Military & Aerospace

Honouring Braves and Sleeping with Terrorists
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 14 Oct , 2019

Indian-American Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal, posted as Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy, was shot dead on September 28 while on duty. According to a senior police officer, Dhaliwal, who was in his early 40s, died after being shot multiple times from behind in a “ruthless, cold-blooded way” during a traffic stop in the US state of Texas. In 2015, Dhaliwal had made history by becoming the first Sikh police officer in Texas allowed to wear the traditional turban and beard in accordance the Sikh faith while on duty. The NRG Stadium in Houston, where ‘Howdy Modi’ event was held on September 22, was packed to full capacity by people who paid homage to Deputy Dhaliwal. Thousands attended his farewell conducted with full ceremonials.

The shooter, 47-year-old Robert Solis, a fugitive since 2017 with extensive criminal history has been apprehended. Solis was caught on surveillance video trying to throw away the Glock 45 caliber semi automatic gun used in the murder. The weapon was recovered in the parking lot of the business where Solis was taken into custody about a quarter of a mile away from where Dhaliwal was shot. According to officials, Solis had called friends after the shooting and told them he just shot a deputy and needed to be picked up.

Robert Solis was charged with capital murder; of Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal. The judge set no bond at his first court hearing, saying, “The nature of the allegations involved in this case and the manner at which the murder was carried out indicate to me that Mr. Solis is severe and immediate danger to the community at large.” Considering the pace of the US criminal justice system, Solis in all probability would be awarded the death sentence soon.

Compare the above to Yasin Malik, separatist-terrorist of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) shooting dead four Indian Air Force personnel on the outskirts of Srinagar on January 25, 1990; Squadron Leader Ravi Khanna, Corporal DB Singh, Corporal Uday Shankar and Airman Azad Ahmad. The deliberate terror attack was well planned, cold-blooded and ruthless; 27 AK-47 bullets were pumped into then 38-year old Squadron Leader Khanna, while other too received multiple bullets and died on the spot.

In 1989, Malik was an accused in the kidnapping of Rubaiya Saeed, daughter of then Union Home Minister Muft Mohammed Saeed, which later was suspected as a conspiracy involving the Union Home Minister himself in order to facilitate the release of  five dreaded terrorists who were in jail. These terrorists were freed in exchange of Rubaiya. 14 years later in February 2014, JKLF Vice Chairman Javed Mir admitted to have carried out Rubaiya’s abduction assisted by Yasin Malik and Ashfaq Wani.

Past several years, Rubaiya continues to stay with her family in the posh neighbourhood of Tarapore Avenue of Harrington Road in Chetpet, Chennai and provided round the clock protection by five-man guard from the Tamil Nadu Armed Police. All this while Rubaiya’s elder sister Mahbooba Mufti, former J&K Chief Minister, continues to spew venom against India, supported by Pakistan occupied J&K (PoJK)-based Hizbul Mujahideen. Mahbooba’s daughter Iltija claims her mother is not a terrorist but Mehbooba’s actions and statements qualify her more than an over-ground terrorist.

Yasin Malik was captured by security forces in an encounter in August 1990. He was charge-sheeted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) before the TADA court in Jammu on August 31, 1990, in connection with the above killings. But that is when India’s ‘deep state’ took over. Malik was quietly released on bail on grounds of ‘ill health’ in May 1994. Yet, the terrorist who should have been hanged after speedy trial was free to travel abroad; granted visa any time and to any foreign destination.

On February 17, 2006, Yasin Malik called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at his official residence (sic); on whose recommendations – Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Direcor IB or Director R&AW? Manmohan Singh received him with a smile, all of which is well documented. Yasin Malik later featured on BBC’s ‘Hard Talk’ where he boasted to Tim Sebastian how he had gunned down the four IAF personnel in January 1990.  In February 2013, Yasin Malik was seen sharing the dais with Hafiz Saeed, chief of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in an anti-India rally in Islamabad.

Mrs Shalini Khanna, wife of Squadron Leader Ravi Khanna, and next of kin of other IAF personnel killed by Yasin Malik were left to fend for themselves, with Government of India refusing to accept the braves gunned down as martyrs. Compare this with how the Indian Government also headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister honoured personnel of the Mumbai ATS (and their next of kin) gunned down by terrorists during the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attacks, without the ATS firing a single shot. Personnel of the ATS were even awarded gallantry awards.

Mrs Khanna recently told media, “Yasin Malik not only murdered my husband but also killed my mother-in-law, my father-in-law and my mother. My two children lost their childhood. Our happiness was snatched away in a second. This terrorist turned our world upside down.” A TADA court on September 7 issued non-bailable warrants against Yasin Malik and others involved the killing of four IAF personnel in January 1990 but he could not be produced in court (?). The next date of hearing has been set for October 23.  How long the case will drag on is anybody’s guess despite the bullshit of special courts and speedy trials!

Mrs Shalini Khanna had taken up a case for her husband’s name to be included in the National War Memorial. This was reportedly approved by Air Headquarters in last week September and the name of Squadron Leader Ravi Khanna has been engraved in the memorial. Hopefully, names of Corporal DB Singh, Corporal Uday Shankar and Airman Azad Ahmad have also been engraved in the National War Memorial. If not, this must be done forthwith without awaiting their next of kin to represent, who may or may not be in a position to do so.

The question remains how long is India going to ignore its braves other than politicians eulogizing them for the sole purpose of increasing respective vote bank? How long will our politicians continue to sleep with terrorist? MK Dhar, former joint director IB wrote in his book ‘Open Secrets – India’s Intelligence Unveiled’ published in 2005 that Zail Singh as Union Home Minister was entertaining Punjab terrorists in his official residence, also funding and arming them. Congress didn’t know what to do with him (why not – that a qualification for post of President of india?), so they kicked him up, made him President and his bedroom and office in Rashtrapati Bhavan was bugged throughout his term as President.

Manmohan Singh also wanted India to withdraw from Saltoro Range in Siachen in order to grab a Nobel Peace Prize, as mentioned by Sanjay Baru in his book ‘The   Accidental Prime Minister’. Of what use are the qualifications in economics, authoring books and the honour accorded by Harvard, when stabbing one’s own country is of no concern. For all the talk of converting Siachen to a ‘peace mountain’ and all the veteran yes-men in the Indo-Pak Track II so recommending, not one bothered about the where the next defence line would be and the grave adverse strategic disadvantage India would face.

Finally, can the Modi Government ensure speedy trial of Yasin Malik for killing four IAF personnel some 30 years ago and hang him? Let us also not have the usual drama of allowing thousands of gun-toting rats at his burial. Ironically in India, criminal charges against politicians are considered enhancing their winability chances. That is why political parties prop up more of this category in elections. That is why their numbers are increasing in the Parliament. For that matter, in releasing certain politicians in J&K rather than prosecuting them and giving chance to new younger leaders to emerge, do we really believe zebras can change their stripes?

The above are only few examples and perhaps tip of the iceberg. There are plenty politician with cross border links and/or using hawala. The issues need serious introspection; especially by those harping on ‘nationalism’ without actually knowing what it actually constitutes.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Lt Gen Prakash Katoch

is a former Lt Gen Special Forces, Indian Army

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5 thoughts on “Honouring Braves and Sleeping with Terrorists

  1. Thank you Sir, for letting me put myself in the shoes of respected Mrs. Khanna ji and feel the pain, betrayal of a nation towards its own countrymen and women. I am utterly heartbroken. The more quickly the country is made aware of the communist hegemony and the immeasurable damage it has caused for decades, the easier it will be to see the things as they truly are.

  2. The General’s Article accuses many of of acts akin to treason against the state but surprisingly all are roaming around free .

    Why ?

    The General needs to answer this question in respect to all the individuals mentioned in his insinuating article.

    Doesn’t the General have faith in our Law and the Administrative machinery or the Constitution.

    And what does this Article aims to achieve? what?

    The General, an extremely respected soldier needs to be reminded that there are skeletons in cupboards of nearly all Politicians, some very very heinous and shameful too.

    Wasn’t destruction of Babri an act of treason, under the benevolent and supportive gaze of Rajmata, Vajpayee, Advani , Uma B and scores of others who today are lawmakers.

    Babri created the great divide once more and they all are/ have roamed around as free citizens. WHY?

    • Do read the book ‘Open Secrets – India’s Intelligence Unveiled’ by MK Dhar, former joint director IB about the Babri demolition inquiry and the tapes in archives of the IB for some interesting insights.

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