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Pilf 2018: Ugly truth about Kargil War must be told, says journalist Harinder Baweja

This is the foremost duty of journalists, Baweja said, while replying to a student’s query on why the lapses and missteps of the armed forces are kept in the dark under the garb of national security.

pune Updated: Sep 30, 2018 17:06 IST
Nadeem Inamdar
Nadeem Inamdar
Hindustan Times, Pune
pune,maharashtra,harinder baweja
(From left) Journalist Harinder Baweja; Air Commodore Nitin Sathe, and Rachna Bisht, moderator, at Yashada on Saturday,(HT Photo)

Harinder Baweja, who was among the journalists who covered the Kargil War, on Saturday said that the Indian Army “is not a holy cow” and the lapses on its part must not be kept secret, but brought out into the open in the public domain.

This is the foremost duty of journalists, Baweja said, while replying to a student’s query on why the lapses and missteps of the armed forces are kept in the dark under the garb of national security.

Baweja, who is the editor, special projects at Hindustan Times, was participating in a discussion on Kargil, moderated by Rachna Bisht and Air Commodore Nitin Sathe at the Pune International Literary Festival 2018. The event was held at the Yashwantrao Chavan academy for development administration in Baner.

Baweja said that the truth must be reported in the national interest. “ We as journalists will keep doing it and have to bring out the truth related to the ugly nature of war. Hard questions regarding the war need to be asked to the government,” she said.

The senior journalist spoke of why she wrote the book Kargil: The Inside Story and narrated her experiences of visiting the Lashkar –e –Toiba (LET) headquarters in Muridke, Pakistan.

“I did not fear them as I knew that it was a guided tour and there were people who managed the tour and kept a tab on the entire thing,” she said.

Baweja is the only Indian journalist to have been allowed to visit Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the global headquarters of LET, where the captured terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab of the Mumbai attacks had received training.

Regarding the Kargil War and her book, she spoke of the strong emotional memories related to the conflict. “One question that kept troubling me was what was happening in the heights? Why were soldiers dying such brutal deaths? I have seen the disfigured bodies of the army men being brought down and even the army persons were not able to identify their near and dear ones who were with them. It shows the level of brutality. I went back to Kargil and recreated the inside story of Kargil for the people of India,” she said.

First Published: Sep 30, 2018 17:04 IST