Friday, July 11, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

VP Singh: Bajrang Dal, RSS following ISI agenda
T.R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 10
Former Prime Minister V.P. Singh has warned that the country’s “freedom was seriously imperilled because we are divided”. Regretting that politics had degenerated to a power game, he was highly critical of the political system becoming “insensitive and unresponsive” to the problems of the people.

Mr Singh said this in an exclusive interview to The Tribune. He was anguished that politics and politicians had lost respect and trust of people. “People expect an element of sacrifice. Certain commitment and patriotism has to be there, which leads to clean politics,” he observed.

“The government is like a sword and it has to be used in favour of the people. Power is good only when it is used for promoting an ideology. Today, nobody has time to make the country,” he said.

He lamented that the focus was getting diverted from providing shelter, food, clothing, education, medical care, clean drinking water, good governance and providing respite from the bribe-taking machinery.

“No one wants to make a commitment on these issues. Instead politics is getting diverted to emotional matters which, in turn, cloud the main issues,” he remarked.

The former Prime Minister said it was necessary to focus on people’s issues. “This correction is necessary. Efforts for a national consensus should not only involve the political parties but writers, labourers, farmers and various other sections of society.

He advocated transparency in public life and the necessity to tackle political funding. He said it was not necessary that those having limited funds did not win elections.

“I have always fought (elections) against people who had more money,” he said, adding that it was worrisome that the PMO should emerge as an all powerful set-up.

On Ayodhya, Mr Singh said when religion was reduced to a ritual then conflicts were bound to arise. Religion is a deep experience and each person has to find his or her own religion as per their conscience. “I believe a centre for the study of all major religions which have been part of our culture should be established for cementing the unity of the country,” he said.

Expressing outrage at the Godhra carnage and its backlash in various parts of Gujarat, he said the outburst was due to a “systematic cultivation of hatred over decades”.

Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is trying to separate Hindus and Muslims. Unfortunately, the RSS and the Bajrang Dal are executing the ISI agenda in this country.

About Kashmir and Indo-Pakistan ties, the former Prime Minister said the Vajpayee government had “already taken quite a few U-turns” in this regard. While taking firm action against militancy in Jammu and Kashmir, the government has to restore the confidence of the people in that state, he said, adding: “Give them (people of Jammu and Kashmir) respect. This ought to be the policy.”

Admitting that India has suffered the most due to cross-border terrorism he stressed that there was no readymade solution to the problem. “Tackling insurgency always takes time,” he said.

“In spite of cross-border terrorism, we should open a dialogue with Pakistan. Finally we have to talk to (Pakistan President) Gen Pervez Musharraf. Dialogue does not mean that you trust Pakistan blindly. Trade should be opened between the two countries. Improved economic relations between India and Pakistan will help in cooling down things,” he suggested.

Mr Singh said political vendetta was bad for the system as it “diluted” democracy. He claimed that there was not even a single case of political vendetta during his reign as Prime Minister.

About Indo-US relations he said: “India must have its own policy and act as a sovereign country. I am for friendship with the USA but we cannot prostrate ourselves by equating with Pakistan.”


War with Pak avoided in ’89-90
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 10
Former Prime Minister V.P. Singh has claimed that a war with Pakistan was avoided during his tenure in 1989-90.

He said Pakistan, after conducting military exercises, did not send its troops to the barracks. Instead, they dug trenches and stayed put on the front and were busy stocking grade I ammunition used in the event of a conflict.

He disclosed that air sorties had also gone up more than normal and radars had been advanced towards the front.

To meet the challenge of military intervention by Pakistan, Mr Singh disclosed he told the Chinese government that India had no aggressive intentions. Both sides instantly agreed to withdraw lakhs of troops from the border.

Mr Singh said then, he made it clear to Ms Bhutto that if the Pakistani armoured corps was moved to the front, India would respond to it as the final preparation for war. “Ms Bhutto did not move the armoured corps to the front though we kept a constant vigil,” Mr Singh said.Back

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
123 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |