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Wednesday, 26 December 2012

From Today's Papers - 26 Dec 2012
4 CRPF jawans shot dead by colleague

Raipur, December 25
Four CRPF jawans were today shot dead and another injured in sleep by their “mentally disturbed” colleague in the naxal-hit Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh, police said.

“The shooting occurred last night at the camp of 111 CRPF Battalion in Aranpur area of the naxal-dominated district, when the constable Deep Kumar Tiwari opened fire on the jawans who were sleeping,” Dantewada SP Narendra Khare told reporters here.

Inspector General, CRPF, Zulfiqar Hasan said a court of inquiry has been initiated into the case.

While three jawans died on the spot, one succumbed to his injuries while being taken to hospital, Khare said, adding that the injured trooper has been air-lifted to Raipur and admitted to MMI hospital here. — PTI
Pak minister’s spoiling visit
Extremists could not have asked for more
by Kuldip Nayar

When I received the Mother Teresa award this year for working towards improvement of relations between India and Pakistan, I was happy to believe that there must have been a tangible evidence of that to get the recognition. Indeed, there has been a steady increase in the flow of traffic — doctors, lawyers, academicians, businessmen and sportspersons visiting each other’s country.

I recalled how 20 years ago there were only 15 people when I lighted candles for the first time on the Wagah border to celebrate the birth of India and Pakistan on the night of August 14-15. This year it was a sea of humanity on this side of the border and some 10,000 on the Pakistan side which began reciprocating three years ago. People-to-people contact was improving and trade started making rapid strides. The relationship was looking up.

Then comes Rahman Malik from Pakistan and nearly breaks everything like a bull in a China shop would do. Islamabad’s Minister of Interior, Malik has done everything possible to spoil relations through his statements and remarks. He stayed in the Capital only for three days but reignited the fires of suspicion, bias and hatred. The extremists in both countries would not have asked for more.

First, he compares the Babri Masjid demolition with the terrorist attacks on Mumbai to suggest that the demolition was the job of Hindus and the 26/11 attacks of Muslims, renewing the memory of the holocaust during Partition and reiterating the two-nation theory which even the founder of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, dropped after Independence. And then Malik brushed aside the agony of captain Saurabh Kalia’s father who received his son’s body, mutilated and with all the organs cut after 20 days of the Kargil war. The Pakistani army has denied the inhuman act but it could have at least held an inquiry to allay India’s doubts on Kalia’s case.

Rehman, when pressed, said that his ministry would probe but I am not sure if he can dare do anything against the army’s wishes. In any case, none has taken Rehman’s visit seriously and his attempt to minimise the role of Lashkar-e-Toiba chief Hafiz Saeed, even saying that the latter was never arrested for the Mumbai attacks. This has only annoyed New Delhi. The anger was so deep that India did not agree to a joint Press conference or even a joint statement. New Delhi could have taken the credit of arresting the Hindu extremist who masterminded the Samjhauta Express blasts and planted bombs at a mosque in Maharashtra’s Malegaon town.

Malik’s disastrous visit eclipsed the welcome gesture that the Supreme Court of India had made. It had freed Khalil Chisti, a Pakistani doctor, who was mistakenly involved in a murder in the Indian part of his family with which he was living at the time of the killing. In contrast, the government was rigid and too legalistic. Some human rights activists put before the government the negligible role, if any, played by Chisti.

Initially, the Rajasthan government saw the point that Chisti was not to blame and recommended to the Governor to pardon Chisti. Shivraj Patil, the Punjab Governor, was at that time officiating as Governor of Rajasthan. Patil was adamant and rejected the state’s proposal. Mahesh Bhatt, a famous film maker, and I met Patil at Chandigarh and pleaded Chisti’s case that he was 80 years old and that he was a heart patient. But it did not appeal to the Governor, who argued that Chisti had been on bail and must spend some time in jail to serve the purpose of justice.

Malik has signed in Delhi an agreement not to have visa for children and make it easier for persons above 65 years to travel across the border. Much will depend on the implementation. Even small concessions will do good to relations because the gesture is considered a positive step and more people from both sides will meet in five cities instead of three as was the regulation earlier. The caravan of goodwill will move further when cricket matches between the two countries are played in the next few weeks. New Delhi has agreed to give visa to 3,000 Pakistanis. The number should have been at least 10,000.

The Pakistan media does not take up the case of excesses committed against minorities so forcefully as the Indian media does. It was because of the media that the BJP leaders could not hide their face when the Babri Masjid was demolished. Again, the credit goes to the Indian media that Chief Minister Narendra Modi, however politically strong, awaits judgment on the cases of his involvement in the 2002 carnage.

I can see a change in the attitude of people in India and Pakistan towards each other. They never harboured hostility despite the sterile attitude of the two governments. Now they are bold in their comment and feel repentant on the massacre of 10 lakh people during Partition. What the public in both countries must do is to force their governments to cut the military expenditure. Even a reduction of 5 per cent would make crores of rupees available for schools, health centres and poverty alleviation programmes. India and Pakistan have the largest number of poor in the world. Better relations would force a cut in military budgets on both sides possible. New Delhi should take the initiative.
Young man alleges Army hand behind kidnapping, murder of tribals in Assam
 The Assam Government on Tuesday ordered a magisterial probe into the alleged kidnapping of three tribal youths on December 21 after one of them was found dead. The three had gone missing from the Narayanpur area in the Baksa district of Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD).

Of the three, one, identified as Raj Kumar Rabha, came back and alleged that trio had been picked up by the Army and tortured while in custody. The Army denied the allegation, calling it “baseless and false,” but ordered an investigation into the incident “in keeping with sentiments of the public and the gravity of the accusations levelled against them.” A magisterial probe into the incident too has been ordered as per the instructions handed out to the Baksa Deputy Commissioner by Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.

An FIR was lodged with Mushalpur police station by father of the one of the kidnapped — Kundan Basumtary — on December 22, saying that his son was missing and was suspected to have been kidnapped the previous day. Another FIR was lodged at Tamulpur police station on December 23 by the elder brother of the deceased, Rajib Basumtary, in which it was alleged that trio had been picked up by the Army’s 12 Kumaon Regiment.

As per Rabha’s account, the trio were picked up by some persons whom he knew as defence personnel. He alleged that he could realise that they were taken to Mushalpur Army camp and also to an isolated place where they were beaten up and asked to reveal information on illegal arms.

When contacted, Brigadier B. Parmer of the 107 Brigade of the Army, based in Tamulpur, which also has a jurisdiction over Baksa district, said that an internal probe was ordered into the allegations, but there was no conclusive evidence of anyone being picked up by the Army from Narayanpur area as alleged.

“I have spoken to the person who claimed to have returned. He claimed that he was blind folded and had the perception that they were taken to Mushalpur Army camp. He also revealed that people there were speaking among themselves in Bodo, Bengali and Assamese but nobody spoke in Hindi. We checked all entry and exit entries and found no evidence of anyone being picked up and brought to Army camp,” the Brigadier said.

Rebutting news reports alleging the Army’s involvement in the incident, Public Relations Officer (PRO), Defence said : “It has been clarified that there was no involvement of Army/ Army personnel in the case and no operations were launched in general area Narayanpur. The Indian Army conducts all its operations in transparent environment and in [the] presence of representatives of Assam Police. [The] Indian Army always stood in times of crisis with common people of Assam and strongly condemns such acts of violence against the ‘Citizens of Assam’. Protection of human rights of every citizen of the country is the fundamental tenet of Indian Army’s operations policy and does not carry out such barbaric acts. Indian Army is deployed in Assam to bring the internal security situation of the state to normalcy to enable the civil administration to function effectively. Certain groups with maligned intentions are opposed to this process. It is a purported attempt by these miscreants to tarnish the image of the ‘Indian Army’ to deter Security Forces from carrying out effective counter terrorist operations.”

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