How the leaders and public figures of a nation respond to a tragedy reveals a lot about their character. Two coffins returned from LOC with the mutilated bodies of Lance Naik Hemraj and Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh. The head of one of them is still missing. I am not aware of any leader, minister visiting these families and sharing their sorrow with the nation. I am not aware of any leader or minister from the GOI attending their funerals. John F Kennedy once said: "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them”. If our late PM L.B. Shastri were alive he would wonder happened to his famous slogan of “Jai Jawan…”.
The tears of the families of the 2 Jawans killed on January 8 had not yet dried and some of our public figures were already into “debate” mode. A bunch of journalists and other candle light specialists got together to debate ‘Aman Ki Asha’ in Delhi on January 10. A Union Minister, Shashi Tharoor, was playing the moderator. Participants included: from Pakistan: Najam Sethi, Salman Raja, Wajahat Khan, Javed Jabbar and from India: Mani Shankar Aiyar, Salman Haldar, Shoma Choudhury and Kabir Bedi. Some govt guys, some filmy ones, some editorialists. Probably the most theatrical bunch in a tragedy! And what were they debating? Civil society for peace! One of the common refrains from the discussions: “Moderates will wipe out the Hafeez Saeeds”. If you look at the audience you can see the elites of society in all that jangles. Oh Yeah, these are the ones who are most likely to wipe out the Hafeezes of the world. I remember the movie “Gandhi” where in a powerful speech he says a bunch of lawyers in Delhi do not represent the people of India. If MKG were at this stupid debate he would have said the same thing about these people all over again. The debate was not only stupid it was also badly timed and reflected a serious lack of sensitivity on the part of the participants, audience and, of course, the hosts. Who else but TOI?
With what face do these Pakis come here to debate? Who are the morons who invite them? These are people from a country which sentenced the doctor who led to the killing of Osama Bin Laden to 33 years in prison. He was convicted of high treason. In any other civilised nation this doc would have been rewarded. These “useful idiots” from Pakistan (and India too) can’t deal with the stupidity of their own govt and want to lecture in Delhi. These worthies who are going to wipe out the Hafeezs were probably not even aware (owing to their ‘moderate’ engagement) that on the same day as the two Jawans were killed on the LOC there were 10 CRPF Jawans killed in Latehar (Jharkhand) in an encounter with Naxals. Surprising, isn’t it? The CRPF men were killed on January 8 but for our media that would be ‘Breaking news’ only on January 10. One Jawan’s dead body was stuffed with a bomb.
The PM, Manmohan Singh who didn’t have anything to say about all this had said back in February 2010 that “Naxalism is the biggest internal threat”. One wonders what he has done about the threat. He should be even more alarmed that the Pakistan camps were rejoicing the deaths of our Jawans so it’s clear the Pak army that was involved. Hafeez Saeed was also around the LOC and it appears he had offered a reward of 5 lakhs for the head of our soldier. These two tweets from Padmaja Joshi of Headlines Today say a lot. The PM and his cabinet need not worry I suppose. The so called “moderates” from India and Pakistan will wipe out Hafeez Saeed (the LeT mastermind behind 26/11), ably led by his minister, Shashi Tharoor. If all that wasn’t enough, The Hindu ran a story on the LOC incident implying it all started with an old woman, a Grandmother, who crossed over to POK. Even the headline of the story seems to turn the spotlight away from the brutal killings into one of providing “sound reason” for the deaths.
“Runaway grandmother sparked savage skirmish on LoC”. Skirmish? Was that all? The killing of two of our soldiers on our side of the LOC, their bodies mutilated, one Jawan’s head missing and all that was just a “skirmish”? Where did Praveen Swami, a supposed defence expert, get his intelligence from? Oh! He says “…highly placed military and government sources have told The Hindu”. Really? Which military and which govt? He doesn’t say and I refuse to presume Indian or Pakistan. Maybe Swami would like to clarify which country’s sources he was referring to. Swami’s article comes out and our journalistic-bimbo wastes no time in jumping and rubbishing all the “patriots” on TV. I guess you know who and which channel she’s referring to. Runaway Granny! Nice title! Let’s examine what key points his article makes and what the Indian Army responses were. (Indian Army response here)
Swami mentions the 70-year old granny, Reshma Bi, left Charonda village and crossed over the LOC to live with her sons in POK. This was on September 11 and the article implies in 2012. Inside of a week after Reshma’s flight, Indian troops began constructing observations bunkers around Charonda, seeking to monitor the movement of villagers. The construction work — barred by the terms of the LOC ceasefire of 2003 provoked protests from Paki troops. Indian commanders, the military source said, conceded that the construction was in violation of the ceasefire. However, they refused to stop work, arguing that the posts faced out towards the village, posing no threat to Pakistan. Early in October, the official said, tensions began to escalate. Pakistan even made announcements over a public address system, demanding that Indian troops end the construction work. Exchanges followed and then Indian soldiers raided a Paki post on January 6 which led to the brutal killing of our soldiers on January 8. That’s it.
The army rejects the story (and I quote some statements). Swami’s story is not exactly short on facts but his timelines and linkages appear inaccurate. The Indian army stated that Reshma Bi crossed over on September 26, 2011 a full 16 months before Swami reported she did. On the raid on a Pak post, Colonel Dahiya rejected Swami's contention that there had been LOC transgressions by the Indian Army in the Uri Sector on January 6, 2013. He further stated that the article mentions announcements made by Pak Army over a public address system at Uri demanding a halt to any construction work. This also was factually incorrect, he said. The article also wrongly identifies Major General G.S. Rawat as the GOC of 19 Infantry Division. The current GOC is Major General Khandare. He said that Pakistan carried out cease fire violations on night of January 5 and 6, and the Indian Army carried out controlled retaliation from its own side on January 6. So in effect,the Army rubbished Swami’s report.
It’s a question of which one to trust; The Hindu or the Indian Army. Given the dubious articles that frequently appear in The Hindu and even otherwise I would go with our Army. Praveen Swami, though, is not a dubious writer. So where did he get all his “intelligence” from? Hmm! It would appear someone already knew this article was going to appear in a newspaper on January 10. Guess who? It’s none other than Wajahat Khan the Paki journalist who had appeared on Barkha Dutt’s programme “The BS here”. Yeah, a load of BS indeed! The programme over, late night (or wee hours of January 10) Wajahat Khan tweets to someone to watch out for a “narrative changer tomorrow” (ie January 10). He tweets and The Hindu delivers! Voila! This is the “intelligence” circuit of Swami as it appears. And Wajahat calls it the “narrative changer”. Whenever anyone uses the term “narrative” I immediately see a warning sign of concoctions being brewed. It’s a term that highly “intelligent” people use, like the ones at the AmanKiAsha debate in Delhi.
Do you need any more proof how stupid Indian media is? No, don’t go by my word. For some reason the AKA crap wasn’t telecast by TimeNow the channel of TOI group who came up with the AKA farce. The debate was telecast by Headlines Today and I wonder why. Maybe Arnab Goswami has decided AKA is nonsense too. It is Rahul Kanwal, who heads Headlines Today, who wonders what the Tamasha is between the TOI and its news channel. The families of dead soldiers are hopefully unaware of all the Tamasha going on. Our freedom is never free. Someone pays a price for it, usually a soldier standing guard on a fence. The shameless ‘Macaulay Putras and Putris’ who don’t tire of their AKAs and cocktail debates breathe because someone pays the price for their freedom to do so. They usually finish the debates, give sermons on TV, write crap in newspapers and go have candle-light dinners. I may have to call them the candle light sinners.