Sir — One wonders how Mayavati could justify her policy of compensating the ever-increasing number of Dalit rape victims financially (“Frown for policy of rape compensation”, July 17). This is not an equitable dispensation of justice anyway, because it punishes only the violators of the Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The law should have been the same for all women and not just for Dalit rape victims. The way rape victims are treated in our society is cruel. One can only guess what fraction of the compensation would actually reach the victim. The government should rather ensure proper rehabilitation of the victims and help them lead a normal life again. Monetary compensation has its own dangers. It is highly possible that the victim’s relatives would appropriate the money. Some unscrupulous people may even contrive a rape just to grab the compenstion.
Asit Kumar Mitra, Calcutta
Sir — The remarks by the Uttar Pradesh Congress committee chief, Rita Bahuguna Joshi, against the UP chief minister, Mayavati, were in bad taste and do not augur well for the Congress. Wounding words once spoken cannot be taken back. A certain decorum must be observed in public, especially in the political arena, which is always in the public eye because of the media.
Ashok Jayaram, Bangalore
Sir — Even though Mayavati is talking about morality in public life in response to Joshi’s remarks, she forgets that she had hurled the same sort of abuse against Mulayam Singh Yadav’s daughter earlier. No action was taken against Mayavati then. It is incomprehensible why, after Joshi’s apology, Mayavati’s party-workers ransacked and set fire to Joshi’s house in Lucknow, a stone’s throw from Mayavati’s office? Why has Mayavati not taken action against those party workers? All political parties should make it clear to their members that such remarks have no place in public discourse.
Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee, Faridabad
Sir — Joshi’s remarks were atrocious and uncalled for. Politicians in our country make unnecessary and objectionable remarks on the spur of the moment. A classic recent case is that of Varun Gandhi. Even Brinda Karat, a seasoned and suave politician, made the irresponsible “Dum Dum dawai” remark against the leader of the Trinamul Congress to gain ‘instant’ popularity.
A.S. Mehta, London
Sir — If one carefully analyzes Joshi’s statement against Mayavati’s policy, it appears that what Joshi actually wanted to do was emphasize that the compensation being given to rape victims was inadequate. Joshi was actually demanding a higher compensation. The court must be able to recognize, and take proper action against, cases arising out of political vengefulness, which unnecessarily waste taxpayers’ money and the judiciary’s time.
R. Sekar, Visakhapatnam
Sir — Mayavati, in her usual style of taking revenge, booked her offender, Joshi, under the law. Joshi was arrested on the same morning, from which it appears that the UP administration is at its quickest when it comes to atrocities against Dalit women. It has been the practice of leaders of the ruling party to teach their rivals a lesson. This is true for all parties. When Varun Gandhi was arrested for his offensive remarks in public, all parties other than the Bharatiya Janata Party, and the Congress in particular, celebrated it. They did not see Mayavati’s actions as whimsical then. The Congress should be thankful that Mayavati hasn’t booked Joshi under something as dangerous as the National Security Act, as she had done in Varun’s case.
Danendra Jain, Agartala
Sir — Uttam Kumar is perhaps the greatest icon of Bengali cinema, but how can naming a station after him be a ‘tribute’ to him — and that too replacing the name of a well-known locality, Tollygunge (“Ahead: Uttam & a new Netaji”, July 19)? Railway stations ought to be named after the locality or a local landmark, like Rabindra Sadan or Rabindra Sarobar. A fitting tribute to Uttam Kumar would be to work out a plan to revive the Bengali film industry. Similarly, a proper tribute to Subhash Chandra Bose would be to imbibe his lofty nationalist ideals, rather than have the Bhowanipore, and now the Kudghat, stations named after him. Gimmicks like these do not serve a practical purpose. It would be much more convenient for the commuters if the station-names remain Tollygunge, Kudghat, Bansdroni and Naktala, rather than rename them commemoratively.
Suman S. Dasgupta, Calcutta