<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two officers in the Military Nursing Services (MNS), the only all women corps of the army, have challenged discriminatory practices by the army in the Supreme Court (SC) and have sought restoration of their status, dignity and service conditions as officers of the Regular Army.In their petition, MNS officers Lieutenant Colonel Uma Kaushik and Captain Harpreet Kaur sought parity with officers in the army on various grounds. In their prayer, the officers have listed at least 13 grounds where discriminatory practices were observed. They include orders where nurses of senior ranks would not be saluted by junior ranked officers. Hence, though a MNS officer may be a Major General in uniform, a jawan will not salute her.The petitioners are of the opinion that the core consideration of the case stems from the prejudice they face, based on an obsolete and backward notion that nurses are inferior to other professionals. In their petition, they said they believe the heart of the matter is that doctors and male officers find it unpalatable that they are required to treat nursing officers in accordance with their status and rank.This petition is similar to a 2015 writ petition filed by Major General (Retd) Usha Sikdar on behalf of Military Nursing Service Corps Association in which a notice was issued to the army. It is interesting to note that since hearing in December, 4, 2015, the matter has not come up again in the top court.Known as the Florence Nightingales of the Indian Army, MNS officers have been seeking redressal for over a decade now. The petitioners believe that discriminatory practices were introduced after a 2003 SC judgement in Jasbir Kaur’s case, where an unfortunate one line observation made by the Bench stated, “That the Indian Military Nursing Service is a separate class, sui generis even though an auxiliary force of the Indian Military, is an undeniable fact.”Over the years, the nurses allege that they were discriminated against on at least 13 grounds that included discontinuation of arms training, change in uniform, stripping of stars and flags from vehicles and verbal instructions to stop saluting MNS officers among others.According to the petition, the Army, vide letter no. B/42706/MNS/AG/CW-1 09.02.2004, changed the olive green shirt and pants (like other officers in the Army) worn by the officers in the MNS to safari style beige colour uniform. This, the officers allege, was discriminatory and a grave gender injustice.IN 2005, the Chief of the Army Staff (CoAS) disallowed the display of star plates and flying of flags by officers in the MNS of the rank of Brigadier and Major general on their official vehicles. In 2008, the CoAS wrote to the Cabinet Secretary against granting the same pay band and grade pay to officers in the MNS as for the other service officers as recommended by the 6th Central Pay Commission.After 2004, MNS officers have been denied membership and access to exclusive army clubs and institutes and accommodation has been segregated. The 6th Pay Commission recommended parity in time-scale promotions, a notification that has not yet been implemented.In their petition, the two officers further allege that there has been an attempt to take away their commissioned rank. In her blog titled Fall of Nightingales – the tale of a losing battle, Maj Gen Sikdar wrote that a 10-member committee, headed by then army director-general of discipline, ceremonial and welfare, Lt Gen MG Girish recommended that MNS ranks be changed to Sister, Senior Sister, Matron, Deputy Principal Matron, Deputy Nursing Superintendent and Nursing Superintendent from Lieutenant, Captain, Major, Lt Colonel, Brigadier and Major General, respectively. However, medical officers got to retain their ranks, Sikdar noted.
New Delhi: The armed forces continue to be upset with the government over a Defence Ministry circular regarding rank parity vis-a-vis their civilian counterparts at the Service headquarters even though the Ministry issued a statement today, saying no downgradation had been done.
Two days after Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar promised to look into the concerns of the military personnel, the Ministry issued a statement saying there has been no downgradation or any change in the existing equivalence of the Service ranks whatsoever.
“The existing functional equivalence as clarified in 1991 and further reiterated in 1992, 2000, 2004 and 2005 has only been re-affirmed,” the statement said.
It, however, failed to placate the armed forces, including some retired officers.
“PM exhorts nation to send Diwali ‘sandesh’ to soldiers. B’crats reduce disability pension n lower status vis-a-vis civilians. Happy Diwali!,” Brigadier Gurmeet Kanwal (Retd) tweeted, a view echoed by serving officers in the three Services.
As per the circular issued on October 18, an army Major General (rear admiral in the navy and vice-marshal in the air force) was to be on par with a principal director in the Armed Force Headquarters (AFHQ) Civil Service.
A Brigadier/Commodore/Air Commodore (with about 24 years of service) was to be equivalent in rank to a director (with about 14 years of service), and a Colonel/Captain/Group Captain to a joint director in the civil service, sources in the armed forces said.
So far, a colonel was equated with a director. A Brigadier did not have a clearly defined equivalence in the civilian hierarchy. However, they were treated at par with a deputy director-general. A major general was treated as the equivalent of a joint secretary.
In the letter of 1992, it was clearly mentioned that a Major General was equivalent to a Joint Secretary and equivalent ranked civil officers in the Service Headquarters.
Defence Ministry sources said that a Joint Secretary is equal to a Principal Director in the Services Headquarters in terms of pay band.
However, sources in the Services say that the Ministry should put it in writing that a Joint Secretary is equivalent to a Principal Director.
Sources in the armed forces said that the Services had issued an order for “Redesignation of Appointments of AFHQ Civil Service Officers posted at Headquarters between 2003-08) under which a Director was re-designated as Principal Director and a Joint Director as Director.
It was clearly brought out that designations were purely local and would be used for day-to-day purposes alone and not entail change in status, prevailing rank and equivalence, sources said.
“It is further clarified that the present reiteration of rank equivalence is only for matters of assigning duties and functional responsibilities as is already existing in different offices of the respective Service HQrs of the Army, Navy and Air Force having component of Service personnel as well as civilian officers.
“It has no bearing on civilian employees outside these offices of the Service HQrs. It is reiterated that there is no change in the rank structure or the status of the Armed Forces personnel,” the statement said.
However, sources alleged that Office of JS (Training) and Chief Administrative Officer has been issuing regular orders establishing protocol and status equivalence based on the redesignation.
They fear that with the letter of October 18 a Joint Secretary in the MoD will go a notch higher than a Major General.
Senior armed forces officers said an attempt at downgrading the status of military officers vis-a-vis their civilian counterparts had been resisted way back in 1992 by then Chiefs of Staff Committee.
“But, babus prevailed by simply bulldozing their way and (because of) unwillingness and irresponsibility of political executive.
“Issue is simple. There can be no more than one parameter for ‘equivalence’. How can there be separate equivalence for ‘Functionality’, ‘Warrant of Precedence’; and based on ‘Pay Scales/ Grade Pay’ ? Accepting such multiple regimes is a deliberate act of causing confusion and subverting status as per convenience,” a senior officer said.
The officers, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said it was important to scrutinise the mandate of AFHQ cadre.
Noting that AFHQ officers were meant to provide only secretarial support and had no executive authority or powers, they said comparing them to armed forces officers who have executive powers, exercise command over men in peace and war, and also have substantial judicial powers, is insane – like comparing “chalk and cheese”.
New Delhi: After crying foul over OROP and disability pension, officers in the armed forces are upset over a defence ministry circular which purportedly downgrades their status vis-a-vis their civilian counterparts, prompting Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to say he would personnaly look into it and resolve the issue.
The order has brought an army Major General (rear admiral in the navy and vice-marshal in the air force) on par with a principal director at the Armed Force Headquarters (AFHQ) Civil Service. A Brigadier/Commodore/Air Commodore would be equal in status to a director, and a Colonel/Captain/Group Captain equivalent to a joint director in the civil service.
The circular issued by the defence ministry, dated 18 October, on rank equivalence between defence officers and
armed forces headquarters (AFHQ) civil service officers brings the rank of armed forces officers a notch down compared to their earlier status, officers said.
As per the new circular, a civilian principal director, who was earlier equivalent to a Brigadier, would now have the status of a two star general, a director rank officer to a Brigadier and a joint director to a Colonel, a development which has not gone down well with the armed forces. A Major General earlier had the rank of a joint secretary.
The circular says that the equations are to be followed at service HQs, and “has the approval of the Hon’ble Raksha Mantri” (defence minister).
Parrikar, when asked to comment on the development, said some people were trying to “misguide” as the issue related to only functional responsibility (of armed forces) and not status vis-a-vis their civilian counterparts.
“These are functional responsibilities. They (military officers) will be on the same platform as was done earlier. I will check up myself,” Parrikar told reporters on the sidelines of the naval commanders conference in New Delhi.
“First of all, these are only for functional responsibilities…this is not status….there are some people
who are trying to misguide,” he said.
The minister said he will take a look at all previous orders to see if there was any discrepancy.
Parrikar said he and the government were sensitive to the issues related to the armed forces.
“I can assure you that I am very sensitive to such issues. The moment they are brought out, I act on them. The
only difficulty is when it becomes public discussion, I cannot be party to discussion. I will resolve the issue,” he said.
New Delhi: The armed forces are upset with a letter issued by the Defence Ministry regarding their rank parity vis-a-vis their civilian counterparts prompting Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to personally look into the issue and promising to come up with a solution soon.
Defence sources said the issue is likely to be solved within a week.
The circular issued by the Defence Ministry, dated 18 October, on rank equivalence between defence officers and armed forces headquarters (AFHQ), and civil service officers, brings the rank of armed forces officers a notch down compared to their earlier status, officers said.
The circular says that the equations are to be followed in service HQs, and “has the approval of the Hon’ble Raksha Mantri” (defence minister).
The order equates an army Major General (rear admiral in the navy and vice-marshal in the air force) to a principal director in the Armed Force Headquarters (AFHQ) Civil Service.
A Brigadier/Commodore/Air Commodore is to be equated with a director, and a Colonel/Captain/Group Captain is to be at par with a joint director in the civil service.
So far, a colonel was equated with a director. A Brigadier did not have a clearly defined equivalence in the civilian hierarchy.
However, they were treated at par with a deputy director-general. A major general was treated as the equivalent of a joint secretary.
Parrikar said that while some people were trying to misguide, the issue relates to only functional responsibility (of armed forces) and not status, vis-a-vis their civilian counterparts.
“First of all, these are only for functional responsibilities. Secondly, I have already asked for exact status of earlier. I will see and if I find any reduction in functional responsibility … this is not status … there are some people who are trying to misguide.
“These are functional responsibilities. They (military officers) will be on the same platform as was done earlier. I will check up myself,” Parrikar said speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the naval commanders conference here.
The Minister said he will take a look at all the previous orders to see if there was any discrepancy.
Parrikar said he and the government were sensitive to the military issues and one should see if the government acts quickly or not whenever such issues come up.
“I can assure you that I am very sensitive to such issues. They moment they are brought out, I act on them. The only difficulty is when it becomes public discussion, I cannot be party to discussion. I will resolve the issue,” he said.
Leh: Indian and Chinese armies on Wednesday conducted a day-long exercise focused on humanitarian aid and relief, where a fictitious situation of an earthquake was emulated, an official statement said.
The statement called it a part of “ongoing initiative to enhance interaction and cooperation between India and China”, and added that it increased “trust and cooperation between the two border guarding forces along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh”.
The second such exercise to be held by the two countries, the joint exercise named “Sino India Cooperation 2016” was held under the provisions of Border Defense Cooperation Agreement, 2013.
The first exercise of the series was held in February this year in eastern Ladakh in Chushul-Moldo area.
The Indian team was led by Brigadier RS Raman and the Chinese side was led by Sr Col Fan Jun.
“The exercise was a great success and has not only refined the drills to provide succor to the border population in case of natural calamity but has also increased the level of trust and cooperation between the two border guarding forces along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh,” the statement said.
It also said the exercise complements the Hand in Hand series of the India-China joint exercises and the effort of both the nations to enhance cooperation and maintain peace and tranquility along the border areas.
Exercise Hand in Hand series, which started in 2007, was held at Kunming Military Academy in Yunnan province of China in 2015.
The 12-day-long exercise was focused on counter-terrorism and anti-insurgency operations, along with humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Tuesday cancelled all his engagements as he was unwell. A spokesperson for the Chief Minister’s Office said Badal (88) has been advised rest and to avoid travelling by doctors who examined him in the morning. No details of the nature of his illness were, however, available.The chief minister is scheduled to visit the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) on Wednesday morning for a medical checkup and consultation.Badal was scheduled to visit Jalandhar today to attend the ‘Rasam Kriya’ of slain RSS leader Brigadier (retd) Jagdish Gagneja but had to cancel it at the last moment, said the spokesperson.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as the clamour grew for a military offensive against Pakistan following the deadly attack on the Indian Army camp in Uri on Sunday that killed 17 soldiers and injured 19, the Director General of Military Operations (DGMO), Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh, said here that “all four (terrorists) killed were foreign terrorists and had some items with them which had Pakistani markings.”Initial reports, he said, indicated the slain terrorists belong to Jaish-e-Mohammed Tanzeem. “Four AK 47 rifles and four Under Barrel Grenade Launchers along with a large number of other war-like stores were recovered from them,” said DGMO. Lt Gen Ranbir Singh said, “I have spoken to Pakistan DGMO and conveyed our serious concerns on the same.”Even as Army didn’t release the names of the deceased soldiers, sources told dna that they included 15 from 6 Bihar Regiment and two from 10 Dogra Regiment.Sources also said that a map carried by militants was found which was marked and indicated in Pashtun language.Earlier, home minister Rajnath Singh who postponed his scheduled visits to Russia and the US held a high-level crisis meeting here with the National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, home secretary, Intelligence Bureau chief, defence secretary, DGMO and CRPF DG. Rajnath Singh later briefed the PM on the developments of the day.“Those behind this terror incident would be brought to justice. There are definite and conclusive indications that the perpetrators were highly trained, heavily armed and specially equipped,” Singh said. He also said that “Pakistan is a terrorist state and it should be identified and isolated as such.”Brigadier Gurmeet Kanwal (retired), a fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses here, told dna that “India’s response needs to be reviewed and upgraded to a more pro-active one that increases Pakistan’s cost for waging a proxy war.”“It is high time we hit back and hurt Pakistan physically,” Brigadier Kanwal said. On questions of India’s military response leading to escalation, he said that India was comfortably placed militarily and diplomatically to take this war on Pakistan’s door. “There are plenty of ways to strike back effectively without crossing the LoC. These include artillery strikes to destroy their bunkers and forward posts, communication centres, logistic infrastructure and ammunition depots. India can launch air-to-ground strikes and also let the Special Forces conduct raids on Pakistani posts through which infiltration takes places,” Kanwal said.Another expert, Lt Gen (retd) B S Jaswal, said, “We must have our military option open, if required to strike at certain places.”“Bring pickets, which have launch pad to the ground, raze them to the ground. The reason is that till the time it does not hurt Pakistan physically, they would not respect our decency,” Lt Gen Jaswal, who was GOC-in-C of the Northern Command, said.“Pakistan keeps doing it (terror strikes) again and again knowing that we would not take any action,” said Major (retd) Gaurav Arya, who has expertise in Jammu and Kashmir security situation.The problems in Kashmir are “systematically manufactured” at the GHQ in Rawalpindi, he alleged, adding “We must take immediate action. Stop trade with Pakistan, downgrade (its) Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status. The world must know we are serious.”Former military secretary and former commander of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps of the Indian Army, Lieutenant General Syed Ata Hasnain (retd), however said that, “Knee jerk reactions are the worst in this kind of conflict situation which is hybrid in nature. The cause-effect needs greater analysis for a suitable response at the right time. This is a campaign being fought and campaigns are not fought by one-off responses to losses. The responses have to be thought through for relative strategic advantage rather than tactical satisfaction and ego.”He told dna, “The government and the army would obviously be contemplating that and the Prime Minister has done well in giving his mind early. Direct action is good for public solace, but it is always the indirect method which has greater impact. No doubt an army as experienced as the Indian Army is not going to sit on its haunches without a response. The range of options will all be under analysis and the most suitable one will be chosen both by the army and the political leadership in due course. Clearly, Pakistan, which has been carefully calibrating the interference in Kashmir for all these years and attempting to keep it below the threshold of India’s tolerance, may have just crossed that line, the consequences of which it will have to bear.”
On April 13, 1919, nonviolent protesters at the Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, who were protesting against the arrest of two leaders, were shot at by the army on the orders of Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer. Official figures state that 501 people were killed that day, with thousands injured.However, this was the official figure and the Indian National Congress put the number at over 1000 dead. In 2013, British PM David Cameron had written in a visitor book: “This is a deeply shameful event in British history, one that Winston Churchill rightly described at the time as ‘monstrous’.” However, he had stopped short of apologising. Despite the number crimes committed in the name of the Empire which has carried out atrocities across the globe, the Jallianwala Bagh massacare lives on in its memory for its sheer savagery.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Here are collection of tweets by Harini Calamur which reminds us of the heinous act: View the story “Remembering Jallianwalla – 94th anniversary” on Storify
Pakistani-American terrorist and 26/11 terror convict David Coleman Headley has reportedly confessed that the Mumbai attacks were launched with Lashkar-e-Taiba’s Hafiz Saeed’s approval and executed with the help of Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) and the Pakistan Army.According to a report by CNN-IBN, during an interrogation by NIA, Headley revealed that he was handled by Pakistan ISI’s Major Iqbal and Sameer Ali and that LeT’s Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi’s handler was ISI Brigadier Rivaz.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Headley also said that the attacks were executed with the help of ISI and the money was given by them for a recce, adding that “ISI chief Shuja Pasha visited Lakhvi after his arrest, post-26/11 terror attacks.”Headley further divulged that he had also recced the residence of Vice President, India Gate and CBI office in the national capital.On December 10, the court pardoned Headley, who is undergoing a 35-year prison sentence in the US, and made him an approver in the Mumbai attacks case.Headley, accused of conducting a special reconnaissance of targets before the Mumbai terror attack, was sentenced to 35 years of imprisonment by the US court. He had entered into a plea bargaining agreement with the US government.The horrific Mumbai terrorist attacks on November 26, 2008 had killed as many as 166 persons.
It was a teary tribute to her beloved father after 14 years of struggle for justice. Seemingly reconciling to the fact that he might not be alive, Bilquis Manzoor, 29, finally decided to pay adieu to her father who has been missing for the last 14 years.A funeral-in-absentia was held for Manzoor Ahmad Dar, a chemist, who was allegedly picked up by the army and disappeared in their custody 14 years ago.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A special investigation team of police recently submitted a report in the J&K high court indicting a top army officer for alleged abduction and murder of Manzoor Ahmad Dar.Brigadier Kishore Malhotra was a young major in 35 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) when he allegedly picked up Manzoor Ahmad Dar in January 2002 from his home in Rawalpora Srinagar. During the course of investigation, Brigadier Kishore Malhotra was questioned by the special investigation team for his alleged role.”Our fight for justice will continue. We have offered a funeral in absentia for my father. But that does not mean an end to my struggle. If my father is dead they should show me his grave where he is buried. We will fight till the perpetrators are brought to justice,” Bilquis, who was standard IX student, when her father was arrested and disappeared in custody, told dna.Hundreds of people turned up for the funeral prayers at the civil lines area of Srinagar. It was preceded by the candle light March to highlight the cause of disappeared people especially Manzoor Ahmad Dar.”We held a candle light march before the funeral prayers. Then we staged a sit in on the road as a mark of protest against the disappearance of my father. It is just the beginning. We have not closed the chapter. In fact our struggle for justice will continue with renewed vigour,” said Bilquis.Bilquis was just 15 years old when she embarked on an arduous journey to find the whereabouts of her father. She went from pillar to post to find out her father but to no avail. Fourteen years later she reconciled to the fact that her father may have been killed in custody.”Since the time offence under section 364 was established against the accused Kishore Malhotra and efforts were put to trace out the abducted person but no clue could be struck out. The custodial disappearance has occurred nearly 14 years ago which clearly indicates that the disappeared person could have died in custody (of 35 RR) and according Section 302 RPC is invoked,” said the status report submitted by additional advocate general of Jammu and Kashmir government in the high court.