Letters

Letters to the Editor — March 2, 2020

Deal with the Taliban

Few except the families of the American soldiers stationed in Afghanistan will celebrate the U.S.-Taliban deal as a major blow for lasting peace in the war-torn landlocked country. The fact that a superpower has to sign an agreement for withdrawal of its troops with an extremist organisation like the Taliban is a tacit moral, political and military victory for the latter. That the Afghan government is not a signatory to the deal points to its quick demise once the Taliban takes charge. The U.S. has nothing to cheer except escaping the ignominy of having to withdraw from Afghanistan as a militarily defeated nation, a fate that other foreign powers have had to endure. History foretells Afghanistan’s relapse into a Taliban-led medieval theocracy aided and abetted by a gleeful Pakistan which will have a free run once the Americans vacate their garrisons. India has every reason to worry about the fate of its ongoing development projects in Afghanistan once the Taliban takes charge. The world community seems eager to leave Afghanistan to its fate, hoping against hope that it will not turn into a hub of terrorism (“U.S. strikes a deal with Taliban to end 18-year-long Afghan war,” Mar. 1).

V.N. Mukundarajan,

Thiruvananthapuram

It will be a miracle of sorts if the U.S.-Taliban deal brings about genuine peace in Afghanistan. The deal is likely to enable the Taliban’s return to power and facilitate increased Pakistan-sponsored terror activities. China too may be waiting in the wings to fish in troubled waters. Uneasy relations lay in store for India with Kabul. New Delhi has reasons to be nervous/wary about the massive investments made in Afghanistan, and its task is cut out in its dealings with the Taliban. No prizes for guessing that U.S. President Donald Trump was more than willing to strike the deal with an eye on his own electoral advantages/benefits.

C.G. Kuriakose,

Kothamangalam, Kerala

The landmark peace agreement signed by the U.S. with the Taliban should result in American troops leaving Afghanistan over the next 14 months and should pave way for talks to end the war in the nation. Civil war, in various iterations, has lacerated Afghanistan for over 40 years. With the majority of the population in Afghanistan being under 30, most have known nothing but conflict. Naturally, there will be a lot of excitement that negotiations could finally bring peace in the war-torn nation. It is hoped that the deal will unlock intra-Afghan talks between the Taliban and Afghan stakeholders, including the country’s West-backed government, to decide the future course of the country.

R. Sivakumar,

Chennai

The Taliban, the progeny born of the U.S.’s habit of poking its long nose to where it doesn’t belong, was created by indigenous tribals who were armed to the teeth to drive out occupying Russian forces from Afghanistan. Finding its own creation displaying symptoms of an ‘auto-immune disease’, the U.S. has carved out a ‘deal’ with the outfit to end an 18-year old war that has ripped Afghanistan apart. This could ultimately be a headache to India as those numerous unemployed Taliban mercenaries could be employed by Pakistan to carry out its anti-India adventurism.

George Jacob,

Kochi

A full implementation of the Taliban pledge that Afghanistan will never again used by jihadist movements such as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group to plot attacks abroad will be key to the deal’s viability. A prospective peace will depend on the outcome of talks between the Taliban and the Kabul government but conflict between the President Ashraf Ghani and his main political rival Abdullah Abdullah over contested election results, in all probability, is likely to enable the Taliban to take the upper hand in negotiations.

S.S. Paul,

Chakdaha, Nadia, West Bengal

Hate campaign

Far from getting upset with the death and destruction in the streets of Delhi, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seems to have decided to push the hate campaign with renewed vigour (News page, “Provocative slogans at ‘peace’ march,” Mar. 1). By allowing Kapil Mishra to participate in the so-called ‘peace march’, the BJP signalled a blatant endorsement to his earlier venomous speech which could be seen as partly responsible for last week’s communal bloodbath. But why the Delhi Chief Minister is showing a reluctance to condemn slogans like “desh ke gaddaron ko…” raised in the ‘peace march’ is not understandable. Does his offering olive branch to the Centre at the oath-taking ceremony mean he is prepared to bury his head in the sand at the cost of peace and tranquillity in Delhi?

Syed Sultan Mohiddin,

Kadapa, Andhra Pradesh

Ridiculous proposition

What is left in the houses of riot-affected families in north-east Delhi to return? Of course, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal can escape from owning any responsibility for the riots as he can point his fingers to the Delhi police who are under the control of the Union Home Ministry but who were mute spectators to the riots. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who proclaimed himself a ‘chowkidar’ (watchman) who works for the citizens of this country, not only did not protect the Delhi residents but also did not condemn or rein in some of the Ministers and members of his party who were indulging in incendiary, filthy sloganeering like goli maro (shoot them) against the protesters. In a way, Mr. Modi and his right-hand confidant Amit Shah have succeeded in their attempts to divert the attention of the Opposition and gag the voice of the right-thinking citizens who were complaining against the government about various important issues like the slowdown in economy, job creation, healthcare, education and infrastructure, etc., as the talk of the town now is the nationwide protests. Mr. Modi, Mr. Shah and, for that matter, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have been given more than an absolute majority for governing the people and not dividing the people on religious lines. It is a shame that the national capital Delhi was in flames right under the nose of Mr. Modi and Mr. Shah. Why should the police be under the control of the Union Home Ministry? Like the police departments which elsewhere that report to the governments of the State, Delhi police should also be under the control of the Delhi government.

Reports are coming in that Mr. Modi's image as a world statesman has taken battering since his second term began. Neither have ‘achche din’ (good days) dawned, nor has ‘sabka vikas’ (development of all) happened. All said and done, it is anybody’s guess how difficult it would be for those affected by last week’s riots to get back their documents, lost in the fire.

A. Jainulabdeen,

Chennai

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s appeal to those who fled home to save their lives from the marauding mobs to return to their households is ridiculous to say the least. (“Kejriwal urges riot affected families to return home,” Mar. 1 ). Does the Aam Aadmi Party have private armies that can guarantee the safety of these ‘refugees’? Could he or his government save a single life during the mindless orgy of violence that rocked the city? The grim reality is that the Delhi government was a hapless spectator, more so as the police reported directly to the Home Ministry and there was no way that Mr. Kejriwal could commandeer them to act.

C.V. Aravind,

Bengaluru

Refuge, sans religious test

Is the Citizenship (Amendment) Act really required now? The only solution is to accept people within our borders currently as citizens. We have a golden opportunity to uplift our economy and should avoid projecting a negative image of the country. Any person from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal and Bhutan who can prove persecution should be accepted by us. This, however, should be subject to due diligence but not by having religious barriers. Where can the government send existing inhabitants? Which country will accept them? Are we going to have permanent gulags within our borders? It is appropriate for us to accept the reality as it is and move forward. India has attracted immigrants from time immemorial. To change demographics in 2020 will be a retrograde measure and lead to constant strife.

Ranjit Abraham,

Chennai

AAP lets supporters down

In giving sanction for the prosecution of Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and seven others in the widely known sedition case, the AAP has acted like a Hindutva-oriented right-wing party and an outfit of the Sangh Parivar. The decision has shown Mr. Kejriwal’s party’s ideological proximity to the BJP. It wants to curry favour with the Centre. Mr. Kejriwal may well follow Nitish Kumar’s footsteps in joining the NDA government.

Incidentally, Mr. Kejriwal had described Kanhaiya Kumar’s speech as “brilliant” in March 2016. What changed between then and now is not known. How the slogans of azadi from poverty and caste oppression can be construed as seditious defies understanding. Kanhaiya Kumar cannot be accused on the basis of doctored videos. The AAP cannot save face by saying that it accorded sanction for prosecution of its own MLAs by hiding the fact that they faced no charge of sedition.

The AAP seems to share the BJP’s conception of nationalism. True, it made the latter bite the dust in the Delhi election, but the lamentable part is that the Delhi-based party is fast emerging as a clone of the saffron party. A close look at BJP and AAP would reveal that they are ideologically much of a muchness — it is hard to choose between them. Being covertly communal is no better than overtly communal. It can be now safely said that Mr. Kejriwal does not have the courage of conviction or the intestinal fortitude to uphold the secular ideal or fight the sectarian forces. He has proved that the perception that he is a ‘counter to Mr. Modi’ is wrong.

Mr. Kejriwal is enamoured with “Hindi, Hindu, Hindustan”. His fascination for Hindutva prior to the Anna movement has escaped public scrutiny. When it comes to the pursuit of majoritarian politics, he looks like a shishya or an acolyte of Mr. Modi. He needed the recital of Hanuman Chalisa and his promise of inclusion of desh bhakti in school curriculum to escape rejection by the Delhi voters despite all the good work his government did.

Mr. Kejriwal did not condemn the brutal police attacks on Jamia Millia University students. He is on record as saying that ‘nobody has the right to block traffic indefinitely’. For him, traffic inconvenience is weightier than the protest against a discriminatory law that has brought the country to the edge of disaster. All in all, Mr. Kejriwal puts power above principle and his ill-disguised espousal of what is called “soft Hindutva” goes to fray the secular fabric of the close-knit Indian society.

G. David Milton

Maruthancode, Kanyakumari district, Tamil Nadu

The search for a balance

It is either that Indian cricket has too many options when it comes to selection of players, or it is beset with problems in identifying a selection method which can comprehensively knit together a team to bring laurels to the country. The experimentation spree that has been going on for quite some time now has left the players, as much as the connoisseurs of the game, in a confused state of mind. It does appear strange that despite stupendous performances, in the current order, a player finds himself sidelined for the next game! At times, the bench strength of the team seems more formidable than the playing-eleven.

More than the battle between the bat and ball, perhaps the selectors have decided to take the game away from the pitch to play ‘mind games’ with the opponents! Despite having world-class openers, the search for a ‘dependable’ pair continues. With each match, the wicket-keeping gloves ‘alter’ between players at will. The quest for a ‘solid’ middle-order has been nothing short of a NASA test for the next set of astronauts to the moon. While the pace and spin department should not have been unduly bothering the selectors, a ‘balanced’ attack seems to be worrying the team management. In the bargain, despite months of struggle and the talent available, India has not been able to ‘regularise’ a cricket team.

Having enough possibilities while finalising a team is not a bad proposition at all, but frequently affecting changes will only upset the rhythm of the team. The manner in which the game has evolved too has not helped the cause of Indian cricket. A cramped itinerary where T20s, ODIs and Test matches are played back-to-back on a tour will take the shine off the competition with the players finding themselves helpless to adjust to the rigours of the different formats of the game in the short span of time available. With performances deciding their selection, players would be bound to go all out to justify their selection and eventually end up playing Test matches as they would the shorter versions of the game or vice versa. This is precisely what is happening to the Indian cricket team touring New Zealand. After white-washing the ‘Black Caps’ in the T20 series, Team India finds itself no match for the marauding Kiwis in the Tests.

Pachu Menon,

Margao, Goa

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 11:46:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/letters-to-the-editor-march-2-2020/article30958219.ece

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