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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Letters to Editor

Step on the gas

Sir ' It came as a shock to read that India was setting off an arms race in south Asia ('Big shopper Delhi fuels arms race', June 10). What about Pakistan's arms acquisition plans' If India is buying 126 multi-role combat aircraft, Pakistan is buying 250 ' 150-JF-17s from China, 70-F-16s from the US, among other things. If India is buying 66 advanced jet trainers, Pakistan has already 120 trainers in collaboration with China. The truth is that compared to our south Asian neighbours, India is under-spending on defence.

Yours faithfully,
Mousumi Sen, Calcutta


Lost at sea

Sir ' The sinking of the charred MV Faiz was inevitable ('Faiz mission called off', June 8). A badly damaged ship cannot weather the constant battering by waves in the open sea for long. Efforts should have been made to pull the ship ashore much earlier. The deliberate delay in doing so leads one to suspect that the deaths of the ship's captain and his family were not accidental and that the culprits are now trying to destroy vital evidence. What is astonishing is that they are being allowed to get away with it.

Yours faithfully,
Arjun Chaudhuri, Calcutta


Sir ' MV Faiz's captain and his family could have fallen prey to a diabolical plot hatched by the ship's crew. In this context, the unusual disappearance of the ship's chief officer, Rajiv Lahiri, should be investigated and the offenders brought to justice.

Yours faithfully,
Kalyan Choudhuri, Calcutta


Sir ' From the story, as pieced together from the report, 'Burnt family on ship' (May 6 ), it is clear that the captain of MV Faiz, P.P. Shelley, tried valiantly to rescue his crew from the blazing vessel that claimed all four members of his family. It was the captain's grit and sense of duty that saved the lives of so many of his crew. In this age, when people are found wanting in such qualities, Shelley's bravery is exemplary. The government may consider naming an island after him.

Yours faithfully,
Surajit Das, Calcutta


Sir ' Without going into the foul-play theories, it is possible to recreate an entirely plausible sequence of events from the facts that have come to light in the media. The blaze on MV Faiz must have engulfed the cargo ship very fast. Such was its intensity, that Rajiv Lahiri did not even have the time to put on a life-jacket and jumped off the ship to save himself. The fire must have been at its worst when Lahiri jumped, which also explains why the captain and his family did not get a chance to escape. Shelley's bravery cannot be denied, but many of us don't know that according to maritime conventions, the captain must be the last one to abandon the ship if a mishap occurs.

Yours faithfully,
Govind Das Dujari, Calcutta


Parting shot

Sir ' There's a lot to be said for the Darjeeling wildlife department's plan to hold 'Wildlife camp for schoolkids' (June 2). But schoolchildren must be made aware of the need to respect all animals, irrespective of their being endangered or rare. Schoolchildren can be seen everywhere pelting stones at street dogs or killing birds just for fun. Out for a morning walk the other day, I saw a taxi carrying children of a prestigious school in Darjeeling stop and a firecracker thrown out of the backdoor at a street dog. Nothing can be done for endangered wildlife unless the mindset of children and adults is geared towards compassion for all life forms.

Yours faithfully,
Akanksha Saxena, Darjeeling


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