Changing times: Is a surname necessary?
Sir — The decision by the municipal corporation at Nabadwip to deny a couple a birth certificate for their newborn son as they did not affix a surname in the application form comes as a blow to those of us fighting against the ills of caste and religion. According to a lawyer of the Calcutta High Court, a birth certificate can be issued without a surname as a previous ruling states that the government cannot force anyone to list their religion. If this is so, then the authorities must respect the couple’s wishes to raise their child without the burden of a religious identity and issue a birth certificate promptly.
Sir — It was shocking to learn that eight police personnel were killed last week in a village in Kanpur district in a botched raid (“Eight cops killed in ambush near gangster’s home, DSP dragged out and shot in UP”, July 4). The history-sheeter, Vikas Dubey, whom the police were trying to capture, fled the scene along with his accomplices after brutally killing the deputy superintendent of police. The director general of police of Uttar Pradesh is right to say that the incident was a well-planned conspiracy which could not have transpired otherwise. This horrifying incident must be condemned and the attackers should be brought to justice at the earliest.
Sir — The heinous attack on a team of policemen conducting raid on a gangster in Bikru village in Kanpur has brought to light the deteriorating law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, as many as 555 cops were killed and 2,048 were injured during police operations in 2018. In a 72 per cent jump in crimes against police personnel from 2017, Uttar Pradesh saw the highest number of casualties with 70 policemen being killed in action. These figures indicate how dangerous the state has become for law enforcers in the past few years.
Worse still, it has been alleged that Vikas Dubey and his henchmen were tipped off by a policeman. This failed encounter has proven that the condition of the police force in the state is in absolute shambles.
Sir — Some serious questions must be asked in the wake of the gruesome death of eight policemen, including a DSP, in a gunfight with a gang of criminals in Bikru. How did Vikas Dubey and his accomplices come to know that the police would raid the gangster’s house? According to Daya Shankar Agnihotri, who had been serving Dubey’s family since childhood, the notorious gangster was alerted by a cop about the impending raid. Moreover, it is curious that the power supply to the area had been disabled at the time. The incident also makes us wonder whether Dubey, who is accused of several serious crimes, had the patronage of people in power.
Corruption within law enforcement agencies is a matter of serious concern. The authorities must investigate the possible nexus between gangsters and local police. It is also worrying that the policemen who conducted the raid were equipped with ‘old’ Insas rifles while the gang reportedly carried automatic guns. The government must ensure the upgradation of police weapons at the earliest.
Cupful of joy
Sir — It is wonderful that the Coffee House on College Street, one of our beloved adda spots, has reopened after being shut down for more than three months (“Storm in a coffee cup”, July 4). People were waiting with bated breath for this iconic institution to reopen.
Having said that, one must admit that the inclination towards adda has reduced considerably nowadays, especially among the youth. The rowaks of north Calcutta, which used to be filled with the young and old engrossed in debates and discussions, now remain woefully empty most of the time.
Sir — The phenomenon of adda is so peculiar to Bengal that most people from other states cannot fully comprehend the importance of it. Adda, a spirited conversation among a group of people, can provide much-needed intellectual stimulation.
However, it is true that over the years there has been a decline in the quality of conversation that makes up adda. It is interesting to note that similar social gatherings can be seen in villages as well, where farmers and traders gather at chaupals after a long day’s work to discuss everything and nothing.