Friday, May 18, 2001, Chandigarh, India



Why no clear-cut Kashmir policy?

This refers to Mr Hari Jaisingh’s article “Mobilising collective reaction against militants” (May 11). It is quite undiplomatic and a sign of political immaturity that we do not have a clear-cut policy on Kashmir vis-a-vis Pakistan’s proxy war.

It is because of this lack of coordination in approach and half-hearted responses to violent and even brutally inhuman deeds of ISI-sponsored terrorists that the political atmosphere in the valley has remained quite hazy and the security scenario has been unstable for all these years.

Instead of chasing out terrorists, we declared a unilateral ceasefire, with “humanitarian considerations” and an eye on international acclaim and Pakistan’s isolation. While peace at all costs may be a good ideal to achieve, in practice it has only given time and opportunity for terrorists to re-group and recoup their resources. Militants are now getting help from Taliban leaders. Lashkar-e-Toiba is ready with its suicide squads to eliminate the top political and police brass. The nefarious game of selective killing is again on the cards.



Drift & incompetence:
The Kashmir issue is a very complex problem and needs its handling from many fronts. The slaughter of more than 30,000 people during the past 11 years by militants speak highly about the collapse of law and order and incompetence of the government in power to control the situation.

First, the law and order should be drastically improved with a heavy hand by Dr Farooq Abdullah with the support of the central government. No laxity should be shown on any front.

Mr K.C. Pant’s talks with APHC, the Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party chief, Shabir Shah, and other militant organisations to restore peace in the valley would fail eventually as Pakistan, who is behind the trouble, is not sincere about normalising relations with India.

Secondly, the Indian Government should close its doors to negotiations with Pakistan. Until Pakistan understands the changed tough stand of India, it won’t come to compromise.

Thirdly, bilateral talks with Pakistan won’t work. The involvement of any influential country must be made for meaningful results.

D. P. JINDAL, Mandi Gobindgarh

Flush them out: Lack of a holistic strategy on the part of the Indian Government has always been visible in solving the Kashmir problem which is becoming more and more complex and intricate with the passage of time.

The ceasefire announced unilaterally by the Prime Minister took many among the security forces by surprise. Before a ceasefire, a cleansing operation is necessary. Flush the militants out first, carry out an all-out offence against them prior to showing an olive branch. A terrorist often misconstrues a peace overture as weakness. What has happened during the ceasefire is that terrorist channels have dried up because villagers are frightened.

For talks undertaken by Mr K.C. Pant to make any headway, everyone involved in the dispute, including Pakistan’s surrogates, will have to participate. Pakistan itself will have to be involved at a later stage. It is absurd of the Hurriyat leaders to say that since Delhi has “invited a crowd”, they would like to stay away. It is patent enough that the Centre has to invite a crowd and not the secessionists and their patrons in Islamabad alone.

K. M. VASHISHT, MansaTop


Coordination required: A way out of the mess in Kashmir can be found only if India is bold and innovative on the issue which has been bungled for years on end.

We have already lost some 30,000 precious lives in the trouble-torn state during the last 11 years. Total coordination among the Prime Minister, the PMO and Dr Farooq Abdullah is what the time cries for.

It was indeed a misfire when the Prime Minister announced a unilateral ceasefire and also offered a dialogue with the Hurriyat leaders without consulting Dr Abdullah.

As rightly held by the writer, in their blind loyalty to Islamabad, militant groups simply ignore the people of Jammu and Ladakh. Ladakhis have already opted for a separate state. Jammu may follow suit any day unless the situation in the state is well under control. People of all the three regions of Jammu and Kashmir are fed up with militancy.

Like other Indians they too want to live in peace. New Delhi must deal with militancy with a firm hand. Militants of all hues have to be crushed mercilessly and ruthlessly. Nothing like human rights which are meant for humans, not for butchers.


Hold talks: Right from the time of Pt Nehru, no succeeding P.M. has ever worked out and implemented an effective policy on Kashmir. All followed a weak-kneed policy which emboldened Pakistan to unleash militancy not only in Kashmir but also in Punjab and other parts of India.

Things have come to such a pass that the national Capital is not safe and militants have managed to sneak into sensitive areas giving a clear signal that they mean business and have the ability to operate and spread their tentacles at any place at any time.

Any peace initiative in such a situation will exhibit weakness. No nation can afford to barter away its honour and integrity in order to buy peace. The author has rightly pointed out that the proactive policy announced by the Home Minister has been hijacked by the militant organisations. There is need to have a summit with Pakistan to hammer a lasting solution to the Kashmir problem, acceptable to both sides so that innocent lives of Kashmiris as well as those of brave jawans are saved and crores of rupees being spent by both countries can be used for the welfare of the people.


Get tough with them: The seven relevant points presented by the writer should be thoroughly examined and considered gravely if Mr K.C. Pant aspires to succeed in solving the decade-long Kashmir problem.

The leaders of the APHC seem to be the agents of Pakistan. If not, why do they stubbornly insist on involving Pakistan in parleys with the Centre? They are operating from our soil, indulging in nefarious activities and holding the entire state to ransom. They deserve to be deported with their bag and baggage to Pakistan. Any Indian national should have no problem in initiating a dialogue with his own government to find a solution to the knotty problem of Kashmir. So a tough stance should be adopted towards the APHC. Except it all others should be encouraged to come forward for negotiations.

The demand of the Jammuites and the Ladakhis for separate states does not seem to be out of place. Rather it appears genuine and should be given a serious thought. Above all, unity in thought, action and plan can facilitate things for bringing peace to the strife-torn state.


Consult the CM: Dr Farooq Abdullah should be consulted on important issues after all he has to face the people’s reaction to the Centre’s initiatives. What to talk of others, Dr Abdullah was not even consulted when the Prime Minister announced a unilateral ceasefire. Such actions don’t produce the required results when all concerned are not consulted.



Astonishing accounts

This refers to the editorial "Unwed widows scam" (The Tribune, May 2). I was astonished to go through its contents which are factually incorrect. I would like to mention that Rs 126.75 crore was released for disbursement till 31.3.2001 and that this amount has since been credited to the accounts of the beneficiaries for the year 2000-2001. I could not understand as to how it has become a scam of Rs 166.67 crore whereas only Rs 126.75 crore has been credited to the accounts of the beneficiaries for disbursement.

I would like to draw your attention to Rule 3(i) of the Financial Assistance Rules, 1996, for windows and destitute women in Punjab. This rule categorically stipulates that any unmarried woman of 30 years and above who is not being looked after by anybody and her income is less than Rs 1000 per month is eligible for financial assistance as a destitute woman. I think this rule escaped your attention.

The possibility of irregularities cannot be ruled out in Amritsar district especially and in other districts generally due to the huge number of beneficiaries. Consequently, I have asked the D.C., Amritsar, to have 100 per cent verification of all the beneficiaries. I have further asked him to get the cases registered against wrong and bogus persons under Section 409/420, IPC, and other suitable provisions of law. The remaining 16 DCs in the state are being ordered to do the same to weed out such cases.

Social Security and Development of Women and Children Minister,
Punjab, Chandigarh


Snow leopard

The news item, “snow leopard gets quiet burial”, highlights the poor management of zoos, which are no less than cruel captive houses for rare and wonderful wildlife species. Zoos are bereft of even bare minimum facilities. Tragedies like those at Nandan Kanan, Hyderabad and the latest at Kufri are common. In some of the zoos there are rarest of rare species languishing.

This is high time better facilities are created in the zoos to save these animals from painful living. Efforts should be made to provide habitat identical to their living environment in the wild. Nutritional requirements must be taken care of and hygienic conditions must be given top priority.

K. K. SHARMA, Dharamsala

Air crashes

The Tribune has performed a yeoman’s service by highlighting IAF air crashes on the front page on May 8 followed by an editorial on May 9. Air crashes are occurring with a sickening routine and frequency — almost one per week. I hope the powers that be will take note of the issue raised by you and rectify the shortcomings, specially lack of AJT soon. One fails to understand why the Government can’t provide AJT when thousands of crores are wasted otherwise.

In the meantime the IAF must ground all suspect MiG-21s. After all there is no war on. So why lose precious young lives? May I request the IAF authorities to answer this simple question.

Brig HARWANT SINGH (retd), SAS Nagar

Attack on scribes

The attack on a group of scribes by BSF personnel at Megam in Jammu and Kashmir is highly deplorable. The only offence of the journalists was that they were just performing their duty. Sincere reporting of an event is the part of their job. They even risk their lives in this arduous task. The government should punish the guilty so that no one dares to commit such a crime in future.



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