House of chaos
Sir — The scuffle in the West Bengal legislative assembly that led to two lady MLAs — one from the ruling party and one from the Opposition — engaging in a “street fight” along with others, was shameful (“House slugfest over chit fund”, Dec12). One wonders how the conscience of the members of the legislative assembly could allow for such a vulgar display of discord. The Left may have grown restless in all these months in which it has been out of power. It also seems that the Trinamul Congress leaders have been emboldened by the public support that had brought them to power.
Before the brawl, the Opposition had demanded a discussion on the unbridled growth of chit funds in the state. Chit funds have been known for swindling money. A discussion should have been allowed in the assembly for the sake of public welfare. Instead, there was squabbling and chaos.
Mamata Banerjee’s government should learn the lesson of tolerance and leave more space for constructive dialogue. Shameful situations in the legislative assembly should be avoided at all cost. Otherwise, one would imagine that the party supremo’s tacit indulgence fuels such scenes.
Subhankar Mukherjee, Borehat, Burdwan
Sir — People send their representatives to the houses of the legislature so that the latter can formulate the best policies needed to inculcate a healthy democratic spirit. Unfortunately, it seems that political parties themselves fail to nominate the best candidates for this purpose, and consequently, the culture of democracy suffers. Nowadays, politics has become a battlefield in which there is no place for social leaders who actually want the welfare of the people.
The brawl in the West Bengal legislative assembly — one would call it a circus — suggested that the state is approaching the dark age of democracy. It is believed that education and awareness increase tolerance. However, the scene at the assembly might make one suppose that the elected representatives are insufficiently educated. Are they not aware of constitutional responsibilities and behaviour? The assembly is a forum for healthy debates. Every MLA should have the right to express his or her point of view. The chief minister and the speaker should act as the guardians of civility in the House and impose order.
Uttam K. Bhowmik, Tamluk
Sir — The assaults and counter-assaults among the MLAs in the West Bengal state assembly were unfortunate. But what was more unfortunate was the way in which Deblina Hembram, the MLA from the Communist Part of India (Marxist) who was part of the brawl in the assembly, was treated at the SSKM hospital (“Us-and-them cry at SSKM”, Dec 12). Hembram had complained of pain in the chest and abdomen following the scuffle. At SSKM, she was sent for an X-ray, after which the physicians told her that she did not need to be admitted. It seems as if the doctors examined the traumatized MLA perfunctorily. If representatives of the people are treated this way at one of the best state hospitals, who can say what is in store for the common people?
Ujjal K. Pal, Calcutta
Sir — Sometime back, at a news conference in London, Rehman Malik, Pakistan’s interior ministry chief, had demanded that India apologize for sending Surjeet Singh to spy in Pakistan. Recently, as a guest and an ‘ambassador of goodwill’ in India, he spoke of the Mumbai attacks and the Babri Masjid riots in the same breath (“Fall guy”, Dec 18), implying that the former was a result of the failure of India’s law and order system. More than once, Pakistan has denied involvement in this issue, which touches a raw nerve in India. This applies even to Pakistan’s bilateral relationships with other countries. For example, when Osama bin Laden had taken shelter in Pakistan, his presence in the country had been denied by the country’s officials.
The evidence shown by India of Pakistan’s complicity in incidents such as the Mumbai carnage will never be acceptable to the latter, even if the evidence is backed by irrefutable proof. The liberalized visa regime is welcome, but it is doubtful how much it will contribute to improved relations between the two countries.
H.N. Ramakrishna, Bangalore