Thursday, July 31, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Heads must roll for security lapse

Apropos of Mr H.K. Dua’s front-page editorial “Limits to patience” (July 24), the attack of Pakistan-trained terrorists on the Tanda Army Camp near Akhnoor ought to open the eyes of the Central Government. The dreadful attack merits special attention as one Brigadier was killed and two Lieutenant-Generals were seriously injured in the incident. This has, in fact, created a fear psychosis among the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Pakistan-based terrorists are eliminating innocent people with impunity everyday. In the case of the latest attack, the story is quite different. It will demoralise our security forces. If even our Army Generals can be targeted by the terrorists, who can be secure in the country? I agree with Mr Dua that responsibility should be fixed and “some heads must roll” for this serious security lapse.

Dr R.B. YADAV DEHATI, Fatehabad


Mr Dua has raised many convincing and debatable points. The recent fidayeen attack at Akhnoor, apparently due to security lapse, is a matter of great concern. As terrorists may choose hard targets for dramatic results in future, the intelligence agencies should thwart such nefarious designs.

As the people of India and Pakistan want peace, people-to-people contact between the two countries will be the right step. Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet. To restore peace in the sub-continent, the Kashmir dispute should be sorted out by India and Pakistan with a strong political will. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.




Since Indo-Pakistan relations have rarely seen a happy phase, the latest downturn following the Akhnoor attack is not unusual. Now what should be done? Should New Delhi remain indifferent to the plight of the people with fear haunting in their minds all the time? In order to counter the insurgency, New Delhi should create a special task force within the Army and give it unfettered powers to cope with the problems of terrorism. The Army should take pre-emptive action against terrorist violence.

New Delhi has so far been following political appeasement and reconciliation which has proved futile. There is need for stern measures. Offence is the best defence. Deterrent measures are a must for successful combing operations against terrorism. The people of Kashmir, both Hindus and Muslims, are fed up with terrorism. Instead of opening dialogue with the outlaws or with Pakistan, let the armed forces take charge of the situation and deal with it in the best possible manner.



Mr. H.K. Dua very rightly points out the serious security lapses which exposed the top brass of the Northern Command to a lone terrorist’s bullets at Akhnoor. One can imagine why General Musharraf and his cohorts, across the border, are having a hearty laugh and rubbing their hands in fitful glee, over this embarrassing moment for the world’’s fourth largest army. Pakistan’s President is an expert in the fine art of running with the hares and hunting with the hounds and he is, certainly, not serious about his assurances to President Bush on checking cross-border terrorism. The latter, in any case, is busy with the mess that he has created in Iraq.

The Vajpayee Government should do a lot of tight-rope walking given the present mood of promoting friendly ties with Pakistan. However, we should remember the famous American-Indian adage, “Bury the hatchet, but don’t forget the place where you buried it”.

M.K. BAJAJ, Yamunanagar


The Akhnoor attack exposes serious loopholes in the security arrangements where the Army Commander, Corps Commander and other officers had to reach after the first attack. Sadly, our jawans are not imparted training on how to fight with terrorists. Moreover, on such duties, crack commandos are required who are hardly available in any unit.

Sadly, though we are a nation of one billion, we cannot train even 1,000 young men and send them to the hostile area. We are masters in raising slogans and burning effigies..



Mr H. K. Dua’s editorial “Limits to patience” contained a timely warning to those at the helms of affairs concerning the security of India, but alas, they are in deep slumber. Attacks in remote areas and even in busy places by Pakistan-sponsored terrorists are understandable, but sneaking into the high security zones and accomplishing the tasks assigned is most deplorable.

Attacks on Parliament and our military camps prove the chinks in our security set-up. The killing of a Brigadier and six jawans and injuries to two Lieutenant-Generals in the Akhnoor attack made us the butt of ridicule. What can be a glaring example of security lapse than this one? On top of all this is the Defence Minister’s support to those responsible for such grave lapses.

Let us first put our own house in order through an efficient, alert and impregnable security network to defy the sinister moves of the enemy. Those responsible for security lapses should not go unpunished.

KARNAIL SINGH, Ranjit Sagar Dam


I endorse Mr Dua’s suggestion that “some heads must roll to ensure that no one hereafter escapes responsibility and punishment as serious as the one the nation, especially the Indian Army, has experienced at Akhnoor”. In this context, I wish to quote Mr Chandra Shekhar's interview in The Tribune (July 25): “The terrorist attack on the Aknoor Army Camp indicates that there can be nothing more insulting and humiliating”. We cannot ignore militants targeting camps of the Indian Army and the security forces at sweet will and at the ground of their choosing.

We must strengthen the Northern Command's security apparatus. The Army's security set-up needs to be more alert and vigilant.

Lt-Col ONKAR CHOPRA (retd), New Delhi


The Akhnoor outrage pinpoints stark failure not only of the NDA government’s Kashmir policy but also of the country's security set-up. No doubt, some “heads” must roll for the Himalayan lapse on the security front. As crossborder terrorism continues unabated, nay, with increasing fury, New Delhi must forthwith go in for a thorough review of its mindless and misleading policy of “Hindi-Pakistani, Bhai Bhai” lest the country is overtaken by another catastrophe of the Kargil brand.

TARA CHAND, Ambota (Una)

Kartar’s family in distress

Kartar Singh, a resident of House No. 1354, B-11, Khud Mohalla, Ludhiana, died while saving people in a fire incident in Khud Mohalla last month. When he learnt about the incident, he rushed to the spot and started pulling people out of the fire. In the process, he suffered severe burns and later died in the hospital He left behind me and our two children — Chandni (12) and Sahib (8).

Kartar was the only bread-winner of our family. He used to make small hosiery items in our house. Now we are in distress. People talk about the bravery of Kartar in saving many people from fire, but there is nobody to extend help, financial or otherwise, to us. We are almost on the verge of starvation.

I have given representations to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh to help me get some government job on compassionate grounds to help me bring up my children and provide them education.



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