Citizens' Issues
Shastri's 50th death anniversary: Time to bury all controversies
January 11 will mark the 50th death anniversary of Shastri whose demise still remains shrouded in mystery
 
New Delhi : India's second Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, who succeeded Jawaharlal Nehru in June 1964, died in Tashkent soon after signing an agreement with President Ayub Khan of Pakistan, with Soviet Prime Minister Alexei Kosygin playing the mediatory role.
 
 
January 11 will mark the 50th death anniversary of Shastri whose demise still remains shrouded in mystery.
 
A few months ago, on September 26, 2015, in an interview to a TV channel, Anil Shastri, senior Congress leader and the elder surviving son of Lal Bahadur Shastri, demanded a thorough probe into the death of his illustrious father. Earlier, his younger brother Sunil wrote to union home minister to make public the files relating to the circumstances leading to the sudden death of their father.
 
The suspicion of Shastri dying an unnatural death would seem ridiculous. His family members only need to read the accounts of the Tashkent talks by the persons who had accompanied Shastri to the capital of Uzbekistasn. A day-to-day account of the Tashkent parlays and Shastri's engagements has been recorded in great detail in books authored by C.P. Srivastava, the joint secretary to the prime minister and Shastri's information advisor Kuldeep Nayar, as also Inder Malhotra and Prem Bhatia, who were among the eminent journalists who were part of the Indian entourage to Tashkent.
 
Shastri died in Tashkent at 1.32 a.m. (2.02 a.m. IST). According to Srivastava, on January 10 Shastri seemed to be particularly pleased with everything that had happened. At 4 p.m. he had signed the Tashkent declaration with Ayub Khan.
 
Srivastava left Shastriji at 10.30 p.m. to attend a press conference which had been convened by the Indian delegation to explain the Tashkent declaration to Indian and foreign correspondents. After this, he had just returned to his room when a call came from the prime minister's PA Jagannath Sahai, informing him that Shastri had been taken seriously ill. When he reached there, the prime minister was already dead.
 
In order to secure a first-hand version of what had happened in the prime minister's villa after his departure at 10.30 p.m. and his passing way at 1.32 a.m. - three hours later - Srivastava had long and detailed conversation with Sahai and M.M.N. Sharma, members of his personal staff, who were both present and were attending on Shastri until the moment of his death.
 
According to Srivastava's account, Sahai left Shastri's room at about 11.30 p.m. and then Ram Nath, the personal attendant, brought some milk which the prime minister drank. Ram Nath stayed on in Shastri's bedroom until half past midnight and left the room when the prime minister, who was already lying in bed, said that it was time for him to sleep. 
 
Sahai and Sharma were about to retire when, suddenly at 1.20 a.m., the prime minister appeared at the door of their bedroom and asked: 'Where is the doctor?' Jagannath Sahai answered: 'Babuji he is asleep right here. You may kindly return to your bedroom. I will bring the doctor immediately.' 
 
Sharma and Kapur got up to accompany Shastri back to his room. They both held the prime minister's arms but the prime minister walked back on his own. When about half way there, he began to cough and thereafter went on coughing incessantly. When they got to his bed, Sharma and Kapur asked the prime minister to lie down, which he did. 
 
Dr. Chugh and Sahai came running in, the doctor carrying his medicine cases. He checked the prime minister's pulse and gave him an injection. At the same time the doctor uttered the following words in deep anguish and despair: 'Babuji, aap ne mujhe mouka nahin diya.' (Babuji, you did not give me a chance). Dr Chugh continued massaging his chest and gave him artificial respiration, but nothing proved to be of any avail. 
 
Kuldip Nayar said he met Shastri for the last time on January 10 at the reception given by the Indian embassy in the prime minister's honour. Shastri told him that the return journey would be early because Ayub Khan had invited him to have tea with him at Rawalpindi. 
 
According to Nayar's autobiography Shastri had asked him to ascertain the reaction of the Indian press to the Tashkent Declaration. At the press conference earlier, he had been 'rudely' questioned on why he had agreed to hand Hajipir and Tithwal back to Pakistan. In India, leading opposition stalwarts like Ram Manohar Lohia, A.B. Vajpayee and Acharya Kriplani had strongly condemned the agreement.
 
Nayar further states that Jagan Nath connected Shastri to his family at around 11 pm Tashkent time. Shashtri asked Kusum, his eldest and favourite daughter: 'Tum ko kaisa laga? (How did you react to it?)' She replied: `Babuji, hamein achha nahin laga (I did not like it' . He asked about amma, as Lalita Shastri was referred to in the house. `She too did not like it', was Kusum's reply. Shastri observed: 'Agar gharwalon ko achha nahin laga, to bahar wale kya kahengae? (If people in the family did not like it, what will outsiders say?
 
The telephone call, according to Jagan Nath, appeared to have upset Shastri. He began pacing up and down in his room. For one who had suffered two heart attacks earlier, the telephone conversation, the journalists' attitude, and the walk must have been a strain.
 
Nayar had asked Morarji Desai towards the end of October 1970 whether he really believed that Shastri did not die a natural death. Desai said: "That is all politics. I am sure there was no foul play. He died of a heart attack. I have checked with the doctor and his secretary, C.P. Srivastava, who accompanied him to Tashkent."
 
This month, while celebrating the 50th anniversary of 1965 war, the country will recall the outstanding leadership of Shastri during the war and his slogan of Jai Jawan Jai Kisan. It is best to bury all such unnecessary controversies, forever.
 
That will be the best tribute to a true Gandhian who never thought ill of anybody. He won't have us think ill of anybody. This is the legacy the Shastri family must preserve.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Wearing army pattern dresses 'illegal', cannot be fashion: Army
Chandigarh : With terrorists adopting the modus operandi of wearing army fatigues to mislead people about their identity, the Indian Army on Friday asked people not to wear army-pattern dresses.
 
Use of army uniform and equipment is not only illegal, but cannot be "a fashion statement", the spokesman said.
 
"Avoid wearing army pattern dresses. It is illegal," an army spokesman said here on Wednesday, adding people should follow this in the national interest.
 
"Private security agencies, police and other central forces are also requested not to wear combat pattern dresses as it is not authorised and leads to false alarms," the spokesman said.
 
Suspected Pakistani terrorists who launched a pre-dawn attack on the Pathankot air base in Punjab on Saturday had come attired in army fatigues.
 
The terror attack left six terrorists and seven security personnel dead. All assets of the Indian Air Force (IAF) at the air base, including fighter jets, attack helicopters and other equipment, as well as families of personnel were secure.
 
The spokesman said that sale of army uniforms by shopkeepers, happening freely across the country, to unauthorised persons was also illegal.
 
"Shopkeepers should not sell combat cloth, army uniforms or army equipment. All traders and shopkeepers interested in selling these may approach the local military authority and request for shops in units/cantonments approved areas/shops. It is illegal to sell army uniforms to unauthorised persons," he said.
 
The spokesman said relatives of the armed forces personnel and ex-Servicemen have also been requested not to use items of uniform which they may be having as they could create false reports. "It is illegal," he added.
 
The army has asked police and civil administration to check and crackdown on defaulters.
 
The advisory comes in the wake of the Pathankot and the Dinanagar incidents (on July 27 in Gurdaspur district of Punjab). In both the incidents, Pakistani terrorists came dressed in army fatigues.
 
The spokesman said anyone not authorised to wear the army pattern dresses and roaming around could lead to a scare in areas where there is apprehension of a terror strike.
 
"The army and the police keep getting information of suspicious activities of persons having been seen carrying rucksacks and wearing combat pattern dress associated with armed forces," he said. 
 
"While during incidents such as in Pathankot, it has resulted in elimination of terrorists, in most cases these have turned out to be misleading and caused inconvenience to the people at large."
 
"We deeply regret the inconvenience caused but then these operations are inescapable to ensure your safety and security," he said.
 
The army has also appealed to the youth to use social media to spread awareness and start a campaign to prevent misuse of army uniform and equipment "as fashion statement".
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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COMMENTS

Sanjay Sinvhal

1 year ago

Being an army man myself, I feel insulted when I see every tom, dick & harry wearing armed forces uniform with utter disdain just to score brownie points. Pvt security guards are the worst culprits. Govt should make law which punished heavily anyone who is found to be wearing armed forces, para military, or any govt forces uniform. Thats the only way to bring some sanity to this madness & ape culture.

SC gives centre six weeks to appoint three central information commissioners
New Delhi : The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to appoint three information commissioners, within six weeks, from among the applicants who responded to two advertisements issued in 2014 and a notification issued on September 9, 2015.
 
Giving six weeks time as sought by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi for making the appointments, a bench of Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and Justice C. Nagappan said: "We have given you the time you have asked for, please try to make sure appointments are made."
 
The court directed the listing of the matter after six weeks as counsel Prashant Bhushan, appearing for respondent R.K.Jain, told it that the central government had made a similar statement before the Delhi High Court also but actually made just one appointment of information commissioner as the senior most information commissioner was elevated as Chief Information Commissioner.
 
"Despite several clear assurances given to the Delhi High Court, they did not appoint and left three vacancies," he said. At this, Justice Khehar reassuringly told him that now the matter was before the apex court.
 
At the outset of the hearing, Attorney General Rohatgi referring to section 12 of the Right to Information Act, 2005 told the court that the RTI act envisages "maximum of 10" central information commissioners as may be necessary and not the ten posts of the information commissioners. 
 
Apparently unimpressed by the submission, Justice Khehar observed then "you can have one, two or even none".
 
"Technically, the answer is yes," Rohatgi said adding that things don't happen that way.
 
Despite doubt expressed by Bhushan about the seriousness with which the central government was going about the matter, the court agreed to give six weeks' time as the attorney general said that all those who had applied in pursuance to two advertisements issued in 2014 and in the wake of September 9 notification would be considered to fill the three vacancies.
 
The central government had moved the apex court challenging the Delhi Court's November 6, 2015 verdict asking it to appoint three information commissioners within six weeks from the 553 applications who had applied for the post in pursuance to the February 25 and July 16, 2014 advertisements.
 
"The selection process pursuant to the circular dated September 9, 2015, shall be confined for selection and appointment of the Chief Information Commissioner in the vacancy that would arise with effect from December 2, 2015, and one information commissioner which is likely to arise with effect from December 2, 2015," it had said.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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