Doug Johnson’s “A flood of new depositors’ (Mint, 28 May) has highlighted a genuine problem faced by bank customers in rural India. NREG payment through banks will reduce corruption in the programme. To evenly distribute the load among banks, we can use a very simple process where payments are released on several days either in alphabetical or serial number order. His suggestion of outsourcing payments or collections may not be very effective given our past record of third-party frauds. In the past, many NBFC and chit companies have used this method in rural areas. Illiterate customers paid money for depositing through agents which was misappropriated. Therefore, involving outsourced agencies may not be the right step at this point in time.
— R.K. Singh
Apropos “It’s abuse of Sedition Law (Mint, 4 June)”, there can be no two views that the draconian action by the Ahmedabad police commissioner is not only outrageous but also very dangerous in its import. The intent behind it is not only to punish The Times of India (ToI), but to send a message, loud and clear, that citizens who dare to speak against any functionary of the state would find themselves in the line of serious attack by the authorities.
It is worth remembering that the police commissioner is a political appointee and enjoys the confidence of the chief minister. His conduct is also a reflection of the thinking of the state government. It could also be that the commissioner is trying to be more loyal than the king himself by initiating such an action against a leading newspaper thinking that the chief minister will be happy. Either way, it is dangerous.
Imagine, if this can happen to such a newspaper, what would be the plight of an ordinary citizen fighting the might of the state? All citizens should wake up to this threat. We would do well to remember that such dictatorial tendencies, if tolerated, would degenerate into a silent dictatorship.
The nefarious objective of the action is to put the fear of police in the minds of citizens who dare to raise issues of larger interest or common good. Such dictatorial tendencies have to be fought tooth and nail by one and all who love democracy.
We would do well to recall the words of Swami Vivekananda, who had said that “a man should live without fear, otherwise he is dead”. Let us remember “dissent is the essence of democracy”. No authority can be allowed to throttle dissent, and not in the least, a newspaper.
— Shivkumar D. Israni
Instead of becoming more investigative, responsible and objective, journalism has become powerful, intrusive and sensationalist. With lack of public accountability, and encouraged by our slow-paced legal system, the media can easily besmirch reputations and get away without any fear of reproach — a la the Aarushi murder case. No wonder, conjectures, innuendos, unverified reports and sponsored stories are the order of the day.
So, while you condemn the sedition charges by Ahmedabad’s police chief against ToI, Mint also does not care to investigate or check the veracity about the “alleged role of the police officer in a police-criminal nexus”. Instead of supporting the “law to take its own course” and asking ToI to prove the slanderous “suspected terrorist link” and be victorious on the strength of the merit of the case, you display your naked partisanship (probably because it is a part of your fraternity) by castigating Modi and the Gujarat government — a trend quite fashionable with the “secular” media. Whether to file a case of defamation or sedition is the prerogative of the police chief and no one can question that, except the judiciary. Finally, asking for a rethink on sedition law is asking for the baby to be thrown out with the bath water.
— Ashok Gupta