Published : Jul 10, 2013 12:30 IST

The Snowden leaks


In this image released by the White House, President Barack Obama makes an election night phone call to Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, who will most likely be the next House Speaker, from the Treaty Room in the White House residence, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010, in Washington. (AP Photo/The White House, Pete Souza)

PROMISES are made to be broken is the credo of politicians around the world (Cover Story, July 12). During his campaign for the presidential election, Barack Obama blamed his predecessor for the unprecedented surveillance on people of the United States and promised to undo the damage once he came to power. But, as the whistle-blower Edward Snowden has revealed, it did not take long for Obama to renege on that promise. In fact, things have gone far worse during his presidency.

Blanket surveillance on citizens is unacceptable. You cannot presume all citizens are terrorists. There is a possibility of corporates benefiting from such large-scale snooping of Internet data. There is no guarantee that the collected data will not be misused.

Deendayal M. Lulla


ALL U.S. Presidents (George W. Bush, Obama and Bill Clinton) seem to follow a predictable path. They put “security interests” ahead of individual freedom. While tightened vigilance through tapping Internet data may have prevented 9/11-type of incidents, it is important that governments do not violate the rights of citizens.

H.C. Pandey

New Delhi

THIS is with reference to the Cover Story (“Empire in espionage”, July 12). With the rapid development of technologies, countries have had to put in place rules and regulations to manage the fallout of their misuse. China has enacted strict laws on the use of the Internet. The U.S.’ proposed wiretap law also has a similar objective.

Fearing that mobile and Internet technologies could come in handy for terrorists, the Indian government has demanded access to BlackBerry’s data and closed user group traffic. The government and the information technology sector have the responsibility to find ways to curb such threats to the country’s security while ensuring people’s privacy.

P. Senthil Saravana Durai

Vazhavallan, Tamil Nadu

ONE wonders whether Snowden should be called a traitor or a patriot (“Refractions off the PRISM”, July 12). Intelligence-gathering is a legitimate tool for governments when it comes to protecting its people. Hence, CNN uses the term “leaker” rather than “whistle-blower” in its reference to Snowden.

Indian intelligence and security agencies have a lot to learn from their American counterparts. After the 9/11 attack, except for the recent bombings at the Boston Marathon, no major terrorist activity has happened on American soil.

S. Jagtap

Shelgaon Deshmukh, Maharashtra


fl12 kanha tiger4
THIS is with reference to Rakesh Shukla’s article “Lifeline for tigers” (July 12). Having served in the tiger reserves in Kanha, Pench, Satpura and Indravati and other protected areas in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh for three and half decades, I can say with certainty that the proposed tiger corridor from Achanakmar TR to Satpura TR will be the best home for wildlife with the tiger at the apex of the habitat pyramid. The inclusion of a corridor from Kanha to Bandhavgarh via Dindori, Shahpura, is also worth considering.

M. Ramachandran

Kochi, Kerala

Uttarakhand tragedy

THE Uttarakhand disaster was waiting to happen (“Himalayan tragedy”, July 12). Nature has reacted to its merciless exploitation in the name of development and commerce. Frequent floods and droughts are a result of climate change caused by humans tampering with nature. While the uniformed forces risked life and limb during the rescue operations, politicians, as usual, milked the tragedy for political mileage and cheap publicity.

Ettirankandath Krishnadas

Palakkad, Kerala

THE Uttarakhand tragedy once again highlights the reality that lessons were never learnt from previous tragedies. Despite repeated warnings from environmentalists and experts, the State government, to appease the corporate lobby, cleared projects in ecologically sensitive zones.

The National Disaster Management Authority is packed with people with little expertise in the field. This has resulted in the loss of thousands of lives.

K.R. Srinivasan

Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh

India & Russia

RAJIV BHATIA’S article “Reworking old ties” (July 12) brings back many memories, especially those of the golden period of our strategic relationship with the erstwhile Soviet Union. With India’s focus having shifted to the world’s three major powers—the United States, the European Union and China—Bhatia stresses the need for mutual cooperation and understanding between Russia and India on strategic issues.

Shipra R. Upadhyay

Baroda, Gujarat

Cracks in NDA

IT is sad that the 17-year-long alliance between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Janata Dal (United) in Bihar has come to an end (“Double whammy”, July 12).

It is a well-known fact that voters of Bihar unanimously chose the alliance to rule Bihar, a State which was badly affected by the misrule of the Lalu Prasad and Rabri Devi governments.

With Narendra Modi as the BJP’s election campaign chief, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had little option but to quit the National Democratic Alliance.

Jayant Mukherjee


ALTHOUGH the JD(U) was the biggest ally of the BJP in the NDA, Modi’s proximity to the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa is well known and her party can be a good replacement in the NDA.

Bal Govind

Noida, Uttar Pradesh


THE elusive peace and the absence of a meaningful dialogue between the Union government and the people of Jammu and Kashmir are responsible for militancy gaining renewed legitimacy among the youth (“Ominous signs”, July 12).

Even though violence is detested by people in general, the youth are radicalised owing to the government’s continued stifling of voices that make legitimate demands. The common perception is that New Delhi has failed to respond to the people’s need for peace.

Syed Shafeeq Ahmad

Lolab, Jammu & Kashmir

Food security

THE United Progressive Alliance government’s move to push through the Food Security Bill by hook or by crook deserves to be condemned in the strongest terms (“Exclusion as policy”, July 12). The intended coverage of 50 per cent of the urban population and 75 per cent of the rural population is a far cry from the demands for a universal public distribution system made by the Left parties. Such an exclusivist programme will do more harm than good to the poorer sections of the country.

J. Anantha Padmanabhan

Tiruchi, Tamil Nadu


OOMMEN CHANDY is a sober and solid politician (“Cross connection”, July 12). There is no doubt that his unblemished public record also gives him an enviable position in Kerala politics. But it seems that he is not in full control of his office. This is a very serious situation. A true leader should be a good manager too.

P.V. Antony Pullen

Thrissur, Kerala

IPL scandal

THE Indian Premier League (IPL) is a summer entertainment package (“Indian cricket in deep crisis”, Cover Story, June 28). The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is an organisation in dire need of repair. Neither betting nor attempts to fix games are going to stop but the players must learn their lesson from the consequences of the disgraceful conduct faced by those arrested.

Anand Srinivasan


IN India once cricket was a religion; now it is transformed into a business. This is unfortunate because a game unlike business captures the inner feelings and emotions of every individual player.

Bahadur Shardul

Bhojpur, Bihar

Khirsara excavations

THE Harappan civilisation is the symbol of not only our cultural and historical past but also its glorious achievements in the field of science and technology (“Discovering Khirsara’s Harappan glory”, June 28). The excavations bring to light the excellent technical skills people of the period possessed.

Shreya Jha


Manmohan Singh

ERA SEZHIYAN’S argument that in the highest traditions of parliamentary democracy the Prime Minister must be a person elected to the Lok Sabha misses some key points (“No, Prime Minister”, June 28). Our elections are designed in such a way that the winner of a seat does not necessarily represent the “majority people’s will”. With too many candidates in the fray, the vote gets divided and most winning candidates get less that 50 per cent of the total polled votes. Besides, victory in an election is determined by money and muscle power and vote grabbing. So it hardly matters whether a Prime Minister or a Chief Minister is elected “directly” or “indirectly”.

G. Govind Reddy


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