Letters to the Editor

Print edition : March 04, 2016

Rohith Vemula

THE death of Rohith Vemula exposed the evil of caste discrimination (Cover Story, February 19). It is embarrassing that the Union Labour Minister and the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hyderabad, a leading university in the country, have been charged with abetment of suicide and violation of the S.C. and S.T. (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. If this is the way high-profile personalities behave, who can be entrusted with the responsibility of safeguarding the interest of the oppressed millions in India?

According to the National Crime Records Bureau report of 2015, atrocities against Dalits have gone up by 20 per cent under the present government. Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani’s claim that Rohith’s suicide is not a Dalit vs non-Dalit issue cannot be accepted. The matter needs to be investigated impartially, and those found to be responsible for the events that led to the suicide should face punishment irrespective of their social and political status.

Buddhadev Nandi, Bishnupur, West Bengal

A DEADLY mixture of casteism and communalism has snatched away the life of a promising youngster. It is unfortunate that India’s higher education institutions are plagued by caste prejudices and function as laboratories of communal politics. Why were the members of the Ambedkar Students Association (ASA) singled out for action when those of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (AVBP) were allowed to go scot-free?All the information points to the pressure the HRD Ministry exerted on the university authorities as being the reason for the suspension of five students of the ASA. HRD Minister Smriti Irani has a lot to answer for in the matter.

J. Anantha Padmanabhan, Tiruchi, Tamil Nadu

Development banks

IT is heartening that new global financial institutions have emerged to break the monopoly of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (“Structural shifts”, February 19). With several European nations having joined the newly formed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the financial ties between China and Europe are growing. The world needs more new global banks so that it becomes truly multipolar, not only militarily but also economically.

Deendayal M. Lulla, Mumbai

Public sector

THIS refers to the Cover Story article on BSNL (“At receiving end”, February 5). This is not the first time that a public sector undertaking (PSU) has suffered because of the government’s negligence and bureaucracy; both Hindustan Motors and HMT have shut shop.

No organisation can compare with BSNL when it comes to infrastructure. The competitiveness of the telcom sector in the past decade or so is well known, and therefore it is all the more critical to take advantage of being an existing established player. But sadly that did not happen. There is no harm in privatising sick PSUs, but there is no justification to adopt the same approach for all PSUs. Rather, the government should not interfere in the day-to-day activities of the PSUs that are doing well.

Bal Govind, Noida, Uttar Pradesh

I HAVE worked with both private companies and PSUs and certain facts cannot be denied: political appointments mar the functioning of PSUs; customers get raw treatment from them; the quality of services and products are better in privately managed companies; corruption tends to be more in PSUs; and militant trade unions in PSUs often object to innovative ideas, such as the introduction of computers in LIC. What is the purpose of persisting with PSUs which have shown no sign of recovery in decades?

C.E. Gopalakrishnan, Hyderabad


THE article “Relevance of U.N. resolutions” (February 5) cites the collateral document of the Instrument of Accession signed by Lord Mountbatten as saying that “…as soon as law and order has been established in Kashmir and her soil cleared of the invader, the question of the State’s accession should be settled by a reference to the people”. The next line states: “This recognised that an India-Pakistan dispute existed.” I fail to understand how. At best, this could be seen as recognising that a problem with the people of Kashmir existed. The conditions specified in the commitment have not been met. The invader still holds the illegally occupied area and has transferred parts of it to China. The people of Kashmir should worry about that.

G. Venkataraman, Mumbai

North Korea

I SALUTE North Korea for its courage and determination in going ahead with its ambitious nuclear programme despite periodical threats and sanctions from the United States and its lackeys in the East (“Bombs as answer”, February 5). It is difficult to understand how the tiny nation’s nuclear test will be a threat to world peace. The U.S.’ weapons programme is more likely to be a threat to international peace than the communist state’s. If the U.N. permanent members have the right to stockpile nuclear weapons, North Korea too has that right as a self-defence measure.

K.P. Rajan, Mumbai

India & Pakistan

PRIME Minister Narendra Modi’s blow-hot-blow-cold policy towards Pakistan must be replaced with a policy that takes into account national interests without undermining Pakistan’s ability to work out its destiny as envisaged by Jinnah (“Showmanship, no breakthrough”, January 22). As a response to Modi’s impromptu visit to Lahore, India got the Pathankot attacks. As long as Pakistan encourages and supports terrorists, there can be no question of peace between India and Pakistan. Kashmir is a settled fact, and it is preposterous to draw comparisons with the erstwhile East Pakistan.

Ever since the creation of Bangladesh, Pakistan has been hell-bent on keeping the Kashmir issue alive with the help of the terrorists and separatists in the Valley. It is difficult to predict when a breakthrough can be achieved since terrorism is on the rise in every part of the globe, including Pakistan. If Modi can make India strong in all respects, he need not bother about Pakistan’s perfidy.

Parthasarathy Sen, New Delhi

THE people of Pakistan seem keen to improve ties with India (“Desperate act”, February 5). However, the process of detente is being stymied by the Pakistan military, which is yet to get over the humiliation it suffered at the hands of the Indian Army during the liberation of Bangladesh. Will the civilian government be able to take any action against those who planned the Pathankot terror attack unless the military authorises it? It is perhaps time for India to engage Pakistan Army chief General Raheel Sharif in parleys with Islamabad so that a lasting solution can be found to the problem of cross-border terror. Raheel Sharif’s counter-insurgency operations in Pakistan have been successful and he is popular in that country. If L.K. Advani could meet and welcome the Hurriyat delegation in New Delhi in 2004, why can India not talk to the Pakistan Army too to resolve the ticklish issues dividing the two countries?

Kangayam R. Narasimhan, Chennai

Gujarat pogrom

THE book “Gujarat: Behind the Curtain” by R.B. Sreekumar, who was Additional Director of Police (Intelligence) of Gujarat in 2002, gives readers the sordid facts behind the Gujarat pogrom and exposes the complicity of the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the mayhem(“Facts of a carnage”, February 5).

N.C. Sreedharan, Kannur, Kerala


THE Cover Story titled “Living hell” (January 8) was the need of the hour in order to spread awareness about the realities of one of the country’s major institutions. To ensure standardisation of services, what is needed is an all-India prisons and correctional administration service and a common prison manual. In States such as Kerala, welfare officers in prisons are trained in correctional social work.

George Chacko, Welfare Officer, Central Prison & Correctional Home, Poojapura, Thiruvananthapuram

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