Are Army and MHA on a collision course? Is there a difference in opinion among them? Well the events in the past few days leading upto today seem to confirm this. On one hand the home secretary, Madhukar Gupta, goes on record to dismiss reports of heavy influx of infiltrators in J&K, which were being run in section of the electronic media. And lo and behold, just a few days later, the Army conducts a press conference of a militant caught near Gurez, who announces that there were nearly 120 militants waiting to cross the LC and that there were 31 of them who crossed over the India. This take the fizz out of the comments made by the home secretary who was at pains to suggest that the reports of electronic media were exaggerated. He had pointed out that he and the defence secretary had visited the valley and had been briefed on the issue and that the actual number of militants waiting to cross over was very low. but the manner in which the press conference was conducted, and the fact that select television news channels were represented by their reporters all the way from Delhi, seems to suggest that the event had been planned in such a manner that it deliberately contradicted what the MHA was saying. And the Delhi reporters were tipped off in advance of the conference so that they placed themselves in Srinagar a day in advance.
Anyway, these silly games apart, this brings us to the question as to who is right, the Army or the MHA? And why is there a sharp difference of opinion on the facts and figures. Is MHA playing down the numbers or is Army hyping them up? To add to the merry go round, the defence minister is hopping across to the valley to take a first hand look at the situation. The ball now seems to be in the court of P. Chidambaram and his babus.