Some old fears rekindled
Sir — Quite predictably, world attention has shifted from the morality of the theatre purge in Russia to the mortality rate and finally, the make of the gas that immobilized and killed the Chechen rebels and 117 innocent hostages. Although Russia has disclosed what the gas contained, there is no reason to believe the official disclaimer of it being a chemical weapon will assuage fears, particularly that of the United States of America (“Russia lifts veil on ‘painkiller’ gas”, Oct 31). Already, Germany seems to have carried out tests on the two German hostages in the theatre to verify the constituent of the gas. In the days to come, there is bound to be more drama, maybe even some kidnappings of these former hostages to find traces of this allegedly “highly-addictive opium”-laced painkiller. By unveiling the potency of one of its “painkillers”, Russia has for sure rekindled old fears in countless American hearts. Seems like there is no running away from the Cold War ghost.
J. Acharya, Calcutta
Sir — The urban development minister, Asok Bhattacharya, unlike the mayor, Subrata Mukherjee, was smart enough not to have kicked up a row in public and become a laughing stock (“Asok made to follow rule”, Oct 31). But the fact that Kuldip Singh, deputy commissioner south, had to apologize for the so-called audacity of his subordinate, Rajat Krishan, is disturbing. Why did the minister not have the mandatory green sticker pasted on his car' By insisting the he be let off, did he not realize the risk he was asking the policemen to take' Nowadays every Tom, Dick and Harry move about with red lights on their cars. That is precisely how the security of Parliament was breached on December 13, 2001. For a sergeant, who had been appointed to the important duty of screening those who make it to the VIP enclosure, it was impossible to go by the faces of ministers. One sincerely hopes that Krishan is not made to pay like Debdwaipayan Chattopadhyay, the surgeon-superintendent of Seth Sukhlal Karnani Memorial Hospital who decided to lock horns with the mayor.
Much like Mukherjee, who behaved as if the SSKM hospital was his personal fief, Bhattacharya has shown how power is misused. Let us ask Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and his minister, why should Krishan suffer for doing his duty' The doctor has already been admonished for his courage and for not offering a chair to the mayor, which he could have forgotten in a tense situation. If this is the reward the government gives out for honestly performing one’s duty, it will be difficult to salvage both our values and our work culture.
I wish our ministers started following the example of N. Chandrababu Naidu, who wears an identity card even when he is in Hyderabad. Ministers and mayor are public servants, and not above the law. In countries where disciplined and dutiful officers are appreciated and rewarded, these two gentlemen would at least have been congratulated by their bosses.
Govind Das Dujari, Calcutta
Sir — I laud the courage of Rajat Krishan, but thoroughly condemn the manner in which he disclaimed the urban development minister, “Aamra minister-finister jaani na” (We do not care for any minister). Contrast this with the politeness and patience of Asok Bhattacharya, who merely said, “You have an important job to do”. I also appreciate the apology tendered to the minister by the deputy commissioner of police, south, Kuldip Singh.
Bhattacharya deserves to be congratulated for setting an example of how a senior politician should behave in public. Bhattacharya did not continue arguing with the audacious policeman. The mayor has a lot to learn from his legislative colleague.
Asghari Khanum, Calcutta
Sir — One cannot agree with the brusque manner of Rajat Krishan. It is surprising to see Asok Bhattacharya so composed in the situation. He had obviously taken the blame for his staff’s failure to collect the requisite green sticker.
P. Bhattacharya, Calcutta
Sir — Asok Bhattacharya can be consoled by the police, but let us not forget the attacks on the Jammu and Kashmir assembly and Parliament. Both had been made possible because rules were flouted.
Shiv Shanker Almal, Calcutta
Sir — By highlighting the incidents involving the mayor and a state cabinet minister, The Telegraph has served to inspire both the men in white and those in uniform.
Anuraag Jaiswal, Calcutta
Sir — The editorial, “Garbage power” (Oct 31), was thought-provoking. We often say we have inherited our public manners from our former British rulers, and now the Americans. Imagine the mayor of London organizing Christmas with donations from the city’s residents, or the mayor of New York storming into Sloan-Kettering Memorial hospital to threaten its administrator! In this type of vulgar exhibition of power, there is no difference between the left and the right. We have seen how a Marxist chief minister, moving with his convoy, cause traffic jams. And now we have another Marxist minister trying to barge into the VIP enclosure of Eden Gardens without the green sticker on his car, and worse, complaining against the sergeant who dared stop him.
Tapan Das Gupta, Calcutta
Sir — Mayors and ministers may come and go but conscientious and upright government officials like Debdwaipayan Chattopadhyay and Rajat Krishan are a rare commodity in an age of rampant corruption.
Sabita Thakur, Durgapur
Sir — I was surprised that the news of the demise of the great literary figure, Annada Shankar Ray, was not featured in the front page of The Telegraph. Also the fact that his body would be kept in the Bangla Akademi from 10 am to 2 pm for all to pay their last homage was missing in the column (“Master of the rhyme is dead”, Oct 29). It is appalling that this grave news was absent in the front page, which recently even featured some unnecessary facts about the health regimen of the West Bengal finance minister.
Aparajita Dasgupta, Calcutta