THE gruesome murder of Atiq and Ashraf Ahmed in the presence of the police was horrific (Cover Story, May 19). Under Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Uttar Pradesh has earned notoriety as an “encounter raj”. Under the guise of controlling gangsters, he appears to be targeting people belonging to opposition parties and minority communities. There is no denying that the victims in this case were leaders of a crime syndicate and involved in a large number of criminal cases, including murders, but this does not justify their murder.
THE shortcut to justice delivery is laden with contempt for the rule of law, and the “encounter-happy” in the country have become a law unto themselves. These lawmakers/enforcers outperform the lawbreakers in evil deeds. The disturbing irony is that extrajudicial, or encounter, killings give those who carry them out the reputation of being no-nonsense administrators. Nietzsche’s prophetic quote, “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster”, is vindicated time and again in India through unapologetic state vigilantism.
I appreciateFrontline’s candour, especially when everyone else remains silent, in exposing the widespread use of police vigilantism as a weapon to suppress anyone who disagrees with state politics and the use of bulldozers to demolish the homes of individuals who disagree with the government or who are members of a minority community.
THE Cover Story exposed what undertrials experience at the hands of the police. The police cannot arrogate to themselves the powers of the judiciary. Incumbent regimes in States use the police to circumvent the law and to fulfil their political ends, and the police subsequently provide lame excuses for their actions. The present trend is one step up from the earlier stratagems used to selectively eliminate alleged history-sheeters. State governments cannot be the arbiters of justice with powers to get rid of undertrials on the basis of preconceived notions and prejudices.
In any sphere of life, professionals need to exhibit integrity, and the police cannot be exceptions to this. They need to be on their guard and insulate themselves from the mendacious claims of politicians that they sit above the salt. Both the police and State governments must be the enablers of the rule of law to render justice fairly to one and all.
THE solution to this issue: Stop political interference in law enforcement agencies; make courts of law truly independent so that they can act without fear or favour; eliminate delays in the judicial system; and educate the voter so that these objectives can be met.
Brigadier (rtd) Ranjan de Silva
Homagama, Sri Lanka
THE Cover Story articles were unduly harsh on the tough policy the Uttar Pradesh government has adopted to tackle terrorists and their outfits. Although Yogi Adityanath has been accused of running an administration that is perceived to be biased against Muslims, it is an undisputed reality that he has been successful in dismantling the “goonda raj” and the mafia network irrespective of the religious denomination of the perpetrators. While the cold-blooded murder of Atiq Ahmed requires a thorough probe, it needs to be understood that he was a dreaded gangster with immense political clout who ran a parallel administration and was a law unto himself. One prime factor for the increasing trend of mob violence in recent times appears to be how long the judicial system takes to bring the perpetrators of heinous crimes to justice.
Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
WHEN the IMF was formed, its mandate was to manage the global balance of payments and exchange rates (“Spring dampeners”, May 19). The number of countries requiring emergency external financing has been on the rise for the last few years.
While the IMF delayed bailout packages to Sri Lanka and Zambia, it was India that released an emergency line of credit to help Sri Lanka tide over its fuel crisis and strived hard to bring IMF officials to the negotiating table and come up with a bailout package. China, which has the major part in IMF governance and in managing Special Drawing Rights, and the US, which has the largest say in the IMF, need to dilute their stand and take a practical approach when assisting countries.
THIS is with reference to the interview with K. Ullas Karanth (“We can easily reach 10,000 tigers”, May 19). Separating human habitats from animal habitats to prevent conflicts and converting residential or farmland into land for wildlife will only be possible with good monetary compensation or compensation with alternative land nearby or a combination of both. Old and weak tigers who cannot hunt need to be shifted to zoos to prevent them from becoming man-eaters. Badly maintained animal reserves need to be upgraded on a war footing to put them on a par with well-maintained reserves to increase domestic and international tourism and bring in much-needed income.
Armed forest officers, armed and trained forest guards, and drones should be used to deal effectively with poachers. All tigers in reserves should be radio-collared. In these ways, one can and must conserve tigers.
THE rift between Sachin Pilot and Ashok Gehlot will dent the image of the Congress and could hurt it in the upcoming Assembly election (“Pilot in the jump seat”, May 19). This inter-party political wrangle is being carried out in public as Pilot launched movements such as the Jan Sangharsh Yatra, which highlights question paper leaks and corruption. The tussle showcases the lack of communication between the two leaders and might even result in a change of public mood.
Public policies should not be delayed, and the State government must make every effort to avoid paper leaks in the future if the Congress is to survive this election despite the Pilot-Gehlot fray.
GAMBLING in the garb of gaming and real-money games have come to stay as a nightmare, curse, or necessary evil (“Gaming the rules”, May 5). The Internet came as a boon to humankind but has many disadvantages, with online gaming or gambling being the latest one. Online gaming has had an evil effect on the youth: some have become addicted to it to the point of no return, and some have resorted to suicide. But it appears that the Union government is focussed mainly on making money and has therefore given online gaming and gambling a free run.
THE article “Why is Bengal burning?” (May 5) carefully avoided mentioning the fact that it was the Left, and the CPI(M) in particular, that promoted communalism and pseudo-secularism in Bengal. After 35 years of communist rule, to get the Muslim vote religious madrasa school boards were created and scholarships were given to the sons of imams. This was a remedy for not carrying out any real development for Muslims in the 35 years of Left rule (as the report of the Sachar Committee shows). Now the CPI(M) collaborates with the Indian Secular Front, a party started by a cleric. The fight is not one between the BJP and the Trinamool Congress but a competition for the Muslim vote between the CPI(M)-ISF and the Trinamool. Added to this is the politics of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh who have become a significant power now in the State.
THE computer scientist John McCarthy coined the term artificial intelligence (AI) in the 1950s and defined it as “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines” (“Monster in the machine”, April 21). AI is used in many fields such as agriculture, the oil industry, and communication, and to create art on computers with AI image generators. AI is gradually forcing a paradigm shift among artists in creating artworks, but the AI art revolution also reveals legal and ethical issues regarding ownership of the works. The concern about whether AI-produced works of art are eligible for copyright protection varies across countries.<