Letters to the Editor — February 29, 2020

Following ‘raj dharma’

The Congress delegation’s petition to the President seeking the sacking of Home Minister Amit Shah for his allegedly inept handling of the Delhi riots is a futile exercise (“Congress urges President to remove Amit Shah,” Feb. 28). The virtual ‘No. 2’ in the Cabinet, Mr. Shah has already received a pat on the back from his party. The BJP, being a party with a difference, has never believed in taking any kind of action against any of its members, irrespective of their position, and this has been the trend ever since it came to power at the Centre in 2014. When acts of commission indulged in by its motor-mouths hardly earns them even a mild rebuke, one can well imagine how acts of omission are likely to be dealt with. The President can hardly be expected to advise the government to follow raj dharma either, as the limitations of his office might come in the way of his proffering any kind of advice to the government, especially one that enjoys a brute majority. Every time the Opposition parties point a finger at the NDA government, holding it responsible for not reining in the rioters, the standard response of the BJP is to remind the Congress of the riots in 1984, unmindful of the fact that two wrongs can never make a right.

C.V. Aravind,


It is high time the government introspects on its inefficiency in curbing violence and avoiding loss of lives. The Delhi violence was preceded by hate and provocative speeches of certain leaders. Either those leaders should have been detained or the police should have been alerted appropriately to deal with those who have indulged in clashes. The general public sees a similarity between the Delhi clashes and the riots that erupted after Indira Gandhi’s assassination as well as the Gujarat riots. The transfer Justice S. Muralidhar, who was hearing the petition related to this case, further adds to doubts on the administration’s intentions. It is also time for the government to clear the doubts on the CAA and the NRC through categorical declarations, instead of attempting to quell the protests.

A.G. Rajmohan,

Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh

Who is to blame?

The rioters and the instigators of rioting alike are to blame for the orgy of communal violence in Delhi. The former actualised the calls of the latter for murdering the ‘traitors’. The riots followed the hate speeches that inflamed religious tensions. The human cost of the riots underlines their futility. It is inhuman, sinful and ungodly to kill innocents in defence of religion. By shielding and indulging hate-mongers and refusing to act against them, the BJP is normalising religious violence.

Muslim families sheltered and protected by Hindu families and protection of temples in Muslim-dominated areas temples are indeed positive news; these acts can inspire rapprochement between the two communities, but they cannot diminish or downplay the horrors of insane communal violence. Delhi police brought ignominy on itself by its acts of commission and omission to please its political masters. It failed even to provide safe passage to ambulances to carry the wounded to hospitals in some riot-hit areas despite repeated pleas.

How did this state of events come to a pass? The answer lies in the rise of Hindu extremism. The secular ideal, an important legacy bequeathed by the freedom movement and a basic feature of the Constitution, is at risk from Hindu revivalists. The scourge of communalism saps India’s energy and will and puts a spoke in our wheel for nation-building. Communal peace is of utmost importance in our country; it is a precondition for nearly 1.3 billion people to realise their full potential.

The immediate concern must be to ease tension and bring normalcy in Delhi. In the long term, the reversal of the resurgence of virulent religious nationalism and an end to demonisation and persecution of Muslims must happen if we are to prevent the country’s descent into dark days.

G. David Milton

Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu

Transfer of a Justice

The sudden transfer of the judge who was handling the very sensitive and important case of ongoing Delhi riots in unearthly hours is unfair and untimely. The government’s statement that it was a routine exercise will have few takers. He had not kept his anger secret against the ineptitude of Delhi police in containing the situation from becoming worse and earned the wrath of the authorities. The idea that a Central government should play a non-partisan role in such a situation has taken a beating with this sudden transfer. If Delhi police can wait for some weeks of time to register FIRs against those who made incendiary speeches, why could the government not have waited for some time to effect the transfer and allow the judicial process uninterrupted?

Dr. D.V.G. Sankararao,

Vizianagaram, Andhra Pradesh

This refers to the report, “War of words over HC judge’s transfer” (Feb. 28). Even if the government’s argument that the transfer was routine, approved by the President earlier this month, is taken at face value routine, effecting the Justice’s transfer using a late-night Centre’s notification is completely unacceptable because Justice S. Muralidhar was in the midst of a hearing and there was no urgency that required that he should be relieved of his duties in Delhi High Court. This reinforces the suspicion that the judge’s sharp condemnation of both the government and the police for failure to contain the riots and his assertion that police should fire within a day FIRs against the four BJP leaders who have given hate speeches, hastened his transfer on the same day. The timing of the decision does raise apprehensions of bias; amounting to “obstruction of justice”. The purpose seems to be to bypass the orders passed by him in the riots case.

S.S. Paul,

Chakdaha, Nadia, West Bengal

Peaceful assertions

The women of Shaheen Bagh have not only thwarted insidious attempts to malign and rubbish their protests, but asserted their independence of thought and action by not yielding to the wishes of Maulvis and Imams to end their protest. If only the government gives them a firm commitment that the National Register of Citizens would not be implemented, they may be persuaded to give up their protests and leave the issue of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act to be decided by the Supreme court. Whichever way the curtain finally comes down on the protests, they will for long be remembered as a renaissance movement of Muslim women who came out on the streets, showed physical endurance, grit and determination to stand up for their rights (Editorial page, “Hope, belief and the candles of Shaheen Bagh,” Feb. 28).

R. Ravichandran,


No protests for better services

The anti-government stand that has exemplified the mass opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) across the country in the course of the last few days indicates that when it comes to their rights, people of this great republic do not shy away from exhibiting their resentment in public. People are congregating in large numbers and expressing their anguish over the insensitive ways of a government that came to power riding on their hopes and aspirations, and with assurances of better days ahead for the country. That there are reports of massive demonstrations in many parts of the country, are proof enough of the fact that pieces of legislation that affect the people’s rights and privileges will be fought tooth and nail by the masses, even if it means coming out in large numbers onto the streets to press their demands. Hence, it comes as a big surprise that when it comes to utility services and other civic amenities, the public is conspicuous by its ‘mute’ protests against the failing standards which have become a matter of serious concern! The miserable condition of roads, frequent power outages, restricted water supply, shortage of cooking gas, faulty telephones, unstable Internet connections and a host of other services which should otherwise have been faultlessly provided to the aam janata as a matter of their rights elicits no adverse response from the public. Other than generating gossip material, the deteriorating services have hardly bothered the members of the public.

Pachu Menon,

Margao, Goa

A virus’s spread

The spread of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) in South Korea through a mass gathering of a cult group, whose members do not disclose their affiliation, should be considered as a special case in specific circumstances (Editorial, “Virus marches on”, Feb. 28). The tragic consequences of this cult gathering cannot be generalised to apply as a principle to find fault with the shutting down of Wuhan and other cities in China. Though the initial secrecy had cost China dearly, the expeditious actions taken by it subsequently have helped the country to contain the virus to a large extent. The rapid spread of the dreaded virus outside China in countries such as Iran, Italy, etc. in the last one week is probably due to the lax screening and isolation methods followed by these countries. India, especially Kerala, has followed the systems of screening, isolation, tracing and follow up rigorously and prevented the spread of the virus. The countries where the virus is spreading fast should strictly follow the guidelines issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) at least now, to prevent further spread of virus and possible death toll. It is a blessing that the SARS-CoV-2, unlike some of the earlier viruses, does not cause widespread deaths, but spreads surreptitiously by lying dormant in a person without even showing any outward symptoms. As such, the world should be extra cautious in dealing with the latest dread.

Kosaraju Chandramouli,


Human application of Aadhaar

The author seeks to extrapolate Aadhaar’s inadequacy to plug leakages in Jharkhand Public Distribution System as a sweeping indictment of the technological platform’s total failure. Statistical robustness demands the replication of the study in at least half of the States before the conclusions can be confirmed. True, technological glitches have caused a denial of welfare to needy citizens. Such instances are caused by a mindless application of rules. Technology should be viewed and utilised as a tool that should adapt to human needs and standards, instead of asking the beneficiaries of social welfare to pay the price for its failures and arbitrary rules. The officials should be allowed a margin of discretion to apply a dose of humaneness when technologies fail to deliver the objectives. To discredit Aadhaar is to overlook its effectiveness in plugging leakages in fuel subsidy and eliminating duplicate income tax Permanent Account Numbers (PANs).

V.N. Mukundarajan,


Depleting forest cover

Forests are one of the most dependable and economical natural sinks for anthropogenic carbon emissions. With the increasing global warming induced by accumulating carbon emissions, the need to protect forests cannot be overemphasised. Given the vast coastlines and huge population, India’s vulnerability to climate change-induced catastrophes are well known. Being the world’s third-largest emitter of carbon-dioxide, India cannot shy away from the responsibility of fighting climate change by protecting forests. In this context, it is distressing to know we are losing forest cover in the Eastern Ghats to an extent (Editorial, “A browning east,” Feb. 28). With the possibility of climate change acting as a stress multiplier to flora and fauna in the forests are looming large, this is the right time to take positive and proactive measures.

A. Venkatasubramanian

Tiruchi, Tamil Nadu

It is disheartening to note that many unemployed engineers are queuing up to accept the least-paid job of parking attendant in the Chennai city (“Unemployed engineers queue up for parking attendant jobs”, Feb. 28), thanks to the institutions of higher learning churning out more engineers than actual demands of the industries and corporates, resulting in many taking up non-technical job for a pittance or remain unsaleable in the job market. The downhill trend in engineering is owing to the mushroom-like growth of engineering colleges with their glamorous and luring advertisements, less-sought after courses, misconstrued notion that engineering and medicine are the only lucrative careers, age-old curricula which encourage rote-learning method, leave alone the absence of quality-cum-qualified faculty on roll. Come what may, if this dismal trend continues, engineering graduates would be ready to take up posts of peon, assistant or any job in the unorganised sector that would make the society mock their academic credentials.

E.S. Chandrasekaran,


Humour in Parliament

Considering that parliamentary proceedings these days are interspersed with disruptions and disturbances, it is heartening to read that 50 years ago, Rajya Sabha was witness to lighter and humorous moments, with members involving themselves in questions like, “which part of life is the most romantic?”. It would be a good idea to send such reports to the present-day representatives for their benefit. (From the Archives, “Kissing tickles the elders too,” Feb. 28)

S. Arjun Prasanna,


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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 11:46:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/letters-to-the-editor-february-29-2020/article30945890.ece

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