Sir — Some young people in Calcutta were recently heckled and harassed over sharing posts that sought to promote veganism. Besides being called ‘fascist’, some of them even had to deal with rape and death threats being issued on social media. This is unacceptable. Irrespective of what we think of the opinions of others, we should learn to respect their right to hold these opinions in a democracy. Dire threats are as unacceptable when issued against extremists. In fact, it is a replication of the extremist mindset.
It is also important to make a distinction between those who try to force vegetarianism on sections of the population and those who try to propagate an alternative lifestyle for ethical or environmental reasons. Veganism or vegetarianism can go a long way towards reducing our carbon footprint. It is a positive change which can improve the world that we live in. People are free to disagree, but that should not mean that veganism should be confused with religious fundamentalism.
But it must also be mentioned that drastic measures like holding up dead chickens or taunting a Bengali’s love for fish — which is what happened in this instance — will not achieve desired results. Such tactics are nothing more than a flash in the pan and will end up harming the cause. Rational arguments are the best way to communicate a point.
Sir — Activists in Cape Town recently ran a marathon with saplings tied to their backs in order to raise awareness about planting native species instead of foreign, invasive species. Their cause is admirable. But saplings are fragile things that need to be handled with utmost care so that they survive once planted in the ground. How will the saplings stay unaffected by the jerks and jolts they suffered during the marathon? The same problem often affects massive plantation drives. Conservationists should take care that they do not end up causing more harm than good.
Sir — It is unfortunate that the consensus among political parties over the opposition to the amended Motor Vehicles Act is rarely seen on national issues or public safety (“The price of life”, Sept 17). The “competitive populism” among states to put the safety of the people on the back burner should be held responsible for the deaths in road accidents that take place henceforth.
In West Bengal, the “Safe Drive, Save Life” campaign has been reduced to an empty slogan without any legal teeth. Therefore, the state’s unwillingness to implement the Central law on road rules is only more dangerous for the people of Bengal. Common people’s safety hangs in the balance while politicians remain reluctant to implement stricter laws.
Sir — The sharp increase in fines in the amended Motor Vehicles Act appears to be based on logic. But effective implementation of the new law should be accompanied by other reforms like upgrading roads, eliminating corruption in the licensing system and inducing behavioural changes in both the public and lawmakers. The setting up of an appeals procedure to weed out excesses is also necessary.
It was Ángel Di María who lived up to his name and scored a brace Library
Sir — The UEFA Champions League match between Paris Saint-Germain F.C. and Real Madrid was everything that football lovers could ever ask for. Although it was a home game for PSG, the encounter was tough considering that their star players, Neymar Jr., Kylian Mbappé and Edinson Cavani, were out of action. But amazing football helped them score a comfortable victory against the likes of Eden Hazard, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema. It was Ángel Di María who lived up to his name and scored a brace. The so-called “Group of Death” is now open and it will be interesting to see who progresses to the next round.