The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Letters to Editor

Thinking cricket first

Sir — Whatever one has to say about England’s performance in the World Cup, one must give Nasser Hussain his due (“Hussain quits ODI captaincy”, March 5). No other captain in this World Cup has had to contend with so many off-the-field problems as Hussein. And his job was not made easier by the government and cricket board of his country, who stubbornly stuck to their decision not to play in Zimbabwe. Not even Hussain’s worst critics can say that he was trying to pass on the blame to the English cricket board when he said that the decision not to play in Zimbabwe had cost them dear. Hussain did not suddenly come up with this statement after England’s exit from the World Cup, he had been making this point well before the tournament began. As a batsman, Hussain may not come close to David Gower or Allan Lamb or even Michael Atherton, but here was a man who was committed to the game, and to English cricket in particular. England will not get a thinking captain like Nasser Hussain in a hurry.

Yours faithfully,
Apurba Roy Chowdhury, Calcutta

Scarred forever

Sir — One year after the pogrom in Gujarat, little has changed by way of making the state a safe and secure place for minorities. The reports in the series, “One year later”, bear ample testimony to that. From Javed and Sadeque in Naroda-Patia to Sehnazbano in Gulbarg Society, most of the victims have not been able to go back to their homes, and continue to live out a deathly existence.

Proof of discrimination is everywhere — even in the allocation of compensation to the family of the dead. While Hari Prasad Joshi, a survivor from the Sabarmati Express, got Rs 4 lakh, Zakia, the wife of the murdered Congress member of Parliament, Ehsan Jafri, got only Rs 50,000, and Javed, whose parents and siblings were butchered in Naroda-Patia, got Rs 1 lakh. Were the atrocities in the instances of ethnic cleansing in Nazi Germany or Bosnia any more brutal than what happened in Gujarat in the summer of 2002' Why then is the world community silent on Gujarat when it did not hesitate to jump into action in Germany and Bosnia' For how long can India afford to give a free rein to the likes of Narendra Modi and let their breed flourish'

Yours faithfully,
Sunanda Sarkhel, Calcutta

Sir — The media has been uncharacteristically lukewarm in their response to the first anniversary of the Gujarat carnage, in sharp contrast to their extensive coverage of the violence in towns and villages of the state exactly one year ago. Even the supercyclone in Orissa received better coverage a year after it killed thousands and displaced hundreds of families. Of course, there was no World Cup that year to wean people away from the miseries of their fellow countrymen.

Yours faithfully,
S.K. Guha, Patna

Sir — How can one say that merely a year after the tragedy in Gujarat, the people of Godhra have only the World Cup on their mind (“Carnage behind cricket”, Feb 28)' How can they concentrate on the game with the painful memories of last year still fresh in their minds' The fear, perhaps the only feeling which precedes sorrow in the minds of the people of Godhra, is evident from the fact that the Sabarmati Express entered Godhra station nearly empty at 2 pm on February 27 this year. This was a far cry from the same day a year ago, when the train had pulled into Godhra, choc-a-bloc with kar sevaks and other passengers. Equally telling was the fact that a number of passengers travel long distances just so they can circumvent Godhra. Will Godhra and Gujarat ever recover from the impact of last year'

Yours faithfully,
T.R. Anand, Calcutta

Sir — The net achievement of Narendra Modi’s government in Gujarat in the last one year is an election victory and the arrest of an innocent man, Maulana Hussein Umarji. No praise is enough for the public prosecutor of Gujarat for his brave decision to return the government’s brief, in which attempts had been made to frame Umarji under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. The only way Modi can save face now is by releasing Umarji honourably and by apologizing publicly for arresting him.

Yours faithfully,
Bipul Sarkar, Chakdaha

In the net at last

Sir — The murder of Rajendra Yadav, the key witness in the case against the Uttar Pradesh member of legislative assembly, Raghuraj Pratap Singh, alias Raja Bhaiyya, and his father, Udai Pratap Singh, has attracted much attention (“Raja Bhaiyya witness killed”, Feb 4). Though murders of key witnesses are common in the world of crime, Yadav’s case made headlines because he might have been able to provide information about an alleged plan to murder the UP chief minister, Mayavati, hatched by Udai Pratap Singh. More disgusting is the fact that Kalraj Mishra, the state unit chief of the Bharatiya Janata Party, had requested for a review of the case against Raja Bhaiyya, because he held political office. Why is it necessary to involve politics in the fair dealing of a case' An accurate and thorough investigation does not need to consider whether the accused is a political figure or a commoner.

Yours faithfully,
Debashree Dey Adhikari, Guwahati

Sir — Political leaders often show their true colours inadvertently, even after they assume important government positions. And Uttar Pradesh is one state which has no dearth of such leaders. Raghuraj Pratap Singh’s dubious dealings have come into the news many times in the past. He is infamous for election-time hooliganism, like capturing booths and kidnapping booth agents. He had misbehaved in the Parliament too. Why then did it take such a long time to arrest him under POTA'

It is hardly surprising that he has found sympathy from BJP leaders like Lalji Tandon and Kalraj Mishra. They probably used his services during their election campaigns. Central leaders may try to resolve the issue, but with several dissident members, this seems an uphill task.

Yours faithfully,
V.A. Gopala, Bangalore

Sir — There has been a lot of hue and cry after the arrest of Raja Bhaiyya and his father under POTA. But in this case at least, the use of POTA has been quite appropriate. Those criticizing Mayavati’s actions are merely placing themselves on the wrong side of the law by doing so. The people of Kunda have been terrorized for a long time by this father-son duo. Those who did not comply with their wishes suffered brutal, and often fatal, consequences.

Yours faithfully,
Govind Das Dujari, Calcutta

Sir — No matter how much Mayavati has been involved in the politics of opportunism in the past, she certainly deserves praise for booking a notorious criminal like Raja Bhaiyya under POTA. The same case has also helped to wrench off the noble masks of BJP leaders like Vinay Katiyar and Rajnath Singh, who have thrown all norms and ethics to the wind in their attempt to protect the dreaded criminal. Raja Bhaiyya and his father deserve to be hanged after a summary trial.

Yours faithfully,
N.S. Dua, Calcutta

Parting shot

Sir — Sahara India Pariwar’s meteoric rise is no doubt impressive. But not reason enough to advertise over four pages in newspapers last month. In the process, this campaign denied space to other important news stories. This is a major deficiency in the provision of consumer services.

Yours faithfully,
Phani Bhusan Saha, Balurghat

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