Sir — Crime stories have always captured the public imagination. However, with the recent proliferation of true crime shows on streaming platforms and widespread media trials, it seems that speculation about and consumption of true crime has reached an apogee. So much so that a couple walking their dogs in Lincolnshire recently mistook a group of yoga practitioners performing savasana inside a building as a ritual mass murder and alerted the authorities. While the couple’s action may seem well-intentioned, was it not just another instance of cultural ignorance given the global popularity of yoga?
Bidisha Ghosal, Noida
Sir — Ganashatru, directed by Satyajit Ray, shows the protagonist, a conscientious physician, being labelled an ‘enemy of the people’ by corrupt politicians and media professionals for warning the public about contaminated water in a temple. In a similar vein, the Bharatiya Janata Party leader, Ravi Shankar Prasad, recently questioned the religiosity of Sonia Gandhi and other Opposition leaders for failing to visit the Ram Mandir (“BJP rakes up Sanatan Dharma row”, Sept 13).
It must be noted that the Ram Mandir is being constructed on the ruins of the Babri Masjid, which was illegally demolished by kar sevaks. It seems that the BJP is keen on labelling anyone ‘anti-Hindu’ or, as a matter of fact, ‘anti-national’ based on whether the person has visited a temple or not. Moreover, the BJP considering itself the sole authority on Hinduism is concerning. The Constitution guarantees freedom of thought and religion. The saffron party would do well to respect the pluralistic ethos of the country.
Kajal Chatterjee, Calcutta
Sir — Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, the Union minister of jal shakti, has said that anyone who speaks against Sanatana Dharma would have his eyes gouged out and tongue pulled out. This amounts to hate speech. Instigating people to commit heinous acts against those speaking their mind freely essentially goes against the doctrines of Sanatana Dharma. The BJP high command should distance itself from such hateful remarks. That the saffron party will not take any punitive action against Singh is a foregone conclusion.
Avinash Godboley, Dewas, Madhya Pradesh
Sir — The ongoing debate over Sanatana Dharma has crossed all limits of decency. If the statement by Udhayanidhi Stalin, the Tamil Nadu minister, sparked the discussion, an Ayodhya seer’s announcement of a reward of Rs 10 crore reward for beheading Stalin and a Union minister warning physical harm to anyone criticising Sanatana Dharma have breached levels of propriety and deserve punitive action. Instead of targeting INDIA leaders, the BJP should rein in its rowdy politicians.
M.C. Vijay Shankar, Chennai
Sir — Ramachandra Guha’s article, “Local to global” (Sept 9), decodes the ecological degradation of the two mountain ranges in India, Garhwal Himalayas and the Nilgiris. The destruction of India’s mountains has its roots in the colonial period. Various ecologically sensitive regions around the globe have been similarly subjected to degradation. It is time world leaders wake up to the alarming crisis and take remedial measures beyond token summits and conferences.
Sanjiv Chopra, Calcutta
Sir — It is disheartening that the Nipah scare has returned to Kerala with two deaths already reported from Kozhikode district (“Nipah virus re-emerges, kills 2 in Kerala”, Sept 13). Kozhikode had been the epicentre of the infection during the previous waves in 2018 and 2021. According to the World Health Organization, Nipah has a relatively high case fatality ratio and is an emerging zoonotic disease of public health importance in Southeast Asia and Western Pacific regions.
The government should view the two fatalities with utmost seriousness and take appropriate action. It should also issue guidelines and distribute protective kits among the masses.
Khokan Das, Calcutta
Reprieve, at last
Sir — Maria Ressa, the journalist and Nobel laureate from the Philippines, has been finally acquitted after fighting multiple charges of tax evasion (“Maria Ressa acquitted of fraud”, Sept 13). She had been charged by the administration for daring to cover the anti-people activities of the former president, Rodrigo Duterte, such as his war on drugs.
Ressa and her news website, Rappler, were subjected to harassment by enforcement officials without any substantial proof of the charges. Other dissenters have been similarly languishing in the jails with no reprieve.
Jayanta Datta, Hooghly
Sir — Despite renewed vigour to rejuvenate the Indian railways, there has been no real improvement (“Dangerous tracks”, Sept 13). This is deplorable.
N. Mateeni, Mumbai