Sir — The demise of the legendary footballer and coach, Pradip Kumar Banerjee, has left a void in Indian football. Debuting for the Indian national team in 1955, Banerjee scored 65 goals in just 84 matches. He was rightly awarded the Fifa Centennial Order of Merit, the Fifa Fair Play award, the Arjuna Award as well as the Padma Shri for his contributions to the game. He was part of the gold-winning Indian team at the 1962 Asian Games in Jakarta as well as the national team at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics which reached the semi-finals.
As a coach, too, he had an illustrious record: he won 54 trophies for club and country. Banerjee will also be remembered as an encouraging coach whose inspirational speeches, famously known as his ‘vocal tonic’, would motivate the players to give their best. His absence will be deeply felt.
Sir — The death of P.K. Banerjee, who had dedicated more than 50 years of his life to football, marks the end of an era. Banerjee, along with Chuni Goswami and Tulsidas Balaram, were considered to be among the best of players and were dubbed the ‘holy trinity’. Banerjee was also the last surviving scorer of the 1962 Asian gold-winning team. He will always be remembered for his ability to motivate the players. A few years ago, I was fortunate to meet him at Baghbazar Sarbojanin during Durga Puja. When I offered my salutations, he humbly said that it is not him, but the young players who do not get a square meal and yet catch the first train to Calcutta to practise, who deserve our praise. They are the real “soldiers of football”. I will always remember those words.
Sir — It was both alarming and amusing to read about the bizarre incident in Spain where a man in an orange Tyrannosaurus Rex costume waddled down a street to discard his trash amid a nation-wide lockdown. A video shows the man being intercepted by the police, who later clarified online that people are only allowed to walk their pets, and a T-Rex does not count. The clarification as well as the incident understandably induced a great deal of mirth globally. Humour is needed at a time when people are battling feelings of claustrophobia as well as fears of illness. However, we must also realize that now is not the time to flout lockdown rules. The lives of millions depend on us staying indoors.
Sir — At long last, justice has been delivered in the 2012 Delhi gang rape case. All four men who were convicted of the gruesome crime that led to the death of a 23-year-old paramedic student were hanged on March 20 in Tihar jail. It took seven long years to provide a sense of closure to the family of the woman.
However, in cases which are as grisly as this, it is important for strict punishment to be meted out at the earliest. This might lead to a decline in the number of crimes committed against women. One hopes that the justice system in our country speeds up its pace to deal with such cases efficiently in the future.
Sir — It was heartening to hear that justice has finally prevailed and the four convicts in the 2012 gang rape case in Delhi have been executed. Although justice was delayed, mainly due to the many loopholes in our legal system, it was not denied. The amended Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, which was passed in Parliament in the aftermath of the furore over the trial of one of the culprits as a juvenile, is a step in the right direction. One hopes that this marks a new dawn and helps us fight crimes against women in India.
Sir — Over the last couple of months the four men convicted in the Delhi gang rape case had filed numerous curative and mercy petitions in a final effort to commute the death sentence; three of them had even approached the International Court of Justice in hopes of relief. However, all of them were finally hanged to death last Friday, thus bringing to an end one of the darkest chapters in the history of India. It is impossible to imagine how much the woman’s family must have suffered for the last seven years awaiting the delivery of justice. One hopes that this serves as a warning to those who view women as a commodity and consider them to be less than human.
Sir — The method of execution by hanging to death and keeping the body suspended for another half an hour is barbaric and must be abolished (“Pre-dawn hanging of 4, with no last wishes”, March 21). This prolongs the process unnecessarily and the relatives of the executed have to wait for a long time before they are allowed access to the body to initiate funeral services. It is also a very painful way to die, and should not be allowed.
If the death sentence is deemed necessary, there are other, more humane ways for carrying it out that can be considered. The goal, in exceptional cases such as this, should be to expedite the legal process and deliver justice in a swift and humane manner.
Asit Kumar Mitra,