Leander Paes will be missed
Sir — The Indian tennis star, Leander Paes, has announced that he will retire after the Tokyo Olympics. He is an all-time tennis doubles great, having won eight doubles and 10 mixed doubles Grand Slam titles. He also holds the record for the most Davis Cup doubles titles with 44 wins. Apart from the redoubtable Roger Federer, tennis players usually retire in their early or mid-30s. Paes, amazingly, still plays the game with verve at 46. With Mahesh Bhupathi, he took Indian tennis to new heights. His memorable win in singles tennis came in 1998 when he defeated Pete Sampras in straight sets in the third round of the Pilot Pen International championship. He will be missed on the tennis court.
Sir — The police violence unleashed upon ordinary citizens in Uttar Pradesh in the wake of peaceful protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act is appalling. The chief minister of the state, Yogi Adityanath, has unabashedly hailed it. If the right wing is successful in its suspected designs, the religious divide in the state and in the country will widen, with the fear of more bloodshed and destruction. The vandalism, allegedly carried out by the police, in the house of Haji Hamid Hasan — a 72-year-old timber trader in Muzaffarnagar — a few nights ago was nothing short of wanton aggression with the Muslim community as its target. It was painful to read Hasan’s account of how nearly 30 policemen barged into his house, beat him up with sticks and a rifle butt, broke furniture, electronic equipment and bathroom fittings and also looted all the jewellery and cash in the old man’s almirah (“‘You’ve only two places, Pakistan or Kabristan’”, Dec 26).
The most shameful part, however, was that the policemen reportedly did not even spare the ladies in the house from verbal abuse. They also assaulted Hasan’s son, Md Shahid, and took him away. Hasan and Shahid had participated in the protests after Friday prayers. Is it not too much of a coincidence that the raid at their house took place soon after?
There have been numerous other incidents of police atrocities in the state. It must always be remembered that the police force is under the state government. Such violence must be prosecuted. If there are any legitimate complaints against civilians by the police, then the proper process of the law must be followed. If Adityanath has the support of the Central government, helmed by the prime minister, Narendra Modi, then the BJP may end up losing the support of the people. By then, however, the country will be irreversibly fractured.
Asit Kumar Mitra,
Sir — The Telegraph has consistently been reporting on the barbaric acts of violence by the police since the anti-CAA protests started. The latest is the horrific incident narrated by the septuagenarian in Muzaffarnagar, Haji Hamid Hasan. The police broke into and vandalized his house, assaulted him, beat up and took away his son and hurled abuses at the women. They also looted five lakh rupees and jewellery — set aside for the weddings of Hasan’s two granddaughters — at gunpoint. All of this, because Hasan and his son had peacefully protested against the National Register of Citizens.
The UP chief minister has openly commended such unspeakable violence. When I was reading the newspaper in the morning, my twin grandsons, who are around seven years old, looked at the pictures depicting the scenes of vandalism at Hasan’s house and asked me what they were all about. I kept quiet, as I am not yet ready to subject their tender minds to such terrible realities.
Sir — Yogi Adityanath has praised the police violence against anti-CAA protesters in his state. This is a moment of great shame for our nation — an elected head has not only unleashed violence on ordinary people, but has also boasted about it. He claimed that the “strictness” of his government has shocked and silenced everyone.
It is clear that the BJP, both at the Centre and in UP, have no regard for the Constitution of India, and Adityanath and the UP police fear no consequences for their actions. How does the BJP expect to retain the support of the people if this is how it treats citizens?
Sir — Air passengers have their ticket details verified by security personnel at the departure gates of the airport. Upon producing valid identification proof and an e-ticket, passengers can proceed to the check-in counters. Being allowed to produce e-tickets on electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets has allowed many passengers as well as airlines to save paper. Otherwise, tonnes of paper get wasted if people take printouts of tickets. However, owing to a lack of awareness, many passengers still rely on printouts instead of just producing soft copies.
To prevent unnecessary paper usage, airline carriers should provide incentives to passengers who use soft copies of tickets instead of paper-based ones. Organizations such as the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation, the International Civil Aviation Organization, the Airports Council International and the International Air Transport Association should extensively promote the use of paperless tickets for domestic travel. This will go a long way in protecting the environment.