Sunday, 19 February 2017

The Enemy Within Wants The Sword-Arm Of The Indian Republic Mothballed

For a number of years, this writer has studied the intricate issue of why certain countries, civilisations and regimes implode and / or self-destruct over a period of time.  After many analyses and assessments, carried out over hundreds of years, all these civilisations were diagnosed as having suffered from severe and debilitating weaknesses in their basic structure.

This was the essay I wrote in 2014, a few months before the tsunami that swept away the Congress juggernaut:

Basically, I studied the parallels between pre-revolutionary France in the 18th century, Tsarist Russia at the beginning of the 20th century, and the creaking structure on Raisina Hill that reeked of decay and disease. Even when the rotten and well past its sell-date Congress-UPA regime was practically obliterated by the Indian electorate, the oligarchy of the Gandhi-Nehru-Gandhi cabal made sure that the new government would have its work cut out.

The new kids on the block were absolute bacchas when compared to the old bandicoots. The outgoing lot did not carry out a scorched –earth policy but something that was much more sinister, diabolical and effective. The Congresswallahs left behind carefully planted land mines, 5th columnists (in the true sense of the term) and moles in every branch of the national administration. The financial resources at the command of the embedded agent provocateurs are humongous – the bhakts and the saffronwallahs (as the nationalist forces have been contemptuously labelled by storm-troopers of the earlier junta) had absolutely no idea about what they would have to contend with, after May 2014. 

The basic problem that our ancient Indic civilisation grapples with is a societal fault-line that is appallingly dangerous – one that many Indians (of great sagacity and insight) do not want to face or acknowledge. This is the wedge of Islamic terror that history has bequeathed to us after Pax Britannica left our shores unceremoniously and in ignominy. ln fact, it was worse – it was a devil’s pact between the Congress and the British Government which ensures that independent India (despite its enormous progress in many fields) is viciously handicapped by a demographic time-bomb.

Bhadralok Indians find it beneath their dignity to look at what is ticking below their bed. A century of Gandhian brainwashing and indoctrination has left our elite trying to whitewash the stains and to put up curtains behind which murder, mayhem, treachery and sell-outs are being planned. The entire Indian body-politic is a rotting carcass with the maggots crawling everywhere.

The only institution that prevents this ancient civilisation from complete collapse is something that very few social scientists would or could have predicted – the country’s armed forces. This is a phenomenon that defies logic. How does an institution staffed by people with the same DNA and socio-cultural roots as the rest of the population resolutely manage to stay clear of the deadly (and spreading) virus that afflicts the vast majority of the other citizens? Can 5-7 years of rigid and dedicated training and indoctrination in isolated environments produce a Homo Indicus so markedly different from, and superior to, the rest of the population?

The mystery is compounded by the fact that the Services are basically a colonial residue that the Anglo-Saxon rulers of Hind bequeathed to us. Somewhere down the line, they mutated into a different species. Yes, the surface symbols of the old Raj continue but there is a marked change. The professionalism and élan survive, although the overwhelming ethos, now, is a mixture of service to the nation and a lasting commitment to protect it against all dangers.    

In theory, the dangers that the armed forces are trained to combat and neutralise are external threats from India’s enemies. In practice, what our sword-arm is confronting is the enemy within – a scenario that is the soldier’s worst nightmare. It does not require rocket science to identify the main elements that comprise the domestic enemy. 

They are the bureaucracy, the 4th Estate (primarily the English MSM), the country’s Anglophone intelligentsia, the political elements allied to the old Gandhi-Nehru-Gandhi gang and others venomously opposed to the entire Indic civilisational ethos. To this explosive cocktail, we must add the commercial and economic actors who are always looking at additional profit opportunities they can extract from the unstable national scenario. Per se, this listing does not have any ranking, based on threat capabilities or risk. Let me put it in another way – all these termites are working in tandem or in a spirit of understanding.

I must add a caveat at this stage or I will be accused of unprofessional exuberance about our men and women in olive green, blue and white. There are those in our armed forces who have succumbed to the lure of money, rank, privileges and position. However, this is still a minuscule and microscopic percentage compared to those on civvy street.

And now, it is high time to discuss the ground realities. The key elements in the current canvas that we need to focus on are Kashmir, the North East, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Islamic terror from across the border and within, and the rules of engagement that the anti-terrorist operations must adopt.

Let me spell out once again what is the actual situation: India, today, is facing an existential threat. If you don’t realise this, you are living in cloud-cuckoo land and you don’t need to read this essay further. 

Pakistan and its 5th columnists in India are using every trick in the trade to ensure continuous ferment and terror in the Kashmir valley and also in the rest of the country. There are districts and regions in the Indian Republic that have become virtual no-go areas for the agents of the Indian state. Without going into details that are available readily in the public domain, we have 5 districts in West Bengal, a number of regions in Kerala (with Mallapuram in the lead), a huge swathe in western UP, three districts in Assam, and some parts of Tamil Nadu and Bihar, where the mosque, the minaret and the mullahs rule the roost. Similarly, in large parts of the North-East, it is the gospel and the church pulpits that are more important than the Constitution and the laws of India. In the Kashmir Valley and in some areas of the North-East, the guns and the bombs are the ones doing the speaking.

And what are the desi politicos, the scribes and the jholawallahs (in JNU etc) doing while this savage attack on our nation-state is being perpetrated? The Congresswallahs in 24 Akbar Road and 10 Janpath have been in a frenzy ever since General Rawat, the Army Chief, announced a few days ago that civilians who pelt stones and throw petrol bombs on Army units will be treated as terrorists. The junior partners in crime of the Congress, assorted little political groups, have also joined the chorus. In no other modern democracy do we see such obscene posturing when it comes to national security
Never mind that this policy enunciated by Gen. Rawat should have been implemented two decades ago and without the Army Chief announcing it in public. A little later on, I will briefly refer to the way that other countries in recent times have dealt with fundamental threats to their nation’s social and political fabric.

The 4th Estate had to weigh in, sooner or later. There is this female pen-pusher who came out with an obscene rant about the Army targeting “its own citizens” or some such drivel. Not to be outdone, a disgraceful weasel (most regrettably a retired Army officer) also joined the fray. This fellow has spent his last few years cavorting with a Pakistani front organisation in the U.S. and Canada to campaign for India to withdraw from Siachen. Earlier, he was pushing for the IAF to buy an American aircraft in the MMRCA deal, though it was not at all clear how he was qualified in any way to talk about fighter aircraft, since he was a glorified tank driver at best.  

And now a little trip back in history to find out how countries defend their basic interests when their existence is threatened. The great Emperor, Napoleon, is one of my idols. He introduced modern law and jurisprudence in Europe through the Code Napoleon, that still continues in some form or other. In March 1804, the Duke of Enghien, who was plotting with the assistance of the English to overturn the French revolutionary regime, was staying in Germany in a castle near the French border. Napoleon and his colleagues assessed the threat posed by the Duke and his English allies, and decided that Enghien had to be neutralised. A platoon of French soldiers crossed the Rhine into Germany and captured the Duke on the night of the 14/15 March. The traitor was brought back to France, tried and executed. Napoleon always maintained that the French Republic’s safety and security were paramount and had to be protected. Do we spot any resemblances with the current Indian scenario?

In 1942, shortly after the German invasion, the Volga Germans in USSR were expelled from the border region where they had stayed for hundreds of years and re-located to interior areas of the country, far from the war zone. The Soviets justified it on the ground that they did not want the risk of the Volga Germans collaborating or fraternising with the invading German army. This had recently happened in many countries of Europe, particularly in Czechoslovakia, where the sizable German population in the border region of Sudetenland actively worked with Germany to destabilise the Czechoslovak Republic. The parallels between Kashmir and the events from the past are eerily similar.

It is time now to get back to the present scenario. All of us, who are couch-potatoes or cannot see beyond our noses, should be clear on some basics. Ours is a culture and civilisation that has contributed immensely to human existence. If you don’t know this or even want to know it, you are bananas. Not worthy of being part of a recorded history of around 5000 years. Bollywood and biryani, Billy Bunter and Enid Blyton (like those disgraceful fellows and women in the newspaper that started from Bori Bunder) are the outer limits for your mind and intellect, or what passes for them.

The only institution that stands between our survival and extinction is the Indian military. There are a number of our fellow citizens, very voluble, loud-mouthed, powerful and well-connected, who would like to mothball our armed forces. And billions who don’t know much about what they owe our soldiers, but who go to sleep every night as free Indians, whether on the pavements, jhuggis or their homes. I know which category I am proud to belong to.

The dead soldier’s silence sings our national anthem! 

About the Author:

Jay Bhattacharjee comes from a family of both Freedom-Fighters and members of the Armed Forces. He is a Delhiite and runs his own Advisory Practice in Finance and Corporate Law.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Grudges From The Siachen Sellout


Day before an article by Shiv Kunal Verma on the situation in Kashmir went viral on social media. Writing in the context of the latest incident in the Valley in which Major Dahiya and 5 soldiers lost their lives, the author has done some plain speaking. By holding up a mirror which has no partisan political leanings, Kunal has stated in no uncertain terms what today is the general feeling among the young officers and men. Frankly, sometimes it takes a lot of courage to stand up and tell the truth. And if you are willing to stick your neck out, you will get trolled which is fair enough, and most readers are astute enough to know which comments are motivated and which are genuine.

But when the writer gets abused by a former Colonel in the Army for purely personal reasons, then that's crossing the Rubicorn. Ajai Shukla on twitter promptly went on line and referred to Kunal as 'VK Singh's barking dog'! Even some of those who follow Shukla's writings commented on the ridiculous nature of the remark. However, since the good Colonel has once again exposed his maniacal bias towards both Gen VK Singh and Kunal, I think it is time to retell a story wherein lies the genesis of this grudge.

Gentlemen, cast your minds back to October 2012, the sixth round of Trac II deliberations between two teams of officers had got over. The Indian side was represented by twelve former Service officers under the able leadership of Air Chief Marshal (Rtd) SP Tyagi, almost all the others in the team were retired senior officers (mostly Lt Generals and secretaries) who had never served in Siachen. Tagged at the bottom of the list was Shuklaji (presumably because he too had a Service background and was then a regular on NDTV). The Pakistani side was similarly headed by a former Army Chief, General Beg.

It is now no secret that in 2005, Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh had been asked by the US (desperate then to give sops to Pakistani generals so as to have their support in Afghanistan) to vacate Siachen as the Pakistani Army was deeply disturbed by loss of men to frequent avalanches in the region. Working on the assumption that the gates to India have always been opened from within, the yanks, according to MD Nalapat, also threw in the offer of a Nobel Peace Prize to MMS. The good Prime Minister in turn asked the good JJ Singh if it was 'do able' and that worthy said he would ensure the Army did not object, though publically he would have to keep a different posture (refer Sanjay Baru's book... The Accidental Prime Minister).

With JJ in the bag, MMS now asked Brig Gunmeet Kanwal to prepare a paper justifying the troop withdrawl from Siachen. A Canadian-based think tank, Atlantic Council (a well known CIA/CFR front) was selected, and along with a Pakistani brigadier, a joint paper was prepared. However, with JJ Singh having by then retired, the PMO ran into Deepak Kapoor and then Gen VK, who unlike JJ were not likely to turn turtle and sell out the Army and the Country.

Shortly after Bikram Singh took over the reins of the Army, the PMO made its pitch. The committee under Bundles Tyagi had little or no idea whatsoever about Siachen, and it was left to Shuklaji to deliver the goods. Brought into the group by MMS's press advisor, Pachauri, Shuklaji was promised chairmanship of Prasar Bharti apart from all the other goodies he would get for pulling off this feat. During the course of these predetermined deliberations, the Trac II teams went globe trotting to hold these so called deliberations at various locations each time, and received expensive gifts amounting crores, all paid up by Atlantic Council. Its anybody's guess as to who funds such overtures of the Council, its one and the same be it CIA, CFR or ISI for that matter.

In October 2012, Trac II was to become Trac I and the place where 'not even a blade of grass grows' was to see an Indian pull out. 

At this stage, certain members of the Trac II team themselves alerted Lt General Prakash Katoch, who himself had commanded the Siachen Brigade, as to what was happening. However, the mandarins in the PMO who were monitoring the situation, also got to know that Katoch and a few others over whom they had 'no control' were now aware of the Siachen sell out. A virtual media black out on the subject was put into place, as a result of which not one media house would agree to look at the story. 

A group of ex Service officers and other concerned officers were by now desperately trying to highlight the issue, but no one was listening. Finally, it was Anil Tyagi, the gutsy editor of G-Files, who carried a report written by Kunal Verma and MG Devasahayam on the subject in his November 2012 issue. The story, which was accompanied by a map, apart from highlighting the behind the scenes machinations, simply asked the all important question- if India was to withdraw from its positions on the Saltoro, what would the next line of defence be?

The G-Files article set the cat amidst the pigeons as the ex-Servicemen community pointed out on social media just how detrimental to India's interests the move would be. They pointed out that a) Pakistan was not on Siachen but was to the west of the Saltoro ridge which was now the defacto line of control; b) It was not so much Pakistan but China who could occupy the glacier since the Shaksgam Valley was under their control and c) the new line of defence would then have to run along the Ladakh range on the southern side of the Shyok River, a situation that would require a massive deployment of additional troops.

The Outlook magazine's Hindi edition then quickly published a translated version of the G-Files article. The English edition was to follow up with a cover story that was being worked on by their own correspondents, but on the eve of going to press, a few calls from the PMO saw it being put on hold. However, by then, the cat was out of the bag and all talk of a withdrawal was now under the scanner. Then Chief Minister Modi made a statement saying there was no question of a compromise on either Sir Creek or Siachen, the Army Chief also said it was not advisable and per force, the now hot potato, was dropped by MMS. 

This is when things got interesting, no one was looking at Shuklaji, the focus being on Air Chief Marshal Tyagi and some other big names in the Trac II team. His own carefully laid plans evaporating under his nose, he fired off three abusive e-mails as he grew unsettled. The first went to Katoch, wherein in a tacit admission, Shuklaji accused the Special Forces general of being upset only because 'he hadn't received the goodies' which the members of the Trac II team got, a short while later a second e-mail to Devasahayam and a third to Verma followed, in which he ranted and raved and made all sorts of wild accusations and made himself a laughing stock. 

This is the man, Gentlemen, who since then has time and again launched abusive attacks on not just these three people, but also General VK Singh who also came out very strongly against the Siachen withdrawal plan of the UPA government. Shuklaji has shamelessly used the Business Standard platform to hurl abuse, be it on policy issues or even the book review of VK's book which was co-authored by Verma. He has now done it again, and here is the reason why. 

In a country where our laws are so lax that a Jai Chand like Shuklaji can get away with treason should hardly come as a surprise. This man, who unfortunately has a rank attached to his name, and has propelled homself socially owing to his political connections (mainly through strategic marriages) needs to be exposed. If anyone has any doubts, just search on google and you'll have the entire timeline of the Siachen drama at your fingertips.

Then you be the judge.

Vishwajeet Singh

Vishwajeet Singh is a practicing lawyer in the Apex Court and other forums with expertise in International Law, Public Interest, Military Affairs, Environment, Maritime Law and is a commentator on Defence matters and acquisitions.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

How about winning the Hearts & Minds of Soldiers?

Every time one of our boys is gunned down in the Valley or in the Northeast, there is an uproar on social media. Increasingly the anger is building up towards the political leadership and the senior leadership in the Army whose policy of 'appeasement' is costing lives, not just once or twice, but on a regular basis.

The latest among the fallen who we softly cry for are five soldiers and an officer, Major Dahiya, who have lost their lives in the last 48 hours. A video posted of army vehicles being stoned brings home the absolute ridiculousness of the situation... how on earth can the pelters get away with this? Terrorists need to be ripped apart, but those who harbour these bastards cannot be shown any mercy either.

Today we have a situation where the perpectuators of violence are being shielded by the leadership, while the defenders are canon fodder. This policy of 'appeasement', in place under the garb of 'winning hearts & minds of the people', is not acceptable.

The anger just under the surface is fast reaching boiling point. Junior officers and men, who see the Government day in and day out take steps to humilate soldiers while mouthing meaningless platitudes, is going to explode sooner or later. We the people, cannot accept this situation, and if individuals have to die, well, ruthlessly shoot down those who dare to abuse the state... instead of sacrificing those who are doing their bit to protect it.

What ever happened to the majesty of governance Mr Modi? You were voted in to govern this country and sort out these problems which the Congress had failed to tackle. Everytime one of our boys return home in plywood coffins, you and your chosen leadership failed to protect them. After all you were the one who made an Army and Corps Commander sit on a table and apologise for their men having fired at a vehicle that ran through a barrier.

For months, if not years, we have been paying the price. We do not want to see little girls saluting at the funeral pyres of their fathers, or see the light snuffed out of Satish Dahiya's son's life. If the political process needs the Army, then you have to let the Army do their job. Today, with our senseless handling of police and para military forces, we are forever calling on the Army, so much so that our senior military leadership now believes this is their primary role in the country.

Threatrical cross border raids and chest thumping is not governance... a pro active clear cut no compromise stand, be it vis a vis Pakistan, China or various political parties both at the state and national level, has to be implemented. It is imperative to insure that all other arms of the state are functioning, so that the Army is your last resort, and not your first.

Be it Kashmir, Nagaland or Manipur, the present day leadership is increasingly being seen as a reactive government who thinks political rhetoric is the answer.

These are serious problems which obviously cannot be dealt with on social media. However, it is obvious that there have been major slip ups. The Assam Rifles lost 12 men in Mon (Nagaland) in May 2015 and then 22 soldiers from the Dogras were killed in Chandel a month later. The highly publicised retaliatory strike against the NSCN (K) with questionable results was the chest thumping answer... and in the ensuing smoke and dust, we forgot to ask the critical question... what went wrong?

Even at the height of the Phizo and Laldenga insurgencies, the Assam Rifles and the Army never got this nadly hit. A year and a half later, I honestly wonder how many of the killers were brought to justice!

Pathankot, Uri... these are all becoming markers on a bloody timeline, markers which no one outside of the Army cares to remember after the mandatory tsch tsch and the shaking of the head. Successive commanders in the Valley today have to first think of the political implications first, and only then address the tactical aspect of each situation. Unless we have a clear cut You-kill-One We-kill-Twelve policy, the bastards will keep coming.

Unless you do as the Israelis do - anyone with a stone in his hand is a terrorist - we will keep losing men. Our politicians and bureaucrats may be what they are, but I think the time has come for us to demand from our senior leadership within the Army that they take a stance. If the political mess has to be sorted out, then it must be done by putting a huge price on the lives of our men... you cannot win wars by fighting with your hands tied behind your back. This simply has to stop... 

On the Author:

Shiv Kunal Verma was born into an army family (his father was a captain with 2 Rajput in 1962), filmmaker and military historian Shiv Kunal Verma has worked with all three arms of the Indian armed forces over the last two-and-a-half decades. From flying extensively with the IAF while making Salt of the Earth and Aakash Yodha to the filming of the Naval Dimension and the Kargil War, Verma has had a ringside view of matters military. His film on the National Defence Academy—The Standard Bearers—is considered a classic. He is the author of the highly acclaimed Northeast Trilogy (that documented the entire region and its peoples) and The Long Road to Siachen: The Question Why.

Army Martyrs in Kashmir: A message to an ungrateful Nation?

Maj Satish Dahiya (ASC) with 30 RR, attained martyrdom today while fighting terrorists in Langate ( Handwara). 
The Officer hailing from Narnaul, Haryana had put in 7 yrs of service, estimated contact with terrorists around 1700-1730 hrs. 

The Officer was fatally wounded in chest. Civilians came up and started stone pelting on soldiers in order to give cover to terrorists. 3 terrorists were however gunned down, the rest managed to escape under civilian cover. 

The security forces, as in practice , were order bound to not hit civilians. Yet again it's the army and its brave hearts who are held up in the tussle between upholding human rights and upholding the anti-terrorist agenda of the Union. 

Need to empower soldiers. Need to empower AFSPA. The Officer was declared brought dead at base hospital Srinagar. May the brave soul rest in peace. 

Major Dahiya, 30 Rashtriya Rifles

Monday, 13 February 2017

Undeclared Emergency in Media: Fight begins!

Newspaper employees' unions protest against HT sackings!
--Undeclared Emergency in Media: Fight begins!

FEBRUARY 13, 2016

More than 150 journalists and non-journalist employees of several newspapers and a news agency today held an hour-long spirited demonstration before the Hindustan Times (HT) office in the country's commercial capital Mumbai raising slogans against the mass termination of media employees.

Apart from raising slogans, Media employees also waved placards that said 'Journalists-Media Workers unity Zindabad',  'Media barons: Honour SC order and Implement Majithia wage board' and 'Dont shoot the Messenger, Don't sack the Messenger'.

Today's demonstration in front of HT office in India Bulls Towers, Senapati Bapat Marg, in Central Mumbai was part of a campaign to 'Fight undeclared Emergency in the Media', and oppose sacking of media employees, organised by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) to fight for the Implementation of the Majithia Wage Board for newspaper and news agency employees.  

The sacking of over 1000 media employees by Hindustan Times and Anand Bazaar Patrika (ABP) group of Publications in the last few weeks has already shocked and angered media workers all over the country.  More so, in the backdrop of the failure of media managements to implement the wage award, the sackings have been totally illegal as well as in breach of the Supreme Court's order on the implementation of the wage board award.

So much so, scores of newspaper employees have been pushed into an abyss of unemployment and poverty overnight that has unleashed a terrifying environment of fear in the media industry.  The current situation is unprecedented in the history of independent India, with newspaper managements determined to brazenly trample laws enacted for the newspaper industry and Supreme Court Orders pertaining to implementation of the Majithia Wage Board Award.  Simply put, the newspaper managements, under the banner of the Indian Newspaper Society (INS), have declared war on their employees: this is an undeclared emergency in the media.
The sudden closures and terminations, without any warning or provocation, have already resulted in the tragic and untimely death of Arvind Sharma, a senior staffer of Hindustan Times -- soon after his illegal termination by the company.

Later, a memorandum was submitted to the Hindustan Times Ms Chairperson Shobana Bhartia condemning the harassment and coercive action taking against employees after the closure of six editions of the newspaper. The following is an extract from the memorandum submitted to Ms Bhartia:

1. Your act has violated numerous provisions of the law, including Sec 16A of the Working Journalists Act. You are well aware that a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by the then Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam had on Feb 7, 2014 (ABP Pvt Ltd and Onr vs Union of India and Othrs), upheld the Constitutional validity of the Working Journalists Act, 1955, and the amendment Act, 1974, and rejected the contention of improper constitution of the Wage Boards, irregularity in the procedure adopted by the Majithia Wage Board and that Majithia Wage Boards had overlooked the relevant aspects and considered extraneous factors while drafting the recommendations.
2.   Your establishment has collected, under Sec 20J, undertakings from your employees, both journalist and non-journalist newspaper employees,  on a mass scale, that they do not want the Wage Board. In the Supreme Court, a contempt petition is pending against your establishment to determine whether these are obtained by force or really voluntary? Which sensible journalist will voluntarily accept a lower wage?
3.   It is clear that you have decided to close down these editions in other to avoid the implementation of the Supreme Court order and the Majithia Wage Board award.
4.   Your action led to untold misery and disrupted the lives of scores of employees, besides leading to the tragic and untimely death of a senior staffer of Hindustan Times -- soon after his illegal termination by the company. Your callousness and cynical apathy only shows how much you are only concerned with the maximisation of profits.
5.   We do not accept your excuse that demonetisation has forced you to take this step because, although it is only a three month old process, you have evaded the process of implementation for more than three years.
The JAC demanded the restoration of editions with reinstatement of all employees and implement the Majithia Wage Board Award in toto, thereby maintaining the spirit and letter of the Supreme Court verdict in this regard.

The JAC also maintains that this 'current situation of undeclared emergency' in the media is a cause of concern for the public at large.  How can newspaper employees who are routinely terrorized by their employers and denied basic rights be expected to fight for the larger rights of society?  How can the watch-dogs of society function when they are 'defanged' by their employers, the so-called guardians of freedom of speech and expression?

This owner-created climate of fear in the media has also led to the  unchecked proliferation of paid news as well as fake news.  And this is a cause of concern for all citizens.
All those who care for the flowering of democratic freedoms in the country should come together to ensure that the law of the land should be strictly implemented first in the Fourth Estate itself !

The Hinduphobia at Twitter Needs GOI Intervention

Twitter has always been accused of a lack of transparency in its selective targeting of content deemed to be pro Hindutva or Hindu Nati...