Judicial probe says Ishrat Jahan encounter is fake

THE MAGISTERIAL report probing the encounter of four people on June 15, 2004, says that the encounter was ‘staged’. Ishrat Jahan, a 19-year old student of Khalsa College, Mumbai and three others who were proclaimed Lashkar-e-Toiba operatives out to kill Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, were actually killed a day before they were officially shown as having died in a police encounter.

“Ishrat Jahan was killed by Gujarat police in a cold-blooded, pre-planned way…. The police crime branch officials carried out the fake encounter for their personal gains, for promotions and other benefits. They wanted to show they were doing a great job, essentially to seek appreciation from the chief minister,” says the 243-page report written in Gujarati.

This is the second such case during the tenure of Narendra Modi after Sohrabuddin Sheikh, which the government confessed before the Supreme Court was a case of ‘fake encounter’.

This latest news of encounter being ‘planned’ and executed ‘mercilessly’ has been described as setback to the Gujarat government but I feel that it is a setback for the entire nation if true. As a citizen of this country, it is really something to ponder upon. ‘Police Waala Gundas’ are worst than the terrorists. This can happen with any one of us. Imagine, four people being gunned down for sake of vested gains. Then they are labeled as ‘terrorists’. This is the ‘Death of Democracy’ where the citizens are being killed by its own police. The same police which is meant for safeguarding the residents of the country. This is really shameful for this country. The Indian National Flag should fly at half mast in shame for what happened to Ishrat Jahan and others.

It is now quintessential that the justice is done and all the culprits should be punished. At the same time, government must ensure that these incidents don’t happen in future. Such type of heinous crime will only widen the gap between different communities in the country.

Why India is Clueless about China

A prosperous, militarily strong China cannot but be a threat to its neighbours, especially if there are no constraints on the exercise of Chinese power, notes Brahma Chellaney, professor of strategic studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi.

The latest round of the unending and fruitless India-China talks on territorial disputes was a fresh reminder of the eroding utility of this process. It is approaching nearly three decades since China and India began these negotiations.

In this period, the world has changed fundamentally. Indeed, with its rapidly accumulating military and economic power, China itself has emerged as a great power in the making, with Washington’s Asia policy now manifestly Sino-centric. Not only has India allowed its military and nuclear asymmetry with China to grow, but also New Delhi’s room for diplomatic maneuver is shrinking. As the just retired Indian Navy Chief, Admiral Sureesh Mehta, has put it plainly, the power ‘gap between the two is just too wide to bridge and getting wider by the day.’

Of course, power asymmetry in inter-State relations does not mean the weaker side must bend to the dictates of the stronger or seek to propitiate it. Wise strategy, coupled with good diplomacy, is the art of offsetting or neutralising military or economic power imbalance with another state. But as Admiral Mehta warned, ‘China is in the process of consolidating its comprehensive national power and creating formidable military capabilities. Once it is done, China is likely to be more assertive on its claims, especially in the immediate neighbourhood.’

It is thus obvious that the longer the process of border-related talks continues without yielding tangible results, the greater the space Beijing will have to mount strategic pressure on India and the greater its leverage in the negotiations.

After all, China already holds the military advantage on the ground. Its forces control the heights along the long 4,057-kilometre Himalayan frontier, with the Indian troops perched largely on the lower levels.

Furthermore, by building new railroads, airports and highways in Tibet, China is now in a position to rapidly move additional forces to the border to potentially strike at India at a time of its choosing.

Diplomatically, China is a contented party, having occupied what it wanted — the Aksai Chin plateau, which is almost the size of Switzerland and provides the only accessible Tibet-Xinjiang route through the Karakoram passes of the Kunlun Mountains. Yet it chooses to press claims on additional Indian territories as part of a grand strategy to gain leverage in bilateral relations and, more importantly, to keep India under military and diplomatic pressure.

At the core of its strategy is an apparent resolve to indefinitely hold off on a border settlement with India through an overt refusal to accept the territorial status quo.

In not hiding its intent to further redraw the Himalayan frontiers, Beijing only helps highlight the futility of the ongoing process of political negotiations. After all, the territorial status quo can be changed not through political talks but by further military conquest.

Yet, paradoxically, the political process remains important for Beijing to provide the façade of engagement behind which to seek India’s containment.

Keeping India engaged in endless talks is a key Chinese objective so that Beijing can continue its work on changing the Himalayan balance decisively in its favour through a greater build-up of military power and logistical capabilities.

That is why China has sought to shield the negotiating process from the perceptible hardening of its stance towards New Delhi and the vituperative attacks against India in its State-run media. Add to the picture the aggressive patrolling of the Himalayan frontier by the People’s Liberation Army and the growing Chinese incursions across the line of control.

Let’s be clear: Chinese negotiating tactics have shifted markedly over the decades. Beijing originally floated the swap idea — giving up its claims in India’s northeast in return for Indian acceptance of the Chinese control over a part of Ladakh — to legalise its occupation of Aksai Chin. It then sang the mantra of putting the territorial disputes on the backburner so that the two countries could concentrate on building close, mutually beneficial relations.

But in more recent years, in keeping with its rising strength, China has escalated border tensions and military incursions while assertively laying claim to Arunachal Pradesh.

According to a recent report in Ming Pao, a Hong Kong newspaper with close ties to the establishment in Beijing, China is seeking ‘just’ 28 per cent of Arunachal. That means an area nearly the size of Taiwan.

In that light, can the Sino-Indian border talks be kept going indefinitely? Consider two important facts:

First, the present border negotiations have been going on continuously since 1981, making them already the longest and the most-barren process between any two countries in modern history. The record includes eight rounds of senior-level talks between 1981 and 1987, 14 Joint Working Group meetings between 1988 and 2002, and 13 rounds of talks between the designated Special Representatives since 2003.

It seems the only progress in this process is that India’s choice of words in public is now the same as China’s. ‘Both countries have agreed to seek a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement of this issue,’ Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna told Parliament on July 31. ‘The matter, of course, is complex and requires time and lots of patience.’

It was as if the Chinese foreign minister was speaking. Isn’t it odd for India — the country at the receiving end of growing Chinese bellicosity — to plead for more time and patience after nearly three decades of negotiations?

Second, the authoritative People’s Daily — the Communist Party mouthpiece that reflects official thinking — made it clear in a June 11, 2009 editorial: ‘China won’t make any compromises in its border disputes with India.’ That reflects the Chinese position in the negotiations. But when Beijing is advertising its uncompromising stance, doesn’t New Delhi get the message?

The recent essay posted on a Chinese quasi-official Web site that called for India to be broken into 20 to 30 sovereign States cannot obscure an important fact: Dismember India is a project China launched in the Mao years when it trained and armed Naga and Mizo guerrillas. In initiating its proxy war against India, Pakistan merely took a leaf out of the Chinese book.

Today, China’s muscle-flexing along the Himalayas cannot be ignored. After all, even when China was poor and backward, it employed brute force to annex Xinjiang (1949) and Tibet (1950), to raid South Korea (1950), to invade India (1962), to initiate a border conflict with the Soviet Union through a military ambush (1969) and to attack Vietnam (1979).

A prosperous, militarily strong China cannot but be a threat to its neighbours, especially if there are no constraints on the exercise of Chinese power.

So, the key question is: What does India gain by staying put in an interminably barren negotiating process with China? By persisting with this process, isn’t India aiding the Chinese engagement-with-containment strategy by providing Beijing the cover it needs?

While Beijing’s strategy and tactics are apparent, India has had difficulty to define a game plan and resolutely pursue clearly laid-out objectives. Still, staying put in a barren process cannot be an end in itself for India.

India indeed has retreated to an increasingly defensive position territorially, with the spotlight now on China’s Tibet-linked claim to Arunachal Pradesh than on Tibet’s status itself.

Now you know why Beijing invested so much political capital over the years in getting India to gradually accept Tibet as part of the territory of the People’s Republic. Its success on that score has helped narrow the dispute to what it claims. That neatly meshes with China’s long-standing negotiating stance.

What it occupies is Chinese territory, and what it claims must be on the table to be settled on the basis of give-and-take — or as it puts it in reasonably sounding terms, on the basis of ‘mutual accommodation and mutual understanding.’

As a result, India has been left in the unenviable position of having to fend off Chinese territorial demands. In fact, history is in danger of repeating itself as India gets sucked into a 1950s-style trap. The issue then was Aksai Chin; the issue now is Arunachal.

But rather than put the focus on the source of China’s claim — Tibet — and Beijing’s attempt to territorially enlarge its Tibet annexation to what it calls ‘southern Tibet,’ India is willing to be taken ad infinitum around the mulberry bush.

Just because New Delhi has accepted Tibet to be part of China should not prevent it from gently shining a spotlight on Tibet as the lingering core issue.

Yet India’s long record of political diffidence only emboldens Beijing. India accepted the Chinese annexation of Tibet and surrendered its own British-inherited extraterritorial rights over Tibet on a silver platter without asking for anything in return. Now, China wants India to display the same ‘amicable spirit’ and hand over to it at least the Tawang valley.

Take the period since the border talks were ‘elevated’ to the level of special representatives in 2003. India first got into an extended exercise with Beijing to define general principles to govern a border settlement, despite China’s egregious record of flouting the Panchsheel principles and committing naked aggression in 1962. But no sooner had the border-related principles been unveiled in 2005 with fanfare than Beijing jettisoned the do-not-disturb-the-settled-populations principle to buttress its claim to Arunachal.

Yet, as the most-recent round of recent talks highlighted, India has agreed to let the negotiations go off at a tangent by broadening them into a diffused strategic dialogue — to the delight of Beijing. The process now has become a means for the two sides to discuss ‘the entire gamut of bilateral relations and regional and international issues of mutual interest.’

This not only opens yet another chapter in an increasingly directionless process, but also lets China condition a border settlement to the achievement of greater Sino-Indian strategic congruence. Worse still, New Delhi is to observe 2010 — the 60th anniversary of China becoming India’s neighbour by gobbling up Tibet — as the ‘Year of Friendship with China’ in India.

Brahma Chellaney

Sorce: REDIFF

 

Pokhran II was a fizzle????

Santhanam ‘S claim:  Pokhran II was a fizzle. It did not produce desired yield.

But Why Now? Why after 11 years of the test?

I do not Doubt Santhanam Integrity. As a scientist, he is free to disagree. The question is why now.

My reason- By making such statement he is trying to create a faction and public opinion that will ensure India does not give up her right to conduct more test (if necessary) by signing some stupid treaty (CTBT)

Dr Kalam Statement: Pokhran II was a success. The desired yield was obtained. However, subsequent review of the test was done by Santhanam. (sic)

So what’s the controversy?

As a science student I might conclude that my observations/experiments were successful but on reviewing it later it may be possible that my inference or deductions can be insufficient.

Dr. Kalam Never ruled out that possibility. And it is not necessary that all scientists may have same opinion about such a complicated test.

So what is a big deal? If Mr. Santhanam feels that the test were not as successful as he thinks…Fine but what does he propose.. Should we conduct more tests? What other alternatives have we got? Are they adequate? What could be the consequences if we go for further testing?

Instead of debating on that we like M 0 R 0 N s are fighting over whether NDA is good or UPA?

Instead of focusing on solutions we always try to rope in new controversy and will fan the fire for vested interests.

No wonder we are called the world’s largest Mobocracy!!!

A Strong Bhartiya Janta Party is required for Healthy Democracy!

THE OPPOSITION, Bhartiya Janata Party is making news for a week now. The “Chintan Baithak” held in Shimla last week gave no solutions to the ailments of the party. Instead it was overshadowed by the expulsion of senior leader Jaswant Singh and the leakage of the election analysis report.
 
The expulsion of Jaswant Singh over a book is overzealous. And the manner in which he was expelled made matters even worse. There can be no justification to ban his book in Gujarat. What Jaswant Singh has expressed is only his personal view and not of the party’s. The party could always disassociate from his viewpoint, present its own thoughts on the discussion and make its stance clear. If the BJP was so miffed then they should have answered Jaswant’s book by another book on their viewpoint.
 
The day you start banning a book for political scores, democracy is in danger. A close aide of Atal-Advani, Sudheendra Kulkarni has also resigned from the party. He has resigned citing the “ideological differences” with the party. Arun Shourie has also lambasted the party and its top leadership. The way BJP is tackling the issues, he might be the next to be expelled from the party.
 
One thing clearly visible is that BJP has lost its vision and is in a leadership crisis. Rajnath Singh must be held responsible for this. A leader is the one who owes responsibility and introspects the causes of failure. But the current leadership is just not doing it. They don’t want to hear some very valid points being raised within the party.
 
So, the party is ignoring the lack of accountability and factionalism. They are just looking for scape goats. Instead of rebuilding the party, leaders are busy with the media commitments and speaking nonsense on TV channels. If it continues to function this way then these are not a good signals for the party and country as well. It is imperative for the RSS to ensure smooth transition of generation in the party. There is so much infighting among the next generation leaders that it is denting the image of party with each passing day. The party appears to be in complete disarray and disjointed.

BJP is needed for the smooth functioning of our democracy. As Tarun Vijay said, “Suppose if there was no Jan Sangh or the BJP, there would have been no Kashmir movement, no demands to scrap two flags and two constitutional provisions for an Indian state and abolishing two Constitutional heads system for it. Who would have taken up the cause of an invincible Indian security and carried out the Pokaran II nuclear tests while preparing for Pokaran III?”
 
In a nation where most of the political parties are known by the names of their dynasties turning the political process into a kind of family fiefdom, the existence of a party that still runs on democratic norms and represents a completely different ethos, must be valued. That is the Bharatiya Janata Party. It is useless to indulge in the contemporary dichotomies and scuffles that mar its current framework.
 
It is important that the party conveys its ideology and packages itself in a way that can impress 21st century India. The party needs to take some tough decisions and devote time in getting a makeover. There is no shame if it represents itself as the party catering to Hindu interests as long as it does not becomes communal.
 
BJP needs to remember the words and vision of its founder, Deen Dayal Upadhyay and Shyama Prasad Mukherjee. At the first all India session of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh, its founder president Dr Shyama Prasad Mookerjee had said, “We must be able to carry all sections of the people with us by creating in their minds a healthy and progressive attitude of co-operation based on true equality of opportunity and mutual tolerance and understanding. Our party’s door remains open to all who believe in our programme and ideology irrespective of considerations of caste and religion. ”
 
Without mincing any words he declared, “Our party though, ever prepared to extend its hand of equality to all citizens, does not feel ashamed to urge for the consolidation of Hindu society. We are not so mean as to forget that in this gigantic process our country came into contact and conflict with many foreign races and ideologies and our great ancestors had the courage to fashion and refashion the country’s structure in accordance with new ideas and with the changed conditions of our society. If India’s freedom is to be purposeful, a correct appreciation of the fundamental features of Indian culture – the discovery of that unity in diversity, which is the keynote of her civilization — is highly essential.”

BJP is party of nationalists and it needs to remain one. However, it has to rebrand itself and become the saviour of the middle class which it once represented. It is equally important to refrain from any sort of communalism. It is a national alternative to the Congress, more so after this election which has pushed regional parties and their identity politics to the margins. There are, after all, no full stops in politics.

The Deadly Indian Roads!

WORLD HEALTH Organisation has revealed in its first ever Global Status Report on Road Safety that more people die in road accidents in India than anywhere else in the world. This has given a dubious distinction for the country.

The report says that in India 13 people die every hour in road accidents. These figures are also backed by the records of National Crime Bureau. It says that in 2007, 1.14 lakh people in India lost their lives in road mishaps. Road deaths in India registered a sharp 6.1 per cent rise between 2006 and 2007. These are the registered cases. The numbers could significantly increase considering the number of cases that go unregistered. 50 per cent of the deaths include pedestrians, cyclists and bikers. The maximum number of casualty is reported from Andhra Pradesh followed by Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

The reasons for such figures are also not very difficult to figure out. Most of the deaths can be attributed to speeding, not following traffic rules, no helmets, seat belts and child restraints in vehicles. An increase in average speed is directly related to both the likelihood of a crash occurring and to the severity of crash consequences. Moreover, the traffic management in most of the cities does not function at all. The citizens should also be blamed who hardly follow any rules while driving. They can easily get away by paying paltry sums in case of any traffic law being broken. The law in itself is also not strict to keep checks on the vehicle movements. We don’t have scientific traffic engineering which forms the basis of road safety improvement practiced in the United States and United Kingdom since 1930s.

It is quite ironical that in our country 30 deaths from swine flu has made headlines but the 13 deaths per hour on road hardly find mention in the news. It is very important to set the traffic management right with the latest technologies. The drivers should also take all precautions. These road fatalities can become an ‘epidemic’ and will be the world’s fifth biggest killer by 2030.

Swine Flu panic in India!

Last week, I returned from a week long vacation with my family to Mumbai, away from work pressure. Instead of cherishing the memories of a week long break I was quarreling within with “Emotional Flu”. Yes, I was down with fever and did have a travel history but were those symptoms enough to prove I had contacted Swine Flu. For my family they were more than enough to arrive at a conclusion that I had to visit the government hospital for screening.

My mother went a step ahead to buy the masks for family. And yes masks were distributed according to the need as enough N95 were not available for our joint family. My cousin who is four and I get N95’s, the only two masks which she managed to buy in black from the chemist. My pregnant Bhabhi and grand mom get a three layered mask which she managed to buy from other chemist and the rest of the members manage with masks bought at the traffic signal when my mom waited there for lights to turn green. But is my family to be blamed for there over precautious behavior? I believe they reacted in a very normal way considering the hype of “The Swine Flu” that was created by all forms of media. Any parent or in that matter any human would react this way if they see a new “Breaking News” every ten minutes on the news channels.

I wonder why the media doesn’t make 572 deaths a day due to normal flu, and large number of deaths due to Tuberculosis, Malaria, Dengue and other diseases an equally important “Breaking News”. Why doesn’t our Health minister call an urgent meeting to discuss diseases like malaria which takes a huge toll of human lives too? May be malaria patients can wait for some time longer as most of them are neither NRI’s nor they belong to elite group who can afford a vacation abroad. With Swine Flu thoughts occupying my house and slowly spreading to my neighborhood I called up my very good friend and a doctor by profession asking him how would I discriminate whether its “The Swine Flu” or normal flu. He explained to me that the Swine Flu symptoms could be towards pneumonia side and with just fever and normal cold like symptoms I should not conclude that I have contacted it. He told me to wait till two days and take normal medicines prescribed to treat normal flu as going to the hospital at the shot to screen myself would be more dangerous. There were chances I would catch the virus if I wouldn’t have till then. Luckily my phone was on loudspeaker then so my parents got some gyaan too. Two days from the whole panicky episode I have normal body temperature and am all energetically penning my experiences of the false panic we underwent. But this whole episode, taught us to stay composed as fright created was spreading faster than the Flu itself. We did not give in to false media panicky and heard the doctor treating Swine Flu, which I feel proved a boon to us.

I urge the media to give neutral reactions to the issue and not to blow the matter out of proportion as not everybody would be as lucky as I to get a doctor friend nor would every parent wait for two days as my parents did on the doctor’s advice. And for the rest of you Swine flu is not that a dreaded disease and has a death rate of seven in thousands much less compared to Normal flu, Malaria and Tuberculosis. Also the Swine flu deaths recorded so far have not been only because of the H1N1 virus but due to some other complications intermingling too. So just take normal precautions like washing your hands, drinking plenty of water, exercising and you should be away from the virus.

And my dear elected government, there was no point keeping the theatres, schools and colleges shut as this was more of emotional response from your side than on medical grounds. Your decision of shutting of schools did no good to millions of children as they enjoyed days off from school playing in the societies, as my cousin did and the college going crowd enjoyed shopping and hanging out as they had all the time in the world. Did it actually act as the isolation you had thought of? We just need better medical facilities to treat the pandemic and more awareness regarding it. Try spreading the correct word in your families, societies and we shall be better able to fight the H1N1 virus.
Prevention is better but panic is not!

China should break up India: Chinese strategist

Almost coinciding with the 13th round of Sino-Indian border talks (New Delhi , August 7-8, 2009), an article (in the Chinese language) has appeared in China captioned ‘If China takes a little action, the so-called Great Indian Federation can be broken up’ (Zhong Guo Zhan Lue Gang, www.iiss.cn, Chinese, August 8, 2009).
Interestingly, it has been reproduced in several other strategic and military Web sites of the country and by all means, targets the domestic audience. The authoritative host site is located in Beijing  and is the new edition of one, which so far represented the China International Institute for Strategic Studies (www.chinaiiss.org).

Claiming that Beijing’s ‘China-Centric’ Asian strategy, provides for splitting India, the writer of the article, Zhan Lue (strategy), has found that New Delhi’s corresponding ‘India-Centric’ policy in Asia, is in reality a ‘Hindustan centric’ one. Stating that on the other hand ‘local centres’ exist in several of the country’s provinces (excepting for the UP and certain northern regions), Zhan Lue has felt that in the face of such local characteristics, the ‘so-called’ Indian nation cannot be considered as one having existed in history.

According to the article, if India today relies on any thing for unity, it is the Hindu religion. The partition of the country was based on religion. Stating that today nation states are the main current in the world, it has said that India could only be termed now as a ‘Hindu religious state’. Adding that Hinduism is a decadent religion as it allows caste exploitation and is unhelpful to the country’s modernisation, it described the Indian government as one in a dilemma with regard to eradication of the caste system as it realises that the process to do away with castes may shake the foundation of the consciousness of the Indian nation.

The writer has argued that in view of the above, China in its own interest and the progress of Asia, should join forces with different nationalities like the Assamese, Tamils, and Kashmiris and support the latter in establishing independent nation-States of their own, out of India. In particular, the ULFA (United Liberation Front of Asom) in Assam, a territory neighboring China, can be helped by China so that Assam realises its national independence.

The article has also felt that for Bangladesh, the biggest threat is from India, which wants to develop a great Indian Federation extending from Afghanistan to Myanmar. India is also targeting China with support to Vietnam’s efforts to occupy Nansha (Spratly) group of islands in South China Sea.

Hence the need for China’s consolidation of its alliance with Bangladesh, a country with which the US and Japan  are also improving their relations to counter China.

It has pointed out that China can give political support to Bangladesh enabling the latter to encourage ethnic Bengalis in India to get rid of Indian control and unite with Bangladesh as one Bengali nation; if the same is not possible, creation of at least another free Bengali nation state as a friendly neighbour of Bangladesh, would be desirable, for the purpose of weakening India’s expansion and threat aimed at forming a ‘unified South Asia’.

The punch line in the article has been that to split India, China can bring into its fold countries like Pakistan, Nepal and Bhutan, support ULFA in attaining its goal for Assam’s independence, back aspirations of Indian nationalities like the Tamils and Nagas, encourage Bangladesh to give a push to the independence of West Bengal  and lastly recover the 90,000 sq km territory in southern Tibet .

Wishing for India’s break-up into 20 to 30 nation-States like in Europe, the article has concluded by saying that if the consciousness of nationalities in India could be aroused, social reforms in South Asia can be achieved, the caste system can be eradicated and the region can march along the road of prosperity.

The Chinese article in question will certainly outrage readers in India. Its suggestion that China can follow a strategy to dismember India, a country always with a tradition of unity in diversity, is atrocious, to say the least. The write-up could not have been published without the permission of the Chinese authorities, but it is sure that Beijing will wash its hands out of this if the matter is taken up with it by New Delhi.

It has generally been seen that China is speaking in two voices — its diplomatic interlocutors have always shown understanding during their dealings with their Indian counterparts, but its selected media is pouring venom on India in their reporting. Which one to believe is a question confronting the public opinion and even policy makers in India.

In any case, an approach of panic towards such outbursts will be a mistake, but also ignoring them will prove to be costly for India.

— By: D S Rajan, is Director, Chennai Centre for China Studies.

Source: REDIFF

The VIP syndrome

It was just as I thought it would be. Amidst all the rage over frisking of our former president, A P J Abdul Kalam himself never registered a protest. From whatever I have known of him through papers, one minor brush with him at the Ahmedabad airport following his visit to Gujarat after the 2002 riots and his books, I felt he would not have objected to going through a security check.

He comes across as a humble and learned man and he reflected the same when the incident happened at New Delhi. Perhaps he understands that the security requirements of the present time are much different from the law that was written in 1934. 9/11 had never happened then and certainly IC 814 had not been hijacked. He knew his responsibility and he acted accordingly.

While it can always be debated whether Kalam was particularly checked for the way his name sounds, we should also hope that other “VVIPs” act in the same dignified manner when asked for security checks. They are no super mortals and they need to realise that. In fact at a time when the agencies across the world use diplomatic channels to carry out espionage activities, it is time we think over a “VVIP” Act, written nearly seven decades ago. Our VVIPs are incensed because they consider themselves demi gods and frisking would dent that image. And therefore this entire song and dance.

We have always been complaining that most of the acts under our law are archaic. Then doesn’t this act be one so as well? Shouldn’t we work toward amending this too? The security needs have changed and so the act must change too.

Coming back to Kalam, he has again come forth as a model citizen and its not only MPs and VVIPs who should learn from him but we too need to realise that security checks help us. Be it at malls, stations or airports, if we complain about them, then we should not complain about terror acts.

And as far as getting even with America comes, we should frisk all VVIPs and could have done it when Hillary Clinton was in India. Remember the old adage? Don’t get mad, get even.
 

By Shailendra Mohan, Monday July 27, 2009 , New Delhi, India  
Source: NDTV

Ten Years Later: The War India Forgot!

It used to be an eerie landmark; the tree I saw everyday in the summer of 1999, blackened and ripped by incessant bombing at the old brigade headquarters, is green again.

But much else has withered. The legacy of the Kargil war, one of the toughest wars of modern military history — far tougher than Iraq and Afghanistan — has been shortchanged by India’s politics. 
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government has mostly looked away since 2004 when it came to observing the anniversary of the BJP government-era war. President Pratibha Patil was requested to come to Drass, but declined, army sources said.

“I think it’s just disgraceful. They are trying to politicise the issue for no reason,” retired Colonel VN Thapar, father of the late Kargil war hero Capt. Vijayant Thapar, told the Hindustan Times as he prepared to head to Drass, the world’s second coldest inhabited place after Oymyakon in Russia.

That is the casualty in a country where a major section of its under-15 population of 350 million have no recollection of the war and no sense of what it meant for India.

“We used to think armymen live a cushy life and zoom around in cars and waste money — I had no empathy for the Army,” said Manraj Singh, 19, a physical education student from Punjab’s Abohar town, as he sat back after dinner at a restaurant in Drass, a town of 2,000 people. “After we came here and saw how and in what kind of place they fought and won the war for the nation I felt really proud of them.”

More than 520 soldiers died in the Kargil war.

In 1999, Indian soldiers had to clamber up impossible, vertical cliffs amid gunfire to retake strategic Ladakh mountains from hundred of Pakistani raiders, including army regulars who sat on the height and could easily bring down approaching soldiers.

On July 26, the day when victory was declared in 1999, Defence Minister A.K. Antony will only pay a wreath in New Delhi, staying away from the massive 10th anniversary celebration planned in the operational hub of Drass on the weekend when top generals from across India and the families of slain officers and soldiers are to arrive here.

Congress MP Rashid Alvi called it “Bharatiya Janata Party’s war”. Coal Minister Sri Prakash Jaiswal said he did not know about the anniversary.

A top army officer shrugged it off. “We chose this life. We aren’t cribbing or hankering after praise. We shall honour our heroes ourselves,” said the officer, declining to be named as he is not authorised to talk to the media.

But Thapar, whose son Vijayant died fighting as he led an advance on a mountain feature called Knoll, said: “This is going a bit too far. I think we should not expect anything from the leaders and have the army and citizens celebrate.”

That is what is happening.

Unlike previous years when Drass hosted mostly western backpackers Indians dominate the tourists who have come here for the summer.

Yes, the former bombed-out dusty town is now a tourist hub.

The town where the ‘market’ was a row of crumbling wooden-shuttered shacks, and just a tea shop for some shelling-time reprieve, now has several small hotels “with complete sanitary fittings” — as one proudly advertised.

“It’s amazing so many Indian tourists are coming this year,” said Mohammed Saleem, 45, of the Afzal hotel. “They want to know what happened at Tiger Hill and Tololing peak and Drass.”

Businessman Saleem Iqbal, 25, sees a greater opportunity.

“If we get permission to take tourists to Tiger Hill on horseback, there will be a big boom,” he said.

Not like the ones he heard everyday in the summer of 1999 as he hunkered fearfully in his first floor marketside home.

 Source: Hindustan Times

Kargil Martyr’s family still waiting for fulfillment of Government’s promise

A DECADE ago, Indian Armed Forces fought one of the toughest battles in Kargil against Pakistani soldiers and terrorists. The enemy was uprooted and it became an embarrassment for the enemy who declined to accept the bodies of its nationals.

How many of you remember the name Saurabh Kalia today? If you don’t, then for your reference, he was one of the first casualties in the Kargil war. Saurabh Kalia of 4 Jat Regiment, was the first army officer to report incursion by the Pakistani army on Indian soil had along with five soldiers – Sepoys Arjun Ram, Bhanwar Lal Bagaria, Bhika Ram, Moola Ram and Naresh Singh had gone for a routine patrol of the Bajrang Post in the Kaksar sector when they were taken captive by the Pakistani troops on May 15, 1999.

They were brutally tortured for weeks before their mutilated bodies were handed over to Indian authorities on June 9, 1999. Saurabh Kalia was posted in Kargil as his first posting after passing out from the Indian Military Academy and did not even live long enough to receive his first pay packet as an officer. The supreme sacrifice made by Saurabh and his team has faded away from our memory.

Then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee assured the nation that he will take the issue of barbaric treatment of the Prisoners of War (POWs) by Pakistan on international stage. But ten years down the line, this has ended as just another promise made by our government.

NK Kalia, father of Captain Kalia said in an interview, “Of course, his supreme sacrifice has made us proud but what has exhausted, disappointed and dejected us is that the nation, for which he has sacrificed his life least bothered to highlight the plight of war crimes at the international fora.” The family is running from one office to another to ensure that no other POW meets the same fate as the six heroes did. But the history of Indian government has been such that they forget these heroes as soon as they are in a safe zone. They did it after 1971 war and repeated it in 1999. “Is this the way the government treats its heroes?” If the same thing would have happened in America and Israel, culprits would have been brought to justice.

But this is India. Like always, we remember Armed Forces and other Security Agencies when we are in trouble but have rarely stood up for our soldiers. A soldier performs his duty and never expects to get recognition for the same. But as a grateful citizen, we must stand up for him. Don’t forget that we are sleeping happily with our family because few men are awake at the borders, toiling and battling for us. Hope that government will take some action and do something for POW at international level.