Saturday, August 18, 2001, Chandigarh, India



Washing dirty linen in public

This refers to the editorial “Washing dirty linen in public” (Aug 14).

Whatever the positioning of the Army and the Air Force with regard to India’s Strategic Command, it is grossly unfair to ridicule the Army Chief, General Padmanabhan, and the former Chief, Gen V.P. Malik, with reference to my recently released book on the Kargli war. “A Ridge Too Far”.

My “so-called” criticism of the Air Force’s performance is based on facts as has been my “criticism” of India’s intelligence services, be it RAW, the IB or Military Intelligence. I have also severely criticised the Army brigade on the ground. I, therefore, find your observation pertaining to the Air Force very akin to the Ostrich syndrome of yesteryear, where it was considered better to sweep all embarrassing issues under the carpet rather than face up to reality as we did with Henderson Brook’s report in the aftermath of the Indo-China war of 1962.

After every war or battle, one goes into “lessons learnt” so that mistakes are not repeated in future and whatever were the shortcomings are put right. That is why we had the Kargil Committee and even though its terms of reference were restricted, it was the right beginning.


As to the Air Force, I have recorded history, and history is written as events take place and not to minimise or maximise achievements at will. My observations were based on fact, and regardless of your point of view, were written in a constructive sense and not for the sake of criticism. I am sure the Air Chief and his staff have already gone into this aspect, as I am sure has the Army into theirs. We also know that the restructuring of the Indian intelligence is also very much on the cards.

The Chief and the former Chief, who both read my book before the release function were big enough men to participate in my book release function regardless of this criticism of the Army, and contrary to what you believe, the country will gain from such disclosures rather than be “embarrassed”. India is a major power now, and “glassnost” was the policy while the war was on, as a result of which events were carried each day into the drawingrooms of the country. We must, therefore, bury this banana republic syndrome that sadly still persists in some quarters and call a spade a spade. India is big enough to take it.

Lastly this book, as has been suggested, was not part of some sinister design hatched by the Army to embarrass the Air Force. Whoever gave you that is obviously an avid reader of fiction. This observation, however, does not behove The Tribune, which has a reputation for objectivity.

As to Gen V.P. Malik’s observation in his Foreword, it is for the General to clarify, but as he is out of the country, perhaps I can quote from the part you have not quoted to set the record straight. “Even though the political term of reference (not to cross the LoC) was justified and clear, my colleagues in the Chiefs of Staff Committee and I never considered it as non-reviewable or unalterable. In a dynamic situation like war, one has to cater for all contingencies that may become necessary to implement either due to enemy action or to achieve the political and military aim under changed circumstances’.

Your statement that “That is as good as admitting that the Army was willing to defy the government of the day” is mischievous. Has he at any point even implied that this would happen without Cabinet clearance? This observation, if anything, is way off the mark and deserving of contempt.


Barbarity, not jehad

Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee said in Parliament recently that killings of innocent people could not be glorified as jehad.

Jehad is a religious war against infidels. “Mujahideen” means Muslim soldiers or warriors in defence of faith. Yet the leaders of different terrorist outfits in Pakistan call the horrible massacres of peace-loving people in Jammu & Kashmir who are neither unbelievers nor pose any danger to the Islamic faith, a jehad. In fact, it is an un-Islamic, barbaric act, not a jehad, and its perpetrators are ruthless killers, not “mujahideen”.

In his last historic “Khutbah”, the Prophet (peace be on him), declared, inter alia, “Hearken O’ mankind!.... I crush under my feet till doomsday any desecration of human life..... I terminate the bloodletting of the days of ignorance for ever....” Is not the bloodshed of innocent people by Pak-backed terrorists against the very spirit of this sacred sermon?

Gen Pervez Musharraf has become a self-styled “thekedar” of freedom for Kashmiris, although in the Pak-occupied Kashmir the pro-independence candidates who did not want Kashmir to join Pakistan, were not allowed to contest the recent assembly elections there.

Even dog does not bite the hand that feeds it. General Musharraf not only dislodged the Pakistan Premier, Mr Nawaz Sharif, who made him the Chief of Army Staff, ignoring some senior officers, but also exiled him to Saudi Arabia. Those, who expect co-operation from such a treacherous and ungrateful General to end sponsorship of cross-border terrorism, are certainly living in the realms of reverie. The only way to end terrorism is to regain PoK. It is from this side that Pak-trained terrorists sneak into the valley and shed innocent blood.



Harassment by builder

We, the residents of flats sold by a private builder, Industrial Cables (I) Ltd, were promised an ultra modern housing complex (Ivory Towers) with features like sense of security, uninterrupted power supply, timely possession of flats and fully metalled roads.

However, after purchasing the flats we feel cheated by the builder.

Contrary to tall claims, none of us got possession of the flat in time. The builder imposed hefty interest on delayed payments through one-sided agreements. The flats are still incomplete.

As per the PUDA bylaws, no commercial activity is allowed in the complex whereas the builder is running a huge sales office in the complex. Also, construction of a banquet hall is in full swing in the ground floor of one of the towers. PUDA officials have not taken any action against the builder for reasons best known to them.

As per the PUDA rules, the ground floor of a multi-storied complex is to be used only for parking purposes and the land is divided in equal ratio among the flat owners. The builder, however, is violating PUDA rules by charging Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh for the parking.

The allottees are not given possession unless they sign a maintenance contract, which is totally one sided and does not even specify the services the company is going to provide. Also this company is planning to charge more than Rs 1,000 per month as maintenance fee, which at the time of purchase, they told the residents would be not more than Rs 300.

None of the flats has been registered in the name of the allottees, whereas the builder had promised that the registration of flats would be done within three or four months of the purchase.

Even the copy of the map of the flat provided to us does not match the actual design of the flat nor it is attested by PUDA.

The complex still has no proper approach roads, no uninterrupted power supply, no boundary wall and, therefore, no sense of security. We have written numerous letters to the management of ICL but it seems they are not at all bothered.

Residents of ICL Ivory Towers

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