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  
6 Prafulla Sarkar Street 
Calcutta 700001 
Commando strike frees hostages
Booby-trap spectre slows march
Crossfire over LoC, deadline
Sonia dumps Panchmarhi, embraces Jaya
Threat-call case rings hollow
Calcutta Weather

July 14 
Wearing out militants in a stand-off peppered with gunfire, Black Cat commandos this morning rescued unharmed all the 12 hostages held inside a Border Security Force campus in Kashmir and killed at least one of the captors in a rocket attack.

There were conflicting reports about the number of militants killed in the operation at the BSF?s Bandipore residential lines. In Delhi, BSF deputy inspector-general Mohammed Ziaullah said the body of only one militant was found from the rubble inside a flat struck by the commandos? rocket. Reports from Srinagar indicated at least three extremists had been killed.

A BSF spokesman said radio intercepts confirmed the militants belonged to the Al-Badr.

The rescue operation, executed by the elite National Security Guards, rolled around 5.30 am and wound up by 8.20 am, ending the 30-hour hostage crisis which began with the militants killing a BSF deputy inspector-general, two other officers and a constable?s wife yesterday.

Those freed today include five children and four women from three BSF families.

Union home secretary Kamal Pande wrote to his counterparts in all states, asking them to instruct police forces to be more vigilant. He drew attention to the Bandipore incident and pointed out that such desperate attacks on police and paramilitary personnel may increase following Pakistan?s military rout in Kargil.

The Black Cat commandos were flown in yesterday as soon as Delhi was informed about the raid on the BSF campus. By evening, they had positioned themselves outside the building block of four residential flats. They had not moved in, playing on the nerves of the extremists.

Yesterday morning, two of the militants had tried to sneak out. One of them was shot dead by BSF jawans. The other crawled back.

Today, the commandos struck before dawn and started heavy firing. The shooting, interrupted by periods of quiet, went on for over an hour.

A breakthrough came early this morning. The outnumbered militants, though heavily armed, left the room where they were holding the hostages.

The commandos soon brought out the hostages. The troops waited outside for sometime to ascertain in which flat the militants were holed up.

Around 8 am, the commandos hit the flat on the first floor with a shoulder-fired 300-mm rocket, Ziaullah said. An AP report from Bandipore said journalists saw only a tiny portion of the roof of the building damaged.

When the fire died down, the commandos sifted through the rubble and recovered one body. The corpse was that of the man who had ventured out yesterday but escaped BSF fire.

Ziaullah said the mop-up was continuing and it was difficult to say if there were other bodies of militants in the rubble.

This evening, the bodies of DIG S.K. Chakravorty, deputy commandant Mohinder Raj, sub-inspector S. Bhaskaran and constable Munirajappa?s wife were brought to Delhi and put on flights to their respective hometowns.

Chakravorty?s wife Mukta and 10-year-old son Santosh were in a state of shock. Santosh said: ?Papa wanted me to work for the country and join the army. But now I will join the BSF.? His 21-year-old sister Shilpi, too, said she has decided to join the BSF though her father wanted her to be a singer.

Recalling yesterday?s incident, Mukta said Chakravorty heard the firing and came out to direct guards to cordon off the area. As he was trying to ascertain the location of the firing, a bullet hit him.

?He fell unconscious not to get up again. We saw everything, but could not could not come out as the security guards bolted us from outside to save us. When we came out everything was over,? she said.

Mukta added the militants were shouting ?kill everybody, finish them all?.

Chakravorty often spoke of being ready to face that one bullet ?with my name inscribed on it by God?. Chakravorty, from the North Badharghat area of Agartala, was fascinated by Kashmir. ?It is the most beautiful place on earth, spoilt by mindless militant violence,? he told friends on his last furlough.

Chakravorty was born in Myanmar in 1944. His family migrated to Tripura four years later.    

New Delhi, July 14 
As the deadline for Pakistani pullout draws near, Indian forces have not reached the Line of Control in any sector, sparking fears that it may take a few more days to regain the entire occupied territory.

Intruders remain at two positions each in Mushkoh and Drass, a few in Kaksar and one in Batalik.

There are two reasons for the slow withdrawal. First, the Pakistanis are ensuring that they take back all the heavy equipment and sophisticated igloo tents. Second, the Indian army is moving in slowly to avoid the small but lethal 150-gm landmines.

During the conflict, the Indians suffered at least four casualties from landmines and they are not taking any chances as they move up the slopes. The army feels the Pakistanis have mined a few of the peaks as they beat a slow retreat.

?They can just turn up a stone and place a small explosive underneath,? army spokesman Colonel Bikram Singh said.

?We are close to the LoC in all four sectors,? Col Singh said, but he would not specify a timeframe for Indians reaching the LoC and occupying the vacated positions.

Asked why the Pakistanis are taking so much time, Col Singh said they were carrying back arms and equipment. The Indians are maintaining a discreet distance and are moving in only when certain there is no chance of a confrontation.

In Batalik, where the Indians claimed to have scored ?spectacular victories?, the army is closest to the LoC and is in sight of the Pakistani troops armed to the teeth across the line. This, the army officers explained, may be the scenario for quite some time even after withdrawal.

In Mushkoh valley, the Pakistanis are still holding on to a ridgeline with defiance. On this ridgeline are Points 5660 and 5663 ? two of the highest peaks in the Kargil sector.

In Drass, too, the Pakistanis are holding on to two positions. ?They are delaying withdrawal at these places because they consider them vital. They need some positions from where they can keep a watch on us so there is no breach of trust by us,? an officer said.

The air force, anticipating a pivotal role in Kargil?s surveillance, has taken this opportunity to blood new pilots. Some air force personnel are also being asked to move with the ground troops and have a closer look at the territory.

In Kaksar, the Indians today recovered six bodies, including that of missing lieutenant, Amit Bharadwaj.

The lieutenant was among the first patrol parties that had set out for a survey after reports of widespread intrusion reached Kargil town. With today?s recovery, most missing soldiers have been accounted for. Only six soldiers, including an officer, Lieutenant K. Bhattacharya, are still untraced.

The Ladakh Scouts, which helped clear chunks of the Batalik sector and the Turtuk area, became the first unit to be awarded the Chief of Army Staff?s Banner.    

Refusing to entertain Pakistan?s doublespeak on the pullout deadline, India today reiterated that any intruder spotted on its territory beyond Friday would be forcibly evicted. But Islamabad made light of the issue and dismissed the LoC as a temporary line drawn up in accordance with the Simla Agreement.

?Any attempt to infuse a new meaning, colour or definition to the LoC is absolutely out of place.... The LoC is nothing more than a line of impermanent nature,? Pakistan foreign ministry spokesman Tariq Altaf said in Islamabad.

India, however, firmly stuck to its stand. ?We expect Pakistan to keep its commitment on the timeframe by which the withdrawal must take place. Beyond that deadline, enemy personnel seen on our side of the LoC will be treated as hostile and dealt with accordingly,? foreign ministry spokesman R.S. Jassal said.

Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee echoed Jassal?s stern line. He said India would not ?indefinitely? wait for intruders to withdraw and would throw them out if they refused to vacate Indian territory.

But he added the Lahore declaration was still relevant, and it was for Pakistan to make a fresh start as it had marred the peace process by violating the LoC.

?It was a firm commitment between India and Pakistan to resolve all issues bilaterally and what happened in Kargil was totally against this commitment,? he told reporters after a BJP rally in Kullu. ?Let us see if Pakistan is ready to make a fresh beginning.?

Accusing Pakistan of breaching trust, Vajpayee said: ?Pakistan stabbed us in the back and considered the present uncertain political situation an opportune time to push in intruders. But a tide of nationalism swept India which united us like a rock.?

Rubbishing Pakistan?s claim that no deadline had been set, defence minister George Fernandes said the Friday date for pullout was ?more than a commitment?. ?Guns will take care if there is any shift in Pakistan?s commitment,? he said.

Jassal, too, saw red when told Altaf had rejected the pullout deadline as ?false Indian propaganda?. ?He should ask the Pakistan director-general of military operations if he had made any such commitment. I cannot be held responsible for the lack of communication between them,? the spokesman said.

New Delhi has made it clear that a return to talks is not possible unless Pakistan withdraws all intruders by Friday, reaffirms its respect for the LoC and gives an undertaking not to encourage cross-border terrorism.

Altaf charged Delhi with needlessly stalling talks. ?India?s rigidity and inflexibility have always made talks non-serious and non-productive. We will see how soon the Indians make up their mind (for the talks),? he warned.

Jassal countered that India had neither ?ruled out resumption of the dialogue process? nor ?made unreasonable demands?.

Clinton visit

US President Bill Clinton?s likely visit to India is ?more or less delinked? from New Delhi?s signature on the CTBT, Indian envoy to the US Naresh Chandra has said.    

New Delhi, July 14 
Disregarding the Panchmarhi declaration, the Congress agreed to be a junior partner in the poll alliance sealed with Jayalalitha today.

In the revived alliance, only 12 of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry have been set aside for the Congress. The ADMK will contest in 23 seats, the Left in four and the Indian National League in one.

The Congress-ADMK tie-up has put the Tamil Maanila Congress in a spot. It will meet tomorrow to chalk out its strategy.

The alliance was clinched after talks between Jayalalitha and Congress emissaries Manmohan Singh and A.K. Antony.

Despite the low tally, Singh did strike a better deal than Sharad Pawar who was in charge of the talks before he quit the Congress. Jayalalitha was then willing to concede only 10 seats. She also raised several demands, including dismissal of the DMK government. Today?s pact was free of such terms, sources claimed.

Congress leaders, however, said the alliance made a mockery of the Rajiv Gandhi-MGR deal in 1984 by which the party got two-thirds of the seats. But a CWC member said Jayalalitha has been ?rather generous? considering the Congress secured only 4.78 per cent votes last time.

Sonia Gandhi will campaign with Jayalalitha in Tamil Nadu.

Though the alliance was surprisingly silent on Subramanian Swamy, sources felt he would get Madurai from the ADMK quota.    

Calcutta, July 14 
Manabesh Ghosal was accused of making ?threat calls? to a very senior police officer, hauled out of home at midnight as his shell-shocked family watched helplessly. And, then, for this grave crime he was charged under a section that relates to ?theft by a domestic hand?. Simply put, the case against the Central government employee was stealing in the capacity of domestic help.

Two inquiries have established that the police had needlessly harassed Ghosal. Deputy commissioner of police (south) R.K. Pachnanda and the officer in charge of the New Alipore police station had claimed that the midnight raid on Ghosal?s home had been carried out and he was picked up in connection with ?threat calls? to Pachnanda. But inquiries by the city police commissioner and the state human rights commission?s investigative wing reveal Ghosal was charged under Section 381 to link him to a case registered by the New Alipore police station a few weeks before he was picked up.

?It is gross misconduct by the policemen,? said a rights panel official. ?A police officer has no authority to summon a Central government officer to the police station in connection with a case that deals with thefts by servants.?

Swooping on Ghosal?s Baruipur home at midnight on May 4, the police brought him to the New Alipore station. A caller line identification device attached to Pachnanda?s phone traced the calls to Ghosal?s residence. The inquiries have revealed that though the calls were indeed made from Ghosal?s number, outsiders had tapped the junction box of his phone to make the calls.

That night, plainclothesmen stormed Ghosal?s home when his family refused to open the door to strangers. With bamboo poles, they clambered up to the first-floor rooms and forced their way in.

They picked up Ghosal ? still in the clothes he was sleeping in ? and whisked him away to New Alipore. Ghosal complained of intense grilling and mental torture for 10 hours. His neighbours went to the Baruipur police station. Pressure was exerted on the New Alipore station and Ghosal was released on May 5.

?The case goes to highlight how rogue policemen can ruin the honour and prestige of a citizen on the slightest of pretexts,? a human rights commission official added.

The findings of the probe by the police have been communicated to the commission. ?We have just stated the factual position in our report. It is now up to the commission to decide if the actions were justified and what the punishment may be,? a police officer said.    

Today?s forecast: A few spells of light rain
Temperature: Maximum 29.3?C (3?C below normal)
Minimum 25.6?C (Normal)
Relative humidity: Maximum 98% Minimum 86%
Rainfall: 5.6 mm
Sunset: 6.22 pm
Sunrise: 5.03 am    

Maintained by Web Development Company