Let's agree to disagree
With reference to Smruti Koppikar's article The republic of intolerance (The Big Story, February 3), it seems India has become a country of people who easily get offended by a film, a work of art or a social scientist's demographic observation. People are within their rights to object but this doesn't suggest that they can infringe upon someone else's freedom of expression as we have recently witnessed. The very tenet of democracy is to protect the right of the people to express their views even if we disagree with them. Ransacking art exhibitions and manhandling individuals are nothing but criminal intimidation. If anybody thinks that an individual or an organisation is violating the law, he/she can always take the legal route.
M Kumar, via email
Age no bar for criminal minds
With reference to the article Not a minor danger (Chanakya, February 3), Chanakya is right in stating that punishment should be commensurate with the crime, not the age of a criminal. We must follow countries like Britain, the US and Australia where besides the age of the criminal, the severity of the crime is also factored in while awarding punishment to juvenile delinquents. The depravity that the juvenile rapist in the Delhi gang rape case has shown begs for the harshest punishment. If this juvenile walks out free in three years, he can be a potential threat to others, especially when proper background verification is not par for the course in our country.
Ranjana Manchanda, via email
If a minor can commit adult crimes, then he/she can be tried legally as one. Hence, the court of law should take the gravity of the crime committed by a minor into account. There can't be hard-and-fast rules vis-à-vis juvenile delinquency. The legal system must be amended in such a way that the gravity of the offence and not age guide the penalty.
Ashok Kumar, via email
We need speech, not repression
This refers to Manas Chakravarty's article Advice to writers (Loose Canon, February 3). Looking at the growing intolerance in the country, I think Chakravarty's satirical advice to writers about avoiding writing on crucial social issues makes sense. Recent protests against Kamal Haasan's film Vishwaroopam and Ashis Nandy's comment on Dalits suggest that there's little room for any opinion that fails to fit the definition of 'political correctness'. It may be recalled that US President called the film Innocence of Muslims, which led to riots in Egypt and spread to other Arab and Muslim nations, "crude and disgusting". But at the same time upholding an individual's right to free speech, the US did not ban the film. We, too, must realise that the solution lies in discussion and debate and not repression.
Ravinder Singh, Jalandhar
Chakravarty's satirical style of writing always drives home a point. As for writing a novel with so many riders, many authors may just drop the idea.
Taposh Bhattacharya, Bhopal
A state of cultural emergency
With reference to Karan Thapar's article Shame on us (Sunday Sentiments, February 3), discussion, dissent and debate are the crucial pillars of a democratic system. But the world's largest democracy is facing a state of cultural emergency where misogynist remarks find their way into the public discourse on women's safety and films and art exhibitions are banned. A liberal society like ours should not allow this kind of mob-censorship.
Ved Guliani, Hisar
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