Treat the rapist-cum-murderer as a terrorist
SIR, ~  Instances of gangrape, followed by murder (to wipe out evidence) and infant-rape or sodomy sometimes matched with cold-blooded murder are rising alarmingly in India. One key factor behind this horror is the hardcore porn sites, including explicit child-sex shows, which can be viewed even on a cell phone. This is available today to even the supposedly deprived section of society. There are other contributing factors too. However, if we aim to have a society free from rape and murder of children and women the following options need to be considered:
Because of a stringent system of punishment, the United Arab Emirates  and the Middle East are at least safe for any woman or a child. In India, a multi-party democracy, such punishments may not be feasible for all criminals. The guiding factor of our legal system is: let a hundred culprits escape but one innocent should not be punished. Therefore, a criminal case can be dragged indefinitely. However, a rapist-cum-murderer can arguably be treated as a terrorist as defined in POTA, with sufficient justification to assist the police and the law-enforcement agencies.
Similarly, a rape committed on a foreign tourist in a way deprives the country of a fair amount of valuable foreign exchange. A budget tourist, who wishes to travel across the country, may find conditions unsafe. The rapist, therefore, is a national enemy. A rapist-cum-murderer inflicts unimaginable pain, both physical and mental, to the victim and her family. My suggestion should not be misconstrued by the human rights activists.
Instead of sending a confirmed rapist to the gallows or sentenced to life imprisonment (at the cost of the national exchequer) ~ which in my opinion cannot be a deterrent ~ a more effective system of capital punishment must be tried to deter future acts of rape. For example all donable organs of a confirmed rapist, including his blood, may be taken out in clinical conditions and the mortal remains can be given a funeral by the concerned state government  according to his faith, if there are no claimants. I wish we had a Col. Sleeman today to tackle this menace. He died in 1856, more than 150 years ago but saved millions of innocent pilgrims by eliminating the ruthless tribe of thugs and thugees who used to operate across the country terrorizing all sections of society at that point of time in history.
yours, etc., ranajoy bose, kolkata, 17 june.

Proverbial mirage
SIR, ~ Mamata Banerjee has called for a Federal Front, equidistant from the Congress and the BJP, at a critical juncture in West Bengal. She is confronted with a range of forbidding problems. The idea is nothing but a ploy to increase her bargaining power with the two parties ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. She is also trying to divert public attention from the Saradha chit fund collapse. The margin of victory in the Howrah parliamentary by-election has convinced her that she needs an ally to fight electoral battles.
She doesn’t believe in divergent views and inner-party democracy; she has always been unilateral in her approach. The coming together of disparate regional parties as an alternative political formation at the national level is an old formula that has never really worked. The inherent instability of the Third Front has been its undoing whenever it has been proposed. Bereft of an ideological or political underpinning,  regional parties have little to hold them together. It is almost impossible for them to address the national issues without a national party at the helm. A Federal Front, if it materialises, will be no more than a cabal of opportunistic regional satraps constantly fighting each other for a larger share of the pie. Lacking in cohesion, it will be nothing more than an electoral bargaining chip. The Third Front has repeatedly been a non-starter and has invariably suffered a premature death. Trinamul Congress has severed  its ties with the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance. The party&’s alliance with the Congress has come a cropper in West Bengal. How does it hope to become the fulcrum of an illusory political front and work with different political parties without any consensus programme? A non-Congress, non-BJP political formation is a proverbial mirage.
yours etc. s s paul, chakdaha (nadia), 17 june.

Progressive and liberal
SIR, ~ An erroneous impression has been conveyed that the terms “progressive Muslims” and “liberal Muslims” are synonymous. Liberalism doesn’t imply that one should abandon one&’s religion. Maulana Azad, Hakim Ajmal Khan, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, and Syed Mahmood were all great Muslim leaders and staunch nationalists as well.
 They neither abjured Islam nor did they oppose “Indianness”. They were true liberals as they were free from colonialism. They cannot be compared with some of the present set of liberals, who oppose Islam.
yours, etc., m hashim kidwai, (former member of the rajya sabha), new delhi, 18 june.