Letters to the editor: Hong Kong's Apple Daily forced to shut down, Indian women’s cricket team must be lauded
Sir — After months of harassment by the Hong Kong administration, the pro-democracy newspaper, Apple Daily, has been forced to shut down. Jimmy Lai, the founder of the newspaper, and several other executives and senior editors were arrested on charges of violating national security and conspiring to collude with foreign forces. While several countries have criticized China for its blatant suppression of press freedoms in Hong Kong, precious little was done to remedy the situation. It is shameful that the world stood a mute spectator to the disintegration of democracy in Hong Kong.
Battle for equality
Sir — The Test match between the Indian and English women’s cricket teams in Bristol was incredible (“Cheering Shafali”, June 27). Yet, the women’s team in India is overlooked and treated unfairly. Women’s cricket in India has suffered from a lack of facilities and a general disinterest on the part of the Board of Control for Cricket in India. It is, thus, great to learn that the teenage prodigy, Shafali Verma, and other young players like Smriti Mandhana and Deepti Sharma are also carrying the legacy of veterans like Shantha Rangaswamy, Diana Edulji, Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami forward.
The honourable draw between the Indian and English teams at Bristol proved that the Indian team is a force to be reckoned with. They played a Test match after seven long years and for many it was their international Test debut. Curiously, while the women’s team put up an admirable fight, the Indian men’s cricket team performed poorly at the World Test Championship finals.
It is unfortunate that the BCCI continues to focus only on the men’s team. It is high time that the BCCI ensures that the women’s side receives at least equal opportunities and works towards bridging the pay gap between the two teams.
Sir — What Ravichandran Ashwin and Hanuma Vihari achieved for Indian men’s team at Sydney earlier this year was witnessed, once again, at Bristol as Sneh Rana and Taniya Bhatia’s remarkable performance ensured a draw for the women’s cricket team. The 17-year-old whizz-kid, Shafali Verma, played beautifully in both the innings of this Test against a much more experienced English team.
The determination and grit on display spoke volumes about the quality of international women’s cricket. The International Cricket Council must try to promote women’s cricket on a par with men’s tournaments. It was unfortunate that after seven years, the Indian women’s team was given the opportunity to play just one Test.
Sir — The Indian women’s cricket team must be lauded for ensuring an honourable draw against the mighty English side. The credit goes to the talented opener, Shafali Verma, who scored a 96 in the first innings and 63 in the second innings. India, having both new and experienced players — Deepti Sharma and Taniya Bhatia played alongside Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami, Punam Raut and Sneh Rana — fought valiantly till the end.
Had the match not been called off prematurely because of bad light, the Indian team might just have won. There is no doubt that India will end the England tour on a high note.
Sir — The current prime minister of India, Narendra Modi, has gone a step too far by claiming on International Yoga Day that yoga is a ray of hope in India’s fight against Covid-19. After thali bajao and diya jalao, the prime minister has pinned his hopes on yoga to get the country out of this horrifying situation, even though his government is primarily responsible for its scale.
While it is true that yoga is beneficial for one’s body and mind, there is absolutely no basis to the claim that it can cure Covid-19. Rather, the government should ensure that when the third wave hits the country, Indians do not die gasping for breath. There should be an adequate supply of oxygen, beds and medicines. Above all, the administration must ensure speedy vaccination for all citizens. This, and not yoga, can help save lives when the next Covid wave overwhelms the poor health infrastructure of our country.
Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee,
Sir — No amount of contortions will allow the government at the Centre to displace the blame for its shoddy handling of the pandemic. It was busy consolidating power and making allowances for its vote bank while the virus ravaged the country. Yoga will now distract people from the blood on its hands.