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Was Gen Bipin Rawat’s appointment as Army Chief pushed by the influential Gorkha coterie?

The appointment of Lieutenant General Bipin Rawat as new Chief of Army Staff has snowballed into a controversy, once it emerged that Rawat was not the senior-most officer in the Indian Army. The officers who were bypassed to let Rawat become the new army chief were not only more senior, but they were also in command positions, placed there because they are capable enough and experienced enough to become chief.

They have been on the frontline as active commanders. You don’t get to become an army commander unless you’re ready and trained, as simple as that. It’s not just a question of seniority; hundreds of very senior people get bypassed, sidelined, passed over, and continue to serve “juniors” for several years if they wish to stay in uniform. In all these cases, the officers are competent field commanders, and have already touched the stars…literally.

Lt Gen Bipin Rawat. File photo. Getty ImagesLt Gen Bipin Rawat. File photo. Getty Images

Lt Gen Bipin Rawat. File photo. Getty Images

But then, it’s no secret that there is a coterie at the army headquarters. The Gorkha Rifles are so strongly represented at the highest levels that it raises eyebrows even within army circles. The incumbent Chief of Army Staff, Dalbir Singh Suhag, is from the Gorkha Rifles, as is Bipin Rawat, the man who will replace him on 31 December. In April this year, five of the 14 major generals promoted to their third star were from the Gorkha Rifles. The director general military intelligence, Lieutenant General SK Patyal, is from the Gorkhas. The director general military training Lieutenant General AL Chauhan is from the Gorkha Rifles.

These, by the way, are the top jobs at army headquarters; they oversee all strategic matters. Another very important position is director general military operations, currently held by Lieutenant General AK Bhatt, again from the Gorkha Rifles. Even the adjutant general Lieutenant General RK Sharma is from the Gorkha Rifles.

What are the odds that in an army of over a million, with dozens of battalions and regiments, all with glorious histories, the top five jobs would be held by officers from the same section of the army.

None of this is rocket science. And it’s all available on the public domain.

Sure, the Gorkhas have a proud history, but so do the Sikh Regiments, the Maratha Light Infantry, the Rajputana Rifles, the Madras Regiment, the Guards, the para regiments, the Punjab Regiment, the Grenadiers, the Bihar Regiment, the Jats, the Dogras, the Assam Regiment, J&K Rifles, the Armoured Corps, the Mechansied regiments, etc.

Handing command to a Gurkha is not a flaw in itself, but it means one regiment will continue to hold sway at South Block. If it is happening at the expense of others is a question worth asking.

Retired Lieutenant General Ike Singha, as head of the Peacekeeping Mission in Golan Heights in Syria and Israel from 2012 to 2015, has seen more action than anyone else in the Indian Army. This is what he has to say about the controversy over Bipin Rawat’s appointment. “The NDA government launched a surgical strike on the Indian Army by superseding very competent generals and selecting Bipin Rawat as the next COAS. In the past, only once has the seniormost army commander been passed over; when Lt Gen. Sinha was overlooked and Gen. AS Vaidya appointed COAS by the Congress government led by Indira Gandhi. History punished the nation for this folly. Gen. Vaidya lacked the moral guts to tell Gandhi that the army, an apolitical organisation should not be dragged into storming a religious place like the Golden Temple. Gen. Sinha, a strong man, would have perhaps resisted and that is why he was overlooked. The BJP resurrected Sinha, and he was appointed a member of the Rajya Sabha. Unfortunately, the NDA government has made the same mistake and overlooked two very capable officers. I have very closely served with all three senior officers and we have grown together. All three are thorough professionals and Praveen Bakshi and PM Hariz lacked nothing.”

“Modi, like Jawaharlal Nehru, feels that the country is not going to fight a war with any of its neighbours. Nehru showed Chou en Lai all our defence establishments, and the shrewd Chinese leader saw the chinks in our armour and annexed Tibet in 1959. India was stunned, but before it could recover from the jolt, China affected an embarrassing defeat in the 1962 war. Modi has a disdain for the Indian Army that I watched closely as General Officer Commanding in Gujarat. It seems he is going the Nehru way and has no inclination to learn from history. (Manohar) Parrikar is a technocrat and has been chief minister of Goa, a state with two districts. A novice in security matters, he thinks he has a magic wand and has a solution for all the complex problems and challenges facing the defence forces.”

He does not.

First Published On : Dec 20, 2016 15:26 IST

Sushma Swaraj urged to intervene to bring home body of jawan serving in UN Peacekeeping

Mon, 7 Nov 2016-01:45pm , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Darjeeling MP and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, SS Ahluwalia has written to External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, seeking her help in ensuring speedy return of the body of a Gorkha jawan who died in Congo.The letter released to press today stated that Brijesh Thapa of 4/5 Gorkha rifles was sent to Congo as part of the UN Peacekeeping force and was posted there where he died last week. The letter said Thapa hailed from Tayang Dang Basti, Sinjee, Kalimpong district. The bereaved family and the entire village was still waiting for the body to arrive but had heard nothing about it so far, it stated. Ahluwalia urged Swaraj to make necessary arrangements to bring back the body to Kalimpong with due honour so that the family could conduct the last rites at the earliest. He also requested Swaraj to talk to the bereaved parents of the jawan.

Shoving off Lashkar, Jaish becomes the face of terror

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Forget Lashkar-e-Taiba, Moulana Masood Azhar led Jaish-e-Mohammad is fast becoming the face of terror in Jammu and Kashmir.After lying low for some years, Jaish is emerging a formidable force on the terror map of the state. From Tangdhar attack to Pathankot attack to Uri fidayeen attack, Jaish militants are trying to leave Lashkar-e-Taiba behind in launching suicidal mission on military and other security formations in the state.Four Jaish militants, in the age group of 18 to 22 years, stormed the headquarters of 12 infantry brigade in Uri killing 18 soldiers and injuring 20 others. All the four fidayeens, who were foreigners, were later killed. Sources said the attack again proved that Jaish is the new darling of Pakistani security and intelligence agencies who want to prop up its cadres to trim down its dependence on Lashkar-e-Taiba.Jaish’s revival process started when Indian army repulsed a major fidayeen (suicidal) attack on its Gorkha Riffles (GR) camp near the Line of Control (LoC) in Tangdhar on November 25 last year. What rattled the forces was the recovery of bags inscribed with Afzal Guru Squad from the three slain Jaish-e-Mohammad militants.Even before the security agencies could pick up the leads, Jaish militants struck again when they launched a fidayeen attack on the Pathankot airbase killing eight people including NSG officer and injuring 20 others on January 2. The operation continued till January 5 when the base was cleared by the forces.Founded by Moulana Masood Azhar, one of the three militants released in exchange of passengers of the Indian Airlines flight IC 814 in 1999, Jaish-e-Mohammad has been the deadliest group only second to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). But after 2001, security forces had managed to break the back of Jaish by eliminating its top brass including Gazi Baba, the mastermind of the Parliament attack which prompted New Delhi to mobilize Indian army and launch Operation Parakaram.Intelligence agencies pointed out that the Jaish is making all efforts to push in small group of highly trained militants into Kashmir to raise the cadre base from the local youth. Since January this year, the security forces have arrested two Pakistani Jaish militants who were tasked to establish local modules for fidayeen attacks in Baramulla.After the arrest of Sadiq Gujjar (Pakistani Jaish commander) in February, Pakistani handlers had pushed in Abdul Rehman along with four other militants from Machil sector to recruit people for Jaish in Baramulla. But Rehman too was arrested which blew the lid off the conspiracy to revive Jaish in the north Kashmir.Jaish’ revival was again visible when security forces killed two Pakistani Jaish-e-Mohammad commanders in Saria Bala locality, which is half a kilometre away from Civil Secretariat and Legislative Assembly in Lal Chowk area of Srinagar in May this year.Police said the duo had taken a room on rent and were masquerading as engineering students in the area. Acting on specific information police raided a four storey residential building and shot dead both alleged Pakistani militants. Police identified one of them as Saifullah, a top Jaish commander who was operating in the central Kashmir for the last four years.On October 4, 2015, two top Pakistani Jaish commanders Adil Pathan and Chota Burmi were killed in a surgical operation at Hariparigam Tral in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district. Operating in the valley since 2010, the duo was involved in number of attacks on the security forces and civilians particularly in south Kashmir.Revival processJaish’s revival process started when Indian army repulsed a major fidayeen (suicidal) attack on its Gorkha Riffles (GR) camp near the Line of Control (LoC) in Tangdhar on November 25 last year. What rattled the forces was the recovery of bags inscribed with Afzal Guru Squad from the three slain Jaish-e-Mohammad militants.Even before the security agencies could pick up the leads, Jaish militants struck again when they launched a fidayeen attack on the Pathankot airbase killing eight people including NSG officer and injuring 20 others on January 2. The operation continued till January 5 when the base was cleared by the forces.

Learning the hard way: Students forced to use umbrellas inside classroom in Darjeeling school

In a school in Darjeeling, West Bengal students are required to carry umbrellas inside the classrooms because of leaking roofs. Students of this school in Mirik, Murmah Prem Sundar Higher Secondary School have to study under deplorable conditions during monsoons as classrooms remain waterlogged and have leaking roofs. The local administration – Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA) has blamed the state government for not supplying adequate funds. They even highlighted that, classes in several schools in the hills are called off on certain days when there is heavy downpour. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>“This is one such school where seepage water enters the classrooms. But, there are many schools across the district, where infrastructure is in a bad shape. Recently, tremors were felt in the hills and several landslides had occurred, which further worsened the situation. I have written to the state government on different occasions, but they have not replied. They are not providing us adequate funds as a result of which, we are not being able to carry out repair works,” said Roshan Giri, Executive Member, Education, Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA). On the other hand, officials in the state government claim that every year, the budget allocated for GTA is being provided, but they are not spending it on school’s infrastructure. “State allocated funds for the hills are sent on time. But, somehow the funds remain unused and are not spent on developmental activities. The situation turns worse with each passing year,” said a senior state government official.

Gorkhas demand reservation under OBC category

New Delhi: The Gorkhas have urged the central government to give “Other Backward Class” status to the community, an official statement said on Sunday.

A delegation of the community leaders and members from Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Meghalaya and Uttarakhand made the demand when they met union Minister for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) and PMO Jitendra Singh in Delhi on Saturday.

Representational Image. ReutersRepresentational Image. Reuters

Representational Image. Reuters

According to the release here, the minister gave a patient hearing to the delegation led by Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangha president S.M. Moktan.

The Parisangha is a national organisation of Gorkhas in the country, the release said.

Prominent among the delegationwere V.B. Thupu from Uttar Pradesh, D.C. Poudiyal and P.P. Pradhan from West Bengal, Guman Bhoj Limbo from New Delhi, Jagannath Koirala from Meghalaya and Bhupendra Adhikari from Uttarakhand.

Jitendra Singh, who also holds the portfolio of Youth Affairs and Sports, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, said that the Gorkha community has served the nation in most difficult times, through the thick and thin.

The community is known for valour and patriotism, he said.

The delegation leaders told the minister that out of over one crore Gorkha population in the country, over 35 lakh live in the northeastern region.

The delegation complained that in many states they are sometimes seen as foreigners or illegal settlers or non-locals.

“In many States, they complained that lack of proper documentation has also deprived them from being enlisted in voters’ list,” the release said.

They urged the minister that the Gorkhas living in the northeast may be involved in the development and economic activity in the region.

The other demands included inclusion of Gorkha language in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution and introduction of Nepali language as a vernacular subject in schools and colleges.

The union minister said many of the demands put forward by them do not strictly pertain to his ministry and therefore he will forward them to the concerned departments and ministries.

Martyr Jawan who killed terrorist in Pathankot honoured with Kirti Chakra

Sepoy Jagdish Chand, who bravely chased and killed one of the terrorists who had attacked the Pathankot air base before being martyred, was among the 58 personnel who were honoured with gallantry and other service-related awards by President Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi.Chand was honoured with Kirti Chakra, the second highest peace-time decoration, for displaying great presence of mind, valour and conspicuous gallantry before making the supreme sacrifice. His award was handed over by the President to his wife, who received a rapturous clapping from the audience which included Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, among others.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Col M N Rai of Gorkha Rifles was honoured with Shaurya Chakra (Posthumous) for unprecedented courage and valour, well beyond the call of duty, that he displayed during an encounter in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir on January 27, last year.His daughter, Alka Rai, who had left the nation emotionally devastated as she rose above her grief to shriek an old Gorkha war cry just before his cremation last year, stood up in attention as her mother received the award from the President.Havildar Tanka Kumar Limbu of the 21 Para, who had taken part in the operation on June 8, last year along the Indo-Myanmar border, was also given Shaurya Chakra. Mohammad Shafi Sheikh and Reyaz Ahmad Lone, two constables of Jammu and Kashmir Police, were also honoured with Shaurya Chakra (Posthumous).The same award also went to Hira Kumar Jha, Second-in-Command of CRPF’s 7th Battalion, who was killed in an encounter with Naxals in Bihar last year.Meanwhile, Vice Chief of Navy Vice Admiral P Murugesan was given Param Vishist Seva Medal and Deputy Chief of Army Lt Gen Subrata Saha was given Uttam Yudh Seva Medal.

Mamata Banerjee accuses opposition of ‘smear campaign’

Daring her opponents to fight the Trinamool Congress politically, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday accused them of resorting to a “smear campaign” and said they would get a “big zero” in the coming Assembly election.”Trinamool Congress is a people’s party. During our four-and-a-half-year rule we have done many development works for the people and served them. Whenever election comes they resort to smear campaign. They have no issue. Fight us politically,” the TMC chief said at an election meeting here.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Why CPI-M, Congress and BJP did not give rice to the people at Rs 2 a kg. Who stopped them? They did nothing except hatching conspiracy. We don’t do dirty politics like them. We are giving Rs 2 per kg rice to 8 crore people in the state,” she said. “The Congress, CPI-M and BJP have formed a rainbow alliance,” she said, adding “Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) in the Darjeeling hills has an alliance with the BJP. Now CPI-M is supporting them. Let them unite and see how many seats they get”.Turning to the Congress-CPI(M) electoral pact, Banerjee said, “The musk has now come out. CPI-M is saying Congress zindabad and Congress is saying CPI-M zindabad”.

No magic wand for Sino-Indian border issue: Former diplomat

India and China have so far held 18 rounds of talks at the level of special representatives on the boundary problem but many sticky issues still need to be sorted out.

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Mention Aadhaar for filing governance-related grievances: Government

About three lakhs grievances were filed in 2014, 2.35 lakh in 2013 and 2.01 lakh in 2012, according to government data.

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Seniors force first year BTech students to watch porn, imitate acts in Bhopal college

MANIT director Appu Kuttan however told HT that the college had just received a complaint and was looking into it.

dna Web Team

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Aftershock jolts Nepal 9 months after Gorkha earthquake

Relief materials could not be sent to the remote area due to shortage of fuel and the people are facing difficulties.

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Mamata ‘protecting her own criminals’: BJP on Malda violence

Several vehicles on the national highway were set on fire by the angry protestors, who also attacked the Kaliachawk Police Station.

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