Who framed Jadeja'
Sir — It now seems almost impossible to gauge the veracity of the allegations against Ajay Jadeja, the reborn cricketer (“Freed from ban, Jadeja can pick up bat for India again”, Jan 28). Now that J.K. Mehra of the Delhi high court has absolved Jadeja of all that the K. Madhavan commission report had accused him of, the match-fixing story has taken a new turn. For one, the Delhi high court ruling places the Board of Control for Cricket in India in a curious spot. The verdict points a finger at the BCCI, which could now be seen to have launched a motivated campaign against Jadeja. The BCCI can even be hauled up on grounds that its legal advisor, Madhavan, had denied Jadeja legal assistance after having framed charges against him. The match-fixing incident has left an indelible scar on the minds of cricket fans in India. If the entire sports establishment is now found to be corrupt, it will give Indians little to cheer about in the World Cup.
A. Choudhury, Calcutta
Sir — Ever since December 6, 1992, politicians seem to have become too scared to touch a mosque, even if it comes in the way of crucial development (“Mosque stays in airport plan”, Jan 31). That is why both the Union civil aviation minister, Shahnawaz Hussain, and the chief minister of West Bengal, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, are clueless about the priorities that need to be kept in mind with respect to the expansion plans of Calcutta airport. There is no doubt that people’s religious sentiments are important and must be respected, but when there is little doubt about the illegality of a construction, be it a mosque, why didn’t the ministers think it appropriate to make things clear to people of the minority community and then move ahead' Why does the government think Muslims are so irrational that they will not understand why a government is thinking of relocating a place of worship'
Nothing will create a furore as long as the intentions of the politicians are good. The people of this country and state realize that given the security risks, no concrete structure can be allowed close to the airport. Nothing can be more ridiculous than acknowledging a structure to be a threat and then allowing to stand. Given that Hussain is a Bharatiya Janata Party minister, his dilemma is understandable, but one wonders if Bhattacharjee is justified in going to the extent of constructing an alternative road to the mosque. Since the government is in such dire straits, financially, would the expenses be justified' Perhaps, Bhattacharjee is no longer confident of the secular image of himself or his party. That alone explains his desire to appease.
R. Sharma, Calcutta
Sir — The report, “Mosque stays in airport plan”, announces that the mosque which stands in the way of the expansion of the Calcutta airport will be allowed to remain and an alternative road constructed to approach it. A question: is this really a secular act by a secular government' Development and progress should not be linked to religious factors. Had this structure been a temple, would the West Bengal government have paused to think before destroying it' This particular act of the Left Front government will surely be branded as pro-Muslim by aggressive Hindutvawallahs.
Sudarsan Nandi, Rangamati,
Sir — India is the second largest democracy in the world. Yet its reservations policy continues to hamper the functioning of a democracy. The reservation granted to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in the name of development and progress actually excludes a sizeable percentage of the Muslim population from government service. Islam does not recognize either SC or ST status. The policy actually reserves an overwhelming percentage of jobs for the Hindu population.
Ghulam Rasul, Calcutta
Sir — The Centre’s decision to set up special courts for sexual crimes is a commendable effort (“Law on special courts for sex offences”, Jan 16). These courts can now deal with rape cases and other cases related to sex offences without unnecessary delay. Women’s organizations have always protested against the judicial delay in bringing criminals to book as the chief reason why many victims do not report sexual violations. However, it still remains to be seen how fast these courts are in dealing with the cases.
One thing has to be kept in mind here. Prosecutors in these cases ask probing and embarrassing questions to victims to avoid facing facts and to defend the accused. It would be useful if the proceedings are carried out in privacy. This would help the victims to speak out with less inhibition. This becomes necessary to strengthen the case. The courts have to be more sensitive in their treatment of the female victims of sexual violence.
Diptimoy Ghosh, Calcutta
Sir — Given the obsession with sexual offences and their punishment, it should not be forgotten that the punishment for rapists should have the aim of checking such crimes as its only objective. There should be a provision so that such cases are dealt with in a specific period of time.
Sanchari Deb, Bongaigaon
Sir — The Bharatiya Janata Party has apparently expressed its inability to pass the women’s reservation bill because it lacks a majority in Parliament. However, except the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Samajwadi Party, all other parties have shown their support for the bill. Why is it so difficult to get the support of two-thirds of Parliament'
The prime minister has initiated judicial reforms to save rape victims from being further embarrassed during trial. The administration should probably ensure that women appearing in rape trials are presented and tried at all-women courts, where the judge as also the lawyers are compulsorily women. Only this can make sure that they are saved from further harassment.
Madhu Agrawal, Dariba
Sir — Like the women’s reservation bill, one can rest assured, the death penalty for rapists will never be passed in Parliament.
K. Chatterjee, Calcutta