Go green; Call for justice; Futile exercise
- Published 5.09.18
• Sir - Calcutta's environmental activists must be commended for their continued opposition to the proposed construction of a flyover connecting the E.M. Bypass with New Town through the East Calcutta Wetlands. They recently appealed to the Union environment ministry to prevent the wetlands from being destroyed in this manner. Besides recycling water naturally, the wetlands also support the agricultural and piscicultural livelihoods of local communities. They are a breath of fresh air amid the pollution and concrete in the city. The fragile ecological balance must not be disturbed.
Call for justice
• Sir - The report presented by the investigative panel of the United Nations on the crimes committed against the Rohingya population in Myanmar last year is disturbing for democracies across the world ("Myanmar hit with genocide charge", Aug 28). The military junta in Myanmar is infamous for having perpetrated severe atrocities against its own countrymen during its dictatorship. It had also imprisoned the then popular leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. Later, Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her fight to restore democracy in the country.
However, since Suu Kyi's party came to power, she has remained silent about the persecution of the Rohingya community by the military, cooperating with her one-time captors. This raises questions about her credibility as the de facto civilian leader of the nation.
• Sir - The Rohingyas, a predominantly Muslim minority community who are natives of the Rakhine state in Myanmar, are not officially acknowledged as citizens by the country. Last year, they were subject to crimes such as murder, torture and rape by the security forces of Myanmar. Owing to this, about seven lakh Rohingyas had to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh as refugees.
Such gross violations of human rights have occurred on the watch of Aung San Suu Kyi, who has a Nobel Peace Prize to her name. In fact, this even led to talks of having her Nobel Prize revoked. Recently, the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar termed the event a genocide, meant to destroy an ethnic group. The UN has also stated that the commander-in-chief of the Myanmar army, Min Aung Hlaing, as well as five other generals who are responsible for this crime should be tried in the International Criminal Court. The UN's prosecution of the people responsible for the war crimes in Rwanda in 1994 and the massacre in Bosnia in 1995, makes one hopeful that justice will be meted out in this case as well.
Vijay Dattatray Patil,
• Sir - The allegation of genocide brought by the UN against the military and political leaders of Myanmar is the first glimmer of hope for justice. The government's silence on this issue underlines it complicity. The UN has failed to effectively intervene in several instances of human rights' violations across the world, as in the ongoing crisis in Palestine. But its promptness in the case of Myanmar is appreciable. The government and the military should cooperate with the UN to ensure justice for the victims.
• Sir - The crackdown on intellectuals in five states in India is connected with the eight-month-old Bhima-Koregaon violence. The Pune police further claim that they have found evidence pointing to a plan to assassinate the prime minister, Narendra Modi.
Interestingly, the arrests coincided with the renewed glare on pro- Hindutva activists who had murdered the rationalist, Narendra Dabholkar. In reality, the arrests of intellectuals is an attempt by the State to distract citizens from recognizing Hindutva extremism for what it is. Under the supervision of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Bharatiya Janata Party, this violent ideology is flourishing. The Narendra Modi-led government is trying to intimidate journalists who question its ideology, and people who speak up for the underprivileged sections of society. If the BJP thinks such atrocities on citizens will help it win the general elections next year, it should think again. Democracy in India is in danger. Citizens must set things right with their votes.
Ashim Kumar Chakraborty,
• Sir - Supporters of Hindutva politics are only productive when it comes to churning out illogical, abusive words and phrases which can be flung at all who do not agree with them. At first, the term, 'pseudo-secular', was doing the rounds. Then, the term, 'anti-national', was popularized. Now, the phrase, 'urban Naxal', is being tossed around, not just by belligerent anchors on Indian news channels, but also by members of the police force in Pune.