Make the day merry for all children
Sir — The world is busy celebrating Christmas today, but one must spare a thought for the children of Palestine — Jesus Christ was said to have been born in Bethlehem, a city in this country — and other places fraught with oppression and war. While children from privileged families usually wake up to presents on Christmas Day, many others of their age have been rendered homeless — such as those in Syria — and are at great risk of being trafficked. In India, too, child abuse is a menace. More than material gifts, children need a peaceful world to grow up in. This is the least they can expect from us.
Take a stand
Sir — The brutal attacks on the protest rallies against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 — especially in the states ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party — are a shocking reminder of the atrocities perpetrated by the British government on Indian freedom fighters. The ongoing agitations are not among the regular pitched battles between the foot soldiers of political parties and the police. They are a spontaneous upheaval of outrage against the government’s attempt to undermine the foundational values of the Indian Constitution. The CAA would facilitate the government to grant citizenship to migrants of all religions — besides Islam — from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, but the Constitution forbids such discrimination based on religion. The gravity of the CAA’s implications can only be understood if they are read with the final result of National Register of Citizens in Assam.
People from different social strata, religions, professions and walks of life have raised their voices against this discriminatory act. A democratically elected government must pay attention to the opinion of citizens, instead of suppressing peaceful agitations with brute force.
Sir — It is ironic that the ruling dispensation at the Centre is at loggerheads with the educational institutions of whose excellence the nation is proud. Instead of establishing new institutions, the government has sought to portray students as ‘anti-national’, raised the fees and made access to higher education harder than it already was. On top of that, the violence inflicted by the police in Jamia Millia Islamia, as movingly portrayed by Mukul Kesavan in his article, “In solidarity” (Dec 22), is tragic and infuriating. It shows that oppression is the only way in which the government will deal with peaceful protests.
While the CAA has successfully diverted attention from the failing economy, it still has the potential to harass the underprivileged sections of the population. They are already battling rising prices and joblessness, and are in no position to prove their citizenship. The government should open its eyes to the injustice it is committing against the citizens of the country.
Sir — If there is one thing that an authoritarian government cannot stomach, it is dissent, that too by young minds who are impervious to the State’s machinations. What more can be expected of a government comprising leaders with dubious credentials and fake degrees?
The invasion of university campuses and beating up of students are in line with the mindset that burdened the nation with unconstitutional ideas like the CAA and the NRC. These are meant to consolidate majoritarian rule and force minorities to cower in submission. This would also divert attention from the destroyed economy, which the government does not know how to repair. At this point, the only ray of hope are the students, along with other citizens, who are protesting relentlessly.
Sir — The present political turmoil is nerve-wracking. The police have resorted to barging into university campuses to beat up students for having protested against a discriminatory law. Violence in BJP-governed states has claimed over 20 civilian lives. The entire country has been turned into a battlefield. This is not a good sign for a democracy. It shows that not only is the Centre incapable of handling a declining economy and growing unemployment, but it is also unwilling to treat citizens with patience and respect.