* The government has rightly taken a strong stance and banned Salman Rushdies video conference (Question mark over Rushdie video chat,IE,January 24). I dont see why our country must waste its resources on Rushdies security,when the crime rate in India is already high. His alleged blasphemous book disparages Islam. Freedom of speech is undoubtedly the very essence of democracy but religion is a very sensitive topic. For all practical purposes,antagonising and offensive prose must be avoided. Though I condemn threats made to his life,his safety is his own lookout as he has brought this upon himself.
Ragini Sabnavis Mumbai
By the book
* The editorial Rushdies fresh sigh (IE,January 24) has rightly warned the Congress against repeating the old mistakes of Rajiv Gandhis prime ministership in mishandling Salman Rushdies book and other minority-related issues that backfired. The Rushdie episode is a painful illustration of doublespeak to please an obscurantist bunch on the eve of the UP elections. Fuelling the anxieties of Muslim voters would only hurt them more,projecting them as less-than-moderate-and-tolerant. It is time parties gave up cynical and reprehensible votebank politics in the interest of a dignified and mature democracy.
M. Ratan New Delhi
Fun of ban
* Salman Rushdies The Satanic Verses is reportedly not his best book. However,that does not reduce the need to uphold the written word. Who are the people who forced him out of the JLF? Were they around when Rajiv Gandhis government banned the book? Did any one of the protesters in Jaipur on Tuesday read anything by Rushdie ever? Did their parent generation,presumably behind the 1989 outcry? No,they did not. Because those who read do not burn books,nor come out in the street with death threats even when they thoroughly dislike a book. All that fanatics,whether hounding out M.F. Husian or Rushdie,have to do is either close the book or look away. But then wed be a liberal and tolerant society. Theres no fun without a ban.
S.C. Baxi Kolkata
Report action taken
* The Delhi polices claim that Naqi Ahmed was their informer raises a big question (Maharashtra ATS cracks 13/7,arrests 3,IE,January 24). Why didnt the Delhi police arrest him? The blast could have been averted. This clearly indicates the carelessness of the Delhi police and is a matter of national shame. Action must be taken against them.
Drashti Sheth Mumbai
Road to safety
* This refers to State-private bus collision kills 3,injures 25 on Mumbai-Goa Highway (IE,January 23). The narrowness of the highway makes it prone to accidents. The government should improve the infrastructure.
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