Bridge over troubled waters
Sir — Even as the entire country grapples with religious hatred and suspicion, it does good to see Gladys Staines refuse to succumb to hate even while nursing personal grief (“Court convicts Dara Singh, Gladys forgives”, Sept 16). Although the judge has finally pronounced Dara Singh as guilty, the decision is hardly enough to compensate her for her loss. Most women would have, expectedly, been overwhelmed by the trauma of losing a husband and two young sons in such a gruesome manner. And then there was the trauma of the long drawn-out court battle, which must have prolonged her nightmare. But through all this, Staines has maintained her dignity and more important, continued to work for the leprosy-affected people at the Mayurbhanj leprosy home in Orissa, quietly and efficiently. Even more fantastic, she says she has “forgiven” the perpetrators of the heinous crime. Indeed, this woman from Australia is a shining example of humanity in these dark and difficult times.
Arun Mukherjee, Calcutta
Keeping the faith
Sir — The Supreme Court’s criticism of Narendra Modi should serve as a warning to the chief minister of Gujarat that he cannot get away with flouting the law of the country (“Apex court cloud on Modi rule”, Sept 14). Instead of upholding the Constitution, as his office call upon him to do, Modi has chosen to fulfil the agenda of the Hindu right. He should remember that Gujarat is not his personal fiefdom. Hopefully Modi will end his nefarious designs in the state now that he has been reprimanded by the court.
Chiranjib Haldar, Calcutta
Sir— After the Gujarat riots last year, it had seemed that the Centre was in a tacit arrangement with the state government to turn a blind eye to the plight of the Muslim victims. But the apex court’s recent verdict has put a spanner in the works. With this the court has vindicated the faith that the common citizen has in it.
T.R. Anand, Calcutta
Sir — The Gujarat government’s role in the post-Godhra witch hunt against Muslims in the state was a matter of national shame. Even more shamefully, neither were the victims given justice nor were the perpetrators punished for their crime. The fact that the apex court has been forced to step in and reprimand Narendra Modi’s government shows that the Centre has lost the political will to discipline rogue states and their chief ministers. Such weakness does not augur well for Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government as it goes to the polls next year.
Sonali Singh, Calcutta
Sir — The argument of the additional solicitor general, Mukul Rohatgi, in defence of the Gujarat government cannot be entirely dismissed (“Court declares loss of faith in Modi”, Sept 13). The Supreme Court bench, headed by the chief justice, V.N. Khare, shot down Rohatgi’s reference to the anti-Sikh riots of 1984 in which not a single person was put behind the bars, with the question, "What will a court do if the government don’t bring facts and evidence during the prosecution'” The Supreme Court could have asked the government of New Delhi to quit or perform “raj dharma”, as it did in this instance. Why the difference when it comes to Gujarat' The riots that followed the Godhra incident cannot be justified, but it is difficult to prove guilt in cases of mob violence.
Jang Bahadur Singh, Jamshedpur
Sir — If Narendra Modi has a conscience, he should immediately resign.
S. Ram, Calcutta
Sir — The use of the word “straw” in the opening sentence of the editorial, “Making History” (Sept 14), brings to Winston Churcill’s comment during the debate over the proposal to grant independence to India, “You do not seem to know that you are proposing to hand over power to men of straw”. How prophetic! There have been more communal riots in the 55 years after the British quit India than in the 90 years of their rule. Then we blamed the British rulers for dividing the Hindus and Muslims — who has been at fault after the British left' “Men of straw” like Modi. Sadly, no Indian politician has ever been tried or punished for engineering riots. At worst, they may have had to quit office. But just because one is an elected head of government does not mean that one cannot get away with any crime.
C.V.K. Moorthy, Calcutta
Sir — The news report, “Gujarat youth on terror path” (Sept 10), talks of a disturbing trend. But, considering the manner in which minorities were targeted in Gujarat and the brazenness with which the administration colluded in the genocide, this is not surprising . How would we react if we had to watch helplessly as our houses were burnt, shops looted and women raped' And, to add insult to injury, the perpetrators of the crimes roamed freely with the blessing of the administration' Surely this had something to do with the minorities resorting to terrorism.
To say this is not to justify the method of the aggrieved but to underline that violence, if promoted, breeds more violence. While the administration must crack down on terrorists, the human aspect of the problem should not be ignored.
Faiz Ahmad, Calcutta
Sir — The editorial, “Making History”, was unnecessarily harsh on Hindus. The record of prosecution of no state government in India is even barely “satisfactory”. Unfortunately, the editorial gives the unrealistic impression that the prosecution record is excellent in every state except Gujarat. But what about the many cases of attacks against Hindus which have not been registered' Why does the court ignore these'
Ashok Shaw, Renganiapara, Asansol
Sir — Pseudo-secularists have welcomed the Supreme Court’s criticism of the Narendra Modi regime. But judged objectively, is the apex court empowered to ask the democratically-elected chief minister of a state to resign' The court should have given the state government more time to book the guilty. Besides, the court’s concern about the violation of raj dharma in Gujarat is misplaced. What then of states like West Bengal, Bihar or Jammu and Kashmir where scores of innocent people are killed due to militancy, political violence or caste wars' Seen in this light, the apex court’s verdict is a reminder of the increasing politicization of the judiciary.
Manish Chowdhary, Calcutta
Sir — Rather than deliberating on the failures of the Narendra Modi regime, the chief justice, V.N. Khare, should concentrate on removing corruption from the Indian judiciary. A huge number of pendencies and the presence of tainted judges have eroded the credibility of the judiciary.
Shailesh Gandhi, Mumbai