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Dear Barkha Dutt: The Buck Stops Where?

January 16, 2013

On the of latest edition, (telecast a few hours ago, on the evening of the 15th of January, 2013) of ‘The Buck Stops Here’, (a flagship news show on NDTV anchored by Barkha Dutt) – ‘India-Pakistan:Another Tipping Point‘, Admiral (Retd.) Ramdas, former chief of the Indian Navy said he knew that Indian forces have beheaded Pakistani soldiers in the past. Gen. (Retd.) V.P. Malik, former chief of the Indian Army contradicted him, and said this had never happened. Barkha Dutt was silent on this matter.

Below is a summary of some highlights of the discussion.

Around 21:15 minutes into the programme, Admiral Ramdas says, “Beheading of Troops has been going on from both sides has been for some time, I mean there is evidence of this…”

Barkha Dutt, eager to change the subject, nervously interjects and says ‘I want you to comment, Sir, on Sporting and Cultural ties, because that is what has been hit today…’. Why is she so anxious to change the subject? Is it because Admiral Ramdas is clearly speaking about something she personally does not want spoken about?

Then, a little later, Ms. Dutt asks Gen. Malik to speak, she also asks him to talk whether ‘Sporting and Cultural Ties should become the fall-guy’.

Gen. V.P. Malik says (around 24:40 minutes into the program), “…And I don’t agree with Admiral (Ram) Das that both sides have been doing this, I would like to see anybody give me one instance where this kind of inhuman act has been done by the Indian army… I know that with great respect, we not only buried their bodies with great respect…we returned any body that they asked for.”

Barkha Dutt knows what Admiral Ramdas was talking about. As has been pointed out before on Kafila, she has written about it (the decapitation of Pakistani soldiers by the Indian army during the Kargil conflict in the summer of 1999) herself in Himal magazine (June, 2001).

I had to look three times to make sure I was seeing right. Balanced on one knee, in a tiny alley behind the army’s administrative offices, I was peering through a hole in a corrugated tin sheet. At first glance, all I could see were some leaves. I looked harder and amidst all the green, there was a hint of black—it looked like a moustache. “Look again,” said the army colonel, in a tone that betrayed suppressed excitement. This time, I finally saw.

It was a head, the disembodied face of a slain soldier nailed onto a tree. “The boys got it as a gift for the brigade,” said the colonel, softly, but proudly. [Himal]

So that is an instance where ‘this kind of inhuman act’ did happen. So why did she not say so to Gen. Malik. She is not ‘anybody’, she was there, and this is an issue that is being discussed on a show that she is anchoring. How long can it be before she gets called out for the gross irresponsibility of her reticence on this very crucial matter. Was she lying in 2001, or, is she concealing the truth now?

But the buck, doesn’t stop here.

Then, a BJP Politician and spokesman for his party, Ravi Shankar Prasad is asked by Barkha Dutt about the NDA’s record on India-Pakistan relations. She mentions Vajpayee as the architect of the India Pakistan Peace Process , Kargil, Parliament Attack, Hijacking of IC 814, Historic Ceasefire of 2003 etc.

Ravi Shankar Prasad begins, not by immediately addressing Barkha Dutt’s question, but by contradicting Admiral Ramdas. Around 26:39 minutes into the program, Ravi Shankar Prasad says – “…Mr. Ramdas has been a distinguished Naval chief, but for him to make a comment that even Indian forces have been beheading, I am happy Gen. Malik contradicted him very conclusively, Admiral Ramdas you need to understand that Pakistani people will lap up your comment, and seek to condemn Indian army in no uncertain terms, I am seeing that happening, for heavens sake don’t make these sweeping comments.”

“Don’t call on Heaven, Mr. Prasad” (Admiral Ramdas says, attempting to interject) but Barkha Dutt doesn’t let him speak. Once again, she does not contradict, question or challenge Ravi Shankar Prasad. Her evasion in this matter, at this point, when it has popped up on her program for the third time now, is a truly sweeping statement.

Then, Barkha Dutt moves on to Congress spokesman, Avishek Manu Singhvi, and other matters, and other panelists, Ashutosh Varshney and Leela Ponnappa, the question that Admiral Ramdas raised is forgotten, but it lingers, silent, and sullen, like the ghost of a beheaded soldier in the studio.

At the end of the programme, Shahvar Ali Khan, a musician from Lahore, Pakistan says “All the peace loving people of Pakistan are with the grief of the people of India.” He hopes that the present situation will not affect cultural and social ties.

Ravi Shankar Prasad says that he loves Pakistani Ghazal songs, but says artists, sportsmen and people who want peace are “fringe players”.

Then, Barkha Dutt asks Admiral Ramdas for a comment. He says, “If for so many years things have gone wrong, the fault lies not with sportsmen and artists, why punish them for what why have not done?”

Who makes the constituency of peace a fringe, and who makes the dogs of war, the people Shahvar Ali Khan calls the ‘hate-mongers’, on either side of the LOC, occupy the centre-stage, again and again?

If an important television journalist like Barkha Dutt talks about the fact that both armies have committed acts of savagery, which, I repeat, she says she knows, because she has said that she has seen this with her own eyes, it will weaken the dogs of war. This admission, coming from a public figure like her, will make it more difficult for the war-party on either side of the LOC to point their fingers only at people across the border.

Nothing can strengthen the constituency of peace more at this crucial juncture, than a little honest and public introspection, on both sides. Let us hope that will occur. Barkha Dutt can set the ball rolling, if she chooses to. The buck, starts with her.

62 Comments leave one →
  1. Gaby permalink
    January 16, 2013 2:52 AM

    Honesty is always the first casualty of breast beating Nationalism.

  2. S. Krishna permalink
    January 16, 2013 3:08 AM

    One should also commend the courage of Admiral Ramdas who is willing to publicly acknowledge this fact.

    • January 16, 2013 7:30 PM

      why does TRP score over truth in India. Admiral Ramdas needs to be congratulated.

  3. W. Raza permalink
    January 16, 2013 3:59 AM

    Wow, I have no words. I respect Ms. Dutt and condemn the beheading in the strongest possible terms but concealing this fact and toeing a war-mongering line (taken by entire Indian media) is disappointing and telling. I really hoped she had been more responsible.

  4. nick permalink
    January 16, 2013 4:21 AM

    wait kargit? I thought kargil was a civil war engineered by the mujaheddin of Azad kashmir. So no pakistani soldier could have been decapitated. if that is the only instance of such occurrence then what is the point here?

    Every act has a context to it, like even in the most democratic civilized society a person could be hanged/injected/… as a capital punishment. Is that an act of murder. Should the judge be hanged himself?

    Taking it out of context and just blinding splintering it anywhere else just to win argument points is insane.

    Using Kargil as an example here is a very ludicrous journalistic bias. if at all it is journalistic. Why you ask? Ah just a small reason, It was a fucking war. No loss of life can be justified even worse using such utterly deplorable acts. But again it was WAR. Beheading a soldier as a war crime is a parking violation.

    To a sane coherent mind this could never be a fair comparison or even an excuse to the disastrous act in this context. It wasn’t a response to an act of war. It was a response to a LOC violation attributed to building an observatory post which began all this.

    My request to you guys try to look responsible at least

    • January 16, 2013 4:25 AM

      The Indian government has consistently maintained that Kargil, 1999 was a full on military engagement with Pakistani Army regulars as well as irregulars.

      • nick permalink
        January 16, 2013 4:58 AM

        wow I didnt know that. Next time when I am being ironic/sarcastic i will put my statements in nice curly braces with the intent highlighted.

        My point wasn’t about whether kargil had pakistani soldiers or not. My point was it was WAR with a capital W.A.R. Although deplorable wars have seen much worse from all sides. 1000s of people get killed. {There are specific courts for wars, wonder why} sarcastic.

        Comparing a war situation to a cross border LOC violation and equating one act from the war to another act in a LOC incidence, is to very least pitiable act on your part M/s Sengupta. Me as a part of the common public have every right to question your motives here.

        Does that help clear the point.

    • January 16, 2013 5:37 AM

      “Beheading a soldier as a war crime is a parking violation.” Brilliant

    • Shekhar permalink
      January 16, 2013 11:58 AM

      Fully agree Nick. Kargil was a WAR while this was an LOC violation & 2 acts aren’t comparable

      But digressing slightly, you know you have a great point when you say ‘I thought kargil was a civil war engineered by the mujaheddin of Azad kashmir. So no pakistani soldier could have been decapitated’

      Putting Kargil as a WAR was an ‘after the incidence’ act of Indian govt.

      I so vividly and clearly remember that the ‘war’ was not termed as a war while it was being waged. I clearly remember that we lost so many soldiers just because they had orders up their poor @$$e$ of ‘not crossing the LOC’ which is why they had to make ascents to the peak from ‘Indian side’ only.

      and yeah, obviously Paki soldiers were involved and obviously Indian soldiers had to kill them & the bodies of those killed weren’t owned up by Pak because they had all the time on-papers maintained that Pak armed forces weren’t involved

    • Gaby permalink
      January 16, 2013 2:24 PM

      Wow someone advising responsibility after comparing killing of a human being – in whatever circumstances to a parking violation. Barkha Dutt must be happy to get the applause of nationalists from time to time in addition to the secular folks. In any case the vapid nature of moderating a TV program by cutting off non -desirable talk is common across all nes channels.

      • January 19, 2013 3:48 PM

        Clearly if that is the logic (That beheadings are permissible during war; they are not because of war conventions) then why not contradict Mr. Das on the same point. Why conceal it and try to suppress it? It is definitely questionable intent.

    • Bhagat permalink
      January 17, 2013 1:08 AM

      Nick, The point if about both sides engaging in such inhuman actions and need to stop it as respect to fellow humans or at least per geneva pact. Your justification of beheading of Pakisatani soldier as parking violation but same to Indian soldier as holocaust is nothing new for chest-thumping, saber-rattling Indian jingoism. Until and unless we ask for justice on both sides, there is no peace. I hope your ilk won’t win over peace-loving people.

  5. January 16, 2013 5:38 AM

    An interesting read. But what bearing does Barkha Dutt’s opinion have on the entire situation.If these facts are in fact as well documented as the author claims they are, will the news anchors repetition of the same make any difference. Again, ‘news anchor’ . I believe the author is flattering the anchor to a certain extent, having us believe that “This admission, coming from a public figure like her, will make it more difficult for the war-party on either side of the LOC to point their fingers only at people across the border.”

    Does the author honestly believe that Pakistan is waiting with bated breath for the validation of certain facts , which if proved true, could change this whole story of finger pointing into a charade of the “Pot calling the kettle black”

    Quite a hilarious analysis , to be honest.

    • January 16, 2013 2:51 PM

      You are right. Barkha Dutt’s opinion probably has no bearing on the situation and Pakistan certainly isn’t waiting for any validation. But isn’t the point being made slightly different? isn’t it about responsibility in journalism; removing hypocrisy from our rhetoric?

      Nobody is asking Barkha Dutt to bring up the beheading[s] conducted by us Indians herself, but if it did come up in the course of the argument should she have just allowed it to be swept under the carpet? Wouldn’t a true journalist, especially one who is in the know (as she herself documented), allow the issue to at least be debated?

      It may not have made it “more difficult for the war-party on either side of the LOC to point their fingers only at people across the border” as the author suggests, but we can’t deny her prominence with the masses; she does wield the power to elicit introspection among a lot of us. If people in positions of power act irresponsibly, how do we expect to find any peace ever?

      • January 19, 2013 7:25 AM

        Interesting while Pakistan media and government is busy denying any beheading has taken place you guys are busy trying to frame the Indian Army!! Am sure that will strengthen the peace process ….

        Linking Kargil to 2013 incident is amazing logic, sure some guys have great memories; I hope you remember the anxious moments the nation had during those days, the daily bodies that were received all over the nation.

        Come 2013, you build a bunker …… we behead …. you keep quiet for the sake of peace. Amazing logic, if it was your kin beheaded what would you do? Since you don’t consider the soldier you kin it is tough to really think in that manner.

        Am against war mongering but please does the fact that it has happened in the past make this in any manner condonable.

        Just go on youtube and see what Taliban did to the Pakistani rangers, you will understand the different mindset across the border; the very mindset we need to keep that side of LOC.

      • January 29, 2013 1:38 AM

        RM , I believe no one is out there to frame the Indian Army. My point was to refute the authors statement that validation from a news reader should exalt this issue to more prominence . I’m just trying to diminish (disqualify ? ) any role that Barkha Dutt or any one commenting on this blog/appearing on news channels/ sitting in an air conditioned room discussing politics feels has in deciding international foreign policy.You can go on and discuss this till the cows come home.

        What we DO need is India to strengthen its stance against Pakistan. Which it did. There were statements made by the Army Chief admonishing their actions.I’m not saying that’s enough , but it’s start to changing our attitude towards Pakistan.

  6. Varun Shekhar permalink
    January 16, 2013 7:33 AM

    Where is this article going? Everyone is guilty of beheading at some point in history, so India should let this incident go? Even if there was some incident of beheading by Indians of Pakistanis, it was very likely retaliation to the brutality against Saurabh Kalia, in the follow up to the Kargil war. How many beheadings should India allow, before saying enough is enough. Or does Sengupta desire that one( questionable) act by Indians can stand alone, against all the brutal acts by the Pakistanis?

    • Mohit permalink
      January 16, 2013 3:22 PM

      “Nothing can strengthen the constituency of peace more at this crucial juncture, than a little honest and public introspection, on both sides”.
      If we follow the article then does it mean such instances will never happen with some introspection? Is Pakistan going to do introspection? They have started 3 wars (basically 4, including Kargil).
      I think in 2011 India did introspect and that’s why there was no flurry from Indian Army and nobody made statements.
      If we don’t shout and let it go then it will continue forever. If need to put stop to this nonsense we have to put adequate pressure.
      For me Karan Thapar and Barakha Dutt belongs to same class of journalist. I wonder is anybody that fool to be influenced by them.

  7. January 16, 2013 8:20 AM

    Do not expect moral courage from people like Barkha. She already feels bent backwards in her balancing act between fascism and justice.

  8. Shourav permalink
    January 16, 2013 10:03 AM

    According to ‘The Hindu’ article, Indian soldiers beheaded a Pakistani soldier last year, so Admiral Ramdas is absolutely correct when he says that these gruesome acts have happened in the past. What i find curious is what exactly is the media trying to ratchet tensions between the both sides?

  9. Biju Mathew permalink
    January 16, 2013 10:26 AM

    Barkha (RADIA) Dutt, what more can we expect from her!

    DENIAL flat denial!

    I have stopped watching her programme long long ago!

  10. ash mallya permalink
    January 16, 2013 10:39 AM

    Well, we never will really know whether our army has also commited such atrocities. Let’s assume it did happen, the pakistani media/ speakers on times now would have vehemently brought that up, but they haven’t . Barkha Dutts credibilty is questionable ever since she got implicated in the radia tapes case. There is no excuse for journalists lobbying for political parties!
    I agree that a war is not the solution, but when pakistan keeps peddling militants into the valley by commiting cease fire violations, India better not be quiet. The peace industry unfortunately has achieved nothing much except for wining/dining/ tv footage.I think Shuddabrata needs to understand that this is another crucial tipping point. Pakistani artistes depend on India for their livelihood. We can’t take their grievances at the cost of national security. I know and have interacted with Pakistanis for a long time, but when it comes to border issues, we ll have to be stringent. Arnab may be aggressive on his show, but I am sure he knows better than to hide an important fact like beheading of pak soldiers. In addition, he s not done a Radia yet!

  11. N Venugopal, journalist, Hyderabad permalink
    January 16, 2013 11:23 AM

    Kudos to Shuddhabrata Sengupta for raising this important issue and also to Admiral Ramdas for calling a spade and a spade. Indian ruling classes (whether they hold Congress flag or BJP flag) have no moral right to cry foul at an alleged (most probably really happened) beheading. All of them have been indulging in same kind of inhuman and barbaric acts not only against “foreign” “enemies” but millions of our own people — 1984 Delhi riots, 2002 Gujarat genocide, Salwa judum, etc etc. Ruling class apologists like Barkha Dutts or NDTVs or whoever might be able to put a lid on this accumulated, multifaceted barbarity for the present, but a time comes when that will explode…

    • allzeroes permalink
      January 16, 2013 12:40 PM

      Dear Venu,

      I really feel sad at the comments from people like you and Admiral Ramdas. If genocide has happened in Delhi, Gujarat and you conveniently forgot Kashmir(barbaric islamists), does it mean that we ignore the present case of beheading by pakistanis. THEFT,DACOITY, RAPES hv been happening in the past also, why act against them now. What a stupid logic! What was Admiral Ramdas trying to imply by dragging in indIan army for maybe something happened in the past(NOBODY IS SURE). The difference is that had this atrocious act been done by anyone in the indian army there would have been action against them definitely. Beheading would not have been done I am sure because that is not how we are. And by the way people like you who like to hear a spade a spade, revise your history, beheading has been carried out by a number of muslim invaders in the past to spread terror so i would not be surprised it being done by pakistanis or their dogs of war, the mullahs of LET etc.

      Inspite of what pakistan as been doing to us(no doubt the central govts have been responsible in some way) there are indians like you and ramdas who are always ready to bat for the other side just to -tom tom there confused morality and so called intellectualism and yes cant resist the foot in the mouth dieseas if someone is willing to listen.

      • January 18, 2013 12:00 PM

        “The difference is that had this atrocious act been done by anyone in the indian army there would have been action against them definitely.”

        Wonderfully unambiguous I must say. (I hope you can sense the sarcasm)

        “Beheading would not have been done I am sure because that is not how we are.”

        One man speaks for 1.2 billion. Brilliant!

        When are we going to open our eyes?

      • Sam Veet permalink
        January 18, 2013 12:28 PM

        “NOBODY IS SURE” ??
        If Pakistan army does it you are sure, even if the claimants are only on this side. But if Indian army does it, even if the claimants are still on this side, “nobody is sure”?

        Get rid of your biases or people who hold your views are going to be responsible for any war that breaks out in the future. You’d have to worry about a lot more beheadings and atrocities then.

    • Varun Shekhar permalink
      January 16, 2013 10:46 PM

      And what about the family, friends and colleagues of the two soldiers? Do they have a right to be outraged at the beheading? Or should they also suck it up, using your reasoning, that ‘well, India is not absolutely perfect, because there have been riots and killings in India”? What rubbish are you peddling, Venugopal?

  12. January 16, 2013 11:25 AM

    Dear Shuddhabrata Sengupta, You do Barkha Dutt too much of an honour by describing her as a public figure who can influence the public discussion on the matter, but many of us would have missed Admiral Ramdas’s statement simply because we can’t stand an unethical, incompetent journalist long enough to watch the program she anchors, so thanks for this post —–and bravo Admiral Ramdas for displaying honesty!

  13. January 16, 2013 11:40 AM

    traded humanity for patriotism and career opportunism …
    and the “self righteous secular fair and balanced” joke is again laughed at..///

  14. chitrita permalink
    January 16, 2013 1:00 PM

    Hi.. is the Himal June 2001 piece by Barkha Dutt available online? Any link. Couldn’t find it in the Himal archives.

  15. Somnath permalink
    January 16, 2013 1:23 PM

    Shuddha,

    Why are the “artistes, players et al” fringe elements? Very simple. They cannot deliver what is really the only thing that is of interest to India from Pakistan – cessation of terrorism, and support to terrorist elements. Those who can deliver unfortunately dont have much motivation to do so. Hence, the artistes et al frankly are not just fringe, they are irrelevant to the issue at hand.

    And yes, the reason why there is so much clamour from the “artistes” communities in Pak today on “people to people” are not entire altruistic – it is driven at least as much by pure commercial interests (India is the only place where they can ply their trade for mega bucks, whether its music, cricket or hockey) as it is by bleeding hearts.

    Nothing wrong in that. Its good to have such vested constituencies in our favour. but currently if they cant deliver on India’s main concerns, they are fringe.

  16. Melanie permalink
    January 16, 2013 2:07 PM

    Don’t watch Barkha Dutt either so this piece helped to bring out her duplicity! So, thanks Shuddhabrata. Also surprised to see the front-page coverage in all the newspapers about this issue. Do all of them want to ratchet up emotions, leading to another India-Pakistan conflict? Hats off to Admiral Ramdas for having the courage to say what everybody wishes to push under the carpet now! With elections looming in 2014, is this all a strategy to deflect from the government’s failings?

  17. Sohail Hashmi permalink
    January 16, 2013 3:07 PM

    There is something called national pride and something called patriotic fervour
    if you have wrapped your self in these raiments you acquire a new vision,

    This vision divides the entire humanity in two categories “us” and “them’. The “US” can do no wrong and the “THEM” can never be right. All those who disagree with this vision are traitors to the great cause.

    Mr Sengupta has chosen to disagree with this jingoist, flag waving, holier than thou vision of war mongers and done the only sensible thing that is possible in these circumstances.

    unless resisted this hurt nation sentiment can only lead to increasing hatred, frenzied breast beating and war

  18. saadat permalink
    January 16, 2013 3:35 PM

    Congratulation for mr. Shuddhabrata sengupta for such an honest & clear opinion. It’s really great to see the real solution. Honest interospection is the only way outin this issue. Unfortunately the situation has made everything so that someone like Barkha Dutt too cant stand for the truth.

  19. Rohini Hensman permalink
    January 16, 2013 3:56 PM

    Thank you for writing this, Shuddha, and kudos to Admiral Ramdas for his courage. It is almost impossible to watch the electronic media reporting on this event without feeling sick at all the jingoism. They don’t even bother to report, as Praveen Swami in The Hindu did, that the Indian side violated the ceasefire first on this occasion, albeit in another sector. They completely abdicate the responsibility to tell us the truth, and content themselves with propaganda.

  20. Lincoln permalink
    January 16, 2013 4:59 PM

    Let us seize to be one Barkha Dutt for a moment. We do not have news bytes to sell. She is part of a profit-making news cartel and an expert in sensationalism.

    The larger worry here is that Pakistan continues to be prick India time and again. They did that in Kargil which led to heavy losses on both the sides. Now, they have again pricked the Indian side with this incident. Pak may call India a war-mongering nation but will they admit that they do not have a control over their Army? Kayani certainly does not take orders from the Prime Minister. He goes to bed with the terrorist. And this event is a good example of that.

    The Pak army allowed terrorist to enter the Indian side and killed the Indian solider. Beheading or not, this is an act of silly misplaced pride & adventurism which Pak’s army will never give up.

  21. pulakeshupadhyaya permalink
    January 16, 2013 5:26 PM

    Congratulations for Mr. Shuddhabrata Sengupta for such an dishonest opinion. There is no reason to believe that the Admiral and the diva journalist are right, and not Gen. Malik. But, you have your own bias.

  22. Vikram permalink
    January 16, 2013 5:28 PM

    One question to Admiral Ramdas and the author of this article – how should India respond to Pak over 26/11 attacks, seeing the sham trial going on in Pak against LeT perps, & with attack mastermind Hafeez Saeed roaming free? Can Shahvar Ali Khan convince his govt (& more importantly, his military) to punish those responsible and deliver justice to Indians who died in that unprecedented act of terror?

  23. Eric Pinto permalink
    January 16, 2013 5:42 PM

    There are tipping points in a career when a stand is taken more for expediency than the truth.This is not the first time Barkha has sacrificed journalistic integrity for expediency. And I believe she has crossed it !

  24. January 16, 2013 8:47 PM

    I wonder if, on reading this article, Barkha rolled her eyes and said: No collusion with power elites, just a minor lapse of judgment.

    When an important journalist strategically omits important questions, frequently and repeatedly, and plays innocent when pointed out the obvious she turns journalism impotent. But, the buck doesn’t stop here.

  25. Swarnima Bhattacharya permalink
    January 16, 2013 9:28 PM

    Your attempts to investigate where really te buck stops, are admirable indeed. But i don’t see how Barkha Dutt can be implicated in this matter. Surely, we are not unaware of all that the media is capable of hiding, and is expected to hide from the nation at large. News is an item of consumption, a product that is packaged in a certain way. Barkha Dutt is only an instance of what u may call a loophole in the system of information-production.

  26. January 16, 2013 11:54 PM

    Shuddhabrata Sengupta ji.

    If say IA had beheaded some PA soldiers then it was natural response to what Pakistanis had done to IAF pilot and countless IA soldiers.
    Read one story where a Gurkha soldier who had ran out of bullets had to fight off Pakistani soldiers with knife and in such cases slaying of head is quite possible.
    I don’t understand why you folks are trying to do equal equal with IA and PA. Do I need to remind you what PA is capable of ,in BD war of 71 they raped mostly hindu women infront of their families and killed over million unarmed civilians in BD.
    In even yr beloved kashmir in 47, invading Pakistani tribal meted the same behaviour to kashmiri women.

    Now lets talk about Baluchistan , Pakistanis have so badly exploited these folks that a man who happened to very pro Pakistan, and man who was at forefront of movement that advocated merging Baluchistan with Pakistan when Baluchistan was independent country.
    The man in question is Sardar Budgti’s who had served the chief Minster of Baluchistan for about 3 decades. revolted against Pakistan and became a rebel and this man was killed by PA using helicopter gunships. Pakistan is country which has used fighter planes against its own people in Baluchistan.

    Hindus and Sikhs and chritians and in such pathetic conditions that they are fleeing. Their women are kidnapped and raped and converted.

    Pakistan has used every possible means from terrorism to fake currency and to aiding Maoist movement to harm us.

    I don’t understand why the whole left brigade is so adamant that we have good relationship with such a evil nation..

    • Justanotherguy permalink
      January 17, 2013 3:24 AM

      We as people think to much and do too little. It is the Indian Army for gods sake. Are you not an INDIAN. Those jack asses crossed the border and their people I am sure are still supporting their army… look at us . An over educated bunch of madmen. I don’t hold a very high opinion of Ms Dutt but I totally agree with what she did in the show. But again it is this freedom that you take for granted that protects you in the country you are in Respected Author.

  27. January 17, 2013 4:23 AM

    Since when has WAR been anything but ‘this kind of inhuman act’ ??!
    What can POSSIBLY be human about fighting to KILL?!

    It’s all a game… isn’t it? For the rich and the powerful. The soldiers are the pawns, and the rest of the country is the eager spectator that gathers around the mayhem, with packets of potato-chips and paper-placards…

    What’s the big issue about ‘their’ beheading ‘our’ soldiers??! That’s EXACTLY what WAR is all about!

  28. Fair Play permalink
    January 17, 2013 9:19 AM

    HERE’S WHY THERE’S NO POINT DISCUSSING THIS ABSURD PIECE BY MR. SENGUPTA: By Pakistan’s own admission, it was not involved in Kargil war. The head that Barkha saw was then that of a Mujahideen/infiltrator. As you cannot have your cake and eat it too, if Pakistan now takes up this case of beheading as that of its own soldier then it automatically agrees that it started the Kargil war – something it won’t ever own up to. So, why this Kolaveri?

    • Sam Veet permalink
      January 18, 2013 12:33 PM

      So you will absolve the Pakistan army of Kargil because it helps you make your point that it was not the Pakistani soldier whose head it was? Or are you too narrow minded and biased to admit that soldiers on our side are made of same flesh and blood as others are? or have they descended from heavens above?

  29. Abhinav permalink
    January 17, 2013 10:07 AM

    So an Admiral’s words hold more value than someone from the Army? I bet the Admiral was manuevring his boat in the waters of the Indus when the Indian Army was returning fire at the LoC!

    The Gorkha Regiment of the Indian Army is known to slit the throat of the enemy and behead it with his khukhri. But that is reserved for those killed in war and not to soldiers captured alive – and certainly not during cross border raids.

  30. Jay Kaul permalink
    January 17, 2013 2:25 PM

    Jay Kaul,
    I am shocked at the comments made by the Admiral. The Indian Army has very deeply imbibed culture of fighting wars like true soldiers and upholding its great traditions , respect for the rule of law and international treaties like Geneva Convention.
    For heavens sake do not contradict a soldier like Gen V P Malik. Surely he should know better than the Navy Admiral.
    If Barkha had been so sure about her facts , she would not have ignored this issue which was repeatedly raised during the debate.
    As a Veteran who has interacted with Veterans of Infantry who have actively been involved in wars with Pakistan , I can say this with a certain degree of confidence that an Indian soldier will NEVER indulge in such an barbaric act. Please do not denigrate your soldier.

  31. himanshu permalink
    January 17, 2013 3:28 PM

    writer should have given incidents other than kargil to prove admiral ramdas point…because kargil was not a ideal time to talk abt human rights issue.

    • zoya permalink
      January 17, 2013 10:50 PM

      if we all say that kargil war was not an ideal time to talk about human rights then surely americans bombing of hiroshima and nagasaki was very well justified. after all it was a bigger war, a world war.

  32. Satya permalink
    January 17, 2013 5:57 PM

    While the Kargil conflict was a LOC issue, Paki soldiers were involved with the ragamuffins, so reason why Paki soldiers present though no war declared by either country. This conflagration (not war except to bjp chamchas) was stopped under a truce by Vajpayee as elections nearby (then) and thought enough power to win, but LOST.
    They allowed the terrorists to walk thru 800 KMS of indian territory to reach Paki, and now crib of terrorism – no guts to have them shot dead right in between their march (Israel would have) thru Indian territory with Biryani & what not as elections some 3 months to go.

    These people trying to build a war like situation as military will always want it unless having mature heads at the time, for more spend and for out of power politicos it means firepower for votes.

    People like Barkha Dutt cannot do whatever they want to, as advised by their bosses on how to manage show, though it looks like they control, they don’t.

    An admiral chief will jolly well know what’s going on in Army & Air force, navy does not mean only boats like some stupid comments, if so, how come they have soldiers & helicopters & aircraft?
    People like Admiral Ramdas & Gen VK Singh ought to be saluted for theri uprightness, as nothing to hide and not scheming, except for some narrow minded people who call themselves bakhts, patriots to cover their hooliganism mindsets.
    Sydney J. Harris rightfully said “It is easier to be a “patriot” than to make your community a better place to live in.”

  33. Sant Kumar Sharma permalink
    January 18, 2013 8:49 AM

    I don’t know what to say. Beheading of militants by the troops was a regular occurrence, all through the years of militancy at peak. This used to happen when the encounters took place in forward areas of Kupwara, higher ranges of Doda, Poonch, Rajouri and elsewhere. The police officers sitting at the district headquarters, top Army officers sitting at Brigade or Div headquarters all needed proof of KILL(S). Carrying a body of an adversary killed in an encounter will mean the combatants who kiilled him in the first place will carry him on shoulders! The easy way (CONSIDERED right as well given the hostile terrain) was to bury the body at the encounter site, carry the head in the rucksack, wrapped in a polythene sheet. Or carry the right hand or the left hand of the KILL. … All these things have happened. Committed by both sides, BOTH, LET ME REPEAT. Ask those in the SF (Special Forces), who have operated in such conditions, seen colleagues getting killed and chased the killer, sometimes getting the better of them. And then killing them. WAR IS DIRTY. Be clear on that. I know it for sure this has HAPPENED, to soldiers on both sides as well. … just remained under the wraps … discussed only in MESS and LANGARS. Armed combatants do it to one another … and have done it all the time … for ordinary civilians, … the civilised world, there is always a SANITISED, sensible version or narrative that is presented … just so that the revulsion against WAR doesn’t get too shrill. Combatants are HUMANS, just like us all, meant to kill one another, in defence of their motherland … the values they cherish … so on and so forth … but they do inhuman acts.

  34. January 18, 2013 5:18 PM

    The buck starts with her and stops with her too…..

    • Satya permalink
      February 6, 2013 12:09 PM

      It looks like that, as they keep bending in the direction of the mood, in order to control their show. Risks and needs of their profession, otherwise she does a good job.

  35. Satya permalink
    January 19, 2013 12:30 AM

    Well said ex armyman Sant Kumar Sharma, but some dumb bustards will say your a paki and all that nonsense, trying their best to push the muck under the carpet.

    Time to be straightforward, as people cant be fooled all the time. All those stupid people with handles like Bakt, Desh Bakth, Patriot etc are chamchas of politicos or their friends/ relatives who get the droppings of bribes or better still deals (to make money under the table of course).

    • Sant Kumar Sharma permalink
      January 21, 2013 10:06 PM

      Just a small matter of detail. I am not an EX ARMYMAN. I am a journalist since October 9, 1990, when I had joined The Indian Express, Chandigarh. Since then, I have worked for The Statesman, The Times of India, Star News, Dainik Bhaskar, Naidunia etc.

  36. Sam Veet permalink
    January 19, 2013 11:28 AM

    It’s very interesting to see how many Indians are in denial over the above mentioned incident. All the comments begin with expressions like ‘if such an incident took place’. Never mind the fact that it is reported by an Indian national on the Indian side. You guys are quick to believe the Pakistani army carried out the ‘beheading’ (beheadings or beheading no one is still sure yet, both reports float) because your army tells you but are not willing to believe it could have happened on this side despite the eyewitness accounts of a non army observer.

    And for those of you who are drawing a contrast between the Kargil war and an LOC violation, why raise the mutilation of Saurabh Kalia then? He was a casualty of war too was he not?

    Double standards anyone? I guess it’s just not the Pakistanis who can be in denial.

  37. January 21, 2013 6:36 AM

    I dont understand the situation at all. Maybe because I was 12 at the time of the Kargil conflict. So if Barkha had published an article claiming she saw a Pak soldier’s head which means that the Indian army had committed such a brutal act, why was she silent during this interview? Is it out of a sense of patriotism (or jingoism according to the pseudo-secularists ) that she did not want to point out the fact that Indian soldiers had committed such atrocities as well? Or the fact that she knew her story to be false and fabricated and was afraid that someone would call her out on it? I strongly suspect the latter. Because if we had indeed committed such an act, a. It would have been mostly because “they” started it, as is the trend usually in these matters. and also b. Pak would have cried hoarse and would have taken to the International tribunal. Something seems fishy here. The media’s connections and leanings and biases should be investigated. Though I dont know who is responsible enough to do so..

  38. Vandana permalink
    January 21, 2013 1:44 PM

    1. There is no ‘alley’ behind the administrative offices where ‘trophies’ can be hung.
    2. No PR officer would show a journalist any such thing secretly and make such a sensational deal of it. He would be court marshalled by now.
    3. War is ugly, traditional or unconventional. To the point that UN offices had been shut down often for long durations.
    4. IA has a strict code and though ugly things happen in war, IA would honor the codes. If they had gone all out, problem would have solved by now.
    Questions:
    1. Do you believe that Pakistan only is to gain from this madness? Who is actually supporting their visible stance?
    2. Both India and Pakistan and India allowed “Divide and Rule ” to succeed before. Why are we not seeing the pattern here especially after a success phase India has had in recent years?

  39. Puja A.Jacob permalink
    January 25, 2013 1:59 PM

    Thanxs to media on both the sides the misconceptions are brought by the so called educated class. The discrepancies are present on the both the sides with politics involved. How do we actually have peace when people can’t satisfy their vested interests without disturbance between India and Pakistan.

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  1. In Multiples of Ten Ravanas « Kafila
  2. Indians Also Beheaded Pakistani Soldiers

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