India's democracy at riskIn the last 15 years India has...

the Forum

December 30, 1992

India's democracy at risk

In the last 15 years India has turned very bloody for its Muslim citizens.

Every three or four months, violence organized by fanatic Hindu groups breaks out against Muslims across India. Large numbers of Muslim men, women and children have been killed and their houses, businesses, schools, mosques burnt to the ground.

The police either participate in these carnages or cooperate with the fanatic anti-Muslim groups. The Indian government has done nothing to stop the cycle of violence or bring to justice the marauders whom the Indian press has identified time and again.

In the latest round of violence against Muslims following the criminal demolition of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya, 80 percent of those killed were Muslims, and of those 95 percent were killed by the police, often in their homes.

The demolition of the mosque -- in clear violation of the laws of the land and in the presence of 10,000 men of the Indian paramilitary forces . . . -- spells the end of equal rights for Muslims in India.

It is worth noting that when the fanatics who demolished the mosque returned to the three states where the Hindu fundamentalist party is in power, the chief ministers of those states congratulated the miscreants for a job well done.

One wonders how long secularism, which has already become a farce, and democracy will survive in India.

And what of the basic human rights of Muslims to live in peace and have their mosques, schools, businesses without the constant fear of organized violence?

The Muslims of India are sons of the Indian soil who have lived there for almost a thousand years, often in peace.

But now their basic human rights as citizens of their own country clearly are being denied them. It is a sobering moment for the entire world community, which has a responsibility to do something about it.

Kaleem Kawaja

Ellicott City

MTA waste

Recently I had the occasion to attend two Mass Transit Administration hearings, one in the city and one in the county. I quote from a handout I received: "MTA continually strives to produce high quality transportation service at minimum cost and maximum efficiency." WRONG -- WRONG -- WRONG.

One need only look to our newest means of transportation, the light rail system, a very definite drain on the MTA budget.

It runs every 15 minutes from early morning to late evening. What a waste. Certainly during peak hours it should run every 15

minutes, but to continue this same schedule throughout the day and into the evening hours is ludicrous.

The ridership during these non-peak hours is 10 to 15 percent of capacity and in some cases 1 to 5 percent. Even during Oriole games it continues to run every 15 minutes while the game is in progress. For what?

I am not an economist, mathematician nor statistician, but I know waste when I see it.

At both hearings I attended there were three MTA officials on the panel, one MTA employee to record each statement and the assistant director of the communication division. Another waste of personnel since the panel merely listens, makes no statements of substance and cannot answer any questions. Three robots would do just fine.

I challenge the MTA, The Evening Sun and the taxpayer to sit at Front and Seminary avenues in Lutherville during non-peak hours and watch the sparsely filled cars go by and convince me this 15-minute schedule is necessary when bus routes are slated for elimination due to lack of ridership.

Come on, MTA, have the guts to tell the governor his light rail system is another drain if its present schedule continues.

Vicki Chambers

Lutherville

Where is Hyman?

Where is Hyman Pressman when we need him? This man spent 28 years in the elected position of comptroller of the City of Baltimore, during which time he was the epitome of integrity in government. The only negative thing that could be said about him was that his poetry sometimes didn't rhyme!

Now we have Jacqueline McLean, who came into office buying a city-funded luxury car at a time when Baltimore was laying off hundreds of employees. Then she reorganized her office and abolished several key civil service positions, all of which were held by white males -- most of whom were Jewish.

In her most recent act of arrogant behavior, she has berated a Sudanese-born American citizen for not being black enough to qualify for the city's minority set-aside program.

Even though Emil Abdelsayed was born in Africa and qualifies as an African-American under state law, the city's Board of Estimates has determined that he does not qualify under the city law.

Whether Mr. Abdelsayed is qualified is a question to be resolved in the courts if he chooses to litigate the matter; however, there is no question that he should not have to be subjected to the

verbal abuse thrust upon him by Comptroller McLean. Your article quoted Ms. McLean as calling Mr. Abdelsayed, who is a Christian, a "Muslim-speaking Arab" and an "Arab-speaking Muslim."

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