Off the Record

Police off the radar

Global Positioning System (GPS) is being  fitted in all VVIP choppers. The well-nourished and well-protected political masters are, however, not sparing the same flying machines (minus GPS) for the hapless policemen who are locked in a life and death battle with the Left-wing extremists. Last Thursday, hordes of bleeding cops at Gadchiroli in Maharashtra kept on requesting their bosses for the quick air-lifted reinforcement while fighting about 300 Maoists. Even as life ebbed out of many critically injured cops and several others, choppers did not arrived at the venue.

The incident is particularly galling as the Centre seeks to freshly brace to ‘wipe-out’ Maoists under a new strategy. According to reports, 24 hours before Red guerrillas ambushed a group of 40-odd police personnel — killing 17 of them at Laheri in Gadchiroli — a Congress candidate for Assembly had landed to address an election rally not far from the site where the cops were killed.

Cops believe that the arrival of ‘the promised helicopter’ could have averted the massacre and saved lives of policemen. Apparently ‘the sanctioned helicopters’ are yet to be delivered to the police. To rub salt on fresh wounds, Maharashtra Home Minister Jayant Patil reached Gadchiroli by a helicopter “to console the grieving families”!

No wonder, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has admitted that the government has failed to effectively tackle the Red-threat in the last several years. ‘The master and slave’ relationship would not work, at least under current ‘circumstances’. But it is ‘business as usual’.

Deepak K Upreti, New Delhi

Shotgun’s U-turn on Big B
Reams of newsprint have gone into highlighting the potshot Shatrughan Sinha took every time at Amitabh Bachchan. But now, the BJP MP from Patna Sahib has matured and put the ego clash with Big B on the backburner.

Speaking on the sidelines of a book release function, Shotgun showered encomiums on his friend-turned-foe with whom he featured last in the early 80s in Yash Johar’s ‘Dostana’.

Seems the actor-turned-politician, who returned the ‘mithai’ box — which the Superstar had sent to him after Abhishek’s wedding — and had made snide remarks about Big B during UP poll campaign, has undergone a change of heart after his twin sons — Luv and Kush, and daughter Sonakshi joined the Bollywood bandwagon. Or is it the new-found ‘dostana’ (friendship) with Amar Singh which made him do a U-turn?
Abhay Kumar, Patna

Flood of opportunities
Chief Minister Yeddyurappa and his band of loyalists have been roaming the streets of Bangalore to urge the common man to share the burden of the government in rehabilitating the flood-hit people of north Karnataka. In their exuberance and enthusiasm to help, the band of followers have readily put their minds and bodies on the line. Just before the CM began his fund collection ‘yatra’, the bandwagon was more than happy to pose for flash bulbs for some much needed publicity.

BJP MLC Bharathi Shetty was at the receiving end due to Transport Minister R Ashok’s exuberance to milk the situation. Ashok unwittingly put Shetty’s body on the line as he wanted to make the most of an invaluable photo opportunity.

Ashok and Bharathi Shetty were posing for photographers with the collection boxes when an idea struck the minister. For Shetty it was a case of the minister’s idea striking her head as Ashok dumped the tin collection box on the MLC’s head. Only it was a little too forceful, which stung the MLC enough for her to utter a few choicest words against the minister.

Kaushik Chakravarthy, Bangalore

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