Letters to the Editor

Print edition : January 22, 2016

Prisons

THE report on 58 prisons in Bihar (“Horror behind bars”, January 8) corroborates the statement of Fyodor Dostoevsky (who was once given a reprieve from the gallows) that the degree of civilisation of a society can be judged by entering its prisons. The Central government, which is committed to reforms, must consider bringing jails under the direct charge of the judiciary instead of the Home Department in States. In a modern society it is an imperative to upgrade prison infrastructure and to treat inmates like human beings. There is no dearth of educated and sensitive officers and staff in the police department who must be put in charge of prisons and inmates.

Parthasarathy Sen, New Delhi

THE Cover Story is shocking and thought-provoking. Your team needs to be complimented for raising and highlighting an issue of serious concern, which has received very little public attention. The pathetic living conditions of prisoners amount to denial of their fundamental rights. Torture meted out on the basis of suspicion is gross abuse of power.

Balasubramaniam Pavani, Secunderabad, Telangana

THE Cover Story highlights the inhuman and pathetic conditions in which prisoners live in Bihar jails. The condition is no different in jails in the rest of the country. Clauses in the jail manual and the Supreme Court’s orders and directions are observed more in the breach than in implementation.

It is no secret that across the country, most of the central prisons and even Tihar jail in the capital, are overcrowded and manned by less than adequate staff. If aged convicts, those on the verge of release, prisoners undergoing short-term imprisonment, and those exhibiting remorse are housed in open jails, the conditions in main prisons can be improved.

P. Rajan, Thalassery, Kerala

IT is shocking that a woman inmate was raped while in judicial custody (“Shocking revelations”, January 8). Even after the filing of the case, the victim was not provided with a copy of the FIR or the details of her representation in the court. It is also pathetic that children are kept in jails meant for adults. Jail reforms seem to be the need of the hour.

N. R. Ramachandran, Udhagamandalam, Tamil Nadu



Disaster management

ALMOST all countries are in the grip of natural calamities (“Masterly inactivity”, January 8). In order to tackle these disasters, huge humanitarian efforts and use of technology and efforts to construct buildings that can withstand any natural calamity are the need of the hour.

P. Senthil Saravana Durai, Vazhavallan, Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu



Fourth Estate

THE views of Ananda Vikatan do not transgress the rights of the powers that be as the press has the responsibility and an inalienable right to tell the truth to society (“Muzzling criticism”, January 8). People have not forgotten the Tamil Nadu government sending a posse of police officials to search the office of The Hindu and arrest its editor and other journalists.

The government has the right to refute and deny critical comments made in the press. Invoking the archaic sedition clause, filing defamatory suits and punishing through the decisions of the legislature will ultimately strangulate freedom and liberty.

B. Rajasekaran, Bangalore

THE government should take media criticism positively. The intolerance of successive governments in Tamil Nadu which have used ections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code indiscriminately poses a great threat to the freedom of the press.

The document titled “Freedom of Press” by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties says that the legislative privileges should be codified in such a way that the legislature should only be permitted to file a complaint, leaving decisions on contempt and punishment to the courts. It also said that the idea of the legislature being both the accuser and the judge is fundamentally unjust. Ananda Vikatan editor R. Kannan is right in saying that what the magazine published was a survey of the performance of a government elected by the people. If the government feels that it is wrong, let it contradict the article with facts and figures and then file a case of wrongful information.

T.S.N. Rao, Warangal, Andhra Pradesh



Haryana law

THE Haryana government’s decision imposing certain conditions for the candidates aspiring to contest the panchayat elections is like putting the cart before the horse (“A disaster for democracy”, January 8). Conditions such as non-conviction in a criminal case and failure, failure to pay electricity arrears and cooperative society loan dues are reasonable. But making it mandatory for candidates to have passed the matriculation examination and have a functional toilet at home are preposterous.

D.B.N. Murthy, Bengaluru

AAP vs BJP

IT is unfortunate the Delhi government has multiple authorities to reckon with, including the office of the Governor which is itself a creation of the Centre (“Slugfest in Delhi”, January 8). In 2013, the Supreme Court had castigated the country’s premier investigating agency as a “caged parrot” as it is susceptible to pressure from the ruling party of the day. When they are in the opposition, all political parties demand that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) be autonomous and be responsible to Parliament like the Election Commission or the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), but change their stance once in power. The tussle between the Delhi Police, the Lieutenant Governor and the Delhi government is giving a new dimension to the definition of democracy in India. It is well known that the CBI/Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and other Central institutions are often used selectively to harass political opponents.

H.N. Ramakrishna, Bengaluru



Deluge of the century

THE floods in Chennai can be aptly described as the deluge of the century (“That sinking feeling”, December 25, 2015). The disaster management machinery failed to rise to the occasion. If the authorities had heeded the timely forecast of the impending torrential rains and opened the reservoir in advance, the magnitude of the destruction could have been reduced considerably. The efforts of the defence forces in rescuing the marooned people, including the airlifting of a pregnant woman, are commendable. The Chennai administration should emulate the methods adopted by Holland in controlling floods.

N.C. Sreedharan, Kannur, Kerala

THE Cover Story and allied articles truly captured the magnitude of the devastation caused by the incessant rain in Chennai. Natural disasters cannot be wished away. However, their impact can certainly be minimised by adopting eco-friendly measures. Natural calamities are nothing but nature’s response to man’s actions. The extensive death and destruction caused in Chennai and other adjoining places are yet another typical case of the consequences of “growth” and “development” achieved by rampant over-exploitation of nature.

B. Suresh Kumar, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu

KUDOS to the coverage of the Chennai floods by your devoted reporters who reached places which seemed almost unreachable even for State administration and to some extent the military.

Samir Diwan, Raipur, Chhattisgarh

THE cover stories clearly bring out that the Chennai floods were caused more by human folly than by nature’s fury. Over the years, reservoirs have been encroached upon by governmental and private agencies, converting them into concrete jungles. The end result is the great misery people are put to now.

S.S. Rajagopalan, Chennai



Narendra Modi

THE essay on Narendra Modi (India’s Sawdust Caesar”, December 25, 2015) might have come as a rude shock to many who voted for him to bring about the much hyped “development”. This “development” is as absent as his stand against Hindu fundamentalism. One cannot pretend for long that all is well. As was correctly mentioned in the essay, the very soul of India is at stake here.

Avin. A, Belagavi, Karnataka



Intolerance

THE article about Aamir Khan was informative (“The tolerance test”, December 25, 2015). Actors are celebrities, but as citizens of India they have every right to voice their views. Aamir Khan was only expressing his mind about what is happening around him. He said nothing new. The Shiv Sena has no right to tell him to go to Pakistan.

Mujeeb Rahman N.K., Palakkad, Kerala

A letter from the Editor


Dear reader,

The COVID-19-induced lockdown and the absolute necessity for human beings to maintain a physical distance from one another in order to contain the pandemic has changed our lives in unimaginable ways. The print medium all over the world is no exception.

As the distribution of printed copies is unlikely to resume any time soon, Frontline will come to you only through the digital platform until the return of normality. The resources needed to keep up the good work that Frontline has been doing for the past 35 years and more are immense. It is a long journey indeed. Readers who have been part of this journey are our source of strength.

Subscribing to the online edition, I am confident, will make it mutually beneficial.

Sincerely,

R. Vijaya Sankar

Editor, Frontline

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