Sir — A shade that most children must have heard of or used while growing up is ‘sky blue’. Yet, given that the colour of the sky is hardly ever the same in two places, the colour, ‘sky blue’, means different things to different people — for instance, French sky blue is a brilliant blue whereas Spanish sky blue is bluish green. However, blue skies are becoming increasingly rare across the world. The sky appears blue when light is scattered in all directions by the tiny molecules of air in the Earth’s atmosphere. But because of the presence of smog and pollutants, the way light is refracted is changing forever. Maybe ‘sky grey’ will now be the shade everyone recognises.
Tanmay Maity, Delhi
Sir — It was disheartening to read the report, “J&K tops UAPA list for 3rd time” (Dec 7). The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Public Safety Act have been ruthlessly misused by the Centre to shut down dissent in the Valley and elsewhere. It beats reason that seven students from the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology were arrested by security forces under the UAPA for allegedly supporting the Australian cricket team. The statehood of Jammu and Kashmir should be restored at the earliest and draconian laws like the UAPA and the PSA withdrawn in toto.
A.K. Chakraborty, Guwahati
Sir — The data on the usage of the UAPA revealed by the National Crime Records Bureau are frightening. They also raise worrying questions about the new criminal law bills that the government has tabled in Parliament. One wonders what new ways of clamping down on dissent and subjugating minorities the government will find once those bills are passed.
Anthony Henriques, Mumbai
Sir — The Communist Party of India (Marxist) member of Parliament, V. Sivadasan, has suggested that states should be given the power to elect governors in keeping with the people’s mandate. This is an excellent idea and must be taken into consideration at once. The increasing number of disputes between governors appointed by the Centre and state governments is not good for governance. Not only do important legislations get stuck but the already overburdened Supreme Court is often saddled with arbitrating in such disputes.
As long as governors are appointed by the Centre, irrespective of which party is in power, the post will be treated as that of a political handmaiden. The office of the governor is an imperial relic. If at all it is necessary to have a governor, it should be made an elected office.
H.N. Ramakrishna, Bengaluru
Sir — When Christopher Wray, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States of America, visits India this week, the assassination plot against the Khalistani separatist, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, is likely to be foremost on his agenda. While the US has indicated that it wants a thorough probe into the alleged assassination plot, there are uncomfortable questions about the threats that Pannun keeps making that have not been answered yet. The US is adamant that Israel has the right to defend itself. Does India not have the same right?
Anandambal Subbu, East Mumbai
Sir — The prices of flour, pulses and rice are rising unabated. The middle and the lower classes are thus struggling. What is worse, the predictions for both the kharif and the rabi crops are grim. More than 45 million tonnes of grains are required every year for the government’s free ration scheme and India may soon have to import wheat from Russia. One also has to consider the rising prices of fertilizers that the government has to subsidise.
The biggest worry for the government, though, is that it will have to release State-held stocks of grains into the market to cool inflation. It will have to incur a loss while doing so. All these expenses will increase its fiscal deficit which will have a far-reaching impact on the economy.
N. Ashraf, Mumbai
From the margins
Sir — The story of Danasari Anasuya, aka Seethakka, a newly-sworn-in minister in the Telangana cabinet is an impressive one. She traversed a difficult path from being a Naxalite to becoming a minister. She also got a PhD from Osmania University on the deprivation experienced by the Gotti Koya tribe from which she hails. Her journey from rebellion to academia and then governance highlights her profound dedication to addressing the challenges faced by marginalised communities in Telangana.
Amarjeet Kumar, Hazaribagh
Sir — The former Indian goalkeeper and Arjuna Award winner, Subrata Paul, announced his retirement recently (“‘Spiderman’ hangs up his gloves”, Dec 9). He was, arguably, the best goalkeeper India has ever had. The All India Football Federation should use Paul’s vast experience to train future footballers.
Sourish Misra, Calcutta