Bring back Quattrocchi: Even while the corruption aspect in the long-drawn Bofors case has been strangely whitewashed by the Delhi High Court (appeal against which has been recommended by the CBI to be filed in the Supreme Court and government orders are being awaited since more than last 8 weeks or so), the case of conspiracy to cheat and cheating is still very much alive against Ottavio Quattrocchi. A vital piece of evidence, viz., the actual money paid to Quattrocchi had eluded the CBI for over 15 years. However, in June 2003, CBI was informed by Interpol, London, that Quattrocchi had an amount of about US $1 million and Euro 3 million transferred from Bahamas in his account numbers 5A51516L and 5A51516M with the London bank, BSI AG, 39 King Street, London EC2V 8QD. On the basis of letter Rogatory issued by the special judge, this amount was frozen by UK authorities on 25.7.2003 on the behest of the CBI. Quattrocchi is a fugitive under the Indian law and his money frozen in the UK bank accoutns is the case property in the CBI case. As per British law all the wealth of any proclaimed offender (even more so the wealth connected with a specific case) stands forfeited on the day he is declared a proclaimed offender. Accordingly, the CBI has to get Quattrocchi declared a ´proclaimed offender´, a process that is already underway. The previous government could not take any action because till 25-1-2004 Quattrocchi´s appeal was pending in UK courts and the legal formalities of declaring him a proclaimed offender have still to be completed. I, therefore, request the Prime Minister of India to please ensure that: (a) the legal formalities are quickly completed and the case property, comprising the Quattrocchi´s money in two bank accounts of London, is brought back within a reasonable time frame to be prescribed by the PM for the CBI, (b) vigorously pursue through diplomatic channels, the CBI request made to the UK authorities, to conduct investigation to trace the source of the aforesaid frozen funds and obtain the results of their investigations and inform the people of India through Parliament about them, and (c) sincerely utilise the good offices of the Prime Minister of Italy and persuade him, for the sake of the reputation of the President of your party, to deport Ottavio Quattrocchi to India to face trial in the court of special judge and thereby fulfill the promise given by the late Rajiv Gandhi to the Indian Parliament.
-B.P. Singhal, New Delhi
Bankrupt outfit: Apropos of Mandate? What mandate? (Organiser, 20-6-2004); in Britain Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee´s stepping down as Prime Minister of India is being equated with that of Sir Winston Churchill in the 1940s. Shri Vajpayee has proved to be a highly commendable, and internationally renowned too, statesman. In comparison, the Congress supremo is a novice in politics and is not acquainted with the rich cultural heritage of Bharat. Therefore, the Congress is nervous and suffers from inferiority complex. Yet it cannot survive without the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty and as such it is an ethically and professionally bankrupt organisation.
-B.K. Chaudhary, UK
Prize for crimes: Politics makes strange bed-fellows. The comrades and the criminals are hand-in-hand in the present Congress-led coalition dispensation at the Centre (Are these the men who rule India? Organiser, 13-6-2004). Even without being ministers, the comrades have the stronghold on the levers of power, which they couldn´t have dreamt of on their own. The morality and principles of the communists have always been quite convertible. It is, therefore, clear that in view of the political combination in power today crime and corruption have replaced probity in public life with impunity and as per the old adage, saat khoon maaf, the persons with criminal records have been absolved of their crimes by inducting them in the Union Cabinet. Let it be written into the Constitution to facilitate criminals to enter politics and hold all high offices in the country.
-Surya Narain Saxena, Delhi
With criminals patronised by every political party, it cannot be expected for any effective legislation to bar entry of criminals in legislature. Even the present CEC also missed a golden opportunity by not abiding by the Patna High Court´s order to countermand elections in constituencies where jailbirds were contesting.
-Madhu Agrawal, Delhi
Encourage reading habit: Albeit in the context of the books donated by Smt Bhatia, in A letter from the editor (Organiser, 20-6-2004), R. Balashankar has touched an extremely important issue facing the modern generation. It is a bitter truth that students in general devote more time on viewing TV programmes, which now work all the 24 hours and has a large number of channels, than reading books. Children even in the age group of 6-10 years know about almost all TV programmes. They read books only when it is must like doing the home work. Restricting TV viewing appears to be a good suggestion and is being already enforced in a number of families. But it will be possible only when parents and elders in the family themselves follow it.
-Dr Vidya Sagar, Delhi
I was touched by the reference to the late V.P. Bhatia. I for one always looked for his piece the moment I opened a new issue. I was always fascinated by his first-hand references to the happenings of 1947, perhaps the saddest year of Indian history.
Fanaticism at full throttle: This refers to Hindu girls in Bangladesh-Victims of religious fanaticism (Organiser, 20-6-2004). Similar news appeared earlier also. In my opinion there would be no use blaming Bangladesh government, or goons from Jamaat-e-Islami or Muslims of Bangladesh. They are very clear in their concept, and bold enough to practically demonstrate their true face that they are not prepared to tolerate kafirs (the Hindus) in their Islamic coutnry.
-Anand Prakash, Panchkula
Posers to government: Apropos of What is this desaffronisation? (Organiser, 27-6-2004); through your esteemed paper I wish to ask the Central Government: Is the only work of the present government is to undo, in spite of the Supreme Court´s decision, what the previous government did, and in order to please Muslims and injure the interests and sentiments of Hindus, replace the so-called ´saffronism´ with ´redism´ and ´greenism´? Is it development? Is it the way to take the nation to 21st century?
-Dr S.S. Gupta, Aligarh
Unreasoned reason: It is most unfortunate that former PM A.B. Vajpayee has blamed and held Gujarat CM Narendra Modi and also Gujarat riots responsible for BJP´s debacle in the recent Lok Sabha elections (Let truth prevail in Gujarat, Organiser, 27-6-2004). When the party secured thumping majority in the Gujarat Assembly election after the Gujarat riots, it was described as a victory of Hindutva under the able leadership of Shri Modi. In fact reasons for the BJP´s defeat are others, which the party should ponder over.
-Shridhar V. Kulkarni, Kalyan (West)
Utterly still atal: Coalition government and coalition opposition are facing new challenges due to new circumstances. Just as the ruling alliance has to find a new role for its real leader Smt Sonia Gandhi, the NDA should also find new norms of leadership for Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee who has voluntarily given up the role of Leader of Opposition in favour of Shri L.K. Advani (Organiser, 13-6-2004).
-R.N. Lakhotia, New Delhi
What went wrong: This refers to Introspect: Defeat is a golden chance (Organiser, 6-6-2004). BJP does not know how to retain power. There is another politics, i.e., power retaining politics. In West Bengal, Left Front has been ruling for 26 years doing nothing. In villages, they have given electricity, water, land, etc. So, votes of villagers are enough for Left Front. What has BJP done for villagers in the BJP-ruled states? Also BJP´s media publicity was very weak-people did not know completely what good works were done by the BJP-led government in the country.
-Kishore Chatterjee, West Bengal
Message to posterity: This refers to Remembering INA veterans (Organiser, 9-5-2004). India got freedom solely due to Quit India Movement and INA, despite hurdles by communists and fundamentalist Muslims. The greatest statesman of America Abraham Lincoln said, ?With malice towards none; with charity for all, let us heal the nation´s wounds.? Consequently, the ´United States of America´ did not become ´Divided States of America´, but is unipolar world power.
-Pran Salhotra, Gurdaspur
What´s more objectionable?: No doubt, Vandana Sharma did a nice job by making sure that the owner of the cinema hall doesn´t paste vulgar posters (Remove obscene cinema posters, Organiser, 20-6-2004). But has she helped women in a concrete way? No. What is more objectionable-Merely posters or the whole film? People still watch the vulgar films and some of them still indulge in eve-teasing, and committing rapes. Therefore, cinema halls that show only X-rated movies should not be allowed to run.
– Chandrima Bhattacharya
Distorted depiction: This is with reference to your column, ´Religion´ (Organiser, 13-6-2004), in which you have published an article by Theodore Dalrymple on Islam. The community professing the religion has been living in India since more than a thousand years and instead of finding the truth with them you have preferred to publish a distorted version penned down by a biased writer. It is amazing. The west depicts Islam as a community or a nation and denotes it as moderate or fanatic as per its own angle. The fact is that Islam is inseparable and constitutes one version only based on Holy Quran and words and deeds of The Prophet known as sunnah. One may come across groups of people claiming to be Muslims yet remotely having any bearing or traces of Islam in their conduct. Do Christianity or Hinduism is represented by whatever the followers of these religions do? If you start judging the religion by the wrongful conduct of its so-called followers, you are on the wrong side of the perception you intend to make.
-A.T.M. Anwar, Hyderabad
Miraculous cure: At the age of 78, I developed enlarged prostate glands, which were intensifying daily to my utter distress and agony. Finally, it was decided to have an operation, the only way to get rid of the evil, but slight doubt persisted about my efficacy to survive the operation at the age of 83. Then I promised that I would have Lord Bhairon´s darshan at an old temple situated behind the Old Fort in New Delhi and offer prasad if I am cured. Suddenly, a strange thing happened. All my disease vanished, not in a few weeks, nor in a few days, but in a moment. Since then I have been as healthy and happy as I had been six years back.
-M.M. Gupta, New Delhi
Curse of slavery
Slavery is bane.
Slavery is curse.
It denigrates the society
Resulting in various adverse.
With the dawn of second-
Slavery unluckily or otherwise
Began to eclipse the Indian horizon.
India was the land from whence
Spirituality and science as tidal waves
Imbued the world again and again.
From here flew lifestyle always.
Bharat´s age-long feeling and finding is
That truth is beauty, truth is one
Which is explained variously
By the great wisemen.
But Semetic religions
Don´t believe in oneness of truth
They seek to divide humanity
Which amounts to all the fuss.
The Semetic religions fetter truth
And claim to have patent of God
Freely practises if any one
Is sure to invite the cruel rod.
-Dr Ganesh Prasad Bernval, Mirjapur
Smt Pramilatai Medhe is Sah-Pramukh Sanchalika of Rashtra Sevika Samiti and not Pramukh Sanchalika as misprinted in her interview published in the issue dated June 27 of Organiser. The error is regretted.-Editor.