Still caught in a jam
Sir — Wasn’t Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee being a tad too optimistic in thinking that the “cholbe na” culture of his state could be changed to a “cholbe” culture (“Cholbe na, Cholbe na follow CM round”, Sept 27)' He cannot but know that the culture into which his own comrades had initiated the people of the state some decades ago cannot be wished away overnight. One would love to ask Buddhadebbabu what had prevented him to act earlier. Had it not been for the four rallies that hit the streets of Calcutta disrupting the programme of the businessmen who had come to attend the Confederation of Indian Industry meet, would Bhattacharjee really have bothered' And even if peace and discipline were to return to the overcrowded city of Calcutta, how long would they stay' How long will it be before another group of high-flying businessmen or dignitaries get stuck in a long and winding rally which would be addressed by none other than Bhattacharjee himself'
S. Ranganathan, Calcutta
More of the same thing
Sir — In making the stance of the Indian government vis-a-vis Pakistan known before a global platform, the prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, has deftly placed the ball in Pervez Musharraf’s court, leaving him in a dilemma. Although Musharraf called Kashmir the “most dangerous dispute in the world”, he has more problems on his plate than he would like to admit (“Pervez rings old alarm”, Sept 24). First, the Pakistani president is close to losing his grip on the Islamic fundamentalist forces in the country. Second, he cannot afford to be in the bad books of the United States of America.
The Indian think-tank seems to have done its homework efficiently. By incorporating the term, “all democracies”, it has forced Islamabad to join the fight against terrorism. Musharraf cannot afford to do anything that would give New Delhi a chance to point a finger at Pakistan and tell the world, the US in particular, that its intentions are not honourable.
Bijoy Ranjan Dey, Tinsukia
Sir — Has the Indian prime minister finally got the hang of the real motives behind every American gesture towards India and Pakistan (“Bush border rap on Musharraf”, Sept 25)' George W. Bush has always claimed to be “trying” to work a truce between India and Pakistan, but it hasn’t furthered the peace process whatsoever. It is common knowledge now that Osama bin Laden has been extended asylum somewhere in Pakistan. Even Dawood Ibrahim, one of India’s most wanted criminals, is known to be in Pakistan. Why, then, is Bush not questioning Musharraf directly if he is indeed concerned about the future of the Indo-Pak relationship'
Even after the recent attacks in India and reports about the involvement of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, there hasn’t been a significant change in the US’s benevolent attitude towards Pakistan.
Sumant Poddar, Calcutta
Sir — Atal Bihari Vajpayee has made it clear in New York that as far as India is concerned there will not be an iota of compromise on the core issue of terrorism. Pervez Musharraf had perhaps presumed Vajpayee’s extended hand of friendship as a symbol of submission and weakness. Consequently he did not care to respond to the goodwill gesture. Instead of keeping his promise of eradicating terrorism and the training camps along the line of control, Musharraf is always complaining about the Indian stand on Kashmir.
There was a spate of violence and revenge killings after the death of Gazi Baba. Outfits like the Hizbul Mujahedin and Lashkar-e-Toiba have openly accepted the responsibility for some of the recent terrorist attacks. Yet the leaders of these outfits are roaming free in Pakistan. Does this speak of commitment to root out terrorism' Vajpayee has done nothing wrong in withdrawing his hand of friendship.
Pakistan is turning out to be the largest producer and exporter of terrorism in the world. The only area in which Vajpayee is lagging behind his Pakistani counterpart is in inflicting the same pain on Pakistanis that Indians are suffering at the hands of Pakistan-sponsored terrorists.
Govind Das Dujari, Calcutta
Sir — Atal Bihari Vajpayee is a good orator when he is among his countrymen settled abroad. With his whole-hearted praise of Sonia Gandhi, Vajpayee made a positive comment that in India, opposition politicians stand by the government in matters of the nation’s prestige and security in the international arena (“Away, Atal at home with Sonia”, Sept 25). This kind of political unity in crucial matters is something the Pakistan political establishment sorely lacks. Vajpayee has managed to bring cheer to thousands of ordinary Indians.
Madhu Agrawal, Dariba
Crime without punishment
Sir — The arrest of Amarmani Tripathi in the Madhumita Shukla murder case raises several questions. The failure of the Uttar Pradesh police is glaring and cannot be overlooked. The illness-drama resorted to by Tripathi after his arrest is one of the many ways to escape trial in such cases. The changing versions of Shukla’s servant, Deshraj, highlights the pressures on witnesses in such cases (“Amarmani agrees to truth trial”, Sept 27). One can well imagine the fate of the cases which do not involve important people.
S.C. Agrawal, Delhi
Sir — How could Amarmani Tripathi be allowed to use cellular phones while being in the Central Bureau of Investigation’s custody' And why was there no scrutiny of his visitors' Is the right to equality, guaranteed to every citizen by the Constitution, only to be enshrined in the book, and never to be implemented' Then why not amend the Constitution, marking fundamental duties for ordinary citizens and fundamental rights only for the elite'
Sujit De, Sodepur