Syrian invasion will destabilise Mideast
SIR, According to the Western media, it is “too little, too late”  for Syria agreeing to the UN inspection of areas of alleged use of chemical weapons. This is  reminiscent of similar lies by the warmongers of the so-called “international community”, i.e., the USA and its two main European sidekicks, before their invasion of Iraq  and Libya.
While UN inspectors are in Damascus, a few miles away from the alleged site of the chemical attack,  why should the regime use such weapons knowing full well that the Western powers are intent on toppling Assad? As a result, the entire region could be destabilised.
 According to Robert Fisk of The Independent, London, “no one is going to be interested in persistent reports in Beirut that three Hezbollah members ~ fighting alongside government troops in Damascus ~ were apparently struck down by the same gas on the same day, supposedly in tunnels. They are now said to be undergoing treatment in a Beirut hospital. So if Syrian government forces used gas, how come Hezbollah men might have been stricken too? Blowback?”
As far as the “allies” against the Syrian regime are concerned, they consist of such “democracies” as Saudi Arabia, fundamentalist Qatar,  Sunni-ruled Bahrain with a predominantly Shia population, Al Qaida and Islamist fundamentalists. This is not a glowing example of “human rights”  supporters.
It is the prerogative of the Western powers  to use chemical weapons, not on their own people,  but on others as the British did on the Kurds in 1926 and by the USA in Vietnam. Hundreds of people are still suffering from terminal cancer and deformity.
To that can be added the deliberate use of depleted uranium shells and phosphorous bombs in the Iraq war. The Western powers seem to be driven by the divine right to exploit other countries’ oil.
 This happened in Libya, when a British minister  claimed that Muammar Gaddafi had fled to Venezuela. The media in  these countries were aware of these lies, but kept quiet in the interest of “energy security”.
Britain is facing  a serious energy crisis and wants the  gas pipelines to run through Syria, transporting gas from central Asia to Turkish ports. This will preclude the dependence on Russian oil and gas supply. Western invasion of Syria will create another terrorist state and inflame the Middle East, spreading from Iran to Turkey.
Yours, etc., Pritish Roy, London, 29 August.

GENDER EQUALITY

SIR, This is with reference to two reports, “Protest against Marriage Bill” and “RS passes Marriage Bill”, published on August 26 and 27. Recently the Supreme Court observed: “A daughter-in-law should be treated as a family member and not as a maid, and she cannot be thrown out of her matrimonial home at any time”. As a matter of fact, the contrary is the reality. Parliament has proposed changes to the marriage law in order to give a divorced woman a share in her husband&’s property. This is an absurd proposition; it will only aggravate the chaos in society.
Women and men are equal and financially independent. A woman has a share in her father&’s property and that of her husband as well. Men are losing out on either count. The law must ensure gender equality.
Yours, etc., Mahesh Kapasi, New Delhi, 28 August.

AGNOSTIC VIDYASAGAR
SIR, In his article, “Ocean of values” (18 August), Tapas Kumar Basu concludes that Vidyasagar was neither an atheist nor a theist, but an agnostic, as he was neutral towards God and religion. He was truly secular.
 Humanism made him dependent on reason and freed him from superstition. Every letter that he wrote to his parents carried the words, Shri Shri Hari Saranam. Hinduism and humanism are inseparable.
Yours, etc., DC Dey, Kolkata, 21 August.

ULTIMATE SUFFERERS
SIR, The daily wage-earners and the poor are the worst sufferers of the agitation for a united Andhra Pradesh. The continuing bus strike has crippled connectivity.
 The people have to spend a fair amount to travel by autos or private trucks. The daily earnings get depleted further still. The state&’s political leaders are now shedding crocodile tears.
Yours, etc., Lakshmi Sekar, Visakhapatnam, 29 August.

FOR THE BIRDS
SIR, Apropos the report, “Mamata asks ministers to perform or resign” (21 August), the Chief Minister has pulled up a number of “non-performing” ministers and asked them either to perform or put in their papers.
 Her rule remains highly authoritarian, with little political, social, media or religious freedom. The Chairperson of the Press Council of India, Justice Katju, has rightly remarked that  ministers and officials “are afraid to speak their minds” and are “terrorized” by her “unpredictable and whimsical behaviour.”
While releasing a booklet last year to trumpet her performance, Miss Banerjee had claimed that “we have completed 10 years of work in 10 months. Now, we will only monitor.” Therefore, her review meeting is intended for the birds.
 Her reported displeasure with the performance of the ministers for industry, urban  development, education and transport is meaningless. These ministers have perfected the art of singing paeans to the CM.
Yours, etc., SS Paul, Chakdaha, 21 August.