This refers to your special issue on the judiciary (How Political Is Our Judiciary?, March 1). In his interview (‘SC failed on rights, liberty, freedom of expression’), Justice Deepak Gupta, a former Supreme Court judge, spoke with authority on why the content of the controversial toolkit for the farmers’ protest cannot attract the charge of sedition. Unlike many other legal luminaries, he showed the courage to speak out against the unreasonable arrest of 22-year-old climate activist Disha Ravi. The toolkit was posted on social media to raise public awareness on the farm laws and express solidarity with the protesting farmers. If the Delhi Police had applied their mind without political bias or a compulsion to defer to their political bosses, then a perusal of the toolkit would have dissuaded them from arresting the activist. Scaring young people with the threat of imprisonment when they participate in democratic processes is antithetical to the encouragement they need to play a role in shaping the country’s future. The problem with the present ruling dispensation is that it misconstrues voices against the government as voices against the nation, and invokes sedition at the drop of a hat. Section 124A (sedition) of Indian Penal Code is part of the colonial legacy that we need to free ourselves from.
G. David Milton, Maruthancode (Tamil Nadu)
This refers to Free or Fettered? (From the Editor, March 1). I fail to understand why any voice against the government of the day gets highlighted much before it is analysed on merits and facts. As a general trend, media and so-called NGOs jump in to take the lead and spread it like wildfire. For the judges, to look ‘fair’ should not always mean that they give their verdict against the government.
S.P. Ashta, On E-Mail
This refers to Nails in Our Young ‘Un’s Toolkit (Poliglot, March 1). Multiple charges such as sedition, criminal conspiracy and promoting enmity between groups against climate activist Disha Ravi appear grossly disproportionate. Keeping her in custody in the name of “unearthing” links with pro-Khalistan groups is part of the government’s attempt to demonise the protesting farmers and deprive them of support. The toolkit is a standard document meant to guide activists on how to popularise the protest among wider sections of society across the world. It is shocking that it attracted a sedition charge.
L.J.S. Panesar, Amritsar
This refers to your cover story on social media (Operation Tweetstorm (February 22). The consciousness-lacking political environment has prompted a media drift towards dubious acts by conveying disingenuous messages harmful to our national identity, and Twitter has become a ready forum for airing conspiracy theories. As citizens of an agrarian country, people in India have the highest regard for farmers protesting peacefully against the farm laws. But foreign celebrities should not have poked their noses into our affairs.
Seetharambasaani, Hanamkonda (Telangana)
This refers to Chat Up Privacy. It is absolutely important that data should be protected and privacy maintained. It is unacceptable to leak personal information we share with various mobile apps. It gives a chance to unscrupulous persons to use the data against my interest, and can lead to numerous frauds. WhatsApp should rethink its new policy and the government should enact the personal data protection law as early as possible.
D.B. Madan, New Delhi
This refers to Chetan Mahajan’s column on the Chamoli carnage (The Condammed Space, February 22). Mountain formations are fragile ecosystems and they are degrading fast because of global warming and climate change. The Trans Himalayan region that runs from Afghanistan to Myanmar is the planet’s “third pole”—home to more ice than anywhere outside the two poles. The region is geologically fragile, and vulnerable to erosion and landslides even without human interference.
H.N. Ramakrishna, Bangalore
Climate change in the region is the real cause of the tragedy in Chamoli. What is disturbing is that no serious measures were taken up to address the deepening concerns even as atmosphere is getting warmer by the day due to greenhouse gas emissions. Ill-conceived big infrastructural projects, including more dams, are underway in this sensitive region. The fleeting attention that follows every disaster, without any attempt made to learn fully about the ecology of the area, and then continuing to extract natural resources endlessly using modern technology show that exploitation of resources is being given more importance than human lives.
K.R. Srinivasan, Secunderabad
The recent tragedy in Uttarakhand warns us that the heavy infrastructural push in the hill region is happening without sufficient research. The projects could end up multiplying risks for everyone. The Kedarnath tragedy of 2013 should have served as a wake-up call, but it is clear that appropriate lessons have not been learned. The simultaneous pursuit of environmental and economic goods in a democracy involves complex calculations requiring expert knowledge. Policy decisions regarding projects in ecologically sensitive regions must be swayed by scientists, not builders and contractors. We must do a balancing act.
P.L. Singh, On E-Mail
This refers to your story on bail (To Be Punished Until Proven Innocent, February 15). Poets, singers, actors, journalists, scholars, comedians, lawyers, priests, social activists and even climate activists are all on the list of people apparently threatening this country. This list of so-called anti-nationals is growing. Those who are on it seem destined to languish in the already overcrowded jails for years, especially if they happen to be Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims or women, and definitely if they are poor and cannot afford expensive legal battle for years. Even if many get acquitted in the end, justice delayed is justice denied. Is the government really so scared of these people? The makers of our Constitution must be tossing and turning in their graves over this travesty of justice.
Rakesh Agrawal, Dehradun
The picture of Alia Bhatt in a multicoloured bikini, captioned ‘The Temptress’s Song’ (La Dolce Vita, February 22), set against the contrasting backdrop of the fine whites and crystal-clear waters on the beach with the natural greenery of Maldives, and the other picture captioned ‘Time on Her Side’, with the big boulders, smoothed and polished by the elements of creative nature over a long time, standing as bodyguards of Sunny Leone’s sensuous beauty—both are likely to stun the viewer’s senses and make one reflect on John Keats’ words that “a thing of beauty is a joy forever”. These photos also remind us of the age-old art in the Ajanta and Ellora caves in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, which present basic human emotions through gestures, pose and form. Thanks to the editor for giving us the opportunity to get some relief from boring political news and views.
M.N. Bhartiya, Alto-Porvorim (Goa)