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 
Undeclared war officially over
Atal-Advani session on battles within borders
Screen salute to unsung heroes
Calcutta weather

New Delhi, July 17 
The Kargil war is over. Defence minister George Fernandes tonight announced the conflict had come to an end ?as the last of the Pakistani intruders had vacated our territory?.

A formal ceasefire is likely to be declared tomorrow after India completes ?physical verification? of areas vacated by the infiltrators. Fernandes said the army chief had called him up to say that soldiers had ?successfully evicted the last of the intruders?. ?Now everything is all right. But we have to be careful,?? the defence minister said.

India is not taking any chances and will continue reconnaissance sorties in Kargil. ?There cannot be a graver mistake if it is believed Pakistan will not commit mischief again,? Fernandes said.

Pakistan sped up pullback proceedings after Delhi announced it was ?in no mood? to further extend the deadline. In Islamabad, a Pakistani official said withdrawal formalities were being completed according to the July 11 ?disengagement? pact.

?Any Pakistani intruder found on the Indian side of the Line of Control will be shot and killed as the deadline for withdrawal of infiltrators ended this morning,? Indian army spokesman Col Bikram Singh said.

The Friday deadline was extended by a day on request from Pakistan.

Col Singh said pullback had ended in the Batalik, Drass and Kaksar sub-sectors. No enemy activity was noticed in the Mushkoh valley where about 40 infiltrators, carrying loads, were seen heading north towards Pakistan-held Kashmir last evening.

?While our soldiers are fully geared to neutralise any enemy remnants, no enemy activity has been reported by our ground troops in any of the sectors since this morning,? Col Singh said.

He added that Indian troops had reached the LoC in Batalik, Kaksar and Drass and were moving towards the Mushkoh valley.

As cross-border hostility drew to a close, India handed over the bodies of two military officials to Pakistan through the International Committee of the Red Cross. Though Pakistan initially refused to acknowledge the bodies, last night it confirmed they were of military officials, and requested that they be flown to Islamabad.

In tandem with the end of war, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif renewed his offer for ?meaningful? talks with India to resolve the Kashmir dispute. He said the Kargil conflict had drawn international attention to the ?flashpoint? in Kashmir.

But Indian foreign minister Jaswant Singh refused to set a time-frame for resuming dialogue. ?What Pakistan has done in Kargil is a betrayal of trust. Till the trust is restored, there cannot be any talks,?? Singh said.

While addressing troops in the war zone yesterday, Sharif had warned that unless the Kashmir problem was sorted out, ?many new Kargil-like situations? would arise. Reports from Pakistan said he accused India of ?hoodwinking? the world by not granting the ?right of self-determination? to the people of Kashmir.

Sharif, who has been under much pressure to withdraw infiltrators from Kargil, said it was imperative to resume talks to resolve the Kashmir dispute.

He said Pakistan had always welcomed any move to sort out the problem, which could be done either through a United Nations resolution or the Simla Agreement or the Lahore Declaration.

However, India has made it clear that once all the intruders have gone back, it expects a statement from Pakistan expressing faith in the sanctity of the LoC. It also wants an undertaking that Islamabad will not encourage cross- border terrorism and will shut down training camps for Kashmiri militants.

On Pakistani army chief Gen. Pervez Musharraf?s statement that his troops had crossed the LoC, foreign ministry spokesman R.S. Jassal said it only established what India had been saying all along: that Pakistani army regulars were involved in Kargil.

He said the fact that Pakistan had accepted the bodies of the two officials also proved its army?s involvement.    

New Delhi, July 17 
Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee and home minister L.K. Advani met this evening to discuss the new situation arising out of the infiltration by Pakistan-sponsored militants in Jammu and Kashmir and also to thrash out differences over the political stand-off in Karnataka, where chief minister J.H. Patel has begun looking for new allies.

Advani assured Vajpayee that Operation Rakshak, part of the home minister?s pro-active policy, was in good hands and he did not foresee a change in the counter- insurgency set-up.

Both the Prime Minister?s Office and the home ministry have been apprised of the developments in Jammu and Kashmir, especially in the border areas. Reports received by the home ministry and the PMO indicate that there had been large-scale infiltration in Doda, Rajouri, Poonch and the upper reaches of Udhampur along areas of the Pir Panjal range since the Kargil war began.

It is learnt that the government will soon inform chief minister Farooq Abdullah of the measures being taken.

Operation Rakshak underwent a sea change when the government decided that the army had to concentrate on the LoC and the international border in view of the Kargil situation and had to be relieved of counter-insurgency duties in the state. Since then, the Rashtriya Rifles ? an outfit under the command of the army ? and BSF and CRPF battalions have been in charge of the operation.

The army top brass have already informed the government that it does not want to be involved in the operation in any part of the insurgency-hit state at this stage.

As a result, Rashtriya Rifles and its sister paramilitary forces will be involved for some time. But without the army, some of the benefits of military intelligence are missing.

The military intelligence is now concentrating on Kargil and the LoC and this has cut off sources of information. Intelligence operatives have access to intercepts across the border and they can send out warnings about the nature of operations being planned in Kashmir.

The home ministry has sent a team headed by the special secretary dealing with J&K affairs to Kashmir in the aftermath of the Bandipore hostage crisis.

Bandipore has shown the government how far the infiltrators can dare to take on Indian forces. Although the brief of the home team is to probe the Bandipore developments, it is expected to prepare an overall statement on the latest Kashmir infiltration scenario and give the report by Monday or Tuesday.

Vajpayee is worried because he does not want more deaths in the state before the elections. Last evening, he and Advani discussed the political scenario, particularly the differences in the BJP over the situation in Karnataka.    

Lucknow, July 17 
This will be a film about war?s human face, about battle?s human heart.

Amid the juddering Bofors howitzers, the screaming shells and the whistling bullets in Kargil, the fleeing, war-haunted, dispossessed people of the little town have been all but forgotten. Muzaffar Ali, the director who made Umrao Jaan, is ready to etch their torment on celluloid.

The man who gave us the hugely successful period drama cadenced with love and music in the Eighties, and who tried and failed to give Prime Minister a run for his money from Lucknow during last year?s Lok Sabha polls, is ready to roll with a film about the ?horrors of the Kargil war?. At the centre of his film are the real sufferers of the war, its real heroes: the people of Kargil.

Tabu, who lit with the lambency of her pathos and the grimness of her resolve her award-winning role in Maachis, will play the female lead. The flood of television footage and reams of newsprint on Kargil gave Ali the idea for the film. What he saw and read also made up his mind about what he ought to include and leave out in his film.

?Enough has not been shown or written about the people of Kargil. We salute our soldiers for their bravery. But no less brave are the residents of Kargil, Drass and Batalik who had to flee their homes and lost everything in the war. Their lives will take much longer to rebuild,? Ali said.

The director has written to the Prime Minister, the ministries of defence and external affairs and the chiefs of staff for their help. He has also asked for clearance to shoot in the war zone before winter sets in.

The male lead role has not been decided. Parveen Talha, a Lucknow-based scriptwriter who worked with Ali in the telefim Husn-e-Jana, is scripting this feature. She said: ?My personal choice is Aamir Khan. Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar are also good choices. Ali has talked to Salman and his response is awaited.? For the music, efforts are on to sign up A.R. Rehman and Khayyam.

Talha said Tabu ?is very excited? about her role, in which she plays a girl called Gul (flower). The war hounds Gul and her family out of their Kargil home. The film ? likely to be named Gul ? will portray how the dislocated family copes with the spectre of war.

The effort to bring out on film the ordeal of tortured souls sucked into the vortex of war is not new. American directors ? Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorcese, Oliver Stone and Steven Spielberg ? have done it. And much earlier, English war poet Wilfred Owen wrote: ?My subject is war and the pity of war. The poetry lies in the pity.? It is that pity that Ali is trying to paint.

?The film is about people who have lived through the war. We are developing a human story in which we will not ignore the scrifices of the army, but also not ignore the human aspect,? Talha said. Ali said the film ? expected to be ready by the end of the year ? has neither a pro-India nor a pro-Pakistan stand. It will depict the Indian army?s role in evacuating, protecting and resettling people of the war-hit sectors.

Some government funding may be expected. For the moment, though, Ali is banking on ?contributions? from ?friends and acquantainces?. If the government and army allow it, the film will initially be shot in the moutains of Kashmir. That is likely to be followed by shots in the hills of Uttar Pradesh.    

Today?s forecast: Generally cloudy sky. Possibility of one or two spells of showers or thundershowers

Temperature: Maximum 32.6?C (1?C above normal)

Minimum 27.7?C (2?C above normal)

Relative humidity: Maximum 95%

Minimum 68%

Rainfall: Trace

Sunset: 6.21 pm

Sunrise: 5.04 am

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