Stop the hypocrisy, get tough
Apropos of “Make Islamabad accountable”, it’s nothing less than hypocrisy the way India continues futile talks with Pakistan even as we keep losing valiant soldiers to their bullets. To keep the Kashmir issue alive, Pakistan’s battalion are now adopting the ghastly Taliban approach, to behead Indian soldiers, in a repetition of the slaughter of Captain Saurabh Kalia during the 1999 Kargil conflict. Does the government have a spine strong enough to severe relations with Pakistan, perhaps even call off the cricket matches? Even the US has condemned this inhumane act by Pakistan soldiers. Also, India had better take up the matter with the International Court of Justice at the Hague, to prosecute the perpetrators of this attack as well as the masterminds of the 26/11 terror attack.
—Deepak Chikramane, Mumbai
The money or their lives
When I read about the attack on Indian soldiers by Pak intruders, my heart sank. I remember a report some months ago that the government was planning to permit FDI in telecom from Pakistan. The report also had a picture of PC Chidambaram shaking hands with Pakistan’s richest man. Some time later, I read another report that FEMA restrictions had been lifted on Pakistan and that the State Bank of India was to open branches there. Subsequently, another report described how, when a former diplomat was asked whether the prime minister should visit Pakistan and he replied in the negative, his remark was edited out from a broadcast. During the protests against the gang rape of the 23-year-old in Delhi, Sushil Kumar Shinde justified the crackdown on protestors, saying the movement was politically motivated and the authorities appeared keen to clear the streets for the visit of Russian president Vladimir Putin. Defence deals amounting to Rs25,000 crore were signed between India and Russia during Putin’s visit.
To defend whom, may I ask? Certainly not common citizens or to help our soldiers. And against whom? Not Pakistan, surely, as the country is now on our government’s most favoured list! This is the outcome of a well-entrenched policy of running with the hare and hunting with the hound. It is my belief, and I hope that Aman Ki Asha participants realise this, that they are likely being used as a cover for a plan to channelise unaccounted money back into India via Pakistan. But if someone would think that my imagination is getting the better of me, consider the recent amendments to the double taxation avoidance agreement between India and Switzerland that makes it almost impossible to get information. Also note the case of unaccounted money getting into the Indian stock markets through hedge funds, as described in the government white paper on black money. And also how participatory notes have been spared from the ambit of tax avoidance rules.
—Poornima Mepani, by email
It was painful to learn how the Pakistan troops crossed over into Indian territory in the Poonch area and ambushed an Indian army patrol, killing two soldiers. It has been reported that the Pakistan troops chopped off the head of one of the soldiers and took away their weapons. This act is a serious violation of human rights and must be condemned. It is not only a barbaric act against the soldiers, but a disrespect to our nation that comes as a rude shock at a time when India has been pursuing steps to improve relations with its neighbour. It also displays the arrogance of the Pakistan army and must be taken up at the highest level so that the guilty are punished and such acts are not repeated.
—NR Ramachandran, Ooty
The Pakistan political establishment while paying lip service to bilateral ties with India and the need to strengthen confidence-building measures, has done nothing to address the basic issue of trust deficit between the two countries through its repeated denials of involvement in such ghastly acts as the killing of Indian soldiers and the mutilation of their bodies. However, in asking the Pakistan establishment to rein in its army and the ISI, we are being naïve in assuming that it has the power to do so. The fact is that the political establishment survives at the mercy of the armed forces. It is high time that our government realises that precious little would be achieved towards improvement of ties with Pakistan by continuing the charade of negotiations.
—Subramanian Venkataraman, Mumbai
Crackers for Dev Diwali, not Moharrum
Some weeks ago, a report in the DNA mentioned that fire crackers were lit during the “rituals of Moharram”. Moharram is the month of mourning. During this period, Muslims, especially Shias, remember the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Muhammed in 61 AD on the plains of Karbala in Iraq, along with 72 companions that included 18 family members. Thus, there is no question of bursting crackers during this period. Therefore, the headline gave a wrong impression about Moharram. In fact, during this period of observance Shia Muslims wear black clothes and attend majalis (mourning discourse), but don’t burst crackers. Also, the accompanying photograph depicted a Shia procession. The report talked about crackers burst in Byculla, Parel, Dadar, Bandra and Borivali. While the mourning procession does not pass through most of these areas, it seems that the crackers were on account of the Dev Diwali festival that was on the same day.
—Dr Sadiq Uttanwall
Let’s not forget Nayana
There has been a clamour for justice across the country over the gang rape in Delhi, and rightfully so. However, it is sad that the trial in the gang rape and murder of Pune IT professional Nayana Pujari, three years ago, is being delayed and nobody seems to be really bothered about this equally serious case. Her husband Abhijit Pujari is a shattered man, and is fighting a lone battle.
Yogesh Raut, a key accused in the case escaped from custody over a year ago, while three others are facing trial. Abhijit is disappointed that the police have not been able to rearrest Raut, and with the defence counsel asking for date after date the case has dragged on for over 18 months. That the main accused in the case managed to escape and has not be caught indicates that all is not okay. Abhijit also feels let down that Punekars have not shown sensitivity to this case, but many have come out to protest on the Delhi incident. It’s something for us to ponder about and work to secure justice for the family without further delay.
—Yash P Verma, Pune