Sir — The cold-blooded murders of Daniel Pearl and then Zahra Kazemi show how susceptible mediapersons are in hostile territory (“Scribe was murdered: Iran”, July 31). While Pearl was in dangerous distance of cracking al Qaida network in Afghanistan, Kazemi also probably knew too much about Iran’s secret service. Both Pearl and Kazemi had risked their lives to place the truth before the world. World bodies should evolve some kind of a stricture on governments that make them responsible for the lives of media people within their territory.
K. Sarkar, Calcutta
Sir — “Mumbai bleeds in bus blast replay” (July 29) shows that the nightmare in Mumbai continues. The Ghatkopar blast was the fifth bomb to go off in eight months. Quite predictably, the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party called a bandh in protest. How many times do politicians have to be told that bandhs are self-defeating' For people like Hussain Kabadiwala, the scrap dealer in Kandivili, forced to join the bandh, it was a day’s earning lost (“Mumbai clears barriers in bandh”, July 31).
Besides, the bandh call by Hindu parties has added a communal colour to a grief that is shared by the people of the city. Although Muslims, by participating, have negated the polarization of sympathy, there is no doubt that the bandh was forced on the people of the city, and the Muslims in particular.
Govind Das Dujari, Calcutta
Sir — It was heartening news that Muslims in Mumbai had thrown their full weight behind the bandh call. This benevolent act will go a long way to smoothen communal relations.
A.K. Ghosh, Calcutta
Sir — Muslim support for the bandh call shows they have no sympathy with terrorists. The bandh called by the Shiv Sena and the BJP has been a slap on the face of the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party government, which has proved incapable of stemming the violence in the state. The bomb menace has served to unite Hindus and Muslims in the communally sensitive city. Will the minorities in other parts of India please emulate their brethren in Mumbai'
T.R. Anand, Calcutta
Sir — J.M. Lyngdoh deserved the Magsaysay award for conducting successful elections in Gujarat and Kashmir. Following in the footsteps of his illustrious predecessors, Lyngdoh has demonstrated that the Election Commission is truly an autonomous body. It would further help if, like the central vigilance commissioner, the election commissioners were appointed with the consent of the opposition leader.
Unlike the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan awards, the Magsaysay award is less susceptible to lobbying. Which is why unknown crusaders like Shantha Singh get the award. Currently, candidates are nominated by people whose names are kept confidentional. However, these nominators name only those known to them. Many unknown but deserving candidates are thus left out. Selection of awardees can be made more broad-based if the foundation starts inviting nominations. The names can be forwarded to nominators after preliminary scrutiny.
S.C. Agrawal, Delhi
Sir — Usually, the Northeast makes the headlines for unsavoury reasons — for incidents of ethnic cleansing and brutal pogroms, for politicians who are adept at prostituting themselves, for parleys between the governments and terrorist organizations. It is, therefore, a matter of great pride for the people of the region, particularly for Shillongites, that J.M. Lyngdoh has got the recognition he richly deserves. Lyngdoh is known to be incorruptible and as a man who stands by his convictions. If only political leaders and officials in the Northeast could emulate him, problems such as insurgency might not have arisen at all.
Robin S. Ngangom, Shillong