In our society, women are considered the “honour” of the family. Which is why perhaps the panchayat in the Baraut tehsil of Baghpat, U.P., has issued a diktat banning women from entering into love marriages, going unescorted to the market and even carrying mobile phones (July 13). It may be argued that these are meant for “protecting” women, but they are highly undemocratic. Why can the same diktat not be issued against men? Why does society always teach us how not to get raped, rather than not to rape.

Shinaaz Mittal,

Bathinda

The Baghpat panchayat’s diktat is not only outrageous but also un-Islamic. What I am surprised at is the media hype over a decision of a tiny village panchayat by a group of ignorant people, which will be ignored by the villagers themselves. The religion which restored the right of women in every walk of life 1460 years ago also laid down the guidelines to protect and guard their modesty. When India’s 18-crore Muslim population does not take cognition of such diktats and fatwas, the electronic media should not overreact and give undue coverage to them, causing embarrassment to a large majority of Muslims.

Professor J.A.K. Tareen,

Vice Chancellor,

Pondicherry University

The Taliban-style diktat is yet another move to exploit the women of our country. Women should unite and fight for their rights.

The government should take stringent action against the panchayats which try to impose such conditions.

Shiv Thakur,

Raebareli

Baghpat is situated within the borders of a nation known as the largest democracy. A panchayat cannot be allowed to make its own laws in violation of the Constitution in the name of protecting women. There is no place for religious or communal laws in a democracy.

B. Prabha,

Varkala

Khap panchayats cannot be wished away in States like Bihar, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Often, the media report only the negative aspects of a khap panchayat’s diktats. Some of them are progressive in their outlook. These panchayats wield considerable influence on villagers and cannot be ignored. That is the reason many politicians want to be on the right side of these decision-makers who can easily sway an election. We need to educate the members of khap panchayats and make them aware of the laws of the land. They can be persuaded to help in ushering in changes that could help villagers.

D.B.N. Murthy,

Bangalore

One among many

The molestation of a young girl by a mob in Guwahati is one among the many crimes committed against women across the country. It came to light because it took place in public.

The journalist who shot the incident deserves to be lauded. Thanks to him, the men who indulged in the gruesome act were caught on camera. I hope the issue is not forgotten after some time.

P.S. Suvarnna,

Kochi

The trauma and agony suffered by the young girl for no fault of hers are unimaginable. By not helping the girl, the passive onlookers and those who videographed the incident have become morally culpable. The incident is a pointer to the fact that anti-social elements think they can misbehave with girls and young women who frequent pubs in a manner they fancy.

S. Nagarajan,

Thiruvananthapuram

People are generally afraid of intervening when such incidents take place. In many instances, the goons have high connections. The complainant is harassed by the police. But where corrupt officials and criminals do not have protection, people take the law into their hands. In rural Assam, engineers, doctors, government officials, policemen and even army jawans have become victims of the common man’s wrath.

Apurba K. Baruah,

Shillong

Appalling

The Sunday Story of 23-year-old Burundi national Yannick Nihangaza who went into a coma after being beaten up in Jalandhar in April was disturbing. It is appalling that the Punjab government took two months to order a probe into the incident. Foreign nationals prefer India for higher studies not only because of the wonderful infrastructure and the variety of courses offered but also because it is the land of non-violence. While we raise a hue and cry over racial attacks on our nationals in Australia or the U.K., we seem to have no answers for such incidents taking place in our own backyard.

A. Jainulabdeen,

Chennai

The actions of a few have jeopardised the country’s image. We demand justice from other countries when our students are attacked there. Is it not our duty to provide security and justice to students who come here from other countries? We boast of a multicultural and multilingual society. But the racial attacks tell a different story.

Muhammed Yunus Mulla,

Bagalkot

How can we find fault or criticise other countries when we are at fault ourselves? We need to upgrade our sense of morality and justice, and ensure that people who come here to study have a positive experience.

M. Niveditha,

Chennai

Health care

I want to thank The Hindu for carrying the informative and concise article “Take this patient to ICU” (July 14). Taking help and guidance from the army and other defence services may be one way of solving health care problems. The army has its own hospitals and medicare centres and they are very efficient and modern. Their doctors care about people and are always ready to serve.

Vivek Kumar Singh,

Secunderabad

I admitted a relative in a corporate hospital for knee replacement surgery. I had medical insurance and had taken pre-hospitalisation approval from the insurance company. At the time of discharge, the hospital asked me to pay close to 3 per cent of the total bill towards non-medical items used during the surgery, which were not approved by the insurance company. Hospital authorities and insurance companies should work out a list of commonly used non-medical items used in medical procedures to be covered under insurance.

Medical insurance, incidentally, is a window for corporate hospitals to make money. Doctors ask you whether you have medical insurance. If you say ‘yes,’ they tell you to get admitted and get all tests done, most of which have little relevance to the disease.

Kondal Reddy Boyapally,

Hyderabad

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