THE Bharatiya Janata Party's return to the Hindutva agenda is a political stunt ("Refuge in Hindutva", January 12). The common man wants food, shelter, education and health care, not temples and mosques. Instead of a Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, the BJP should promise elimination of poverty and corruption if it wants to fare well in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. National parties should focus on development issues.J.V. Narasimha Raju VijayawadaForest rights Bill
THE passage of the Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Bill shows how corporate pressure can be surmounted in matters like this (Cover Story, "Survival at stake", January 12). But the real question is whether this piece of legislation could achieve the objective of empowering hitherto marginalised sections of society. Whatever be the powers granted to gram sabhas, much depends on the implementation machinery, as in the case of many other laws. The administration at the grassroots and persons at the helm of gram sabhas need to be sensitised before they are asked to implement the law.Naveen Marrapu Hyderabad
THE Cover Story has analysed all aspects of the forest rights Bill and exposed the government's intention to control forests in the interests of the corporate sector. The Bill must be amended in such as way as to safeguard the interests of tribal and non-tribal forest-dwellers. The government must encourage tribal people's participation in the conservation of forests.Akhil Kumar DelhiSaddam Hussein
NO one can dispute the fact that Iraq under Saddam Hussein was more peaceful than it is today under a "democratically" elected government ("Victor's justice", January 12). Saddam Hussein had his faults but his contribution to keep Iraq united and make it one of the most modern, progressive and educated countries in the Arab world cannot be forgotten. The haste and the manner in which Saddam Hussein was executed - on a day when the Arab world was preparing to celebrate the Muslim festival of Eid-ul-Azha - was proof enough of the United States administration's desperation. India should have condemned the execution in stronger terms.S. Balakrishnan Jamshedpur
SADDAM was one of the few rulers who stood strongly against the imperialistic U.S. Whereas many other Arab leaders toed the U.S. line, Saddam resisted it. When he lived, Saddam was in the news all the time for his strong actions. Now, President George Bush has made a martyr out of him.S. Venugopalan ChennaiCarbon trading
PRAFUL Bidwai's column ("Carbon trading fraud", January 12) raises serious concerns. It is alarming that Indian economists argued against "binding emission cuts" because "these will adversely affect gross domestic product growth". As Bidwai writes, trading in carbon credits is big money. It acts as a disincentive to reduce carbon emission. Trading in carbon credits widens the income gap between the rich and the poor. It is time the government realised the need for environmental protection.Alex M. Thomas Kollam, KeralaAkali Dal
THE Special Feature on the Shiromani Akali Dal offered a trip down memory lane (January 12).
However, the Akali Dal at present is dominated by money and muscle power, like all other parties. Grassroots party workers are neglected, while people with connections rise in the party hierarchy.Vitull K. Gupta Bhatinda, PunjabSingur
THIS is with reference to the article "Starting trouble" (December 29). The article did not cover the farmers' plight and the human rights violations that took place in Singur.Prasanna Kannan Toronto, CanadaKhairlanji
ON behalf of the Nagpur District Committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), I want to clarify that Ashu Saxena has no connection at all with our party; she is neither a whole-time activist nor a party member as mentioned in the article "Enforcing silence" (December 15). The so-called Mahila Jan Andolan Samiti also is not affiliated to the CPI(M).
Arun Latkar, Secretary, Nagpur District Committee, CPI(M)ANNOUNCEMENT
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