The large-scale violence let loose by the followers of Dera Sach Khand in Punjab over a group clash in a gurdwara in Vienna — in which the Dera chief was injured and a follower killed — shows that our level of tolerance has touched rock bottom. That the governments are invariably caught off guard is a sad commentary on the state of affairs. Besides arresting those responsible for the destruction in Punjab, the government must take some serious steps to prevent the recurrence of such incidents.

K.R. Srinivasan,

Secunderabad

Indulging in arson and rioting in the name of religion is highly condemnable for no religion advocates violence in any form. Grief and anger over loss of life can be expressed in a peaceful manner. Religious leaders have an important role in reining in protesters. Damage to public property should not be tolerated.

The government should put down violence with an iron hand. Holding the government machinery and the public to ransom in the name of protest is inexcusable.

Nirmala Narayanan,

Bangalore

The violence that followed the Vienna incident showed that religion has not taught us values yet. The damage caused to property and life is unfortunate.

The protesters should realise that we harm only our development when we resort to violence to express our resentment. All religions preach non-violence and peace.

Athisii Kayina,

New Delhi

Whether or not violence is against the tenets of all religions is not the issue. Acts of vandalism are anti-social and cannot be tolerated. Unfortunately, politicians of all hues seem to view such disturbances with indulgence, instead of ensuring that they do not occur.

Even if it takes a few years, an action plan backed by law that allows the police to shoot at sight rubber bullets on protesters, without waiting for orders, should be evolved.

G.R. Jagannadh,

Spokane, Washington

The picture of people stranded in the Jalandhar railway station due to the violence (May 27) showed how pathetic their condition was. What a waste of human resource and time! The destructive method adopted by the Dera followers to protest the attack on their leaders is condemnable.

Ankit Kumar,

Ghaziabad

How is the common man in Punjab to blame for the killing of Sant Rama Nand in Vienna? Why should police stations, the railways and highways come under attack? The followers of the Dera Sach Khand cannot vent their ire on innocent people for an act perpetrated by the Khalistan Zindabad Force, a terror outfit. What did they achieve by resorting to violence? Did it have any effect on the KZF?

J.P. Reddy,

Nalgonda

Can India afford such destruction when a majority is in the grip of poverty? The Punjab government, it appears, took time to act.

Noor Mohammad,

Gandhinagar

It is the politicians who are to blame for the violence in Punjab. They have promoted deras for creating vote banks. The cause for the rise of the dera culture among Sikhs is the failure of the clergy to get rid of caste-based social classifications. It has been disallowing the suppressed social classes, including women even if they belong to the so-called ‘upper’ castes, from getting equal status and performing religious rites.

Balvinder Singh,

Chandigarh

I thought casteism was part of the Hindu religion alone. It is now apparent that it exists among the Sikhs too. Many social reformers, fed up of the caste system, branched out and founded new religions and orders. But unfortunately, the practice continues to exist.

J.S. Acharya,

Hyderabad

The people of Punjab were made to suffer for no fault of theirs. The acts of arson, I am sure, were not the work of those aggrieved over the attack in the Vienna gurdwara but that of hooligans and anti-social elements. It is not known how the destruction of public property will remedy the situation. The government should put down the perpetrators of violence with a heavy hand.

G. Ramachandran,

Thiruvananthapuram

It is distressing that large-scale violence erupted in Punjab in response to an incident that took place in faraway Vienna. There are no two opinions that the Vienna incident should be probed and the culprits brought to justice. But why hurt India? Violence has no place in a civilised society. There are better ways to redress a wrong.

B.H. Shanmukhappa,

Davanagere