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Peace and unity

Print edition : Jan 02, 2009 T+T-

WHAT unfolded after the tragic terrorist attacks in Mumbai is a matter of serious concern to all those who want peace and harmony in South Asia (Cover Story, December 19). In Pakistan, the media and right-wing religious forces constantly try to portray India as being dominated and ruled by anti-Pakistan political parties. Indian media also attempts to air anti-Pakistani feelings and have, to an extent, played into the hands of right-wing powers there.

At a moment when we should all join hands under the banner of peace, we are being divided by those who claim to uphold the cause of freedom of opinion. It is important for the people of India and Pakistan to stand up against the tirades of hate, and support activities that promote peace in the region. Only with our unity can we fight terrorism and religious extremism. Peace is the only option.

Umer A. Chaudhry Lahore, PakistanMumbai terror

THE terrorist strikes in Mumbai raise the query whether India is a soft state (Cover Story, December 19). A discontented and tired public and opposition political parties have been reviling the Manmohan Singh government for soft pedalling on terrorism.

The Centre is contemplating enacting stern laws to deal with terrorism. But it is naive to assume that the terrorists would not have caused such carnage if there were strict anti-terrorism laws. What is required at this juncture is the meticulous overhauling of various intelligence agencies.

Amiya Krishna Pandey Ghaziabad, U.P.

THE details of the attack were covered by every television channel worth its name.

The re-runs of the footage were so frequent even after the attack ended that the government had to issue a directive to stop them. This directive is a welcome step. TV channels have been cashing in on the recent attacks by investigating the incident themselves.

This is sometimes even tweaked to give the impression that the governments investigation is not up to the mark, which not only creates a wrong impression but also instils a sense of insecurity in viewers.

The government should also take a note of the graphic images shown by the news channels and the print media. Images of blood-splattered buildings and dead bodies lying in the open should either be blurred or not shown at all.

An appropriate step in this direction by the newspapers and magazines themselves would be appreciated by the people.

Harshdeep Singh Rapal Patiala, Punjab

ALL the while, when Indias enemies were plotting a bloodbath in Mumbai, 90 per cent of the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad was preoccupied with chasing Hindu terrorists. The Maharashtra government and the ATS would have been better served by enhancing intelligence gathering.

J.S. Acharya Hyderabad

ENOUGH is enough. We have had too much of terror and terrorist activities and political rhetoric. City after city has fallen victim to terrorists, thanks to our governments inaction.

The government should create an independent investigative agency, which will report directly to the Prime Minister. And he should take whatever action that is required without hesitation, fear or favour.

The citizens of India want stern steps to combat terrorism. Let us tell the world at large and terrorist outfits, wherever they are, that we now mean business.

Parsa V. Ramachander Rao Hyderabad

THE events in Mumbai have touched the heart of India. Politicians failed, but heroes known and unknown inspired people. The need of the hour is confidence that we will triumph. We have to see where, how and when we went wrong and take action so that such things never happen again.

A Jacob Sahayam Thiruvananthapuram

THE 60-hour terror attack on Mumbai has exposed the gaping holes in our intelligence network and in Maharashtras security apparatus.

The incident should serve as an eye-opener for our politicians. It is time they got together and took tough, concrete steps to combat terror instead of wasting time in mud-slinging matches or scoring brownie points against one another.

S. Balakrishnan Jamshedpur, Jharkhand

NOVEMBER 27 is a very sad day for India. People often ask why we cannot be like the United States. After the 9/11 attack not a single terror strike has taken place on American soil.

The difference is that unlike our leaders, when it comes to issues of national concern all American leaders, whether Republican or Democrat, put aside their political differences and work towards the interests of the nation.

Megha M. Bradford, U.K.Campus violence

THE incident in the law college in Chennai is the outcome of communalism and casteism, which is a curse in a civilised society, much less in an institution reputed to have turned out innumerable lawyers who have in the past fought for justice on behalf of the common man. It is also a pointer to the declining values in education, and the group clash is a manifestation of the caste prejudice in existence for quite some time in the college.

K.R. Srinivasan SecunderabadV.P. Singh

FORMER Prime Minister V.P. Singhs decision to implement the recommendations of the Mandal Commission in 1990 could be one of the three historic decisions that shaped the direction of politics in India (Icon of social justice, December 19).

But critics argue that his decision has also divided India on caste lines, and caste has emerged as an important factor in politics despite progress and education.

The irony is that the fruits of reservation have been eaten by only a few castes, leaving hundreds of other backward castes on the fringe. The reservation is just one measure to alleviate the sufferings of the backward communities and Dalits.

Akhil Kumar DelhiPublic banking

I WAS stunned to see the photograph of members of the taxi drivers union at a gathering to greet Indira Gandhi for her move to nationalise 14 private banks in 1969 (The importance of public banking December 19).

A rare visual of yesteryear, the photograph was proof of the struggle of the working-class movement in those days to bring the different economic activities under the states domain.

S.V. Venugopalan Chennai

BOTH private and public sector banks are essential for modern society as the competition will bring out the best in each the principles of social concern over profit of public sector banks and the innovation and promptness of service of private banks. The best solution is to allow the public sector greater autonomy and have more regulations for private banks.

S. Mohanty Cuttack, OrissaObama

AMERICAN presidential elections are always globally watched events, but the unprecedented excitement and euphoria that this election generated across the world, thanks to Barack Obamas stupendous victory, is certainly exceptional (Cover Story, December 5).

The challenges he faces are phenomenal as eight years of a pernicious Bush presidency has left America in a quagmire.

The United States is generally perceived to be a hegemonic superpower with self-proclaimed rights to intervene in other nations affairs and is rather reluctant to accept a multipolar global order.

It remains to be seen whether Obama can change this image and promote multilateralism. It is this hope of change that the rest of the world expects from him.

B. Jayanna Krupakar Surathkal, KarnatakaThe arts

BHASKAR GHOSES article on theatre was a delight to read (Creative connection, December 5). We expect more literary articles in Frontline. In India, theatrical performances are limited to the metros. In towns like Patna, where I live, there is a lack of awareness and sponsorship. Would it help if the Ministry of Culture joined hands with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and aired theatrical performances on television?

Anuraga Jha Patna, BiharCORRECTION

In the Cover Story feature (December 19), a portion of the opening article, "Terrorist takeover", was lost for technical reasons and thus continuity was broken between pages 6 and 8. The four paragraphs involved are reproduced below:

Going by their targets, it seems clear that the terrorists knew the city extremely well and had done a thorough recce of the area. The Taj Mahal hotel at Apollo Bunder is one of the citys well-known landmarks and is popular with foreign visitors. Similarly, the Trident at Nariman Point is a luxury business hotel that attracts a huge number of foreigners as guests. Both hotels have shopping arcades and restaurants that are popular with local people and visitors from other cities in India. Informed sources say the terrorists were equipped with enough ammunition to carry out a major attack spanning several days. The planning and skill with which they carried out the attack indicated that they were trained by experts. They apparently had all details of the hotels plan and knew their every entry and exit point.

Gruesome stories are now coming from the hostages of being shot at point-blank range with machine guns and of being trapped in rooms while fires raged in the buildings that were under siege. Of being held hostage at gunpoint and of having had to hide for hours not knowing whether they would make it out alive. The damage in physical and emotional terms to the city is massive and the recovery will be long and hard.

Initial reports say that on the night of November 26, a group of terrorists entered Mumbai via the sea. A rubber dinghy found at the Cuffe Parade fishermans colony confirms this. Eyewitness accounts from Koliwada, as it is known, say the boat docked at about 9.15 p.m. and a group of young men carrying backpacks got off silently. A woman who was standing nearby apparently asked them who they were, and they told her they were students. She said the group melted away quickly.

Meanwhile, reliable sources say, another boat landed at Sassoon Docks, which is another landing point for fishermen. At a press conference on November 30, after the operation was over, Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh confirmed the arrival of the terrorists by sea. He also said that they believed that 10 terrorists had entered the city. "Other than at the Taj hotel where four people entered, they broke up into groups of two and carried out the attack at six locations," he said.

In the Special Feature on BHEL, it was erroneously stated in the interview with Sontosh Mohan Dev (BHEL can deliver) that he was the Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises. Sontosh Mohan Dev is the Cabinet Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.

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