Friday, May 28, 2010
Is history always doctored?
While the Indian media covered extensively the history of the Kargil conflict and the 'doctored report' of the battle of Batalik, a more serious issue has receieved little coverage.
Lt General JFR Jacob, Chief of Staff (Eastern Command) during the 1971 India Pakistan War explained to Sify.com why the Indian Navy has destroyed documents related to the sinking of Ghazi, the Pakistani submarine.
Read General Jacob's version of the facts and compare with the official history of the 1971 War published by the Ministry of Defense, posted on my website. The Navy falsified the date and the circumstances of the sinking of the submarine for a few medals more. It is deeply shocking!
Kargil war: Lt-Gen doctored reports
TNN, May 28, 2010,
NEW DELHI: Against all odds, courageous young officers and soldiers dislodged well-entrenched Pakistani intruders from the Kargil heights in 1999. But skeletons about the then top military leadership's dubious conduct during the conflict continue to tumble out of the cupboard with alarming regularity even now.
In the latest such episode, the armed forces tribunal (AFT) has indicted the then 15 Corps commander Lt-General Kishan Pal for doctoring "battle-performance and after-action reports'' to belittle the achievements of the then Batalik-based 70 Infantry Brigade commander Devinder Singh.
Directing the directorate of military operations to rewrite some portions of the official history, "Operation Vijay: Account of the War in Kargil'', the AFT headed by Justice A K Mathur said Lt-Gen Pal's biased assessment of Brig Singh should be expunged from the records.
"I feel vindicated. As per the order, I will also be considered for promotion to the notional rank of a major-general and the records about the operations by my brigade in the war will be set straight,'' said Brig (retd) Singh, who has fought a long and hard legal battle to restore his honour.
Lt-Gen Pal, who had infamously described the massive Kargil intrusions by Pakistani Army regulars as a "local'' skirmish with a handful of infiltrators in the initial days, went on to get a gallantry medal after the conflict.
Similarly, several other senior officers were rewarded despite ignoring early warnings about the massive intrusions, wrong assessments and flawed leadership during the conflict which led to the death of 527 Indian soldiers.
In sharp contrast, Brig Singh -- who had even predicted the pattern of intrusions by the Pakistani Army regulars before the conflict and later got injured during the operations -- was left high and dry, without a war medal and passed over for promotion.
"Many lives would have been saved if my assessment had been taken seriously,'' said Brig Singh, who directed his brigade troops during the critical assaults on Point 5203 and the Jubar Complex in the Batalik sector.
The then Army chief General V P Malik, who himself attracted flak for not cutting short his "goodwill'' visit abroad during the initial days of the Kargil intrusions, on his part, said Brig Singh's case was "an aberration'' which was now rightly getting corrected.
"I believe the issue was at the level of the brigade, division and corps. To pass a judgment on the entire Indian Army and to suggest the entire war history was fudged is most unfair,'' Gen (retd) Malik told journalists.
The fact, however, remains that the AFT judgment has come as a major embarrassment to the Army. It might get worse in the coming days because several other petitions connected to the Kargil conflict are pending in different AFT benches.
These include ones by officers -- like the then 121 Brigade commander Surinder Singh, who was dismissed during the operations, and Major Manish Bhatnagar -- who feel they were made "scapegoats'' to "save the skin of top generals''.
The Army, on its part, on Thursday said it was awaiting a copy of the AFT judgment in Brig Singh's case. "Once we get it, it will be analysed and appropriate action would be taken,'' said a senior officer.
Brig Singh certainly hopes so. He had filed a complaint with Army HQs in 2000 itself, charging Lt-Gen Pal with bias, but it was rejected two years later. In 2004, the defence ministry struck down Lt-Gen Pal's assessment of Brig Singh's battle performance but refused to strike down key sections of his annual confidential reports written by the general.