Sir — Brigitte Bardot’s daring comments on the mass slaughter of animals in her recently published book will earn her kudos worldwide (“Bardot against Islamisation of France”, May 11). In contrast, India’s animal rights activists are a curious mix of former celebrities, politicians and wannabes stuggling for a bit of media attention. The most famous among them is known to have turned to animal rights on the advice of hired professional image-builders. Their activism is only to suit their personal or political agenda. It seems that French animals are more fortunate than their Indian counterparts.
Chameli Pal, Batanagar
Sorrier than thou
Sir — Two statements in the editorial, “Sorry state” (May 8), may be taken as premises of a syllogism. The major premise: “The CPI(M) represents the single biggest threat to the rule of law and civilized existence in West Bengal today”. The minor premise: “…under left rule, the critical distinction between government and party has disappeared”. The upshot: the Left Front government is the biggest threat to the rule of law. It therefore stands to reason that the Left Front government should be removed under Article 356 as the government cannot carry on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. The Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led government in West Bengal is failing on a daily count to protect the life and liberty of its citizens.
Aparna Ganguli, Calcutta
Sir — As a person frequently visiting rural West Bengal, I fully subscribe to the hard hitting editorial “Sorry state”. The state, under 26 years of Marxist rule has become one where no penal code or criminal procedure code seems to function. What does apply is only the diktat of the CPI(M). The presence of the district magistrates and the superintendent of police seems to only legitimize the impunity of the lumpen elements within the CPI(M) cadre. The assault on Tapan Sikdar’s car has drawn so much attention because he is, after all, a Union minister. Prior to this, Mamata Banerjee was attacked several times, even Revolutionary Socialist Party ministers, Biswanath Chowdhury and Amar Chowdhury, were roughed up. The panchayat elections are crucial for the CPI(M) because in rural Bengal, the winner has a free hand with both the money and the administration. Various Centrally-aided schemes worth crores are mishandled by the local political bodies.
Despite the incidents of violence marring the panchayat poll campaign in rural Bengal, nobody seems to want to take this bull by its horns. The CPI(M) rule will go down in history as one of the greatest tragedies that befell this state.
Tapan Das Gupta,
Sir — Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has most aptly been called a sorry chief minister. When he took over from Jyoti Basu, he knew only too well what daunting task lay ahead of him. He had to clean up the mess created by the left rule over the years. Then there was the problem of reining in the anti-social and lumpen elements which the CPI(M) leadership had been patronizing for so long because they helped the left to perpetuate its rule. That these monsters of sorts have been going out of control is clear from the attacks not only on opposition leaders, but also on non-CPI(M) Left Front leaders during the panchayat polls. Bhattacharjee’s apology is shrouded in hypocrisy, because his party idolizes men who had come to power riding on the lives and liberties of millions.
Govinda Bakshi, Budge Budge
Sir — The prices of petrol and diesel have come down considerably since the fares of buses, taxis, and even trams and ferries were raised. It is common for fares to go up every time there is a hike in petroleum prices, but fares never come down accordingly when prices are scaled down. Will the transport minister do something about it this time'
B.L. Chandak, Salkia