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  
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6 Prafulla Sarkar Street 
Calcutta 700001 
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India snatches back Tiger Hill
?Busy? Atal stonewalls Clinton peace meet offer
Twin win for Leander
Calcutta weather

 
 
INDIA SNATCHES BACK TIGER HILL 
 
 
ROM SUJAN DUTTA IN MUSHKOH VALLEY AND OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT IN DELHI
 
July 4 
After a night of all-out assault, Indian troops moved in early today to wrest back the strategic 16,000-ft Tiger Hill, freeing the Srinagar-Leh highway of incessant Pakistani pounding.

A beaming defence minister George Fernandes announced the peak?s capture in Chandigarh while army headquarters in South Block released a guarded statement, claiming the victory was a ?significant success?. But it stressed the war was far from over.

Troops from 18 Grenadiers spearheaded the operation and hoisted the Tricolour atop Tiger Hill after several hours of intense battle. The attack was launched along ?three unexpected approaches, which completely surprised the enemy?.

The recapture of Tiger Hill is a watershed in Indian operations to evict intruders who have been occupying key positions within Indian territory.

Earlier this afternoon, there was a scare that about half-a-dozen enemy soldiers took the Indian forces by surprise, forcing a tactical retreat. But by evening, an infantry officer said: ?They have been taken care of.?

The peak is among the most crucial vantage positions in the Kargil sector. It overlooks the Line of Control and if lighter mortars can be placed on top of the ridge, the Pakistani supply line can be easily targeted.

Army spokesman Col Bikram Singh said ground troops had ?achieved a significant success in the Drass sector? and dubbed the operation ?exceptionally well-planned and executed?. But he cautioned: ?We have got to the top, but in the periphery, pockets of intrusion are still there.?

The battle is now being waged mostly on the northern and western spurs and on ?Charlie Feature?, a ridge to the west of Tiger Hill. The mopping-up operation could still take 24 hours.

In the backwash of the assault on Tiger Hill, Drass is quite devastated. A lieutenant and three other soldiers on their way to a public phone booth were killed in heavy artillery pounding.

Hindustan Times journalist Rajesh Ramachandran was injured by shrapnel. He is out of danger after being treated by an army medical unit and has been evacuated to Srinagar.

An officer in Drass said many of the intruders atop Tiger Hill have fled, but several ?Pakistani regulars? fought to the end. No casualty figure was available.

Chief of army staff General V.P. Malik announced a special citation for the 18 Grenadiers. The Grenadiers had taken part in the decisive battle for Tololing ridge and followed it up with exemplary efforts to capture Point 4590 and Three Pimples in the Drass sector.

Besides Tiger Hill, Indian troops recaptured another significant position in Batalik, where they made headway over the past 48 hours. In two other adjoining positions, fierce fighting is on.

In Batalik, four enemy positions along a particular ridgeline have become the principal target for Indian ground troops. The Ladakh Scouts captured one of them on Wednesday night. A second position was won back early today. Col Avtar Singh of Kargil divisional headquarters said 13 enemy soldiers were killed. The Indians toll was up by 12 at 250.    


 
 
?BUSY? ATAL STONEWALLS CLINTON PEACE MEET OFFER 
 
 
FROM PRANAY SHARMA
 
New Delhi, July 4 
Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee has sidestepped the suggestion for a trilateral meeting between the US, India and Pakistan on Kargil by turning down President Bill Clinton?s invitation to visit Washington at the ?earliest?.

Clinton rang up Vajpayee last night to inform him about two phone conversations he had with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Kargil and the latter?s visit to Washington. He invited Vajpayee to visit Washington at his ?earliest convenience?. But the Prime Minister turned down the invitation, regretting that his schedule would not allow him to travel out of the country.

Sharif?s visit has raised hopes about a possible solution to the border crisis. Though there have been indications from Islamabad that a peace plan is in the offing, New Delhi maintains it is yet to receive any concrete proposal. There is a feeling, however, that Pakistan will come out with one after the Clinton-Sharif talks.

Indian foreign ministry spokesman R.S. Jassal said Clinton had invited Vajpayee for bilateral talks which had nothing to do with Sharif?s trip. Though the White House yesterday said Clinton had no intention of ?acting as a mediator?, the US? role in trying to bring peace in South Asia cannot be denied.

Washington has not only been in touch with Vajpayee and Sharif, it has also sent one of its seniormost military commanders, General Anthony Zinni, to Islamabad to urge the Pakistani army chief to settle the crisis amicably.

India is aware of the US? role and realises that once the crisis is over, this can become a major Opposition plank ahead of elections. Apprehending this, Vajpayee may have rejected Clinton?s invitation.

Officially, India has always been against third-party mediation. But it has not been averse to Washington pressuring Pakistan to withdraw the armed intruders and restore status quo ante along the Line of Control. India, however, cannot admit this freely as it will strengthen the view that there has been third-party mediation in Kargil.

Indian diplomatic circles think Pakistan may now propose a peace plan. This is mainly because of Washington?s decision to receive Sharif after the Pakistan army chief announced his visit to the US a week ago.

In the absence of a firm commitment from Washington, Pakistan foreign ministry spokesman Tariq Altaf had denied a few days ago that Sharif had plans of visiting the US.

Jassal denied a peace plan or withdrawal of Pakistani troops or a face-saver for Sharif were discussed between Clinton and Vajpayee last night. He said there was nothing to suggest Pakistan had begun withdrawing troops.

The spokesman said Pakistan had intruded into India by sending its army and Mujahideens across the border and thus violated the 1972 Simla Agreement. He added the international community had recognised this and that it was up to Pakistan to restore status quo ante along the LoC.    


 
 
TWIN WIN FOR LEANDER 
 
 
BY AMITAVA DAS GUPTA
 
Calcutta, July 4 
A triumph at Wimbledon ? in tennis, it doesn?t get bigger than this.

And if you can pull off two titles in a day at the famous lawns of the All England Club, you?ve got to be special.

Leander Paes is very special, as he showed once again on a memorable day for Indian sport. The Beckbagan boy joined forces with Mahesh Bhupathi for India?s maiden Wimbledon title, and followed it up with two more victories(semis and finals) ? in American partner Lisa Raymond?s company ? for the mixed doubles crown.

Paes and Bhupathi?s 6-7 (10-12), 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 win over Paul Haarhuis and Jared Palmer was very much on the cards. The top-seeded Indian pair, on a hot streak after clinching the French Open title last month, was the clear favourite against the eighth-seeded opponents. But all tennis followers had their fingers crossed ? not the least because there?s Indian blood running through Paes and Bhupathi?s veins.

Even Paes? father wasn?t sure. ?I was a little apprehensive whether luck would favour my son after our pet dog Cuddles died last night,? said Dr Vece Paes, who returned here last fortnight after cheering Paes and Bhupathi on to their maiden Grand Slam title in Paris last month.

Like on so many occasions in their illustrious career, the gutsy duo flaunted a ?killer instinct? so rare among Indian sportspersons. The great Ramanathan Krishnan advanced to the Wimbledon singles semi-finals twice, but no further. Neither Vijay Amritraj nor Ramesh Krishnan could break the quarter-final barrier. And though doubles is an easier ball-game than singles, Paes and Bhupathi have managed to do what none of their illustrious peers could.

In winning their 15th major tournament, Paes and Bhupathi became the fifth pair in the last 30 years to win the French and Wimbledon the same year.

No mean achievement that, considering one tournament is played on clay and the other on grass, within weeks of each other.    


 
 
CALCUTTA WEATHER 
 
 
 
 
Today?s forecast: A few spells of light to moderate rain with one or two showers or thundershowers.

Temperature: Maximum 31.4?C (2?C below normal)
Minimum 24 ?C (2?C below normal)

Relative humidity: Maximum 98% Minimum 74%

Rainfall: 0.2 mm

Sunset: 6.22 pm
Sunrise: 5 am
 

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