This refers to Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s offer to parade those arrested in connection with Sister Meena Lalita Barwa’s rape anywhere in the country. The nun has already gone through unbearable physical and mental agony. Despite the humiliation, she courageously addressed the media to expose the callousness of the Orissa police who remained inactive and were, in fact, friendly with the mob that attacked her. Surely, Mr. Patnaik can find out the names of the policemen who were on duty on that day? And the police would know who the culprits were? There is, therefore, no need to hold an identification parade and ask for the nun’s cooperation.

W. Macwan,

Ahmedabad

The details of the attack on Sister Meena and her rape by a rioting mob in Kandhamal, as recounted by her, are so gruesome they every Indian should hang his head in shame for being a citizen of the country in which such a crime was committed. There should be a stringent and separate law to award collective punishment to the people and the police personnel who do not act against such criminals. At the same time, it appears that the nun’s statement is incomplete. The case should be handed over to the CBI, as demanded by her.

Arulur N. Balasubramanian,

Chennai

The reason for acts such as the violence against Sister Meena is anything but religion. The exploitation of deprivation by vested interests is what leads to such inhuman behaviour. Depressed and frustrated youths in the poor regions provide a potential reserve army for such acts. They see communal riots and other disturbances as an opportunity to do something adventurous. Inclusive development and strong sanctions are required if the social fabric of our multi-religious society is to be protected.

Ashwani Sharma,

Ghaziabad

Sixth Pay Commission

The Sixth Central Pay Commission recommendations have brought some cheer to Central government employees in these difficult times. But a sizeable number of retired senior citizens have been left in the lurch. They include those who retired from some senior levels before January 1, 2006. The Department of Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare’s clarification of October 3, 2008, has reduced to naught all accepted official norms, contravening the decision of the Supreme Court. It has brought despair to an arbitrarily created section of the same grade of pensioners.

A spate of representations pointing out this anomaly has not met with any response. The government, in fact, reinforced the arbitrariness in its next clarification order dated October 14, 2008. The clarification has resulted in the denial of the minimum basic pay and the resultant minimum pension to those on one side of the chronological divide as on January 1, 2006.

As a typical example, between two officers at the level of Joint Secretary, the one who retired before January 1, 2006, will draw a pension of Rs.23,700 whereas the others retiring on or after the same date will draw Rs.27,350 per month.

P.K. Ranganathan,

Chennai