Friday, January 5, 2001,
Chandigarh, India



Ceasefire in Kashmir

THE extension of ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir announced by the Prime Minister defies the logic of fighting anti-India forces in the valley. The month-long ceasefire during Ramzan has shown that violence has increased in the valley. The terrorist groups are hell-bent on jeopardising the efforts of our security forces. During the first 20 days of the Ramzan ceasefire, 63 civilians were killed and about 183 were injured. But the government is adamant on its stand of justifying the ceasefire. What is the relevance of the ceasefire when the terrorist groups operating in the valley have outrightly rejected it. Taking advantage of the ceasefire, the terrorists are consolidating their position which will affect the morale of our valiant officers and soldiers who after the end of the offer will find themselves strategically on the back foot.

This time the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Dr Farooq Abdullah, who earlier used to sing different tunes, is more serious about guarding the interests of the civilians of his state and has denounced the extension of the unilateral ceasefire. His stand is appreciable as it is in the larger interest of the people of the trouble-torn state. The strategy to fight terrorism in J&K should be prepared in consultation with the Army and specialists on strategy. Any wrong move can deprive us of our goal to bring peace.


The Hurriyat leaders’ proposed visit to Pakistan will be the start of an unhealthy trend. These people are frequent visitors to the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi. The people living in India should be faithful to their own country but it seems that the loyalty of Hurriyat leaders lies somewhere else.

Instead of declaring a unilateral ceasefire, the government should maintain surveillance on the border and increase combat operations. Meticulous planning is required to counter Pakistan’s false claims made through its media. Recently, a discussion was presented by Pak TV in which the participants maintained that Muslims had lost their voice in India. They accused the Indian media, which is known throughout the world for its impartiality, of not supporting the Muslims. Through its media, Pakistan is asking the Muslims of India to break away from this country. Such poisonous propaganda can mislead the illiterate people who easily succumb to fundamentalism. Therefore, the government should spare some time and give serious thought to strategy planning in Jammu & Kashmir.


Indian soldiers in Pak jails

THIS has reference to your editorial “Hell Called Pak Jails” (Dec 20). It is heartening to note the concern your newspaper has shown for the Indian soldiers who are undeclared prisoners of war and whose return our government has forgotten to secure.

In the last 29 years, the question of these left-out POWs has came up in Parliament a number of times and each time the reply has been that the Pakistan Government was denying their existence but our government was making all efforts to secure their release. Our legislators have done nothing beyond raising the question on the floor of the House and then forgetting it. In a public interest litigation in the Delhi High Court, requesting the court to give directions to the government that since they have failed to do the job in 29 years, the matter should be taken up in the United Nations Human Rights Commission, the Judges (in a Division Bench) expressed their inability to give such a direction.

The apathy of the defence forces or the public is no less than that of the politicians. Unless the doings of Pakistan like the terrorist activities in Kashmir or the training camps in Pak-held Kashmir are exposed in the world forum, we may continue to draw a blank in this matter. The government is harping on solving all problems with Pakistan bilaterally, not realising that this is a humanitarian and not a territorial issue which can wait. For a person, 29 years is one-third of his life and in the Hell Called Pak Jails it could even be a life-time for some.


Navy Day

NAVY Day that is celebrated every year on December 4 in recognition of the dare-devil dawn attack by the Indian Naval ships on Karachi harbour on December 4, 1971, sinking prestigious warships of Pakistan has its importance throughout India. However, most of people are not aware of the magnitude of the mauling that the Indian Navy gave to the naval power of Pakistan. Even the soldiers' state of Himachal Pradesh (whose son Commander (now retired) M.N. Sangal who actively participated in the operation that sank the pride of Pakistan and won the Vir Chakra) appears to be negligent about the Navy Day.

The most pathetic aspect of this neglect is the role of the Press Secretary to the Chief Minister who should have brought to the notice of the Governor and the Chief Minister, the importance of the Navy Day so that they could have conveyed their congratulations to the serving and retired soldiers of the Indian Navy who come from this state.

I appeal to Prof P.K. Dhumal to highlight the pride that the Indian Navy brought to the nation during 1971 war.

Multan Singh Parihar
Jalari (Hamirpur)

Pak intentions

THE government’s decision to enter into negotiations with Islamabad is likely to become another exercise in futility, for Pakistan has a record of not honouring agreements. Some of the international agreements that Pakistan had signed but refused to honour are: The standstill agreement with Kashmir in 1947; and Tashkent (1966), Simla (1972), Karachi (1949) and Lahore (1999) agreements with India and the Geneva accord with Afghanistan (1988). There are, however, some agreements — Indus Water Treaty (1962) with India, for example — that Islamabad continues to honour, but these are essential for the survival of Pakistan.

The government has every right to explore avenues to bring peace and normalcy to Jammu and Kashmir. However, it should have no illusion about Pakistan’s policy, which is to talk peace at the government level but continue with terrorism on the ground. Attacks on security forces have increased since the declaration of the unilateral ceasefire. Pakistan, in view of its past history, is unlikely to honour any negotiated agreement with us, unless the agreed framework is disproportionately in favour of its strategic interests.

Randhir Singh Bains
Essex (UK)Top


Commercialisation of uniform

I saw on the television the other day an advertisement of a competition magazine which showed Ms Kiran Bedi IPS in full uniform.

To appear in an advertisement may be acceptable but to do so by an officer of a disciplined force and that too in uniform is not correct. This amounts to commercialisation of the uniform, which is morally incorrect.

Had the advertisement been about something related with the government, it would have been acceptable, but it is a pity that things have come to a pass where we are using our uniform to sell private magazines.


Beauty contests

In your editorial "Rajnath Singh ‘‘Taliban’’" on December 18, you have bracketed Mr Rajnath Singh with Taliban. You have challenged Mr Rajnath Singh’s directive against the holding of beauty contests and held that there is little difference between the fundamentalist agenda of the Taliban and that of the Sangh Parivar.

Beauty contests with semi-nude bodies, exposing their curves and contours rouse sensual emotions among the youth. Why can beauty contests not be held with the bodies properly covered. Your advocacy of holding beauty contests in their present form is not in tune with the clarity, transparency, impartiality, and propriety maintained by your newspaper. I hope you will reconsider your views to the extent that beauty contests should be held with proper decorum and modesty.


Judge sans courtroom

RESPONDING to the growing volume of court cases in Una district of Himachal Pradesh, the State High Court posted an Additional District and Sessions Judge at Una some time ago.

However, the existing judicial complex at Una is too inadequate to house the new court. As such the newly appointed Additional District and Sessions Judge has neither a courtroom nor a chamber of his own. The unenviable plight of this judicial officer should attract the attention of the authorities concerned and an early way out should be found. The Deputy Commissioner, the ADM, and the SDM who have court facilities at their disposal, should come to this officer’s rescue for the time being.

Ambota (Una)Top

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