A friend indeed
Sir — The Central Bureau of Investigation is a watchdog, but a loyal one. Which is why, despite the Supreme Court’s decision to take up a petition that questions its dropping of conspiracy charges against L.K. Advani, there is very little chance the deputy prime minister will be touched (“SC gives Mulayam Advani headache”, Sept 2). For one, a network of political interests will ensure that the CBI net does not close in on the top Bharatiya Janata Party leader. A saffron helping hand to Mulayam Singh Yadav will make future inquiries into the masjid demolition remain a dead letter in Uttar Pradesh. Even if Mulayam Yadav does not survive too long in power and the Dalit queen returns, the CBI inquiry into the Taj controversy will keep Mayavati under a tight leash. The CBI has already trained its guns on Kalyan Singh, a man who has probably been talking too much. Truly, a watchdog is a government’s best friend.
M. Sridhar, Calcutta
Sir — I was spellbound by Susama Agarwala’s, “I am not a victim” (August 31), on her recent traumatic experience. The article evoked a curious mix of emotions. On the one hand, I was aghast at the pain Agarwala underwent. On the other, I could not help marvelling at her courage. One cannot but admire her tremendous sense of self-respect and the way she conducted herself in her hour of crisis. The manner in which she has gathered the broken pieces of her life and declined to let herself be looked upon as a victim who needs sympathy is truly remarkable.
Susama Agarwala is the face of the brave new woman of today. Despite the numerous constraints, she refuses to be cowed down and give up her rights. Agarwala has ignored her circumstances and conquered her fear. Her endeavour is a tribute to the fight that many women are waging against our patriarchal society.
Ronita Nag, Calcutta
Sir — Susama Agarwala is one of the few people who have had the courage to write about their experience in such a soul-stirring manner. Agarwala’s article was neither a cry for help, nor did it reek of self-pity. It was an objective attempt to discuss the incident by taking into account the socio- economic factors which might have triggered the youths to behave the way they did. Her exposure to the West probably explains her fierce independence of mind. But what stands out is her broadminded attitude and her belief in justice. One can make out that Agarwala is deeply scarred, but she has ample mental strength to come to terms with her sorrow.
Subhasis Mitra, Calcutta
Sir — The attempt of Susama Agarwala to get on with life despite the tragedy that has befallen her is commendable. No praise is too great for her or those who have stood beside her in these trying times. However, she could have done without the sympathy for the criminals. After all, there is only a thin line differentiating between consensual sex and a sexual crime.
Vasan Nair, Calcutta
Sir — Susama Agarwala is very different from the typical Indian rape victim. When a woman here is subjected to this kind of humiliation, she is expected to be shattered and even suicidal. Sexual exploitation of women has become a routine affair in contemporary India. But Agarwala has chosen to rewrite this script. The dignity with which she has handled the situation and even decided to forgive the perpetrators of the crime has dealt a blow to our complacence. It is time we reflect on where we are headed.
Shameek Bose, Calcutta
Sir — The terrible misfortune that has befallen Susama Agarwala should serve as yet another reminder of the deteriorating safety standards for women in India. It is ironic that sexual crime against women should be common in a country which worships the feminine form as a source of divine power.
Ronojoy Mukherjee, Calcutta
Sir — The article by Susama Agarwala comes at the right time — when the Ghatshila rape case is already disappearing from the newspages. What adds novelty to this particular case is the alacrity with which the fisherman community of the region has admitted to the crime, and worse, is now putting forward another batch of youths as the “real” perpetrators of the crime. There is no doubt that attempts are being made to confuse the public. The subject of the heinous attack, as usual, was beginning to recede from public memory. Agarwala’s write-up ensures that this does not happen. The problem is she is a foreign national. Although she might be a women’s rights activist, there can be enough ways the administration and politicians can ensure that she remains outside India if politics dictate it.
J. Acharya, Calcutta
Sir — Susama Agarwala is misplacing her sympathy. Her rapists may have been young men from the fisherman community who gave back her glasses after the rape, but that does not mean they are a bunch of misled, confused creatures. Had they been so, they would have admitted to their crime.
T. Chatterjee, Calcutta
Sir — The report, “Varanasi package” (August 30) in “The Calcutta Diary” of The Telegraph’s Metro edition wrongly mentions September 1 as the date of the commencement of a special package tour from Howrah to Varanasi and back during the pujas. An additional sleeper class coach is being attached to the Amritsar Mail (3005 Up) leaving Howrah for this purpose. The actual date is October 1, 2003, and this had been rightly communicated by the Eastern Railway press note issued on August 29, 2003. The coach will return by Amritsar Mail (3006 Dn) leaving Varanasi on October 6, 2003 instead of September 6, 2003 as mentioned in the report.
S. Majumdar, chief public relations officer, Eastern Railway, Calcutta