THE KARGIL FUND Set up by The Telegraph and Anandabazar Patrika
More than a hundred soldiers have already died in the undeclared war in Kargil. Many more are lying injured in hospitals. No assistance is compensation enough for the mother who has lost her son or the wife her husband. But we, the citizens of this country, need to help, in however small a way. The Telegraph and Anandabazar Patrika are setting up a fund with that modest aim in mind. The fund is being started with an intial contribution of Rs 5 Lakh from the ABP Group. If every reader of The Telegraph and Anandabazar Patrika donates a small sum, we can raise a huge amount for the families of the soldiers killed or injured in action. As a token of appreciation, both papers will publish the names of donors contributing Rs 500 or more. This is a time to ask yourself what can you do for the nation.   Only account payee cheques and drafts - payable to 'ABP Kargil Fund' - will be accepted. Put the cheque/draft in an envelope with your name and address. Write 'ABP Kargil Fund' and mail it to or deliver (between 10 am and 6 pm except on Sundays) at 
ABP LTD
6 Prafulla Sarkar Street
Calcutta 700001
India
 
 
 
   
Delhi in diplomatic overdrive 
Pakistan-bashing boomerangs 
New Ladakh road to bypass Kargil 
Offensive in slow-moving sectors 
Violence in cricket?s ugly shadow 
Calcutta weather 
 

 
 
DELHI IN DIPLOMATIC OVERDRIVE 
 
 
FROM PRANAY SHARMA
 
New Delhi, June 21: 
Continuing India?s efforts to isolate Pakistan in the international community, foreign secretary K. Raghunath will go to France and the UK and brief leaders of both nations on Delhi?s stand on the Kargil dispute. France and the UK are permanent members of the Security Council and of the G8, which yesterday issued a hard-hitting statement against Pakistan. 

Raghunath will be in Paris on June 28 and in London on June 29. His visit is being described by the Indian foreign ministry as part of foreign office consultations scheduled at least a month ago.  

Pakistan, on the other hand, is seeking solace from traditional ally China. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will leave for China on June 28 on a two-day visit.  

Last week, Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee?s special envoy Brajesh Mishra went to Geneva to meet Sandy Berger, national security adviser to President Bill Clinton. Mishra?s briefing and Vajpayee?s letter to Clinton may have led to the G8 statement.  

Whether the statement brings about a change in the Kargil situation or not will become clear within a fortnight, Indian officials feel, indicating they are hoping Pakistan will begin a gradual pullout.  

Otherwise, New Delhi will put pressure on the global community to choke Islamabad?s credit line. Foreign ministry spokesman R.S. Jassal said India had criticised the Western countries? decision to resume loans to Pakistan from the IMF and the World Bank soon after the Pokhran tests in May. India argued that most of the money from these agencies is diverted to military activities.  

Raghunath might discuss this with French and British officials. France is opposed to clamping sanctions, one of the reasons why the G8 avoided such a step.  

Britain, though, has no such stand. British Prime Minister Tony Blair had said recently that the Kargil conflict was part of the unresolved Kashmir dispute. India would like to tell Britain that while it was committed to the Lahore Declaration, the Kargil intrusion was a blatant attempt by Islamabad to derail dialogue and alter the Line of Control (LoC).  

Pakistan today accused India of being on the ?warpath? and said Delhi would ?rue? any ?misadventure? across the LoC. It also twisted out of context the G8 statement, claiming it vindicated its stand. Pakistan foreign ministry spokesman Tariq Altaf said: ?It amounts to a virtual endorsement of Pakistan?s stand at the Sartaj Aziz-Jaswant Singh meeting on June 12.?  

Ignoring the G8 reference to the intrusion, Altaf said: ?The G8 has expressed its deep concern on the continuing military confrontation in Kashmir and called for an end to military action. We feel vindicated.? He reiterated Islamabad?s demand for mediation by G8 countries for the resumption of dialogue with India to settle the Kashmir dispute. 


 
 
PAKISTAN-BASHING BOOMERANGS 
 
 
FROM K.P. NAYAR
 
New Delhi, June 21: 
What happens when South Block mandarins no longer behave like mandarins? 

Just as defence minister George Fernandes? ?premature articulation? caused the country avoidable damage, its war-time diplomacy has suffered as a result of the garrulousness of senior officials in South Block over Kargil.  

India?s elation over the Group of Eight (G8) communiqué has perilously overlooked their determination to resurrect the non-proliferation agenda for South Asia.  

By getting the US to go along with the communiqué, which iterates the West?s non-proliferation agenda, Japan, Canada and possibly the UK may have successfully put at risk the gains of nearly one year of Indo-US nuclear dialogue.  

What is worse, the communiqué may have unwittingly opened the doors for taking the South Asian nuclear issue back to the centrestage in the UN. In the context of the Kargil conflict, this can lead to Kashmir being on the UN Security Council agenda, albeit through the back door.  

Western diplomats here squarely put the blame for this reversal on South Block mandarins, who are following in the footsteps of the defence minister.  

At briefings for ambassadors here, foreign secretary K. Raghunath has been eloquent in his condemnation of Pakistan. Unfortunately, such condemnation has not been restricted to Pakistan?s violation of the Line of Control or its plans for destabilising Jammu and Kashmir further.  

Raghunath has underlined India?s ?deep concern? over the growing radicalisation of Pakistan and breakdown of law and order ?with Kalashnikovs on sale for everybody?.  

Ambassadors attending his briefings have faithfully reported Raghunath?s comments to their countries, but instead of lowering Pakistan?s esteem abroad, these have fuelled Western fears about South Asia as a nuclear flashpoint. Uncontrolled criticism of the adversary has proved counter-productive.  

After several envoys transmitted Raghunath?s comments to their headquarters, the respective foreign ministers asked them how the Indian foreign secretary?s assessment squared with the notion of a stable nuclear deterrence in South Asia. Many had no answer.  

Raghunath has also been differentiating between India and Pakistan, arguing that non-democratic countries tend to miscalculate the determination of democratic countries to act firmly.  

This, too, has increased Western worries about non-democratic nuclear powers, contributing to the offending portions in the G8 communiqué.  

This portion of the communiqué reads: ?We reaffirm our statement from the Birmingham communiqué (which was unduly harsh on the Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests).... We encourage both countries to follow the first positive steps already undertaken by joining international non-proliferation and taking steps set out in UN Security Council resolution 1172 (which asked the two to sign NPT and CTBT).? 


 
 
NEW LADAKH ROAD TO BYPASS KARGIL 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
Srinagar, June 21: 
The Jammu and Kashmir government has decided to lay an alternative road to Ladakh via Sanku, as Pakistani shelling in the Drass sector shows no sign of letting up. 

Chief minister Farooq Abdullah said here today the new route would be safer as it would skirt the shelling-prone pockets along the 200-km Srinagar-Kargil highway.  

Abdullah told a gathering at Kishtwar in Doda district that the Centre had been approached to help lay the new road between Srinagar and Jammu via Dachan, Madwa and Wadwan, to be extended later to Ladakh through Panikhar. It will bypass Kargil. Construction has already started in Sonemarg.  

But sources here said the proposed road would run through difficult terrain and would be open to traffic for only a few months every year.  

Last year, the chief minister had announced that Kargil town would be shifted to a safer zone like Sanku. But Kargil residents refused to move out.  

The new road to Ladakh is bound to upset Kargil?s villagers even more, the sources said. ?There is little choice. We have to construct the road as early as possible,? said a state official. 


 
 
OFFENSIVE IN SLOW-MOVING SECTORS 
 
 
FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
 
New Delhi, June 21: 
After recapturing Peak 5140, Indian forces are now focusing on Mushkoh Valley in Drass and north of Peak 5203 in Batalik. The Indian progress, so far, has been sluggish in both sectors. But with the concentration on Tololing paying dividends, the army is diversifying its military strategy and building up troop movement in these key areas where the enemy continues to remain entrenched. 

Unconfirmed reports indicated that troops had also moved up the slopes of the crucial Tiger Hill, close to the Tololing ridge in the Drass sector, and were now trying to snap the supply lines of the intruders holed up there.  

In response to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif?s warning that the war may be extended to other fronts and India may have to fight at several Kargils, a confident army spokesperson Col Bikram Singh said: ?Let them come, they shall be in for a bloody nose.? Reiterating that one should not expect a speedy end to the Kargil conflict, he stressed that the ?operations were now proceeding in a planned and deliberate manner?.  

Indian forces are concentrating on the Batalik sub-sector and inching ahead from Peak 5203, recaptured about 10 days ago. Compared to the Drass sector where the army made phenomenal progress and regained the entire Tololing ridge with all its peaks, Batalik has witnessed slow but steady advancement.  

Air operations have been heavy to the north in Muntho Dalo, near the Line of Control in this sector, where the intruders had been stocking up supplies and then carting them up to the Batalik ridges. But the weather is playing truant. Sorties were suspended as part of a joint strategy with the army on Friday and Saturday. Strikes were planned for Sunday, but the weather intervened. Even today, the clouds and rain prevented the MiGs and Mirage 2000s from taking off.  

North of Peak 5203, the army destroyed two sangars (mud-plastered bunkers made by piling up rocks and boulders) in night-long operations launched yesterday.  

Three enemy soldiers holed up in the sangars were killed in the artillery and mortar fire. Elsewhere in Batalik, as the army moved up, they killed six more Pakistani soldiers.  

Mushkoh Valley in Drass has been a weak spot for the Indians, which the Pakistanis have been easily breaching to push in infiltrators ahead of the monsoons. After the Tololing ridge, this has become the focal point of the army?s operations in Drass. In a move that began yesterday, the intruders have been substantially pushed back, the army today claimed in Srinagar.  

Shells continued to whiz in from across the LoC and landed at several areas in Uri, Naoshera and Bhimbargali. In Jammu and Poonch, such indiscriminate cross-border shelling took the lives of two persons.  

A villager seriously injured by the heavy shelling of the Palanwalla area of Jammu last evening, later died in hospital. The other death occurred in Sabzian village close to the border. In Poonch, three persons were injured.  

In the mopping-up operations at Peak 5140 in Tololing, Indians have stumbled upon the bodies of 13 intruders. Arms and ammunition seized from the spot included five universal machine guns, four rifles, including two AK-56, one rocket-propelled grenade launcher, 11 rocket-propelled grenades, eight boxes of belted ammunition for the universal machine guns and a radio set of the type which only the Pakistani regulars are known to possess.  

Rebels warn Sharif  

The Group of Eight statement in Cologne yesterday condemning violation of the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir and suggesting India-Pakistan talks has caught the Nawaz Sharif government in a cleft stick, as the militants whom it armed and sent into the Indian side have warned against any talk of their withdrawal, add agencies from Islamabad.  

Anticipating the G8 reaction, thousands of Lashkar-i-Toiba activists gathered in Rawalpindi on Friday and warned the government that if it submitted to foreign pressure and asked them to withdraw, they would destroy it (the government). They added they are in a position to destroy any government that comes in their way.  

Hizbul Mujahideen secretary-general Zufikar Ahmed told Urdu daily Jung last week that this (intrusion) has afforded the best opportunity for ?freeing? Kashmir. 


 
 
VIOLENCE IN CRICKET?S UGLY SHADOW 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, June 21: 
Three persons were killed, two of them in police firing, and at least a dozen injured when a mob ? armed with bombs and pipe-guns ? clashed with the police at Charial Bazar in Budge Budge this morning. 

Tension was brewing since last night when local residents brought out a procession to ?celebrate?? Pakistan?s defeat in the World Cup final at Lord?s.  

Police said some revellers threw stones and damaged shops belonging to people of a particular community as they were passing the marketplace.  

A local goon, Hema Mondal, was picked up late last night by the police for instigating the attack.  

This morning, when angry shopkeepers discovered their establishments had been attacked and goods damaged, they lodged a complaint with the police and demanded the culprits be punished.  

As news spread, Mondal?s accomplices got together to once again instigate trouble at Charial Bazar and set up pickets demanding his release from police custody.  

According to his supporters, Mondal had nothing to do with last night?s vandalism. They said the violence had been a spontaneous response to the burning of a Sachin Tendulkar poster the day India lost to New Zealand.  

As tempers rose, Mondal?s cronies set about damaging shops spared the previous night. A posse of policemen arrived and was greeted with a hail of crude bombs. Hoodlums armed with pipe-guns and stones attacked the hopelessly outnumbered police.  

With the situation getting out of control, the police opened fire to scatter the mob. At the end of the almost two-hour battle, the police had fired 17 rounds into the crowd, leaving two people dead and several injured.  

The police, too, had taken a beating: five were seriously injured, including Budge Budge police station officer-in-charge Basudeb Das.  

Reinforcements have been sent in with jawans of the Eastern Frontier Rifles and Rapid Action Force patrolling the area.  

Home (police) minister Buddhadev Bhattacharya ordered an administrative inquiry into the events leading to the firing. ?I have already briefed chief minister Jyoti Basu. A senior officer will be appointed to carry out the probe,? he said.  

DIG (presidency range) Anil Kumar said the situation was under control. South 24-Parganas district magistrate R.K. Vats and police superintendent A.K. Maliwal are camping at the spot.  

Besides Mondal, another local tough, Shankar Banerjee, has been identified as one of the main culprits. Shankar is absconding.  

Nine persons with bullet wounds are being treated at the M.R. Bangur, SSKM and National Medical College hospitals. The dead have been identified as Bham, Sheikh Shakil Hossain and Ishaq Khan. 


 
 
CALCUTTA WEATHER 
 
 
 
 
Today?s forecast: Mainly clear sky with one or two spells of light rain. 
Temperature: Maximum 33.4°C (1°C below normal)
Minimum 26°C (normal)
Relative humidity: Maximum 92%
Minimum 67% 

Rainfall: 16.3 mm  

Sunset: 6.22 pm
Sunrise: 4.54 am
 
 

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