x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Will India ever be safe for women?

A reader says protests and new laws have done nothing to ensure safety for women in India. Other topics: Abu Dhabi roads, homosexuality, culture, illegal residents, Indian tradtion

A reader says little has changed in India a year after the fatal gang rape in Delhi shook the nation. Sajjad Hussain / AFP
A reader says little has changed in India a year after the fatal gang rape in Delhi shook the nation. Sajjad Hussain / AFP

I am commenting on the news report Old fears remain a year after Delhi rape (December 15). It is a grim reminder that despite efforts, social change remains a distant dream for India.

Incidents of rape and molestation in the capital and other parts of the country regularly hit headlines. No wonder Priya Rajan is hesitant to relocate to Delhi from New York. Will Delhi – and India in general – ever be safe for women?

K Ragavan, India

New names of Abu Dhabi roads cause confusion

After living in Abu Dhabi for the past five years and becoming familiar with different parts of the city, I suddenly feel lost while driving. Thanks to the new street-naming scheme that the authorities have introduced, all street numbers have disappeared.

In Abu Dhabi, streets parallel to Corniche Road had odd numbers and the ones perpendicular to it had even numbers. Once you understood this axial street numbering system, it was easy to find your way along the major roads of the city. For example, as you drive from Corniche Road to Mushrif Mall along Muroor Road, which is on 25th Street, you will come across all the parallel roads with odd numbers such as 11th Street, 13th Street, 15th Street, and so on to 23rd Street, and finally 25th Street. This numbering system made driving easy as you could anticipate which cross road is coming up next and how far is your destination.

However, under the new street naming system, signboards display names without numbers and you will have to be always on the edge of your street looking for Al Dhafra Street, for example, which is the new name for 25th Street. I have seen many people, including taxi drivers, complaining about the new street naming system. Many are considering an appeal to the authorities to retain the street numbers in the beginning of street names.

Unni Krishnan, Abu Dhabi

Penal code needs to be updated

I refer to the news article India ban on homosexuality an embarrassing throwback (December 13). Perhaps for the first time a High Court appeared to be more correct in its wisdom than the Supreme Court, if the hue and cry raised after the Supreme Court verdict reversing the ruling of the Delhi High Court is any indication.

The review petition is expected to come soon before the Supreme Court. The Indian penal code relating to this particular issue was written down by Lord Macaulay in 1860.

Essentially based on Victorian laws and concepts of “sexual offences against the order of nature” and introduced under section 377, it was totally out of tune with India’s traditional way of life and culture. This is amply supported by written scriptures and sculptures, carvings and paintings in various caves and temples across the country. Khajuraho temples and Ellora caves are some of the prominent examples.

Also, it was an accepted and common practise during Moghul period in India. Thus, it is neither immoral nor illegal to treat one as a criminal under the law. Hopefully, a better sense will prevail and the judiciary and the legislation will take appropriate steps.

CS Pathak, India

Mutual respect key to good society

I enjoyed reading Asmaa Al Hameli’s opinion article Emiratis and expats, step out of your comfort zone and talk (December 13).

I lived in the UAE for more than 21 years and worked with Emiratis and other Arabs. While this article says that expatriates should take the opportunity to understand Emiratis, the same needs to happen the other way.

There is a lot of resentment from some Emiratis and other Arabs towards expatriates. I remember asking my head of department about starting a school choir (the girls, did, after all, sing a lot). She was mortified and replied: “We don’t want our children to become Britney Spears or Michael Jackson.” I was shocked. There are many westerners that can’t stand them either, a lot of westerners that dislike Hollywood and pop-star immorality and won’t let their kids watch the videos or listen to the songs. But because I was a westerner, my head of department made the grand assumption that I was an immoral person and would somehow negatively influence the girls.

It would be really good if Emiratis acknowledge that there are many good people out there, whether it is your Filipina maid, your American English teacher or your Bangladeshi cab driver.

Julie Gordon, UK

Drive against illegals laudable

The initiative by the authorities in Ajman to get rid of illegal residents deserves praise (Clampdown on illegal residents, December 15).

Special teams should be created to catch violators working or hiding in places like beauty salons. This is one place where many illegal residents can be found.

Other places that have potential to attract illegal activities include internet cafes, buildings that do not have watchmen, some furniture and curtain shops that sell stolen or used furniture and mobile-phone shops that deal in counterfeit or stolen goods.

Name withheld by request