Sir — The Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government might deny the allegations of neglect in the recent cases of hospital deaths and defend itself by citing the transfer order issued to the four erring doctors and the SSKM surgeon superintendent, Debdwaipayan Chattopadhyay (“CM punishes hospital guilty with transfer”, Oct 24). Nevertheless, the reward and punishment policy followed by the state government is truly mystifying. If transfer is meant as a sort of punishment, why has the group D employee, Pradip Dhar, been suspended' Also, if Chattopadhyay was a failure at the SSKM hospital, why has he been given a position of some responsibility' So that he can do some more damage' The state government must realize that only exemplary punishment will improve matters. Punishing the small fry and removing the top guns from the immediate line of fire is precisely the kind of ad hocism that has led to such a sorry mess.
B. Bagchi, Calcutta
Sir — The article, “The segregated diaspora”(Oct 17), by Ashok Mitra, seems to be an exercise in the well-known Bengali habit of raising an objection for its own sake. There is also a factual error in the article. Mitra complains that under the citizen amendment bill, no country from Asia figures in the list of 16 countries, resident Indians of which will be offered dual citizenship. This is incorrect. Israel is in Asia, and part of Cyprus is under the control of Turkey, most of which is in Asia.
Mitra’s other complaint is that there is not one Arab country on the list. But that is because Indians living in Arab countries are not citizens of these countries but of India, and thus do not require double citizenship. There may be a lot of Indians in Fiji and South Africa but given the hostility that the Indian settlers in these countries face from older inhabitants of these lands, it is probably best that they are no longer seen as foreigners. Also, it does not make sense to grant this benefit to countries which forbid their citizens from having a second citizenship. Some Indian Jews have connections in Israel or Portugal; thus it is only right that they be considered citizens of both countries. The same can be said of recent Indian immigrants to the United States of America, Canada and other Western nations. The list of countries for the bill can definitely be extended, but a good beginning has been made and in the right direction.
Debraj Chakrabarti, Madison, US
Sir — Ashok Mitra’s contention that we are “pro-white” and “anti-Muslim” is incorrect. It has become fashionable for some Bengali left-wing intellectuals to project themselves as pro-Muslim. But they are happily oblivious to the condition of Hindus forced to flee their homes in Kashmir.
Take Aparna Sen’s film, Mr and Mrs Iyer, which projects Hindus as being the perpetrators of violence. This film was released all across the country, and not a murmur of protest was heard. It was even highly appreciated. Had Muslims been shown in a similar light, the film would definitely have run into rough weather. Salman Rushdie and Taslima Nasreen would vouch for this.
Even though Muslims are a minority, there have been many presidents and governors from this community. Muslim artistes have been conferred top national honour. Does Mitra still want us to believe that we are actually anti-Islamic'
Subhajit Ghosh, Shillong
Sir — Indian leaders have an unmistakable pro-white bias, owing to years of British rule in India. This was evident in the list of countries, the residents of which will be offered dual citizenship. The decision to ignore residents of non-white nations of Asia, Africa, and south America is arbitrary. The proposed bill should be rejected by a majority vote in Parliament. NRIs should come forward on their own to invest a part of their savings in their country of origin.
Phani Bhusan Saha, Balurghat
Sir — The Army Act will not be applicable in the gang-rape of a 17-year old student by four army men, posted as presidential bodyguards (“Rape in culture crucible of capital”, Oct 16).
The rapists will, at most, be sentenced to a few years’ imprisonment. As things stand, the set-up does not allow justice to be done. These rogues ought to be publicly executed for their despicable deed. Human rights’ organizations may cry foul at this, but consider how unsafe Delhi is becoming with each passing day. A public execution will leave a lasting impression and thus might have a deterring effect. This may seem inhuman, but under the present circumstances where men sworn to protect the head of state dare to gang-rape innocent girls, what else can be done to restore the confidence of the people' Will women ever trust a man in uniform again'
Prashant Solomon and Teddy Quadros, New Delhi
Sir — The rape of an European embassy staffer in Delhi is a measure of just how out of hand things have gone. Only a few days before, a college student was raped by four of the president’s guards. The recent spurt in sexual crimes has made the capital a very dangerous place.
Govinda Bakshi, Budge Budge
Sir — The law lays down stringent punishment for rapists, so why are such heinous crimes rising constantly' Is this the result of the increased depiction of sex on television channels and the internet' Or are the “weaker sex” responsible for it' Will crimes against women go down if they are a little more careful in their attire and behaviour'
Francis Prasad, New Delhi
Sir — The death sentence for rape is being widely debated. I think whipping in public, in addition to a prison term, will work very well. This should be preceded by the convicted rapist being paraded through the main roads. If a man can be whipped for spitting on the roads in Singapore, a hundred lashes, followed by a few years in prison, will not be excessive for the rapist. The police also needs to ensure that the existing laws on rape are enforced.
C.V.K. Moorthy, Calcutta