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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Don’t Milk Januz Case

IT is always difficult for any family to come to terms when one of the family members dies, especially when the person departs at a very young age. But the grief is unimaginable when the family members are not able to have a last glimpse of the beloved departed and give the person a fond farewell. The goof-up at the mortuary of the Goa Medical College and Hospital, Bambolim, wherein the body of a 24-year old man Januz Gonsalves of Aldona was disposed of in place of an unclaimed body has obviously left the entire state in a state of shock. The blame game has started and so has political posturing. Heads have rolled and an inquiry has been initiated. But in all this chaotic environment spare a thought for the family members of the dear departed and the emotional stress they must be going through. To hold a funeral without the body of the dear departed can lead to the worst emotional hurt. The grieving family members need to be given space to grieve over their loss. Politicians should not politicise the issue. It is true that what has happened is very bad and there should not be a repeat of such an incident. But then we should also pray for the departed soul and also for the family members for the courage and strength to bear the loss of their loved one and the unfortunate events that unfolded subsequently.

ADELMO FERNANDES, VASCO

 

Phase Out Reservation

LOK Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan deserves all compliments for her bold comments against the indefinite continuance of the reservation policy. The reservation policy was incorporated in the Constitution for a limited period of just ten years. But unfortunately vote bank politics has made politicians cutting across party lines pushing for continuing reservation for an indefinite period. The reservation policy has alienated the people belonging to the reserved categories from those of unreserved categories. A policy which could not fulfil its basic purpose in the stipulated 10-year period is a failure. Otherwise also, the main beneficiaries of the policy are ultra-rich politicians who are not excluded as creamy layer of the reserved categories. Cast-based reservation can be gradually abolished by denying its benefits to the families whose income is above certain ceiling and who have more than two children.

SUBHASH CHANDRA AGRAWAL, DELHI

 

Upholding Gender Equality

IT is often seen that when a woman could intervene and come to the rescue of other women something contrary happens to make the situation even worse for the womenfolk. The latest Supreme Court judgment on in Kerala’s Sabarimala temple, which had banned the entry of women in the menstrual age group of 10-50 years, is a case in point. In the five-judge Constitution bench of the top court that had been hearing the case there was a lone woman judge. When the verdict was delivered by the 4-1 majority favouring the entry of women in the temple irrespective of age group, the primacy of equality and elimination of gender bias was considered on priority. It was opined that prohibiting women on the basis of menstruation is entirely unfounded and cannot pass the constitutional validity. It was also remarked that segregating and banning women based on this irrational and archaic notion is a form of untouchability. The lone woman judge in her dissenting note felt it pertinent to attract freedom of religion enshrined in the Constitution and observed that religious customs and practices cannot be questioned on the principle of rationality and opined that the religious community and not the court should decide what constitutes essential religious practice. In that case the very spirit of inquiry enshrined in the Constitution gets challenged, for quite often what one community feels is irrational and superstitious, the other one defends and reveres as all pervading. As per her views, people can still defend the Devadasi system, where young women were offered to please gods, to be only ravaged upon by voracious men, as an accepted religious practice. Religionists have argued that there are over a thousand temples devoted to Lord Ayappa but only in Sabarimala the deity is manifestly celibate and that is the reason for imposing the ban on the women of specified age group. But it is only a patriarchal derivation nurtured over the centuries merely to downgrade the matriarchy.

MICHAEL VAZ, MERCES

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