Rejoinders / Letters to the Editor


Peoples faith in CBI restored   The arrest of Suresh Kalmadi and the filing of charge sheet against M.K.Kanimozhi have reinforced the faith of people in the CBI. But everyone knows that the looted money has not gone in thin air. What the CBI should concurrently do is to find out whose coffers were finally filled with the money which rightfully belonged to the nation. What we are seeing is only the tip of the iceberg and one hopes to see the bigger players behind the scene. Syed Sultan Mohiddin, Kadapa, AP   Road safety You may make a cozy paradise for you and your family at home; however, you can't escape the menace of road traffic. A decade ago, we used to be worried only about one aspect of traffic hazards- accidents, however; now this subject of road traffic is something far beyond road accidents. There are no signs of control over deaths due to accidents. In addition, many new and equally hazardous problems have come up in recent times like pollution, alarming traffic congestion, arrogance on roads, and the like. All these are going from bad to worse at a break-neck speed. On an average every minute one serious accident is occurring and every five minutes a person is dying owing to road accidents in India. It is an alarming, nerve-racking and mind-boggling scenario. Road accidents are amongst the most important hazards being faced by modern society. India, presumably, is the worse hit. Last but not the least, we, the conscious citizens, often makes a lot of hue and cry about chaotic traffic conditions, but they are very people who violate the traffic rules. These facts are sufficient to prove that the situation is alarming on the roads. If we do not tackle it on a war footing right now, considering it a man-made disaster, it will be too late to mend fences. Mohd Ziyaullah Khan, Nagpur – 440013   Nuclear Disarmament and Peace Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace [CNDP] has welcomed the decision of the Central government to for an independent and autonomous Nuclear Regulatory Authority of India. As the CNDP expects the proposed regulatory authority should not be filled with “sarkari” scientists. It should have independent experts from nuclear science. This authority should be open to the opinions of economists, environmentalists, social scientists and other experts from all over the country so that all impacts of a nuclear power plant in a particular location can have an unbiased and impartial evaluation. The government of India has rushed into the ambitious Nuclear energy programme without taking the intelligentsia of the nation along. The CNDP demands that all the upcoming nuclear power plants must be held up till their safety is reviewed by this new Authority. One would like to go further and demand that this authority along with the scientific community of the country make sure that all the aspects of the alternate means of energy production are more thoroughly gone into than ever before. There are opinions that India can manage with solar and wind energy. It is doubtful if enough debate has preceded the decision of the government to go nuclear on such a massive scale. No sincere effort has been made in building a national consensus on a matter of such a grave importance. The entire exercise of nuclear deal with the US and subsequent nuclear liability bill has an element of authoritarianism. People should not be made to feel being done in without their knowledge. Dr Mookhi Amir Ali, Santacruz West, Mumbai 400054     Prime minister must be under Lokpal Bill It refers to on-going discussion if Prime Minister should be covered by Lokpal Bill or not. In present black-mail era of alliance politics, even notorious ones like Madhu Koda can become Prime Minister. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that Prime Minister must be brought under purview of Lokpal Bill, a view also favoured by present Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and his predecessor Atal Bihari Vajpayee. However there should be simultaneous working on three other bills also to reduce work-load on institution of Lokpal Bill, namely bills on Electoral Reforms, Judicial Accountability and Grievance Redress. Most of scams relating to political rulers are due to bad electoral laws. Suggestions of Joint Drafting Committee member of Lokpal Bill, Prashant Bhushan on Judicial Accountability Bill can effectively check misconduct and malpractices in higher judiciary. A bill for time-bound Grievance-Redress on lines of RTI Act can do the rest thereby institution of Lokpal being mainly concentrated on major scams and scandals. Drafting Committee can recommend such a basket of measures to be implemented in a time-bound period say by December 2011. Subhash Chandra Agarwal, Delhi-6   Environment The candid confession coming from Jairam Ramesh is like a shrill cry from a distressed man. He says he has cleared projects violating green norms under pressure and has regretted having taken these decisions. “There is always pressure to clear. Sometimes it is natural pressure for development and sometimes otherwise. There are some occasions when I have not compromised. On some occasions I had to compromise,” he states. The latest such occasion when he had to compromise is the clearance of 400 megawatt Maheshwari dam project in Narmada River in MP which he had to clear under pressure from the PMO in spite of its tardy relief and rehabilitation work. He said he had no option but to agree to lift the ban on the construction of last five spillway gates. He was bombarded with calls from the PMO, the Union Power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and the MP Chief Minister Shiv Raj Singh Chouhan.Nothing seems to be working for our Jairam Ramesh. He wanted that the second airport site is shifted to an alternate site because, he explained, Navi Mumbai/Panvel site had better alternative from all points of view. After the intense lobbying from Maharashtra leaders, the prime minister “looked into it personally.” The airport stays there! Jairam ordered the demolition of the infamous “Adarsh” building within three months. The building is standing merrily. Soon we may see prime minister evaluating the situation personally and in all probability the building will be “regularized”. Medha Patkar of Narmada Bachao has put it well: “We have to say that he [Ramesh] is violating statutory conditions under dictation from above…it is an open comment on the crony nature of the current governance of India.” Jairam Ramesh has seen that the government is highly influenced by the vested interests and their lobbying. Corporate and local politicians with vested interest do not lose heart if some Jairam Ramesh refuses to do their bidding. Jairam Ramesh has two choices. Buckle or quit. He is not comfortable buckling and being a rubber stamp. Dr Mookhi Amir Ali, Santacruz west, Mumbai 400054     Prince of Arcot That the Prince of Arcot bragged about the links between his ancestors and the British Government which enslaved Indians at a function organized in the city by the British Council makes painful reading. It is not right to consider friends of our enemies as enemies? S M Pasha, Chennai- 600003   Jaitapur project The haste with which the UPA government is pushing the Jaitapur nuclear project is deplorable.  The Chernobyl nuclear accident which occurred 25 years ago due to a human error and the recent Fukushima disaster that was triggered by nature’s calamity are fresh in the minds of the people. Luring people with “generous compensation package” and calling the ongoing protests at Jaitapur as “politically motivated” are not fair. Far from allaying fears, such measures will create more doubts about the motives of the government.  India is a developing country and its immense energy needs are irrefutable. But the bogey being raised to tell nuclear power as the sole source of clean energy is misleading. With geographic location near the equator and seasonal monsoon winds blowing almost six months in a year, India has abundant resources of Solar and Wind energies. Syed Sultan Mohiddin, Kadapa (A.P)   Press Freedom Day World Press Freedom Day is celebrated every year on 3rd May worldwide. It is taken as an opportunity to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom; to evaluate press freedom, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty. With growing time, the press has emerged to be an important domain of our society and has been termed with a new name called Media. And besides, with a new name, has a come a new power with it, with this being called as the fourth pillar of democracy. With corporate houses and politicians owning the media house, the role of media (both press and the electronic media) has shifted from value based journalism to meaningless and absurd usage. However, on this day, shall the media houses be the press besides discussing the freedom aspect and what the day demands should also take their introspection, whether or not they play their role for which the media or press was known for? If they do this activity then the real purpose of the day can be sufficed. Mohd Ziyaullah Khan, Nagpur- 440013   Indo-Pak relation The war of words between some quarters in India and Pakistan has spoiled the bonhomie which had started sprouting on the sidelines of the Mohali test. For the people on both sides of the border, it is immaterial whether India could strike at the terrorist groups on the Pakistan soil, and whether Pakistan can retaliate to the Indian action. Since these two nations are destined to live side by side, peace and trust should be the cornerstones in the relations but not an atmosphere of hatred and mutual threat.  Syed Sultan Mohiddin, Kadapa. (A.P)   Let history judge Osama The news about the death of Osama is much less important than the popular uprisings happening in the Arab world. His death is not terribly relevant considering the huge revolution that probably his ideology kindled in the Arab world.  If the Arab masses think that a big “terrorist” contributed massively to Arab democracy, then he has achieved something, the wrong way or right way, is for historians to judge. There have been big changes throughout the world since 9/11. Bin Laden always wanted to get rid of Mubarak and Ben Ali and Gaddafi and so on claiming that they were all “infidels” working for America and man on the streets in Arabia may say a thank you to Bin Laden.  We have to remember that these regimes have always been telling the Americans to keep on supporting the autocrats because if you don't, they were telling that Al Qaeda will take over' - and in fact Al Qaeda did not take over. What helped them to change Regimes is going to be an interesting part of future’s history Celebrations in the United States over Bin Laden's death are meaningless compared to the celebrations of the Arab masses on the successful people’s revolutions partly fuelled by what the West called the lunatic fringe (Al-Qaeda.) of Muslims. How many Italian historians described Shahid Omar Mukhtar as a crude terrorist? It depends who the author of history to judge a leader, a revolutionary, a visionary. If the US had killed Bin Laden a year or two after 9/11 the celebrations that are going on in the United States might have been more understandable considering their stand on who did 9/11. Kodimirpal(via email)                                                                        II Americans certainly have all the  reasons to celebrate the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan and USA rightly commends and appreciate the role of its commandos and intelligence agency in successfully & surgically carrying out this operation and the peace loving people of entire world are also right in joining and sharing the satisfaction of  USA over the ‘silencing’  of Laden who has been rightly called by Pakistani President Zardari (in an Article in prominent US media on Tues day) the greatest evil of the new millennium. But Governments of USA and Pakistan are wrong in giving an impression that complete justice has been done to the  States of USA and Pakistan (in whose titles  criminal cases are booked and tried in the courts of USA and Pakistan) and the victims of 9/11 and to the Allies of USA in ‘global war against terrorism’ .No doubt a very important & major element of justice has been done by killing Laden (the mastermind of 9/11) but complete & effective justice  will be done only when Supreme Court of Pakistan will be moved to prosecute the protectors of Laden. Therefore USA, Pakistan and the rest of the world  should not remain content with only martial remedy in this matter but should also invoke civil remedies through Supreme Court of Pakistan in order to secure complete and effective justice to not only victims of 9/11 but also in the interest of democracy and ‘global war against terrorism’. Hem Raj Jain, Mankato, MN - 56001, USA   III Corporate media love to manipulate and create News stories and hype, distort and falsify to attract large audiences, thus they manage news as per their whims and fancies. Moreover, the bigger the news or event the worse comes the reporting, and no matter how often they're fooled, the viewers or the madding crowds rely on proved unreliable sources like US cable and broadcast TV, as well as corporate broadsheets and popular magazines publishing rubbish not fit to print. After Obama's May day announcement, round the clock coverage featuring the death of a dead man with no one allowed on to refute it. While separating fact from fiction, the significant facts from David Ray Griffin's important book titled, "Osama Bin Laden: Dead or Alive?", provides objective and testimonial evidence of Osama’s death in December 2001, likely from kidney failure, not a Special Forces hit squad getting their man then or now. Similarly, there is couple of such evidences such as, Forensic evidence that post-9/11 videos and audios were fake, Bin Laden's role as a CIA asset, as well as called "Enemy Number One," using him advantageously both ways. Also, reports of his 2001 hospitalizations in Pakistan and Dubai where (in July) the emirate's CIA station chief visited him in his hospital room. Why not if he was a valued asset, his likely status until his natural, not violent, death? Nonetheless, Western politicians and media, notably America's, never miss a chance to report fiction, not fact, especially on headline news like bin Laden's death, a decade after it happened. Mohd Ziyaullah Khan, Nagpur – 440013   IV The American Special Forces in helicopters swooped down on a compound in Abbottabad and killed Osama bin Laden who was holed up there. Naturally Pakistani establishment is hauled over the coals. First, how come they did not know of the Al-Quaeda chief's presence at a place swarming with military personnel? Two, the daring raid carried out by US navy commandos almost for 40 minutes, went unnoticed by Pakistani defences; has raised a number of disturbing questions in the minds of Pakistani citizens. Explanations have been offered, but they sound pathetic. It seems some in Pakistani tent were hunting with the hounds and running with the hare while fighting the war against terror with the USA.This is not to say that the US is a holy cow. Global terrorism raised its ugly head because of America's misguided policies in Muslim lands. Barak Obama says that US is not against Islam, but much of what it is doing militarily is in Muslim countries. However, India has not lost patience with its volatile neighbour. But its India centric army must realise that India cannot go on like that for ever. It should positively respond to Indian goodwill by punishing those who were behind Mumbai attacks. Pakistan is not our only neighbour. There are others and we need to cultivate productive relations with them. In a   recent issue of the Indian Express Mihir Sharma pleading good relations with Pakistan wrote “No country has ever risen to a stable greatness without making peace, one way or another, with its smaller neighbours". Yunus Chitwala, Dhoraji, Gujarat   V US operation Geronimo On the basis of assurance given by our military experts we presume that they are capable of pulling off most wanted living in Pakistan. But some months back ex -army General Deepak Kapoor had said that our forces cannot deal with the Army of china. To compensate the acceptance of the general the present military experts have claimed the capability of adventure.  The Pakistanis are so dare that they can come in a motor boat and attack the famous Taj hotel of Mumbai and shootout our Task Force Officers. This was the proper time to retaliate and kill chief of Let and Dawood Ibrahim. It would be a befitting lesson to Pakistan. We preferred to restrain and mourn before the world. The second opportunity was on the next day of the US operation. We could kill the dreaded terrorist living in Pakistan. And the border would have been secured for ever. Even the US would appreciate our talent and it would be a deterrent to China which is constantly vexing us on our borders. The tall claim made by the services chiefs are not believed by any wise Indian. The best suggestion that we should reduce half of our army and the budget incurred on the salaries of our military colonels and generals be stopped and purchase of arms worth of billions of Dollars should also be stopped forthwith. We should ask the US president to protect our borders by his strong army. It will deal china also amicably. We can make use half of the budget for the welfare of our farmers who are desperate and committing suicides Dr AH Maqdoomi, Gulbarga     Paanipuri case and male chauvinism In the case of that infamous paanipuri case, the BJP leader Raj Purohit’s comments were outright male chauvinist. He actually called her names and maligned her quite liberally. The girl, Ankita Rane’s indignation is justified and has rightly slapped a defamation case against the BJP de Ankitas compensation. The MNS, another political party has been quick in taking a mileage out of the situation in standing by Ankita. One hopes it is the case of Ankita using the political party and not the other way round. Mookhi Amir Ali, Santacruz west, Mumbai 400054   Book on Shivaji and Mahatma In Feb. 2004 the book on Shivaji Hindu King in Islamic India by James Laine was banned due to severe opposition by the fascist party the Shiv Sena. The Maharashtra government laid down in front of the fascist tendency bow her head in front of Shiv Sena and banned the book through a notification in 2004.  Though there is a long list of the books those have been banned in India, wherein new addition included “Great Soul Mahatma Gandhi & His Struggle with India”, by Joseph Lelyved.  On 9 July, the Supreme Court Bench comprising Justice D.K. Jain and Justice H.L. Dattu widened the horizons of free speech by lifting the ban on James W. Laine's book Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India, published by Oxford University Press in 2003. Books published on religion and spiritual personality with an intention to humiliate the particular religion and religious personality should be banned. It is the shameful act of the Gujarat Government to put a ban on book; it is certainly not a democratic act of the Gujarat Government.  Gujarat Government always remains forward to commit unconstitutional and undemocratic acts. It is a request not to ban the book Great Soul Mahatma Gandhi & His Struggle with India”, by Joseph Lelyved and allow the book to sell in open market. Zuber Ahmed Khan, Navi Mumbai