Sir — Torture has been used as a tool to intimidate and harm opponents for centuries. In recent decades, covert intelligence agencies in the United States of America have become infamous for their brutal torture mechanisms. People familiar with such methods of persecution will be astounded to hear that the Russian regime plays music, including English songs by Bon Jovi and AC/DC, every morning at the Kapotnya-7 pretrial detention centre as a method of torture. Those who believe that this is a reward instead of being a punishment are mistaken. Listening to the same songs on full blast over and over again can be as damaging to one’s mental health as a savage beating, especially if one knows that there is little chance of escaping.
Pravesh Joshi, Mumbai
End the conflict
Sir — There is no denying that Manipur has turned into a lawless land with the state government failing to gain control of the situation (“13 found dead after Manipur gunfight”, Dec 5). People are at the mercy of violent gangs and the porous border with Myanmar has led to an infiltration of militants. If the prime minister still does not take action, his tall claims about caring for the Northeast will be proved hollow. He must convene a meeting with the Opposition parties at the earliest and discuss the best course of action for restoring law and order in Manipur.
K. Nehru Patnaik, Visakhapatnam
Sir — At least 13 people were killed in a gunfight between militant groups in strife-torn Manipur recently. The conflict, in which more than 180 people have been killed and thousands displaced from their homes, continues to simmer in the form of sporadic clashes despite the presence of Central forces. There is little hope that peace will be restored soon and people will be able to go back to leading normal lives. The Centre should direct all its efforts to end the conflict.
Mohammad Taukir, West Champaran
Sir — After the Bharatiya Janata Party’s resounding victory in the assembly polls in three out of five states, the prime minister, Narendra Modi, received a hero’s welcome from his colleagues in the Lok Sabha (“LS turns Modi echo chamber”, Dec 5). The chamber echoed with enthusiastic sloganeering and loud applause, drowning out protests from the aggrieved member of Parliament, Danish Ali. The MP had simply wanted to highlight how the insults hurled at him by the BJP leader, Ramesh Bidhuri, had undermined the stature of the august House. It is unfortunate that the prime minister ignored Ali’s protests and soon walked out, thus lending tacit support to the insults. Many important events which demand Parliament’s urgent attention — the Manipur crisis being one example — have been sidelined to prevent any stain on the government’s curated image. If Modi wants to prove himself, he should address such controversial issues.
Aayman Anwar Ali, Calcutta
Sir — Whether or not it is appropriate to use the sanctum sanctorum of democracy to glorify a leader is open to debate. But we live in strange times — the first day of the winter session of Parliament witnessed the deification of a prime minister who has won the heart of the nation’s ‘Hindi heartland’. Such an open display of sycophancy should have been reserved for a BJP meeting or a rally. In this context, B.R. Ambedkar’s words of warning against hero-worship in politics are relevant. He said that while we can respect politicians for their dedication to public service, we should not idolise them.
G. David Milton, Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu
Sir — While a lot of credit is being given to Narendra Modi for the BJP’s sweeping victories, one cannot help but wonder whether the prominent role played by him is morally dubious. If a prime minister traverses the length and the breadth of the nation in order to promote his party, is not the dignity of his high office being compromised? The prime minister’s active participation even in assembly elections upsets power equations and indicates that there is no worthy candidate at the state level. Has Modi become synonymous with the BJP?
Avinash Godboley, Dewas, Madhya Pradesh
Sir — The effort to build a positive relationship between Israelis and Palestinians dissociated from terrorist groups like Hamas is fraught with challenges (“False claim”, Dec 5). Achieving such an objective would require the active involvement of leaders from both Palestine and Israel along with support from the international community. Grassroots initiatives to encourage cooperation should be promoted and moderate political leaders who prioritise diplomatic solutions elected. Digital platforms can also be used to amplify voices calling for harmony.
Dhananjay Sinha, Calcutta
Sir — The brutish onslaught by Hamas on October 7 is responsible for the inhuman conditions that the common people of Gaza are currently facing. Israel’s retaliation, too, has been overwhelmingly violent. Moreover, the civilian deaths in both Ukraine and Gaza show that the United Nations is toothless. It cannot mediate on international conflict effectively and should be done away with.
Aranya Sanyal, Siliguri
Sir — Selfless acts of people like Aqsaa Nasir, an engineer who renders the voluntary service of teaching underprivileged children in Calcutta, are a reminder that the world is still a beautiful place to live in (“Sunday classes a 23-year-old holds ‘for myself’”, Dec 5). The story of Cafe Abilitea, which works to rehabilitate children with disabilities, is also inspiring.
Jahar Saha, Calcutta