The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Letters to Editor

A killing madness

Sir — On the one hand, the World Cup this year saw unprecedented media coverage and sponsorships, while on the other hand, in an unknown corner of a metropolis, a cricket-crazy boy, Sushanta Hazra, was beaten to death by his father with the boy’s own bat (“Father kills boy with bat”, March 23). Sushanta’s crime — he wanted to spend a part of his meagre weekly earnings on celebrating India’s achievement in the World Cup. It is another matter that the father was in the habit of snatching away the son’s earnings to buy liquor for himself. It still remains that the level of hype and hysteria generated by the media and the sponsors has driven people to do the craziest of things. Seen out of the context of the World Cup, this incident would appear to be just another criminal offence. But the string of violence and deaths that the World Cup has left in its wake in India, already racked by communal tensions, makes us doubt whether cricket really deserves to be hyped so much.

Yours faithfully,
Ritika Khera, Bangalore

Lawless state

Sir — The recent incidents of looting and rape in Dhantola, Nadia and Cooch Behar have tarnished the 26-year-long record of the Left Front government (“Unsafe state”, March 18). The police and the home department are to blame for their inability to curb the ever- increasing criminal activities within the state. The deputy prime minister, L.K. Advani, had once suggested that rapists should be hanged. Given the increasing incidence of rape in West Bengal, we need to amend the law along these lines, in order to restore law and order in the state.

Yours faithfully,
Naren Sen, Howrah

Sir — The series of recent incidents of rape in West Bengal have exposed how the condition of women in our society has declined under left rule. Innocent women are being raped and molested all over the state with impunity. But this so-called people’s government seems to have launched a conspiracy to cover up its inefficiency and shield these anti-social elements. Activists of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) are reportedly involved in these incidents, which explains why the party leadership seems only interested in covering up the crimes in collusion with the police. The people of the state need to stand up to these offenders, in order to salvage at least some part of the state’s reputation of being a safe haven for women.

Yours faithfully,
K.K. Roychoudhury, Calcutta

Sir — Eve-teasing and the harassment of women have reached such levels that it has become a nightmare for people to move about in the city (“Police seek tough laws to curb teasers”, March 18). The government should ensure that anti-social elements, who use abusive language freely in public, are punished severely.

Yours faithfully,
Prabhat Kumar Sen Sarkar, Hooghly

Sir — West Bengal seems to have lately become very unsafe, particularly for young women. In times of war, rape is often used as a tactic to get the better of the enemy. The comrades-in-arms in the state seems to be using rape in this way. If Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are infamous for their goonda raj, and Maharashtra for its mafia raj, West Bengal seems to be gaining quite a reputation for being a “rape raj”.

Yours faithfully,
A.C. Bose, Calcutta

Logical flaws

Sir — This is with reference to the news report, “Court throws rule book at CU” (March 12). The report that a scrutiny in court of Rumki Das’s eighth paper revealed that only one answer had been marked — with the comment, “not logically argued” — fetching her eight marks, which was all she got for that paper, and that the other answers were ticked but not assigned any marks, is not only incorrect but also false. This script was placed by lawyers representing the university before the judge, Arun Kumar Mitra. Upon perusing the script, the judged passed the following order:

“In my opinion the reassessment of the answer scripts will go to violate the rule not only but also it will encourage things to be done which are not permitted in the statute. From the answer-scripts as so ex facie I do not find any irregularity. I have no scope or jurisdiction to interfere with the matter under judicial review. However, I direct that the Controller of Examinations may after checking the two answer-scripts if he thinks there is irregularity he will get these two answer-scripts checked by the Examiner. Such decision is to be taken by the Controller within one week from the date of communication of the order. He will communicate the order and/or decision to the petitioner.”

It would appear from the above that there was no direction from the court mandating the university authorities to re-examine Das’s script. It was only a conditional order from the court to the Controller of Examinations to find out whether there was any irregularity in assessment and then to get it re-examined. The script of Das’s Paper VIII reveals that she had answered questions 2, 8, 10, 5 and 3 for which she was awarded 4, 1, 0, 2 and 1 marks respectively. Barring question 3, the examiner had given his comments on all the answers written by Das, justifying the marks awarded. Reports to the effect that the university had to face the heat from the high court are nothing but the imagination of the reporter.

The report is a distorted version of facts, and is sure to send wrong signals to students not satisfied with the marks awarded to them. Not only has the report tarnished the fair image of the university, but it also amounts to interference in the administration of justice by the court.

Yours faithfully,
O.S. Adhikari, Controller of Examinations, University of Calcutta, Calcutta

The Telegraph replies: We stand by our report. The Controller of Examinations, O.S. Adhikari, cites a portion of the order to buttress his case against the report. Two elements serve as the basis for the report: the petitioner’s submissions before Arun Mitra’s court and the subsequent order. Adhikari glosses over the submissions and a sizeable section of the actual order, the spirit and essence of which are best understood in the overall context. Adhikari claims that there has not been any direction from the court, admitting in the next breath that there was a conditional order to find out whether there was any irregularity in the assessment of Das’s papers. We would like to re-affirm that the observations of the court constitute a direction. While granting that the judge observed that he had no jurisdiction to interfere in the matter, it needs to be underlined that he also directed the university to re-examine Das’s answer-scripts, if possible. May we also point out that the petitioner’s counsellor continues to hold the view that none of the answers, save one, written by Das in the paper under review had been marked by the examiner.

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