THIS refers to ‘Blacked out’ (IE, February 19). There is a hue and cry in Parliament over the creation of Telangana. And given the unruly and unbecoming behaviour of some MPs, people are angry and suspicious about the real intentions of their representatives. Passing the Telangana bill in the dark by ordering that Lok Sabha TV’s live coverage be aborted creates more doubts in people’s minds. Democracy is all about “we, the people”. It is premised on openness and transparency. Blacking out the proceedings of Parliament flies against democratic values. Now that the Lok Sabha has passed the bill to create Telangana, the government needs to focus on maintaining law and order and preserve the unity and integrity of our country. This might be the right time to consider setting up a states reorganisation commission.
— Vivek R. Jadhavar
APROPOS of ‘Lights, Camera off, Telangana’ ( IE, February 19), the new low that Parliament sinks to with every passing day is highly unfortunate. The 15th Lok Sabha already has the dubious distinction of being the worst-performing House in independent India. It will be hard to forget the infamous pepper-spray episode or the television blackout of proceedings during which the Telangana bill was passed. These will always be remembered as “black days” for our parliamentary democracy.
— Hemant Kumar
Anger over ink
THIS refers to ‘The right of the reader’ by Stephen Alter (IE, February 19). I agree with the writer that we should not surrender our ideals of free speech in response to the limited, shrill opposition of self-proclaimed protectors of religion. India is a secular country, which has so far managed to maintain and uphold the fundamental rights of its citizens. No one should have the right to dictate what the rest of us can or cannot read. Millions of us still believe in the right of the reader to read, and of the writer to write, no-holds-barred analyses of religion. Hinduism has survived against all odds and has 800 million-plus followers in India — there doesn’t seem to be any need to take away Wendy Doniger’s freedom of speech to protect it. We should feel pleased that a scholar of Doniger’s calibre has devoted herself to ancient Hindu mythology.
— Sanket Ravi Pawar
FINANCE Minister P. Chidambaram’s sincerity in curbing the fiscal deficit and in presenting a well-balanced mini budget is commendable. The only “populist” measure he indulged in was the Rs 500 crore outlay for fulfilling the one rank one pension demand. But the scheme, launched for the benefit of ex-servicemen, should not be grudged as it has been a long-standing and legitimate demand.
— Shahabuddin Nadeem
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