That some of my colonist ancestors drew up section 377 (“Homosexuality is not a crime”, Mint, 19 August) while the debate today in my country (France) is about homosexual marriages makes me very uncomfortable. Apart from the problem of HIV, the gay community also suffers from a psychological gap from the rest of society. In France, the suicide rate of homosexuals is 10% higher than others in every age group. If being a gay scandalizes society, we should begin to offer psychological support to its disquiet and anxiety. As you say, homosexuality as a crime doesn’t make sense in a society with so many value systems.
Apropos Nitin Pai’s “A new compact with J&K”, Mint, 25 August. Let us stop pro-Pakistani leaders once and for all from holding citizens of India (including Kashmiris) to ransom. If Omar Abdullah feels Kashmiris need to fight to the finish for saving Kashmir’s land from being given to the Amarnath Shrine Board, then people from the rest of India also need to rethink about giving any land or assistance to Kashmiris.
Kashmiris must be allowed to decide their future. The Indian democracy must give them a fair chance, fearlessly, of self-determination. The Jammu region should be merged with Punjab/Himachal as its people feel it is good for their future to truly integrate with India. The Ladakh region also feels likewise but, it needs special care being predominantly tribal. Let it become a Union territory. Let the Kashmir valley have a plebiscite under the UN supervision with only one question—whether Kashmir should be an integral part of India. Let us also leave it to Kashmiris and the UN and the international community to force Pakistan to hold such a plebiscite in Pakistan-occupied/Azad Kashmir. If the majority of Kashmiris say no for India—let us pull out. If the majority vote for India, we can eliminate Article 370 and other special status provisions and integrate it like any other state.
Enough is enough.
“Asleep on the job, but Patil retains his berth”, Mint, 20 August, is a very forthright comment on the inept performances of the home minister who, as events have shown, is unequal to the task. The incidents in the valley provide ample evidence of widespread mishandling of the situation. The allegation that allotment of land to the shrine board is a step to colonize the valley is utterly baseless. That vast numbers of Kashmiri Pandits have been forced out of the valley by the secessionists is an issue that has been swept under the carpet. We should not be talking to self-styled Hurriyat leaders as they have never established democratic and representative credentials. Some of the political parties in the valley stand exposed by their unprincipled stand on the shrine land issue.
Privatization of stray dogs, “Bite, fight and property rights”, Mint, 22 August, is a possible solution to the dog menace in most parts of the country. There should be a benchmarking for the condition of a dog to be a part of the human community, failing which the owner should be penalized. Municipalities should own the right to remove any dog found without a tag. Animal activists need to promote privatization. Hope the Indian courts will come up with a good solution before further damage.