Letters

Letters to the Editor

Print edition : September 02, 2016

Kashmir

KUDOS to Frontline for its Cover Story on Kashmir (August 19). It was as impartial as it was intrepid and informative. It accurately highlighted the schism between knowledge and information, between what is unknown and what is asserted, between what is revealed and what is concealed, and between fact and conjecture. Not only did the Cover Story challenge the oft-repeated erroneous official accounts that have always reduced a bona fide political problem to issues of “law and order” and “economy and unemployment”, it also went to the heart of the matter and rightly recorded that, owing to the Centre’s systematic violation of the State’s autonomy, Kashmir’s entire constitutional edifice is tenuous.

It is high time New Delhi acknowledged that what is exasperating common Kashmiris and bringing them out on the streets are the senseless killings, the gross human rights violations, the utter disregard for people’s sentiments and aspirations, the total disrespect for their demand for justice and longing for a dignified and honourable life and the use of brute force to stifle dissent.

Meraj Bhat, Repora, Jammu & Kashmir

THE Cover Story article “Wrath of Kashmir” was realistic, while the interviews of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Omar Abdullah were more political than sincere or objective. These leaders have lost credibility because of their inconsistency. The article “It is a revolt” brought to light the real problem called Kashmir, giving its genesis, evolution and the monstrous proportions it has gained now.

Being a Kashmiri who was born as the problem emerged and who lived and worked through it and is watching it with anguish in his advanced age, I am pained to realise that the problem is being passed on to the unfortunate next generation. I feel (maybe I am wrong) a referendum is not possible, but tripartite talks could be initiated if the parties concerned shed their rigid and impractical stands.

Yousuf Nairang, Bogund, Jammu & Kashmir

ON October 26, 1947, the Maharaja of Kashmir signed a treaty of accession with India after a Pakistani tribal army attacked the State. Accordingly, India earned the authority over Kashmir. War broke out between India and Pakistan. The dispute reached the U.N., and the Security Council suggested holding a referendum on the status of the territory on condition that Pakistan withdrew its troops and India cut its military presence to a minimum. The referendum was never held as Pakistan refused to remove its troops. A ceasefire came into force, and Kashmir was divided into two parts. In 1972, under the terms of the Simla Agreement, the ceasefire line was renamed the Line of Control.

With each passing day, the Kashmir dispute gets tougher, but even so, a solution must be found. All the parties involved in the Kashmir dispute must come to a compromise.

Maheswar Deka, Rangia, Assam

CURFEW and use of force have failed to contain the anger of the people against the government and the security forces in particular (“Valley on fire”, August 5). The elected representatives have no courage to face the mobs. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s visit to the State failed to break the logjam as only a few people attended his meetings. What Jammu and Kashmir needs right now is a healing touch, not any development package. The authorities should employ better crowd control measures and not use tear gas, lathis and pellet guns. Peaceful demonstrations should be allowed and the onus of maintaining peace should be on the organisers.

D.B.N. Murthy, Bengaluru

THE third “intifada”, if it can be called that, in Kashmir has sent shock waves through the political fraternity in New Delhi. That a political solution is required should be acknowledged in the corridors of power. A new generation is voicing its anger at the Kashmir imbroglio being treated as a law and order problem. Kashmiris’ longing for dignity should be taken note of seriously. The BJP’s anti-Muslim stance is well known. Its contention that Article 370 of the Constitution should be abrogated shows the Sangh Parivar in its true colours.

S. Murali, Vellore, Tamil Nadu

Crimes against Dalits

THE opposition parties have expressed outrage over the incident in Una, Gujarat, in which Dalits were beaten by cow vigilantes and criticised the BJP for its handling of the issue (“Torture and backlash”, August 19). One wonders why the Congress is not questioning the Samajwadi Party (S.P.), the Rashtriya Janata Dal and its own government in Karnataka, where Dalits are regularly ill-treated, about what they are doing for Dalits.

Since Independence successive governments have failed to do anything substantive to improve the lot of Dalits and prevent atrocities against them. All political parties are responsible for the present plight of Dalits.

K.R. Srinivasan, Secunderabad, Telangana

ALTHOUGH atrocities on Dalits have occurred in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh for a considerable period of time and the July 11 incident in Una caused widespread resentment among people of all walks of life, Prime Minister Narendra Modi broke his silence only recently. He used forceful but vague language to condemn the atrocities. Many people wondered why he had not done so earlier. Perhaps, he perceived these incidents as State problems and wanted to keep a distance from the sordid happenings in the States. However, as the resentment of Dalits spiralled out of control and it was likely that many of them would get alienated from the BJP in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh where Assembly elections are due next year, Modi decided to break his habitual silence hoping to reverse the situation.

N.C. Sreedharan, Kannur, Kerala

IT is a harsh reality that ever since the Modi government assumed office moral and cultural vigilantes masquerading as the protectors of cows/Hinduism have been having a field day. The recent spurt in instances of murder and humiliating atrocities perpetrated on Dalits and other marginalised sections of society in different parts of the country is shocking; it makes one wonder whether one is living in the computer age. The incident in the Prime Minister’s home State is a grim pointer to the firm entrenchment of caste prejudices in India. The lackadaisical attitude of the authorities in dealing with the perpetrators of such crimes adds insult to injury.

B. Suresh Kumar, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu

Uttar Pradesh

THERE is no doubt that what BJP leader Dayashankar Singh said about Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati was unwarranted and should be condemned at any cost (“BSP joins battle”, August 19). But then what is the difference between him and BSP leader Naseemuddin Siddiqui, who also retaliated in kind? I feel that it is not right to say that the BSP has joined the battle because of this issue as it was anyhow a triangular fight between the S.P., the BSP and the BJP.

Bal Govind, Noida, Uttar Pradesh

Banks

NON-PERFORMING assets are a big challenge (“The business of wilful default”, August 19). There seem to be different know your customer (KYC) norms for wilful defaulters and ordinary bank account holders. If an ordinary customer does not fulfil the KYC requirements, his worry will be that he will not be allowed to operate his own bank account. On the other hand, wilful defaulters will feel happy if their loan accounts are frozen as they may not have to repay the loans. Wilful defaulters cite economic conditions as the reason for their inability to repay loans. Ordinary borrowers cannot do the same for their housing loans; the bank attaches the residential flat, and under provisions of the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, defaulters’ names get published in newspapers. There is political pressure on banks to disburse large-scale loans to big borrowers. Unless this is tackled, wilful defaulters will continue to pose a threat to the banking industry.

Deendayal M. Lulla, Mumbai

Zakir Naik

BECAUSE Dr Zakir Naik is a doctor by profession and talks to his audience in fluent English, his biggest appeal is among English-educated Muslims, predominantly from the middle classes around the world (“Under the scanner”, August 5). Sadly, much of his discourses refute modern science and make the specious premise that science needs to catch up with religion. It is this outlook that has been the bane of progress in the Muslim world. When Europe was in the midst of the Dark Ages, science thrived in Muslim lands. He is doing a great disservice to the Islamic cause. His discourses convince his followers that all other religions and sects are wrong or at best imperfect.

H.N. Ramakrishna, Bengaluru

Geospatial data

THE National Map Policy, the National Geospatial Policy and the draft Geospatial Information Regulation Bill contain contradictory provisions (“Mapping under scanner” and “How to control freely available data”, July 22). This betrays the government’s utter confusion on the issue of geospatial data, which are essential for developmental planning. Today, when anybody can access high-resolution satellite data and even the smallest feature on the earth’s surface can be observed and mapped, policies that place restrictions on geospatial data are anachronistic and counterproductive

K.V. Ravindran, Payyanur, Kerala



RESPONSE

THIS is with reference to the article “Jute disaster” (Cover Story, August 5), which gave a bleak picture of the jute industry. The report highlighted the poor living conditions of jute workers with a few examples.

However, the report is completely wrong in not recognising the support provided by the Government of India to the industry over the years. Jute is perhaps the only commodity for which the government provides an assured market by way of direct purchase of jute products, with the objectives being that jute farmers should get better prices for raw jute and that the employment of the jute mill workers is protected. Under the “National Jute Policy 2005”, the government is continuing its support of the industry by reserving foodgrains and sugar for packing in jute materials. Roughly, 14-15 lakh metric tons (MT) of raw jute is produced annually and more than half of this is purchased by the government in the form of sacking. The total government purchase of sacking stood at 4 lakh MT in 2005-06 and reached a figure of almost 8.5 lakh MT in 2015-16. Thus, the purchase by the government has constantly been rising. In the same period, the share of sacking purchased by the government increased from 45.8 per cent to a whopping 92.9 per cent, indicating an almost complete inability of the industry to sell in the private market.

The share of sacking purchased by the government of the total jute goods produced has also increased over the years, from 29.5 per cent to 68.9 per cent. In terms of protection to farmers, raw jute used for government sacking stood at 22.3 per cent of the total raw jute produced in 2006-07 and went up to 57.6 per cent in 2015-16. It is therefore completely wrong to suggest that government support is gradually moving towards synthetics. In reality, it is exactly the reverse. The problem lies in the inability of the Indian jute industry to modernise and develop new markets and products. Bangladesh, which produces about half of the jute India does, is able to export more than three times the amount the Indian jute industry exports.

Subrata Gupta, Jute Commissioner, Government of India, Ministry of Textiles, Kolkata.

A letter from the Editor


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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.

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Sincerely,

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Editor, Frontline

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