The going gets tough
Sir — The people of Mumbai are enraged by the sort of moral policing undertaken by the assistant commissioner of police, Vasant Dhoble. The latter has conducted many raids on partygoers in various nightclubs, bars and restaurants in the city. He had allegedly wielded a hockey stick during one such raid. He seems to have taken the law into his own hands and is misusing the power invested in him to threaten the basic rights of the people. He recently raided a birthday party at a restaurant attended by two sisters. Now the sisters have been charged under the provisions of the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act (“Hands off Mumbai party raid”, June 21). This unfortunate incident will severely damage their reputation. But the city police chief, Arup Patnaik, has described Dhoble as a man of “impeccable integrity”. Perhaps the Mumbai police do not consider attacks on civil liberties as disturbing.
The city’s police have come under scrutiny in the past as well. The Mumbai Police (Amendment) Act, 2005, made dance bars illegal, robbing many women of their means of livelihood. Now the precedent being set by Dhoble will further curb the freedom of the people of Mumbai. The chief of the Shiv Sena, Bal Thackeray, has lambasted Dhoble for his actions. This is ironic, since the Shiv Sena is notorious for its moral policing as well.
Janga Bahadur Sunuwar, Bagrakote, Jalpaiguri
Sir — The actions of Vasant Dhoble are just. It would be unfair to term these as acts of moral policing. People in the entertainment business, both in India and abroad, believe that they can get away with anything by greasing some palms. When an honest cop like Dhoble comes along and tries to uphold the rule of law, a huge hue and cry is raised and his actions are touted as unjust. Regardless of whether India’s laws are archaic, it is the police’s job to enforce them. If laws governing people are considered outdated, then they need to be amended. This is the responsibility of the legislature. The police ought to be allowed to do their job.
S. Kamat, Bardez, Goa
Sir — It is rather surprising that an iconic structure in London — the Big Ben — has now officially been renamed the Elizabeth Tower as a “mark of respect to the Queen” (“Big Ben now Elizabeth Tower”, June 28). It was amusing to read about politicians who “tripped over each other in their eagerness to be more obsequious than the next one.” Moreover, the British prime minister, David Cameron, and the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, both gushed about the “service” that the queen has rendered to the nation and her “dedication” to its people. This is baffling, because the royal family does not really serve the people. Writing letters, cutting ribbons at inaugural ceremonies and entertaining people at lavish tea parties and dinner banquets do not really qualify as ‘service’ to a nation.
Living a luxurious life and organizing high-profile events such as royal weddings, coronations, birthdays and funerals at the expense of ordinary taxpayers cannot be cited as evidence of the royal family’s ‘dedication’ to the people of that country.
Britain amassed huge wealth over the centuries by plundering erstwhile colonies, one of which was India. The monarchy, especially, profited from such plunder. However, the people of Britain seem to hold conflicting views about the royal family. There is a growing number among the population that believes in doing away with the medieval concept of royalty. There are many people who remain enraged by the opulent jubilee celebrations for the queen.
But there still remain those who will camp out in the open at night only to watch royal couples drive past, and will think nothing of paying heavy taxes and suffering deprivation themselves just so that the royal family can live in luxury.
The concept of royalty is redundant in today’s world. But it is worrisome that a large chunk of the world’s population still associates royalty with fairy tales.
Amit Banerjee, Calcutta