Kargil blame on army, elite spies
Digvijay dives for Water dividends
Toilets flush out anti-thug clause
Calcutta Weather

New Delhi, Feb. 9 
The Subrahmanyam committee has held the army and the country�s external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing, responsible for the Kargil intrusion.

The 2,000-page report, submitted to Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee on January 7, has underlined the all-round �systemic failure� and �composite� lapse on the part of the army and security agencies.

Divided into 18 volumes, the report has pointed out that hundreds of Pakistani army regulars were able to sneak into Kargil and occupy strategic heights because of the army�s �failure� to remain vigilant, the discontinuation of regular winter patrolling along the Line of Control (LoC) and the inability of the field intelligence units of the directorate-general of military intelligence to detect Pakistani activities across the LoC.

The intrusion could have been prevented had RAW collected intelligence in Pakistan on an impending incursion, the report has said. It has expressed surprise on how even sorties by RAW�s Aviation Research Centre aircraft failed to notice anything unusual on the ground.

Though no senior official has been held responsible for late detection of the intrusion and the failure to gather advance information on the Pakistani army�s designs in Kargil, the report has said there is no competent authority or official in the government capable of assessing intelligence.

The report has asserted that the present set-up does not have the capacity to grasp the implications of intelligence input to either plan action for neutralising security threats or to get security agencies to develop the information to actionable level.

The committee has referred to bits and pieces of intelligence inputs which Intelligence Bureau director Shyamal Dutta had mentioned in a �UO� (unofficial) Note of September 1998, detailing some �raw� inputs about the possibility of a Pakistani intrusion in the Kargil sector. It is implies that the government had some sketchy intelligence reports which were not developed further.

The committee, which included defence analyst K. Subrahmanyam, journalist B.G. Verghese, Lieutenant General (retd) K.K. Hazari and Joint Intelligence Committee chairman Satish Chandra, did not find convincing the submissions made by several army officers. General-Officer-Commanding, 3rd Infantry Division, Major General V.S. Budhwar, and Kargil-based 121 (Independent) Infantry Brigade commander, Brig. Surinder Singh, were among the officers who appeared before the panel.

The committee was of the view that the army units which were supposed to carry out winter patrolling in the high-altitude areas did not perform their duty regularly, allowing the Pakistani army to take advantage of lax security along the LoC.

The report points out that air reconnaissance was discontinued by the Army Aviation Centre although it was tasked to perform this specific duty since 1997. Other military and non-military flights, not officially tasked to conduct air reconnaissance, had also stopped taking pictures or picking electronic intelligence.    

New Delhi, Feb. 9 
Deepa Mehta, looking for a safe embankment for Water, has found an eager and willing host in Digvijay Singh, keen on a spectacle big enough to swivel the arc lights from domestic troubles to his secular face .

The Madhya Pradesh chief minister has already called up Deepa, inviting her to shoot the film on the banks of the Narmada and promising her water-tight security.

Deepa confirmed today that Diggy Raja had made the offer, but added that she has yet to make up her mind as there have been �significant gestures� from several states, including West Bengal.

�A film is not like a laptop. It will take time before I can make a commitment. I have to discuss with my producer before taking a decision on changing the location,� Deepa said here.

However, Bhopal was rife with rumours that the Water crew will reach there tomorrow, prompting the local BJP to warn Digvijay not to �hurt the sentiments of the people of Varanasi�, from where the film has been forced out by Sangh parivar vigilantes.

Deepa today asserted that she would complete the film. The filmmaker said she would meet information and broadcasting minister Arun Jaitley tomorrow when he returns from London.

�All he has to do is delete the word �Varanasi� from the permission letter and make it �any other place in the country�,� Deepa said.

Digvijay had moved with alacrity as soon as it was clear that the Water crew would have to pull out of Varanasi. While his admirers in the party said he was eager to build his image as a secular leader, his adversaries alleged that he wanted to paper over his failures in the state administration.

Digvijay, often compared with Chandrababu Naidu, was itching to take on the Sangh parivar after BJP leader Uma Bharti resigned as tourism minister to gun for him. He has also denied permission to the Bajrang Dal to hold a convention in Bhopal on February 18.

The chief minister spoke to Sonia Gandhi over the phone before making the offer to Deepa. Digvijay felt that the time had come to take on the Sangh parivar over what he termed a �growing cult of intolerance�. Sonia complimented the chief minister for taking the initiative, a 10 Janpath insider said.

Diggy Raja�s critics, however, suspect a diversionary tactic. �He has failed to match Naidu in developmental work. The state is near-bankrupt and he is constantly at loggerheads with the Governor and Lokayukta,� an MP from Madhya Pradesh said. Congress leaders said though Digvijay was a religious person he was opposed to the Sangh parivar�s Hindutva.

�He has been keeping Ekadashi fast since he was four. He is in constant touch with Shankaracharyas, but he has a pathological hatred for intolerance,� an MP said.    

Bangalore, Feb. 9 
Prospective candidates filing nominations for the panchayat elections in Karnataka have discovered that a criminal record is no bar on fighting elections. But not having a toilet at home could lead to disqualification.

Karnataka election commission secretary B.G. Nandakumar told The Telegraph today that the state government, through an amendment to the Panchayat Raj Act in 1977, had made it mandatory for all gram panchayat members to have toilets. Otherwise, they would lose their membership.

Declarations by all political parties to keep criminals out of the fray were put on the backburner when the Janata Dal government made the amendment to the Act. The only new introduction was Section 12(J) which said: �If a member does not have a sanitary toilet for use of his family, he can be disqualified.�

Nandakumar said that in other aspects, the rules followed existing provisions of the Representation of People�s Act. The candidate merely had to satisfy the criteria regarding age and that of being a voter in the constituency from which he wished to contest.

�We are not empowered to take cognisance of a candidate facing criminal charges and even being chargesheeted, unless he is convicted by a court of law,� he said.

The elections are being held on February 23 and 27 after two years in 5,316 gram panchayats for 75,200 seats on a non-party basis. The Dal government had repeatedly postponed the polls on the plea that the size of the gram panchayats needed to be reworked.

Following loud protests that the new provision would deprive weaker sections from contesting, and after a clutch of writ petitions, Nandakumar said the high court passed an order saying the candidate would have to give an undertaking to construct a toilet within six months.

The rationale behind the amendment, said former panchayat raj minister M.P. Prakash, was to make panchayat members role models at the grassroots level to improve rural sanitation.

He claimed that after the six-month deadline was introduced, �90 per cent members of the dissolved panchayat complied with it�.

With around two lakh expected to file nominations, Karnataka should have more toilets if nothing else.    


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Cloudy sky, with possibility of light rain in some parts. Not much change in minimum temperature. Sunset: 5.24 pm Sunrise: 6.17 am    


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