Trial by fire
Sir — When Muslims are made to prove their allegiance to India, it is merely a reiteration of the obvious (“Psyched out voices in terror cry”, Sept 8). India is a secular political entity comprising several religious communities. Political leaders eager to play the communal card and an equally insensitive media have made life very difficult for the members of the minority community. Every time India beats Pakistan in cricket or hockey or there is a terrorist strike on Indian soil, right-wing elements are up in arms demanding a show of solidarity from the minority community. It is criminally insensitive to equate the delinquent elements of a community with the community itself. It is time to ask ourselves if we have done our bit to coopt the minorities into the mainstream by way of creating employment and education opportunities and healthcare facilities. Wouldn’t these quell their disenchantment somewhat and make them less susceptible to the divisive forces' Or should we let silly SMS messages be blown out of proportion'
Rupak Shaha, Calcutta
On slippery sand
Sir— The change of fortunes in Iraq has forced the American leadership to do a quick rethink (“US hunt for funds & force”, Sept 5). After resisting the involvement of the United Nations for a long time, the United States of America asked for a UN resolution to enlist an international peacekeeping force for the region. Growing public discontent and mounting casualties to its troops have clearly brought about this change in American policy. It is a good sign that other nations have not given in to the arm-twisting policy of the world’s sole superpower. Germany, France and Russia — three of the five members of the UN security council — have opposed the US plan by stating that it does not cede sufficient autonomy to the UN. They have also opposed the American secretary of state’s idea that the UN forces should be placed under American leadership. This deadlock can be resolved by sending a multinational peacekeeping force, sponsored by the US, but placed under UN command. This will go a long way in softening the hardline attitude adopted by the world to America’s plea for monetary and military help.
Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai
Sir — The difficulties faced by the American leadership in garnering military and financial support to continue with its operations in Iraq have been precipitated by the faulty foreign policy pursued by the US. The US government’s effort to legitimize the Iraqi invasion as a heroic attempt to promote an open, tolerant and pluralistic government reeks of hypocrisy. First, the US tolerated Saddam Hussein as long as he did not jeopardize US oil and other business interests in the region. The moment that was threatened, it swung into action with its awesome military might. Second, the world’s largest democracy, which champions the cause of human rights and justice, was strangely silent on the brutal Iraqi crackdown on the Kurds. After financing an abortive uprising, it left the hapless Kurds to the mercy of Saddam’s Republican Guards. Actions like this have already shown that George W. Bush is merely carrying forward the American tradition of fortifying its global interests.
Ashoke Dasgupta, Canada
Sir — The sorry situation in which the coalition finds itself today can be blamed squarely on George W. Bush and the British prime minister, Tony Blair. Neither of them paid any heed to international opinion or the UN when they went to war against Iraq. They now find themselves alienated from the global community. Although some smaller countries like Poland and Albania have sent some troops to assist the beleaguered coalition forces, Bush and Blair cannot expect similar assistance from countries like Germany and France or India and China. The Iraq conflict was solely the handiwork of the spin doctors in the American and British government. They should now be ready to reap the bitter fruits of their own actions.
Bijoy Ranjan Dey, Tinsukia
Sir — It is surprising that the US’s attempts to obtain help from other countries have met with such tepid response, even when most of the countries, some of them at the receiving end of global terror, had voiced their support to George W. Bush’s fight against the axis of evil. However, when the time has come to aid the world’s only superpower in this important goal, these “friends” have suddenly developed cold feet owing to international and domestic compulsions. History will certainly not pardon this betrayal.
Asoke C. Banerjee, Cambridge, US
Terror catches up
Sir — The detective department of the Calcutta Police deserves to be congratulated for locating a huge cache of arms meant to be used for terror strikes all over the country. When their more famed counterparts in Mumbai have failed to prevent one blast after the other, the police in our city has been successful in pre-empting the occurrence of such events.
Sumant Poddar, Calcutta
Sir — The discovery of 25,000 AK-47 bullets from an abandoned truck in the city raises a few uncomfortable questions. Why was it not detected when it was stationed in the port area for a month' Can one still call Calcutta an “oasis of peace”'
Ramesh Gupta, Calcutta
Sir — The latest arms haul from Calcutta proves that Pakistan’s Inter-services Intelligence is spreading its tentacles all over the country. The permanent fencing along the Bangladesh border needs to be completed on a war footing.
Sunidhi Basu, Calcutta