessly supplying cheating material to students in exam centres. It is alarming that students and gang members often adopt underhanded means with impunity. From Bihar and UP to Haryana, there is no stopping this menace. This points to a systemic failure on the part of the school authorities to tackle the use of unfair means. Such gangs have been successfully operating, probably with the connivance of some of the school officials responsible for holding exams. The need of the hour is to deal strictly with such elements to stem the rot.

MD Sharma, Shimla

Bring culprits to book

Apropos of ‘Chit gangs of Nuh’; the scenario in Nuh brings to mind images of the infamous Bihar cheating case some years ago, when parents and friends of students were photographed climbing school walls to pass on answers. But the menace is not limited to a few states. There is no doubt that cheating cannot take place at a massive level without the help of teaching staff members. The gravity of the situation can be gauged from the fact that villagers and gangs are often involved in the practice. Those in power must take concrete steps to not only prevent cases of cheating in exams but also make sure that the culprits are brought to justice so that a strong message can be sent out to criminals. 

Bal Govind, Noida

Weak Oppn bodes ill for nation

Refer to the news report ‘TMC snubs Congress, names nominees for all 42 Lok Sabha seats in Bengal’; even if the TMC wins all 42 seats in the state, will Bengal really gain anything at the end of the day? Will the outcome be of any good for democracy? The NDA, with its octopus-like grip on electoral politics, might end up winning the Lok Sabha polls for the third time straight, thanks to a divided Opposition. AAP and the Congress’ inability to agree on a seat-sharing pact in Punjab has weakened the foundation of the INDIA bloc. A weak Opposition bodes ill for our democracy.

Hira Sharma, by mail

Congress must introspect

Apropos of  ‘TMC snubs Cong, names nominees for all 42 Lok Sabha seats in Bengal’, even loyalists of the Congress are dismayed to see the poor state of affairs. There was a time when the grand old party held sway all over the country. Not only has the Congress’ national presence shrunk over the years, but it has also been left at the mercy of regional parties to be able to fight elections. The fact that the Congress is being slighted by state-level parties in one state after another says a lot. The Congress must reflect on the reasons for its downfall instead of sweeping infighting in the Opposition bloc under the carpet.

Yoginder Singhal, Ladwa

Act against protesting farmers

Refer to the report ‘Farmers squat on rail tracks in Punjab, Haryana; services hit’; it is time for the government to crack the whip to check disruptions caused by farmers’ protests. It is disappointing to know that farmers on Sunday squatted on railway tracks at many places in Punjab and Haryana. The agitating cultivators must not be allowed to hold thousands of train passengers to ransom. The Supreme Court should take suo motu cognisance of the matter.

Kumar Gupt, 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]

Job situation grim in India

Mar 11, 2024

Apropos of ‘Turning migrant labour into mercenaries’ (Nous Indica); the question is: can the Indian Government stop Indian nationals from going to conflict-hit countries like Russia and Israel when they face unemployment here at home? It is the lack of job opportunities, widespread corruption and the use of unfair means in government recruitment exams that are prompting the youth to search for jobs overseas. The job situation is so grim here that thousands of Indians would rather take the risk of working in a war-torn country than languish in poverty in India. Further, there is a need to deal strictly with unscrupulous immigration agents sending youth to such countries.

Capt Amar Jeet (retd), Kharar

Can’t let Indian nationals die

With reference to ‘Turning migrant labour into mercenaries’ (Nous Indica); just months ago, the Haryana Government had advertised jobs for skilled workers in Israel amid a shortage of manpower in the construction sector there. Unemployed Indian youth must not be sent to a war-ravaged region where they could be targeted by militant groups like the Hamas and Hezbollah or be forced to take part in a war. The Indian Government should not allow its citizens to venture out into such conflict zones, where they could become cannon fodder.

Ramesh Gupta, Narwana

No democracy without dissent

Refer to the editorial ‘Right to criticise’; the Supreme Court has rightly quashed the FIR registered against a professor for his comments denouncing the abrogation of Article 370. Democracy and dissent go hand in hand. Criticism of a government policy or decision must not be used as a pretext to book the dissenter under Section 153-A for creating disharmony. Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and expression to every citizen. Any unreasonable restriction on the freedom of speech only erodes the faith of the public in democracy. Besides, cops must not be quick to register frivolous cases against citizens.

Satwant Kaur Panesar, by mail

Stop silencing dissenters

Apropos of the editorial ‘Right to criticise’; a number of verdicts delivered by the SC recently helped reinforce the democratic edifice of the country. Besides, the apex court has done well by quashing the FIR registered against a professor for simply denouncing the abrogation of Article 370 on social media. The court has observed that citizens have the right to criticise a government decision. Over the past few years, there have been several attempts to silence dissenting voices. Draconian provisions of various laws have been invoked to punish anybody who dares to criticise the government. Dissent is the soul of democracy, and it must be protected. The police must not target and book dissenters on flimsy grounds.

Roshan Lal Goel, by mail

Minorities being targeted

With reference to the editorial ‘Right to criticise’; it is not uncommon for cops to act against ordinary citizens on the directions of the party in power. The Constitution guarantees all citizens the right to freedom of speech and expression. Such cases end up in the Supreme Court as lower courts fail to protect the fundamental rights of citizens. It is worth noting that politicians and heads of religious organisations, especially those aligned with the current ruling dispensation, often make inflammatory speeches in public. And yet, no action is taken against them. It is people belonging to minority communities that are generally targeted. Nobody should end up in jail for having a different stand on religious or political matters than those in power.

Wg Cdr JS Minhas (retd), Mohali

Prioritise national interests

Refer to ‘Boosting India-US ties’; President Joe Biden has rightly underscored the strategic importance of the India-US relations. The enhanced defence cooperation serves as a deterrent against Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific region. The Quad alliance is playing a crucial role in countering China’s expansionist agenda by addressing cybersecurity and maritime challenges in the region. However, India must ensure that its national interests take precedence over its collaboration with the US.

Chanchal S Mann, Una

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]

Restore statehood of J&K

Mar 09, 2024

With reference to the editorial ‘PM in Kashmir’; the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019, was a historic move that contributed to the integration and development of the region. The decision was met with strong support but also vehement opposition. But there is no denying that the move cleared the way for an improvement in the law and order situation in the Valley, which has seen a decline in stone-pelting in recent years. The step was also necessary to help curb terror activities, such as blasts, weapon-snatching and arson. However, it is time to restore the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir and hold elections there by this September.

KR Bharti, Shimla

Hold polls in Jammu & Kashmir

Apropos of ‘PM in Kashmir’; the PM’s maiden visit to Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 assumes vital significance ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. His visit would have a salutary effect on the development of the Valley. The launch of around 50 projects worth Rs 6,400 crore is laudable. The PM’s visit would give a boost to Kashmir’s tourism industry, increasing employment opportunities for the youth and giving a push to the local economy. However, the need to restore the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir and hold elections there cannot be overstated. Bringing back the democratic process in J&K should be a priority.

Ravi Sharma, Dhariwal

Boost for local economy

With reference to the news report ‘Modi bats for Wed in India campaign to boost tourism’; Prime Minister Narendra Modi has done well by backing the campaign to encourage citizens to opt for domestic destinations for weddings to help local tourism, besides asking NRIs to participate in the ‘Chalo India’ programme by sending their kin to explore India. Destination weddings or pre-wedding ceremonies organised by ultra-rich families, such as the Ambanis, in India could give a big boost to the local economy. Hopefully, the PM’s appeal will receive a positive response.

KK Sood, Nangal

Thankless Maldives

Apropos of ‘Muizzu’s folly’; the fact that the ruling dispensation in the Maldives has doubled down on its anti-India stance is proof that President Mohamed Muizzu has fallen for China’s ploy hook, line and sinker. The world knows, and Muizzu should too, that the only thing that Beijing cares about is its own interests. Muizzu’s hatred for New Delhi is apparent. The Maldives is being ungrateful to India, even though it is the huge number of Indian tourists visiting the island nation that has boosted Male’s tourism-centred economy. Muizzu must reconsider his ultimatum. Further, India must put its best foot forward in dealing with the Maldives.

Avinash Godboley, Dewas (MP)

Women shackled by social norms

Refer to the article ‘Need to invest in women’; a change in social norms will allow women to thrive. Women want to be able to use public transportation without fear; they want equal access to resources and technology. They seek health and sanitation facilities that take their needs into account. Women want to lead dignified lives without any threat of violence. Encouraging men to understand the importance of academic and professional opportunities for girls and women to the economy is the foundation of true change. By investing in women and accelerating progress towards gender equality, we can create a world where every individual has the opportunity to prosper, regardless of their gender.

Gaurav Badhwar, Rohtak

Politics all about power

Apropos of the article ‘Electoral democracy faces headwinds’; it seems like former PM Jawaharlal Nehru was right when he stated that democracy was good just because other systems were worse. It is unfortunate that power is all that matters to politicians these days. A vast majority of political leaders in our country lack ethics, morals and principles. Sadly, even in a country like India, where there is widespread illiteracy and abject poverty, politicians are just focused on adopting a kind of ‘autocracy’ that is dressed in the garb of democracy. Political parties are always looking to grab power by hook or by crook.

BM Singh, Amritsar

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

Lack of jobs to blame

Mar 08, 2024

Refer to ‘Cannon fodder’; a lack of job opportunities in the country compels many Indians to look for employment overseas despite the odds they face. Rather than staying jobless, they prefer to risk their lives by taking up employment in war-torn regions. The reports about the Indian workers being initially hired by Russian authorities for non-combat roles but then being made to fight in the war are shocking. The recent recruitment of thousands of Indian nationals as workers in Israel amid its war with the Hamas is telling. It paints a grim picture of the job situation in India. It may be recalled that the families of Indian workers, who were involved in projects related to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar and had died there, were not given compensation. The government must address the issue on priority.

Gregory Fernandes, Mumbai

Ensure safe return of Indians

With reference to ‘Cannon fodder’; that Indians are being duped by unscrupulous travel agents to travel to conflict zones is really concerning. Reports of seven Indian nationals being arrested in Russia and then being forced to fight in the war zone should spur action. Is there no international law to protect people from being used as cannon fodder? India, which claims to be a friend of Russia, must lodge a strong protest against this atrocity. The future of those Indians hangs in the balance. Time is running out. The priority of the Indian Government should be to bring the citizens back home from Russia.

Balvinder, Chandigarh

India’s diplomatic prowess

Apropos of ‘Cannon fodder’; the Russian Government allegedly forced several Indians to fight for the country in the war against Ukraine. India must intervene immediately. Indian nationals, with no knowledge of weapons or warfare, must not be pushed into the regional conflict, which can cost them their lives. The episode does not augur well for the India-Russia ties. The Indian Government showed its diplomatic prowess by bringing home the Navy veterans who had been initially sentenced to death in Qatar. Now, it is time to ensure the safe and speedy return of the seven Indian nationals.

Ravinder Singh, Jalandhar

Simplify procedure for relief

Apropos of the editorial ‘Crop damage’; it is a matter of grave concern that the crops grown by farmers in Punjab and Haryana, especially wheat and mustard, have been damaged in the recent spell of rain, hailstorms and gusty winds. The Haryana Government’s decision to open a portal to let the affected growers register their claims and the details of the losses is commendable. However, the limitations of the portal need to be addressed. Besides, not all cultivators are tech-savvy. Many of them are probably not even aware that such a portal exists. Therefore, it is imperative that the tillers are made aware of the site and that the procedure for filing claims is simplified.

Subhash C Taneja, Gurugram

Rein in Maoist activities

Refer to the article ‘Lapses by intelligence agencies to blame for Maoist attacks’; the decline in Maoist activities is encouraging. It can be attributed to good governance in the affected areas. The Maoist influence is now confined to 45 districts, down from 96. Still, a lot needs to be done. Basic facilities like schools, healthcare and employment are a must for a peaceful environment. The Maoist ambushes continue intermittently due to the non-observance of SOPs and a lack of intelligence-gathering. This aspect must be looked into. The funding and supply chains of their weapons, ammunition and administrative supplies must be disrupted.

Subhash Vaid, New Delhi

SBI’s appeal for more time

It is a shame that the State Bank of India (SBI) has sought more time to collate and furnish the names and details of the donors under the electoral bond scheme. Why has the SBI requested the Supreme Court to extend the deadline for giving information about donations? It gives the impression that the bank is just buying time to save the face of the ruling party that has benefited the most from this apparently dubious scheme. It appears that the bank has succumbed to pressure from the ruling dispensation not to furnish the details before the General Election, as such disclosures are bound to affect the parties’ electoral prospects. The SC must not entertain the bank’s request.

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]

Promise not kept

Mar 07, 2024

Apropos of the editorial ‘Punjab Budget’, that the main focus of the Budget is on education, health and infrastructure is welcome. On the whole, the Budget inspires confidence in the people of Punjab. However, the AAP government should reflect on its shortcomings. What about the much-anticipated monthly honorarium of Rs 1,000 for women above the age of 18 years? That was a key poll promise made by the party. And since it is the Women’s History Month, the announcement would have been met with a positive response from the public. Further, the Punjab Government must take some steps to check the growing debt burden.

Sudesh Kumar Sharma, Kapurthala

Ex-servicemen get raw deal

Refer to the news report ‘Punjab Budget: Defence services welfare gets Rs 77 cr, down Rs 7 cr’; over a period of time, the Punjab Government has put the welfare of ex-servicemen on the back burner. It is astonishing that even though Punjab is a border state, which has the second highest number of ex-servicemen in the country after Uttar Pradesh, the allocation of funds for the delivery of welfare services for veterans and their dependants has been cut down from Rs 84 crore in the 2023-24 fiscal to Rs 77 crore during the 2024-25 fiscal.

Lt Col JS Dullat (retd), Patiala

Shehbaz must reassess priorities

With reference to ‘Shehbaz in the saddle’; it is disappointing to see Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who has assumed office for the second time, draw parallels between the situation in Kashmir and the Gaza Strip. It is unfortunate that he recently called for a resolution in the National Assembly for the freedom of Kashmiris. He must not continue harping on about the Kashmir issue or spewing venom against India. PM Narendra Modi, by sending just a brief, one-line congratulatory message to Shehbaz on being sworn in, has made it clear that India will not bow down to Pakistan. Instead of bringing up the Kashmir issue again and again, Shehbaz should focus on the welfare of the Pakistani people.

RK Arora, Mohali

No hope for end to terrorism

Refer to ‘Shehbaz in the saddle’; in Pakistan, where overtly or covertly, the army is always in the saddle, it does not really matter which party wins the election. The Pakistani economy has been in a mess, thanks to gross mismanagement and rampant corruption. It is obvious that the political leaders across the border bank on jingoism and faux nationalism to distract the masses from the failures of the government. The changing of the guard in Pakistan does not bring any hope of an end to cross-border terrorism.

Hira Sharma, by mail

Little room for rapprochement

Apropos of ‘Shehbaz in the saddle’; the reason behind the curt manner in which PM Narendra Modi extended his greetings to Shehbaz was not lost on anybody. By raising the Kashmir issue, the new Pakistani PM has ruined the possibility of mending fences with the neighbour. With the General Election fast approaching in India, nothing substantial is expected on the diplomatic front. Moving towards a friendlier approach seems to be an uphill task. As things stand, the Kashmir issue is likely to be brought up over and over again.

Brig Gurwant Baghiana (retd), by mail

Women not safe in India

With reference to ‘Jharkhand horror’; the safety of women has long been a concern in India. The gangrape of the Spanish woman in Jharkhand’s Dumka district has tarnished the image of our country. Not only does the episode renew questions about the safety of women, but it is also likely to have a profound impact on the tourism sector. Stepping up security and ensuring stringent punishment for the perpetrators will go a long way in preventing such incidents. Any crime against a foreign tourist casts a shadow on India’s image and has international repercussions. The authorities concerned must make efforts to deter criminals.

Ankita, 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]