After the Delhi gang-rape incident and its repercussions nationwide, there was glimmer of hope that sexual assaults on women would be curbed. But these hopes suffered a major blow with the barbaric rape and murder of the three sisters, whose bodies were found in a well near Murmadi village of Bhandara district. What a shame that the post-mortem report stated that all the three girls had been sexually assaulted. For some days we’ve seen an agitation over a 16-year-old in Suryanelli who was raped by 42 men, and it is alleged that none other than PJ Kurien, the Rajya Sabha deputy chairman, was involved in this case. So then, what is the purpose of the commissions of inquiry and the laws that are being talked about, when even kids are not spared? If we are to set this right, in addition to hanging the culprits we will have to tackle the source of the problem. While the law takes its course, NGOs, the media, the film industry must play a sobering role, and common citizens should promote a neighbourhood watch to curb these incidents.
—Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee, Faridabad
Not good enough
Apropos of “Investigators zero in on a hotel, several hostels”, the indications from reports about the investigations so far are that the terror attack was in retaliation to the hanging of Afzal Guru. The warnings about this were given by Guru’s sympathisers and bosses in Pakistan. Yet, both the central and state governments could not prevent the attack. This shows the absence of a firm resolve. The failure of the UPA government has been severely criticised in both the houses of Parliament. Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde’s statement was disappointing and devoid of any concrete and meaningful plan of action. And one political leader asked the pertinent question whether the Centre’s responsibility ended with passing on an alert to states, or that it should assist the states also? The Hyderabad police commissioner tried his best to explain that his men did their best after receiving the alerts, but it wasn’t enough. This blame game has got to stop somewhere and we must put in extra efforts, at the Centre and in the states, to prove to the terrorists that we won’t be cowed down by such dastardly acts.
—Yash P Verma, Pune
Bloody birthday gift
Apropos of “In blood and flesh”, it is preposterous that a sculptor should use 11 litres of frozen blood to create a sculpture of the Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa. This is limitless fanaticism. We know of blood banks that are short of blood, unable to fulfil the needs of patients, whereas in this case the life-saving fluid is being wasted for a bizarre purpose. I wish the chief minister would refuse to endorse the sculpture and take appropriate steps to ensure that such acts are not repeated.
—AG Ramasubramanian, by email
The picture of the so-called sculpture was disgusting. This is no work of art, making a sculpture out of frozen human blood. I am sure chief minister J Jayalalithaa would be averse to such a bloody gift on her 65th birthday. It might have been a befitting gift for Adolf Hitler who was responsible for shedding the blood of millions of innocent people. This blood should have been used to save the lives of people in hospitals who need it most. The media should avoid publishing such pictures that might encourage others to indulge in such ghastly art.
—Satinder Sagu, Mumbai
Disgusting is an understatement. I do not know the reaction of chief minister J Jayalalithaa to such fanaticism. But if she does not feel embarrassed, I will be very disappointed.
—Anil Bagarka, Mumbai
Better safe than sorry
Apropos of “High-rises taller than 70m possible”, I wish to state that my concern for the stability of taller high-rises in seismic zones is based on an illuminating article on ‘Tilt’ by Dana Mackenzie, that appeared in the July 2005 edition of “Discover” magazine, published in the United States. The article reported the research findings of Chris Rorres, a mathematician at the University of Pennsylvania, that buildings constructed on floating, raft foundations, whose height was 1.8 times the base length, could overturn, while those with height almost equal to the base length would only suffer a little differential settlement. During my investigations of the Bhuj earthquake of January 26, 2001, I noticed several houses in Kutch that remained in a tilted position after the quake. The important point is that there were no high-rises in San Francisco when a strong quake hit the area in 1906 and this was also the case in Kangra in 1905 and in Assam in 1897, when earthquakes occurred in these regions, and so one does not know for certain how a very tall skyscraper will behave in such an event. Therefore, the need to reduce the height of tall structures, to be on the safe side.
—Dr V Subramanyan, Thane