Spare a thought
Sir — It is good to know that Maneka Gandhi, who is a staunch animal rights activist, has decided to serve only vegetarian dishes at the wedding ceremony of her only son, Varun Gandhi (“Marriage blues”, Feb 20). This proves that she is true to the ideals she professes and is not a hypocrite. She has also requested the guests not to sport dresses made of leather or animal fur for the occasion. Maneka’s crusade to promote vegetarianism and protect wild animals is truly laudable.
Govinda Bakshi, Budge Budge
Sir — The Orissa government cannot absolve itself of responsibility in the case of the abduction of R. Vineel Krishna, the collector of Malkangiri district, and Pabitra Mohan Majhi, a junior engineer, by the Maoists (“No retreat”, Feb 23). The men had gone to inspect a Maoist-infested area when they were kidnapped. It is the Orissa government, which by being unable control the Maoist menace, has created such a state of affairs. It must pay the price by conceding the demands of the Maoists. Hence there is no reason why the Orissa government’s gesture should be seen as “an act of capitulation”, as the editorial says.
Given the inadequacies and loopholes in the state’s security system, the Orissa government needs to seriously introspect on its capacity to deal with extremism. At the same time, the socio-economic problems, which have perhaps given rise to the Maoist threat, cannot be overlooked. As long as the tribal people in the backward areas of Orissa continue to suffer, extremism will persist, no matter how sound the security arrangements are.
Debasish Banerjee, Calcutta
Sir — Owing to the lack of a comprehensive strategy by the state and Central governments against the Maoists, the latter have managed to ensure the release of their cadre in exchange for the freedom of R.Vineel Krishna and Pabitra Mohan Majhi. Serial abductions, threats and extortions by Maoists have crippled developmental activities in the backward areas of several Indian states. Hardworking civil servants are now being made the victims of these old tactics.
It is unfortunate that no serious thought has been given to the development of backward areas. These regions also happen to be rich in mineral wealth, which had not been tapped until very recent times. Officials are largely indifferent to the welfare of the tribal people who live in these mineral-rich belts. Only capable leaders, who can confront problems and find solutions, can tackle the Maoist menace.
Jayanta Datta, Hooghly
Sir — It is a relief that both R. Vineel Krishna and Pabitra Mohan Majhi were released unharmed by the Maoists. According to reports, the Orissa government accepted almost 15 demands of the Maoists and an announcement to this effect was made at a press conference minutes before the release of Krishna and Majhi. The government has also agreed to withdraw the cases against five Maoists, including Ganti Prasadam. Perhaps this capitulation will save the nation the excruciating pain of another kidnap drama. But the question remains: is the compromise formula worth its salt? The concessions to security being made in the course of the negotiations are likely to boomerang in the long run. They have the potential to damage whatever good has been achieved in the anti-Naxalite operations.
Bichu Muttathara, Pune