More words, no work
Sir — Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s direction to the state police to ensure that “innocents are not harassed”, is all very well, but the question is whether it will have any effect on the West Bengal police which is habituated to taking the easy way out — that is, subjecting undertrials to the third degree — instead of painstakingly conducting an investigation (“Buddha brake on arrests ‘at random’”, Oct 8). Poor salaries, appalling work conditions and political pressure are important factors, but they do not explain away the absolute inefficiency and the callousness which have led to West Bengal’s having the worst human rights record in India. The police in other states have similar complaints, but that does not come in the way of their showing some results. Look at how the Mumbai police has systematically gone after the D-company and has considerably lessened its influence over the island city. Mere statements from Bhattacharjee will not help the state police improve.
Mridula Bhadra, Calcutta
The Pakistan connection
Sir — From the letter found on the body of the Pakistan-based fidayeen who laid seige on the Swaminarayan temple on September 24 it is apparent that the attack was in retaliation of Muslims killed in the communal riots engineered by Hindutva parties in Gujarat earlier this year (“Words of revenge”, Sept 26). While it is true that the Akshardham attack was a part of Pakistan’s strategy to spread terror in India, it is also a fact that the Gujarat riots have compromised the secular fabric of the country. The actions of the Hindutva brigade have greatly harmed the country and will do even more damage unless peace-loving citizens can unite against it. After all, India’s destiny cannot be left in the hands of these self-styled champions of Hinduism.
Sanmay Ganguly, Calcutta
Sir — It is now almost a habit with Indian leaders to blame Pakistan for every terrorist attack on Indian soil. True to type, the deputy prime minister, L.K. Advani, was quick to blame the Inter-Services Intelligence after the attack on Akshardham. But, in the light of the provocative statements made recently by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad president, Ashok Singhal, about how the Gujarat riots had been a successful experiment, one cannot help a niggling sense of unease about the timing of the attack.
Ironically, it is the same Narendra Modi who, having attained infamy during the gaurav yatra for his communally-charged speeches targeting the minority community, has now appealed for peace.
B.N. Patel, Calcutta
Sir — It is not surprising that the Pakistan president, Pervez Musharraf, has taken advantage of the communal disharmony in India, especially the Gujarat riots, to attack India before the international community (“Atal matches Pervez blast for blast”, Sept 14). People like Narendra Modi, Praveen Togadia and Ashok Singhal inadvertently play into Musharraf’s hands every time they make provocative statements against Muslims. Any incident involving violence against Muslims in India is widely publicized in Pakistan and naturally angers Muslims in that country.
It is time Modi, Togadia and Singhal accept this and try to build bridges with the Muslim community. Any conciliatory gesture on their part would undoubtedly be reciprocated by Muslim leaders. The Centre too must also do all it can to reassure Muslims of their safety in India. Musharraf would then be deprived of the opportunity to make capital of the issue either in his own country or internationally.
Govind Das Dujari, Calcutta
Sir — Mani Shankar Aiyar’s comparison of George W. Bush and Adolf Hitler is wrong-headed (“George, Adolf and Benito”, Sept 24). About 20 Americans have died in Afghanistan contrary to the author’s contention that not a single American died in the war against al Qaida. Also, 10,000 Afghans did not die in the American bombing. Most Afghans support the United States of America for ridding them of the taliban. America has spent more money than any other nation in developmental projects in Afghanistan. Saddam Hussein, on the other hand, has flouted many United Nations resolutions during the past decade. And these are UN resolutions, and not US resolutions. But no one except the US has thought of doing anything to put Hussein in his place.
Sovereignty does not mean a person can do what he feels like in his country, stifling internal opposition in the process. Strangely, nobody likens Hussein to Hitler. The world has the responsibility to interfere in this case and set things right. It seems US-bashing, particularly Bush-bashing, is becoming the favourite pastime with intellectuals in India and other countries who do not care to delve into the real issues.
Indradeep Ghosh, San Jose, US
Sir — Mani Shankar Aiyar has pointed out the similarities between George W. Bush, Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini at just the right time. Taking advantage of the present unipolar power structure in the world, the US president, Bush, is bent upon ousting from power all those who refuse to toe the American line. The ominous silence, and even tacit approval, of the other powerful nations of the world with regard to Bush’s plans to attack Iraq reminds one of the events that preceded World War II.
Herta Daeubler Gmelin, the German minister for justice, may have lost her ministerial berth for having seen a likeness of Hitler in Bush, but she must be commended for her courage and forthrightness.
Rita Mazumdar, Burdwan