Politics of blackmail
Sir — Politicians are blatant and shameless, but it is amazing how easy it is to trace every one of N. Chandrababu Naidu’s political tantrums to the Central government’s refusing him some concession for his state (“Naidu poll snub to BJP”, March 22). The most recent statement that it was still too early to decide on an electoral alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party for the 2004 general elections can all too easily be seen as his way of getting his back at the Centre for giving him 3.18 lakh metric tonnes of foodgrains instead of the 20 lakh MT he had asked for. No doubt, by the time Naidu goes back to Hyderabad, he will have wrangled some more concessions from the Centre. But for how long will the Centre continue to buy Naidu’s support, and for how long will Naidu silence critics within his state with such Central doles' After all, there can be no alternative to good governance, or does the CEO of Andhra Pradesh have to be taught such basic norms of management'
Mita Vaidyanathan, Mumbai
Sir — The United States of America’s decision to waive sanctions imposed on Pakistan after the coup in that country were probably an effort by the globally-isolated US-Britain-Spain alliance to win Pakistan’s vote in an United Nations debate on the war with Iraq (“Bush frees arms and dollars for Musharraf”, March 16). But this decision will provide an impetus to pro-taliban Islamic parties in Pakistan. There is no denying that al Qaida militants have found a safe refuge in Pakistan.
The government of that country has lately been taking great pride in arresting a few of them every other day; but why were they allowed into Pakistan in the first place' This move bears more evidence of the US’s double standards.
Samidip Basu, Calcutta
Sir — Is the Bush administration’s decision to lift sanctions on Pakistan a reward for encouraging international terrorism or cross-border terrorism with India' The recent attack on a police station in Srinagar by Pakistan-based militant groups should tell the US that you cannot straighten a dog’s tail, however hard you try.
R. Sekar, Angul
Sir — Once again Pakistan has shown what a hard negotiator it is by getting the US to lift the sanctions imposed in the wake of the coup. Earlier Pakistan had manipulated the US, under the garb of support to the mujahedin, and wrangled large loans from the US, which also overlooked its nuclear programme. The US has also overlooked the nuclear missile technology nexus between Pakistan and North Korea. Not only that, even now Pakistan provides shelter to a large number of al Qaida men.
It has been proved time and again that Pakistan is one of the prime supporters of Islamic terrorism. Thus by overlooking Pakistan’s misdeeds and targeting Iraq, even as large parts of the world face Islamic terrorism, the US is only attracting more trouble for itself.
Udita Agrawal, New Delhi
Sir — The lifting of sanctions on Pakistan is as good as imposing fresh sanctions on India. Apparently, our stand against the action against Iraq has not gone down well with the Americans. Pakistan, on the other hand, has emerged the winner because of Pervez Musharraf’s intelligent handling of the Iraq crisis as well as barter of terrorists in exchange for aid and the lifting of sanctions. India had nothing to offer to the Americans. Thus the more we oppose US policies, the more it will bring the Americans nearer to Pakistan —which will not serve our purposes in the long run. If we can’t support American policies, we should not make enemies of them either.
Govind Das Dujari, Calcutta
Sir — The news report, “Price of being the face of the riots” (March 5), by Anand Soondas alleges that we have collected a huge fund for the victims of the Gujarat riots using the name of Qutubuddin Ansari.
We would like to state that whatever funds we have collected for the riots victims has been distributed to the various NGOs working for the rehabilitation of riots victims. Only a meagre amount is lying with us which is supposed to be distributed among the Gujarat riots victims in the last week of this month.
In the news report, it is alleged that Ansari is particularly angry at Akhbar-e-Mashriq. We would like to clarify that his anger is absolutely misplaced. We first came into contact with Ansari when we had gone to distribute the relief funds. The point is that the majority of funds had been collected before we come into contact with the gentleman. Therefore there is no question of collecting funds using his name.
However, we did try to organize a function (not a fund-raiser) for communal peace and harmony in which Ansari’s participation was being considered. But, since the police didn’t give us permission, we had to cancel the programme. The news report is defamatory and has adversely affected our reputation before the public at large. Secondly, we had already published the accounts of receipts and payments of the fund in our newspaper on various dates.
M.N. Haque, executive editor, Akhbar-e-Mashriq, Calcutta
Sir — The news report on the 47th convocation of XLRI, Jamshedpur, “Future managers’ glorious past” (March 6), identifies R.A. Mashelkar as the director-general of the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research. The CSIR, a premier research organization, is the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.
P.R. Sastry, assistant director, NML, Jamshedpur