War against the terrorist
Sir — The lack of enthusiasm in the Indian quarters over Dawood Ibrahim having won the accolade of an “international terrorist” from the United States of America is not without reason (“Cops hear bell tolling for Dawood”, Oct 17). For the Indian authorities seeking his deportation since the Mumbai blasts, America’s calling Ibrahim names will not change ground realities. The “terrorist”, much like so many other terrorists, is safely ensconced in Pakistan. And India will not get to touch him till Pakistan so wills. If Ibrahim’s men, including his brother, have been deported to India from the United Arab Emirates over the past few months, it is probably because they had become redundant to his team. It is possible that Pakistan too thinks that Ibrahim is becoming a bit too big for his shoes — the most probable reason behind the sudden US recognition of his international stature. In other words, if Ibrahim sinks to size, he can keep off the Indians, internationally.
N. Ganguly, Calcutta
Free for all
Sir — Since our city seems to be somewhat exercised about rallying for its rights, I propose a scientific solution which is as follows. Let rallies and public demonstrations be totally unrestricted in time, space and effect. This would mean that the residences of former chief ministers could as easily be gheraoed as those of anyone else, that rallies could obstruct ministerial routes as much as they could obstruct traffic near hospitals, that all cars, be they taxis or red-light-toting VIP cars, would be equally stalled in traffic, and that any child, be she a van-puller’s dehydrated six-month-old unphotographed daughter or that of a proletariat-representing minister, would have an equal right or duty to die in stalled traffic while greater causes are being pursued by the rallyists.
This rule would generate its own dynamics, and I think we would soon see a solution that would be favourable to all; that is, the citizens of this city would enjoy the rights of free movement at all times, currently available only to their elected servants.
Anita Sen, Calcutta
Sir — The Left Front government of West Bengal finds itself in a quandary following the death of Shabana Parveen. While taking care of its political compulsions, it also has to keep its self-professed pro-poor, pro-minority face intact. Again, while it has to woo foreign investment and business to improve Bengal’s economic stock, it cannot but hold the city to ransom by its culture of rallies. With such double standards who will take the Left Front seriously' The political muscle-flexing under the pretext of preserving democratic rights is shameful.
Manjishtha Sur Roy Chowdhury, Calcutta
Sir — The death of Shabana Parveen is murder and we all are responsible for it (“City rallies, baby dies”, Oct 15). No one living in West Bengal can absolve himself of this crime. If today we find our politicians responsible for the death, then we should not forget that it is we who gave them our mandate. Since the people of this state remain mute spectators to these lapses on the part of the administration, the political establishment has taken it for granted that the man on the street can only make noises, he cannot act. This idea has to change.
The recent course of events in West Bengal would have been unimaginable in the United Kingdom, where public pressure would have been severe on the prime minister. In comparison, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee seems safe here. The media, too, will forget Shabana in a few days till another Shabana dies.
Partha Das Chowdhury,
Sir — It is a matter of great sadness that one is confronted with the news of the death of children every time one turns the pages of the newspaper. More irksome is the callousness with which politicians react to these incidents. While the elite, the moneyed and the influential, get utmost care in the city’s hospitals and nursing homes, the poor are left to die on the street.
The Left Front should understand that going against the court on the matter of rallies has tarnished its image beyond repair. Though it is true that Bengalis have no alternative to the left, should there not be greater sensitivity on the part of the rulers'
Debanjana Chatterjee, Calcutta
Sir — What does the democratic right to rally, picket and demonstrate in public places mean for Naseema and Ashraf Parveen, who lost their only child to the politics of the left' Nothing. Democracy, Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, does not give your party the right to trample on the more fundamental right of the poor to live.
Jang Bahadur Singh, Jamshedpur
Sir — We cannot help congratulating our Left Front leaders and our health authorities. Keep it up. So intense was your “democratic” movement, that even a six-month-old infant had to lay down her life to justify your process of re-establishing a democratic right of flouting the court.
Subhadip Pal, Calcutta
Sir — None of the political leaders expressed any genuine regret at the tragedy that had befallen the Parveens. There were some perfunctory condolences. Would these people have reacted the same way had the same misfortune visited their family'
Simanti Banerjee, Calcutta
Sir — Whether Shabana Parveen died because of rallies of because of medical negligence is irrelevant. Even if the second cause were taken to be a more valid reason for her death, would that absolve the government of its folly'
Sumant Poddar, Calcutta
Sir — It seems that under Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s rule, the people of Bengal have to remain buddhus (fools). And remember, the king can do no wrong.
B.R. Dasgupta, Calcutta