Friday, April 14, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Fundamentalism: time for tough stand

THIS has reference to Mr Hari Jaisingh’s article, “The Chatti Singhpora massacre: time for tough stand on fundamentalism” (The Tribune, April 7, 2000). India will have to be ruthlessly resistant to root out any form of terrorism. The delay in checking this problem will make it deep-rooted. Many countries are concerned over the growing menace of violence and militancy.

Though individually nations raise their voice against militancy, collectively they may not be willing to work against it. What is needed is concrete action. Mere contemplation serves no purpose. Over the past two decades India has been great sufferer of violence-ridden terror. Whenever terrorists strike, leaders issue statements to assuage the feelings of victims. Promises are made to fight militancy but these are never implemented. Promises remain promises. Terrorists go on striking. Aren’t these tactics to test the victims’ patience and pacify them?


  In our fight against terrorism, we have no time to pause and ponder. Nor can we wait for help from other countries to contain militancy. We shall have to fight terrorism to the finish. None can be the beneficiary of terrorism. Pak-sponsored terrorism in India, in the long run, will backfire, making its sponsors the victims. Stray incidents of terror that are reported from some parts of Pakistan are its outcome. The author rightly holds: “It may be a matter of time before these rootless mercenaries pounce upon their sponsors.”

Bijhari (Hamirpur)

FOR COLLECTIVE WILL: The recent killing of 35 innocent Sikhs of Chatti Singhpora village in Anantnag district (Kashmir) by militants and foreign mercenaries was very painful. It is a glaring example of the government’s failure to provide proper security to the minority communities in the Kashmir valley. Sikhs are known for making great sacrifices for the right cause. History is witness to this hard fact. But in the present case the government did not care to arm them and left them at the mercy of militants.

The author has rightly condemned fundamentalism/terrorism in J&K and other parts of the country with full force at his command. He has stated clearly that past experience is witness to this fact that the countries which promoted terrorism were ultimately victims of their own creation. The USA is a glaring example of this. Pakistan will also experience it at a later stage.

My simple point is that our security forces should put a halt to the activities of militants, defeat the evil design of the enemy and restore peace in Kashmir.

It is high time our present rulers exhibited their collective will to root out terrorism completely from the country. To achieve this goal, the government should frame a comprehensive plan. Pakistan should be told in clear terms that India means business now and is determined to teach a lesson to Pakistan worth remembering for all times to come.

Sarah (Dharamsala)

GRINDING POVERTY: Kashmir mania is only a shadow which Pakistan has been running after for the past 53 years, leaving the substance behind. According to Asia Week’s latest list of vital signs, Pakistan and Afghanistan are two of the seven countries poorer than poor India. Better General Musharraf addresses himself to the people’s woes — grinding poverty, killing illiteracy, starvation, hunger, death, disease, etc — instead of raising war cries. His predecessor rulers have already tasted the bitter pill of three wars with India. He himself carries the wounds of Kargil misadventure on his body.

The nasty General threatens India with a nuclear war. It will hurt India but remove Pakistan’s name from the world map. Yet the frightened General insists on the resumption of talks with this country “to help defuse the situation”. Of what use a resumption of dialogue would be if cross-border terrorism continues unabated.


Rajya Sabha falling apart

Apropos of Ms Poonam I. Kaushish’s article (“Power brokers call the tune: Rajya Sabha falling apart”, April 4), the elections to the Rajya Sabha had not in the past aroused much excitement, given the nature of the electoral college; and the outcome could have been expected to reflect the strength of the parties in the respective state assemblies. But the last round of polls to the Upper House was marked by uncertainty and a significant degree of cross-voting. Several parties have consequently suffered considerable erosion as certain MLAs could be persuaded to vote for other candidates. This certainly is a cause for concern.

Money and other means of allurement had played a role in the polls to such an extent that the Chief Election Commissioner, Dr. M.S. Gill, felt it necessary to come out in the open with an official letter about the influence of money power in the Rajya Sabha election. Of course, many rich people have cracked the code for getting into the Rajya Sabha. All this must have saddened the veterans of the Rajya Sabha; people who have given their lives to public service now find that the chamber they love and respect has become the centre of such ugly deal-making. Tragically, such is the decline in the standards of our public life that the Rajya Sabha cannot be an exception to the trend.

The commitment and the discipline of legislators seem to be waning in the face of pressures and allurements. This is a cause for alarm, and it is time the leaders of the various parties made attempts to check the ascendancy of partyless politics played through means other than programmes and ideology. Apart from the fact that such a tendency could lead to the distortion of the functioning of Parliament, this phenomenon threatens to eat into the vitals of our democratic structure.


Tunnels and terrorism

INDIA has forgotten, and perhaps so has Pakistan, that it can paralyse the canals in Pakistan and can use this as a tool for stopping cross-border terrorism. A million dollar question is: why has this not been done so far?

All that it has to do is to make up its mind and plan its strategy in three stages as under:

Stage one: India should make a declaration that it will be proceeding to paralyse the working of Pakistani canals. This will set the alarm bells ringing in Pakistan and it is possible that the centre of gravity of the dispute between the two countries may shift from terrorism in Kashmir to canals in Pakistan.

Stage two: India should start the construction of a gated tunnel somewhere in Himachal Pradesh for connecting the river Chenab with the Ravi. It will be similar to the one already constructed for connecting the Beas with the Sutlej near Mandi. This will not mean violation of any treaty. It will also not mean the crossing of the LoC or resorting to any type of violence and hence will be within the parameters of the prescription for peace as suggested by President Clinton.

Stage three: India should rescind the Indus Water Treaty of 1960 at a time of its choice by opening the gates of this tunnel and should keep them open so long as Pakistan does not end terrorism.

In view of the Lahore declaration and India’s bitter experience at Kargil, India should take up the construction of this tunnel on a war-footing.

Former Engineer-in-Chief,
Irrigation Deptt, Haryana.


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