Letters to the editor

Readers' comments: 'The BJP's agenda of militant Hindutva is out in the open'

A selection of readers' opinions.

Controversial chief minister

The BJP has done us a favour by appointing Yogi Adityanath as Uttar Pradesh chief minister (“Hindutva vs Hinduism: Adityanath’s appointment shows BJP has little faith in its development plank”). Its agenda of militant Hindutva is out in the open and its mask of sabka saath sabka vikaas has slipped fairly quickly.

As the author rightly pointed out, even now there will be apologists and Modi supporters who will try to put a favorable spin on this move, saying things like “he should be given a chance” and “as chief minister he will be a different person.”

Three years of BJP rule has seen aggressive Hindutva only on the rise and there’s no reason to believe that shall change. – Arnab Basak

***

Narendra Modi portrays himself as a calm person but there resides a cruel man in him. This appointment shows his nature towards his opposition. Shame on such a prime minister who is leaving no stone unturned in demolishing our prosperous democracy. – Kunal

***

A party has selected an MLA as its chief minister, so why is the media so critical and cynical? It’s well known that he is not a murderer and also not a convict. The same media has chosen to be be so appreciative of criminals and goons being appointed as chief minister. The elite class has welcomed goons with warmth but is so opposed to an elected member.

The word over, Muslim organisations have created chaos and in India there are numerous examples where forced conversion or love jihad has taken place. However, our pseudo secular netas and even the media is not ready to accept this. Plans in Kashmir are now more evident and for rest of the places, it is just a matter of time. We should wait and watch. – Rakesh Raniyal

Media crisis

I can feel the pain the author goes through and like him, I also miss the unbiased reporting these days (“Missing the UP wave: How social media and the Modi cult have changed election reporting”). I also understand that external factors forcing people in taking sides, which you have tried to articulate. But, this story presents only one side of the coin. It does not talk about the follies of the journalist fraternity. I find it really amusing and ironic that the American media is making the same mistakes just 14 years after the Indian media did. They are also not bothered to learn from our mistakes and take cue from it.

Now I come to more concrete points threadbare, but in no particular order:

  • Even in the current election, a section of media that gets branded as secular, psuedo secular, liberal or anything like that, objected to the BJP or RSS’ polarisation tactics. Howeverm I do not see similat objections against Samajwadi Party’s Muslim-Yadav axis, Bahujan Samaj Party’s Muslim Dalit axis and so on.
  • It has been 16 years since Godhra the riots. At that time, the Sikh massacres of 1984 were 18 years old. Why have we forgotten that? If Modi is culprit, you should be shaming him. But, why do we not write even half of that about Rajiv Gandhi who more openly justified the Sikh progrom? Why this bias?
  • Why does the media think that only a Muslim MLA can represent Muslim Community? Why do they ask this question to BJP?

    I too feel suffocated in this biased environment and would like to go back to those days when journalists were not thought of as having a hidden agenda. – Sunil Chandra

Electoral roadblocks

The biggest electoral distortions do not not occur because of EVM machines but because of the faulty voters list (“Not just Mayawati, Kejriwal: Many developed countries find EVMs unreliable, rely on paper ballots”). In the last municipal elections held in Mumbai, as per news reports, the names of about 11 lakh registered voters were illegally deleted.

The usual argument of the Election Commission is that the voters should have checked their names in the electoral rolls published before each election. The Bombay High Court had ruled several years ago that the Election Commission should necessarily issue a show-cause notice to the concerned voters before deleting their names, otherwise such deletions would be held to be illegal and the poll body would be liable.

Besides, common sense dictates that if any one holds valid documents , why should they constantly check with the authorities if their names are on the list? Does this give the Election Commission the right to arbitrarily disenfranchise any registered voter without following due process? – R Joseph

***

EVM tampering is possible and has happened in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. If a hacker can break through the US security system, nothing is impossible in India. – Nanak Singh

***

A backlash against e-voting is brewing all over Europe (“EVM tampering row: Machines can’t be rigged, says ex-Election Commissioner Quraishi”). After almost two years of deliberations, Germany’s Supreme Court ruled in March that e-voting was unconstitutional because the average citizen could not be expected to understand all the steps involved in the recording and tallying votes. Political scientist Joachim Wiesner and his son Ulrich, a physicist, filed the initial lawsuit and have been instrumental in raising public awareness on the insecurity of electronic voting.

In an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel, the younger Wiesner said, with some justification, that the Dutch Nedap machines used in Germany are even less secure than mobile phones. The Dutch public-interest group Wij Vertrouwen Stemcomputers Niet (We Do Not Trust Voting Machines) produced a video showing how quickly the Nedap machines could be hacked without voters or election officials being aware (the answer: five minutes). After the clip was broadcast on national television in October 2006, the Netherlands banned all electronic voting machines.

Immigration issue

The rights of indigenious citizens of Assam can’t be denied (“Guwahati High Court ruling on citizenship document will hurt women the hardest”). Illegal immigration must be stopped. Every sub-division must have task force under the Assam police to check illegal immigration. A joint committee be should set up to find a solution to burning immigrant problem. – Ashim Das

Common law

This article is representative of the author’s personal views, rather than the kind of sound research or insight that a columnist is expected to have (“The Nagaland turmoil shows why a uniform civil code is neither possible nor desirable in India”). A nation is bound together by a feeling of commonness, which must prove itself in all realms of social and political life.

Citizens of a country must have similar opportunities and rules while also expecting similar justice and punishment in a court of law. This equality is the fundamental essence of a nation. We created the creature named reservation, which has made a mockery of talent. Millions of deserving young people in every discipline are unemployed, while the less deserving are holding important posts.

We have started reaping the poisonous fruits of our tendency of granting quotas to different groups with vested interested, the process doing great injustice to the rest of the population. Effluent Jats creating a havoc demanding reservation and groups in Assam fighting to achieve scheduled tribe status are just a few bitter examples of shortsightedness of our forefathers. Crores of rupees of black money got legalised in Meghalaya and Nagaland just because the indigenous people do not pay a single penny as taxes even if they earn in crores. The turmoil in Nagaland would not have arisen if we had enacted uniform law on the very day of our independence, instead of appeasing them for decades.

At this point , a question that we really need to ask ourselves is: by dividing our laws into bits for each community, by shifting all attractive reforms towards some particular communities instead of giving every one an equal opportunity, have we been able to reducing the distance between communities? Have we been able to establish a better understanding between communities? Have the number of terrorist groups reduced all these years simply by appeasing their demands for more favours?

When citizens belong to one nation and enjoy equal rights , they are same in the eyes of law as well. All men are born equal and any violation of this would instigate a chain reaction of hatred. – Sukalyan

Inside out

In May 1995, after the Charari Sharief’s shrine was burnt down in during an encounter between militants and security personnel, Kashmir, BBC showed visuals of Russian-made tanks while broadcasting the news, to give the impression that the shrine probably caught fire because of the use of the tanks by the Indian army (“BBC banned from Indian tiger reserves after its film on anti-poaching policy in Kaziranga: TOI”).

When the government protested and pointed out that the same visuals had some days earlier been shown while telecasting the fighting between Russian troops and Muslim extremists in Chechnya, the BBC telecast a correction only in its Asian service and not to the rest of the world.

It admitted that the visuals were from Chechnya and not Kashmir and attributed the mistake to a technical mix-up!

BBC needs to be respectful to the country that welcomes it and follow its laws! – AM

Right and wrong

Why do powerful people get afraid of young, determined girls (“Even some on the Right think the ABVP’s actions in Ramjas were a mistake”)? There seems to be a parallel between Malala Yusuf who irked the Taliban by demanding her right education and Gurmehar Kaur, who sought the right to be pacifist and earned the ire of the powerful people government. – VK

Turn the page

This was a lovely read. The government should take some things into consideration to ensure the bookstore culture doesn’t die out (“‘Online booksellers offer transactions, not the romance of buying books.’”). The pricing is high. A good history book costs Rs 499 minimum. If the government wants to inculcate the habit of reading, they must offer good books at lower prices. Online, on the other hand, you get the same books at a good discount.

Fixed pricing help too. Depending on the category and the number of pages, there should be some guidelines for pricing. I do love visiting bookstores and buying books, but it is not easy on my pocket! – Satish Vaidya

New direction

Narendra Modi, since assuming office, has shaped a positive outlook for the country (“One-party rule: With the BJP’s massive win in UP, is Modi set to be the new Nehru?”).

In its journey of nearly four decades, the Bharatiya Janata Party gave us sudden and drastic growth in the last 3-4 years. We still remember the campaigns, election rallies and road shows of BJP leaders, especially Modi’s, that gave the party an edge over rivals.

Narendra Modi has gotten the love of so many people. We may attribute it to his charisma, his incisive speeches, his relationship with the people, his performance or his “maan ki baat”.

After the huge victory of the BJP in the four out of five states this year we can, to some extent, predict that India is moving towards a one party rule, like that of the Congress in 1950s and 1960s. So let’s wait and watch how the prime minister handles his office along with the 17 other BJP ruled states.

At sea

After reading your report on the plight of Indian fishermen and their families in Iran I can only say: shame on the Indian government and the Iranian government for handling this case so badly (“‘Are we not Indians? Should we die here?’: 37 Tamil Nadu fishermen have been held in Iran for months”). They must work on this case immediately and let humanity prevail. – Ahmed

Identity project

The government’s decision to ensure 100% enrollment in Aadhaar makes sense (“This is shameful: India will deny children food because they don’t have an Aadhaar number”). They have given students time till June to complete the procedure. The other side of the story is that not having an identity proof like Aadhar would deprive so many children of plenty benefits in the future, especially subisidies. My watchmen and his family can’t avail so many benefits that Aadhar offers because they don’t have the card. So it seems like a good call. – Mehr Gill

Fatwa debate

More than 40 people have ganged up on one person (“The ‘fatwa’ against Assam singer Nahid Afrin that never was”). This is a slaughter of freedom of expression. India is a democratic nation so Indians should follow the law of the land. Why should someone be threatened with the wrath of Allah? So why go into the technicalities of whether there was a fatwa? – Atma

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I do not understand why some writers try to defend the hardliners associated with minority groups. Can we expect the same magnanimity with minor skirmishes by majority fringe elements? Please stop this biased reporting. – Vasu Deva

Fashion watch

I really enjoyed this article (“Aunty chic: ‘Sandra from Bandra’ is playing muse to India’s young fashion fraternity”). Why is vintage not a part of Bombay culture? It might have something to do with the idea of used clothing as both polluted/dirty, and as a sign of poverty, but I think it’s interesting, given that there is an antique furniture scene in Bombay. I keep wondering where Indian street fashion of Mumbai lies in the general space of fashion today, but I will say, I’m often so thrown by the pervasive same-ness of the way people dress here. Thanks for this article! – Leah Franqui

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