Letters to the Editor — March 5, 2020

UN body on CAA

The step by the Geneva-based Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), of planning to move the Supreme Court on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act is a blatant case of ‘overreach’ (Page 1, March 4). As the External Affairs Ministry has said, the CAA is an internal matter. If the OHCHR is genuinely concerned about rights, it can cast its net outside — its very first priority should be to stop the inhuman treatment being meted out to the Palestinians by Israel for years. The UN would do well to remember that Palestinians are stateless people and their hardships and travails are quite unlikely to end in the foreseeable future.

C.G. Kuriakose,

Kothamangalam, Kerala

If the UN human rights body, long known for its selective targeting of nations and lacking a deep understanding of India’s political and cultural history, can muster the temerity to challenge India’s sovereignty in enacting its own laws, one need not look far to seek the context for this diplomatic misadventure. The blitzkrieg of the anti-CAA protests, riding on fictitious narratives and exaggerated concerns about existential threats to a community, has done incalculable damage to India’s image abroad. The protesters and their political backers may exult over the government’s discomfiture with a sense of schadenfreude, but they need to ponder the perils of agitational overreach and political opportunism.

The loss of face for the government, if any, is an assault on national prestige and is, in fact, a loss of dignity for every Indian citizen. It is not axiomatic that the louder the protest, wider the publicity, the greater is its legitimacy. Surprised by the indefensible and inexplicable stridency and belligerence of the protests, the silent majority seems to have arrived at the inescapable conclusion that the protesters have been driven by persecution complex and an adversarial mindset towards the ruling establishment to launch a causeless agitation that has wrecked social harmony.

V.N. Mukundarajan,


With due respect to the OHCHR official and her quest to protect all human rights for all people”, I would like to ask her a few questions: Where was the OHCHR and its concern for human rights when countries were being ravaged and generations of people continue to suffer in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Libya or even in nearby Afghanistan? Has the OHCHR ensured accountability when a few powerful nations were unilaterally bombing these countries including civilian institutions? Where was the OHCHR when much of Europe refused to accept dinghies of immigrants fleeing persecution and war and left them adrift in the high seas? Why has the OHCHR never spoken out against countries in West Asia that deny citizenship but also residency rights to outsiders? Even without these analogies, India is a sovereign nation and is well within its rights to legislate on internal matters.

T. Nagarajan,


While there may be much argument about how right the move is from a legal angle, the point is that it has dented the image and prestige of India on the international stage. Already nations such as Malaysia, Turkey, Iran, the United States (some leaders) and the European Parliament have expressed their concerns over the CAA.

It is a divisive policy that has left us in an embarrassing spot.

D. Sethuraman,



Reservation issue

There is no denying the fact that reservation has helped in the uplift of the Backward Classes and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Editorial page, “A blow against social justice”, March 4). There is the other side to this too. There is a conspicuously inadequate representation of SCs and STs in the higher echelons of government services and judiciary as well. We all agree that the caste system is a sort of social evil that creates social hierarchy and divisions in society.

We make efforts to fight the discrimination created by the caste system — reservation is a tool for the same — but do nothing to get rid of the caste system itself.

It has been 70 years since the adoption of the policy of reservation and I feel it is time to get rid of the caste system. It would be a very difficult task especially having been a social system in place for long. Having served as the basis for several social, economic and political activities, it would be difficult for it to be dropped overnight using legislation.

Nonetheless, it is time that we at least start asking ourselves: Can we do it? If yes, then how?

Anamika Bhartiya,



To play or not

The reported statements of both the Indian Premier League Governing Council chairman Brijesh Patel and BCCI president Sourav Ganguly ruling out any threat to the upcoming Indian Premier League due to the coronavirus outbreak as of now, seems premature (‘Sport’ page, March 4). This life-threatening virus is already made its presence felt in India and medical experts have cautioned people about avoiding going to public places and gatherings. In the present situation, the focus needs to be on ensuring full protection and safety as far as public health is concerned.

Any final decision regarding holding the Indian Premier League or any other big sporting event as scheduled should rest solely with the Union Health Ministry and the State governments concerned. Large and regular gatherings of spectators in cricket stadiums in different cities with even spectators coming in from different cities over a two month period pose a huge potential risk of the virus spreading.

A. Mohan,


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