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Celebration of hate

Sir — As if the Gujarat incident of last year was not sickening enough, a plan of a different dimension altogether is being drawn up for an important day in October. The man who earned the epithet of a “butcher” after the Godhra carnage, Narendra Modi, has had the gall to invite Nelson Mandela to be the chief guest at the Gandhi Jayanti celebrations (“Modi Mandela mission raises heat & dust”, July 31). It is beyond doubt that good sense has long ceased to prevail on Modi. It is unlikely though that the irony of the whole idea has escaped him. He seems only too eager to further this irony by arranging for a lavish Navratri celebration — of course, for the benefit of the majority community only — to coincide with Mandela’s proposed visit. Not for a moment had we doubted Modi’s shrewdness and cunning. But just in case someone still thought Modi’s invitation to Mandela was an expiatory gesture, the Navratri idea has been put there to correct the naive soul.

Yours faithfully,
Rajan Dubey, Calcutta


Child’s play

Sir — The Supreme Court’s decision to bar those with more than two children from entering politics, if translated into action, will do India a lot of good (“Legal sanctity for 2-child bar”, July 31). The law should be extended to all sections of the public sector and eventually to all other organizations. In a country where awareness spreads painfully slowly, only a really strong initiative can be expected to bring some change. This law can be followed up by recommending a minimum educational qualification for the contestants. India will continue to be ruled by an increasing number of illiterate rustics and hardened criminals acting as people’s representatives if such legislation is not put into force.

Yours faithfully,
Milton Ghosh, Calcutta


Sir — It is unfortunate that the country’s top administration should be suppressing the freedom of the people of the country to choose the number of children they wish to beget. I do not agree with the logic which allows people with more than two children to lord in Parliament, yet make it mandatory for those contesting the elections for the local bodies to have not more than the stipulated number of children. The only answer to this anomaly lies in the fact that parliamentarians are seen to be superior to those administering the local bodies. In other words, some are seen to be more equal than the rest. This is a discriminatory measure and should be scrapped.

Yours faithfully,
Jang Bahadur Singh, Jamshedpur


Sir — The report, “Legal sanctity for 2-child bar”, shows that India has finally woken up to the stupendous problem posed by its population growth. It is ironical that political leaders of the country themselves disregard the problem. For what other reason could people like Laloo Prasad Yadav and Rabri Devi be allowed to continue in public office' The Supreme Court judgment imposing the two-child norm at the level of panchayats and zilla parishads is laudable. Now that the legal cornerstone has been created, the Centre should go ahead with its plan to amend the Representation of Peoples Act in order to apply the norm to the members of the legislatures and Parliament.

Yours faithfully,
Udita Sen, Calcutta


Sir — It is most unfortunate that Muslim clerics and some Christian organizations are opposing the apex court’s ruling for what, according to them, is interference into their personal laws. But it is time to chose between personal freedom and national interests. If China could forge ahead because it has upheld the one-child norm, why cannot India'

Yours faithfully,
Tapan Das Gupta, Calcutta


Sir — Much like the women’s reservation bill, any move to impose the 2-child norm nationally is bound to be defeated. For one, it will continue to be regarded as an interference in personal law of certain religious communities, no matter how much the apex court might try to reason that it is not. Second, it will be regarded, and perhaps rightly, as curtailing the individual’s freedom to choose the exact number of children he or she wishes to have. What the government should instead stress on is a basic educational qualification for entering the local and national bodies of governance. Family planning in India is fraught with a lot of dangers. The insistence on the 2-child norm may end up in the killing of more female foetuses since people will now be allowed to have only two children and one, in keeping with Indians’ “preferences”, will have to be male.

Yours faithfully,
S. Chatterjee, Calcutta


Where’s the money'

Sir — I have a savings bank account with the State Bank of India, Jadavpur University branch. On May 22, I tried to withdraw Rs 9,000 from SBI’s automatic teller machine at Gol Park, but failed, as the ATM seemed to have a problem.

A few days later, I found my passbook showing that I have withdrawn Rs 9,000 from the Gol Park ATM on May 22. I immediately lodged a complaint with the JU branch, and another a few days later. I was asked to inform about the incident to the Gol Park branch. I also sent the same information to the chief manager, SBI, Bengal circle. Till date, I have not got my money back, nor has any SBI got in touch with me. If this is how one of the oldest nationalized banks in India treats its customers, is it any surprise that more and more people and moving their accounts to privatized banks'

Yours faithfully,
Saibal Bishnu, Calcutta


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