Sir — The Bush administration is fast turning into a joke — and one that few people find amusing at all. Look at the games to prevent the world from knowing George W. Bush was about to descend on Iraq in his flying chariot (“Flight to Baghdad: Untold story”, Nov 29). The elaborate feints — spiriting away mediapersons to Waco, telling them not to even tell friends and family where they were off to, throwing nosy parkers off the track by telling them that the president intended spending Thanksgiving with his parents. One would think the American special security learnt such silly cloak and dagger stuff from bad spy novels. Bush’s paranoia is understandable — he has much to fear. But he has only himself to blame for the sorry mess he is in. No one asked him to wage war on Iraq, in fact, people repeatedly told him not to. The price of unpopularity, unfortunately in this case, is living with the fear of assassination.
Ranjan Basu, Calcutta
Guilty but free
Sir — The headline, “Judges fume but Jaya walks free” (Nov 25), captures the helplessness of even judges in India. The Supreme Court judges, P. Venkatarama Reddi and S. Rajendra Babu, were well aware of the fact that the Tamil Nadu chief minister was guilty and had tried to manipulate the system to acquire property, but she could not be punished by law. I do not think there is anything in this verdict for either J. Jayalalithaa or her party to rejoice. It is rather naïve to expect Jayalalithaa to be bothered about the morality of her actions. It is a shame that tax-payers’ money is spent to provide security to such people.
R.B. Easwaran, Chennai
Sir — The Supreme Court’s acquittal of J. Jayalalithaa in the Tansi land deal cases exposes the futility of codes of conduct in public life. The judges found Jayalalithaa guilty of the allegations brought against her and noted that she “went to any length to save her skin”. But she could not be punished because the judges made a fine distinction between government property and that of Tansi “a corporation with a separate entity from...the government”. But anyone with a sense of morality befitting such a high public post should have stepped down, heeding the court’s condemnation, despite the acquittal on purely technical grounds. The people of India can imagine their plight if the proposed third front, headed by Jayalalithaa, comes to power.
Asit Kumar Mitra, Calcutta
Sir — Delivering the verdict in a case pending for 14 months is an example of “justice delayed is justice denied”. It has become futile in India these days to move court against powerful politicians like J. Jayalalithaa. We seem to have two sets of laws, one for VIPs who are defended by highly-paid lawyers and the other for ordinary people. A code of conduct is futile for politicians who openly defy them.
Subhash Chandra Agrawal, Dariba
Sir — Biharis in Assam are being beaten up allegedly for taking up jobs meant for the local population. This is a phenomenon happening all over India. Biharis are resented in Jharkhand while Bengalis are resented in Bihar in much the same way as Gujaratis are despised in Mumbai. While locals are bound by culture and limited by social bonds and morals, the settlers, not similarly bound, are free to indulge in cut throat practices. The Centre had better take measures to protect the rights of locals, who can be defined as per the census of 1971, not of 2001, as those who have studied up to class 10 in a state. A state-wise quota for recruitment in Central and public sector jobs as in the army, may be tried. In fact, this reservation should be district-wise, so that jobs in backward districts are not taken up by people from the state capital or developed districts. A person may settle and do business anywhere in India, but only locals should be considered for government jobs.
Bhujanga, via email
Sir — Whatever happened to the Mizo girl on a train in Bihar was a heinous crime but what happened in retaliation in Assam was even more disturbing. There was more to it than “revenge”. The fortunes of the United Liberation Front of Asom and the All Assam Students’ Union are on the wane — this was their chance to come to the limelight again. The country has already broken into many pieces over various issues; the demand for jobs for sons of the soil has become another factor dividing us. Are we not all sons of India' If this goes on, we will be confined to our home states only and national unity and the economy will take a beating. Clearly, the law and order machinery has broken down in many states, which is why a few troublemakers managed to wreak such havoc.
Govind Das Dujari, Calcutta
Sir — While Laloo Prasad Yadav is right to ask the Centre to stop hiding its own failures by always bringing in the Inter-Services Intelligence, he did much the same by blaming the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena for the unrest in Assam (“Laloo lash for backlash theory”, Nov 25). As usual, politicians have exploited the carnage to gain political mileage while civilians bore the brunt of the violence. What will happen to the countless daily wage earners who have been robbed of their home and hearth'
T.S.H. Bordoloi, Guwahati