In an unprecedented order, the Armed Forces Tribunal has said the Kargil war history is inaccurate and asked the Army to give a true picture of how the battle was won.
<b1>In a judgment delivered on Wednesday, the Tribunal said a top general had distorted a subordinate’s performance reports, which went into the writing of the war history. It asked the Army to expunge the then 15 Corps commander Lt Gen Kishan Pal’s assessment of Brigadier Devinder Singh, who led the Batalik-based 70 Infantry Brigade. The Tribunal said Pal held a bias against Singh.
“I won’t apologise... My assessment was unbiased. Some people don’t perform in war and later say they’re aggrieved,” Pal said. He added that when progress was made in the last 7-8 days in Batalik, Singh was nowhere in the sector.
But the Tribunal said it couldn’t trust Pal’s report. It asked the Army to remove certain portions of an After Action Report prepared by the 15 Corps that claimed Singh did not have overall command of the brigade.
Wearing the hat of an enemy commander, Singh had predicted the pattern of the Kargil intrusions during a war game at the Srinagar-based 15 Corps in April 1999.
Pal trashed his projections. Singh was later proved right. Also, Singh told then army chief Gen VP Malik 600 Pakistani troops had intruded. Pal insisted there were only 45 militants.
Singh said Pal was annoyed by the “difference in assessment” and tried to “belittle” him and gave credit to another officer, Brigadier Ashok Dugal.
In the review, Pal claimed success came about “by superimposing Brigadier Ashok Dugal, Deputy General Officer Commanding, 3 Infantry Division”. But Maj Gen VS Budhwar, GOC 3 Infantry Division, clarified that Dugal was called in only to “assist and coordinate” and Singh was “in charge”.
Singh was recommended for a Maha Vir Chakra, the second-highest wartime gallantry award, but was instead given a peace-time medal. Hailing the Tribunal “for showing courage to deliver justice”, Singh said: “One feels vindicated.”
“This is at the level of Brig Singh and the Corps Hq Passing judgment on the army and suggesting the entire war history was fudged is unfair,” said Malik.