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Delhi HC declines to hear PIL alleging discrimination against jawans

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi High Court on Wednesday declined to entertain a PIL challenging grant of lesser military service pay (MSP) to personnel below officer rank (PBOR), like jawans and alleged discrimination against them, saying the appropriate forum is the Armed Forces Tribunal.”We are not inclined to entertain the PIL. Dismissed,” a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal said while noting that “alternative remedy is available under the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT)”.The order came after the Centre contended before the bench that the appropriate forum was the AFT.The PIL, by an NGO, had alleged that there was a trend in the defence forces of “sidelining” the PBORs who, according to the petition, comprise 97 per cent of the three armed forces.The NGO Voice of Ex-Serviceman had claimed that all service-related benefits, including monetary, “are hijacked by the officer lobby”.The petition had opposed the grant of MSP in Seventh Pay Commission to military nursing service (MNS) contending that they are non-combatants.It had contended that MSP should be paid only to combatants and equally without considering the rank.As per the petition, under the Seventh Pay Commission while PBORs will get an MSP of Rs 5,200, those in the nursing service and officers would get MSP of Rs 10,800 and Rs 15,500, respectively.It had contended that despite the jawans facing more hardship, they are given the lowest MSP.The NGO had also raised the grievance of the PBORs being compulsorily retired before attaining the age of 60 years in the name of keeping the force young.

‘Martyr’ not used in reference to casualties in IAF: Kiren Rijiju

Tue, 6 Dec 2016-11:47pm , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Government does not declare any of the security forces personnel who die in action as ‘martyr’, Lok Sabha was informed on Tuesday. “The Ministry of Defence has informed that the word ‘martyr’ is not used in reference to any of the casualties in Indian Armed Forces,” Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said in a written reply to a question. “Similarly, no such term is used in reference to the Central Armed Police Forces and Assam Rifles personnel who get killed in action or on any operation,” he said.However, their families/next of kin are given full family pension under the liberalised pensionary award rules and lump sum ex-gratia compensation as per rules in addition to other benefits admissible, he said. Rijiju was responding to a question “whether the government has codified the term ‘martyrs’ for placing the posthumous soldiers in the category of martyrs? If so, the details and if not, whether the government proposes to make such a codification?”

Jammu and Kashmir: Terrorists kill 7 Army men in Nagrota, 16 hostages rescued

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On a day General Qamar Javed Bajwa took over as Pakistan Army Chief from General Raheel Sharif, who sent out a warning to India over its “aggressive stance”, terrorists attacked security forces in two separate strikes in Nagrota and Chamliyal in the Ramgarh sector of the Samba district in Jammu. The attack killed seven Army personnel and left eight security men wounded. In retaliation, the Forces killed six terrorists.In Nagrota, a group of heavily-armed terrorists donning police uniforms stormed into an Army mess in the highly fortified camp near 16 Corps headquarters and killed seven soldiers, including two officers, at Nagrota on the strategic Jammu-Srinagar highway on Tuesday.Three militants were later neutralised in the day-long gunfight. Sixteen hostages, including 12 soldiers, two women, and two children, were safely rescued by Army troops.This is the first time since the September 18 Uri attack that terrorists have managed to storm into the Army camp in Jammu and Kashmir. Since Uri, the troops have successfully foiled three terror attacks in Baramulla, Langate and Pampore by killing and forcing militants to retreat. But the growing infiltration bids have also seen a higher death toll. Since the surgical strikes by the Indian Army after the Uri attack, 25 security personnel have been killed in the last two months in Jammu and Kashmir.The terror attack was mounted at 5:30 am when the guards were changing their duties in the formation. A group of terrorists lobbed grenades and fired indiscriminately on the sentries before forcing their way into the formation. The militants then barged into the officers’ mess complex triggering a massive gunfight. Three soldiers, including a major rank officer, were killed in the initial gun battle with the militants.”In the early hours of November 29, a group of heavily armed terrorists disguised in police uniforms targeted an Army unit located three kilometres from the Corps Headquarters at Nagrota. The terrorists forced their entry into the Officers Mess complex by throwing grenades and firing at the sentries. In the initial counteraction, one officer and three soldiers of the Army were martyred,” said Colonel NN Joshi, defence spokesman at Northern Command headquarters.Colonel Joshi said the terrorists later entered two buildings which were occupied by Officers, families and men. “This led to a hostage like situation. The situation was very quickly contained and thereafter, in a deliberate operation all were successfully rescued, which included 12 soldiers, two ladies and two children,” he said.Earlier in the day the Border Security Force (BSF) managed to kill three terrorists but a DIG and another official were injured when IEDs planted on them exploded, as they lifted their corpses.The three militants were carrying handcuffs, suicide belts, nitro-glycerine bottles (liquid explosives), chained improvised explosive devices, grenades, daggers and automatic rifles.BSF officials were surprised to find so many arms and ammunition spurring fears that the militants were being sent into India for a long haul. “They (militants) had big plans. Had they entered, I do not know what they would have done,” DK Upadhyay, Inspector General of BSF, Jammu Frontier, told DNA.The militants were killed in an encounter after they crossed into Indian side and hid themselves in a small structure near the tubewell station near Chamliyal. Alert BSF troops, had been following the ultras since Monday night, after they noticed suspicious movements. In the morning, a heavy exchange of fire took place in which all the three militants were gunned down.”We had controlled them in the tube well structure. We had observed their movements and kept them under fire and observation cover during the night. Since it was pitch dark we started our operation in the morning and eliminated all the three militants,” said Upadhyay.

Nagrota attack LIVE: Civilians are safe, says Manohar Parrikar; Modi briefed

Nov 29, 2016

Highlights

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Jammu: Militants attacked an army camp in Nagrota in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday morning, officials said. The attack reportedly started around 5.30 am with militants firing at a field regiment camp located in the garrison town of Nagrota near the headquarter’s of Indian Army’s 16 Corps in the state.

At least, two-three suicide attackers are believed to be holed up in the area as a heavy exchange of fire is going on between the militants and security forces. However, their exact number is still not confirmed.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The ongoing firing has killed two jawans and injured two others, one of them being a junior commissioned officer.

CNN-News18 reported that the Indian security forces killed one terrorist later in the morning. According to the TV news channel, the militants entered the area dressed in army clothes.

“A group of heavily armed militants, believed to be four-to-five in number, attacked the 166 field army regiment camp in Nagrota area of Jammu today (Tuesday) morning,” a police officer told IANS.

“After entering the camp, the militants fired at the Officers Mess inside the camp. Two militants were killed and three soldiers injured. Other militants are still firing inside the camp,” the officer added.

According to CNN-News18, the militants are currently holed up inside the officer’s mess near the camp.

The camp is situated close to the headquarters of the Indian Army’s 16 Corps — a massive military formation that acts as a nerve centre to fight militancy and defend the borders in the Jammu region.

This is the seventh terror attack in the last seven days. “The encounter is currently in progress, however, the number of militants is still not confirmed. We will able to give more details only once the operation is over,” Defence PRO, Manish Mehta told the news channel.

The security forces have cordoned off the area and ordered to shut down all schools Nagrota tehsil as a precautionary measure.  “We have ordered the closure of all schools and education institutions in Nagrota tehsil in view of the terror attack”, Deputy Commissioner, Jammu, Simrandeep Singh said.

“We have ordered the closure of all schools and education institutions in Nagrota tehsil in view of the terror attack”, Deputy Commissioner, Jammu, Simrandeep Singh said.

In view of the attack, the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway has been closed for traffic in the area, PTI said.

An alert has been sounded in Jammu city as well.

The attack came around the same time when an infiltration bid was undergoing near the Chambliyal Border Outpost in Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir.

(With agency inputs)

First Published On : Nov 29, 2016 12:45 IST

Assam BJP point man proposes, Centre disposes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On a day when Himanta Biswa Sarma, Finance Minister of Assam and point person for the BJP-led North-Eastern Democratic Alliance (NEDA) was demanding rolling back of Army from North East in Goa, the Home Ministry in New Delhi on Saturday declared the entire state of Assam and surrounding 20km-wide belt in Meghalaya as a “Disturbed Area” for another six months.The notification issued under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), 1958, provides the Army and security personnel legal immunity from their actions against the citizens.Sarma told DNA that a roadmap for the withdrawal of Army for North Eastern states should be rolled out and that the forces should be relieved from anti-insurgency duties and redeployed at borders.Speaking on the eve of India Idea conclave organised by the India Foundation, Himanta said that because of continuous presence of Army in the North East, it has got mired in many litigations which shouldn’t have been the case in the first place.”The idea is that in the next five years through NEDA, most of the small parties can be aligned with the national thought, so we would not require the Army,” said Himanto. He said that request has been made to increase inductions and modernise police forces so that the Army can be relieved of it internal security duty. He told DNA that time has come that this road map takes shape as soon as possible.Assam was the first state to have AFSPA in 1958 and it was again brought under the Act since November 1990 when the ULFA activities were at its peak. It is also been in force in Jammu and Kashmir since 1990 as also in other North Eastern states. Giving reasons for extending it to Assam and surrounding areas of Meghalaya, the notification said the law and orer in the state continues to be a matter of concern due to violence by the underground outfits. It said 66 incidents involving the outfits in the last nine months led to the deaths of 29 persons, including one security personnel. The underground outfits identified in the notification include United National Liberation Front of Western South East Asia (UNLFW) set up in April 2015, two of its constituents NDFB(S) and ULFA(I), Karbi militants UPLA, UKPLA and various factions of KPLT, as also NSCN(IM), NSCN(K), GNLA, KPLT and Meitei UG.

SBI error in OROP death? Rahul, Kejriwal look to corner Modi govt; protest rocks capital

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The alleged suicide of an ex-armyman, in protest over the One Rank, One Pension (OROP) issue, has stirred up a political slugfest across the Capital. Police sources say that the deceased, identified as 69-year-old Ram Kishan Grewal, drank poison in a park near Jantar Mantar on Tuesday afternoon.They add that they got a call around 1.30 pm on Tuesday and a PCR team reached the spot and took him to the hospital. Pirthi Singh and Jagdish Rai, friends of the deceased, said that Grewal had come to Delhi to meet Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on the OROP issue.Defence ministry sources say that Grewal was one of the beneficiaries of the revised pension scheme but received a lesser amount owing to miscalculation by the SBI branch in Bhiwani district of Haryana.Officials added that the matter was being looked into. Contradicting Grerwal’s friends’ version, Defence ministry officials clarified that he did not seek an appointment with Parrikar either at his home or office.But Opposition parties saw it as a perfect issue to corner the government. As a result, New Delhi district became a political battleground with Opposition leaders making all efforts to capitalise on the issue. Because of the political interest, Delhi Police had to suddenly rush towards the district, especially Lady Hardinge hospital, where Grewal’s body was being kept.Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, and other leaders were detained as they tried to visit the hospital. “Till Tuesday, no leader contacted any relative, but since Wednesday morning, various leaders of AAP and Congress have made a queue to meet Ram Kishan’s family,” Rai said.Despite not being allowed to meet the dead soldier, some analysts believe that the Congress has able to make successful political capital. Just a few days ago, Rahul Gandhi had written a two-page letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi raising the OROP issue and sharing his concerns over certain government decisions that were “adversely affecting the morale of the Armed Forces”.Again on Wednesday, Rahul and Kejriwal were able to hog headlines as they expressed annoyance over Union minister General VK Singh’s statement. Singh courted controversy when he said the “mental state of Grewal needed to be probed before one could draw conclusions about his extreme action.”Countering Singh, Congress Chief Spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjeewala said it was “unbecoming” of a former army chief to bring the mental state of a deceased veteran into question.The Centre, has implemented OROP — a demand which had been pending for decades — last year. They had also appointed a committee then under the Chairmanship of Justice L Narasimha Reddy, retired Chief Justice of the Patna High Court, to look into the anomalies, if any, arising out of the implementation of OROP.The committee has submitted its report, which the Defence ministry is currently studying, and government sources say a decision is likely soon.Despite the Centre’s contention that it has fulfilled the Forces’ demands by implementing OROP, ex-servicemen continue to protest the government decision, saying that four of their primary conditions had not been met.

Rahul Gandhi writes to Modi, says implement OROP meaningfully as Diwali gift to ex-servicemen

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Coming down heavily on the Centre for hurting the sentiments of India’s Armed Forces, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to implement the One Rank One Pension (OROP) in a meaningful way, as soldiers should not struggle to claim what is due to them.In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister, Rahul asserted that decisions taken over the last few weeks by the government have adversely affect the morale of the armed forces, adding that it was the government’s duty to show the soldiers, who risk their lives each day to defend the nation, that they are cared for. “Just days after our soldiers conducted the surgical strikes, the disability pension system was converted to a new slab system, that in many instances drastically reduces the pension received by these brave men in case of a disability. The roll out of the 7th Pay Commission continues to keep our defence forces at a disadvantage and further exacerbates the disparity between them and civil employees,” the letter read.Further accusing the government of downgrading the status of military officers vis a vis their civilian counterparts in a letter dated 18th October 2016, Rahul stated that the OROP implemented by the government, does not fully meet the genuine demands of the ex-servicemen and they have been forced to come out on the streets to make their voice heard on this vital issue. “As a responsible democracy we must make sure that the brave soldiers who put their lives on the line for each one of us, feel the love, support and gratitude of 125 crore people. I therefore urge you Prime Minister to ensure that our soldiers get their due whether it is regarding compensation, disability pension, or parity with civil employees,” he said.The Congress vice president also emphasised that the anomalies in the 7th Pay Commission must be addressed at the earliest, as soldiers should not have to struggle to claim what is surely due to them on behalf of a grateful nation. “As we celebrate Diwali, and rejoice in the victory of light over darkness, let us send this message to our soldiers that our gratitude is expressed both in words and in deed. This is the very least we owe to those who give up their today to secure our tomorrow,? the letter concluded.

Commoners, celebrities unite to send Diwali #Sandesh2Soldiers through PM Modi’s campaign

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s special Diwali campaign titled #Sandesh2Soldiers dedicated to India’s Armed Forces personnel has been receiving an overwhelming response from across the nation by the common man and celebrities alike, as over 10 lakh messages have already come in via different mediums. On October 22, the Prime Minister shared a special video and made a heartfelt appeal to the nation to remember our jawans.The video has received a tremendous response and people from all parts of the country and all walks of life are sending their messages to the jawans. Approximately seven lakh people have written through Facebook, Twitter & MyGov while approximately three lakh people have written on Narendra Modi App.Prominent people who have sent their wishes include Bollywood stars – Akshay Kumar, Salman Khan, Aamir Khan, Anupam Kher, Kailash Kher; Sports icons – Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh, Sakshi Malik, Anand Mahindra.
ALSO READ PM Modi’s Diwali plan: Celebrations with ITBP personnel along China borderMany celebrities have sent video messages to convey their emotions, besides several Chief Ministers, Cabinet Ministers and Parliamentarians who have also written to the jawans.The Prime Minister has been vigorously retweeting the messages sent by commoners and stars alike. Following the surge of pride across the nations post the surgical strikes carried out by the Army on terror launch pads in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday launched the campaign through which citizens can send Diwali greetings and messages to soldiers guarding the nation’s frontiers.”I sent my #Sandesh2Soldiers. You could also do the same. Your wishes will certainly make our forces very happy. This Diwali, let us remember our courageous armed forces who constantly protect our nation. Jai Hind. When 125 crore people stand with soldiers, their power increases by 125 crore times,” the Prime Minister said in a tweet.

Three civilians injured as Pakistan resorts to heavy shelling in Jammu

Three civilians injured as Pakistan resorts to heavy shelling in Jammu

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Jammu: Three civilians were injured on Friday morning when Pakistan resorted to heavy shelling on the International Border in Hiranagar sector in Jammu and Kashmir, police said.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The victims — two girls and a man — were injured due to mortar shell splinters in Lallai Chak village.

Heavy mortar shelling by Pakistan Rangers continued till 6 am, in Lallai Chak, Pansar, Pahadpur and Londi villages where shells damaged over two dozen houses.

Over a dozen cattle have also perished in these villages.

Reports said that over 400 families have migrated from these areas to safer locations.

The entire population of Abdullian village in R S Pura sector has also migrated after Pakistan Rangers targeted civilian and Border Security Forces facilities in the area during the last five days.

Going easy on love affairs in armed forces could be an error

It is a cornerstone of military life. Your being an officer and a gentleman. And intrinsic to that carriage is the codicil that you will not steal the affections of a brother officer’s wife. It is not done.

Not being done has been a historical code in all armies and the judgement this week by the Kolkata bench of the armed forces tribunal on extramarital affairs kind of knocks the grace and dignity that came with this code of conduct for a bit of a loop.

Love tangle. ReutersLove tangle. Reuters

Love tangle. Reuters

The tribunal has said that acts of infidelity should be treated with a lot more leniency and the penalties for misconduct should be less punitive. In the case of Flt Lt Ishan Sharan accused of having an affair with the wife of a colleague who outranked him she being a Squadron Leader herself. It has been decided that rather than being dismissed from service and losing all his emoluments he should be ‘released from service’ for his indiscretion in shacking up with the lady concerned.

Imagine how tacky and tragic. Squadron Leader Dasgupta committed suicide after her affair fell apart and Sharan got married later. The husband was cuckolded and in the close-knit society of the forces, would always be known as the guy whose wife duped him. The whole squadron must have been in gloom, sides were taken, no winners, only losers.

The tribunal’s cavalier approach is clearly predicated on the new world out there and the fact that even the forces have to move on with the times. For some unfathomable reason, it also adds that what with more women joining the forces the mindset has to undergo a change.

He first indicates a flexibility indeed and may sound logical if it wasn’t made so mutually exclusive from the genesis of this fiat. The second makes no sense whatsoever and is thoroughly irrelevant. Women do not join the army, navy and air force to have affairs. I guess what they are trying to say is that women are not chattel or property and if a wife strays she is intelligent, educated and knows the consequences so why should only the man pay such a heavy price. That’s fair enough but it again misses the mark.

No one is talking about chastity belts when everyone marched off to war, leaving their women behind, unguarded. Though that is exactly why the code was made sacrosanct. It was always in times of combat that you honoured each other by saying ‘hands off.’
And when you are not in combat you are preparing for a bit.

When a brother officer went on furlough or was injured and sent home from the frontlines he became a postman, a of information for the families of his regiment and a welcome visitor to their homes. Abusing that hospitality was unthinkable. He was the SMS, the Facebook, the mobile phone for families thirsting for updates.

In India, we do not regularly have a war but thousands of officers and men are posted in non-family stations, their wives in military cantonments living alone and bringing up children. At this very moment.

Officers in the rear party or on leave who take advantage of the loneliness are what is a called a cad. Perhaps in the 21st century it is a bit of prudery to think like that but in the armed forces stealing those affections is not only unbrotherly it is also a direct slap on the esprit de corps and morale of the regiment or battalion.

Everyone is bruised. And shamed. And embarrassed.

Imagine if these two men were pilots in the same aircraft or flying in formation. Would you want to be the wingman to either of them? Imagine one commanding the other on a ship. Being part of the same armoured formation.

Regardless of the genial softening of the attitude to affairs in uniform by this tribunal’s recommendation, it will still be seen as the second worst offence after cowardice in battle.

No one is being naïve. Affairs will happen. But if you get caught, pay the price. GOING EASY ON LOVE AFFAIRS IN ARMED FORCES COULD BE AN ERROR.

It is a cornerstone of military life. Your being an officer and a gentleman. And intrinsic to that carriage is the codicil that you will not steal the affections of a brother officer’s wife. It is not done.

Not being done has been a historical code in all armies and the judgement this week by the Kolkata bench of the armed forces tribunal on extramarital affairs kind of knocks the grace and dignity that came with this code of conduct for a bit of a loop.

The tribunal has said that acts of infidelity should be treated with a lot more leniency and the penalties for misconduct should be less punitive. In the case of Flt Lt Ishan Sharan accused of having an affair with the wife of a colleague who outranked him she being a Squadron Leader herself. it has been decided that rather than being dismissed from service and losing all his emoluments he should be ‘released from service’ for his indiscretion in shacking up with the lady concerned.

Imagine how tacky and tragic. Squadron leader Dasgupta committed suicide after her affair fell apart and Sharan got married later. The husband was cuckolded and in the close-knit society of the forces, would always be known as the guy whose wife duped him. The whole squadron must have been in gloom, sides were taken, no winners, only losers.

The tribunal’s cavalier approach is clearly predicated on the new world out there and the fact that even the forces have to move on with the times. For some unfathomable reason, it also adds that what with more women joining the forces the mindset has to undergo a change.

He first indicates a flexibility indeed and may sound logical if it wasn’t made so mutually exclusive from the genesis of this fiat. The second makes no sense whatsoever and is thoroughly irrelevant. Women do not join the army, navy and air force to have affairs. I guess what they are trying to say is that women are not chattel or property and if a wife strays she is intelligent, educated and knows the consequences so why should only the man pay such a heavy price. That’s fair enough but it again misses the mark.

No one is talking about chastity belts when everyone marched off to war, leaving their women behind, unguarded. Though that is exactly why the code was made sacrosanct. It was always in times of combat that you honoured each other by saying ‘hands off.’

And when you are not in combat you are preparing for bit.

When a brother officer went on furlough or was injured and sent home from the frontlines he became postman, updater of information for the families of his regiment and a welcome visitor to their homes. Abusing that hospitality was unthinkable. He was the SMS, the Facebook, the mobile phone for families thirsting for updates.

In India we do not regularly have war but thousands of officers and men are posted in non-family stations, their wives in military cantonments living alone and bringing up children. At this very moment.

Officers in the rear party or on leave who take advantage of the loneliness are what is a called a cad. Perhaps in the 21st century it is a bit of prudery to think like that but in the armed forces stealing those affections is not only unbrotherly it is also a direct slap on the esprit de corps and morale of the regiment or battalion.

Everyone is bruised. And shamed. And embarrassed.

Imagine if these two men were pilots in the same aircraft or flying in formation. Would you want to be the wingman to either of them? Imagine one commanding the other on a ship. Being part of the same armoured formation.

Regardless of the genial softening of the attitude to affairs in uniform by this tribunal’s recommendation, it will still be seen as the second worst offence after cowardice in battle.

No one is being naïve. Affairs will happen. But if you get caught, pay the price.

National-level Kabaddi player’s wife commits suicide; alleges harassment, dowry

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Wife of a national-level kabaddi player, who also represents a franchise in the Pro-Kabaddi League, allegedly committed suicide in Delhi’s Nangloi area accusing her husband and in-laws of “mental and physical harassment” in her suicide note.Police said 27-year-old Lalita’s body was found hanging at her home in Nangloi on Monday evening, police said.She had married Rohit Kumar, who represents Bengaluru Bulls in the Pro-Kabaddi League, on March 16, a senior police officer said.It was a love marriage and her second marriage. Her father-in-law used to taunt her about getting married for the second time, police said.In a long video message and a suicide note, Lalita has accused her in-laws and husband of “mental and physical harassment” over several issues, including dowry and her past.”She has made a number of allegations in her video message and her note. She alleged that her in-laws and Rohit used to mentally and physically harass her. They would even make dowry demands,” said a senior police officer.She alleged that on October 15, Rohit told her that if she goes away from his life, he would be very happy. He dropped her halfway to her home and left, she alleged.She also alleged that Rohit used to travel outside Delhi frequently leaving her alone which was upsetting for her.A senior police officer said her parents gave their statement in front of the SDM and alleged that their daughter was harassed by her husband and in-laws.”A case was registered under sections 498A (Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) and 304(B) (dowry death),” said the officer.Rohit’s family lives in Delhi’s Kanjhawla area but they are said to be absconding and since the incident and police are on the lookout for them.Lalita’s first marriage had also fallen apart because of dowry demands and she had to face similar situation in her second marriage too, which was depressing for her, said the senior police officer.Lalita was studying at a college where Rohit used to come for swimming practice and that is how they met and got into a relationship, said a senior police officer.The 26-year-old kabaddi player got into the Naval Forces in 2009 through the sports quota and was posted in Mumbai.Police are currently on the lookout for him so that they can question him in the matter.

Disability pension of armed forces: Govt should stop playing dirty games, says Punjab Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh on Friday accused the Narendra Modi government at the Centre of misleading the nation over the issue of disability pension of armed forces. Rejecting the Centre’s claim that there had been no reduction in the disability pension, he said the BJP-led government was using selective data, projected by vested interests, to spread lies.”The government should stop playing dirty games with the armed forces, which was the only institution in the country that is respected by all communities and sections,” Singh said, adding that why the government could not give the same respect to the forces as was given by the common man.Terming as “ridiculous” the fact that there was not a single person from the armed forces on the 7th Pay Commission panel, the Congress leader said figures were being interpreted and projected by the government in such a way to suggest that the disability pension had not been cut.The fact is, the disability pension had been reduced across several key categories of defence personnel, he said, adding that the large number of personnel of various ranks will actually not get benefits of the new scales. Rather, only those jawans would benefit who are invalided out with minimal service at the beginning of their careers, which is a rare possibility in any case, said Singh, himself an ex-soldier.He said under the slab system, Jawans would benefit only if their pay at the time of release from service is less than Rs 34,800 (basic) plus Rs 5,200 (military service pay) under the 7th CPC rates since below this, 30 per cent of basic pay would fall to less than Rs 12,000.Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) will only benefit if their pay at the time of release is less than Rs 51,000 plus Rs 5,200 since below this, 30 per cent of basic pay would be less than Rs 17,000. Commissioned Officers will only benefit if their pay at the time of release is less than Rs 74,500 plus Rs 15,500 since below this, 30 per cent would be less than Rs 27,000.Since most of the retirees at the Jawan level are above the basic level of Rs 34,800 plus Rs 5,200, they will not be benefitted from the slab system introduced as per the 7th Pay Commission recommendations, he said. They will gain only under the percentage system of calculation, the PCC chief said, adding that the same logic applied to other ranks also. “In any case, if the slab system is beneficial for lower ranks then why had not it been made applicable to other services, including the Central Armed Police Forces?” he said.Singh further pointed out that while all pensions, including disability pensions for civilians, had been multiplied by 2.57 by the Pay Commission, singularity disability pensions of the military had been slashed and in some cases reduced to less than half.The government, Singh said, was unnecessarily and deliberately creating a situation of unrest in the armed forces, which could prove highly dangerous for the country’s security and future. He demanded to know why the armed forces were being subjected to such shoddy treatment, wherein their pay scales were even less than those in the paramilitary forces.Such distinction was bound to create a schism between the paramilitary and defence forces, which the nation simply could not afford given the prevailing geopolitical scenario, he said.

Pampore attack: Wrecked by two gunfights this year, EDI set for another tough start

Srinagar: Each time the news channels flashed showed plumes of smoke billowing out of the building of Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) because of the encounter between the security forces and the militants, Mohammad Ismail Parray became a worried man.

The ravaged Entrepreneurship Development Institute building in Pampore. PTIThe ravaged Entrepreneurship Development Institute building in Pampore. PTI

The ravaged Entrepreneurship Development Institute building in Pampore. PTI

Parray, the director of EDI, fought to hide his anxiety as security forces pounded 84-mm rockets at the seven storied building in Sempora locality near the saffron town of Pampore. He sighed after every blast; his face drowned in sadness.

For three days, Parray, 60, remained glued to the television screen inside his home in Humhama locality of Srinagar. News channels beamed live images of forces firing at the building and he somehow managed to keep calm till the gunfight ended.

“It is painful and beyond explanation,” Parray told Firstpost, “I have an emotional attachment with everything in this institution. It is tragic that this has turned into a battleground for the second time in a year,” he said.

When he took over as the director of EDI in February 2004, the institute was functioning from a single room in Institute of Management, Public Administration & Rural Development, Srinagar.

Today the campus is spread on 3.5-acre prime land housing three multi-storied buildings; one of them was destroyed in an earlier gunfight in February.

On Wednesday afternoon, the 57-hour long operation against two militants who had taken over EDI building came to end without any casualties on forces’ side. Two dead bodies of militants were recovered from the debris of the hostel building.

Major General Ashok Narula, who heads counter-insurgency Victor force, said two militants were hiding in the building and both were killed. Narula said such operations are “detailed and time-consuming”.

“There were 60 rooms with attached bathrooms which make it to 120 rooms. Things are not that simple. It takes time,” he said.

Security forces were reluctant to launch a close quarter fight to prevent casualties and avoid a repeat of February encounter in which the Army lost two captains and a soldier of elite Para-commando unit when they tried to storm the building.

A soldier and a cop received minor injuries during the first few hours of the latest gunfight. Forces used flood lights for night patrolling and choppers and drones were deployed to monitor the location of the suspected militants.

Inspector General of Police (Kashmir), Javed Mujtaba Gillani said the plan of the militants was to inflict casualties on forces when they come for the operation. “They had chosen the building where they could stay for long and draw attention,” he said.

But for the director of the institute, it is not the infrastructural loss (of around Rs 16 crore) but the time, he says, that will be lost in restarting the operations to train young prospective entrepreneurs in the state.

“Any person who wants to establish any enterprise in any sector, we provide training to them. We are sector neutral,” Parray said.

“These sixty rooms were utilized for trainees who had no place to stay in Srinagar. I am worried about them. They have no place to stay now,” he said.

Established in March 1997, the Jammu and Kashmir government mandated the EDI with developing entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial culture in the state. It started its activities only in February 2004 with Parray as its founding director.

The success of the EDI has been its generation-next workforce, most of whom are either in their early thirties or less. The institute is seen as the new engine for change given the successes stories it has churned out in a short span of time.

“JKEDI has become a one spot solution for aspiring entrepreneurs. The process starts from counseling and the institute remains with the beneficiary throughout his venture,” said Amandeep Singh, a resident of Srinagar and one of the JKEDI’s beneficiary.

“The mindset is changing. Youngsters are shunning conventional jobs and pursuing out of box ideas with the help of JKEDI. Last time we started operations in one week despite our main office building being completely destroyed. It looks like a difficult task today,” said an official of the EDI.

For the director of the EDI, the most important task now, he said, is to get back to work as soon as possible. “We will try to get back to work as soon as possible. This is the reality of life in Kashmir. We have to live with it and move on,” he said.

Surgical strikes may earn Modi govt public goodwill, but soldier still denied his dues

Surgical strikes have become the flavor of the season with news, discussions and debates continuing endlessly. It is amusing to watch media Napoleons working vigorously reconstructing the scene on models of the areas of PoK where the 28 September strikes took place, adding personal embellishments — some even hilariously amusing — about how the Special Forces went in, executing high altitude, high opening (HAHO) combat military technique. It is unclear whether they confused HAHO with Naga Ho Ho, and dreamed of themselves in Pentagon’s operations room the previous night or they were simply shocked by Pierce Brosnan endorsing Pan Bahar. But, they did manage to get some not so junior veterans to nod their heads in unison. Certainly not beyond them to next describe that the special forces commandos actually tunneled underground all the way to envelop the terrorist launch pads.

This followed a report that we had also launched surgical strikes in cyberspace — Indian hackers singed the Pakistan government network and locked their computers in the wake of Pakistani hackers defacing Indian sites, and Pakistani hackers reportedly offering to pay our hackers with Bitcoins in order to have their systems unlocked.

Of course this did not start any war in the political area for there were no claims – only an unverified report, no calls for giving proof and certainly no Ghulam Akbar, SP of Mirpur spilling the beans from across the border. On the contrary, the Bitcoins bit may have cocked the years of the enterprising ones; wondering what this hitherto unheard currency is about, what technological find it is, how they can add it to their personal stash and whether it would be categorized black or white money.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

But then, there is this third surgical strike which has been executed with such finesse that no one knows who held the scalpel and who the surgeons are, while the media is busy with the din of the other types of surgical operations. On 30 September 2016, MoD has issued the notification for grant of pensionary awards based on the recommendations of the 7th CPC. This notification very regressively has reduced the amount of disability benefits admissible to disability pensioners relegating the rates to the ‘slab system’ as was prevalent prior to the 6th CPC thereby placing defence disability pensioners at a sharp disadvantage as compared to civil disability pensioners. Would it surprise the public that under this notification, even if a military officer of three star rank is disabled completely (read 100 percent) in combat, he will get a ‘disability pension’ of Rs 27,000 whereas if a secretary level officer of the government becomes 100 percent disabled whether having fallen off his balcony or for any other reason, he will get ‘disability pension’ of Rs 67,500.

With respect to the above vastly differing ‘disability pension’ mentioned above, the difference before the issue of this notification was zero. When the government has not promulgated the ‘allowances’ part of 7th CPC till the anomalies are addressed post representations by the military, why have such grave anomalies in disability pension been promulgated? The fact that this unjustifiable notification was issued just two days after the military executed the surgical strikes in POK hurts even more. The question now is whether the bureaucracy has managed to undercut the Modi Government or is this with connivance of the polity. Would the defence minister go beyond theatrics claiming: “I made the Army realize their power”, and explain why this injustice is heaped upon the Armed Forces – is this a gift for the surgical strikes? The 7th CPC apparently is the unfinished grand design of the politico-bureaucratic nexus to completely degrade and demoralise the Armed Forces. It has brought Armed Forces below other government employees including IAS, central armed police forces, police, even the civilian defence employees, with latter consuming large share of the defence pension budget despite their small numbers.

The public would also be unaware the manner in which Armed Forces have been/are being dealt with by all governments. By now, it must be common knowledge that after the liberation of Bangladesh and Indian Armed forces having taken 93,000 Pakistani military prisoners (largest after World war II), a hard blow was inflicted on the Armed Forces arbitrarily by the 3rd CPC wherein pension of soldiers was reduced from 70 percent to 50 percent of last pay drawn. But how many would know that Lieutenant General Vijay Oberoi who lost a leg in battle as a young officer and later became the Vice Chief of Army Staff, had to fight a seven year legal battle to get his disability pension after superannuating from service. So what do you expect soldiers would have to undergo if this is happening to a Vice Chief level officer. And don’t think this happens only during Congress rule. Based on a petition filed by a military veteran that the Government constituted Anomalies Committees to look into 7th CPC recommendations is not granting any opportunity to hear or interact with official defence establishment and even the Standing Committee on Welfare of Ex-servicemen which was ordered to hold meetings every three months by none less than the Defence Minister has not even held a single meeting thereby undermining political authority by lower officials, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued notice to the Central Government, also directing that in the meantime the Anomaly Committee shall take into account the views on anomalies affecting defence personnel.

Government may take the surgical strikes in POK to the public for vote-bank politicking for undoubtedly this was a bold decision by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But till the surgical strikes against the ethos and honour of the Armed Forces continue and the soldier is denigrated and denied his due, our enemy’s hybrid warfare of making India hollow from within will keep succeeding. Both the MoD and MoF appear to be playing to the advantage of our enemies – loved by the latter. The question is have the Prime Minister and the NSA being an Army officer’s son taken note, and more importantly would this be rectified?

The author is veteran Lt. General of the Indian Army. 

Irom Sharmila acquitted in attempt to suicide case, says will launch party this month

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A district court in Manipur on Wednesday acquitted rights activist Irom Chanu Sharmila in an attempted suicide case and the ‘Iron Lady’ announced that she would launch her political party this month. Chief Judicial Magistrate of Imphal West Lamkhanpao Tonsing acquitted her of the charges under IPC section 309 (attempt to commit suicide) as she was on an indefinite hunger strike.Sharmila was on a hunger strike for 16 years, demanding repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from Manipur and was force-fed during this period. The 44-year-old activist was released on bail by the same CJM after she signed a Personal Recognition (PR) Bond on August 9. She had ended her fast the same day.After coming out of court on Wednesday, Sharmila told reporters that she would launch her political party this month itself to contest the Manipur Assembly election due for early next year. She had declared in August that she wanted to become the chief minister so that she could repeal the contentious AFSPA in the state.

Surgical strikes: Not trusting the Indian Armed Forces make us look weak

It is an unbelievable hubris that we would doubt our own military and howl for evidence of a surgical strike following the 18 September Uri attack.

That the government and the Indian Armed Forces have to be dragged into petty politics is even worse. It’s almost like it is more exciting to disbelieve them than to accept that the teams went in, dismantled eight terrors camps, and got home.

Representational image.

Representational image.

Occasionally, one gets the feeling that the need to ‘scoop and sell a story’ is so overwhelming that we dredge for doubt. And are dismayed when we don’t find it.

Also, if this is the sort of ‘dog in the manger’ attitude the media is going to display in its quest to corner the government on a single four-hour operation and send off little salvos of ‘shak’ because it is nice and competitive to do so, what will we do during a war?

Days have passed since the ‘surgical strike’ but we seem incapable of moving on. In purely military terms, it is done and dusted, and was, itself, not such a massive action. In tactical terms, it was an itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny beautifully timed incision, and it is over.

The strikes were ordered to respond to the blatant attack on an army camp in Uri and to show Pakistan, India means business. Period. It was a message and not a major conflagration. It was neither the Battle of Britain nor the landings in Normandie.

As far as the fight against terrorism goes vis-a-vis Pakistan allowing them refuge on its territory, this is not even a start and a lot more will have to be done to rid ourselves of the menace.

If we cannot accept a singular strategic move on trust without having politicians and others hogging the limelight by scratching doubts on the surface, we are in danger of becoming our worst own enemies.

Frankly, many of us in the media and without, are heartily tired of the browbeating and the time and publicity being given to the naysayers. This phrase ‘surgical strike’ like some heady new wine has become a mantra and it seems we cannot get enough of it.

Danger: we will lose sight of the bigger picture by focusing attention on a corner of this canvas.

Bigger danger: our troops will look at each other in wonderment and say, why are we risking our lives for these people who don’t want to believe us. @#$% them.

If I was one of the guys who had gone in that night, and this is what I was hearing and seeing I’d be thinking: What the bloody hell do I have to do before these ###wipes believe me?

Biggest danger: we are giving Pakistan so much comfort and so much fodder to feed their media cannons and ridicule us.

The nonsense we are witnessing over the blaring TV channels and echoing on websites and blogs and newsprint is largely bed-rocked in ignorance and a false sense of entitlement fueled by pro- and anti-Modi factions.

The Army does not owe us the showing of classified material, contrary to our arrogant conclusion that anything which happens has to be shared with the press instantly, or, you are covering up.

It does not. The government will decide what military matters are to be shared, and when.

Seriously, let this surgical strike become a page in military history. A one-goal lead in a game that has only just begun is not the time to scratch the scab or jump up and down with joy.

The Indian Armed Forces themselves will tell you: Get over it.

Political battle overtakes surgical strikes; parties speak in different voices

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The rare political consensus seen immediately after the surgical strikes across the LoC has started falling apart at the seams. The Opposition fear that it could burnish the BJP’s image ahead of the forthcoming assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Punjab. Peeved at banners appearing in many UP cities depicting surgical strikes with the pictures of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP’s state leaders, the Opposition has now decided to draw a distinction between the Indian army and the Modi government.Earlier, almost the entire opposition publicly supported the military action, and congratulated the armed forces and even the PM, promising future cooperation on matters of national security. However, with the government refusing to shy away from taking credit, citing the Congress flaunting its 1971 victory over Pakistan, the Opposition has started reworking its strategy.Starting with the Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, who cast doubts on last week’s strikes urged Modi to “expose the false propaganda” being spread by Islamabad by presenting proof, Congress leader P Chidambaram also demanded that the video be released. Joining the bandwagon, Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam went even further, terming the surgical strikes as “fake” and accused the BJP of making political capital out of it. “Every Indian wants surgical strikes against Pakistan but not a fake one to extract just political benefit by BJP.At the all-party meeting last Thursday, chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, the DGMO gave a detailed briefing on the surgical strikes. All opposition parties spoke in one voice, and said they would support the government on any such action. They said there was need for total alertness to anticipate any retaliatory action by Pakistan and stressed the need to give a free hand to the military.In a video message Kejriwal said: “Recently they (Pakistan) took a delegation of international media to Pakistan and told them that there was no surgical strike at all by the Indian forces. They are spreading a false propaganda. Modiji should expose the false propaganda of Pakistan.” Reading between the lines, Kejriwal infact, doubted the Centre’s claim of having carried out a surgical strike.Chidambaram held out that such cross-border pre-emptive actions have taken place in the past. “At least one such strike has been confirmed by then Chief of Army staff Gen. Bikram singh in January 2013. There have been others, but I don’t want to get into details,” he said. He said that since the present government has taken political ownership for military action and having publicised it so much, it is only to be expected that people will demand that the video be released. “And having thought through the consequences, let the government respond to the demand for releasing videos,” said Chidambaram.As the BJP was quick to train guns, accusing these leaders of speaking the voice of Pakistan. “I want to ask Arvind Kejriwal whether or not he believes in the extraordinary valour of our Army. If yes, then why are you (Kejriwal) getting influenced by false propaganda of Pakistan?” union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.Immediately after the BJP reaction, Congress went into a fire fighting mode, by disassociating itself from the statements. At a hurriedly convened press conference, Congress spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala said the party has full faith in the Indian Army.He said the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi have unequivocally supported Indian Armed Forces and the government in surgical strikes against terrorists in Pakistan. As also in taking steps to demolish the terror infrastructure against India. The party, in its new strategy now plans to make a difference between the Army and the government.The party said while there was no reason to doubt the statement of the Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) on the operation, it however, asked the government to put facts and evidences of the surgical strikes in public domain, after assessing the national security and national interests. Congress spokesman also emphasised that in the past, the Indian Armed Forces have carried such operations to give befitting reply to terrorists, be it on September 1, 2011, July 28, 2013 or January 14, 2014. It was, however, with maturity and wisdom that the then UPA government avoided making loud claims.He said, “The Modi government should also stop politicising the bravery and sacrifices of our soldiers for myopic political gains.” He added that the Congress stand is quite clear that anybody trying to play down the army, and its sacrifices are condemnable as people in India do not see them with political spectacle.

Put forth evidence of surgical strikes to expose Pakistan: Congress to government

New Delhi: The Congress on Monday asked the government to put forth “credible” evidence of last week’s surgical strikes, carried out by the army across the Line of Control, to “expose” Pakistan which has denied any such action.

Congress’ senior spokesman Anand Sharma also sought to dismiss the claim that the surgical strikes on terrorist launch pads was the first such retaliation by the Indian Army, insisting that it had responded earlier too “as per the need or provocation”.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Asked about Aam Aadmi Party’s demand that the Centre put out a video of the surgical strikes, Sharma said Congress does “not have slightest doubt” about what the Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) said after the operation.

At the same time, he said, Pakistan is attempting to mislead its people by claiming that no such attack had taken place. In this backdrop, it would be necessary for the Prime Minister to “expose” Pakistan by putting forth credible evidence about the surgical strikes on the intervening night of 28 and 29 September.

The announcement about the action was made by DGMO Lt Gen Ranbir Singh at a press conference in New Delhi.

“The government must expose Pakistan’s denial. It has all the tools and instruments to do so,” he said, adding the Modi dispensation has backing of the entire political leadership.

He said that the Indian Army had carried out such strikes in 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2013. The only difference this time was that the government of the day has taken the “political ownership”, he said.

Sharma, a senior minister in the erstwhile Congress-led UPA government, said, “In the wisdom of the UPA, the political ownership of such actions of the army was not considered necessary.”

Insisting that the Armed Forces have always responded as per “the need or provocation” when it came to defending the motherland, he said, “The thinking that this is the first time Indian Army has retaliated against a terror attack is not correct. It is a disservice to our forces.”

Noting that neither the Prime Minister nor anyone else has said that “our armed forces were dormant and sleeping in the past”, he said the details of the earlier actions are there with the defence establishment. “In the past, these decisions were taken by the Army,” he said.

Sharma said Pakistan has been “exposed but not isolated” in the wake of the surgical strikes and referred to the joint operation carried out by Russian Special Force near Gilgit within 48 hours of the Uri terror attack.

Just wait and watch: Rajnath Singh on Pakistan’s denial of surgical strikes by Indian Army

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asserting that the world has seen and acknowledged the valour of the Indian Army after it targeted terror launch pads in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) in a surgical strike, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday called on Islamabad to simply wait and watch for New Delhi’s next move.”Not just the nation, but the entire world has seen and acknowledged the example of courage and valour shown by our brave soldiers which has made India proud,” Rajnath said on the sidelines of a Swachh Bharat event here.When asked to react on Pakistan’s claims that India has no proof of the existence of the surgical strike, Rajnath said, “Bas dekhte jaiye (just wait and watch).”However, the Pakistan army has dismissed claims that India’s military conducted “surgical strikes” against “terrorist units” on its side of the border in Kashmir region. Pakistan rejected the claims as an “illusion” but acknowledged the loss of two of its soldiers in the exchange of fire that also wounded nine others on Thursday.”There had been cross border fire initiated and conducted by India which is an existential phenomenon,” said an Inter-Services Public Relations statement released shortly after the Indian director-general of military operations held a press conference making claims about surgical strikes. “The notion of surgical strike linked to alleged terrorists’ bases is an illusion being deliberately generated by India to create false effects,” the Pakistani military said in a statement. “This quest by Indian establishment to create media hype by rebranding cross border fire as surgical strike is fabrication of truth.”On Saturday, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar asserted that Pakistan has been left shell-shocked by the “surgical strikes” carried out by Indian Special Forces, adding that it was unable to realise how and when the Indian commandos sneaked into PoK to complete the mission.

Uri aftermath: Delhi Police reviews security of VIPs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the aftermath of the Uri attack and intelligence inputs of a terror threat to the national capital, Delhi Police is carrying out a review of the security measures in place for VIPs. The security audit involves plugging loopholes, if any, in the current security cover being provided to the protectees, mock drills and regular briefings of officers.”Currently, we have finished the security audit of Z+ and Z protectees. We have initiated the security audit of Y and X protectees and this will be finished by next week,” said a senior police officer.Depending on the threat perception to the person, the category is divided into four tiers: Z+ (highest level), Z, Y and X. Individuals under the security blanket include the President, Vice-President, Prime-Minister, Supreme Court & High Court Judges and service chiefs of Armed Forces.Senior officers say security audits are usually carried out before August 15 and January 26 but after the Uri attacks and the current festive season which means more public visits for the dignitaries, it was thought necessary to review the arrangements. “It is essential for officers in the security wing to be alert at all times. They undergo drills at regular intervals but during a time like this, the frequency and intensity of drills is high,” said the officer.Situational firing practice and briefings about how terrorists might be plotting the attack are key features of these audits. “For instance, they are made to do firing practice at regular intervals. But in a time like this, we test whether they will be able to handle a real-time situation in case an attack happens. Anybody can shoot at a dummy target but it is essential that they are trained to shoot at real targets. So we create a situation where there are four armed people who are coming to attack and we test the response time and instinctive abilities of the personnel,” said the officer.Apart from these drills, there are also sessions where the security officers are briefed about the terror attack that happened and the way it was carried out. “It’s important for the officers to know the threat perception and the ways an attack might be planned. After the Uri attack, we have been briefing our officers about the possible ways in which terrorists can strike and what should their response be in case an emergency situation arises,” said the officer.

No need for war-mongering from either side of border: Irom Sharmila

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the backdrop of escalated tensions between India and Pakistan, rights activist Irom Sharmila on Saturday said there was “no need for war-mongering” from either side, while emphasising that lasting peace can be achieved through dialogues and not aggression.”There are Hindu and Muslim families living on both sides, and I do not see why there should be enmity or quarrel. There should not be any war-mongering from India or Pakistan side. There should be no aggression or a bid to show as to who is more powerful or wiser. We should work out peace through negotiations… If I was the PM, I would just say, people should just cool down,” she told a press conference.The Manipuri ‘Iron Lady’ also reiterated the long-standing demand for repealing of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Acts (AFSPA), which she has termed as “draconian” and “against the very idea of democracy” that India is.The 44-year-old activist broke down during the middle of the conference while recalling the Malon firing incident in Manipur in which allegedly 10 people were “gunned down” in a small town in Manipur in 2000, which prompted her to begin her fast that moved the entire nation. She was forcibly fed through a nasal tube since 2000 to keep her alive at a prison-turned-hospital.The iconic activist, whose 16-year-old hunger strike ended in August, also suggested that “the Constitution should be amended regularly to suit the sentiments of the people.” “The Constitution should be amended regularly as we are a multi-cultural nation. And, we are different in appearance, geography, so the amendments must be done accordingly,” she said.When asked to respond on the Indo-Pak situation post the surgical strike by the Army across the LoC, she said, “People and press have been asking me what was my feeling on the recent Indo-Pak situation, but I am fed up of it. I only have to say, aggression is not the answer, from either side. We have to negotiate to find peace.”The press conference hosted by a alliance of several woman rights groups was also addressed by noted Supreme Court lawyer Vrinda Grover on the AFSPA issue said, “In this heightened time of jingoism, I must say that there should not be any immunity to Army and this law must be repealed.” Co-organiser of the press conference and woman rights activist Vani Subramanian said, “We jointly launched a campaign ‘Stand With Irom Sharmila: Repeal AFSPA’ in March and over 1,000 women activists, and professionals from top to grassroots level have endorsed this.””We soon plan to send this petition drawn up in the campaign to the President,” she said.

The Uri aftermath: A game of snakes and ladders

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In June 2015, Indian Special Forces, evidently, conducted a cross-border raid in Myanmar against hideouts of insurgent groups operating in the North East states, neutralizing several terrorists. This was in retaliation against the ambush on a military column which resulted in 18 soldiers being martyred earlier that month. The action reflected a more pro-active policy on the part of the Indian government. It had then been welcomed by Union Minister of State, Rajyavardhan Rathore, and several of his colleagues. They went so far as to suggest it was a message that neighbours who harbour terrorists would do well to heed. The Pakistan military and political establishment had then belligerently responded; the country’s Interior Minister, Nisar Ali Khan, unequivocally warned against any such misadventure, stating that “Pakistan is not Myanmar and India should not think of repeating such an exercise within Pakistani territory.”Given Pakistan’s unadulterated support for terror groups and their efforts at fanning separatist flames in the Kashmir Valley, it was only a matter of time before some serious enough provocation forced the Modi Government to explore more robust solutions. Pakistan engineered the Uri incident and also, possibly, timed it with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s appearance at the United Nation General Assembly. However, it is unlikely that Pakistan wanted the incident to be seen as anything other than a showpiece of reactions by locals against gross human rights violations committed by Indian security forces. Unfortunately, the unexpectedly large number of casualties had upset all calculations. Though Pakistan continued to stick with its narrative, the event forced the Modi Government to act so as not to lose all credibility. Despite Narendra Modi’s earlier rhetoric against the UPA government’s lackadaisical response to Pakistan in face of terror attacks in the past, the prime minister must be complimented for resisting pressure and not indulging in a purely knee-jerk reaction, which is devoid of substance.The targeted cross-border raids which were conducted on Wednesday night by elements from two of our Parachute (Special Forces) battalions, reportedly against seven terror launch pads within 2-3 km from the LoC in Pakistan Occupied territory in the Valley and the Rajouri-Poonch Sector was, therefore, not unexpected. Much has already been written about these raids, most in the realm of speculation, to bear repetition. Despite Pakistan’s denials, it is no longer in doubt that these raids happened, and militants along with some Pakistan army personnel were killed. Contrary to popular perceptions, it suffices to say that the Indian army has had a robust special operations capability since independence that has been used on several occasions, even abroad. One may recall their employment in Sierra Leone when our Parachute (Special Forces) elements led rescue operations to free our troops held hostage while serving on a UN Mission. Therefore, it can be clearly stated that despite the hoopla, this was a routine task for which they have been trained over the years. Having said that, such high-risk missions are always fraught with danger and success is never guaranteed.What has been different in this case is the political will displayed by the Indian government, not just in the matter of permitting the military to conduct these high-value raids, but also the preparation that has gone into organising them and the media blitz that has followed. Its selection of targets was clearly restricted to so-called “non-state actors” and not the military and the operation took place in territory that India claims is illegally occupied by Pakistan. By stating that this show of force was a preemptive defensive action against terrorists preparing to infiltrate, the government is clearly suggesting it was not keen to escalate the situation further. The coordination and assistance provided by the National Technical Research Organization (NTRO) and the Research and Analysis Wing(R&AW) in providing real-time intelligence on the chosen targets have been unprecedented. These factors have played a major role in the successful completion of the attack.Most importantly, despite its stated objective of not wanting to escalate the situation further, the government has taken precautions by evacuating villages along the international border in Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat. This clearly indicates its willingness to hang tough and, if required, up the ante and launch a counter-strike in the event Pakistan decides to respond. The government may even be signaling that in the case of escalation, it would be willing to put in motion the military’s Cold Start Doctrine that envisages capture of territory in the Punjab and Sindh regions of Pakistan.So where does all this leave Pakistan? For one thing, it suggests that Pakistan’s policy of nuclear blackmail and threats to deal with any Indian provocation by using tactical nuclear weapons appears to have run its course. As does its untrammeled and open support for militants working in tandem with the army. With the use of terror as state policy over the past few decades, Pakistan finds itself isolated on this issue by large sections of the international community. Thus, any escalation on its part is unlikely to be viewed kindly and can only make matters more difficult for it. Despite Pakistan’s efforts to suggest that the strikes are a figment of the Indian imagination, the credibility of its own denials have been greatly damaged, given the different voices emanating from the military and political establishment. There is a distinct possibility that public opinion may force Nawaz Sharief’s hand, in which case he may find himself between a rock and a hard place. The next few weeks will reveal whether this subcontinent finds itself plunged into another futile war or focuses on the more pressing challenges of countering endemic poverty and hunger that haunt both the nations.

dna Morning Must Reads: US on Army’s surgical strikes, latest in Indo-Pak tensions and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Horrible’ attack like in Uri obviously escalates tensions: US on surgical strikesA terrorist attack like the one on an Indian Army camp in Uri “escalates tensions”, United States have said, asking Pakistan to take action against UN-designated terrorist outfits and delegitimise them. Read more2. Uri payback: Decoding the role of Indian Army’s Special Forces in the surgical strikeDays after terrorists stuck at an Army camp in Uri on September 18, a group of the Army’s Special Forces (SF), acting on specific information, crossed the Line of Control between the Rajouri and Poonch sectors into Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) to attack the launching pads where terrorists had positioned themselves. Read in detail3. At UN, Pakistan flags rising tension with India, to discuss matter with Ban Ki-moonPakistan’s UN envoy asked the president of the United Nations Security Council on Thursday to informally brief the body on the country’s escalating tension with neighbouring India and said she will discuss it with UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Friday. Read more4. Black money scheme may see Rs 35,000 crore disclosuresWith just a day left for the Income Declaration Scheme (IDS), 2016, to end, tax officials said the undisclosed incomes and assets revealed by individuals and businesses totaled to around Rs 30000-35000 Cr. Read more5. Eden Test: Surging India, sliding KiwisOne cannot but feel sorry for the visiting New Zealand side. Even before the tour started, their chief medium-pacer Tim Southee had to return home with an ankle injury. Off-spinner Mark Craig had to be sent back after hurting his side strain during the first Test. And on the eve of the second Test here on Thursday, right-arm medium-pacer James Neesham has been ruled out of the match with a rib injury. Read more

Indian Army surgical strike destroys 7 terror launch pads; govt reassures foreign envoys, Oppn over strikes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian Army on Thursday crossed the Line of Control (LoC) and carried out surgical strikes on seven terrorist launch pads based in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK), inflicting heavy casualties. India’s response comes days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned that terrorist attack on Uri Army base would not go unpunished.India has carried out such cross-border surgical strikes before – the last one being in Myanmar in June 2015 – to flush out insurgents. This latest strike was carried out by Army’s elite Special Forces (SF) in the wee hours of Thursday and came after Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists had killed 18 Indian soldiers in Uri on September 18. The strike led to a growing clamour within India for retaliation.In a media briefing in the Capital, Indian Army’s Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh said, “Based on specific and credible inputs that some terrorist teams had positioned themselves at launch pads along the Line of Control to carry out infiltration and conduct terrorist strikes inside Jammu and Kashmir and in various metros in other states, the Indian Army conducted surgical strikes at several of these launch pads to pre-empt infiltration by terrorists.”“I have been in touch with the Pakistan Army DGMO and have informed him of our actions. It is India’s intention to maintain peace and tranquility in the region,” he added.Though Singh did not share more operation details, reliable Army sources, both at the headquarters in Delhi and in the Northern Command in Udhampur said that seven terrorist launch pads and camps were destroyed by the troops of 4 and 9 Para Special Forces, leading to around 40 militants being killed.Two Indian Army soldiers were also injured but have been brought back and are being treated at an army hospital.“The entire operation that went on from 12.30 am to 4:30am on Thursday was a combination of heliborne and ground forces and no Indian chopper crossed over the LoC even as paratroopers were air dropped at advanced pre-decided locations near the LoC,” sources said.Special Forces went up to 3kms inside PoK. Divided into three groups they carried out the attack in Lepa valley, Tatta Pani and Bimber areas, situated across the LoC in PoK, even as India fired heavy artillery guns to divert attention so SF troops could sneak in. Sources told dna that three service chiefs met defence minister Parrikar hours before the operation.The DGMO then monitored the operation from the war room at South Block, at tactical headquarters of Northern Command in Udhampur, where live UAV footage of the operation was being monitored.Govt reassures foreign envoys, Oppn over strikesHours after India struck terrorists’ launch pads across the Line of Control with Pakistan, senior members of the NDA government on Thursday reached out to domestic political parties as well as envoys of foreign states to convey its position and to assuage their fears of further escalation of tensions.Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lt. General Ranbir Singh briefed opposition leaders, including Ghulam Nabi Azad of the Congress, Sitaram Yechury (CPM), Sharad Yadav (JDU), Satish Chandra Mishra (BSP), Premchand Gupta (RJD), and Sharad Pawar (NCP), on the operation.Also present at the meeting were National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, BJP president Amit Shah, home minister Rajnath Singh, defence minister Manohar Parrikar, finance minister Arun Jaitley, and I&B minister Venkaiah Naidu,.Prime Minister Modi informed President Pranab Mukherjee, J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, and his predecessor Manmohan Singh of the strikes. Mufti struck a note of caution as she voiced concern over the escalation along the border and warned that the confrontation could lead to a “disaster of epic proportions” for the state.Meanwhile, the External Affairs ministry extended its diplomatic efforts to reassure envoys of various nations in Delhi that the Indian Army’s operation, conducted in the dead of night, was only targeted at terror camps across the LoC and that India had no intent to wage war with Pakistan.

dna exclusive: The inside tale of Indian Army’s daring surgical strike

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian Army on Thursday crossed the Line of Control (LoC) and inflicted heavy casualties on terrorist launch pads based in Pak Occupied Kashmir (PoK). A rare cross-border surgical strikes was carried out by the Indian Army’s elite Special Forces (SF), 11 days after Pakistan based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) terrorists killed 18 Indian Army soldiers and amidst growing clamour within India for retaliation.Indian Army’s Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh in a briefing said, “Based on specific and credible inputs that some terrorist teams had positioned themselves at launch pads along Line of Control to carry out infiltration and conduct terrorist strikes inside Jammu and Kashmir and in various metros in other states, the Indian Army conducted surgical strikes at several of these launch pads to preempt infiltration by terrorists.”“I have been in touch with Pakistan Army DGMO and have informed him of our actions. It is India’s intention to maintain peace and tranquillity in the region,” he said further.Though he did not share more operation details, reliable Army sources, both at the headquarters here and in Northern Command said that seven terrorist launch pads and camps were destroyed by the troops of 4 and 9 para special forces leading to 40 odd casualties on their side. Two Indian Army soldiers were also injured but safely brought back and are being treated at an army hospital.The entire operation went on from 12.30 AM to 4. 30 AM was a combination of heliborne and ground forces and no Indian chopper crossed over the LoC even as para troopers were air dropped at advanced pre decided locations near the LoC, sources said.Special Forces, divided into three groups went up to three kilometres inside PoK. They were divided in three groups and carried out the attack in Lepa valley, Tatta Pani and Bimber areas across LoC even as India fired heavy artillery guns to divert attention so that the SF troops could sneak in. Sources also told dna that while the three service chiefs met defence minister Manohar Parrikar hours before the operation. While the DGMO monitored the operation from the war room at South Block, at the tactical headquarters of Northern Command in Udhampur, live UAV footage of the operation was being monitored. Curiously, Muzaffarabad-based media- eportedly said that Pakistani Army, around midnight on Wednesday, minutes before the Indian Army assault, had issued an advisory to PoK residents through local media to stay inside. PoK-based media also reported that tourists are vacating the area and movement on road 50% less than on a routine day. They further claimed that besides Pakistani military installations, civilians also bore the brunt of artillery firing.

India Army’s surgical strikes across LoC: Pakistan plays brave, but shock palpable

Multiple strikes by Indian Special Forces on Pakistan’s terrorist launch pads-cum-terrorist camps on night of 28 September should have deflated some of the putrid gas because of which Pakistani leaders and their army have been strutting around making wild statements. The world knows that the Pakistani Army has not won a single war, has lost half its country during the birth of Bangladesh and surrendered 93,000 prisoners of war to India. Pakistan sheltered Osama bin Laden, who was killed by US Special Forces at Abbotabad; besides, Mullah Mansour Akhtar too was killed inside Pakistan, in the Balochistan province.

Despite this and without adequate pressure from US and China, Pakistan has been conducting a proxy war against India and Afghanistan with impunity. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had gone out of his way with an extended hand of friendship to his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif, but the latter was hell-bent on stabbing India in the back — just like all previous Pakistani presidents and prime ministers, with their own military as the Sword of Damocles over their heads.

The manner in which the surgical strikes were conducted at seven widely-dispersed locations astride the LoC so successfully by elements of two Special Forces units of the Northern Command speaks highly of professionalism. The success of these actions also should be seen in the backdrop of the fact that the Pakistani Army was on high alert for the past 10 days, not to mention the night flights by F-16s over Islamabad, and Nawaz and his defence minister Khawaja Asif along with Minister for Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and COAS Raheel Sharif talking of war and twitching their nuclear tails.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The fact that the Pakistani Army was taken by surprise, tried to intervene with Indian Special Forces strikes and lost four regular Pakistani soldiers (two, as admitted by Nawaz) adds to the success. The clinical strikes inflicted heavy casualties on the terrorists, their supporters and the Pakistani Army without any loss to India’s troops. The capture and interrogation of the Pakistani-origin guides who helped the Pakistani terrorists during the Uri attack had once again confirmed the Pakistani Army’s involvement — which was not only denied by Nawaz, but countered in the most absurd terms by saying that the Uri attack was engineered from within India.

After the Uri terror attack, there was tremendous pressure on the government to retaliate. In between there were also fake reports of our Special Forces having gone across the LoC, struck terrorist locations, killed 20 and injured some 200. This was perhaps a deliberate ruse to lull the enemy and it obviously worked. The Pakistani military was clearly confident that India would not resort to any physical action of this type. The intended targets, however, were being kept under constant surveillance following the attack on the army camp at Uri, to be struck at the right time. These strikes would have come as a terrific jolt to Pakistan. In fact, the surprise was so complete that the Pakistani posts opened fire only after our troops were safely back home. These strikes, under the leadership of Modi, have demonstrated to the world — Pakistan in particular — that India cannot be viewed as a ‘soft’ State. Pakistan was apparently expecting a conventional response, which it feared most; hence, the periodic nuclear sabre-rattling.

The list of some 35-40 terrorist training camps in PoK along with their locations has been available with the Indian Parliament. The Pakistani hierarchy appears to be milling around in surprise. Pakistan’s ISI is trying to showcase that nothing much has happened, but the shock effect is palpable. Our strikes in PoK are definitely not any aggression because PoK territory is an integral part of India; terrorists were struck, not the Pakistani military, and our troops returned having completed the assigned task successfully. Will Pakistan curb its terrorist activities now? There is no question absolutely because the Pakistani military not only holds Pakistan and the Pakistani public to ransom, it has infiltrated ever department and organ in Pakistan: Economic, administrative and so on.

More significantly, Pakistani scholar Ayesha Siddiqa in her book Military Inc had propounded in 2007 that the Pakistani military’s private-industrial-corporate complex was to the tune of $20 billion already. This figure must have multiplied several times over, and to retain this power and money, the Pakistani military must have conflict both with India and Afghanistan. So, it is not going to give up Pakistan using terrorism as a state policy.

For all the peaceniks who feared any physical retaliation to the Uri attack (war, including nuclear war), I hope it is clear once for all that there is plenty of space below conventional war. In fact, the response to asymmetric war must always be asymmetric. We should have realised this after Operation Parakram following the Parliament attack. We should have struck Pakistan sub-conventionally both after the 26 November, 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks and the Parliament attack. Not that we should have not have done so after the terror attack on the IAF base in Pathankot this January, as well as earlier ones.

The manner in which the surgical strikes were conducted at seven widely-dispersed locations astride the LoC so successfully by elements of two Special Forces units of the Northern Command speaks highly of professionalism

At the same time, we must acknowledge that these cross-LoC strikes by our Special Forces were around three kilometres across, rightly exploiting the porosity of the border — a factor that has been used mainly by Pakistan till now, to India’s disadvantage. With these trans-border strikes, Pakistanis will be more alert. However, the option of such future strikes will remain possible. At the same time, while Special Forces are central to an asymmetric response, a direct form of trans-border actions of this type is just ‘one’ task with which they should be tasked. Special Forces provide the government with multiple low-cost options without or with ambiguous options.

They should be employed on politico-military missions at the strategic level. The government will do well to establish the Special Operations Command, directly under Modi for such tasks, leaving actions like these multiple trans-border strikes to the Military Special Forces. Interestingly, the Pakistani media has criticised escalation along the LoC but has “rejected” India’s claim of having conducted the cross-border surgical strikes. However, escalation by Pakistan is very much on the cards, given the Pakistani military psyche discussed above.

We should be geared for terrorism across India and an escalation in the forms of terrorist attacks — even chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks or lone wolf attacks. In addition, cross-border attacks from Pakistan could increase. Should there be more escalation, Pakistan can be expected to ‘deploy’ its nuclear weapons and publicise it. Besides calling its nuclear buff, Islamabad has to be told that New Delhi’s ‘No First Use’ doctrine applies to the ‘threat’ of nuclear attack as well.

Additionally, our Special Forces have already been conducting joint training. Should Pakistan continue with its proxy war on India and Afghanistan, there should be ample opportunities for joint operations by these two forces against Pakistan. Modi has once again demonstrated that his leadership is class apart. Kudos to him and congratulations to our Special Forces and IAF helicopter pilots for the above highly successful surgical strikes in PoK.

The author is a veteran Lieutenant-General of the Indian Army who has served in Kashmir

BSF arrests 30-year-old Pakistani intruder along International Border in Jammu

New Delhi/Jammu: Border Security Forces (BSF) arrested a 30-year-old Pakistani intruder along the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Akhnoor sector on Friday, an official said.

Abdul Kayum, who claimed to be a resident of Pul Bhagawa area of Sialkot in Pakistan, was arrested between 4 am and 5 am in the Pargwal area.

“We arrested the intruder as soon as he reached near the fence in Akhnoor area. He was unarmed,” a BSF officer told IANS on condition of anonymity.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

He said a mobile was recovered from the intruder.

“We are yet to ascertain the purpose of the intruder of crossing the border and entering Indian territory as he is continuously changing his statement.”

The officer said “this kind of incident generally happens on the IB and we take them seriously every time.”

This incident comes in the wake of the September 18 cross-border terror attack on an army camp in Uri sector in Jammu and Kashmir which left 18 soldiers dead and many more injured. Four terrorist were also gunned down in the attack.

The officer said a combing operation had begun along the Line of Control (LoC) near Keran village in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district on Friday morning after noticing some suspicious movement which also forced them to resort to firing.

The army said on Thursday that it had foiled two infiltration bids on the LoC.

BJP bridles its bellicose rhetoric, hopes govt will send message to Pak

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after BJP leader Ram Madhav took a strident “jaw for a tooth” stand on the Uri attack, the party tried to restrain its hawkish eye for eye tone but hoped the government would send a tough message to Pakistan.While BJP leaders agreed that the sentiment within was to give a “befitting” reply, the party leadership was refraining from raising the pitch of its rhetoric. The party, however, is confident that the government was serious about responding.”We don’t know whether the answer will be given diplomatically, economically or through the Armed Forces. We have not tied the hands of Army. Army is free to take steps and the government will stand by it,” said BJP leader Siddharth Nath Singh.In an indication that the government was exploring various options, he said, “We don’t have to speak to act.”Meanwhile, union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad was quoted by a news agency as saying that India’s relationship with Pakistan will not be the same again. “Our patience is running out. There is a limit to patience. The government will consider strategic and diplomatic options and take a decision,” he said.The BJP is facing the ire of a large section of its supporters on social media. Besides, it would want the government take some steps to raise the morale of its rank and file, though party sources said the response would not be dictated by political considerations like elections in UP and Punjab.Sources said that while the party was not expecting the government to go for a surgical strike in PoK which could lead to civilian casualties, some action along the LoC could be one of the options under examination. Granting political asylum to exiled Baloch leader Brahamdagh Bugti was also being considered.Defence minister Manohar Parrikar briefed party spokespersons on Monday on the developments.Singh said the government was already working on a three-tier fencing of the LoC.BJP leaders also underlined the need to ‘isolate’ Pakistan. “The time has come when it has become important to announce Pakistan as a terror state. The entire world should boycott Pakistan and should be announced as a country that promotes terrorism,” BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain said.

Punjab: Two Pakistani smugglers shot dead by Border Security Forces

Two Pakistani smugglers were killed and one was injured in a gunfight with Border Security Forces (BSF) in Fazilka city in Punjab on Sunday.The incident took place at a border out post called Sawana at around 2:30 AM, when the soldiers on duty noticed some unusual activity beyond the fencing, but still inside the Indian territory and when they challenged the infiltrators, they opened fire on the jawans.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In retaliation, the BSF jawans also fired and two smugglers were killed and one was seriously injured and was rushed to the hospital. Following the encounter, 15 packets of heroin and weapons were also recovered from them, including two pistols and a boregun.The incident comes in the wake of the spotlight being on Punjab over extensive drug smuggling and multiple cases of drug abuse.

Swedish Maj Gen appointed as new head of UN mission in India, Pakistan

United Nations:  A high-ranking Swedish military official will be the new head of the United Nations mission tasked with monitoring the ceasefire line between India and Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir.

Major General Per Gustaf Lodin, 59, also a logistics expert, was appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as the Chief Military Observer and Head of Mission for the United Nations Military Observer Group (UNMOGIP) in India and Pakistan, the UN said.

Maj Gen Lodin succeeds Major General Delali Johnson Sakyi of Ghana, who completes his two-year assignment as Chief Military Observer and Head of Mission for the UNMOGIP on 2 July.

India has maintained that UNMOGIP has outlived its utility and is irrelevant after the Simla Agreement and the consequent establishment of the Line of Control (LoC).

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

With a military career in the Swedish Army beginning in 1978, Major General Lodin most recently held the position of Director of Procurement and Logistics for the Swedish Armed Forces.

Previous to this, he was the Deputy Director of the National Armaments for Sweden and Deputy Chief of Staff at the Swedish Armed Forces.

According to the Security Council mandate given in Resolution 307 of 1971, UNMOGIP observes and reports on ceasefire violations along and across the Line of Control and the working boundary between the nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours in Jammu and Kashmir, as well as reports developments that could lead to ceasefire violations.

As of 31 March this year, UNMOGIP has 44 military observers, 25 international civilian personnel and 47 local civilian staff.

The observer group is financed by the United Nations regular budget and appropriations for biennium 2014 — 2015
are 19.64 million dollars.

Jammu and Kashmir oppostion guns for PDP after Centre rules out lifting of AFSPA

Mehbooba Mufti’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has suffered a major setback after the Centre categorically ruled out revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from strife-torn Jammu and Kashmir.In a written reply to a pointed question, Union minister of state for home affairs Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary had told Rajya Sabha on Wednesday that there were no plans to revoke AFSPA from Jammu and Kashmir and North-eastern states.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the Agenda of Alliance, the PDP-BJP government had agreed to examine the need for de-notifying the disturbed areas to enable the centre to take a final view on the continuation of the AFSPA in these areas.Centre’s blunt “no” to revocation of AFSPA, however, has put the PDP in a tight spot with the opposition parties gunning for its head calling. It’s a “sell-out” on the part of PDP to stay in power, they alleged.”PDP has completely sold out all its ideologies and political stand for the sake of chair. Mehbooba Mufti after the death of her father took a stand and try to fool the people about AFSPA and getting power projects back. Today she could have fooled the people again by saying they are in process of lifting AFSPA, but the BJP at centre categorically said they are not going to revoke it,” Aga Ruhullah, chief spokesman of main opposition National Conference, told dna.Except Kargil and Leh districts of Ladakh, AFSPA is imposed in all other 20 districts of Jammu and Kashmir. Under AFSPA, the armed forces have sweeping powers to operate in the state with impunity. An official of the armed forces can shoot anybody if he is of the opinion that he is acting against law.Under AFSPA the forces can also search or even destroy property if they are of the opinion that it is used as a hideout for the terrorists. In normal circumstances, it is the competent magistrate who has to give orders to open fire or search the property.Under fire, PDP tried to put up a brave face saying this is not the setback and they would continue to pursue this issue. “Government of India has never ever said we will repeal the AFSPA. It is a matter which is being pursued.These things have been said by people earlier also. It is not a setback. We will persue it, as and when it is required”, said Rafi Ahmad Mir, PDP spokesman for Kashmir.BJP, the ruling alliance partner of PDP, said atmosphere is not conducive for lifting of AFSPA from Jammu and Kashmir. “AFSPA is a domain of security agencies. It can be be decided by the security agencies alone”, said Khalid Jehangir, BJP spokesman for Kashmir.

Arunachal Pradesh governor JP Rajkhowa announces Rs 1 lakh ex-gratia for landslide deaths

Arunachal Pradesh Governor JP Rajkhowa on Sunday mourned the death of two senior citizens in landslides at Thongleng village under Lumla sub-division of Tawang district on Saturday. The Governor announced an amount of Rs 1 lakh as ex-gratia to the nearest kin of each of the deceased and Rs 25,000 each to the seriously injured from his relief fund, a Raj Bhawan statement said.”All injured persons should be given free treatment by the state government,” he said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Reiterating his appeal to the people and advice to the state government amid heavy rainfall resulting in landslides and floods, Rajkhowa said to avoid more such tragedies, the district authorities should shift people from all vulnerable areas and temporarily put them into suitable shelter homes till the situation improves and risk elements ruled out.”They should be extended all assistance for livelihood including free ration, clothing, cooking utensils as per the relief manual,” he said. “Red Cross and other NGOs should also be involved in relief and rescue operations apart from the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF), National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), Border Roads, Army and State Police, the Governor emphasised.

Manipur: Army Major Amit Deswal’s body recovered in Manipur

The body of Major Amit Deswal, who was killed in an encounter on Wednesday, was on Thursday recovered from a remote place in Tamenglong district in Manipur and being flown to Imphal, army officials said.The body will then be taken to Surheti in Jhajjar district of Haryana via New Delhi, Army officials said.Maj Deswal of 21 Para SF was killed in a gunbattle with ZUF militants in densely forested Nungba area during a combing operation undertaken by Rashtriya Rifles and Special Forces personnel.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>One militant was also killed in the encounter. Deswal is survived by wife and a three-and-a-half years old son.For the time being, the combing operation which was going on for the last few days has been called off by the Army, the officials said.

Major of 21 Para Special Forces killed in encounter with militants in Manipur

New Delhi: Major Amit Deswal of 21 Para Special Forces was on Wednesday killed in an encounter with ZUF militants in Manipur’s Tamenglong district.

Major Amit Deswal was killed in an encounter in Manipur. Image courtesy: @ANI_news/Twitter

Major Amit Deswal was killed in an encounter in Manipur. Image courtesy: @ANI_news/Twitter

Army officials said one militant was also killed in the encounter which occurred during a combing operation undertaken by Rashtriya Rifles and Special Forces personnel.

While the militant was killed in an earlier encounter, the Major, hailing from Jhajjar district in Haryana, lost his life during an exchange later in the same area.

He succumbed after being evacuated from the encounter site.

The combing operations are continuing, army officials said.

Jammu and Kashmir: Army opens fire on mob, kills two youth protesting molestation of class XI student

North Kashmir township of Handwara is on the edge after two youths were killed when Indian Army troops allegedly opened fire on the protesters who were agitating against the alleged molestation of the class XI student allegedly by an army trooper on Tuesday.Eyewitness said security forces opened indiscriminate firing on a large group of people who had assembled outside the bunker of 21 Rashtriya Rifles to protest against the alleged molestation of the girl.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Protestors later pelted stones at the bunker and tore down the flag. Security forces immediately opened fire on the protestors killing two youth — Mohammad Iqbal and Nayeem Qadir Bhat.While Iqbal died on the spot, Nayeem succumbed to his wounds in the hospital. Iqbal was working as a salesman at a local photography shop while Nayeem was a student and a budding cricketer who was recently selected for Under 19 team by J&K Cricket Association.”There was a protest march and people were demanding that the accused trooper should be handed over to them. Army troopers in the bunker fired on the mob killing two youth. Protesters have kept their bodies on the road demanding action against the troopers,” said Farooq Ahmad, one of the eyewitnesses at the spot.Police said they have registered a case and launched investigation to ascertain the facts and unravel the truth.”There was an allegation that the forces deployed there have misbehaved with a girl. Immediately a large crowd assembled and tried to ransack and set ablaze the bunker. Forces deployed there opened fire in which two youth were injured who later succumbed to their injuries,” said SJM Gillani, inspector general of police, Kashmir Zone.Under fire, the army said they regret the incident and assured probe into the matter. “Army deeply regrets the unfortunate loss of life. Matter will be investigated and anybody found guilty will be dealt with as per law,” said Colonel NN Joshi, defence spokesman at Srinagar.Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti also assured that the soldiers involved in the incident would be handed out exemplary punishment. Mehbooba talked to the Northern Army Commander Lt Gen DS Hooda and raised the demands for shifting of the bunker from the area.”The army commander informed her that they have already ordered an inquiry into the incident and tangible action will be taken once the probe is completed,” said an official spokesman.Tension has gripped the township with hundreds of people taking to streets and pelting stones on the security forces. Forces have resorted to lathi charge and using tear smoke shells to disperse a mob.Reports reaching here said there was a fresh firing in the area and a woman received bullet injuries in her head.Sensing trouble, district authorities have decided to impose curfew like restrictions in the sensitive areas falling under six police stations in the Srinagar city.Meanwhile, separatists have called for Kashmir bandh on Wednesday against the molestation and killing of two youth in the north Kashmir Township.

Ex-serviceman files complaint against Kanhaiya Kumar for his derogatory remarks against Army

Ex-serviceman and national shooter Kahan Singh Thakur on Wednesday filed a complaint against JNU Student Union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar in a district court for his alleged derogatory remarks against the Army at an event in Delhi.The complaint was filed in the Kangra District and Sessions Court under Section 124-A (sedition), 499 (defamation), 500 (punishment for defamation), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), 505 and 511 (punishment for attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment for life or other imprisonment) of the IPC.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I have registered a complaint in the court against the JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar today for not apologising for his remarks on Indian soldiers,” Thakur said.The complaint was filed as the dead line for Kanhaiya to reply to his notice ended on March 27.Kahan’s counsel Vishav Chakshu said Kanhaiya, on the occasion of Women’s Day in Delhi, had said we will raise our voice against Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA), while we have a lot of respect for our soldiers, we will still talk about the fact that in Kashmir women are raped by security personnel.Kanhaiya also made similar remarks about security forces in Rwanda, Africa and Gujarat, where the women were not just killed but were raped first.Terming as “highly obnoxious and irresponsible” an attempt to “attempt to vilify the forces” Kanhaiya’s remark, a legal notice was sent to him on March 14 seeking a public apology within 15 days, Chakshu said.Kanhaiya neither replied to the notice, nor apologised for his derogatory remarks against the Army, he said, adding that the case will come up for hearing on April 12.

Iron Fist 2016: Indian Air Force’s greatest show of air power

Pokhran firing range in Rajasthan became famous after India’s nuclear tests, code-named ‘Smiling Buddha’ in 1974 and the ‘Shakti’ series in 1998. Spread over 100s of square kilometres of thinly populated area, it is the largest practise and test firing range in India. On March 18, Indian Air Force (IAF) put up its greatest ever show of air power. The event was witnessed by the President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, cabinet ministers and political leaders, and the entire military brass. Also present were the air attachés of various countries. The attachés of China and Pakistan were not invited as these countries do not invite their Indian counterparts for similar exercises. The event earlier called ‘Vayu Shakti’ got its current name ‘Iron-Fist’ when last held in 2013. The exercise logo shows an Iron Fist with a long arm to depict the long reach of the IAF. The Himalayan eagle perched on top with wings spread wide portrays IAF’s readiness for flight.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Welcoming the guests, Air Chief Arup Raha said “IAF’s glorious history was replete with saga of professional and boundless energy displayed by our Air warriors in the face of insurmountable odds. Exercise Iron Fist was aimed at showcasing the operational strength of a transforming IAF and assuring the nation that the safety of its sovereign skies lies in very capable hands.” Earlier the Vice Chief Air Marshal BS Dhanoa, in a press conference, cited former US president Theodore Roosevelt’s quote, “Speak softly and carry a big stick”.A set of bombs exploding on the ground.The event was a showcase of all facets of air power and was packaged into six themes covering IAF’s transformation, net-centric operations, air-defence, combat support, night ops and soft power. All manned and unmanned aircraft, air-to-air and surface-to-air weapons, and Special Forces took part. This demonstration of accuracy and lethality was a time to show the business end of IAF and its capability to punish and to send deterrence signals to adversaries. 181 aircraft flew in 69 missions. The 103 fighters included the indigenous Tejas (LCA), Su-30 MKI, Mirage 2000, MiG-29, Jaguar, MiG-27 UPG, MiG-21 Bison and the Hawk advanced jet trainer. The 59 helicopters included the Mi-17 variants, Mi-35 attack helicopters, the indigenous Dhruv ALH and the Light Combat Helicopters. The aircraft took off from different IAF bases and in a continuous flow arrived over target in a synchronised manner. The range was prepared with a large number of realistic looking structures simulating a variety of targets. Two huge screens in front of stands gave crew details and also the IR/Optical picture from the ‘Heron’ UAV flying overhead. The events were spread over day, dusk and night. It began with three Mi-17s carrying the flags of India, IAF and South Western Air Command. A sonic-salute to the President meant a MIG 29 breaking the sound-barrier over the stands. A MiG-27 streamed the Exercise logo banner. The vintage Tiger Moth and Harvard aircraft flew as a reminder of IAF’s past. Integrated Air Command and Control System (IACCS) coordinated arrivals at designated Time-over-Target (ToT). Joint-man-ship was displayed with the Army and National Security Guard (NSG) participating in specific exercise scenarios.Russian fighters MiG-21, MiG-27, MiG-29 and Su-30 MKI flying in formation.The unfolding Make in India success in military aviation was on showcase. A special feature was the swing role capability displayed by the Tejas which in the first pass dropped a laser-guided bomb on a ground target and then fired an air-to-air R-73 missile on a simulated air target. Tejas was fresh after its maiden foreign display at Bahrain air show. Tejas had recently successfully firing the BVR Derby Air-to-Air missile at Jamnagar and now awaits clearance to fire the Close Combat Missile Python-5 in the near future. The Su-30, in public for the first time, fired the DRDO designed Astra air-to-air Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile. The DRDO’s Akash surface-to-air missile was also demonstrated. The HAL LCH fired rockets on simulated tanks. There was also a simulated aerial combat demonstration. The spectators also got to witness the less seen A50 AWACS and DRDO AEW&C. A Short Landing and Take-off by C-130J Super Hercules was demonstrated on an unpaved runway. Mid-air fuel transfer from the IL-78 to Su-30s was showcased. Combined Ops by NSG and Garud dropped by a Mi-17 V5 in an urban scenario were greatly appreciated by the dignitaries.LCH firing rockets.The night event was a military version of Diwali. Night bombing run was performed by Mirage2000, Mig-27, Jaguar and Su-30 fighters and the Mi-17 and Mi-35 helicopters. Boeing C-17 and An-32 aircraft paradropped Army’s Special Forces at night. All aircraft fired Infra-red flares at night to show themselves to the crowds. 128 rockets leaving a Mi-17 in three seconds can obliterate any target in the battle area. The ten thousand pounder bombs that the AN-32 dropped shook the visitors stand.C-17 dropping paratroops.IAF’s most enthralling soft power included an aerobatic display by the highly manoeuvrable Su-30 MKI, and synchronised aerial ballet by the Sarang and the Surya Kiran Aerobatic teams. The IAF Symphony orchestra and Drill Team engaged the spectators during the refreshment break. IAF once again showcased that it is not just the fourth largest air force in the world, but also a potent fighting machine with the all-weather capability to deliver lethal fire power. Presumably, the politicians and bureaucrats could see what the money invested would actually do and got the confidence that country was in safe hands. Hopefully, they will be more conscious when they push the files ‘Up or down’. The foreign attachés would have got the signals of the strength from this emerging power. IAF’s brethren in Army and Navy will feel more secure. IAF continues to give importance to the ‘human behind the machine’ and uphold its mission statements— “People First, Mission Always” and “More you sweat in peace, Less you bleed in war”.

Army lauds gesture by IIT-Bombay students

When IIT Bombay students associated with National Service Scheme uploaded posters dedicated to the armed forces on their Facebook page, little did they know that their posts will be appreciated and shared by the Army.The post on the Indian Army’s official Facebook page reads, “We appreciate the gesture by the students of National Service Scheme, IIT Bombay, for the series of posters made for the Armed Forces”. A series of 10 posters made by NSS students were uploaded on the NSS, IIT Bombay’s official FB page as a prelude to the National Defence Day celebrations.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The posters acknowledged the contribution of the armed forces and thanked them for their service with a poem titled ‘A Little More’ which runs through the posters. The poem was penned by the institute NSS volunteers with contributions from Jay Dedhia, a third-year student, who is not part of NSS. “The post on the Indian Army page received more than 32,000 likes and over 3,000 shares,” informed an excited student associated with the group.

Ex-serviceman sends legal notice to Kanhaiya for anti-military remarks

JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar was on Monday sent a legal notice by an ex-serviceman here for allegedly speaking against security forces during an event on International Women’s Day.Advocate Vishav Chakshu said his client, Kehan Singh Thakur, a retired Subedar of village Dalah in Mandi district, has sent a legal notice to the JNU leader for his comments against Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) and security forces on March 8.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We will raise our voice against AFSPA. While we have a lot of respect for our soldiers, we will talk about the fact that in Kashmir women are raped by security personnel,” Thakur quoted Kumar as saying as per media reports.Thakur alleged that the JNU leader made similar remarks about security forces deployed in Rwanda, Africa and Gujarat, where he said the women were not just killed but raped first.

President Pranab Mukherjee honours elite helicopter unit involved in 26/11 Mumbai attacks operation

President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday honoured the Indian Air Force’s elite 119 Helicopter Unit, involved in various counter insurgency operations including the 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai to flush out terrorists, for their outstanding performance.Mukherjee also accorded ‘Colours’ to 28 Equipment Depot, the air armament stores division which “provides lethality” to fighter and bomber squadrons of IAF units. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Addressing a function at the crucial and one of the oldest Air Force stations, he said India is firmly committed to peace and equality for which the country needs effective deterrence and a strong defence force. “The nation is striving hard for all-round economic growth and social empowerment of its citizens. However, we remain equally focused on building capacity to defend our sovereignty and territorial integrity. “Our Armed Forces give us confidence in the nation’s ability to face any aggression and safeguard its interests.”The Air Warriors, who stand before us today, epitomise the grit and the determination in fulfilling their responsibilities by upholding the highest standards of service ethos,” the President said addressing men and women of the Air Force. Mukherjee, who is the supreme commander of the defence forces, said the Indian Air Force has been fulfilling its role of protecting the Indian skies and safeguarding the sovereignty of the nation and also provided aid to citizens during natural calamities.”The massive relief operations undertaken by the Indian Air Force during many natural calamities in the past is all etched in our memories. Such operations are shining examples of the fortitude and determination of its gallant air warriors,” he said.

BSF shoots down Pakistan intruder at Ferozepur sector

There were two Pakistani intruders, one was killed and the other one escaped and ran back to Pakistan, said BSF official. The Border Security Forces (BSF) on Friday morning shot down one Pakistani intruder while sneaking into the Indian Territory in the Ferozepur sector. “There were exchange of fire between BSF jawans and two Pakistani intruders, in which one was killed, but the other one escaped and ran back to Pakistan,” Anil Paliwal, BSF Border Range IG, said.Further details are awaited.

Pampore attack: United Jihad Council head Syed Salahuddin’s son among those trapped in EDI

Syed Mueen, son of United Jihad Council supremo Syed Salahuddin, was among the nearly 100 employees and trainees trapped inside the government building attacked by Lashkar-e-Toiba militants in Pampore on Srinagar- Jammu national highway last week. Mueen, who works as an Information Technology (IT) manager at Jammu and Kashmir Entrepreneurship Development Institute (JKEDI), Pampore was offering late afternoon prayers with colleagues when three militants entered the campus on Saturday after firing on a CRPF convoy on the highway, officials said. As the militants made their way into the multi-storey main building of the campus, about 20 employees, including women, present there became frightened and some, including Mueen, broke their prayers to rush downstairs, they said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The militants asked them to drop their mobile phones and leave the building. The employees walked out from the back side to the nearby hostel building where more employees and trainees were hiding. All of them, except a gardener who was hit by a bullet and succumbed to his injuries later, were assisted by security forces out of the campus to safety.After the campus was evacuated of all civilians, the encounter between security forces and holed-up militants started and went on for three days at the end of which the three militants, all foreigners, were killed. Three army men, including two captains of the Special Forces and two CRPF personnel were also killed in the encounter which left the main building badly damaged.

Militants killed Capt Pawan Kumar to avenge the death of two civilians, says LeT Kashmir chief

Worst fears of the security forces have come true after dreaded Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) comes out of the closet claiming that the militant trio slain in J&K Entrepreneur Development Institute (EDI) building killed Captain Pawan Kumar of the Special Forces just to avenge the death of two civilians at Kakpora village on February 14.Danish Farooq Mir, 19, and Shaista Hameed, 22, were killed when security forces resorted to tear smoke shelling and opened fire on a mob that was protesting against the killing of a local militant in Kakpora village of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district on February 14.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Militants avenged the death of Kashmiri girl Shaista Hamid and Danish Farooq by killing Indian Army Captain Pawan Kumar. Militants have paid back by avenging their deaths,” said Mehmood Shah, LeT chief, in a statement to local news agencies.Captain Pawan Kumar of 10 Para (Special Forces) was killed when he led a daredevil mission to storm the EDI building on Saturday night. Captain Tushar Mahajan and Lance Naik Om Prakash of 9 Para (Special Forces) died on Sunday afternoon when they were busy in clearing the building from militants.The Special Forces commandos were among six people, including two CRPF men and EDI gardner, killed in the encounter. Three unidentified foreign militants were later gunned down in 48-hour gunbattle.”Due to the sacrifices of these militants, the sun of freedom will definitely rise in Kashmir. Frustration engulfed thousands of Indian troopers due to valiant show displayed by the three militants in the gunbattle. The parents of these faithful followers deserve admiration and praise,” Shah said.Hailing people for their support for militants, LeT chief said during Pampore gunfight it seemed that “whole Kashmir nation was up in arms against India”.What added a new dimension to whole saga was the remarks of independent MLA from Langate and Awami Ithaad Party chief Sheikh Abdul Rashid aka Engineer Rashid that alleged `brutality’ of the security agencies are prompting the people to treat militants as saviours in Jammu and Kashmir.”Had just killing militants been solution to the problem, government would have no objection in burying the slain militants in Hajin and Pampore. It is brutality of the security agencies, denial of right to self-determination to Kashmiris and biased attitude of administration towards Muslims that is making them (people) to respect and treat militants as their saviors,” Engineer Rashid said.

3-day-long siege of Jammu and Kashmir building ends as Army kills all 3 militants

The three-day-long gun battle between three holed-up militants and the Indian Army ended on Monday evening after the unidentified militants were neutralised in the multi-storey building of the Jammu and Kashmir Entrepreneur Development Institute (EDI) here in Pulwama district.”It was a very successful operation.We have eliminated three hard-core terrorists and recovered war-like stores. They were terrorists from across the border. We had no specific intelligence information about the three coming to attack this specific place,” said Major General Arvind Dutta, general officer commanding (GOC), Victor Force of the Indian Army.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The encounter started late on Saturday afternoon when militants attacked a CRPF convoy, killing two jawans and injuring 13 others before taking shelter in the building.More than 120 trainees and employees were rescued by security forces. A gardener of EDI was killed when people were being evacuated.The Indian Army lost three commandos, including two captains of the elite Para (Special Forces) units, when they came under heavy gunfire while they were securing rooms inside building during the last three days.The operation was one of the fiercest in the recent past in Kashmir Valley. During the last three days, security forces made three attempts to storm the building and gun down the militants, who were hiding at vantage positions from where they were able to see troop movement.”Initially, the CRPF tried to get inside the building from the ground floor. The moment they attempted that, the terrorists threw grenades and fired on them. This party had to withdraw,” said Maj Gen Dutta.Thereafter, the army worked out a plan to localise the terrorists and neutralise them. However, the troops did not have the exact location of the terrorists as the latter had occupied a large space.On Saturday night, the army threw a tight cordon and lit up the area to launch a crack operation to gun down the militants. A 10 Para Special Forces commando team was given the task to storm the building and neutralise the terrorists.”Their first task was to occupy the top of the building. They did a marvellous job. Captain Pawan was part of this team. They successfully manoeuvred through the ground, first and second floors. As they were entering the third floor from where they wanted to enter the roof, a brief contact was established with the terrorists. In the ensuing fight, Pawan was martyred,” said the GOC.On Sunday morning, the army decided to storm the building with a large force to secure each floor gradually and eliminate the terrorists.”We launched the 9 Para commandos on Sunday morning and they successfully cleared various floors. In that process two brave commandos — Capt Tushar Mahajan and Lance Naik Om Prakash – got martyred,” Maj Gen Dutta said.Security forces were able to corner the militants in the upper storey of the building. Since Monday morning, forces used rockets, rifle-propelled grenades, mortar bombs and other ammunition to pulverise the positions of the militants.Late on Monday afternoon, there was a brief lull in firing, indicating that the militants might not be alive anymore. Crack teams of the forces immediately went inside and found the three bodies lying on the floor of the upper storey.”In every operation, we have to see what the challenges are. This building had so many rooms and corners and places to hide. Time was not a problem for us. Our aim was to proceed stage by state and neutralise them in the end,” said Maj Gen Dutta.

Government will be formed in Jammu and Kashmir without diluting CMP: Ram Madhav

There are indications that both the BJP and the PDP have broadly arrived on a consensus to form the government in Jammu and Kashmir after sorting out a few remaining glitches in their common minimum programme (CMP) and agenda of alliance.After having a sneaky meeting with PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti in Srinagar on Wednesday, BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav on Thursday said that a couple of senior PDP leaders are expected to come to Delhi to hold discussion with the central leadership and the ministers on specific pointers to the agenda of alliance, draw their contours and put a timeline to it.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Talks were positive. I hope there will be continuation of previous arrangement and the government will be formed in near future,” said Madhav asserting that that there would be status quo on the agenda of alliance and no dilution or new addition will take place as would there be no separate confidence building measure (CBM).He, however, refused to give any time frame for the government formation.At the same time, Madhav said that the BJP is willing to discuss bringing into a timeline a few issues which have found a mention in the alliance’s CMP, thus indicating BJP’s readiness to accept PDP’s demand in this regard.Sources said that while the BJP is keen to thrash out a timeline for building houses for Kashmiri pundits in the valley for their return, the PDP wants faster delivery of compensation for 2014 flash flood victims.Refusing any dilution taking place of the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Madhav said, “There is no rethink on AFSPA. All AFSPA related news is wrong. There was no discussion on it in the meeting and status of issues like these remains same as is given in the CMP.”

Supreme Court upholds Army’s policy of preferential promotion for officers in command unit

The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the Army’s ‘Command and Exit Policy’ but asked the government to create 141 additional vacancies for promotion of Combat Unit officers.Under the ‘Command and Exit policy’, the infantry and artillery officers were given priority while giving promotions.The Centre had filed an appeal in the apex court against the Armed Forces Tribunal order of quashing the 2009 Command Exit Promotion Policy in the Indian Army. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government had in the last hearing given a proposal to create 141 additional vacancies for promotion of the officers of combat support units, to also accommodate officers aggrieved by the Army’s 2009 promotion policy, which gave preference to those posted in Artillery and Infantry divisions.

Jammu and Kashmir: Terrorist hideout busted in Ramban, arms & ammunition seized

Army on Saturday busted a terrorist hideout in Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir and seized huge quantity of arms and ammunition.The troops of Rashtriya Rifles battalion along with J&K Police busted a militant hideout in the dense forest of Bajpathri area in Ramban district, Defence Spokesman said. They seized huge quantity of arms, ammunition and other war like stores, he said.The arms and ammunition seized from the hideout include three pistols with magazines, 2042 rounds of AK 47, 25 rounds of sniper rifle, five hand grenades, five magazines of AK-47, two radio sets, one weapon sight and other sustenance stores, he said. The hideout is believed to be of militants who have been killed in the past by Security Forces.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>General Officer Commanding Delta Force complimented the troops who took part in the operation and commented that the recovery of this huge cache is in continuation with the sustained efforts of Delta Force, the Spokesman added.

J&K govt formation: Ram Madhav to hold talks with PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti to break impasse

Madhav, who had played a key role in forging alliance with PDP, may meet her after the 40-day mourning period following Sayeed’s demise ends next week, party sources said. BJP general secretary Ram Madhav is likely to hold talks with PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti next week as the party makes fresh efforts to break the impasse over formation of government in Jammu and Kashmir following the death of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. Madhav, who had played a key role in forging alliance with PDP, may meet her after the 40-day mourning period following Sayeed’s demise ends next week, party sources said. PDP wants the central government to make some concessions on its Kashmir-centric political agenda, including relaxation in controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act, a demand the BJP has rejected in the past. PDP is also pushing for more financial assistance to the state from the Centre.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The regional party apprehends that its alliance with BJP has cost it some popular support and it can recover the lost ground only by pushing its core agenda. While late chief minister Sayeed was an enthusiastic votary of the tie-up with BJP, her daughter is more ambivalent about it, the sources said.

BSF-Pak Rangers exchange sweets on occasion of 67th Republic Day

Despite the prevailing tension between India and Pakistan over the Pathankot attack, the Border Security Forces and the Pakistani Rangers on Tuesday exchanged sweets on the occasion of India?s 67th Republic Day along the Attari-Wagah border in Amritsar in Punjab.Defence personnel from both the nations shook hands and exchanged several platters of sweets as they posed for pictures as well. However, Pakistani Rangers had earlier refused to accept the sweets offered by the BSF on the occasion of Eid last year.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Following which the BSF also refused to offer any sweets to their counterparts along the International Border as a mark of protest against the spate of ceasefire violations along this frontier and also the Line of Control (LoC).

Full text: Pranab Mukherjee addresses nation ahead of 67th Republic Day

President Pranab Mukherjee addressed the nation on Monday evening ahead of the 67th Republic Day of India. Like every year, he spoke about the different burning issues including terrorism, intolerance, rise of poullution, the economy and India’s ties with Pakistan.

He ended his speech with a quote from Rabindranath Tagore, urging the youth of the country to march ahead and take centrestage.

Here is the full text of the speech:

My Fellow Citizens:

1.On the eve of the sixty-seventh Republic Day of our nation, I extend warm greetings to all of you in India and abroad. I convey my special greetings to members of our Armed Forces, Para-military Forces and Internal Security Forces. I pay my tribute to the brave soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice of their lives in defending India’s territorial integrity and in upholding the rule of law.

Fellow Citizens:

President Pranab Mukherjee delivers his speech ahead of the 67th Republic Day.President Pranab Mukherjee delivers his speech ahead of the 67th Republic Day.

President Pranab Mukherjee delivers his speech ahead of the 67th Republic Day.

2.On twenty-sixth January 1950, our Republic was born. On this day, we gave ourselves the Constitution of India. This day saw the culmination of heroic struggle of an extraordinary generation of leaders who overcame colonialism to establish the world’s largest democracy. They pulled together India’s amazing diversity to build national unity, which has brought us so far. The enduring democratic institutions they establishedhave given us the gift of continuity on the path of progress. India today is a rising power, a country fast emerging as a global leader in science, technology, innovation and start-ups, and whose economic success is the envy of the world.

Fellow Citizens:

3.The year 2015 has been a year of challenges. During this year, the global economy remained subdued. Unpredictability ruled the commodity markets. Uncertainty marked the institutional responses. In such troubled environment, no one nation could be an oasis of growth. India’s economy also had to face the blowback. Weak investor sentiments led to withdrawal of funds from emerging markets including India putting pressure on the Indian rupee. Our exports suffered. Our manufacturing sector is yet to recover fully.

4.In 2015, we were also denied the bounty of nature. While large parts of India were affected by severe drought, other areas reeled under devastating floods. Unusual weather conditions impacted our agricultural production. Rural employment and income levels suffered.

Fellow Citizens:

5.We can call out these challenges because we are aware of them. There is a great virtue in acknowledging a problem and resolving to address it. India is building and implementing strategies to solve these problems. This year, with an estimated growth rate of 7.3 percent, India is poised to become the fastest growing large economy. Contraction in global oil prices has helped maintain external sector stability and control domestic prices. Despite occasional setbacks, industrial performance this year has been strong.

6.Aadhaar, with its present reach of 96 crore people, is helping in direct transfer of benefits, plugging leakages and improving transparency. Over 19 crore bank accounts opened under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana is the single largest exercise in the world at financial inclusion. The Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana aims to create model villages. The Digital Indiaprogramme is an effort to bridge the digital divide. The Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana targets farmer’s welfare. Increased spending on programmes like MGNREGA is aimed at enhancing employment generation to rejuvenate the rural economy.

7.The Make-in-India campaign will boost manufacturing by facilitating easy conduct of business and improving competitiveness of domestic industry. The Start-up India programme will foster innovation and encourage new-age entrepreneurship. The National Skill Development Mission envisages skilling 300 million youth by 2022.

8.There will be, amongst us, occasional doubters and baiters. Let us continue to complain; to demand; to rebel. This too is a virtue of democracy. But let us also applaud what our democracy has achieved. With investments in infrastructure, manufacturing, health, education, science and technology, we are positioning ourselves well for achieving a higher growth rate which will in the next ten to fifteen years help us eliminate poverty.

Fellow Citizens:

9.Reverence for the past is one of the essential ingredients of nationalism. Our finest inheritance, the institutions of democracy, ensure to all citizens justice, equality, and gender and economic equity. When grim instances of violence hit at these established values which are at the core of our nationhood, it is time to take note. We must guard ourselves against the forces of violence, intolerance and unreason.

Fellow Citizens:

10. For revitalizing the forces of growth, we need reforms and progressive legislation. It is the bounden duty of the law makers to ensure that such legislation is enacted after due discussion and debate. A spirit of accommodation, cooperation and consensus-building should be the preferred mode of decision-making. Delays in decision-making and implementation can only harm the process of development.

Fellow Citizens:

11. Peace is the primary objective of a rational consciousness as well as our moral universe. It is the foundation of civilization and a necessity for economic progress. And yet, we have never been able to answer a simple question: why does peace remain so elusive? Why has peace been so much more difficult to attain than degenerate conflict?

12. As the twentieth century closed down with a remarkable revolution in science and technology, we had some reason for optimism that the twenty-first century would mark an era in which the energies of people and nations would be committed to a rising prosperity that would eliminate, for the first time, the curse of extreme poverty. That optimism has faded in the first fifteen years of this century. There is unprecedented turbulence across vast regions, with alarming increase in regional instabilities. The scourge of terrorism has reshaped war into its most barbaric manifestation. No corner can now consider itself safe from this savage monster.

13. Terrorism is inspired by insane objectives, motivated by bottomless depths of hatred, instigated by puppeteers who have invested heavily in havoc through the mass murder of innocents. This is war beyond any doctrine, a cancer which must be operated out with a firm scalpel. There is no good or bad terrorism; it is pure evil.

Fellow Citizens:

14. Nations will never agree on everything; but the challenge today is existential. Terrorists seek to undermine order by rejecting the very basis of strategic stability, which are recognized borders. If outlaws are able to unravel borders, then we are heading towards an age of chaos. There will be disputes among nations; and, as is well-known, the closer we are to a neighbour the higher the propensity for disputes. There is a civilized way to bridge disagreement; dialogue, ideally, should be a continual engagement. But we cannot discuss peace under a shower of bullets.

15. We on our subcontinent have a historic opportunity to become a beacon to the world at a time of great danger. We must attempt to resolve the complex edges of our emotional and geo-political inheritance with our neighbours through a peaceful dialogue, and invest in mutual prosperity by recognizing that human beings are best defined by a humane spirit, and not their worst instincts. Our example can be its own message to a world in anxious need of amity.
Fellow Citizens:

16. Each of us has the right to lead a healthy, happy and productive life in India. This right has been breached, especially in our cities, where pollution has reached alarming levels. Climate change has acquired real meaning with 2015 turning out to be the warmest year on record. Multiple strategies and action at various levels is necessary. Innovative solutions of urban planning, use of clean energy, and changing the mindsets of the people call for active participation of all stakeholders. Permanence of such changes can be ensured only if people own these changes.

Fellow Citizens:

17. Love for one’s motherland is the basis of all progress. Education, with its enlightening effect, leads to human progress and prosperity. It helps us develop forces of spirit which can revive lost hopes and ignored values. Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan had said and I quote: “End-product of education should be a free creative man who can battle against historical circumstances and adversities of nature” (unquote). The advent of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” demands that this free and creative man should also be able to master the velocity of change to absorb disruptions which are getting embedded in the systems and societies. An eco-system that fosters critical thinking and makes teaching intellectually stimulating is necessary.

It must inspire scholarship and encourage unfettered respect for knowledge and teachers. It must instill a spirit of reverence towards women that will guide social conduct of an individual throughout his life. It must breed a culture of deep thought and create an environment of contemplation and inner peace. Through an open-minded approach to the wider spectrum of ideas emanating from within, our academic institutions must become world-class. A beginning has already been made with two Indian institutes of higher education finding place in the top two hundred in international rankings.

Fellow Citizens:

18. The generational change has happened. Youth have moved centre-stage to take charge. March ahead with Tagore’s words from Nutan Yuger Bhore:

“CHOLAAY CHOLAAY BAAJBEY JOYER BHEREE –
PAAYER BEGEYI POTH KETEY JAAY, KORISH NEY AAR DERI”

Move ahead, the roll of drums announce your triumphal march;
With feet of glory, you shall cut out your own path;
Delay not, delay not, a new age dawns.
Thank you.
Jai Hind!

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