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Agriculture

JAYATI GHOSH’S Cover Story (April 17) article was revealing, especially with regard to women workers, and depressing. Solutions to the complex problems of price volatility, water management, and so on are the need of the hour. Providing adequate storage facilities and encouraging related industries in rural areas may reduce the waste of produce when there is a surplus. Sugarcane used to be burned in the field until sugar mills were set up near farms. If the Food Corporation India armed with minimum support prices is made to compete with private players, it will reduce exploitation.

Sukumar K. Padhy

Dhameshpuri, Rajasamand district, Rajasthan

Israel

THE article “A vote for apartheid” (April 17) analysed in a balanced way the recent election in Israel and assessed the emergence of a united Arab bloc in the Knesset. During a recent visit to Israel, I found the Palestinians suffering a lot because they do not have their own nation. Israel and Palestine are geographical realities, and the sooner Benjamin Netanyahu comes to accept this, the better it will be for Israel’s progress. His government needs to realise that its apartheid policies will harm not only Palestine but also international peace. The U.S. must stop assisting Israel until it stops the construction of illegal settlements.

Thomas Edmunds

Chennai

Crime

THAT some people in India have become so depraved that they can rape a septuagenarian nun sends shivers down one’s spine (“Bengal’s shame”, April 17). The West Bengal government should be reassuring people instead of describing the outrage as a conspiracy of the CPI(M) and the BJP. The challenge before Prime Minister Narendra Modi is more difficult than one could have anticipated because attacks on Christian institutions are happening far too many times for anyone to reject outright the communal angle in the latest attacks.

Padmini Raghavendra

Secunderabad, Telangana

Section 66A

THE Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Section 66A of the Information Technology Act is praiseworthy (“In defence of free speech”, April 17). The historic judgment has paved the way for thoughtful jurisprudence in the Internet era. Ironically, the Congress, which was in power when Section 66A was made part of the I.T. Act, has a long legacy of strangling the freedom of speech and expression even though in the colonial period it was against the Vernacular Press Act of 1878. It cannot be denied that the Internet has opened up new ways for communication and exchange of ideas. The power of “digital democracy” was well tested during the “Arab Spring”. However, there is a dark side to striking down the section. Some provision should be made to protect netizens from being possible victims of defamation, character assassination, and so on.

Buddhadev Nandi

Bishnupur, West Bengal

KUDOS to Shreya Singhal, whose petition led to the Supreme Court striking down Section 66A. The public outcry against the arrest of the Palghar girls played a decisive role in the court’s landmark judgment. This indicates that public opinion plays a vital role in a vibrant democracy like India’s. As for Arun Jaitley’s double standard on Section 66A, while as the then Leader of the Opposition and now as Finance Minister, it is a clear case of the saying: “Where you stand depends upon where you sit”.

K.P. Rajan

Mumbai

India’s Daughter

THE documentary “India’s Daughter is a remarkable portrayal of Indian patriarchy and misogyny (Cover Story, April 3). Many of us believe that women have less intrinsic worth than men. The rapists acted like the moral police, punishing couples “roaming irresponsibly” around the city. This is the message the rapist Mukesh Singh wanted to give through the film, which his defence lawyers seemed to amply support. It is preposterous to ban the film on the grounds that the government felt the culture of the country was in jeopardy. The vulnerability of women and the obscenity and banality of rape are inconsequential to these so-called custodians of culture.

N.C. Sreedharan

Kannur, Kerala

THE government’s reaction to this documentary is shameful. It seems that we still live in the past, when women were supposed to keep themselves away from the eyes of the world; when their voices were silenced with a single glare from a man; when a rape victim was considered unclean; and so on. And that is probably why India’s patriarchal, misogynistic men cannot bear to face the truth brought out in this heart-rending film.

Koshika Krishna

Mumbai

Corporate spies

THE theft of documents from key Ministries is hardly indicative of the Modi-led BJP government’s promise of good governance (“Corporate spies in the corridors of power”, March 20). The National Democratic Alliance which used to happily blame the United Progressive Alliance for the innumerable scams during the UPA’s rule has failed to stem the rot after it came to power.

R. Prabhu Raj

Chennai

Land Act

THE Land Acquisition Bill should have a provision to ensure that those who acquire land compensate owners with another piece of land elsewhere instead of giving them cash (“Land Bill hits a wall”, March 20). Also, acquiring agrarian land for non-agricultural purposes is not good for food security. It is strange that when actors and cricketers ask for land to start cricket academies or dance schools, they get it from the government at the place of their choice, whereas the poor and hapless farmers are left to fend for themselves after they lose their land for one project or another.

Deendayal M. Lulla

Mumbai

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