Police has lost the capability to act
SIR, ~ Your editorial, “Police and vandals” (20 September), has correctly analysed the failures of the police at Christ Church Girls’ High school. It is simply shocking that the law-enforcement authorities could force the Principal and other teachers to enter a dark room, with fans and lights switched off. The police eventually compelled Principal Helen Sircar to resign, before arresting her. It will be some time before the teachers can forget so traumatic an experience. The police and combat forces ignored the authorities’ appeal to rein in the mob, pleading that “we  don’t have orders.” The police has lost the capability to act on its own. Senior officers decided to play safe, recalling the fate of  Damayanti Sen and RK Panchnanda.
Even the death of the school student has been politicised. Mukul Roy, the Trinamul general secretary, jumped the gun and blamed the CPI-M for the destruction of school property.   The inefficiency of the police was reinforced when it took 72 hours to arrest the vandals. Whether at Kamduni or Dum Dum, charge-sheets  are prepared as per the directives of the political masters. No wonder the  magistracy has pulled up the police for incomplete charge-sheets  and a “confused” mind.
yours, etc., s s paul, chakdaha (nadia), 20 september.
‘Honour killings’
SIR, ~ The manner in which Nidhi Barak (20) was killed and her friend, Dharmender Barak (23), beaten up and then beheaded has simply numbed the nation. Both belonged to the Jat community of Rohtak district in Haryana.
  There have been several “honour killings” in this state, in Punjab and eastern UP for either falling in love or marrying against the wishes of the family. The recent murders were allegedly committed by the girls’ mother.
   What exactly is the honour that is sought to be protected by such ghastly acts? The killers deserve exemplary punishment in accord with the Supreme Court observation in 2011 that “honour killers” should face the death penalty to deter other cruel parents from killing their own children.
   The nature of the horrendous crime calls for separate legislation. Sadly, because of vote-bank politics  neither the state governments and nor the political parties have the courage to confront the khaps. Civilisation is at stake.
yours, etc., bidyut kumar chatterjee, faridabad, 20 september.
Women officers & rape probe
SIR, ~ Thank you for carrying the report, “Women officers kept out of rape probes” (19 September). One is reminded of the important Section 154(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code. It states: “The information under cognisable offence given by the woman against whom an offence is alleged to have been committed or attempted shall be recorded by a woman officer.”
Unfortunately, in Punjab and Chandigarh, the women police officers are not engaged to record the statements of a rape victim despite a clear provision in the Code. It is reported that out of 97 cases of rape registered in Punjab and Chandigarh, women police officers recorded statements of the rape victim only in five. This is an injustice to women.
There is no clear picture about how ‘rape-victims’ are treated in the police stations of West Bengal. The report of Punjab and Chandigarh police prompts us to demand information if the statements of the rape victims in Bengal are taken by  women officers.
The Home department ought to furnish a report, complete with facts and figures. A rape victim suffers a traumatic experience.
The code is explicit on the point that “statements shall be recorded by a woman officer”. This is to provide psychological support to the victim so that she can express herself unhesitatingly to a woman officer.
How can she describe her experience to a male officer?  Deposition before a woman police officer can make a crucial difference. The recorded statement is of utmost importance in a court of law.
yours, etc., indrani guha, kolkata, 20 september.