Fuel prices on fire

The recent hike in petrol price is outrageous (“This one chart is the perfect illustration of the ‘truth’ of the BJP government”). Petrol is a necessity in the daily lives of the common people but it has now become a luxury they cannot afford. It is a major failure of the BJP-led government. What is worse is that on its official Twitter handle, it sought to justify the price rise without any proper reason to back it up. The BJP will face a serious setback in upcoming elections if it does not take action and reduce prices. – Ritwiq BS


Let oil or any price shoot up, we still want the Narendra Modi government to be given another two tenures. We, the entire population of India, will fully support him. – Sudeshna

‘Government lies’

Ravi Shankar Prasad and the other ministers in the Modi government lie when they say they do not have any control over rising prices of petroleum products as it is the petroleum companies who make pricing decisions based on crude oil rates in the international market (“Bharat Bandh: Ravi Shankar Prasad challenges Manmohan Singh to debate in Parliament over economy”). If this were true, how did the government reduce the prices of petroleum products during the Gujarat election?

The main reason for the price rise is the increase in excise duty by the government in 2014-2015. If the government were to bring down the excise duty to its May 2014 level, it would reduce the pump price of petrol by at least Rs 15 per litre.

Earlier, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government, so as not to burden the consumer and to keep inflation in check, subsidised petroleum products. As a result, fuel prices did not go up to current levels even when crude in the international markets touched $140 a barrel – against approximately $75 a barrel at present.

As for Ravi Shankar Prasad, when he participated in protests against rise in prices of petroleum products earlier, he never listened to genuine reasons such as increase in international crude rates. – Narendra Agarwal

Opposition protests

The Opposition party is more worried about petrol prices than the living conditions of more than half of India’s population (“Bharat bandh: Opposition parties observe shutdown across states against rising fuel prices”). There are more than 49,000 slums in cities that are unhygienic and unfit for people to live in. But what comes first to the minds of all the Opposition parties is how to ensure the downfall of the ruling party by targeting and shaming it. Why don’t these parties join hands on matters that are causing real problems in the country and need immediate attention. These slums lack the most basic of facilities, from electricity and water supply. They are rapidly expanding but none of the parties seem to be bothered by this fact, for they are more interested in competing with each other. It is high time the government and the Opposition start working for the people and take immediate action where they are most needed. – Kriti Agrawal

Two takes on vitamin D

It is unworthy of Scroll.in to publish such an unsubstantiated and irresponsible article (“The hype over vitamin D deficiency is causing toxic overdoses in people taking it as supplement”). First, the headline is unnecessarily alarmist – the article in no way substantiates or highlights even a single incident when “toxic overdoses” because of self medication were reported. Second, the lack of correlation between vitamin D and fractures does not necessarily indicate its “lack of benefits” across a whole other range of diseases.

There is enough and more evidence to suggest vitamin D has a beneficial (and not curative, as the author seems to suggest) role in immunity, building bones, osteoporosis. Also, no pharma company advertises any product with doses higher than the recommended daily allowance to consumers directly.

Scroll.in needs to be more responsible when it comes to publishing health articles. – Chaitrali Joshi


It is shocking to know that even after over a century of learning, people still tend to fall prey to the marketing strategies of big pharma companies, whose main aim is to make money. This is the reality of today’s world, it is so easy to manipulate people psychologically and trick them into believing a small pill can do wonders for your health. Why do people always want the easy way out? This shows people believe in the market blindly and these pharma companies are taking advantage of that.

I wonder how long it will take for people to realise that natural methods are the best way to heal. It is also astonishing how years of medicine have paid no attention to this and doctors continue to prescribe staggering amounts of these pills. This also brings me to question how many other “wannabe” supplements are out there in the market that people are taking while ignoring the side effects.

The solution to all this has to be education. People must be taught that taking supplements to keep themselves healthy almost never works and that exercising and following a healthy diet is the best way. – Utkarsh Shetti

Kerala nun rape case

India is a developing country but why is it underdeveloped when it comes to consent (“The Daily Fix: Kerala can’t afford to ignore case of bishop accused of rape”)? Bishop Franco Mulakkal is accused of sexually assaulting a nun, so why is he not under serious investigation? And why has no action been taken against him? But the real question is: why do we live in a society where individuals in positions of power who commit crimes are let off the hook and justice is not done to women who are committed to doing good all their life? Why are we not doing anything about this? Why have we come to a state where a woman’s faith in god is breached? – Akshatha Kadambi


What has this world come to? On one hand, India has taken a huge step forward by decriminalising homosexuality. But on the other hand, the Kerala government has been highly negligent in the nun rape case. It is a shame that a member of the state Assembly has attacked the victim. He joins a long list of narrow-minded, shallow political leaders. If there is evidence that the nun has been raped, justice must be speedy and the accused bishop convicted. If our system does not take action in rape cases like this, there will be no fear of punishment among potential criminals. – Utkarsh Shetti

Arrest of activists

A large number of IIT alumni have released a statement in favour of Sudha Bharadwaj (“Full text: Nearly 190 IIT Kanpur faculty, alumni demand release of Sudha Bharadwaj, other activists”). The statement clears so many things. Since the alumni in general have good credentials, their approach must be genuine. Hence, due consideration should be given to their statement. But the law will take its own course. Nothing should be concocted and fabricated. Justice must prevail. If Sudha Bharadwaj has really committed a crime, she must be punished. But the court proceedings must be based on truth, not on false evidence, as the alumni allege in their statement. – R Hardenia


It is very sad that the government is targeting these activists when it should be giving them an allowance and awards for safeguarding democracy by upholding value. – Shamasundar Rao

Decriminalising homosexuality

The world has moved on and it is high time India too moves ahead and accepts this decision (“‘History owes an apology to LGBT community’: India’s Supreme Court decriminalises homosexuality”). It is the right of every citizen to be with the person of their choice, even if they are of the same gender. No other person has a say in that. We have to support them rather than oppose them. It is a topic that people should not shy away from but accept and feel proud to be part of a country that celebrates diversity. People have to come out of the superstition that gay marriages will disturb the natural order. After all, they too are humans and deserve to marry the person of their own choice. – Kriti Agrawal


Human rights are relevant to all of us, not just those who face repression or mistreatment (“Persistence: The one lesson the disability rights movement in India can offer to the LGBT movement”). It is an intrinsic element of liberty, dignity, privacy, individual autonomy and equality. The verdict on Section 377 is a stepping stone to a nation that address all the problems of its people, for not addressing humanitarian problems is a hindrance to democracy. – Mrinmay Dey

Rafale deal

There is something that Modi, Antony, Bhushan, Sinha, Shourie and others have not realised about the purchase of vital defence equipment (“Rafale: Modi has compromised national security, claim Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie, Prashant Bhushan”). In many such deals, a 100% clean deal is not possible because of our own urgency and other factors. Deals like the Bofors purchase have to be done because national security and not one’s pure white image is paramount. Hence, politicians have to go through with such deals, though they may face charges and cases later on. To that extent, Modi took a bold decision to go ahead with the Rafale deal in a short time, just as the Rajiv Gandhi government got 400 Bofors guns for India that were vital in saving Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s reputation in 1999. So, let’s not be too puritanical and let’s watch our politicians face the music later while we get the equipment we need now. – S Nityananda

Unsafe roads

The Telangana bus accident that led to the death of over 50 people is one of the deadliest accidents on the country’s notorious roads in recent years (“Telangana: At least 57 people die after bus falls into gorge in Jagtial district”). Road accidents claim the lives of over a lakh people in India every year while the number of the injured is three to four times higher.

The apathy towards safety in public transport reflects the failure of our democratic process, which ignores the needs of pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users. Given the rapid pace of urbanisation and the desperate need for expanded and safe transit, it is crucial that these concerns are addressed and a safe public transport system established in the country. Keeping in mind the rapid growth in India’s mobility needs, it is important that the country’s transit system responds effectively and swiftly. Today, most people use public transport not out of choice but because of financial constraints. A successful public transport system is not only crucial for addressing the growing levels of congestion and pollution, but also for ensuring a safer commute for all road users. – Manisha Agrawal

WhatsApp and law enforcement

Your points are all valid (“Tamil Nadu is silencing anti-Sterlite protests by forcing hundreds of people to exit WhatsApp groups”). But could you do another article on WhatsApp’s failure to cooperate with law enforcement? There may be huge repurcussions to a medium of communication between entities being above the law.

For example, I receive hundreds of provocative pieces on WhatsApp groups every week. Those spreading these messages are gullible people but no one knows who the creators are. WhatsApp is hiding behind two-way encryption terminology but maybe, it is time it becomes answerable. Or, at least, there should be a debate on the issue.

What worries me even more is that when I spoke to a WhatsApp product manager working in the United States, he said that they only look at what increases their usage numbers and they are in no way answerable to the laws of any country except the United States.

At a time when such a company (WhatsApp) wants to enter payments, a refusal to allow trails and any form of information-sharing must be questioned. Messaging is one thing but if WhatsApp starts a payments service and gains acceptance, it may become a mode by which terrorists get funds.

Therefore, I think it is worthwhile looking into both the positive and negative aspects of technology companies being answerable to only their own laws rather than those of the country in which they operate. – Rahul Maddy

YouTube celebrity chef

As I read in this article, the food is described in an easy, simple and not fanciful way and that pulls me towards Village Food Secrets (“A Pakistani villager’s cooking channel on YouTube has made him a food celebrity”). I salute him and wish him success. I also hope he records a full cooking video of rogan josh mutton (goat meat) with subtitles. – Chanchal Karmakar

North East floods

Who cares about them (“Videos: While most of India isn’t watching, floods are wreaking havoc in the North-East”)? They are a vote bank for no party. This is our delineation of democratic principles. – R Subramanian

Wayanad devastation

Wayanad was one of the worst affected places in Kerala in the recent floods (“In Kerala’s Wayanad, record landslides and cave-ins raise alarm over its fragile ecology”). One major cause for this is deforestation. Unlike what many are now saying, that the floods are a consequence of people eating beef and women being allowed to enter the Sabarimala temple, the only scientific explanation for the devastation that I see is soil erosion caused by deforestation. Kerala is slowly recovering from the floods, but we have to take the reasons for it into consideration. – Ritwiq Krishna