The Merchiston affair is assuming ridiculous proportions. What is disconcerting about the whole affair is that officers with proven integrity are being targetted. Now Mr Balakrishna Pillai,an Indian Forest Service Officer with unimpeachable integriy has been suspended. There are no two opinion in the department about Mr Pillai’s probity. All that Mr Pillai did was to point out that the revenue land proposed to be handed over is wooded. He did not even use the word forest. The area has rare species like Glutea Travencorica which is an endemic to southern Kerala. Obviously some unseen hands are pulling the strings. It is high time the department officials called a spade a spade instead of suffering humiliation at the hands of men out to make a fast buck. Wake up men. Act like men with balls.