Sir — If we are lucky, Mamata Banerjee’s assumption that many Trinamool councillors and legislators had skipped the meeting convened by her because they did not give it any importance, may turn out to be true (“Mamata set for 3-month war on Buddha”, Nov 7). Banerjee had called the said meeting to work on her predictable plans to “unsettle” the state government through rallies, blockades and gheraos. The banality of such a concept should be obvious. Just when the city had made its displeasure known about the chosen mode of political protest, and some headway had been made towards its correction, Banerjee has decided to revert back to the beaten track. Perhaps her absentee councillors and legislators can guage the public mood much better than she will ever be able to. Banerjee’s ability to disrupt public life is legendary. Couldn’t she, for once, play the role of a constructive opposition leader'
Yours faithfully, Sujoy Samanta, Calcutta
Sir — Mallika Sarabhai has always been an outspoken person, and has emerged a persistent critic of the Narendra Modi government since the Gujarat carnage. Speaking out during the Godhra riots itself, she has even gone on to challenge the government in the Supreme Court last year. Her strong opposition to the government may be reason enough for the establishment to target her by implicating her on charges of cheating (“Mallika’s agony and anger burst forth”, Nov 7). If this is the case, then the situation could not have been worse for democracy and free speech in Gujarat. The diabolical Gujarat government seems to be sending out clear signals that anyone who opposes or criticizes it will not be spared and laws will be misused without hesitation. Which is why the course of actions taken against Sarabhai seems all too predictable.
Shailesh Gandhi, Mumbai
Sir — First there was the shocking news that a reputed dancer like Mallika Sarabhai had extorted money from her students under the pretext of a tour to the United States of America and Brazil. And now it is all the more shocking to find Sarabhai venting her anger through the internet in an open letter. But why is this case being given so much prominence by the media' Most important, where is Manushi Shah, Sarabhai’s former student who filed the case against her' She seems to have disappeared from the scene. Would it not be better if the media hunts down Shah and questions her straightaway to gain concrete evidence in the favour of Sarabhai' It does get a little tiring to read about charges and counter-charges for days on end.
S. Mukherjee, Calcutta
Sir — Mallika Sarabhai may be a very reputed and talented danseuse. And, for all we know, it may be true that she is being framed by the Narendra Modi government of her home state, Gujarat. Although Sarabhai’s anguish is understandable, given her status, she could choose her words more carefully while speaking on a public plane. She is reported to have said that neither this country nor its people deserve her. Such observations can only make her a laughing stock before the public. A public figure like her may expect some sense of gratitude from the public and her student community, but it would do her good if she had been less blatantly arrogant and pompous.
Anindya Ghosh, Calcutta
Sir — S.C. Saxena, who runs the National Council for Civil Liberty and is more famous for his campaign against Medha Patkar, seems to have been definite about the fact that Mallika Sarabhai would be hounded for her political activism. He had reportedly said that Sarabhai would be taught a lesson she will not forget in her life. If a noted dancer and eminent social figure like Sarabhai can be so openly threatened first and then have the threat carried out, is there any hope for countless other victims who turn their backs, and quite justifiably, to a criminal prosecution of their government'
Biman Chakraborty, Calcutta
Sound of silence
Sir — The Telegraph carried a picture of a mother praying for her son on the occasion of Chhat puja. On one hand there is such concern for the wellbeing of children, and on the other, we have the same people bursting firecrackers in hospital premises to celebrate the ritual (“Cracker ruckus repeat in hospital”, Nov 2). How can we be so selfish' The chief minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, has promised to stop all nuisance in hospitals and gone to the extent of barring the press from hospital premises. Can he stop a recurrence of such events in medical institutions'
Govind Das Dujari, Calcutta
Sir — Governor Viren J. Shah’s plea that hospital staff need to be “sensitive and compassionate” has fallen on deaf ears. The incident in which group-D staff celebrated Chhat puja inside hospital premises is a clear indication fact . It also shows that the militant trade unionism has impaired our healthcare system beyond repair.
Swaraj Mitra, Calcutta
Sir —Youngsters celebrated Diwali by bursting loud-sounding crackers at regular intervals on Prem Chand Boral Street, which is located half a kilometre away from Muchipara police station. This just goes to show that the police are an insensitive lot and have failed to implement the ban on crackers effectively.
Angshuman Das, Calcutta