Published : Sep 18, 2013 13:19 IST



TOPSHOTSResidents walk through debris and rubble inside the burnt down mosque of Rabaa al-Adawiya on August 15, 2013 in Cairo, Egypt. Islamists vowed to rally later in the day in support of deposed president Mohamed Morsi despite a violent crackdown that sparked Egypt's worst day of violence for decades, with over 500 people killed. As the death toll from the carnage soared, condemnation of the previous day's crackdown on two Muslim Brotherhood protest camps in Cairo poured in, with Britain, France and Germany summoning the country's ambassadors to express concern. AFP PHOTO/KHALED DESOUKI

IT is unfortunate that in the murderous tussle between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian military, various buildings of historical importance, including the Rabaa Al Adawiya Mosque and Coptic and other churches—so integral to the history of both pre-Islamic Egypt and non-European Christianity—are being vandalised (Cover Story, September 20). Ever since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, rightist elements have unleashed terror on the Egyptian Coptic Christian minority. Such instances, if left unchecked, will put an end to religious/history/research related tourism in this ancient land.

G. Anuplal


Sand mining

THE National Green Tribunal’s imposition of a nationwide ban on sand mining of riverbeds without clearance from the Environment Ministry is a step in the right direction (“A sand scam”, September 20. Illegal sand mining has long been in full swing all across the country and is eating into the ecology of rivers and the growth of the country. Although these activities are reported in the media from time to time, no tough action has been taken against the sand-mining lobby.

P. Senthil Saravana Durai

Vazhavallan, Tamil Nadu

Food security

THE National Food Security Bill is an election stunt of the inefficient and corrupt Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government (“Food for security”, September 20).The Bill’s noble intent will fall flat if there are no systemic checks to ensure that it is not exploited by racketeers. It is a fact that subsidies and the food Bill, which is a dole by another name, could kill the motivation to earn one’s livelihood. Instead of handouts, the government should incentivise the underprivileged to help them earn their keep. But India being India, the food Bill, like the other much vaunted UPA project, the MGNREG Scheme, will only serve to encourage corruption and the loot of foodgrain.

Mahesh Kumar

New Delhi

IF the food security Bill is implemented successfully, the legislation might consolidate the political base of the Congress and help many people get essential food items at low prices. This would indeed be an achievement. The expenses incurred in implementing the project could seriously dent the exchequer, but food security is the need of the hour.

Jayant Mukherjee




This undated photograph shows Indian activist Narendra Dabholkar who was gunned down by two motorcycle-riding attackers on Tuesday, Aug. 20 as he was taking a morning walk in Pune, India. The 67-year-old doctor-turned-activist had been receiving death threats for years since he began traveling by public buses to hundreds of villages around Maharashtra state to lecture against superstitions, religious extremism, black magic and animal or human sacrifice, according to his friend and fellow activist, Deepak Girme. (AP Photo)

THE killing of Narendra Dabholkar is a setback to the rationalist movement in this country (“Act of unreason”, September 20). Some people with a myopic view unable to tolerate rationalist thinking resorted to brutal measures. The great social reformers of the past such as Raja Ram Mohan Roy, E.V. Ramaswami (Periyar) and Vagbhadananda fought tooth and nail against superstitions, black magic, human and animal sacrifices, idolatry and the means godmen used to beguile people. However, they only met with partial success. It is a paradox that Dabholkar’s death prompted the Maharashtra government to finally promulgate an ordinance against black magic.

N.C. Sreedharan

Kannur, Kerala


THERE is little logic for a U.S. military intervention against the Bashar al-Assad regime for its alleged chemical attack (“Sarin as part of a strategy”, September 20). Military intervention without approval from the United Nations will be an act of aggression. If, under U.S. pressure, Syria is “punished”, it will set a trend that could leave other tiny nations vulnerable to similar assaults. In the last decade, unilateral U.S. military intervention has destabilised several countries in West Asia.

Shafaque Alam

New Delhi

Uttar Pradesh

THE entire political class of today wants all government officials and bureaucrats to dance to its tune (“Political axe”, September 6). Those who fail to cooperate are axed, as had happened in the case of the IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal, who was suspended for taking action against the sand mafia. Not long ago an honest officer from Karnataka was done to death for not toeing the oil mafia’s line.

Honest officers seem to have no place in this corrupt society. This is the sad state of affairs of Indian politics.The relevant laws should be amended to protect them. Or else there is no use having them in service.

Sravana Ramachandran

Udhagamandalam, Tamil Nadu

THE brazen way in which Durga Nagpal was suspended even after the District Magistrate gave her a clean chit in his inquiry report smacks of arrogance and arbitrariness on the part of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. Despite prima facie evidence that many Ministers have links with the sand mafia, it is baffling that the Chief Minister defended his government’s action and asserted that the suspension was not linked to the sand mafia.

Further with half of the members of the State legislature facing charges of serious crimes such as murder and rape, the alacrity with which Akhilesh Yadav suspended an honest officer is surprising.

K.R. Srinivasan

Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh

Tariq Ali

WHEN an agnostic ponders the affairs of the contemporary world, he finds disorder everywhere and is unable to find reasons for it or advance a remedy (“The new world disorder”, August 9). For those who believe in god, there is life after death and the knowledge that all human beings have to appear before god to give an account of their life.

They have to live their worldly life in accordance to divine guidance. The disorder in the world occurs because of non-compliance to this guidance and those who are non-compliant will have to face the consequences. Tariq Ali’s book “The Clash of Fundamentalisms” does not cover this basic fact, and this is, in my view, a flaw in the author’s vision.

Shakil Ahmed


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