Sir — Where was Yasmin Sheikh all this while, and why has she made an appearance now with claims to the ownership of Best Bakery' Is this all a gambit to stall the Best Bakery case, to ensure that the guilty go unpunished' Even if the Bharatiya Janata Party had no part in propping up Yasmin Sheikh, her appearance must be very convenient for the party, which has been caught on the wrong foot by the accusations of Zahira Sheikh (“Zahira sister-in-law blames marriage”, Sept 20). However if Yasmin does have a genuine grievance about being deprived of her rights over the property, it is doubly sad that she is being used by vested interests to divert attention from the only thing that is of importance here — the burning alive of 14 people. The Best Bakery litigation — which had seemed well on the way to a denouement, thanks to the Supreme Court — now seems to be going the way of the Ayodhya dispute, which has been postponed indefinitely owing to political feuds.
M. Chakravorty, Calcutta
Sir — I am appalled at the reaction of the Christian community to Dara Singh’s death sentence. The All India Christian Council has hailed the verdict in the Graham Staines case as a “vindication of the faith of the common man and especially of the Christian community in the judicial system” (“Death row Dara calms lifer dozen”, Sept 23). Christianity does not approve of the death sentence, whatever the crime. The AICC did not even pay lip service to the principle of forgiveness Christ stood by, no one said they would rather have Dara Singh live than die.
The death sentence is doubly unfair because Dara Singh is only the fall guy: the real motivators of the crime will never be caught. Also, how can one judgment vindicate faith in the Indian judiciary' Justice hasn’t been done in the Babri Masjid demolition case nor in Gujarat, where both Muslims and Hindus died. Even today, the Supreme Court is struggling to ensure justice is done. Thus the law is far from perfect.
Every time nuns are raped or Christians are persecuted, there is much hue and cry. Isn’t that selfishness on the part of Christians' Why do they not protest when women of other religion are raped in India'
Arvin Goney, Calcutta
Sir — Dara Singh’s conviction should be a warning to the saffron fanatics who think they can get away with anything (“Court convicts Dara Singh, Gladys forgives”, Sept 16). But one cannot help being sceptical about the timing of the verdict. There are two reasons for this. One, the need to divert attention from the Rae Bareli verdict on the Ayodhya issue. Two, this may be a ploy by the National Democratic Alliance to appease the minorities in the run-up to the general and assembly polls.
Gladys Staines has said that she does not have any hard feeling for those involved in her husband’s murder. But, did Graham Staines deserve such a brutal death by someone out to fulfil some fanatic political agenda' In the circumstances, it is amazing that Gladys Staines can say that she has faith in the Indian judiciary, since most of the time it is busy settling scandals and refereeing political games.
Sudeep Purkayastha, Calcutta
Sir — The death sentence on Dara Singh should bring home to Praveen Togadia and his kind that the judiciary will not tolerate such crimes. They should draw lessons from Gladys Staines who has “forgiven” the murderer of her husband and children and is continuing her work among the leprosy-affected. In retrospect, even the death penalty is not adequate punishment for their crime.
Kalyan Ghosh, Calcutta
Sir — For Dara Singh and others like him, Graham Staines’s only crime was that he had served the people of Orissa for 30 years, and he paid with his life for it. Gladys Staines may have forgiven Dara Singh, but the law must take its course.
Grace A. Singh, Shillong
Sir — Every criminal has to pay for his crimes. So Dara Singh will also pay for the murder of Graham Staines. The decision of the court has been given front-page billing in all newspapers. Similar importance has been given to reports of the Best Bakery case. But the decision in another case, which had rocked the country for months with protests, country-wide bandhs and even appeals to international forums to act against India’s “oppression” of Christians, was played down by the media. That was the Jhabua rape case in which the involvement of Hindu organizations was taken for granted. But when it was found that most of the accused were Christians themselves, the verdict was not given as much coverage. Is this not biased reporting'
Udita Agrawal, New Delhi
Men in fashion
Sir — Sanghamitra Bhowmik encapsulates the changing attitude of men towards fashion (“Image management”, Sept 6). Men have, of late, realized that good grooming helps in their personal and professional lives. This shows that men are ready to accept any challenge from women. Earlier, the kitchen was the domain of women alone, but now men have entered it and quite successfully too — some of the best chefs in the world are men.
Masood Md Sohail, Calcutta
Sir — In the times gone by, men thought nothing of adorning themselves with fine jewellery and wearing colourful clothes. It was much later that strict and separate dress codes developed for the two sexes. Things have come to such a pass now that if a man pays some attention to grooming, he is dismissed as “unmanly”. But can the desire to look good be suppressed for long, irrespective of sex' Men today are shedding their inhibitions and marching along with women, in terms of fashion. And a new breed of designers and the media are taking advantage of this to further their interests.
Manaspratim Basu, Calcutta