Apropos of “BMC denies women right to pee”, the BMC’s argument that there is no space in the city to build toilets exclusively for women, and that money earmarked for this purpose is lying unspent, is unacceptable and shows the lack of concern of the civic body towards women. There is always a way if there is a will.
The corporation needs to realise that separate toilet blocks for women are there all over the world. When several hundred crores of rupees are spent every year on filling the potholes on the roads, one fails to understand why the civic authorities cannot find the space to build toilets for women. It is a major issue for women, particularly the elderly, as not being able to urinate can lead to serious ailments.
—V Subramanyan, Thane
Taken for a ride, again
Ha ha! The nation has once again been taken for a ride by the Italians. But one question that come up: Why didn’t the so-called wise men in the government and the courts ask the Italian government to send the ballot papers here so that these marines could vote? And is the fate of the Italian government so fragile that two votes are going to be so important? Evidently all this is a stage-managed drama and many things have been kept hidden.
—TR Ramaswami, Mumbai
Mere statements won’t do
The Italian government’s decision not to send back the two marines charged with the murder of two fishermen in Kerala is serious and deserves more than just a couple of statements here and there. It is a clear breach of trust at the highest level and disrespect to the highest judicial authority in India, but so far it appears that India has taken a soft approach on the issue. India should impose stringent penalties, like detaining the Italian ambassador in India and not allowing him to leave the country on any pretext and refusing to consider any visa requests, as a signal to other countries that dirty tricks will not be tolerated.
—Ramani Venkatraman,via email
Boycott the Italians
When the Italian marines asked to be allowed to celebrate Christmas with their families back home in Italy last December, we should have asked their families to come to Kerala.
When they required to cast their votes in the election, the Italian Embassy should have been told to send the ballot papers to the prison in Kerala where they were being held.
Instead, the judges bent the law to suit the accused. Now, India must act tough and expel the Italian ambassador forthwith, perhaps, even give marching orders to all Italians in India and boycott trade, economic and cultural ties with the country till the two marines are sent back to India. India should be prepared to snap ties with Italy for breach of trust, appeal to the International Court Of Justice and prosecute the Italian marines as absconding criminals.
—Lakshman Sundar, Navi Mumbai
Prisoners of insecurity
Apropos of “Tihar needs reforms”, the mysterious death of Ram Singh is a sad comment on the state of our prisons and it reflects the laxity of the security system in one of the country’s top prisons. The dereliction of duty and negligence within the prison premises are all too glaring. It is despicable that an undertrial cannot be protected inside our jails.
No wonder then that even the BBC news service commented that this is an “incredibly embarrassing incident for the Indian government”. While it is unclear why the authorities took two hours to inform the police about the death, it is also baffling how Ram Singh managed to execute his plan without the knowledge of his cell mates. Such incidents warrant the installation of CCTVs inside all jail cells. The comment that “it would seem that we are not safe on the streets, and now no longer are people safe even in prison” is a sorry description of the state of affairs in the country. We need reforms not only outside, but also inside our prisons.
—Prem K Menon, Mumbai
I am glad that the chief justice has commented openly, when several distinguished, so-called experts and rights activists have failed to speak up, or conveniently kept quiet.
The judge said that all those who commit crimes against women must be taken by the scruff of the neck and taught a lesson. Yes, it’s high time we gave up hypocrisy and started dealing with the real problem in order to find a permanent solution. Changing the mindset will do a lot of good for the country in the long run.
—Sunil Vaidya, by email
You are welcome
The chief minister of Delhi, Sheila Dikshit, has candidly admitted that her own daughter feels unsafe in Delhi. Coming from a mother, we can empathise with her emotional outburst. But coming from the chief executive of the state it is tantamount to complete abdication of responsibility. If the chief minister’s daughter feels unsafe in the city, what hope do the daughters of the aam aadmi have? The situation in Delhi being so hopeless, the government should seriously consider putting up a hoarding with the legend: “Welcome to Delhi – the rape capital of India”.
—Robert Castellino, Mumbai
Go slow on Aadhaar
Apropos of “Aadhaar to be mandatory for land deals”, it is distressing to read about the government’s insistence on this identification proof when a large number of citizens who have applied for it have not received the cards and an equally large number have yet to apply for it. There has been a rush for the Aadhaar card after it was announced that it is necessary to get subsidised LPG cylinders, provident fund, and payment under MNREGA.
The Aadhaar centres are unable to cope up with this rush and this has given rise to unfair practices for a service that is supposed to be free of charge. The government ought to go slow on making the Aadhar number compulsory, while ensuring adequate arrangement for the issue of the cards.
—Kishorekumar J Ved, by email
Leaning towards Maharashtra
The Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti has won the Belgaum municipal elections yet again. The party is pro-Maharashtra and despite the best efforts by the Karnataka government, organising Kannada celebrations in the region a few years ago and holding the winter session of the state legislature there, it seems that the people of Belgaum favour joining Maharashtra. The President of India should take note of this fact and hold a referendum in Belgaum towards reaching a decision on the issue.
– Abhishek Kamat, by email
The editor welcomes your views and feedback. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org putting ‘Letter to the editor’ in the subject line.
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