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 
Delhi team rings Kashmir alarm
Holes in Bandipore hostage story
Trouble spots on LoC
Countdown to Kolkata
Kennedy who hated John John
Calcutta weather

New Delhi, July 19 
Manpower for counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir is falling far short of requirement, a Union home ministry team has reported after surveying the militancy scenario.

With two army corps being sent to the border after the Kargil conflict erupted, there is a shortage of over 7,000 personnel. Militant groups are aware of this and are exploiting the situation.

The assessment of the team, led by special secretary Tilak Raj Kakkar, is that paramilitary forces in charge of Operation Rakshak are at least 10 to 11 battalions (about 70 companies) short.

The situation has been aggravated by the second wave of infiltration that took place after the conflict snowballed in May.

Soon after Operation Vijay was launched, the army washed its hands of counter-insurgency operations. Since then, the two corps commanders have moved out of their additional jobs as security advisers to chief minister Farooq Abdullah.

They have been replaced by the head of the Rashtriya Rifles in the state, Lt Gen. Avtar Singh.

The Rashtriya Rifles is now in charge of Operation Rakshak. It takes orders from the army and is supported by the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

The report says militants have changed their strategy in the state. Aware that the focus of Operation Rakshak is in the valley around Srinagar, they have moved their base of operations to Jammu, especially Poonch, Rajouri, Udhampur, Doda and Kupwara. These areas are soft targets as the number of Rashtriya Rifles and BSF personnel stationed here is inadequate to meet their challenge.

The home ministry is also worried that the Farooq Abdullah government is not paying enough attention to modernisation of police forces.

Much money has been sanctioned to buy weapons and upgrade the forces by way of packages offered by the Centre last year and early this year. But the cash-starved state government has not used the funds for the purposes for which they were released.

There is no doubt that there is a security vacuum, especially in Jammu, at the moment. But home ministry officials are confident that the situation is not as bad in Kashmir Valley.

Over 200 militants have been killed in encounters over the past six months. Though the situation has worsened in the valley, the home ministry believes it is not as alarming as in Jammu.

With the army?s departure from the insurgency grid, there is difficulty in sharing intelligence.

The army had slowly developed its own intelligence network. Now with the army busy guarding the border, the network is not always accessible to the Rashtriya Rifles and its sister outfits.

Besides, the BSF and CRPF do not fully accept the Rashtriya Rifles? leadership.

Successive Central governments have never cleared the status of the Rashtriya Rifles. Though it functions under the defence ministry and the army, its pay packets come from the home ministry.

Again, the Rashtriya Rifles considers itself a military outfit, but the BSF, CRPF and even the army treat it like a paramilitary unit. In the army?s absence, there is also a lack of coordination.

With the army no longer in command of all forces in the state, the home ministry feels there should be a ?review? of the action plan on Kashmir.

To give proper leadership to paramilitary and state police forces, the ministry has been advised to bring in young IPS officers from other cadre. These officers are expected to serve well as they are likely to have no ?prejudices? and ?vested interests?.

To overcome the shortage of personnel in Jammu and Kashmir, the home ministry has permitted the deployment of four battalions of the Special Security Bureau (SSB), a wing of the directorate-general of security, under the Cabinet Secretariat.

Mix-up probe

The army has ordered a probe into the ?mix-up? in which a captain and two soldiers were shot dead by a BSF patrol in Jammu yesterday, reports our correspondent.

The inquiry will be headed by a brigadier. The BSF has said that its patrol had opened fire on the soldiers mistaking them for intruders.

A UNI report quoted defence sources in Jammu as saying the soldiers where killed when a BSF jawan was caught sleeping.    

New Delhi, July 19 
The home ministry smells a rat in the Bandipore hostage crisis and believes there are several unanswered questions in the Border Security Force (BSF) narrative.

According to the BSF, around 2 am on July 13, ??two to three?? terrorists sneaked into its Bandipore campus near Srinagar and took hostage 12 people after killing four persons, including a deputy inspector-general and the wife of a constable. Those taken captive included five children and four women. Two militants tried to escape later in the morning, but one was killed and another wounded in his foot.

The next day, the hostages were freed unharmed after National Security Guard commandos stormed the building.

Though the BSF has ordered a probe into the incident, the official account has a number of loose ends which have raised doubts that something is amiss. The home ministry has begun pointing out the several loopholes in the ??story?? and has brought them to the notice of L.K. Advani.

What has baffled ministry officials is the number of militants who actually entered the building. While BSF spokesman Mohammad Ziaullah said there were two to three militants, other sources in the force put the number between four and five. Ziaullah believes the terrorists belonged to the Al-Badr, though the Lashkar-e-Toiba claimed responsibility.

After the rescue mission, the body of only one terrorist was found, though the BSF initially said two had died. Asked about the discrepancy, a BSF officer said today an injured militant is in hospital. He said if there had been other militants, they could have slipped out during the stand-off with the commandos. However, he did not have any explanation on how anyone could escape from the campus which was cordoned off by BSF jawans.

Home ministry officials have raised eyebrows about the version that the militants moved unchallenged in the camp until the sound of an opening window woke up the constable?s wife. It is intriguing that a woman jolted out of sleep, and not anyone else in the ?secured? campus near the border, was the first to come across the intruders.

Officials are wondering why the commandos fired a rocket into the building even after the hostages were rescued. Though some say it was to ensure no terrorist escaped, others feel the projectile was fired as proof of a showdown.

The officials are also asking why the commandos did not face any challenge from the terrorists. Moreover, the officials pointed out, there was no need for the militants to take hostages and remain holed-up if they knew of an escape route which the BSF personnel were unaware of.


New Delhi, July 19 
Reports that the Pakistani army has yet to completely vacate Mushkoh Valley have fuelled fears of a dispute on the demarcation of the Line of Control.

Sources here said two points in Mushkoh were virtually on the LoC and it would be difficult to convince the intruders that they are on the Indian side. Agency reports said tonight Indian troops exchanged small-arms fire with the intruders in Mushkoh.

Heavy rain in Kargil today prevented a physical verification of the terrain. Besides, landmines have considerably slowed the progress of the Indians.

?We are still verifying whether every single Pakistani intruder is out of Indian territory, ? army chief General V.P. Malik, who toured Kargil today, said. Defence minister George Fernandes had quoted Malik as saying on Saturday that the last of the intruders had pulled out.

The Mushkoh situation is likely to be discussed tomorrow by the directors-general of military operations in the two countries. The talks are held every Tuesday.

But Delhi fears that Islamabad might interpret the LoC differently and hold on to the positions in Mushkoh. This sector has always been considered a key area to push in infiltrators.

A PTI report from Kargil said a ridgeline in Batalik has also not yet been cleared, but army sources in Delhi did not confirm this.

India has said it is difficult to declare a ceasefire as Pakistan maintains it was not involved in the intrusion. Delhi feels since the war was not declared, it cannot be ended formally either.

A ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan was signed at the end of the 1971 war on December 17. This led to the LoC and the Simla Agreement in July 1972. But in the case of Kargil, there is both a technical as well as political problem in declaring a ceasefire.

?Whom do we declare a ceasefire against?? an Indian foreign ministry official said. He said Pakistan had all along claimed its army regulars were not involved in Kargil. ?Do we enter into a ceasefire agreement with the Mujahideen?? he asked.    

Calcutta, July 19 
The die is expected to be cast tomorrow for the government to take Calcutta to the next millennium with its frazzled visage but a new name.

A non-official resolution favouring the rechristening of Calcutta as Kolkata and West Bengal as Paschim Banga will be moved in the Assembly tomorrow, the last day of the current session.

Papering over ideological differences and ignoring the sharp differences of opinion among the people, the legislators are expected to give the government the carte blanche for changing the names.

An opinion poll conducted by Mode for The Telegraph had found that 52 per cent of the people ? and an overwhelming percentage of youth ? surveyed in the city were against changing Calcutta?s name.

The non-official resolution, if adopted unanimously, will enable the government to initiate the process of rechristening and programme it to coincide with the the city?s 309th birthday on August 28.

Opposition parties like the Congress are set to cast their vote in favour of the government?s proposal. ?We are not viewing it politically at all. We have informed the government four months ago that we have no objection. If Madras can be renamed Chennai and Bombay Mumbai, why not Calcutta Kolkata?? asked Atish Chandra Sinha, chief of the Congress Legislature Party.

However, while supporting the Left Front government on this issue, Sinha runs the risk of exposing a chink in the Congress? armour for rival Mamata Banerjee. It will give the Trinamul Congress leader another opportunity to renew her charge against the Congress that it is the ?B? team of the CPM.

The Trinamul will not oppose the resolution for changing the names, but it is playing down the issue and claiming that its lone legislator could not make much of a difference in the House.

?It is home (police) minister Buddhadev Bhattacharya who thinks he is doing something great by renaming the city. But we are not attaching much importance to it. By merely changing the name, the city?s problems will not be solved,? said Trinamul MLA Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay.    

Bhubaneswar, July 19 
Born to fame and glamour, he could handle them. Always in the media glare, he could come to terms with it. Bearer of a legacy but very much his own man, there was but one thing that John F. Kennedy Jr could never deal with: his nickname John John.

?Whenever someone called him John John, he would ask him to call him John. He simply did not like the nickname,? says his friend Naveen Patnaik, remembering JFK Jr, who is presumed dead along with his wife and her sister in a plane crash off Martha?s Vineyard. The nickname was said to be created by a reporter who misheard a conversation.

Union steel and mines minister Patnaik, who today wrote to JFK Jr?s sister and her husband, says: ?It is really sad that he should go this way.? Patnaik knew JFK Jr?s mother Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis for a long time. He remembers first meeting JFK Jr at a south Indian restaurant in Delhi in 1983.

?I had gone there to meet Jackie, but there he was, sitting with her in a darkened corner inside the vegetarian restaurant.?

At the time, JFK Jr was only 22 and researching into agriculture. ?Relaxed? and ?without airs? was how the young man came across.

Patnaik got to know JFK Jr better that winter when he accompanied mother and son on a three-week trip to Lucknow, Jaipur, Jodhpur and Hyderabad. Patnaik had been commissioned by Jackie ? then a senior editor with US-based Doubleday publishers ? to do a book on Indian culture and history. ?He was always polite, but fiercely independent,? is how Patnaik remembers the person who was once described by People magazine as ?the sexiest man alive?.

Jacqueline and JFK Jr were captivated by Rajasthan. In Lucknow, JFK Jr often rented a bicycle and rode around the city.

?He especially liked to go to the market to get a feel of the place,? Patnaik says.

JFK Jr loved sports ? sea kayaking, rafting, softball and touch football ? and probably had the natural sportsman?s instinctive grasp of a new game. One day in Jaipur, he spotted a few children flying kites. ?Soon, his kite was soaring high up in the sky. It was amazing how quickly he had got the hang of it,? Patnaik remembers.

JFK Jr was hugely popular in the US, something Patnaik found out in New York when his book A Second Paradise was released in 1985. ?It was raining when we stepped out of New York Public Library. A crowd was waiting outside, braving the rain. They went crazy when they saw him and started chanting his famous nickname. We practically ran away.?

In 1993, Patnaik remembers, JFK Jr turned up late for a party thrown by Jacqueline in her Fifth Avenue apartment in New York. A leaking pen had smudged his trousers and forced him to change. ?I had to return to change. How can I come to my mother?s party like that?? he asked.

Patnaik says Jackie and JFK Jr both loved India. ?When Jackie died of cancer in 1994, her coffin was brought to her apartment draped in a sari as she had wished,? he said.

JFK Jr handled with dignity and efficiency the global media attention. Sombre and poised just hours after being by her bedside as she died, he spoke to reporters outside.

Patnaik recounts he met JFK Jr only a few times in New York after Jackie?s death. But he remembers how surprised JFK Jr was when he heard that Patnaik was joining politics. ?Naveen joining politics, I can?t believe this,? JFK Jr had told Patnaik?s sister, the New York-based writer Geeta Mehta.    

Today?s forecast: A few spells of light rain with possibility of one or two spells of showers or thundershowers

Temperature: Maximum 31.8?C (1?C below normal)
Minimum 27?C (1? above normal)

Relative humidity: Maximum 95%
Minimum 81%

Rainfall: 14.5 mm

Sunset: 6.21 pm
Sunrise: 5.05am

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