Kargil: Pranab must order a fresh probe

Gen V.P. Malik, a former Chief of Army Staff, must admit to some acts of ommission during the Kargil conflict, instead of repeatedly trying to justify his stewardship at the time in various sections of the Press. Here are a few queries for him.

By May 13-15, when the Defence Minister, the Northern Army Commander and others had rushed to Kargil to try and control the worsening situation, why did Gen Malik not return immediately to India to take control?

Two, if the operational situation was not clear due to poor intelligence and heavy inter-sector movement of personnel was underway with the help of the IAF, as Malik admits, did he not realise even then that the situation was getting precarious and that he must return from Poland soonest? Three, did George Fernandes recall the COAS or not, after seeing the situation for himself on May 13 and 14?

Four, did Malik on May 20, when visiting Srinagar, try and go to Kargil by road (if the weather was bad for flying), and guage the complexity of the intrusions for himself? If not, why, when his men were fighting on the peaks on the LoC?




Five, why did Gen Malik rely so heavily on a VCOAS who could not even convince the COSC for a larger role for the IAF? But lo and behold Gen Malik returns and on May 23 convinces the Air Chief to go all out on our side of the LoC! Is he a one-man machine who turned the tide all by himself? Most service veterans feel that the heavy losses to our young officers and the jawans resulting from frontal attacks in the high altitude (I have served in Kargil in 1970-71), would have been avoided had our General, the COSC and the Cabinet Committee on Security and the Defence Minister at the time done their jobs properly.

Defence Minister Pranab Mukerjee must order a fresh enquiry into the Kargil happenings because the Subramaniam Committee Report is in itself incomplete in many respects. Many junior officers like Brig Surinder Singh, the Kargil Brigade Commander, got the axe whereas many others walked away scot free, and in some cases were even rewarded for their “accomplishments”.

And finally, were the telephone lines “safe” on which Gen Malik spoke with his VCOAS on operational matters from abroad? Would not returning posthaste have been better?

Maj-Gen Himmat Singh Gill (retd), Chandigarh

No relief for migrants

THE Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, in their letter No. 33/2/97-Settlement (Vol. IV) dated August 9, 2002, has sanctioned relief to the migrants from the Pakistan-held areas of Jammu and Kashmir. But the grant has not been disbursed to the beneficiaries as yet. Although, residents of Mirpur now falling in the Pakistan Occupied Area of Kashmir became the first victims of the ravaged attack of the tribals and Pak militia after the Partition of the country, the migrants from that area who have undergone untold miseries have not yet been disbursed the grant to which they are entitled.

The Mirpur (J&K) Welfare Association urges the Central Government to help ensure disbursement of rehabilitation assistance to the migrants from the Pak-held areas of J&K. Denial of relief to such displaced personal is not only discriminatory but also violative of the basic human rights.


Mirpur (J&K) Welfare Association, Chandigarh

SYL & Army opinion

I am surprised to read the news-item “Canal must to keep Sutlej water within country, says Army” (June 14). As a former Chief Engineer (Irrigation) of the Punjab Government, I wish to point out that all the three eastern rivers, namely the Sutlej, the Beas and the Ravi have been inter-linked for optimum utilisation of their waters.

There is no question of allowing any water to Pakistan except during floods when some water is required to be released downstream to prevent inundation of the areas of the Indian territory. How the SYL Canal will help the Sutlej water to remain within the country is beyond anybody’s imagination. No technical or professional opinion will support their theory. Nevertheless, prior to the commencement of the construction of the SYL, judicial review of the distribution of the Ravi-Beas waters is required to determine the quantum of water, if any, allocable is Haryana. The capacity of the SYL has to be designed on the basis of the share of Haryana in the Ravi-Beas waters.

G.R. KALRA, Chief Engineer (retd) (Irrigation, Punjab) Chandigarh


If there is no water available to flow in the canal, which is most likely to happen, who will be held responsible for this wasteful expenditure of thousands of crores of rupees — the Centre, the Haryana government or the Supreme Court? Wasn’t it a rather hasty verdict as the Eradi Commission is yet to decide whether water is available for giving to Haryana? The apex court has not taken into consideration cultural ethos and historical facts. It may have given its verdict based on documents presented before it, but papers do not reflect local sentiments and ground realities.

The Punjabi farmer is more than generous to share when things are surplus to meet his minimum needs, but bloody fights are commonplace in the region over encroachment on his land and due share of water. Haryana and even Rajasthan become riparian states when it comes to Punjab water, but when Punjab claims its due share of the Yamuna water on a similar ground, the claim is summarily rejected.

Lt-Col Bhagwant Singh (retd), Mohali


Mr M.S. Gill, MP, while talking about the SYL Canal, advised the politicians to rise above politics (June 13). He said that “matters like water dispute should only be resolved at higher political level.” But his idea had already been adopted as the elected governments of both states resolved the issue by an agreement in 1982. Accordingly, Haryana paid money to Punjab and later constructed 90 per cent of Canal. Now Punjab does not want to construct the remaining part of the Canal. What does Mr Gill suggest now? Should it again be solved at the highest political level? And who will guarantee that this resolution will be final?

I agree with Mr Gill’s view that “such matters are not merely legal in nature”. But I hope he will also agree with me that a breach in contact is certainly a legal matter. Perhaps wise persons fighting for Punjab cause have appeared on scene very late.

ABHAI SINGH, Chandigarh


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