Waiting for a surprise
Sir — Spike Lee can rest assured (“Showbiz chorus against Bush”, Feb 14). No amount of dissuasion can stop George W. Bush and Tony Blair from launching their offensive against Iraq. These political leaders put too much at stake when they initiated their rhetoric against Saddam Hussein. They cannot backtrack now. They also feel secure in another knowledge. Despite the anti-war campaign in their respective countries, both Bush and Blair know that the spectre of the Sixties will never recur. There will be no surprises in Iraq unlike in Vietnam. We hope they are proved wrong.
S. Samanta, Calcutta
Sir — It seems that unless the Gujarat “model” is repeated in Ayodhya, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad will not rest. The violent and unconstitutional threat of Praveen Togadia should have landed him behind the bars (“Togadia threatens Ayodhya repeat”, Feb 7). Only that could ensure the safety and security of the people of Ayodhya. Unfortunately, that has not happened. If Ayodhya is at all the birthplace of the mythological character of Ram, why not have temples erected in his name in some other part of Ayodhya' Is there any proof that Ram was born exactly at the disputed site' The question is not about who is more right — the Hindu fundamentalist or the Muslim fanatic. The past is past and we must avoid doing anything which will disturb the social harmony.
Aritra Roy, Shyamnagar
Sir — The Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary, A.B. Bardhan, is right when he says that the National Democratic Alliance is a mere “sign board”. That the Bharatiya Janata Party recently moved Supreme Court to lay a claim on the 67.703 acres of disputed land in Ayodhya shows that it has made a clear departure from the common minimum programme the allies had arrived at when the government was formed at the Centre. The BJP has gone ahead with the Ayodhya issue without consulting other NDA partners. This is a clear indication of its belligerence and arrogance. As pointed out by Bardhan, the Telugu Desam, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Samata Party should rethink their support to the government.
A. Kabir, Hyderabad
Sir — The VHP now demands that the disputed land at Ayodhya be handed over to it within a time frame. The saffron threat should be met head on. If the Centre gives in to the VHP demand, it should be prepared to relent to other demands as well, say that of Digvijay Singh who has suggested that the Centre ban cow slaughter. The temple issue has been given undue importance.
Shiv Shanker Almal, Calcutta
Sir — A.K. Faezul Huq’s letter, “Settle down” (Feb 11), betrays his ignorance about the mindset of his people and it is this ignorance that perhaps led to the humiliating defeat of the Awami League at the last general elections in Bangladesh. Ever since its inception, Bangladesh has been reluctant to acknowledge India’s contribution to its freedom struggle and has rarely returned its debt of gratitude to India.
Huq blames India for the plight of the “innocent people” pushed back into Bangladesh. But he wilfully ignores the fact that Bangladesh is no secular country and Bangladeshi infiltrators, criminals and cattle-lifters have been creating havoc in India’s border states. They have also been involved in the Inter-Services Intelligence sponsored acts of spying and terrorism, thereby threatening Indian society. Moreover, giving shelter to various separatist outfits of the Northeast and the recent killing of Indian soldiers by the Bangladesh Rifles are no friendly acts on the part of Bangladesh. Contrary to Huq’s assertion that India has the last chance to make peace with Bangladesh, it is no doubt Bangladesh’s last chance to realize that its future is linked with India rather than with China or some other despotic Islamic nation.
Shivaji K. Moitra, Kharagpur