Revisiting Kargil with Ex Army Chief VP Malik

Mumbai: Ten years after India’s stirring military victory at Tiger Hill in Kargil, the then Army Chief General VP Malik has broken his silence.

For the first time on television, he has confessed that the high casualties suffered by the Indian Army during the Kargil War were agonising for the military leadership. The General bares his heart out in a rare emotional interview to CNN-IBN’s Vishal Thapar.

For the General who led the blood and guts Indian fight back at Kargil, the deaths of 527 troops in pushing out Pakistani intruders were traumatic. “The most critical moment I was always scared of was the morning briefing, when I was told that in the last 24 hours we have lost so many people. That was the most scary part of the day for me,” said the war-time Army Chief.

As the Indian fight back rolled on from Tololing to Tiger Hill, the death of heroes like Captain Vikram Batra – whom he had personally commended for valour in the battlefield – were heavy blows. I remember giving him a bottle of scotch after his first battle, which he had done so well. After .4875 had been captured, there was no Vikram Batra because we had lost him. So it hurts,” described Gneral Malik.

Captain Batra’s victory call sign, Yeh Dil Maange More (the heart desires more), is one of the iconic highlights of the brutal war, it still haunts General Malik. “I’ve still got that clip with me,” said General Malik. In the thick of all the mayhem of the battlefield, there was loneliness for the man in the middle.

“Those were tense moments and sometimes we didn’t sleep properly,” he said.

With his country’s honour and his own reputation on the line, the General turned to his foot soldier on the battlefront for motivation.

“In Kargil nobody ever told me this can’t be done, every soldier was full of high spirit,” he recalled. It was the spirit of the Indian soldier on the battlefield, which steeled the leadership. And therein a famous victory was forced.

Source: IBN

Exclusive: SIMI chief’s shocking revelations

From a moderate start to a dreaded terror outfit, the Students Islamic Movement of India has come a long way.

Though the theories attached to the shift in stance by SIMI are relatively old, Safdar Nagori, the most prominent face of the banned outfit, said in his confession statement before the Madhya Pradesh police that SIMI had decided to intensify operations in India in 2001 after it had been banned by the then National Democratic Alliance government.

Nagori in his confession statement admitted that he and his men had undertaken a massive recruitment drive .

In the process, they recruited several youth to the outfit following which training was imparted to each of them. He said that the idea was to transform SIMI into a militant outfit.

The confession is very much on the lines of the interview given by Nagori prior to the outfit’s ban.

In the interview, he said it is not when an individual is harmed, but when an entire community finds itself collectively persecuted that the cry for jihad is given.

If nothing works then one is forced to revolt, take to arms.

Nagori said that he was an extremist and not a fundamentalist and his actions were never on the basis of religion.

“I was pained and angered by the atrocities against Muslims worldwide and the turning point was the demolition of the Babri Masjid and the Gujarat riots only made matters worse,” he said.

Giving details about the training programme, Nagori said that nearly 25,000 SIMI activists met in Mumbai in 2001 and this was the first time that the call for jihad was given.

The meeting also hailed Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden as a true warrior. Prior to Nagori’s arrest, there were 400 active SIMI members known as the Ansars and 20,000 Ikhwans who were ordinary members.

The training programme for SIMI began in Jammu and Kashmir. They trained along with the Hizbul Mujahideen. Following this, the selected cadres were assigned to major terror operations in the country.

Further, he also gave information regarding a training camp in Choral, Madhya Pradesh. He confessed that the training camp in Choral was unique and was used to train different classes of militants for different kinds of operations.

Nagori also spoke at length about the manner in which the SIMI split into two groups, thanks to differences of opinion. He said during his interrogation that the main reason for the split was due to ideological differences between his faction and the Misba-ul-Islam faction.

While the Islam faction wanted the SIMI to have a more moderate approach, Nagori pressed for a more aggressive view. Nagori made the same claim during his narco-analysis which was conducted in Bengaluru recently.

He said that SIMI did give it a try to sort out the differences and they met at Ujjain. Nagori found that he had a majority of the members supporting him. This is when he decided to breakaway and carry forward the outfit with his ideology.

Nagori also spoke about his idea of recruiting more educated youth into the outfit. He said that persons from an IT background were preferred and in this regard a technical cell was also started. He said the idea of recruiting persons from an IT background was because these persons could remain low key and they were excellent planners.

Nagori also mentioned about the Shaheen Force, an all-woman wing of SIMI. He explained during his confession and narco-analysis that women could convince their children easily to take the SIMI route and hence he had decided to float this wing.

He felt that women could help boost the membership of SIMI.

Source: REDIFF

Arjun Singh interviewed by Karan Thapar.

Karan Thapar: Do you personally also, as Minister of Human Resource Development, believe that a reservation is the right and proper way to help the OBCs?

Arjun Singh: Certainly, that is one of the most important ways to do it.

Karan Thapar: The right way?

Arjun Singh: Also the right way.

Karan Thapar: In which case, let’s ask a few basic questions; we are talking about the reservations for the OBCs in particular. Do you know what percentage of the Indian population is OBC? Mandal puts it at 52 per cent, the National Sample Survey Organization at 32 per cent, the National Family and Health Survey at 29.8 per cent, which is the correct figure?

Arjun Singh: I think that should be decided by people who are more knowledgeable. But the point is that the OBCs form a fairly sizeable percentage of our population.

Karan Thapar: No doubt, but the reason why it is important to know ‘what percentage’ they form is that if you are going to have reservations for them, then you must know what percentage of the population they are, otherwise you don’t know whether they are already adequately catered in higher educational institutions or not.

Arjun Singh: That is obvious – they are not.

Karan Thapar: Why is it obvious?

Arjun Singh: Obvious because it is something which we all see.

Karan Thapar: Except for the fact that the NSSO, which is a government appointed body, has actually in its research in 1999 – which is the most latest research shown – that 23.5 per cent of all university seats are already with the OBCs. And that is just 8.5 per cent less than what the NSSO believes is the OBC share of the population. So, for a difference of 8 per cent, would reservations be the right way of making up the difference?

Arjun Singh: I wouldn’t like to go behind all this because, as I said, Parliament has taken a view and it has taken a decision, I am a servant of Parliament and I will only implement.

Karan Thapar: Absolutely, Parliament has taken a view, I grant it. But what people question is the simple fact – Is there a need for reservations? If you don’t know what percentage of the country is OBC, and if furthermore, the NSSO is correct in pointing out that already 23.5 per cent of the college seats are with the OBC, then you don’t have a case in terms of need.

Arjun Singh: College seats, I don’t know.

Karan Thapar: According to the NSSO – which is a government appointed body – 23.5 per cent of the college seats are already with the OBCs.

Arjun Singh: What do you mean by college seats?

Karan Thapar: University seats, seats of higher education.

Arjun Singh: Well, I don’t know I have not come across that far.

Karan Thapar: So, when critics say to you that you don’t have a case for reservation in terms of need, what do you say to them?

Arjun Singh: I have said what I had to say and the point is that it is not an issue for us to now debate.

Karan Thapar: You mean the chapter is now closed?

Arjun Singh: The decision has been taken.

Karan Thapar: Regardless of whether there is a need or not, the decision is taken and it is a closed chapter.

Arjun Singh: So far as I can see, it is a closed chapter and that is why I have to implement what all Parliaments have said.

Karan Thapar: Minister, it is not just in terms of ‘need’ that your critics question the decision to have reservation for OBCs in higher education. More importantly, they question whether reservations themselves are efficacious and can work.

For example, a study done by the IITs themselves shows that 50 per cent of the IIT seats for the SCs and STs remain vacant and for the remaining 50 per cent, 25 per cent are the candidates, who even after six years fail to get their degrees. So, clearly, in their case, reservations are not working.

Arjun Singh: I would only say that on this issue, it would not be correct to go by all these figures that have been paraded.

Karan Thapar: You mean the IIT figures themselves could be dubious?

Arjun Singh: Not dubious, but I think that is not the last word.

Karan Thapar: All right, maybe the IIT may not be the last word, let me then quote to you the report of the Parliamentary Committee on the welfare for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes – that is a Parliamentary body.

It says that looking at the Delhi University, between 1995 and 2000; just half the seats for under-graduates at the Scheduled Castes level and just one-third of the seats for under-graduates at the Scheduled Tribes level were filled. All the others went empty, unfilled. So, again, even in Delhi University, reservations are not working.

Arjun Singh: If they are not working, it does not mean that for that reason we don’t need them. There must be some other reason why they are not working and that can be certainly probed and examined. But to say that for this reason, ‘no reservations need to be done’ is not correct.

Karan Thapar: Fifty years after the reservations were made, statistics show, according to The Hindustan Times, that overall in India, only 16 per cent of the places in higher education is occupied by SCs and STs. The quota is 22.5 per cent, which means that only two-thirds of the quota is occupied. One third is going waste, it is being denied to other people.

Arjun Singh: As I said, the kinds of figures that have been brought out, in my perception, do not reflect the realities. Realities are something much more and of course, there is an element of prejudice also.

Karan Thapar: But these are figures that come from a Parliamentary Committee. It can’t be prejudiced; they are your own colleagues.

Arjun Singh: Parliamentary Committee has given the figures, but as to why this has not happened, that is a different matter.

Karan Thapar: I put it to you that you don’t have a case for reservations in terms of need; you don’t have a case for reservations in terms of their efficacy, why then, are you insisting on extending them to the OBCs?

Arjun Singh: I don’t want to use that word, but I think that your argument is basically fallacious.

Karan Thapar: But it is based on all the facts available in the public domain.

Arjun Singh: Those are facts that need to be gone into with more care. What lies behind those facts, why this has not happened, that is also a fact.

Karan Thapar: Let’s approach the issue of reservations differently in that case. Reservations mean that a lesser-qualified candidate gets preference over a more qualified candidate, solely because in this case, he or she happens to be an OBC. In other words, the upper castes are being penalized for being upper caste.

Arjun Singh: Nobody is being penalized and that is a factor that we are trying to address. I think that the prime Minister will be talking to all the political parties and will be putting forward a formula, which will see that nobody is being penalized.

Karan Thapar: I want very much to talk about that formula, but before we come to talk about how you are going to address concerns, let me point one other corollary – Reservations also gives preference and favor to caste over merit. Is that acceptable in a modern society?

Arjun Singh: I don’t think the perceptions of modern society fit India entirely.

Karan Thapar: You mean India is not a modern society and therefore can’t claim to be treated as one?

Arjun Singh: It is emerging as a modern society, but the parameters of a modern society do not apply to large sections of the people in this country.

Now take a moment to congratulate Karan Thapar for skillfully exposing Arjun Singh for the clueless dolt he is.

“We want Doctors for You to be WHO of India”- Dr Ravikant Singh

Logo of DFYDoctors for You is a NGO launched by doctors, professionals,students. It has started a unique drive about Blood Platelet Donation. Here is a quick chat with Dr Ravikant Singh, National Co-ordinator of DFY.

1. What is Doctors for You?

Dr Ravikant: Doctors For You is humanitarian aid organisation that provides emergency medical assistance and equitable health care and health education to all.

Doctors For You comprises of professionals from both medical and non medical fields. We organize and administer public health functions in more effective ways. It includes identifying and training new staff of health workers, developing new means of surveillance to track a disease, spread awareness and then taking measure to control the same.
2. So is it only for the doctors?

Dr Ravikant: Doctors by definition is a teacher , one skilled in a profession or branch of knowledge ; a learned person. So in this respect everyone associated with this organization is a DOCTOR who is taking up to the task of curing the social disease of our country.

3. What are the projects you are working on currently?

Dr Ravikant: Cases of unexplained fever, malaria, dengue, leptospirosis etc are on the rise. India is facing shortage of platelets. Platelet is a life saving supportive therapy needed in serious cases. The level of awareness in the general public is less. Hence we have launched an awareness and donation drive. This is the first of its type in Asia. We have successfully collected many units of platelets till date across the country. In Maharshtra the project has shot up after our association with State Blood Transfusion Council. We have also collaborated with Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai.
Apart from this we are working on other projects as well which includes maternal and child health, stress management for Indian Armed Forces, Girl Education and population Control.

4. Who all are heading or supporting your organisation?

Dr Ravikant Singh: We have got enormous response from everywhere. Our organisation is supported by many doctors including from KEM Hospital, Mumbai, AIIMS, New Delhi. The others include working professionals from engineering, software, lawyers, CAs etc. We have recently got support from Sri Sri RaviShankar, Prahlad Kakkad, RK Bajaj as our patrons.

5. What is your vision for Doctors for You?

Dr Ravikant: We want to make Doctors for You as WHO of India.

6. How can people join this organisation?

Dr Ravikant: Joining DFY is total voluntary work. All those who want to be part of DFY can send us the membership form available on our website ( www.doctorsforyou.org). They can also contact us on our helpline numbers 9967056832 – 9833158385 – 9324334359.

Thanks a lot doctor for your valuable time.