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Ex-PTI scribe who witnessed freedom struggle, 3 wars turns 100 By Nikhil Deshmukh

Mumbai, Sep 20 (PTI) In his long career as a reporter, Walter Alfred has seen many things, including the launch of the Quit India movement, wars and the inside of a Pakistani jail.

Alfred, who had a long innings with the Press Trust of India (PTI) as a journalist, turns 100 on September 21.

He has covered many wars India has fought, including the 1962 war with China and the 1965 war with Pakistan.

Reminiscing about his reporting days at his house in Mira Road township on the outskirts of Mumbai, he said, ‘For me, the 1962 war with China was a painful memory as it deeply affected the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

‘The shock of China defying him was severe for him,’ he said.

Now, as Indian troops are once again locked in a stand-off with China, Alfred said back then, there was ‘no dearth of official information’ about the border developments.

There was a clear communication from the government and a detailed statement was made in Parliament, he said.

‘I covered several events with Nehru, including his visit to the Ahmednagar fort as prime minister. He excitedly showed me his cell and the places he was allowed to visit as a prisoner during the independence movement,’ he said.

The British had chosen the Ahmednagar fort to lodge Nehru and other national leaders to prevent intensification of the Quit India movement.

Among the more dramatic events of Alfred’s life was his incarceration in a jail in Pakistan during the 1965 Indo- Pak…


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