Mumbai becoming another N Korea?
I read the report, “Face ‘n’ book guilty cops, Katju tells CM”, and could not help wondering whether Mumbai has become another North Korea, where people were forced to mourn the death of their leader and the military kept an eye on those who would not mourn and beat their chests? With this incident, we have joined the group of banana republics. One can destroy public property and there is no problem. But express your opinion and you are in deep trouble. It seems that we need the media to protect the freedom of expression and a person no less than Judge Katju to take up the cause if the matter is to be heard. And why did the magistrate not dismiss the case and free the girls straight away instead of making them apply for bail? The judiciary should protect ordinary citizens from police high-handedness. The powers of the police must be curtailed and citizens empowered to defend themselves in such instances. Also, section 66(A) of the Information Technology Act, 2008 that is vague must be amended. We must support the two brave girls in every possible way.
—Deendayal M Lulla, by email
The police who are supposed to protect life and property failed to prevent the attack on the orthopaedic hospital, but boasted about the arrest of innocent girls, who were just expressing their views about a situation. The Shiv Sena must make good the damage caused by its workers.
—Dr Prakash, Bangalore
Press Council of India Chief, Former Supreme Court judge and Press Council of India chairman Markandey Katju deserves gratitude for taking up the matter of the arrest of the two young women over a comment on Facebook. His warning to the chief minister that he could have to face legal consequences if he did not take action against the erring policemen is exemplary. It is an irony that the police took prompt action against the women for their innocuous comments, but did not act against the hooligans who vandalized the orthopaedic hospital in revenge for the comments. This case is a litmust test on where the government stands on the freedom of speech. If the investigations prove that those who vandalized the hospital were indeed Shiv sainiks, the party must be made to pay for the damages. Also, the magistrate who committed the women to 14 days judicial custody without applying his mind should be relieved of his responsibilities.
—VM Swaraj, Chennai
Apropos of “Arrest of protesting girls illegal, hints Sibal”, the lacuna in section 66(A) of the Information Technology Act, 2008 that is vague on the interpretation of decency and morality must be corrected immediately. This is the second case after the episode involving the son of P Chidambaram, and it is the duty of Kapil Sibal, who is the minister for information technology and a veteran lawyer himself, to correct this. It will not be long before some unscrupulous law enforcer (mis)interprets the provisions in the act to include letters sent to newspapers by email within the ambit of section 66(A) (any electronic mail or electronic mail message for the purpose of causing annoyance or inconvenience). It may become necessary for letter writers to protect themselves with anticipatory bail before sending their messages.
—Haridasan Mathilakath, Navi Mumbai
Memorial for Bal Thackeray
The clamour for a memorial in honour of the late Shiv Sena chief at Shivaji Park, does not appear to be well thought out. For one thing, the park already has a memorial to Shivaji, and the park is already named after the Maratha warrior. Instead, it would befit the memory of Bal Thackeray to have another special park-cum-recreation centre in some other part of the city where it is more required. Also, we Indians must rid ourselves of the tendency to revere the honoured dead in brick and mortar. Rather,we could and should remember them by having projects like housing, healthcare, education which will benefit the poor and needy, and help address the concerns that these leaders dealt with in their life-time. In doing so, the Shiv Sena, which has lost its charismatic founder, mentor and father-figure, will have taken the first step towards re-inventing itself as an inclusive party, that is accepted by many more people.
—Bernie Tellis, Mumbai
Apropos of “Thackeray’s memorial a hot potato for Cong-NCP”, the demand for the installation of a statue of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray at Shivaji Park comes at a time when the open space in Mumbai is fast shrinking. In this specific case, the Shivaji Park area is also a heritage site and a silence zone. Bal Thackeray himself would not have been in favour of this, for he used to criticise Uttar Pradesh as a land of statues and for wastage of funds that could have been better utilised. Finally, the statue of Shivaji at the park was revered by Bal Thackeray and erecting another statue would be superfluous.
—Deepak Chikramane, Mumbai
Not easy for Uddhav
With the passing away of Bal Thackeray, Uddhav Thackeray faces an enormous challenge to carry on the legacy of the mercurial leader. It will not be easy, as he does not possess the charisma of his father and may find it difficult to control defections to the MNS, headed by cousin Raj, who is perceived to have a flair for oratory and is more adept in tactics. Without Bal Thackeray, even the saffron alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party will suffer a setback. This will help the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party recover some of the lost ground. Uddhav will have to get back to the drawing board soon, to rework his strategy for the Shiv Sena.
—Deepak A, by email