Chariot runs amok
Sir — The Bharatiya Janata Party has always projected itself as a party concerned about infiltration. But whenever an important cause is taken up by a political party, it invariably becomes a confused muddle of ideas, issues and actions. The BJP’s antics in Assam are no exception. It had to decide upon taking out a rathyatra across the state to mobilize support for its campaign against the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act (“Saffron rath for war on IMDT”, March 25). By doing so, it has unwittingly made apparent both its half-hearted interest in the issue as well as its inability to view the matter in a holistic way. Had the saffronites been sincere and unbiased, they would have acknowledged that such an act does serve an important purpose of protecting minorities from discrimination in times of detecting and deporting illegal migrants, as the United Minority Front pointed out. The party which attacks all others as pseudo-secular has begun to fit the bill rather well.
R.K. Dubey, Calcutta
Sir — The assassination of the former Hizbul Mujahedin chief, Abdul Majid Dar, by militants is an indication that all is not well in the Kashmir Valley (“Hizb truce architect killed in strike on car”, March 24). Coming close on the heels of the recent spate of attacks on the police and security forces, it puts serious doubts against the effectiveness of Mufti Mohammed Sayeed’s government in dealing with insurgents. Kashmiris themselves have expressed reservations about their security and safety. The expectation that a change of government would lead to restoration of peace has been belied.
What is more disturbing is the report that the National Conference is proposing to revert to its old identity of a plebiscite front, advocated by Sheikh Abdullah. This is bound to further compound the already complicated problem in the valley. Also, such a move will elicit great support from Pakistan, which is awaiting any opportunity to destabilize the state.
S. Ram, Calcutta
Sir — It may be rightly assumed that the recent killing of Kashmiri Pandits has reduced Pandit population in the valley and will provoke an exodus among the rest (“Killers in uniform massacre Pundits”, March 25). It seems that Islamic terrorists have begun planning an ethnic cleansing of the Hindus in Kashmir. The media has for a long time been highlighting the plight of persecuted minority communities in Kashmir and elsewhere. The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government at the Centre must answer why, in spite of being quite blatantly pro-Hindu, it failed to give adequate protection to a group of Hindus in the Kashmir valley.
Udita Agrawal, New Delhi
Sir — The recent gunning down of 24 innocent Hindus outside their homes in Kashmir claimed the lives of 11 women and two very young girls, among others. This makes it a more heinous crime than most. Pakistan has denied being involved in it, but it has done so in the past too which have been proved to be lies. The incident is a clear signal of how wrong the United States of America was in lifting several sanctions earlier imposed on Pakistan. India has to take up the matter strongly in the United Nations and start garnering support from sympathetic countries to declare Pakistan as a terrorist state, no matter how indifferent the US chooses to be on this issue.
R. Sekar, Angul
Sir — The Congress’s support to the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, must be withdrawn immediately. Sayeed has failed to protect innocent people despite his much proclaimed “healing touch” policy. Whenever there is a possibility of Kashmiri Hindu refugees returning to the valley, the militants target their lot ruthlessly. Sayeed is clearly taking a soft stand against the terrorists. This will be corroborated by the decisions he had taken as the Union home minister in V.P. Singh’s cabinet when his daughter was abducted. Hindus have lost confidence in his policy. Probably the only therapy left to save the Hindus and prevent the state machinery from complete breakdown is to impose president’s rule in the state.
V.A. Gopala, Bangalore
Sir — It is quite possible that the gunning down of Kashmiri Pandits signals the militants’ underlying objective to eliminate all Hindus from the state and claim it as an Islamic state. How they acquired army uniforms so easily is still not clear. The government must ensure better surveillance in the state.
B.S. Ganesh, Bangalore
Sir — The continuing failure of the security forces in tackling terrorists in Kashmir is appalling. It is all too easy to condemn terrorist activities, make promises, call emergency meetings and suspend people in charge, but containing the problem is turning out to be very difficult. The US secretary of state, Colin Powell, and the British foreign secretary, Jack Straw, have been quick to condemn the massacres. Powell has even promised to speak to Pakistan about cross-border terrorism. But given the US’s reluctance to confront Pakistan on such matters, such statements sound hollow.
Purnima Vasudeva, Calcutta
Sir —Reading Ruchir Joshi’s “Punching at icons” (Feb 23) reminded me of a hall of mirrors, where the writer endlessly sees his own reflections (including a somewhat optimistic vision of himself as a Rushdie lookalike). The format seemed to be of a long conference call among the writer, Rukun Advani and the hapless readers, who are forced to be part of it. I felt a terrible urge to hang up.
Anita Sen, Calcutta