Sir — The law in Norway that called for the punishment of the Indian couple who disciplined their son is draconian (“Norway duo”, Dec 7). The child is living with his grandparents in the absence of his parents, who have been given jail sentences by a district court in Oslo. But such a law is not suitable in the Indian context. For Indian parents, the responsibility of the well-being of their child rests solely with them. Children, owing to their age, often cause trouble, and it is their parents’ duty to discipline them. Perhaps parents in Norway should spend less time at work and more time at home if they are really interested in the well-being of their children. By putting the Indian couple in jail, the Norwegian government is denying the child his right to be with his parents. No government in the world can find a suitable substitute for a parent’s love.
K.A. Solaman,Alappuzha, Kerala
Sir — I believe that violence against children is a crime. Moreover, Indians living in foreign countries must abide by the laws of those lands. So the punishment meted out to Chandrasekhar Vallabhaneni and his wife, Anupama, for mistreating their son is absolutely justified. The child had reportedly told his teachers that his parents were threatening to send him back to India for ‘bed-wetting’. The head of prosecution of the Oslo police department, Kurt Lir, has said that “there were burn marks and scars on the body of the child, who has also been beaten by the belt”. Such shocking treatment amounts to a crime, and the parents deserve the punishment they have got. If the child did soil his bed, his parents could have sought medical help for him.
N.R. Ramachandran, Ooty
Sir — A large number of people who live in Delhi depend on autorickshaws. However, Delhi’s autowallahs are an indisciplined lot. They charge passengers according to their whims. Although the vehicles have electronic meters, not all of them show the correct reading. Is it possible to have an electronic display board which would calculate the fare according to the kilometres covered? If such boards are installed in autorickshaws, then drivers will not be able to quote random prices.
The situation is the same with taxis, especially the cheaper yellow and black ones. They also refuse to take passengers to their desired destinations. The middle class is finding it difficult to make both ends meet as there is no sign of the inflation subsiding. The rising cost of commuting is making matters worse. Moreover, most auto-drivers are rude and do not take the shortest routes unless the passengers direct them. With newcomers, they invariably take the longest routes. The strictest punishment should be reserved for the errant drivers.
Yours faithfully, Mahesh Kapasi, New Delhi
Sir — My wife and I recently had a bitter experience at the Santragachhi railway station. We were to travel by the Vivek Express, which runs between Santragachhi and Mangalore. My wife and I are 70 and 84 years old, respectively. The nearest platform at the station is quite far away from the place where passengers alight from taxis. There are no signs of porters, and it is quite tedious to walk all the way from Kona Expressway to the nearest platform. In many big stations today, there are electronic pickups for the convenience of elderly people. There was none at Santragachhi station, even though it is so close to Howrah. Our train was to depart from platform number one, which was the narrowest of all the platforms and was also the furthest from Kona Expressway. To reach it, one had to use the footbridge, which did not have a ramp. Even those who carry luggage bags with wheels would have faced a problem. Moreover, reaching the footbridge, climbing it and then walking across the other platforms to reach the first one was a Herculean task for two senior citizens with ailments. Even youngsters were finding it difficult to reach the said platform. Our tickets were booked for the air-conditioned coach. When the train arrived, I found that the ACs were not working. This would not happen at the Howrah station. Perhaps it would be better if the train started from Howrah till the infrastructure at Santragachhi is improved.
Yours faithfully, A.C. Anjagan, Calcutta