Virendra Kapoor

Look at it any which way, and it is SAD.

It is about the Chattisinghpora massacre. And just why were the 36 Sikhs killed?

Because, you see, there weren't any Hindus available.

That's right. The Sikhs became targets when the Inter Services Intelligence-trained mercenaries failed to penetrate the extraordinarily tight security cordon thrown by the army all over Jammu and Kashmir apprehending just such an attack to coincide with US President Bill Clinton's visit.

Intelligence experts have pieced together the sequence of events. And there is incontrovertible that the ISI had planned a huge strike in Clinton's honour. That was why the Indian army and paramilitary forces had taken abundant precautions to secure villages and towns dominated by the Hindus, since the latter alone were mostly singled out for attacks hitherto.

On the other hand, intelligence officials were fully aware of the relationship between some Sikhs of Chattisinghpora and the militants.

To put it simply, the Sikhs in the village were not hostile to the militants and vice versa.

Aware of this relationship, the security forces did not make foolproof arrangements for Chattisinghpora. But, failing to strike elsewhere thanks to the security measures, the mercenaries and their masters across the Line of Control got desperate. Finally, as Clinton touched down in New Delhi, a very frustrated ISI ordered the militants holed up in the mountains near Chattisinghpora to target the Sikhs.

The intelligence agencies had intercepted a message from the ISI to the Kashmiri group responsible for the massacre. It said: "To phir dhadiwallon ko hi ley lo [In that case, target those supporting the beard]."

Small talk at high table

When the heads of state come calling what do they talk with their hosts?

Matters of state are mostly settled beforehand. Agreements and treaties formally initialled on such visits are finalised in advance in backdoor meetings by bureaucrats. Therefore, it isn't all business on such visits.

Like ordinary folks, small talk too forms an important part of their exchanges with the hosts, especially at the high banquet table.

If Clinton learnt about the anti-diabetic properties of papaya from, of all the people, Sonia Gandhi, Nigerian President Olusegun Obosanjo vastly improved his knowledge of Bollywood films at a banquet thrown by External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh a few weeks ago.

In New Delhi, Obosanjo found himself sharing the high table with Singh and Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley. The visiting president veered the conversation to his passion for Hindi films and told Singh that Bollywood movies were the most popular in his country.

Then he began to reel off the Hindi movies he had seen. At this stage, an embarrassed Singh admitted that he knew precious little of Bollywood cinema. But not to worry, he said, Jaitley was a great film buff. Whereupon Obosanjo turned to Jaitley and told him how in his youth he wouldn't miss a Shammi Kapoor film. He regretted that since joining active politics he did not get time to indulge in his passion.

It turned out that the Nigerian president's knowledge about Bollywood films was frozen in a time warp. For, he only talked about the heroines and heroes of the '60s and '70s.

"Sanjeev Kumar is a great actor. But one man I would really like to meet in person is Raj Kapoor," the president announced.

Jaitley pondered over Obosanjo's remark for a second before breaking it gently to him that both the star actor and the super showman were long dead.

Besotted fans, these

Inderjit Khullar, journalist-cum-politician, who had once won over Gurkha leader Subash Ghisingh to get a temporary perch in the Lok Sabha, was ticked off by Clinton's security detail.

Khullar, always after some politician or the other, was told by an American security officer in the central hall of Parliament not to "engage the President's eyes any further."

And when Clinton was leaving the hall after his address, Khullar was rudely pushed aside by the same detail even as he tried to grab the president by his upper arm.

Khanna proposes, Clinton disposes

Film star turned politician Vinod Khanna might have helped harden Bill Clinton's attitude towards Pakistan!

In Parliament, as Clinton pressed eager hands, Khanna leapt over rows of benches to extend his for a shake. And as he reached to touch Clinton, Khanna shouted:

"Hey, Bill, you must warn Pakistan. Tell Musharraf to behave..."

Khanna is now mighty pleased that Clinton did what he was asked him to.

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