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 
Probe follows clean chit to intelligence
Akram, seven mates to be charged
No talks at Pak gunpoint
In defence of my honour
Power cuts in city
Calcutta weather

New Delhi, July 24 
The Vajpayee government today ordered an inquiry into the Kargil intrusion, taking some of the sting out of the Opposition?s poll-eve charges of intelligence failure.

By instituting a probe into the ?events leading up to Kargil?, the Centre has tried to silence its many critics who have been insisting that the government?s failure to detect Pakistani presence in Kargil right at the beginning was a reflection of its ineptitude.

The critics have blamed not only the intelligence agencies but also the government?s decision-making apparatus, which was to assess and draw conclusions from the data provided by field operatives.

Apart from an official government probe, the army, too, has been advised by defence minister George Fernandes to start its own departmental inquiry. The army has already taken suo motu action and transferred a brigadier from Kargil, charging him with dereliction of duty.

Fernandes, like Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee, refused to admit that there had been any intelligence failure, but he added that a probe would help to plug loopholes that allowed Pakistanis to take over key Kargil heights.

It is clear that the Prime Minister has killed two birds with one stone: he has parried the Opposition thrust and also signalled to the electorate that his administration is accountable.

The decision to order the inquiry was taken at an informal Cabinet meeting. Yesterday, Vajpayee spoke with home minister L.K. Advani on the issue and discussed the fallout of an investigation.

Both leaders agreed that the probe?s timeframe would be three months, which means the report will not be out before the general elections are over and a new government is in place.

During his briefing at 7 Race Course Road this evening, Union minister and Cabinet spokesman Pramod Mahajan said: ?It will be for the new government to take necessary action.?

But the constitution of the probe committee has raised eyebrows in Opposition and official circles. Sceptics already argue that this could well be an eyewash.

The three-member team is headed by K. Subramaniam, and includes Lt-General (retd) K.K. Hazari and veteran journalist B.G. Verghese. Subramaniam is a defence expert-cum-journalist who heads the National Security Advisory Board, one of the tiers of the National Security Council.

Joint intelligence committee chairman Satish Chandra is member secretary of the probe panel. He shall extend all secretarial assistance to the team.

With two journalists on the committee, the government can say that it is being transparent, but the Opposition is crying foul because there is no intelligence expert on the panel, which means agencies like the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and Intelligence Bureau (IB) could escape lightly.

Today?s announcement of an inquiry came within 24 hours of the Prime Minister insisting there was no intelligence failure in Kargil. The government had stuck to this line all along to protect the intelligence agencies and its own set-up.

But it has realised that this logic would not convince either the Opposition or the electorate.

The agencies tried to take advantage of the government?s stand by providing post facto evidence of having given ?prior information? of the Kargil intrusion. This left the Vajpayee government with little option. If it had not started an inquiry, the agencies would have harped that they had done their job but the government had failed to assess their inputs.

Mahajan stepped out on the lawns of the Prime Minister?s residence a little after 6 pm and announced: ?The Cabinet today decided to appoint a committee to review the events leading up to the Pakistani aggression in Kargil...and to recommend such measures as are considered necessary to safeguard national security.?

He said the Prime Minister, home minister, defence minister and foreign minister had asserted on different occasions that there was ?nothing to hide? and that ?national security is supreme?.

Fernandes asked the army to hold its own probe as he knew the government would order an independent inquiry whose report could go against the forces.

The army is aware that the negligence of some of its top officers might come under scrutiny and, therefore, safeguards are necessary.

Apart from investigating the role of its own intelligence set-up, the army probe could focus upon civilian agencies like RAW and IB.

155-mm guns

Fernandes said today that India was planning to make 155-mm guns. The only 155-mm gun the army now possesses is the Bofors howitzer.

India was also planning to build an air defence ship, a smaller version of an aircraft carrier, the minister added.    

Islamabad, July 24 
The Ehtesab (accountability) Bureau of Pakistan today ordered framing of charges against its cricket captain Wasim Akram and seven other players for match-fixing and betting.

Akram and his seven teammates were found guilty of the charges in an internal inquiry conducted by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), it was officially announced here today.

The other cricketers named by the PCB are Salim Malik, Ijaz Ahmed, Moin Khan, Inzamam-ul Haq, Mushtaq Ahmed, Waqar Younis and Saqlain Mushtaq.

The bureau, which was looking into the allegations against the Pakistani team for the manner of its defeat in the World Cup final, today ordered framing of charges against the cricketers under the conduct rules of the PCB and asked the one-man judicial commission ? looking into the same charges ? to expedite its report.

The bureau will start the official procedure of framing charges against these players, some of whom were part of the team that played the World Cup final against Australia, Ehtesab director-general Khalid Aziz said while making the internal inquiry report of the PCB public.

[Akram, who is busy with commentary assignments in the UK, wasn?t available for comment, but wife Huma expressed ?surprise?, adds our special correspondent in Calcutta.

Contacted by The Telegraph in Manchester, she said: ?I?m surprised. Only yesterday, somebody in authority had called Wasim and said he shouldn?t be upset by media reports. There was also talk of a meeting. Now, you?re telling me something different.?]

The order to frame charges coincided with a media report saying former skipper Aamer Sohail had alleged that Akram was involved in match-fixing and that he was a close friend of an Indian bookie.

In his deposition before the Ehtasab Bureau yesterday, Sohail said Akram was one of the ?main characters? in match-fixing in the Pakistan team along with Salim Malik and Ijaz Ahmed, The Nation newspaper reported.

Akram, Malik and Ahmed have been charged with throwing matches against New Zealand, South Africa and India in 1994. The bureau asked the players to explain why they should not be banned from cricket for life.

Aziz said the PCB probe panel had advised that these players should not be selected for the World Cup. ?But, despite these recommendations, they played in the World Cup,? he added.

The probe report levels two specific charges each against Akram and Malik and one combined charge against the two and Ijaz Ahmed.

Akram has been accused of losing a Sharjah match to India by ?providing Indians the opportunity to score runs speedily through intentional bad field placement?.

The charge also mentions that Akram got angry with Sohail because he had restrained the Indians and had taken two wickets with field readjustments when he had gone out of the field for some time. In the same match, Malik has been accused of ?conspiring with Akram and Ijaz Ahmed to make Pakistan lose?.

In the combined charge against the three players, it was alleged that they accompanied known bookies of Sharjah ? Chautani and Jojo ? and conspired to ensure that Pakistan lost the match to India.    

Singapore, July 24 
Encouraged by the US? support for India?s position on Kargil and on terrorism in Kashmir, foreign minister Jaswant Singh is likely to tell secretary of state Madeleine Albright tomorrow why Delhi cannot resume talks with Islamabad until the latter makes moves to restore trust.

?We welcome the approach the US has demonstrated, particularly on the aspect of cross-border terrorism, something which India has been talking about,? Singh said here this evening, while referring to Washington?s rap on Islamabad for encouraging terrorism within India.

?India is a power that acts responsibly and with restraint. This has worked immensely to our advantage,? he added.

Referring to Pakistan?s demand that India resume talks immediately, Singh said: ?How can I start a dialogue when you have put a pistol to my head??

Delhi got additional support today as the ministerial meeting of the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) came out with a joint communiqu?, re-affirming the ?inviolability? of the Line of Control (LoC). It welcomed the end of the Kargil war and urged India and Pakistan to go back to negotiations.

Besides Albright, Singh will also meet Chinese foreign minister Tang Jiaxuan tomorrow. The Kargil issue, specifically Beijing?s role in convincing Islamabad to pull out intruders, is likely to come up. Singh today expressed satisfaction at the support given to Delhi by all the major powers, including the European Union, during the recent conflict.

Albright?s recent statements have criticised Pakistani actions, but she also expressed hope that the neighbours can resume the Lahore process.

During the six-week Kargil conflict, Delhi had talked about the threat posed to the South Asian region by the spillover of the Afghan problem. The Mujahideen, who fought the war along with Pakistani soldiers, were Islamic fundamentalists and Delhi has tried to warn the world against the consequences of Talibanisation of the region.

The US appeared to have realised the threat ? especially as its own embassies were bombed by Islamic militants ? and has been issuing strong statements against the massacres in Jammu and Kashmir. But Singh still has to make Albright see why talks with Pakistan cannot take off unless some conditions are met.

The foreign minister expressed disappointment with his Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz?s statement that there was never any trust between the neighbours for the 52 years since Independence.    


?This PM has no respect for his word?

I am constrained to speak on matters on which I would have been silent for a lifetime. But newspaper reports, saying ?Kaushal sacked/removed?, have caused me deep pain and anguish as these are factually incorrect and untrue. Both these reports quote ?government sources? as the basis of their information. I have, therefore, no option but to set the record straight to defend my reputation and honour.

It was in April 1998 that the Prime Minister telephoned me to say that given my background in the Mizoram accord, the government required my help for the Nagaland peace talks. I told him that since this was a job for the country and the request had come from the Prime Minister himself, my answer could only be ?Yes?.

A request was then made in writing. This was followed by a government notification dated June 8, 1998, wherein I was accorded the position of a minister of state in the government of India with its salary and perks. The government officials were quite amazed when I wrote back that I would not accept any salary, car or even a telephone. All that I asked for was a modification in the government notification to this effect, which was then issued. I have copies of both the notifications.

The home ministry officials quoted the case of an officer, who, while being the home secretary, created a post-retirement job for himself without specifying any time limit. Even the Prime Minister?s Office (PMO) used to comment on the gentleman holding on to his bungalow, car and perks, although there was no work for him after my appointment as the government of India?s representative. I told them that these matters did not concern me because, in any case, I was not interested in such facilities. The PMO, however, wanted the gentleman to move out because there was no work for him and he was only busy planting stories about the imminent failure of the peace talks. I wish him all the best in the task now entrusted to him.

In June 1998, I was elected to the Rajya Sabha and continued my work for the peace talks. The efforts helped and in July/August 1998, the ceasefire was extended for a period of one year whereas all previous extensions used to be for just three months. We had a number of rounds in Bangkok, Zurich and Paris. We met twice in Amsterdam. I arranged the NSCN leaders? meeting with the Prime Minister in Paris on September 30, 1998. After that, I told the NSCN leaders that I will discuss only substantive issues because that alone will lead to an early solution to the Nagaland problem. I have seen in the past that people who got post-retirement appointments were only interested in prolonging the dialogue because they are interested only in their bungalow-car appointments. My mission was different. I was not working for such petty gains.

I did not want to repeat the historical blunder we made by not negotiating with Phizo, the tallest Naga leader. The traditional school of thought in a government is to wear out the underground leadership, or divide their ranks. I do not believe in this. My view is that instead of weakening, you should strengthen the leadership of the underground. It is only a strong underground leadership that can sell an accord to its cadre. If you weaken a leadership or try to divide the ranks, you can never make an accord successful because one of the groups will reject it and go underground. We have done that many times, the last being the Punjab accord. In contrast is the case of Mizoram, where Laldenga could bring all the 700 rebels overground. It is only because of this that we have a lasting peace in Mizoram. Today, we have Laldenga?s second-in-command as the chief minister and his army chief as the home minister.

In Nagaland, my brief was limited. I was to talk only to the NSCN (I-M) faction. I was all the time praying that all the Naga factions should unite because that alone will lead to a permanent solution to the Nagaland problem. But that was not in my hands. I could not wait for that indefinite time. The NSCN (I-M) leadership today is in their late sixties. I would not like to wear out that leadership. If that happens, that will be most unfortunate because their second-line leadership is in their mid-forties. If we miss this chance now, the next opportunity will come only ten years later and we will have violence in Nagaland for two more decades.

The NSCN leadership agreed to discuss the substantive issues, which we did during our last meeting in Amsterdam. The NSCN stand is hard. Their language is even harsher. Yet that should not demoralise us. The initial rounds on substantive issues can never be different. The underground leadership has to adopt a tough stance, otherwise they are disowned and discredited by their underground cadre. The present attitude of the NSCN is also a result of the mistakes we made in the past. We agreed to the word ?ceasefire? whereas this should have been ?cessation of hostilities?. There is one more, which I would not like to disclose in the national interest.

All this time, I kept our domestic politics at bay as this was a negotiation on behalf of the country. Unfortunately, the PM House thought differently. Since October 1998, it had started a sinister campaign against me and my family. They used to plant stories denigrating us. Every single story was traced back to the PM?s House. Such things never remain a secret. They thought, this would not reach us. What should I call this ? nothing but immaturity. Facts have their own speed. They take a little time but do manage to reach the concerned persons.

Frankly speaking, I am not the kind to take these things lying down and my socialist credentials would confirm this. I fought the Emergency as George Fernandes? lawyer in the Baroda dynamite case. I stood by Laldenga when he was detained by Morarji Desai in 1979, and worked for peace in Mizoram for seven long years. It is not in my nature to accept the kind of behaviour the PM House indulged in. I restrained myself for a good six months. It was unlike me, but I did so because I was working for a bigger cause. They thought I was weak or timid. And they continued their malicious campaign without a break. In March, I thought enough was enough and I must put an end to this.

I decided to shake off the shackle that restrained me the most. I decided to resign from my appointment as the Government of India?s representative. I resigned citing personal reasons and met Shri Brajesh Mishra, principal secretary to the Prime Minister, and handed over my resignation dated March 22, 1999. I told him that the responsibility I was discharging required credibility but the kind of campaign the PM House had launched against me was diluting my authority. They thought they were destroying me but in the process the cause was also being damaged. I think, I better withdraw so that the cause may not suffer.

The meeting with NSCN leaders was to take place only three days later. He requested me to at least go for that meeting. I told him that when it comes to the interest of the country, I will go ten times. I went to Amsterdam for the meeting and reported back to the Government. My resignation dated March 22, 1999, remained pending with the Prime Minister.

I pressed this resignation again on July 16, 1999, by writing a letter to the Prime Minister. There was an added reason for this because by now I had come to the conclusion that it was not advisable to represent this Prime Minister in a negotiation of this nature. He has no perception of the problems of the Northeast. This was a negotiation with an underground group. In a negotiation of this nature, what is most important is the credibility of your word. You should never go back on a word given. Unfortunately, this Prime Minister has no respect for his word. I do not want to elaborate this further in national interest. At the same time, I do not want to destroy my credibility which I have built over 20 long years of negotiations and peace talks. I, therefore, decided to disassociate myself and wrote to him on July 16, 1999, pressing for my resignation dated March 22, 1999, which was accepted on July 19, 1999.

If the PMO desires, I will elaborate these facts further, for which only they will be responsible.

I repeat, if my resignation was described as what it was, I would have never said a word about the negotiations or its dramatis personae. You caused me so much pain and agony. I suffered in silence for over ten months but never said a word. I gave twenty best years of my life for peace in the Northeast. I worked for these negotiations day and night without any hope of return or reward. But you describe my resignation as removal. Is this the reward that you are giving me for twenty years of my work? So I better speak only to defend my honour. You cannot disgrace my lifetime?s work in this manner.

I hope the Prime Minister?s admirers will now correct themselves and not describe my ?resignation? as ?sacking? or ?removal?.

A former Governor of Mizoram, Kaushal was the government interlocutor in Naga peace talks. He is a Rajya Sabha MP and husband of Sushma Swaraj.    

Calcutta, July 24 
The city suffered power cuts after CESC?s Budge Budge plant developed a snag this morning for the third time in as many months.

The 250-mw plant was generating 240 mw when the snag occurred, resulting in the entire amount getting sucked out of the system. CESC had to import 90 mw more, a spokesman of the power utility said today. This was in addition to the 275 mw that it was already buying at the time.

But a shortfall of 70 mw remained. CESC had to resort to 30-40 minutes of rotational loadshedding across the city from 11.53 am till the unit was restored at 2 pm.

A CESC spokesman said the company is inquiring into the recurring problems at the Budge Budge plant. The unit was out of operation for a couple of days at the end of May.    

Today?s forecast: One or two showers or thunder showers

Temperature: Maximum 33.7?C (2?C above normal)
Minimum 26.8?C (1?C above normal)

Relative humidity: Maximum 94%
Minimum 62%

Rainfall: 15.8 mm

Sunset: 6.20 pm
Sunrise: 5.06 am

Maintained by Web Development Company