Editorial 1 / Poverty of morals
Editorial 2 / Games they play
Talks know no boundaries
Fifth Column / Trying hard to forget the past
Mani Talk / When it is time for the guest to leave
Letters to the editor

 
 
EDITORIAL 1 / POVERTY OF MORALS 
 
 
 
 
Power has a tendency to distort reason. This is clear from the reaction of Mr Nirupam Sen, the industry minister of West Bengal, to the cause célèbre involving Mr Subhas Chakraborty. Mr Sen is not only number two in the West Bengal cabinet, but is also known to be an influential member of the central committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). Under these circumstances, it will not be unfair to assume that what he says as a minister has the endorsement of his party. In a statement in Burdwan, he not only cleared Mr Chakraborty, but also suggested that it was a mistake to assume that Mr Chakraborty was involved in some way with the criminals who were arrested by the police from the Salt Lake stadium. He drew a parallel by saying that the higher education minister would not be held responsible for the misdeeds of students in a university. This only demonstrates that in his effort to protect a comrade and uphold the party position, Mr Sen has lost his capacity to think logically. The fact of the matter is that a group of anti-social elements were illegally occupying rooms in the hostel attached to the stadium. Another way of saying the same thing is that they had taken shelter there. Mr Chakraborty may not have been involved with the criminals but he is definitely accountable for the abuse of a hostel directly under him and one in which he has an office. This cannot be ignored. The parallel drawn by Mr Sen is absurd because the students of a university are not under the higher education minister. If students living in a hostel misused its premises, the warden of the hostel would indeed be held responsible. Even Mr Sen’s sophistry cannot deny this.

The problem with Mr Sen and the CPI(M)’s efforts at whitewashing Mr Chakraborty lies elsewhere. The CPI(M) is not willing to subscribe to any notion of moral responsibility. In this, it is no different from other political parties. Mr Chakraborty may not be directly implicated in the Salt Lake affair but as a minister, he is morally responsible for what goes on in the stadium. As a minister, Mr Chakraborty cannot shirk responsibility by feigning ignorance. It is his duty to know what is going on and to set up a system that cannot be used by criminals to their advantage. If his subordinates have let him down in this regard, he must accept responsibility for their failures because the buck, as the colloquialism goes, stops with him. If the CPI(M) is unwilling to accept this as a principle on which public affairs should be conducted, it has no business occupying the moral high ground it claims for itself. It has no justification for flaunting its own superiority over the other political parties. The CPI(M) operates in a moral vacuum and Mr Sen is as adept at dissembling as the next politician.

   

 
 
EDITORIAL 2 / GAMES THEY PLAY 
 
 
 
 
There is no doubt that there are certain principles on the basis of which the International Olympic Committee chooses a host city each year for the Olympic games. And no one would deny that by the most stringent of these, Beijing would be a tough contender to beat as host. Yet in 1993, when the IOC decided on the lucky city for the games of 2000, Beijing lost the bid to Sydney by two votes. Things have obviously changed, because this time it has won. A clean margin of 34 votes has determined that the Olympic games in 2008 will be held in the capital of the People’s Republic of China. From its inception in the ancient world, the Olympic games have always stood for something more than — or other than — pure tests of skill, strength and stamina. Physical excellence has represented an exaltation of the human spirit, the rhetorical expression of which would be articulated differently in different times. The symbolic associations have changed as the world’s dreams and aspirations have changed. Today, the games, with participation from all over the world, are associated with peace and goodwill. It was no surprise, therefore, that Beijing was not considered a favoured venue for 2000, since China’s violations of human rights were criticized by many organizations and many nations, particularly in the West. One of its greatest critics was the United States, and Beijing was not pleased with what it considered to be the US’s role the last time it lost its bid.

Nothing has substantially changed on the human rights front. The repressive hysteria directed towards members of the Falun Gong bears this out. The active intolerance of dissidence is as intimidating as ever. Yet there is obviously an overwhelming mandate in favour of Beijing, with the US perfectly cooperative. What has changed, of course, is China’s economic status. It is now one of the biggest markets in the world and the ideal destination for international trade. Multinational corporations are now only too eager to put a foot into China. Therefore the eagerness to grasp the hand of peace and goodwill Beijing is extending through the offer to host the Olympic games. From the point of view of China, this is no small triumph. Hosting the games would be a mark of international acceptance, something that is important to the People’s Republic. The political dimension of the IOC’s latest choice cannot be overlooked. This is born of the silent conflict between what the spirit of the games would require and economic reality. It seems worrying that human rights violations should suddenly go off the map. But perhaps by letting the world into its boundaries, not through trade alone, but play, China may grow sensitive to scrutiny with regard to human rights. If this is the way things turn out, the spirit of the Olympic games would have won.

   

 
 
TALKS KNOW NO BOUNDARIES 
 
 
BY J.N. DIXIT
 
 
Amidst the focus and hype on the Pervez Musharraf-Atal Bihari Vajpayee summit, public opinion and media have not taken sufficient notice of an important discussion between India and China during the last days of June, early July, which might ultimately lead to discussions between the two countries on the substance of the boundary question.

The reference is to the meeting of the expert level sub-group of the Sino-Indian joint working group on the boundary question. This has been entrusted with the responsibility of completing modalities and procedural details for the implementation of the provisions of the Sino-Indian agreement on the maintenance of peace and tranquillity on the line of actual control of 1993 and confidence-building measures which were finalized in another agreement during President Jiang Zemin’s visit to India in the winter of 1996.

Before one proceeds to assess the significance of the expert level meeting between officials of the joint working group, it is pertinent to recall more recent contacts in which this expert group meeting took place. It is generally known that Sino-Indian relations took a nosedive for a period of nearly a year between May-June 1998 and the late summer of 1999. The structure of goodwill and mutual exchanges built up between 1989 and 1996, characterized by exchanges of visits at the presidential and prime ministerial levels and by senior defence personnel, developed cracks because of India’s nuclear weaponization and the accompanying rationale which we gave for it, describing Chinese threat as an important factor.

The downward slide was brought under control in discussions held between the Indian foreign minister, Jaswant Singh, and Tang Jiaxuan between July 1999 and the middle of the year 2000. The meetings of the joint working group on the boundary question and its experts group meetings also went into a limbo during the period of controversies and distances mentioned above.

The joint working group revived meetings in 2000 and, on the basis of directives given by the two foreign ministers, the experts group entrusted with the task of removing differences of opinion about the delineation of the line of actual control re-commenced detailed discussions on the subject. A marginally important development was the Chinese side resiling from its initial reservations about exchanging maps on the alignment of the LAC with the Indian side along with details of the location of their posts on the LAC.

There are about nine pockets all along the LAC where there are differences of opinion between India and China about the actual location of the line. The positioning of security posts along the line and the implementation of confidence-building measures envisaged in the agreements of 1993 and 1996, depend on both sides being clear and in agreement about the actual delineation of the LAC on the ground. India had suggested the exchange of maps on the basis of which discussions could be held to remove the differences of opinion with geographical and cartographic precision.

The Chinese were reluctant to exchange maps in the mid-Nineties and till the beginning of year 2000 because the ambiguity about the LAC could have been conducive to their assuming jurisdictional control along the line perhaps to their incremental advantages, when compared to the position which they held since November, 1962. However, given their concerns about maintaining peace and stability in Tibet, and about resolving centrifugal pressures within China, they came to the conclusion that stabilizing the LAC would be in their interest in terms of not alienating India from the seriousness of the discussions envisaged in the 1993 agreement.

They first agreed to exchange maps step by step, sectorwise. Both India and China agreed that maps may be exchanged in the central sector of the line of control, namely, the Barahoti sector between Uttaranchal and Tibet. This important decision was implemented in the eighth meeting of the experts working group in the second half of year 2000. The ninth meeting of the experts group was held in New Delhi just recently in the last week of June.

The Chinese delegation was led by the secretary general of their Asia division, Sun Guoxiang. The Indian delegation was led by Vijay Gokhale, the director of the east Asia division of the ministry of external affairs. The two delegations utilized the opportunity to have their first detailed discussion on differences of opinion about the alignment and delineation of the LAC in the central sector of the line. Once the complex discussions are completed on the basis of clarifications given by both sides, an agreement would be reached on the precise alignment of LAC in this sector, after which details regarding location of posts, re-deployment of troops and so on, envisaged in the confidence-building measures, could be implanted.

In particular, agreement has been reached that maps would be exchanged between the two sides sectorwise over a period of time to cover the entire stretch of LAC. Discussions would be particularly difficult about the differences of opinion on the LAC in the western sector and particularly so in the eastern sector where the Chinese still hold on to their territorial claims regarding Arunachal Pradesh and so on. But what is important is that a beginning has been made to discuss this complex facet of the agreements of 1993 and 1996.

It is obvious that the Chinese side continues to have reluctance about exchanging maps because a precise and agreed delineation of the LAC will reduce the territorial and strategic advantages which they are interested in order to maintain the dominating position on the LAC. So the Indian side remains entrusted with the difficult and sensitive responsibility of ensuring an objective and precise delineation of the LAC.

The long-term plan about which India and China are in general agreement is that, first, an agreement should be reached about the precise alignment of the LAC. Second, all the confidence-building measures agreed upon during the last decade should be fully implemented. Third, this should result in the stabilization of the LAC on the basis of undisturbed peace and tranquillity on it. Fourth, once this is achieved the joint working group on the boundary question should commence discussions on substantive issues of delineating the Sino-Indian boundary avoiding the controversies and irrelevant factors which influenced the negotiating stances of both sides resulting in the failure of the boundary talks in 1961 and the consequent military conflict between the two countries.

The point to be kept in mind is that if the beginnings made in the eighth and ninth rounds of the experts group meetings progress smoothly it should lead to a substantive direction in Sino-Indian relations. While this positive development has taken place on a specific and technical issue, there also appears to be a general improvement in Sino-indian relations. The former prime minister and present chairman of the Chinese People’s Congress, Li Peng, visited India for three weeks with a business delegation in December last year. The vice-chairman of the Rajya Sabha, Najma Heptullah, has visited China during the first week of July leading a composite delegation of members of parliament and representatives of the chambers of commerce and industry.

She has had discussions not only with Li Peng but also with the prime minister, Zhu Rongji. Reports on the visit indicate that her delegation was treated with warmth and that it was given access by the Chinese, setting aside normal protocol stipulations. Other developments in the broader strategic and security environment are also contributing to the process of incremental normalization in Sino-Indian relations despite mutual concerns and doubts and some basic differences on some important issues.

Given the Bush administration’s highly assertive stance on strategic defence policies, China’s criticism of India’s nuclear weaponization is diminishing. China and India share concerns about cross-border terrorism and Islamic extremism which generate centrifugal forces within their respective state structures. There is a parallelism in Chinese and Indian policies on issues related to external stipulations regarding human rights and environment management. While remaining committed to their close relationship with Pakistan, China has moved back from totally supporting the Pakistani stance on Jammu and Kashmir.

Chinese intercalation with India in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and its security organization, the ASEAN Regional Forum, has been positive to the extent feasible, subject of course to the limitation of differences in security perceptions between India and China. There are general indications that the prime minister, Zhu Rongji, would visit India later this year, or early next year. It appears that India’s foreign policy after a gap of time has commenced a process of constructive engagement with two of its most important neighbours with whom relations have been tenuous and prickly. One hopes the process will continue in the interest of peace and development in our region.

The author is former foreign secretary of India

   

 
 
FIFTH COLUMN / TRYING HARD TO FORGET THE PAST 
 
 
BY ANURADHA KUMAR
 
 
Japan’s military past remains a thorny issue. Many of its Asian neighbours continue to protest against its apparent glossing over of wartime atrocities. South Korea for one has long been incensed at Japan’s refusal to alter its history textbooks, which Koreans feel should be “based on a genuine repentance of the past and a humble attitude to learn from its lesson”.

Japan recently approved revisions to eight middle-school history books, but these, South Korea insists, continue to overlook crimes committed by Japanese forces during its occupation of the Korean peninsula from 1910 to 1945. Last month, both China and South Korea demanded that Japan revise passages in the books which fail to mention that 100,000 Asian women were made into “comfort women” for the Japanese soldiers during World War II. Seoul has also objected to Japan’s justification of the occupation on grounds of stability.

Japan claims that one of the books had been revised after its education ministry agreed to cut a section that played down the Nanjing massacre of1937 in which China says as many as 300,000 were killed. Yet, most Japanese officials and historians deny that there was a massacre on such a scale. And in any case, they argue, these things happen in times of war.

Japan’s colonial domination of Korea from 1910 was brutal and aimed at stamping out the Korean identity. Everyone was forced to learn Japanese and adopt Japanese names; many Koreans worked as slaves. More appalling were the “comfort women”, forced into prostitution to serve Japanese soldiers.

Whose comfort?

In the revised text, a passage that had earlier defined Japan’s annexation of Korea as “legal”, omitted the word and added a sentence saying that force was used. The Japanese government however says that the texts should not be held to represent the government views, for Japan has already apologized to Asian countries six years ago.

A Japanese left-wing professor, Ienaga Saburo, spent many years fighting the Japanese government in courts of law, if only with limited success, for not allowing the inclusion of true accounts of Japanese war atrocities in school textbooks. But even the Japanese people oppose the idea. A Japanese court in Hiroshima also overturned the first, and so far the only, compensation award ever made to World War II sex slaves, prompting outrage in South Korea. The presiding judge held that abducting the women to use them as forced labourers and sex slaves was not a serious constitutional violation.

Japan’s stubbornness in refusing to make amends to its Asian neighbours is in stark contrast to its attitude towards Western nations. In 1998, the then prime minister, Ryutaro Hashimoto, officially apologized in the West for his country’s actions during World War II.

Please some

Japan had also announced three initiatives to promote reconciliation at a cost of £800,000 to the Japanese government. These include joint pilgrimages by British and Japanese war veterans to old battlefields and cemeteries, scholarships for the grandchildren of British prisoners of war and a doubling of the number of visits to Japan by former prisoners of war and their grandchildren.

There remains a deep-seated resentment against Japan in the Korean national consciousness. Successive governments in Seoul have kept this alive by banning Japanese music and other artistic events. As a result of the textbook dispute, South Korea cancelled a joint exercise with Japan in June. The cooling of relations may also worry football fans, as the two countries will jointly host the World Cup soccer finals together next year. Even the naming of the event sparked off a major row with Japan, when FIFA decided it would be called World Cup Korea-Japan and not the other way round.

Like most neighbours, Japan and Korea have little choice but to try to get on with each other. The deciding factor could be the huge amount of trade between the two countries. The South Korean electronic industry is heavily dependent on technology and parts imported from Japan. But there are still innovative ways of retaliation. South Korean hackers, mainly university students, caused a Japanese education ministry website to crash this month. The protesters also targeted four other websites, including the publishers of the textbooks and Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

   

 
 
MANI TALK / WHEN IT IS TIME FOR THE GUEST TO LEAVE 
 
 
BY MANI SHANKAR AIYAR
 
 
After seeing off President Pervez Musharraf, pretending to have solved the problems of India and Pakistan, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the home minister, L.K. Advani, will have to return to the horrendous problems of New Delhi’s relationship with Chennai and Imphal that they have so needlessly created.

In Chennai, the Central government has dismissed a governor who would not consult it. In Imphal, it has not consulted the governor it had itself appointed. And failed to do so in respect of the single most important issue confronting the state: the territorial integrity of Manipur. In consequence, Manipur has gone up in flames.

In Chennai, the Central government has lathered itself into a rage over the arrest of former chief minister, M. Karunanidhi and his cohorts. In Imphal, the police have shot dead 14 innocent protestors and arrested countless thousands. In Chennai, the police venture out at night to arrest criminals accused of mulcting the state of crores. In Imphal, the police are rewarded for imposing a curfew every night at dusk so that anyone who ventures out after nightfall is instantly arrested or even shot.

In Chennai, the Central government berates the director-general of police for having detained about 50 persons per block for a mere 24 hours to maintain law and order during a Delhi-sponsored agitation. In Imphal, the DGP is no more than mildly reprimanded when his security detail runs helter-skelter from a convoy of no less than 46 trucks carrying essential supplies for the security services and the civil population when challenged on a national highway by militants to whom an extension of a four-year old ceasefire has been granted “without territorial limits”.

In Chennai, the Central government — or, more accurately, the parties who constitute that government, the notorious National Democratic Alliance — instigate a state-wide bandh when they find the populace calm and unmoved in the face of the drama scripted for his family TV channel by Honorary Doctor Great Artiste Muthuvel Karunanidhi. In Imphal, the police stand idly by as the legislative assembly hall is reduced to cinders, the chief minister’s official residence is burnt to ashes, the offices of all political parties are torched, and the Raj Bhavan itself besieged.

In Chennai, the Tamil electorate is derided for awarding 196 of 234 seats to the chief minister of their choice. In Imphal, the NDA browbeats, bullies, bribes and buys members of the legislative assembly to create a Samata Party where no Samata MLA was elected, then goes on to create a Bharatiya Janata Party where there was no BJP MLA elected, and then sets the bogus Samata against the bogus BJP, which brings crashing down the entire edifice of democratic governance in the state. In Chennai, judicial remand for public persons accused of defalcating public funds leads to an outraged “warning” from the Central government. In Imphal, the people deliver an outraged warning against the Central government for engineering defections and counter-defections which cast to the winds the expressed will of the people.

In Chennai, the Central government accuses the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam of stoking disaffection against the principal opposition party. In Imphal, the same government has stoked the most vicious communal hatred since independence. Meitei has been pitted against Naga, Naga against Kuki. Not so much Jammu and Kashmir as Manipur is the real jewel in the crown of our secularism. When it was constituted as a state 30 years ago, Manipur freely chose a Muslim, Mohammed Alimuddin, as its chief minister. And although the Meiteis are in an overwhelming majority among the ethnic groups of the state, in the last 30 years, the state has elected Meitei chief ministers for less than a decade. Through the remaining two decades, Manipur has democratically chosen chief ministers from its minuscule Tanghkul Naga community — Rishang Keishing five times and Y. Shaizo thrice. Today, the ethnic communities of the state are baring their teeth at each other as never before.

The cause is not Isak and Muivah of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland. The cause is Vajpayee and Advani of the BJP. The BJP came to office claiming that it was dedicated to federalism and harmonious Centre-state relations. Emblazoned on their saffron bhagwa dhwaj were the noble words, “Sarkaria commission”. Yet, never before have Centre-state relations been subjected to the strains they have had to endure in the last three years. It began with Uttar Pradesh and moved to Bihar when the good people of that state decided they preferred the antics of the Rashtriya Janata Dal to the devilry of the BJP (and its partner in sin, the Samata Party of Jaya Jaitly and George Fernandes, ugh!). It has now reached the high Himalayas in Jammu and Kashmir and is both lapping the shores of the Coromandel coast and abutting on the boundaries of Myanmar.

The shenanigans in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar were bad enough but at least they cannot secede. They are the heartland — jis desh mein Ganga behti hai. The same cannot be said of the periphery. In Jammu and Kashmir, the insensitive handling of the opening to the Hurriyat provoked Farooq Abdullah to ram a resolution through his state assembly which, in effect, detached Jammu and Kashmir from five decades of patient integration with the Union of India. In Tamil Nadu, the democratic desires of the people are being scorned. New Delhi under the NDA displays no feeling for history: that the freedom movement in the country was virtually co-terminus with the secessionist movement in Tamil Nadu, that the most impassioned supporter of Mohammad Ali Jinnah canvassing the cause of Pakistan was Periyar E.V. Ramaswami Naicker canvassing the cause of Dravidastan. And this when the siren call of eelam wafts across the Palk Straits.

And now in the Northeast, the most sensitive of sensitive regions of India, lunacy has been let loose by an uninformed, unintelligent and uncaring Central government which knows nothing of Bharatvarsha beyond the confines of Aryavarta. If the chicken’s neck of the Siliguri corridor is snipped, the Northeast becomes more inaccessible than East Pakistan was to Yahya Khan. We can keep the Northeast in India only by emotionally integrating the people there with the mainstream. That means according the utmost respect to the people and their elected representatives. The Vajpa- yee-Advani duo just did not recognize the implications for Manipur’s secularism and integrity of K. Padmanabhiah’s defe- ctive English (which conceded the words “without territorial limits” when a strict construction of the language shows that this means the government of India has no territorial limits!)

What happened — what is happening — in Manipur is not a political demonstration, it is the mass insurrection of an outraged people. Vajpayee’s offer to “review” the June 14 blunder has already been rejected; their demand is “withdrawal”, the rescinding of the Bangkok agreement. Assam was shut down day before yesterday on the same demand. Nagaland crouches in anger and apprehension.

In these circumstances, there can be no higher patriotic duty than ridding this country of the Laurel and Hardy team who are rushing us headlong to national destruction. I would rather Pervez Musharraf stay and Vajpyee-Advani depart.

   

 
 
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 
 
 
 
 

Law makers and benders

Sir — It seems our Indian politicians are not the only ones who avoid the law while also bending it according to their will. The disappearance of Chandra Ann Levy, an American intern, reminds us of the legal immunity of politicians the world over, (“Police look for intern remains”, July 14). The Democratic representative, Gary Condit, is suspected of having a hand in her disappearance and though questioned as the prime suspect, he is walking around scot-free. Various other politicians like the Kennedys and Bill Clinton have had their various cases, from murder to real estate scandals, closed and covered up in a couple of weeks after they hit the newspapers. Public memory is short and public opinion can obviously be swayed and at worst ignored if it doesn’t appeal to politicians. Our Indian politicians should take comfort in the fact that they are not alone in breaking the law and escaping unscathed, and much as in other countries, the public will also carry on turning a blind eye to our politician’s misdemeanours.

Yours faithfully,
Shebanti Majumdar, Calcutta

The woe of plenty

Sir — The pressing need to reduce the ever-increasing stockpile of foodgrain in the Food Corporation of India’s godowns seems to have been finally addressed (“Centre nibbles at food mountain”, July 11). The government, left with growing food stocks and very few buyers, slashed by 30 per cent the price of wheat and rice sold through the public distribution system to people above the poverty line.

For a long time, higher prices, dictated by budgetary compulsions, prevented the proper utilization of these stocks. It is good that the government has now recognized the problem to be as much its own as the farmers’. This measure, according to the parliamentary affairs minister, Pramod Mahajan, is only meant to clear the backlog and would be operative till March 2002 or till the stocks run out.

This points to the serious economic thinking that underlies the move. Once the stocks, expected to reach 80 million tons in the current fiscal year, are exhausted, the support scheme will be taken off. After that, economic logic suggests, the minimum price will be at a viable level for the farmer. Hopefully, in future, prices with minimum support under the public distribution scheme will bring about an equilibrium in consumer demand and the available supply, and there will be room for stocks to be utilized as and when needed. The temporary subsidy plan appears to be on target.

Officially, the intention of this move is to improve the FCI’s efficiency. It will now have more avenues for increasing its sales turnover. Hopefully, the cumulative effect of these moves will be a friction-free PDS.

Yours faithfully,
D. Krishna, Bhubaneswar

Sir — The government’s decision to reduce the price of rice and wheat has come very late. This only exposes the inertia of the governmental machinery and its failure to take a decision at the right time. While stocks had been at 48 million tons, they now stand at more than 60 million tons, 2.5 times the required buffer stock level. The main trouble is that dynamism is lacking at the top echelons of the government and the decision-making system is convoluted and time-consuming. More than anything else, the decision-making process needs to be given some more thought.

Yours faithfully,
C.R. Bhattacharjee, Calcutta

Unfounded trust

Sir — Ever since its inception, the US-64 scheme has been extremely popular. It has been a reliable source of income for small investors, retired people and those who did not understand the share market. In a way, the mutual market sector, which is growing rapidly, has to be thankful to this scheme for inducting a large number of people into it. But lack of foresight and complete mismanagement have brought the scheme to its current status. The panic reaction of the United Trust of India led to greater panic among small investors. In spite of the government bail-out, this will cause a loss of faith in all such schemes.

Yours faithfully,
Dhrubajyoti Ray, Mankundu

Sir —I am a retired Coal India executive and had invested all my provident fund and gratuity money in the US-64 scheme with the hope of getting steady returns. But, the scheme has turned out to be one of the greatest scandals in Indian history. Without the government bail-out, at least 35 million depositors could have lost deposits because of the corrupt and inefficient UTI fund managers. A debate must take place in Parliament to look into the matter. The list of all the large business houses which withdrew over Rs 5,000 crore in April and May must be made public and the link between UTI officials and these corporate houses be probed.

Your faithfully,
A.S. Mehta, Calcutta

Sir — The chairman and senior officers of UTI are fully responsible for the mismanagement of the UTI funds.The US-64 fiasco has cast a long shadow over the government and financial institutions like UTI. It is not enough for the government to bail the UTI out, it must announce steps to restore the confidence of the public in government controlled financial institutions .

Yours faithfully,
R.N. Lakhotia, New Delhi

Riding high

Sir — A friend and I were riding my bike down VIP road at around midnight. Suddenly, a sergeant stopped us as we were not wearing our helmets, though we were carrying them. He asked for my registration papers and said that my bike would be impounded. Wanting to avoid the trouble, I offered him Rs 50 and requested him not to book my bike. Pocketing the Rs 50 with no compunction, he started walking off. Meanwhile, a constable appeared and upon seeing me ready to ride off, asked me to wear my helmet. The sergeant piped up that we’d paid him and therefore didn’t need to. The incident showed me how easy it is to get around rules and regulations as long as you’re willing to dip into your pocket.

Yours faithfully,
Jagat Jyoti Barua, Calcutta

Letters to the editor should be sent to:

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