LETTERS

Print edition : August 14, 1999
Kashmir violence

The latest round of communal killings in Jammu and Kashmir were another reminder of our lack of perspective and initiative with regard to this disturbed State ("Massacres and cold facts", August 13).

Through Article 370, which is intended to keep the identity of Jammu and Kashmir intact, the people of the State have remained isolated from mainstream Indian society. India has spent billions of rupees, sacrificed invaluable lives of soldiers and faced humiliations at different international forums. In return, the tricolour is burnt, anti-India slogans are raised, and hostility is shown towards people of the rest of the country. Where does the fault lie?

In a recent interview, Punjab's former Director-General of Police K.P.S. Gill said that first the anti-nationals had to be crushed with an iron hand, and only then would any political measure succeed; and this had been proved beyond doubt in Punjab. The sheepish behaviour of our policymakers has aggravated the situation and strengthened the hands of anti-India forces. This was demonstrated in a spectacular fashion by the terrorist attack on the Bandipore sector headquarters of the Border Security Force. This big country of 950 million people does not have the will of a small nation like Israel, which protected itself efficiently and tackled terrorists mercilessly despite international pressure against doing so.

The time has come for India to declare that it will no longer tolerate the murder of innocent civilians. If the enemy uses foul means, India too has the right to use all possible means of defence. If there is concern for the human rights of anti-social a nd anti-national elements, there should be concern for the rights also of people who are killed for no fault of theirs.

Further, there is a need to review Article 370. Has the Article served its purpose? The answer is a resounding 'no'. Jammu and Kashmir is the most disturbed region in the country. All developmental activities have stopped there. So why don't we take a ne w stand and scrap Article 370. Interaction between the people of Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of India may promote a new way of thinking.

Prashant K. Baranwal Dumka, Bihar * * *

Peace has finally been restored in Kargil, but the the crisis must be attributed to the country's internal problems. Internal political problems diverted attention from the border problem to some extent.

As the elections are coming, I as a citizen would like to plead with the party that comes to power to ensure that a clean and stable government is set up and that another Kargil does not happen.

A.D. More Nashik, Maharashtra Armed forces

'God and soldiers we adore In times of danger, not before, The danger passes and all things righted, God is forgotten and the soldier slighted.'

The above quote is apt in the case of the Government and the citizens of the Republic of India. Apart from the time when there was a debacle in 1962 involving China, Indians have never bothered about the armed forces. General Shankar Roy Chowdhury has ri ghtly said that "investing in the armed forces is like paying premium for insurance. It pinches while paying but the insurance is what saves you when the disaster strikes." I hope that post-Kargil, the Indian public will not forget the 'Veer Jawan' and w ill give him due respect.

Kapil Rana Kupup, Sikkim Scientists' statement

We, the members of Indian Scientists Against Nuclear Weapons, feel that nuclear weaponisation on the subcontinent has been a huge step backward, which has seriously undermined the internal, external and economic security of our country.

Recent events in Kargil demonstrate that nuclear weapons fail to prevent military confrontation. In fact, the acquisition of nuclear weapons by India and Pakistan has heightened tensions between the two countries.

We are deeply disturbed by the irresponsible statements made by certain political leaders and people in responsible positions in India and Pakistan about readiness for a nuclear confrontation. The simple fact is: there is no defence against a nuclear att ack and there are no winners in a nuclear war. The current situation is extremely unstable and dangerous. Even a minor misunderstanding or error could trigger a nuclear confrontation. Civilian populations would then be annihiliated and the land defiled f or generations to come.

We appeal to scientists in the subcontinent to add their voices to the protest against nuclear weapons and work towards nuclear disarmament not only on the subcontinent but also globally.

We appeal to all citizens of the subcontinent to understand the consequences of nuclear armament and exercise their democratic rights to save the subcontinent from the horrors of another Hiroshima.

Indian Scientists Against Nuclear Weapons Bangalore

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No right-thinking man can think of producing or using nuclear weapons. I am with all those who care for the living system and the future of mankind.

Makhan Lal Gupta Siliguri Railway accident

The resignation of Railway Minister Nitish Kumar owning moral responsibility for the terrible railway accident involving two trains in West Bengal is small consolation to the families of the hundreds people who died and to those who were seriously injure d.

Human failure appears to have been the cause of the head-on collision between the two trains, which travelled at 80 km an hour. There should be an immediate review of the safety measures throughout the railway network to restore the confidence of passeng ers. Top officials must personally supervise their staff and ensure that no one cuts corners on safety. The maintenance of tracks, coaches and engines must be the first priority. It appears that some of the interlocking and signalling systems are not fai l-safe. This is a cause of serious concern and must be looked into immediately and steps taken to improve them. Budget constraints must not come in the way of urgent repairs and maintenance work. A sense of concern for passenger safety must pervade the R ailways, without which the passengers are exposed to unacceptabe risks.

D.B.N. Murthy Bangalore Tirunelveli killings

"The Tirunelveli massacre" (August 13) was unfortunate and distressing. The judicial inquiry should bring out the truth about who was responsible for them and whether the killings could have been averted. Human life is precious and no compensation can in demnify it. Whoever is at fault, it reflects most poorly on the ruling party. The Government has to be cautious and tactful in dealing with such situations.

Addressing members of the Coimbatore Chapter of the National Institute of Personal Management (NIPM), the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Coimbatore range, K. Rajendran, said that to resolve tense situations, tact, patience and the policy of "a littl e early, a little late and a little more" should be used, rather than force. The Government has to be tolerant towards the expression of dissent through demonstrations or othermeans. While taking steps to avoid such situations in the future, the least th e Government can do now is to find a lasting solution to the Manjolai estate problem.

A. Jacob Sahayam Vellore, Tamil Nadu Teaching music

I was thrilled to note that D.K. Pattammal did not learn sarali and jantai varisais. If a child is not sufficiently motivated to learn music, learning sarali and jantai varisais can be boring and may even discourage the chil d together. Although the traditional way of teaching music has its advantages and many children have learnt music that way, if the teacher begins by teaching little songs with catchy tunes, more and more children would be attracted to music. Let me add t hat by catchy tunes I do not mean filmy or Western tunes.

I recently acquired an interesting set of two cassettes consisting of Tamil songs for children composed by Sri Rama Bharathi of Divya Prabhandha Patasalai, Jalladianpet. The songs are melodious, simple and based mostly on classical ragas. My daughter was immediately attracted to these songs and started singing some of them with ease. Such efforts are needed to universalise art and music.

Dr. T. Sengadir Bangalore

Corrections:D.K. Pattamal sang in Tamil films, Tyaga Bhoomi and Naam Iruvar, and not in Thooku Thooki as mentioned in the interview with her ("A lifetime for Carnatic music", August 13).

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