Turn in the wrong direction
Sir — How easily Govind Nihalani can say, “Dev is the Ardha Satya of the new millennium” (“Cop story reloaded”, Nov 7). The very patness of the remark invites suspicion. Ardhya Satya became a “cult film” over time — Nihalani hardly set out to make it a cult film. Those who feel that Nihalani never quite lived up to the promise of the earlier film, will have mixed feelings about his optimism about Dev. Also, the theme of good-cop-corrupted-by-system has been done to death. It is sad to see the plight of “art” film directors like Nihalani these days, who are increasingly having to turn to actors from mainstream cinema like Kareena Kapoor and Fardeen Khan, in order to survive. This is not to say that the latter cannot act — only they think it is more important to look good on screen. One can understand the filmmakers’ logic — a film must make money. But by making such comments, Nihalani and Co. only raise expectations which might be difficult, nay impossible, to live up to.
Roop Dasgupta, Calcutta
Criminals in uniform
Sir — Petty thieves and cattle-lifters should take note that they may be beaten to death in police custody during interrogation (“Custody death”, Nov 9). But if they can pull off a crime worth Rs 3,000 crore or so, they might be booked into a five-star hotel during investigation (“Tandoori chicken in jail”, Nov 9). And in the rare event of a conviction after years of a legal battle, they might even find themselves going scotfree since the detention period will probably have been more than the final punishment (“Tandoor killer Sushil to hang”, Nov 8).
In India, the image of the police has gone down to almost the lowest rung of social respectability, though a minuscule percentage still remains sincere and humane. This explains the scarcity of witnesses for prosecution and during investigations. This indifference, inclining towards hatred, is due to the fact that for most people, the police department is there solely to protect the rich and powerful, and exploit the helpless weak and poor. Corruption being widespread at the highest levels too, the subordinates feel free to enjoy their right to steal and to kill with impunity (“Police chief under stamp paper scanner” Nov 9).
The poor sufferers are largely ignorant of the existence of a human rights commission or other forums, which they can approach for help. Sometime back, a model code of conduct was framed for the police by the high court; but it isn’t even displayed at any police station, let alone complied with. The only way there can be some change in the right direction is if the middle to lower level personnel are given compulsory human rights training at regular intervals. The recruitment criteria also needs to be enhanced, at least the educational qualifications. But then, a really suitable candidate may not be able to pay the entrance fee.
Asit Kumar Mitra, Calcutta
Sir — There is something seriously wrong with the security system in India (“Scam show on top cops”, Nov 9). The investigation into the stamps scandal has revealed the involvement of top police officials like the joint commissioner (intelligence), Sreedhar Vagal, and the Mumbai police commissioner, R.S. Sharma. These cops may have studied in the IIMs and IITs, but they are not a patch on upright officials like Julio Ribiero. It may not be possible to keep a watch on every single policeman, but there should be a policy of regular transfers. Also even the top bosses should be subjected to periodic assessments.
Sumant Poddar, Calcutta
Sir — Till now Indian police service officers were considered to have very high moral standards as they came from respectable families and were well-educated. But that now appears to be a myth.
But what more can be expected when even a senior politician like Chagan Bhujbal, who is also the deputy chief minister of Maharashtra, washes his hands off the affair by saying the Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena combine helped Abdul Karim Telgi get a foothold in the state.
Govind Das Dujari, Calcutta
Sir — The report, “Quota raj curtailed in PG courses” (Nov 6), was one of those rare instances when good news makes it to the headlines. What is the need to reserve seats for certain sections of the society' Let the government provide the backward classes with free education. But when it comes to entrance tests, merit alone should be the criteria. There is absolutely no logic in some people getting preference over others just because they happen to belong to a certain caste. But if this state of affairs has to continue because of political compulsions, then let there be one more policy change — let it be made compulsory for all ministers of India to be treated by doctors who have made it through the reservations backdoor. If George Fernandes can fly a MiG to show his confidence in the aircraft, can our ministers not resolve to receive treatment from quota doctors alone' That would solve the entire problem.
Bedashruti Mitra, Calcutta
Sir — With the Supreme Court compelling students of the reserved category to sit for all India examinations to prove their merit for entry into jobs, we can expect skilled candidates to get into government departments from now on. The politically-motivated quota raj must be jettisoned. But will the government abide by the apex court’s verdict'
T.R. Anand, Calcutta