Sir — In an article, Markandey Katju has ‘cautioned’ Indians about the danger of ushering in Narendra Modi as the next prime minister (“Katju & Arun trade blows”, Feb 18). Katju thinks it would be a mistake to elect Modi, an error similar to the one made by the Germans who chose Adolf Hitler as their leader. It is evident that Katju is sure that, given a chance, Modi would commit crimes against a particular community just like Hitler did. It is also obvious that Katju is convinced that Modi played a major part in the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Having been a custodian of the law at the highest level, Katju does not need to be reminded that as per Indian jurisprudence, a person is innocent till he is proven guilty. In 2012, a Supreme Court-appointed special investigation team cleared Modi of any wrongdoing in the riots. One might be tempted to say that Katju’s comments echo the United Progressive Alliance government’s antagonism towards Modi. One also wonders whether it is really within the ambit of Katju’s duties as the chairman of the Press Council of India to express such rash views. However, Katju is also known as an honourable man and one should look at all the perspectives before questioning his wisdom in a hurry.
S.B. Gupta, Calcutta
Sir — Two of the brightest legal luminaries of the country — a former law minister, Arun Jaitley, and a former judge of the Supreme Court, Markandey Katju — got involved in a spat, following the latter’s comments aimed at dispelling the nationwide euphoria about the possibility of Narendra Modi being the next prime minister of India. Jaitley, in response, called Katju “more Congress than the Congress party”, and demanded that he step down as the chairman of the Press Council of India. One fails to understand why Jaitley reacted so readily to Katju’s comments while choosing to ignore the stand of those within the National Democratic Alliance who are opposed to Modi. However, one also needs to consider whether it was fair on Katju’s part to voice his views in his capacity as an ‘impartial’ ombudsman and public figure. One hopes that he refrains from taking such extreme stands.
Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee, Faridabad
Sir — Markandey Katju has been known for his outspokenness. Sometime back, he had stated that 90 per cent of Indians are “fools”, and then went on to clarify that his intention was not to hurt anyone but to “awaken people” to the ills blighting the country. His pronouncements on Gujarat sound more like political statements than mere expressions.
J. Akshay, Bangalore
Sir — Before accusing Markandey Katju of being politically biased, Arun Jaitley should ensure that the NDA, and especially the Bharatiya Janata Party, walks the talk and upholds democracy and impartiality. Manohar Parrikar, the chief minister of Goa, has pushed for the appointment of the retired Supreme Court judge, B. Sudarshan Reddy, as the lokayukta of Goa. One wonders whether Reddy would remain neutral. Reddy had expressed his anger publicly over Congress MPs in Telangana voting for Pranab Mukherjee in the presidential elections. One thinks that the BJP would do well to realize that what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
Aires Rodrigues, Ribandar, Goa
Sir — Abhijit Bhattacharyya’s article, “Time to stem the rot” (Feb 23), was well-written and thought provoking. His references to the policemen who have become martyrs underscore the apathy on the part of the government. Even in the past, most governments reduced this ‘potent’ arm of law to a powerless and ineffective body. Bhattacharyya says that any uniformed service “runs on at least two common factors — a unity of command and a concentration of focus on the issues at hand. The onus for the implementation of the former lies with the seniors; the latter with the operational staff.” However, this portrayal of an effective police force is idealistic: the ground reality is entirely different. The system appears to be rotting because of the politicians who have no respect for the law.
One hopes that the police force, especially its higher echelons, function with integrity and learn to call a spade a spade. Policemen should resist themselves from turning into “yes men” at the hands of politicians. Political leaders need to wake up and stem the rot before it is too late. A distinct identity of the police force as a potent wing of the government should be re-established and maintained.
Prabhakar Bhattacharya, Ichapur