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ನೂರೆಂಟು ಸುಳ್ಳು (nUreMTu suLLu)

You may not be a "Dhrutharashtra", but we want to be the Sanjaya for you!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Crocodile Tears?

Damayanti Tambay is the wife of Flt.Lt.Vijay Vasant Tambay a pilot officer in the Indian Air Force. During the 1971 war, while on a military mission in Pakistan, Mr.Tambay's plane was hit. Damayanti heard over the radio that her husband had been captured by Pakistan. Later, there was also a report in a Pakistani newspaper that mentioned the capturing of an Indian Air Force pilot with the name "Tombay".

After the war finally ended and India and Pakistan signed the Shimla Agreement in July 1972, prisoners of war were released to their motherlands. However, Mr.Tambay was not one of the released prisoners. He has not been released till now.

As per Indian government there are 54 prisoners of war missing (or still) in Pakistan. Pakistan, however, denies that they have any prisoners in their jails.

Meanwhile, the relatives of these POW have kept their vigil. They keep meeting the Indian government officials and political leaders to put pressure on Pakistan to release the prisoners of war still languishing in Pakistani jails.

Are these POW still in Pakistani jail? We don't know. What about Fl.Lt. Vijay Tambay? Again, we have no idea. All we know is his wife Damayanti still believes that he is being held in the Pakistani prison.

Mr.Bhat has written two articles about Damayanti's plight. Want to read them? You know what to do: Click here and here.

In order to prove that Vijay Tambay was in the Pakistani prison, Mr.Bhat provides two bits of evidence: 1) a Time magazine article that mentions Tambay's name and 2) a book by Victoria Schofield, a senior BBC London reporter that again mentions Tambay's name.

As usual Mr.Bhat is upto his game in both the above "evidences" he mentions in his article.

It appears that Time magazine article does not actually mention Vijay Tambay's name. In fact, in that issue of the article there is a picture identified as an Indian prisoner of war. The relatives of that man believe that it is actually Major A.K.Ghosh who was earlier declared as killed in the war. (Sources: The Tribune & The Telegraph)

As far as Victoria Schofield's book, again, there appears to be no mention of Tambay's name.
From Organizer:
A book published in 1980 from Lahore titled Bhutto—Trial and Execution written by Victoria Schofield, a senior BBC London reporter, covering the period of 1978 when Mr. Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, was detained in Kot Lakhpat jail, Lahore (page No. 59) reads: “(Bhutto’s) cell separated from a barrack area by a 10 foot high wall, did not prevent him from hearing horrific shrieks and screams at midnight from the other side of the wall. One of Bhutto’s lawyers made enquiries amongst the jail staff and ascertained that they were in fact Indian prisoners of war who had been rendered delinquent and mental during the course of the 1971 war.” “Fifty odd lunatics were lodged in the ward next to mine. Their screams and shrieks in the dead of night are something I will not forgot,” wrote former Pakistan Prime Minister, Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto, referring to Indian prisoners of war of 1965 and 1971 who were kept in a cell next to his in Kot Lakhpat prison.

For Damayanti and other relatives of the POW, the above two are two more bits of "evidence" to believe that their loved ones could still be languishing in the Pakistani jail. But, note that both of them clearly do not mention "Tambay" by name.

For Mr.Bhat those "evidences" were not good enough. His narration needed a more stronger evidence. And of course, he fabricated them.

Even though in the first article, Mr.Bhat mentions that Damayanti and Vijay got married in 1970 and Vijay left for the war in December of 1971, and even mentions about their 20 day honeymoon in Kashmir, in the second article he changes all that to a week of married life ("maduveyAgi kai hiDidu oMdu vAra saMsAra mADida").

In the second article Mr.Bhat also mentions about Mohanlal Bhaskar an Indian spy who was tortured in the Pakistani jail for 17 years. ("hadinELu varsha"). In truth, Bhaskar was in Pakistani jails between 1968 t0 1974. (Source: Again Organizer and the Times of India)

(Note: To be fair, both of the above could be typographical errors. But with a track record like the one Mr.Bhat has, it is very difficult to dismiss these as mere typographical errors. We report. You decide.)

In both the articles, Mr.Bhat excoriates every one for being "hard hearted". As usual politicians and ministers are paid special attention. ("avaLa duHka avara edeyalli toTTu kanikaravannU mUDisilla") He further asks whether any one member of the parliament asked a single question in the noisy-market called the parliament ("saMsatteMba saMtekaTTeyalli") about the plight of Damayanti. He then firmly answers his own question - No.

We do not know whether the Indian parliament is a noisy-market ("saMtekaTTe") or not. We also do not know whether any MP has ever asked a question in parliament specifically about Tambay or Damayanti. But, we found that the topic of Indian POWs in Pakistani jails has been raised many a times in the Parliament. For example, please take a look here, here, here, here, here , here and here.

Should there be more discussion? We don't know. But, in our opinion the picture Mr.Bhat provides about the Indian Parliament and the Indian MPs is unfair.

The second article about Damayanti Tambay was published in the last week of September 2004. Immediately following that article, in the first week of October 2004, Mr.Bhat writes a very flattering profile of George Fernandes. In that article, he mentions about spending five hours only a few days back with the former Defence Minister of India.

For all the chest beating and heaping of scorns on the politicians, when he gets a chance spend 5 hours with Mr.Fernandes, does he ask the former Defence Minister about Tambay? Sadly, readers never find out. Tambay was last week's news.

Crocodile tears?!

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