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Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi rules out resignation, offers support to new army chief Bipin Rawat

Kolkata: Putting to rest all speculation about his resignation, Eastern Army Commander lieutenant general Praveen Bakshi assured his full support to General Bipin Rawat, who took charge as the new army chief superseding him.

Lt General Praveen Bakshi. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.Lt General Praveen Bakshi. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Lt General Praveen Bakshi. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

“I convey my best wishes and full support of Eastern Command to Gen. Bipin Rawat on having taken over as the Chief of Army Staff,” Bakshi said on Saturday. He also made it clear that he was not resigning, and even called the new army chief on the phone to congratulate him on taking over the reins of the army, an official said.

Speculation that he may seek premature retirement from service gained ground after he met Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on 21 December and then proceeded on leave after Christmas.

Bakshi was initially the frontrunner for the post of army chief. However, keeping aside the trend of seniority, the government appointed vice-chief of army, lieutenant general Bipin Rawat, a batch junior to Bakshi, as the new chief.

The army commander requested that speculation in media and trolling on social media should stop and everyone should focus on contributing their best to the betterment of the army and the nation.

At a function here on new year’s eve, he greeted all ranks of Army’s Eastern Command and said he would continue to lead the Command with full professional sincerity. He, however, continues to be on leave for the next few days.

First Published On : Dec 31, 2016 16:48 IST

Anil Baijal takes oath as Delhi Lieutenant Governor

Sat, 31 Dec 2016-11:32am , New Delhi , ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former union home secretary Anil Baijal on Saturday took oath as the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi at Raj Niwas. The oath was administered by Delhi High Court’s Chief Justice G Rohini.President Pranab Mukherjee earlier on December 28 accepted Najeeb Jung’s resignation and approved Baijal’s name as the next Lieutenant Governor of the National Capital Territory. Baijal, a 1969 batch India Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the Union Territories cadre, was removed as union home secretary when the UPA government assumed power in May 2004.The former bureaucrat has also been the vice-chairman of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and had headed key public sector companies like Prasar Bharti and Indian Airlines.Jung had submitted his resignation on December 22, ending a nearly three-and-half-year-long eventful tenure, mostly marked by bitter confrontation with Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi government.

No more ‘Jung’ as Anil Baijal becomes Delhi’s L-G

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former IAS official, Anil Baijal on Wednesday replaced Najeeb Jung as Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor. Jung resigned from the post last week.Sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that the decision was taken by President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday after he accepted Jung’s resignation.External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj took to Twitter to congratulate Baijal. “I welcome Shri #AnilBaijal as the Lt.Governor of Delhi, (SIC)” Swaraj tweeted.Baijal, a 1969 batch IAS officer, had previously served as Union Home Secretary under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and has held the several key positions in other ministries.Officials said that while Baijal’s name was recommended by the MHA, the papers reached the President’s office on Tuesday evening.Baijal had retired from service in 2006 as Secretary, Urban Development Ministry and has served as the former Vice-Chairman of Delhi Development Authority.He is also credited with the designing and roll-out of the Rs 60,000 crore Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) which was launched by the UPA government.Jung’s sudden resignation had come as a surprise to many including Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. “I spoke to Najeeb Jung over the phone and he said that he has resigned for personal reasons. We wish him all the best for future and look forward to working with the new L-G,” media reports quoted Kejriwal as saying.Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain, who was at loggerheads with Jung over a host of issues — including the foreign visits by AAP ministers, also met the outgoing LG on Wednesday.Jung became Delhi LG in July 2013, replacing Tajender Khanna, another IAS officer. A former IAS official of 1973 batch, he was initially posted in Madhya Pradesh and was last associated with Jamia Millia Islamia, where he was the vice-chancellor from 2009-2013.The former L-G had constantly been in the news for the past two years for his confrontation with the AAP’s Delhi Government and Chief Minister Kejriwal. He had also formed the committee chaired by VK Shunglu on August 30, to examine 400 files on decisions taken by the Kejriwal regime.

Anil Baijal to be Delhi L-G after Pranab Mukherjee accepts Najeeb Jung’s resignation

President Pranab Mukherjee, on Thursday, accepted the resignation of Najeeb Jung as Delhi Lieutenant Governor. Former Home Secretary, Anil Baijal is slated to replace him as the new administrator of the National Capital Territory, according to India Today TV.

In his career as a bureaucrat, Baijal, a 1969 batch IAS officer, has donned many hats.

A file image of Anil Baijal. News18

A file image of Anil Baijal. News18

He retired from the service in October, 2006 as Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India. While in that ministry, he was instrumental in the designing and roll-out of the  Jawahar Lal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) with federal grant equivalent of about Rs 60,000 crore, for improvement of infrastructure and provision of basic services in urban areas of India, according to his profile on IDFC group website, of which he is a non-executive chairman and an independent director. 

He has been the union home secretary in the NDA government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The former bureaucrat  has also been the vice-chairman of the Delhi Development Authority and had headed key public sector companies like Prasar Bharti and Indian Airlines.

In a sudden move, Jung had submitted his resignation on 22 December, ending a nearly three-and-half-year-long eventful tenure, mostly marked by bitter confrontation with AAP government.

The 65-year-old Jung, a former 1973 batch IAS officer and former vice-chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia University, had assumed charge as Lieutenant-Governor of Delhi on 9 July, 2013.

First Published On : Dec 28, 2016 16:29 IST

Florence Nightingales of the army sing discrimination

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two officers in the Military Nursing Services (MNS), the only all women corps of the army, have challenged discriminatory practices by the army in the Supreme Court (SC) and have sought restoration of their status, dignity and service conditions as officers of the Regular Army.In their petition, MNS officers Lieutenant Colonel Uma Kaushik and Captain Harpreet Kaur sought parity with officers in the army on various grounds. In their prayer, the officers have listed at least 13 grounds where discriminatory practices were observed. They include orders where nurses of senior ranks would not be saluted by junior ranked officers. Hence, though a MNS officer may be a Major General in uniform, a jawan will not salute her.The petitioners are of the opinion that the core consideration of the case stems from the prejudice they face, based on an obsolete and backward notion that nurses are inferior to other professionals. In their petition, they said they believe the heart of the matter is that doctors and male officers find it unpalatable that they are required to treat nursing officers in accordance with their status and rank.This petition is similar to a 2015 writ petition filed by Major General (Retd) Usha Sikdar on behalf of Military Nursing Service Corps Association in which a notice was issued to the army. It is interesting to note that since hearing in December, 4, 2015, the matter has not come up again in the top court.Known as the Florence Nightingales of the Indian Army, MNS officers have been seeking redressal for over a decade now. The petitioners believe that discriminatory practices were introduced after a 2003 SC judgement in Jasbir Kaur’s case, where an unfortunate one line observation made by the Bench stated, “That the Indian Military Nursing Service is a separate class, sui generis even though an auxiliary force of the Indian Military, is an undeniable fact.”Over the years, the nurses allege that they were discriminated against on at least 13 grounds that included discontinuation of arms training, change in uniform, stripping of stars and flags from vehicles and verbal instructions to stop saluting MNS officers among others.According to the petition, the Army, vide letter no. B/42706/MNS/AG/CW-1 09.02.2004, changed the olive green shirt and pants (like other officers in the Army) worn by the officers in the MNS to safari style beige colour uniform. This, the officers allege, was discriminatory and a grave gender injustice.IN 2005, the Chief of the Army Staff (CoAS) disallowed the display of star plates and flying of flags by officers in the MNS of the rank of Brigadier and Major general on their official vehicles. In 2008, the CoAS wrote to the Cabinet Secretary against granting the same pay band and grade pay to officers in the MNS as for the other service officers as recommended by the 6th Central Pay Commission.After 2004, MNS officers have been denied membership and access to exclusive army clubs and institutes and accommodation has been segregated. The 6th Pay Commission recommended parity in time-scale promotions, a notification that has not yet been implemented.In their petition, the two officers further allege that there has been an attempt to take away their commissioned rank. In her blog titled Fall of Nightingales – the tale of a losing battle, Maj Gen Sikdar wrote that a 10-member committee, headed by then army director-general of discipline, ceremonial and welfare, Lt Gen MG Girish recommended that MNS ranks be changed to Sister, Senior Sister, Matron, Deputy Principal Matron, Deputy Nursing Superintendent and Nursing Superintendent from Lieutenant, Captain, Major, Lt Colonel, Brigadier and Major General, respectively. However, medical officers got to retain their ranks, Sikdar noted.

DNA Evening Must Reads: Najeeb Jung resigns; Ravichandran declared ICC Cricketer of the Year; and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung submits his resignation, Kejriwal ‘surprised’Najeeb Jung, the 20th Lieutenant Governor of the National Capital Territory of Delhi, stepped down from his position on Thursday. He was appointed to the post of Lt. Governor in 2013, replacing Tajender Khanna, another IAS officer. Read more here.2. After PM Modi mocks Rahul’s ‘earthquake’, Congress VP says ‘answer me’A combative Gandhi hit back at PM Modi for mocking his speech wherein the Congress vice president had accused him of having taken money from corporate groups, saying he could make fun of him but needed to answer the charges of personal corruption levelled against him. Read more here.3. Berlin Christmas market attack: Tunisian suspect’s fingerprints found on truck door, 4 arrested – mediaInvestigators found fingerprints of a Tunisian suspect in the Berlin Christmas market attack on the door of the truck that ploughed through the crowds, killing 12, German media said on Thursday, as a nationwide manhunt for the migrant was underway. Read more here.4. Damage to India’s economic growth will be bigger than RBI’s estimates: ReportDamage to India’s economic growth is likely to be bigger than the RBI’s estimates, as there could be a sharper slowdown in the near-term as cash shortage is likely to extend into the first quarter of next year, says a Nomura report. Read more here.5. Great news for Indian cricket as Ravichandran Ashwin is declared ICC Cricketer of the Year for 2016It turned out to be double delight for Ravichandran Ashwin at the ICC Annual Awards on Thursday as he became only the third Indian player ever to win the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy after being named the ICC Cricketer of the Year besides the ICC Test Cricketer of the Year. Read more here.

Pampore attack: Army salutes heroes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Eyes went moist and patriotism filled the hearts when the last post was sounded to pay homage to the three fallen heroes of Pampore. Three soldiers were killed when militants ambushed an Army convoy on the strategic Srinagar-Jammu national highway at Kadlabal area of Pampore in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Saturday. The convoy was on its way to Srinagar from Jammu. Most of the soldiers were returning to rejoin their duties in the Valley after visiting their homes.One of three martyrs hailed from Pune, Maharashtra. Thirty-three-year old gunner Farate Sourabh Nandkumar of Bhekrai Nagar, Pune had joined the Army in 2004 and is survived by his wife Sonali Sourabh Farate and twin daughters.Hailing from Kotolipram, Kannur district in Kerala, Naik (gunner) Ratheesh C, 35 had joined Army in 2001 and is survived by his wife Jyoti Krishna Kumar and a son.Only 24, gunner Shashikant Pandey had four years of service in the Army and was in fact on his way to join his unit in the Valley. Survived by his parents, gunner Pandey hailed from Zharian, Dhanbad district in Jharkhand.On Sunday, Indian Army paid befitting tributes to three of its comrades who embraced martyrdom.In a solemn ceremony at Badami Bagh Cantonment, Srinagar, many senior officials from the civil administration and other security agencies joined Lieutenant General JS Sandhu, General Officer Commanding 15 Corps and all ranks in paying homage to the martyrs on behalf of the nation.“The mortal remains of the martyrs will be flown for last rites to their native places where they will be laid to rest with full military honours,” said an army spokesman here.On this occasion, Indian Army pledged to extend all help to the families of the fallen heroes of Pampore. “In this hour of grief, the Army stands in solidarity with the bereaved families of the martyrs and remains committed to their needs and well-being,” said the spokesman.Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Dalbir Singh Suhag also paid tributes to the fallen heroes of Pampore. “COAS and all ranks salute supreme sacrifice of our martyrs and offer condolences to the families of the brave hearts of Pampore,” tweeted Additional Directorate General of Public Information (ADGPI) of Indian Army.

DNA Evening Must Reads: Furore over army chief’s appointment; Imtiaz Ali on his film with SRK-Anushka; and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Furore over army chief’s appointment: Congress demands answers, govt says permission of 10, Janpath not requiredWith the Centre announcing the name of Lieutenant General Bipin Rawat as the new Chief of the Army Staff superseding two seniors for the coveted post, the Congress on Sunday demanded an answer from the government over the decision, while asserting that the Army is a public institution and the nation deserves an answer. Read more hereElection Commission seeks ban on anonymous contributions to parties above Rs 2000Seeking to stem the flow of blackmoney in polls, the Election Commission has urged the government to amend laws to ban anonymous contributions of Rs 2000 and above made to political parties. Read more hereIND vs ENG: Heartbreak for KL Rahul, but opener leads strong Indian reply on Day 4Talented opener KL Rahul displayed superb temperament but missed out on a well-deserved double century by a solitary run even though India were in a commanding position at 391 for 4 on the third day of the fifth cricket Test against England in Chennai. Read more hereEmbarrassed, upset over handful of employees: Axis Bank’s Shikha Sharma”Embarrassed and upset” over the conduct of a handful of employees bringing the organisation into disrepute, Axis Bank MD and CEO Shikha Sharma said the bank has hired KPMG to conduct a forensic audit for enhanced due diligence and building more safeguards. Read more hereImtiaz Ali FINALLY breaks silence on his film with Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma!SRK and I want to do something different in ‘The Ring’, Imtiaz said. Read more here

Lt Gen Bipin Rawat’s appointment as next Army chief: Congress, Left hit out at Modi govt

Congress party on Sunday hit out at the Narendra Modi government for what it termed as “whimsical cherry-picking” in the appointment of Lt Gen Bipin Rawat as the next Chief of Army Staff.

Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari on Sunday questioned as to why the government was avoiding a clarification on this “unprecedented action.”

Slamming the government, Tewari said that this supersession could be politically motivated. Tewari also said that undermining the set procedure is not a new thing for the present government.

The Opposition party’s comments came just a day after the government appointed Vice-Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Bipin Rawat as the new Army Chief superseding his two Lieutenant Generals. Customarily, the senior most army officer is accorded the position but in this case, as the Congress party claimed, Lt Gen Rawat superseded three senior officers in his appointment as the next Chief of Army Staff.

Tewari also lashed out at Modi over the appointment. “Our current prime minister behaves as if he’s not answerable to anyone… what compelled the government to take this unprecedented action, don’t the people have a right to know,” Tewari asked.

Hitting out at the government for dodging questions over the Army Chief’s appointment, Tewari alleged, “This government believes that anybody who questions them is anti-national and even questions on the Army Chief’s appointment are termed seditious.”

Lt Gen Bipin Rawat. Image courtesy: Twitter@adgpiLt Gen Bipin Rawat. Image courtesy: Twitter@adgpi

Lt Gen Bipin Rawat. Image courtesy: [email protected]

Earlier, Tewari had said that every institution has its own dynamics, hierarchy and seniority which is the overriding dynamic of the armed forces not only in India but everywhere in the world.

“With all due respect to Lt Gen Rawat’s professionalism and no personal animus towards anybody, there is a legitimate question that why has that supersession taken place,” he said.

Arguing that even though three other senior officials, Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi, Southern Army Command chief Lt Gen PM Hariz and Lt Gen BS Negi, Army commander Central Command are senior to Lt Gen Rawat, Tewari questioned shouldn’t people of the country ask as to what compelled the government to take this decision.

He said now the argument the government will give that Congress did supersession in the 80s and, therefore it has the right to do so is “complete nonsense”.

“Every situation has its own context and, therefore nothing can be extrapolated out of context in order to justify a supersession. Therefore, the government needs to answer this legitimate question as to why these senior army commanders were superseded,” he said.

“Did the government have anything against them? Was their professionalism in question? What was the reason and I guess the Army being a public institution, the country deserves those answers,” Tewari said.

Meanwhile, Left parties also raised questions over the appointment. CPI leader D Raja also questioned the government’s move and said appointments have become controversial.

“Appointments in the army have become controversial, the appointments in the judiciary are already controversial, the appointments of CVCs, CBI director and to Central Information Commission, all these top-level appointments are becoming very controversial,” he said.

Terming this as “very unfortunate”, Raja said it is not in the interest of democracy and the country.

He said there should be transparency and transparency should go along with integrity and nobody should raise questions. “But now questions are being raised,” he added.

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Dec 18, 2016 15:21 IST

Army a public institution, nation needs answers on ‘supersession’: Congress on new Chief of Staff

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the Centre announcing the name of Lieutenant General Bipin Rawat as the new Chief of the Army Staff superseding two seniors for the coveted post, the Congress on Sunday demanded an answer from the government over the decision, while asserting that the Army is a public institution and the nation deserves an answer.Lieutenant General Rawat, who took over as the Army vice-chief in September 2016, bypassed Eastern Command chief Lieutenant General Praveen Bakshi (armoured corps) and Southern Army Command chief Lieutenant General PM Hariz (mechanised infantry).After taking to Twitter to voice his annoyance with the decision, Congress leader Manish Tewari assured that this was not a personal attack on the new Chief of Staff but a legitimate question.
ALSO READ Lt Gen Bipin Rawat is next Army chief, Air Marshal Birender Dhanoa to head Air Force”With all due respect to General Rawat’s professionalism and brilliance as a soldier and no personal animosity to anybody, there is a legitimate question as to why has this supersession taken place. After all, Lt. Gen Praveen Bakshi who commands the Eastern Command, the Southern Army Commander Lt. Gen Mohammed Ali and the Central Army Commander are all senior to the gentleman who is being designated,” Tewari said.Reiterating his demand for an answer to the legitimate question as to why this supersession has taken place, the Congress leader added that the government?s defence saying the grand old party superseded in the 80s and therefore the ruling dispensation has the right to do so is complete ‘non sequitur’. Expressing disappointment over the controversy surrounding all high-level appointments during the NDA regime, the Communist Party of India (CPI) said that transparency should go along with integrity in the appointment of new Army Chief Lt. General. Bipin Rawat, adding the decision is not in the interest of democracy.Rawat was found the best suited among current batch of candidates of Lt. Generals, to deal with emerging challenges, including a reorganised and restructured military force in the north, continuing terrorism and proxy war from the west, and the situation in the North-East.According to Ministry of Defence (MoD) sources, Lt. Gen Rawat has tremendous hands on experience of serving in combat areas, and at various functional levels in the Indian Army over the last three decades. This is very unfortunate that the appointments in Army have become controversial. All the top-level appointments are becoming controversial. Transparency should go along with integrity and nobody should raise question. Now, questions are being raised and it is not new,” said CPI leader D. Raja.The CPI leader demanded a justification from the Centre and Defence Ministry over the new appointment of new Army Chief.”It is very unfortunate. This is not in the interest of our democracy, our country and of course there should be transparency. It is a question about the Army and not about any political party. Army belongs to the whole country and the nation should be convinced,” he said.Lieutenant General Rawat has remarkable experience of serving in combat areas and at various functional levels in the Indian Army over the last three decades.He has handled various operational responsibilities in many areas, including along the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan, the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China and in the North-East.He is known for his balanced approach towards soldiering, compassion, and his connect with the civil society.

Environmentalists raise red flag over proposed landfill project on Yamuna river bed

Environmentalists have raised a red flag over the proposal by the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) to set up a landfill spread over 49.24 acres on the bed of the east bank of River Yamuna in New Delhi – an active and vulnerable flood plain.

In a letter to Delhi Lieutenant Governor (L-G) Najeeb Jung, Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan, a civil society consortium dedicated to the restoration of river Yamuna as an eco-system, has asked for the former’s intervention to prevent the project from being executed.

East Delhi Municipal Corporation has proposed to set up a landfill spread over 49.24 acres on the bed of the east bank of River Yamuna. PTI

East Delhi Municipal Corporation has proposed to set up a landfill spread over 49.24 acres on the bed of the east bank of River Yamuna. PTI

In the letter – that was also marked to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal – Manoj Misra, the NGO’s convenor, has not only appealed to the government heads to consider the environmental and legal fallout of the proposal but has also taken pot-shots at the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) for being a silent approver and for ‘not applying its mind on the matter.’

The environmentalists only came to know about the matter after EDMC filed an application before the National Green Tribunal (NGT), seeking clearance for the project.

“We came to know about the proposal when it got listed at NGT for clearance. Presuming that the L-G has given approval to this proposal, EDMC has claimed it in black and white. I have written to the L-G seeking his intervention in this matter, as I feel that he has been kept in the dark about various aspects related to the proposed landfill,” Manoj Misra told Firstpost.

Stating that the proposal is not only illegal but environmentally dangerous if implemented, he said, “Setting up a landfill on a river bed is beyond comprehension. Nowhere across the world has such a thing ever happened. It’s like you are creating another Ghazipur or Bhalswa like landfill on the river bed of Yamuna,”

“The proposed site adjoins residential areas of high population density. Lakhs of people will get affected due to this move, as the underlying aquifers and ground water will get contaminated and become highly toxic. The residents of east Delhi, especially Shahdara, Mayur Vihar, etc will be worst hit,” Misra said.

According to environmentalists, the proposed site is an active flood plain, which revives after every flood in the river. The NGT expert committee report has earmarked the site for development of wetlands and water bodies to store flood waters for the city.

“Besides the NGT, the DDA too had planned for the proposed site to be used for a series of wetlands. The site being in the river bed violates all legal provisions in the country under the Water Act 1974, Environment Protection Act 1986, Waste Management Rules 2016, DDA Act, Zonal Plan for Zone O, etc. Despite having full knowledge of these legal requirements, how could the DDA suggest this site is beyond comprehension,” added Misra.

A Google Maps grab of proposed landfill site on the Yamuna Flood Plains.

A Google Maps grab of proposed landfill site on the Yamuna Flood Plains.

Meanwhile, in addition to approaching the NGT, environmental activists have also launched a signature campaign. Swechha, an environmental NGO, has also launched an online campaign against the proposal.

“EDMC’s proposal to develop a 150-acre landfill site along with a waste-to-energy plant on the floodplains of river Yamuna, is the most preposterous and ill-conceived proposal in the history of urban governance in the country. The landfill proposal with a capacity of managing over 3000 metric tons of garbage daily is a dangerous proposition. It’ll sit over a source of drinking water, it’s in the high seismic zone near densely populated area and also next to several archaeological sites,” said Vimlendu Jha, secretary, Swechha.

Besides the landfill site, the EDMC has also proposed a waste-to-energy plant, compost plant, C&D processing plant, Leachate treatment plant, recycling units, etc. The proposed site is in Ghonda Gujran Khadar (floodplain).

In fact, environmental experts strongly advocate a ‘no landfill policy’ and promote decentralized waste management.

“There should be no landfill on Yamuna’s banks. In fact, the entire paradigm of waste disposal management has to be changed. We shouldn’t keep looking for more and more landfill sites; rather decentralized waste management should be promoted and the need of waste disposals in landfills should be minimised. There should be a ‘no-landfill policy’ in place and existing landfills need to be managed well,” said Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director, Centre for Science and Environment.

Meanwhile, the Delhi government has ruled out any such proposal for a landfill site on Yamuna floodplains.

“There can’t be a landfill on Yamuna floodplains. It needs to be seen from where such a proposal has come. The Delhi Pollution Control Committee will cancel such a proposal,” a senior Delhi government official told Firstpost.

Letter to L G From Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan by Firstpost on Scribd

First Published On : Dec 10, 2016 16:14 IST

Arvind Kejriwal, Najeeb Jung in dust-up over vaccum cleaning plan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi government’s much-hyped project of vaccum cleaning the roads has hit yet another hurdle. Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung has sought a detailed report regarding the project before it can be implemented.Lashing out at Jung, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, “The LG has put forth unnecessary objections against the vaccum cleaning project, thereby halting a project that the entire city has been waiting for. He has sought a detailed report from us. We will respond to all the objections, but until then, there will then be no vaccum cleaning in Delhi.” Among other queries, the LG has asked the Delhi government: “Who is the competent authority to authorise the takeover of these functions (sweeping and parking activities) by the Public Works Department (PWD) from the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD)?” The LG has also sought a detailed examination from the legal, administrative and financial points of view, detailing implications for all the stake holders.The proposal to sweep the dusty Delhi roads mechanically was announced last December, among several other decisions, including installation of air purifiers and mist fountains, taken by the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to check the alarming levels of air pollution in the city. Terming the objections an attempt to ‘stall the initiative’, the Delhi CM said, “Written submission has been filed in the Supreme Court that vaccum cleaning will be done on the city roads. I think this is a contempt of the Supreme Court order.” He added, “The Delhi government is neither asking for money from the MCD nor trying to take over their functions. Instead, we are providing a facility to the municipal corporations.” Kejriwal said he has now directed Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia to meet the LG next week and request him to let the government go ahead with the project. The LG office, meanwhile, refused to comment on the issue.The PWD is responsible for nearly 1,260km of road network. The rest fall under the jurisdiction of the civic bodies. The Delhi government’s vaccum cleaning project has been hitting one hurdle after the other. Earlier, the project was stalled due to the lack of interested bidders, and then those who approached the government quoted exorbitant rates.

Delhi HC seeks MoD’s reply on PIL on private sale of military apparel

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Expressing concern over private sale of army apparel and gear that have been used by terrorists to strike at military bases, the Delhi High Court today sought the Defence Ministry’s response on what it has done to address the issue. A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath issued notice to the Ministry of Defence (MoD), saying that “we want to know your response” and listed the matter for hearing on February 3 next year.”Yes, we know it is a serious issue. Otherwise we would not take it up,” the court told the lawyer, appearing for the petitioner NGO, who said the private sale of military apparel and gear was a cause for concern. The Pathankot Air Force base was attacked in January this year by terrorists dressed in Indian Army fatigues, leading to the death of seven security personnel including a Lieutenant Colonel, and a civilian.Last month, terrorists dressed in police uniform had attacked the army’s XVI Corps headquarters at Nagrota in Jammu district, killing seven security personnel including two officers.Advocate K R Chitra, who filed the PIL by NGO Fight for Human Rights, said the court on July 20 this year had asked the ministry to treat the issue raised as a representation and to take a decision within three months. She said that subsequent to the July 20 order, she had again made a representation to the government. However, no response was received and therefore, she has now again moved the court. She contended that the government has not taken any action to stop private sale of military apparel and gear. Chitra has claimed that as per a January 8, 2016 notification issued by the Indian Army, civilians and private shopkeepers have been directed not to wear or sell military apparel and gear. The NGO has sought steps to curb private sale and manufacture of military apparel, like uniforms, shoes, badges and other gear used by the armed forces which were being made by private industries in Ludhiana and Amritsar in Punjab and sold all over the country.One place where such articles are sold is at the Railway Market at Pathankot, the NGO has claimed.The PIL has also sought that MoD be directed to handle with immediate effect the responsibility of manufacturing, stocking and sale of military apparel and gear used by the armed forces, saying private shops do not check to whom they sell such articles.

Militants kill seven after storming Indian army base | Reuters

By Fayaz Bukhari

SRINAGAR, India Militants attacked an army base near the Indian city of Jammu on Tuesday, killing at least seven security personnel and taking hostages in the boldest assault on a military base in the region in recent months, officials said.The gunmen raided the base just before dawn, firing at officers before entering the officers’ mess, where they took security men, women and children hostage for several hours, Jammu-based army spokesman Manish Mehta said.Soldiers fought back, securing the buildings and freeing the hostages, Mehta said. Three militants were killed during the attack, which took place in India’s northern Jammu and Kashmir state. “We have tightened the cordon and a combing operation will resume in the morning. If there is any militant, he will be neutralised,” Mehta said. The Indian army casualties included five soldiers and two officers.Jammu and Kashmir state is part of the Muslim-majority Himalayan region of Kashmir. That region has been divided between arch-rivals India and Pakistan since independence from Britain in 1947 but is claimed in full by both.

Tuesday’s attack comes on the same day Pakistan’s new army chief, Lieutenant General Qamar Javed Bajwa, took charge, and the powerful outgoing army head, General Raheel Sharif, issued a stern warning to India over violence in Kashmir.Later this week, Pakistan officials are due in the Indian city of Amritsar for an Asian regional summit. The raid in Jammu was the deadliest since a Sept. 18 assault on an army base in the state that killed at least 19 Indian soldiers – the worst such assault in 14 years – triggering an escalation in tensions between the two countries.

India accuses Pakistan of supporting militants based on its side of the border who cross over to launch attacks. Pakistan denies that, accusing India of abusing the rights of Muslim Kashmiris opposed to Indian rule.India’s portion of Kashmir has been gripped by protests since security forces killed a popular separatist leader in July. A crackdown in response to the protests has paralysed much of the region and more than 80 civilians have been killed.

Indian police said on Tuesday they had also stopped an attempt by militants to cross into India south of Jammu, and killed three of the gunmen.Attacks against Indian security forces have increased in recent months, although raids in the Hindu-majority Jammu area of the state are less common.Indian and Pakistani cross-border firing along the heavily militarised frontier has also intensified as tension between the nuclear-armed neighbours has risen. (Writing by Tommy Wilkes; Editing by Larry King)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

First Published On : Nov 29, 2016 20:54 IST

Focus to remain on India border under new army chief General Bajwa, says Pakistan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With its new army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa set to take charge, Pakistan has asserted that focus will remain on country’s eastern border with India, even as the US nudged Islamabad to keep the pledge of not allowing use of its soil for terror attacks against neighbours.Bajwa will take charge of the world’s sixth-largest army by troop numbers from Pakistan’s outgoing Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif, who paid farewell visits to President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif here today.Sharif and Hussain lauded Raheel’s valuable service as army chief and wished him the best for his post-retirement life, Radio Pakistan reported.”The military policy will continue and there will be no immediate change in it (under Bajwa),” Defence Minister Khawaja Asif told Geo News.”The focus will remain on country’s eastern border and the armed forces backed by the nation will meet all challenges,” he said.”The legacy of General Raheel Sharif would continue in the light of the examples he set,” Asif said.The Defence Minister expressed hope that the government and military leadership will continue to work together for the betterment of the country.General Raheel will become the first army chief in more than 20 years to step down at the end of his term. Previous army chiefs have either obtained extensions or in the case of General Pervez Musharraf, staged a coup.Meanwhile, the United States yesterday welcomed the appointment of the new army chief and expressed hope that the country would never allow the use of its soil for terrorism against its neighbours.The US embassy in Islamabad, in a statement, welcomed Prime Minister Sharif’s appointment of Bajwa.”We look forward to continuing our work with Pakistan’s elected leaders, with Lieutenant General Qamar Javed Bajwa, and with the Pakistani military to advance our shared counter-insurgency and counter terrorism goals for Pakistan and the region, and to enable Pakistani authorities to honour their pledge to prevent the use of Pakistan’s soil for terrorist attacks against its neighbours,” it said.Raheel, who is set to retire tomorrow, was appointed as army chief in 2013 by Prime Minister Sharif at the retirement of Gen Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani.According to Pakistani media and experts, General Bajwa’s “pro-democracy credentials” and his low-profile influenced Sharif to appoint him to the powerful post of army chief superseding four top generals.The military has been in charge of the country for more than half of Pakistan’s nearly 70-year history since independence.

Power Dept urges LG to form a panel to appoint DERC head

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi government’s Power Department has requested Lieutenant Governor (LG) Najeeb Jung to constitute a three-member selection committee to appoint chairman for the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC).”A proposal to this effect has been sent to the LG for approval,” said a senior Power Department officer. He added: “As per Section 85 of the Electricity Act, 2003, the selection committee is to be constituted by the state government. The power and functions of the state government were delegated to the LG vide a Government of India notification. dated 20.2.2004.”Former DERC Chairman Krishna Saini, a 1981-batch Indian Revenue Service officer, who was appointed by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, was removed from the post on November 4, following Jung’s direction to withdraw his appointment order. Saini was appointed without Jung’s approval, which had led to a major confrontation between the AAP-led government and the LG.Interestingly, the Delhi Cabinet had to approve his removal, which has still not happened.In its judgment on August 4, the High Court had declared Saini’s appointment illegal following which Jung set aside his appointment on grounds of “illegal infirmities” on September 22.Taking a serious note of Jung’s order, Kejriwal had shot off a lengthy letter to the LG, asking him to reconsider his decision in public interest. The state Cabinet requested Jung to reconsider the decision thrice, but all in vain. Thereafter, the Power Department issued an order to remove Saini with immediate effect.

More trouble for AAP, CBI files corruption case against leader

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In another setback to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered a case against party legislator from Okhla, Amanatullah Khan, on Friday for the alleged recruitment scam and financial irregularities in Delhi Waqf Board when Khan was its chairman.The agency registered a corruption case against Khan after Lieutenant Governor (LG) Najeeb Jung recommended a CBI probe into the scam allegations, after he dissolved the board in October. This is expected to further escalate tension between the Centre and the AAP government.”We have registered a corruption case against the then chairman of Delhi Waqf Board and unknown persons under IPC sections related to criminal conspiracy and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act related to criminal misconduct and corruption,” said a senior CBI officer.The FIR has been registered based on the complaints submitted by BJP leader and RTI activist Vivek Garg, and Mohammad Mustafa, to the Delhi government’s Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) in September.The case pertains to misuse of official position, financial irregularities and allowing encroachers and tenants to occupy Waqf Board properties in violation of the lease rules of the board, the agency said.The FIR alleged that the existing Waqf Board was illegally scrapped and superseded by the Delhi government under the directions of Deputy Chief Minister and Chief Minister of Delhi, CBI sources said.It alleged that another Waqf Board was constituted and its chairman was elected under the directions of Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia in contravention of the Waqf Act-1955 and Delhi Waqf rules of 1977.Sources also said that the ACB has submitted all documents related to the case to the CBI for further probe last week. ACB had grilled Khan and also carried out raids at the Waqf Board during preliminary inquiry into the complaints.”We have submitted our inquiry report to the CBI,” a source in ACB said.According to the complaints, when Khan was the Chairman of the board, around 40 people were hired in contravention to the recruitment rules. It was also alleged that the jobs were given to Khan’s relatives and AAP workers and that no advertisements were issued regarding the recruitment. They further alleged that the Delhi Waqf Board has recruited people on several key posts since Khan became the chairman of the body in March this year.On October 7, Jung dissolved the Waqf Board and referred the matter to the CBI. He directed the authorities concerned to reconstitute the board, quashing all appointments made by Khan. While Khan was the Chairman of the board, retired IPS officer Mehboob Alam was appointed as CEO. Both the appointments were struck down by the LG”for not having obtained the approval of the competent authority”.The LG office, in a statement, had said: “In view of the deliberate and persistent acts of illegality, violation of rules, allegations of corruption, possibility of mala fide intentions etc, the matter related to the Delhi Waqf Board is referred to the CBI for investigation.”Jung has also directed Divisional Commissioner A Anbarasu to constitute a committee to review the legality and propriety of all decisions and action taken by the Board after its constitution in March 2016 and submit its report . Earlier this month, the officer had submitted the report to the LG office .

DNA Exclusive: Pakistan army’s 26/11 link revealed

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Eight years on, DNA finds the current location of Sadaat Ullah, a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Pakistan army, identified as Col R Saadat Ullah in the 26/11 charge sheet, about whom little was known till now.He currently resides at “188, Street 3, Sector C in Askari-X”, a housing community for retired Pakistan army personnel in southeast Lahore, and runs a thriving firm called Dexter Tools Co that deals in power tools and accessories. He has also initiated a “social empowerment programme” that seeks donations for maintenance of a mosque, free primary education for the poor and skill development for the youth in his native district Narowal, in Pakistan’s Punjab province.Little was known about Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Sadaat Ullah, identified as Col R Saadat Ullah in the 26/11 charge sheet and wanted for his role in the terror attack. Until now – eight years after terrorists struck India’s financial capital.Accessing fresh information, DNA has now unmasked this shadowy figure, alleged to be the direct link that nails the Pakistan army’s role in the terror siege.A faceless name in the charge sheet, “Col R Saadat Ullah” was a Pakistan army officer who worked with the Special Communications Organisation (SCO) that provides telecom services in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Gilgit-Baltistan. It operates under the IT ministry and is maintained by the Pakistan army, according to the Mumbai Police Crime Branch.He is alleged to have helped the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists set up an account with a New Jersey-based Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service provider, Callphonex. This was later used by LeT handlers in Pakistan to communicate with the 10 gunmen during the 26/11 attack.Investigators had found that the e-mail id [email protected] had been used while communicating with Callphonex to set up the account. This e-mail id was accessed from at least 10 IP addresses, whose locations were found to be in Lahore, Chicago, Kuwait, Moscow, Rawalpindi and Gulberg in Pakistan.The Rawalpindi IP address was registered under one Khurram Shehzad and one ‘Colonel R Saadat Ullah’ from the SCO. The registration details were listed in the charge sheet as “Col. R.Saadat Ullah, Address: SCO, Qasim Road, Rawalpindi, Pakistan, e-mail ID: [email protected]”. Little else was known about the Pakistan army officer.In June 2009, special judge ML Tahaliyani had, however, issued a non-bailable warrant against him and 21 other wanted accused.“The name of Colonel Sadaat Ullah was revealed not only by David Headley, but also from certain documentary evidence that was marshalled in the 26/11 trial. Certainly, this new information about his photograph and his current location can be sent to the Interpol by the Government of India, so that that the Government of India can seek his extradition to face trial in the 26/11 case,” Ujjwal Nikam, Special Public Prosecutor for the 26/11 case, told DNA.The antecedentsAccording to information accessed by DNA, Sadaat Ullah’s intermediate education was from the Islamia Degree College in Norowal in 1974, after which he entered the Pakistan Military Academy and completed his Bachelor’s in Humanities in 1981. While serving in the Pakistan army between June 1986 and October 2006, he was posted as an IT expert in various cities in the country, and received the Tamgha-e-Basalat (medal of good conduct), a non-operational award from the Pakistan president, and the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz (medal of excellence). He also received commendation certificates from the chief of army staff.Prior to being posted at the SCO, he was deputy director (Operations and Intelligence) in the Anti Narcotics Force. He also served as director, and later deputy secretary, in the Pakistan government’s Establishment Division.Between November 2006 and September 2008, Sadaat Ullah worked as project manager (IT) in the SCO, and was then promoted to deputy director (IT). Monitoring all IT-related projects initiated by SCO, he served in the post till April 2009. It was during this stint that the Mumbai attack took place. Five months after the attack, he was promoted as director (IT) in SCO, where he served till October 2009.In January 2010, he and some other partners set up a company called Alisha Tools in Lahore, an import and export concern dealing in accessories and spare parts of power and hand tools from China. Later in January 2013, Sadaat Ullah set up his own power tools company, Dexter Tools, on the bustling Brandreth Road commercial area in Lahore.Besides floating his own company, in July 2013, he also launched a non-profit organisation under the banner, Afzal Community Empowerment Movement, that seeks donations or zakat for the ostensible purpose of community upliftment in the underdeveloped Narowal area near the Indian border. Among the projects undertaken by the organisation are construction and maintenance of a mosque on a plot of land at Budha Dhola village in Narowal that was gifted to Sadaat Ullah by his mother Fahmeeda Begum. Donations were also sought for developing a skill school.Saadat Ullah did not respond to phone calls from DNA and a questionnaire mailed to him. When DNA contacted Dexter Tools in Lahore, an employee who identified himself as Aadil said Sadaat Ullah would not be available to speak.TOTAL RECALLOn November 26, 2008, 10 members of the LeT carried out a series of 12 coordinated attacks in Mumbai and bombing that lasted four days across Mumbai.There was also an explosion at Mazagaon, in Mumbai’s port area, and in a taxi at Vile Parle.In all, around 164 people were killed and 308 people were wounded. One terrorist, Ajmal Kasab, was caught and later hanged.

Supreme Court bans sale of fire crackers in Delhi-NCR to curb rising air pollution

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Friday banned the sale of fire crackers in Delhi and NCR region until further notice in wake of the alarming air pollution in the region.The top court has asked the Central Pollution Control Board to file a reply within three months regarding harmful effects of fire crackers.Environmentalists were seeking courts intervention in passing orders for ban on sale of firecrackers due to considerable increase in level of pollution in the national capital.The sale of fire crackers will be enforce from today onwards till further order or any hearing by the apex court.The three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India, Tirath Singh Thakur passed this verdict.Earlier, the bench had asked Arjun Gopal, one of the petitioners of the case to put all the materials on record with respect to extent of damage caused by the pollutants on health.In the wake of rising air pollution in the national capital earlier Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung also decided to ban use of firecrackers, except at religion functions.

Kashmir unrest may be down, but it’s far from over: We could see a reemergence in 2017

The recent provocation at the Line of Control (LoC), in which a soldier’s body was mutilated, was one more indication that the troubles in Kashmir are not over. There are other indications too, which together paint a sombre picture of what might happen next summer.

Many in positions of authority hope that things would settle down since school examinations have been held, markets are bustling, and traffic is back on the roads. But their expectations ought to be tempered with caution.

The respite is tenuous and it might turn out to be temporary.

A file picture of protesters pelting stones at police in Kashmir. PTI

The first thing that one needs to recognise about the 2016 unrest in Kashmir is that it was not a repeat of 2010. There is no doubt that the internal and external dimensions of the challenge faced in Kashmir have been more intricately linked this year.

So, the return of traffic and exams can’t take away the heavy shelling — including high-calibre artillery — which has killed many people near the LoC and forced even more to relocate.

Besides, militant attacks have taken place sporadically, and there is no doubt that there are plenty of foreign and local militants in the Valley.

Stone-pelting too is not a thing of the past. There have been recent instances of it, including a major one in the Pulwama area on Wednesday.

Another big spurt?

A large-scale unrest such as that witnessed over four months this year could well be repeated next summer. All it would take is a trigger like the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani, which started the unrest on 8 July.

As more evidence continues to emerge, it is pushing analysts to the view that the unrest was planned for the period following Eid this summer. In fact, Lieutenant-General DS Hooda, the commander-in-chief of the Northern Command, is among the many who believe that this year’s eruption had been planned.

From the very next day after Burhan Wani was killed on 8 July, mobs across the Valley, showed a sort of uniformity in their tactics — as if they were following a pattern. The most significant of these tactics were mob attacks on police stations and paramilitary camps.

However, he says that if Burhan Wani had not been killed some other trigger would have been used. Further, those who had planned this year’s unrest are likely to look for an opportunity next summer too, adds Hooda, who is set to retire from the army at the end of this month.
Such a prognosis makes sense. And, the agents provocateurs who have taken control of coordinating the agitations in various parts of the Valley appear to be controlled from across the border.

Leading activists of several organisations including the Jamaat-e-Islami, have played key roles at the ground level. At times, they have benefited from a benevolent attitude from very high functionaries of the state.

In tandem, large numbers of foreign militants have infiltrated Kashmir in 2015 and 2016 —  a hundred during the first ten months of this year, according to Hooda.

A nuanced view

Unlike many of the military men who held control of state power during the 1990s, the erudite Hooda is keenly aware of the distinctions between different sorts of militants, and variations in the ideologies of those active on the ground.

He points out astutely that “the more (a) local is killed, (the more) you will have a reaction”. However, asked if this summer’s unrest might have been avoided if the widely popular Burhan had not been killed, Hooda replied: “We were not aware that Burhan specifically was there. But even if we had known, would we have done it differently?”

He alludes to the fact that the Indian Army cannot by itself make a distinction between one militant and another. He is, however, acutely aware of the need for political initiatives. “Everything cannot be fought kinetically,” he says.

Clearly, much needs to be done — on various levels, and through several channels. Such initiatives are very urgently required in light of the various prognoses that another summer of unrest is in the offing.

First Published On : Nov 24, 2016 12:21 IST

Manish Sisodia meets Jung to discuss plan of mohalla clinics in schools

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia met Lieutenant Governor (LG) Najeeb Jung on Wednesday to discuss the plan of establishing mohalla clinics in schools and appointment of discom directors. LG Jung had recently turned down the proposal for Delhi government’s flagship project of mohalla clinics, and sent it back for reassessment.After the meeting, Sisodia said the LG had some confusion regarding the proposal. “Mohalla clinics will be very important for the 15 lakh students studying in government schools. Every student can be provided with world-class healthcare through the move. There can’t be a better model for them. Now we are awaiting the LG’s approval,” Sisodia said.He further said: “The confusion was regarding the private school clause and whether clinics could be opened in these schools. That is, however, not the case.”An official, however, said: “The Delhi School Education Act doesn’t allow establishing anything else in the school premises. It would also pose a safety concern for the students.”The LG office and the Delhi government have also locked horns over the appointment of directors to discoms. “As far as that issue is concerned, we have apprised the LG that it is not morally correct to appoint Secretaries or Principal Secretaries as directors in discoms because they have to take important decisions. We have asked the LG to appoint junior officials and experts in the board of directors. He has assured us that the matter will be discussed further,” the Deputy CM said.Earlier, the Aam Aadmi Party-led government had nominated directors to the boards of three power distribution companies — BRPL, BYPL and TPDDL. The government has, in all, a 49 per cent stake in these firms. The LG, however, disapproved of the appointments.In a letter to the LG, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said: “It becomes a conflict when the top-most officers of the government formally become a part of the decision-making in discoms and then those decisions come before the government for consideration. It becomes difficult to question decisions of government officers, leading to orders that are not in the interest of consumers.”The LG office, however, sought fresh nomination of professionals, and also asked the government to follow all orders. “The usual practice, so far, has been that the LG approves any such decision according to the Electricity Act,” an official from the LG office had stated.

Tamil Nadu, Puducherry by-polls: Counting begins in assemby constituencies

Chennai: Amid tight security, counting of votes for three assembly constituencies in Tamil Nadu and a lone seat in neighbouring Puduchery that went to polls on 19 November began on Tuesday at designated counting centres.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Postal votes are being taken up first for counting wherever available and it will be soon be followed by counting of EVM votes. While trends are expected to be in place in about an hour, the results will be out later in the day.

In Aravakurichi, the counting of votes is being held at M Kumarasamy College of Engineering, Karur.

In Thanjavur, the counting is on at Kundavai Nachiaar Government Arts College for Women.

For Thirupparankundram Assembly segment, the counting of votes is on at Madurai Medical College premises.

Rangasamy (AIADMK) and DMK’s Anjugam Bhoopathy are the main contenders in Thanjavur. AIADMK’s AK Bose is pitted against DMK’s Saravanan in Thirupparankundram while in Aravakkurichi, Senthil Balaji (AIADMK) and KC Palanisamy (DMK) are the main candidates.

Polls have been held to the three constituencies at a time when AIADMK supremo and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa is recuperating in a hospital in Chennai, and her trusted lieutenant and Finance Minister O Panneerselvam led the campaign for the ruling party.

While Aravakkurichi Assembly segment will have 18 rounds of counting, Thanjavur and Thirupparankundram are set to witness 20 and 21 rounds of counting respectively.

In the Union Territory of Puducherry, votes are being counted at Bharatidasan Government College for Women where Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy, a non-member of the House, is taking on AIADMK candidate Om Sakthi Segar in Nellithope constituency.

In Puducherry, the counting is set to be over in three rounds.

Each counting table has one Micro Observer, usually a Central government official apart from other staffers involved in counting.

EC had said that to ensure transparency in the counting process, copy of result of each table would be given to every counting agent by the Counting Supervisor.

In Tamil Nadu, votes are being counted across 14 tables for a given constituency spread in one hall and the entire counting process is being videographed.

First Published On : Nov 22, 2016 10:03 IST

Pakistan eyes Chinese J-20: It’s time for India to trot in fifth-generation fighter race

Pakistan has evinced interest in acquiring the export variant of China’s first fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA). China recently showcased two of its advanced J-20 stealth fighters in a fly-over at an air show in Zhuhai, Guangdong province of China on 1 November 2016. This was the first, public show of the J-20 warplane which is regarded as a major breakthrough for China. The country otherwise mostly relies on Russian aircraft including advanced versions of Sukhois. The Pakistani Air Force also took part in the air show in Zhuhai flying its J-17 Thunder jets which are jointly manufactured by China. Pakistan reportedly is already in talks with China to buy the FC-31 – an export variant of the same aircraft. The FC-31 too was briefly flown in the 2014 Zhuhai air show.

China unveils its J-20 stealth fighter during an air show in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, China, 1 November  2016. ReutersChina unveils its J-20 stealth fighter during an air show in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, China, 1 November  2016. Reuters

China unveils its J-20 stealth fighter during an air show in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, China, 1 November 2016. Reuters

The Zhuhai air show was a weeklong affair and the J-20 flew for the weeklong show every day, taking off from an airfield in nearby Foshan. The J-20 is a long-range radar-evading fighter jet equipped with air-to-air missiles, resembling Lockheed Martin’s F-22 Raptor. China has reportedly built six prototypes of this FGFA. China is also developing the J-31 which is supposed to sequel American F-35 Lightning II. A People’s Liberation Air Force (PLAF) official told the media that the J-20 was not being showcased on ground as public display as visitors could not be permitted to come close because of secrecy, stating, “J-20 contains many of China’s top technologies in stealth aircraft plus other military secrets that include the J-20’s body shape, the proportion of its wing and body and other secrets as aircraft experts can easily calculate its stealth parameters from its exterior.”

India is going in for the development of its own FGFA jointly with Russia. In February this year, India and Russia revived talks on the delayed FGFA project after Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar approved the deal. The fifth-generation fighter jet will be on par with the capabilities of Russia’s PAK-FA T-50 aircraft, a fifth-generation fighter, but since the jet will be designed over the next few years, it is likely to exceed in some specifics, in that it may be more advanced than the present version of Russia’s PAK-FA T-50.

“The agreement has been completed on our end; we are ready to sign it. It is now down to the Indian side. There are some formalities to figure out, but I think it will be signed by the end of this year,” Sergi Chemezov, CEO of Russia’s Rostech State Corporation told The Economic Times. “The FGFA project will produce a state of the art fighter jet, and it will be the result of the work on Russia’s most modern technology done by both Russian and Indian engineers. As Fifth Generation, it means fifth generation speed, ballistics and military equipment, avionics and stealth capabilities among other qualities,” he said.

India and Russia have already inked military deals worth Rs 60,000 crore during the Brics summit held in Goa. Now, Russia is hoping to get another order on FGFA by end of the current year. Under the new offer, India will need to contribute $3.7 billion instead of $6 billion towards technological know-how and some three prototypes of the fighters. During the recent India-Russia Intergovernmental Commission on Military and Technical Cooperation co-chaired by Parrikar and his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu the FGFA project and upgrades of SU-31 aircraft in service with the IAF were discussed.

China’s J-20 had earlier made news when its picture covered under a tarpaulin at Daocheng Yading airport in Tibet appeared during September 2016. This raised speculations that this FGFA may be deployed on the India-China border. However, the China Military Online then stated, “it is said that J-20 will be put into service soon but the China-India border is apparently not the ideal place for its deployment”, adding, “In addition, the world’s highest airport there does not have a complete set of supporting facilities and such shortage will impede the function of J-20.” But then the aircraft parked there obviously had come for trials and necessary support and maintenance facilities at high altitude airbases in Tibet can be created concurrent to fielding of the J-20 albeit the China Military Online also commented, “If India is to deploy the BrahMos missile on the China-India border, then the Daocheng Yading airport will likely become its target.”

It is apparent that the FGFA race will be speeding up in the sub-continent over the next few years. The China-Pakistan nexus has shown exponential growth since the PLA has made its strategic lodgment in Gilgit-Baltistan under the pretext of developing hydel projects. This has been further reinforced through the development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in which China is investing $46 billion; $11 billion by the Chinese government and balance $35 billion by private companies of China. The CPEC is actually the strategic highway of China for land access to the Indian Ocean that is emerging as the centre of gravity of future conflict. Gwadar is coming as a Chinese naval base under the pretext of a trade base or ‘Strategic Support Base’ as China would like to portray.

The IMF and economists have warned that the CPEC may be a debt trap for Pakistan as repayment obligations that come with this investment will be serious. But there should be no doubt that China will see it through because of her own strategic interests, especially given that the Pakistani military hierarchy has more or less acquiesced to let Pakistan become a satellite state of China. That is why China is developing Gwadar port and its infrastructure including airfield through Chinese companies on a gratis basis. Gwadar, together with Pakistani naval bases at Omari and Karachi would give China extended reach and dominance over the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf. Purchase of export version of the Chinese J-20 may draw Pakistan more into the debt trap but then China can always extend soft long-term repayment plan, even lease some of these aircraft for long periods. At the same time, basing of these aircraft flown by PLAF is also very much possible under the pretext of training, exercises etc. India needs to accelerate its proposed FGFA development jointly with Russia.

The author is a veteran Lieutenant General of the Indian Army.

First Published On : Nov 12, 2016 21:46 IST

Two more soldiers killed on LoC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan army killed two more Indian soldiers when they resorted to firing and shelling at two different places along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir. In the last 24 hours, Indian army lost three soldiers in Pakistan firing and shelling on the LoC. On Tuesday, a soldier was killed in Naushera sector of LoC in Rajouri. The death toll of soldiers in Pakistani firing and shelling on LoC and International Border has now touched 13 since the Indian army carried out surgical strikes on the terror launch pads in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) on September 29.Around 12 civilians have also been killed and around 50 others injured in Pakistani firing and shelling on the civilian areas since surgical strikes. Lieutenant Colonel Manish Mehta, defence spokesman at Jammu, said Pakistan army initiated indiscriminate and unprovoked firing on Indian army posts along the LoC in Naushera sector on November 8. “In the ensuing unprovoked shelling, Non Commissioned Officer Naik Prem Singh was martyred. Naik Harindra Kumar Yadav sustained grievous injuries and was immediately rushed to the hospital. However, the brave heart succumbed to his injuries at the hospital. The army has responded appropriately to the unprovoked firing by the Pakistan army”, he said.Hailing from village Shahar, Tehsil Bayatu, district Barmer in Rajasthan, Naik Prem Singh, 26, is survived by his wife Raina. Hailing from Ballia district of Uttar Pradesh, Naik Harindra Kumar Yadav 30 , is survived by his wife Gyanti and three young children. Pakistan army opened another front in Machil sector of LoC on Wednesday when they sniped at Indian army soldier killing him on the spot. “One soldier martyred in Pakistan sniping at Machhal Sector”, tweeted Northern Command of Indian army.Indian army launched a massive fire assault to target the Pakistani army posts. “In retaliation fire assault with heavy weapons being directed on many Pakistan posts”, said the Northern Command. Figures reveal since surgical strikes, Pakistan has carried out more than 105 ceasefire violations along the LoC and International Border.Indian troops have foiled 61 Pakistan abetted infiltration bids both on LoC and IB since September 29. Official figures reveal around 405 incidents of cross border firing have taken place along the Indo-Pak border in Jammu and Kashmir in 2015 killing 16 civilians.

Army loses another jawan, 11th since surgical strikes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the border security with military chiefs on Tuesday, another Indian soldier was martyred in Naushera on the Line of Control (LoC) in Rajouri district of Jammu division.With this the number of Indian soldiers killed in Pakistani firing and shelling on LoC and International Border (IB) since the September 29 surgical strikes on terror launch pads in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) has touched 11. Around 12 civilians also succumbed to Pakistan shelling during this period.The unprovoked ceasefire violation by Pakistan army in Naushera sector started in the morning when they used 82 mm mortars and automatics to target Indian positions. Defence spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Manish Mehta in Jammu said heavy damage has been caused to Pakistan army posts. Pak army is using long range weapons including 82 mm mortars, with a range of 4.5 kms, and 120 mm mortars, which have a range of 7 kms, to target deep into the civilian areas along the LoC.Figures reveal Pakistan has carried out more than 105 ceasefire violations with Indian troops foiling 61 Pakistan-abetted infiltration bids. They also confirm 405 incidents of cross-border firing along the Indo-Pak border in J&K in 2015, killing 16 civilians. Of this 253 incidents of cross-border firing have taken place along the IB and 152 along the LoC.

Maharashtra soldier among 2 killed in Pakistan shelling

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Line of Control (LoC) has literally become the Line of Conflict in Jammu and Kashmir. On Sunday, the Pakistan Army resorted to heavy shelling on the Indian forward posts and civilian areas, leaving two soldiers dead and five others, including two women, injured in Poonch and Krishna Ghati sectors of Jammu division.For the second time in the last eight days, a soldier from Maharashtra laid down his life in the line of duty on the LoC. Naik Tukpare Rajendra Narayan of Karve village in Chandbad tehsil of Kolhapur was killed in the Pakistan shelling in Poonch sector. Earlier on October 29, Border Security Force (BSF) constable Koli Nitin Subhash of Sangli, Maharashtra, had died on the LoC in Machil.The second deceased soldier was identified as Sepoy Gursewak Singh of 22-Sikh regiment. Singh hailed from Taran Tarn in Punjab, and was killed while foiling the Pakistan Army-backed infiltration bids in the Krishna Ghati sector.Now, the number of soldiers killed in Pakistan firing and shelling on LoC and International Border (IB) since September 29, when the Indian Army had carried out surgical strikes on terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), has crossed 10. Nearly 12 civilians have also been killed in Pakistani action since the surgical strikes.The latest provocation started on Saturday night, when the Pakistan Army tried to push in a group of militants into the Indian side from the Krishna Ghati sector. “The alert and vigilant troops observed suspicious movement and challenged the infiltrators. The infiltrators opened fire while trying to sneak back towards PoK,” said Lieutenant Colonel Manish Mehta, defence spokesman in Jammu.

Downpour of cases, drought of judges rues CJI

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The war of words between the Executive and the Judiciary over the appointment of judges in High Courts only seems to be getting louder. On Monday, Chief Justice of India (CJI) TS Thakur once again expressed his concern over the shortfall of judges to handle the avalanche of cases in the Delhi High Court (HC). The CJI was speaking at an event marking 50 years of the HC.”Financial constraints cannot stand in the way of access to justice. It should be a reality and it cannot be a reality if people have to wait for years and years for their cases to be decided,” the CJI said.”…It is natural that the Delhi judiciary will come under tremendous pressure in times to come. Already, there are difficulties in keeping pace with the avalanche of cases that keep coming as the number of judges remains limited,” Justice Thakur said.At present, the HC has 34 judges, out of the sanctioned 60. Justice Thakur supported Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who also addressed the gathering at Vigyan Bhavan. Kejriwal assured the Judiciary that his government will improve infrastructure and increase the number of courts to hear cases.Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the chief guest at the event, which was also attended by Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Lieutenant Governor of Delhi Najeeb Jung, Delhi High Court Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice BD Ahmed.Addressing the gathering, the CJI said that judges should introspect about their conduct in court. Without referring to any specific incident, he said that past instances had brought disrepute to the institution. As a result, this has affected the public perception towards the judiciary.”Judges should not bother about criticism. They should commit themselves to carry out ‘unpolluted justice,’ the CJI said.The CJI has been repeatedly appealing to the Centre to fill the vacancies to prevent the institution from suffering. The Centre has already defended its stand on the issue.

Singaporean navy’s vessel arrives at Visakhapatnam

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Singaporean navy’s stealth frigate RSS Formidable on Sunday arrived at Visakhapatnam on a five-day visit to Eastern Naval Command (ENS) as a part of the ongoing Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercises.The two navies share a long-standing relationship with regular professional interactions which include exchange programmes, staff talks and training courses.Bilateral cooperation between Singapore and India was first formalised when RSN ships began training with Indian Navy in 1994 and this year’s edition, SIMBEX-16, is being held in the Bay of Bengal region, an official release said. Commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Khoo Aik Leong Albert, RSS Formidable is the first of the six multi-role stealth frigates which forms part of the 185 Squadron based at Changi, the release added.A senior Singapore Navy delegation, headed by Colonel Aaron Beng, Commanding Officer, 185 Squadron, RSN is also visiting ENC during the period, it said, adding that the visit will encompass interaction between the personnel of both the navies in various professional, cultural, social and sports events.During the visit, Colonel Aaron Beng, Commanding Officer (CO), 185 Squadron of Republic of Singapore Navy, along with Lt Colonel Khoo Aik Leong Albert, CO, RSS Formidable, will call on Vice Admiral HCS Bisht, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, ENC and Rear Admiral B Dasgupta, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet, the release said.The 23rd such exercise in the series is aimed at increasing interoperability between RSN and Indian Navy as well as at developing common understanding and procedures for maritime security operations, it added.The exercise would include wide-ranging professional interactions during the Harbour Phase, scheduled from October 31 to November 2, and a diverse range of operational activities at sea during the Sea Phase, to be held from November 3-5, according to the release. The thrust of the exercises at sea this year would be on anti-submarine warfare (ASW), integrated operations with surface, air and sub-surface forces, air defence and surface encounter exercises, it said.During SIMBEX-16, Singapore Navy will be represented by RSS Formidable and maritime patrol aircraft Fokker 50, operating from Port Blair.Indian Navy will be represented by INS Ranvijay, a guided missile destroyer, INS Kamorta, an indigenous ASW stealth corvette, one Sindhughosh-class submarine, in addition to long range maritime patrol aircraft P8I, maritime patrol aircraft Dornier, advanced jet trainer Hawk and integral rotary wing helicopters are also scheduled to participate in the exercise, the release added.In February, Singapore Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Lai Chung Han had visited ENC and participated in IFR-16, held in Visakhapatnam, the City of Destiny, it said.

Top Pak Army officer handpicked Mehmood Akhtar for India spy mission

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mehmood Akhtar, a Havildar in the Pakistani Army, was handpicked for the espionage mission by a top army officer who was once in the race to be the Pakistan Army Chief. Intelligence officials told DNA that Akhtar was part of the 40 Baloch Regiment after joining the Pakistan Army in 1997 before being sent to the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) on deputation on the recommendation of a Lieutenant-General, who also happened to be the Colonel Commandant of the regiment.Sources said Akhtar was deputed to the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi in January 2014 after undergoing a three-month special training in espionage.Soon after recommending him for the ‘special assignment’, the Lieutenant-General retired six months later. This officer was in the race to be Pakistan Army chief but lost out narrowly, as he retired months before then chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani’s scheduled retirement in 2013.”Mehmood Akhtar was just a Havildar, one of the lowest ranks in the army but he had the backing of the Pakistan Baloch Regiment Colonel Commandant,” said an intelligence official.Akhtar was not alone. A senior who he reported to was also sent for the assignment along with him on the recommendation of the same officer, sources said. The Delhi Police also confirmed that Akhtar got his deputation to ISI in January 2013.”His interrogation disclosed that he was posted in Pakistan High Commission, New Delhi, for about two-and-a-half years and was working in the visa section,” said Joint Commissioner (Crime Branch) Ravinder Yadav.”He also disclosed that he is on deputation to ISI since January 2013 and is a serving Havildar of the 40 Baloch Regiment of Pakistan Army,” he added. Akhtar’s name was disclosed while officials were tracking other spies. “He was on special assignment and came under the crosshairs of intelligence sleuths recently, though other local spies were under the scanner since January,” sources said.

Fact or fiction, abuse of disability benefits by defence personnel must be thoroughly probed

A national daily has alleged that a former lieutenant general when heading the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) as director general wrote to the Defence Secretary alleging: one, top military officers nearing retirement are abusing disability benefits for higher and tax-free pensions; two, “alarming trend” of absolutely fit generals, admirals and air marshals are exploiting the welfare measure by getting themselves placed in the lower medical category.

Representative image. Reuters

Representative image. Reuters

A medical downgrade entitles a soldier to better retirement benefits. And the provision was allegedly being misused by few veteran officers who claimed disability benefits for diseases such as corns in their feet, eczema (a skin disorder), and hearing loss. The daily, Hindustan Times, says it has in its possession the letter which was purportedly written by the said DG, AFMS, in December 2014, but has not apparently been made public.

The daily, however, has printed excerpts of the letter, which reads: “I would like to apprise you of an alarming trend evolving in the services, with regards to claims for disability pension being preferred by senior officers of the rank of lieutenant general and major general and their equivalent… Specialists and medical officers working in hospitals under their command find themselves constrained to oblige these officers… Top officers who retired in Shape-1 were submitting ‘post discharge claims’ for disabilities… they claim to have contracted while in service… The provision was being misused by few veteran officers who claimed disability benefits for diseases such as corns in their feet, eczema, a skin disorder, and hearing loss contracted while in service.”

The said former DG who retired in June 2016 has reportedly told Hindustan Times that he pursued the matter for one-and-half years after writing the letter, and the details that emerged were shocking. The daily quotes “sources” stating that the claims for disability pensions have shot up significantly during the last 10 years following the implementation of the sixth Central Pay Commission (CPC) in 2006 that enhanced benefits. However, according to the report, “A detailed scrutiny of records showed that before 2006 hardly any top officers claimed disability pension. But by 2015, about 21 percent of them were claiming benefits. If someone has disability, they should declare it earlier in service and not a few months before retirement.”

The timing of this letter “accessed” by the daily is noteworthy since the government is under considerable fire for a notification issued by the Ministry of Defence on 30 September 2016 (two days after the successful surgical strikes) which grants pensionary awards based on recommendations of the seventh CPC. The said notification reduces the amount of admissible disability benefits to pensioners relegating rates to the “slab system” that was prevalent prior to the 6th CPC. It places disabled defence pensioners at a sharp disadvantage.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar reportedly told the Service Chiefs to immediately implement the seventh CPC despite it denigrating the military to lowest levels, even below the police, and an unprecedented stand by military asking it to wait for the anomalies to be resolved before implementing seventh CPC. And the Service Chiefs are right in wanting the anomalies to be tackled first. In fact, even the Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued a notice to the Central government directing it to use a sensitive approach while hearing views of the defence personnel. It also directed the Anomaly Committee to take into account the views of the defence personnel.

Sure the Defence Minister has referred the issue of calculating disability pension for soldiers to the Anomaly Committee of the Seventh CPC last week, but why was he not aware of it before issuing the notification from MoD on 30 September? And who has leaked the above-purported letter (if there is one) to the media, and why now?

The game of denigrating the military and hitting at the morale of soldiers is not new. It is part of the asymmetric war of our enemies, and the infusion of foreign funds are very much part of it. If the huge amount of money spent on moulding perceptions in the Westland Helicopter deal is any indication, why not weaken the military? In India, under the cliché of “free speech”, anything goes anyway, even if Hafiz Saeed showers accolades on someone. Remember the fellow who headlined the fake story of an army coup. He was reportedly briefed by a Union minister (presently sitting in Rajya Sabha) because his son’s arms dealings were somehow not getting adequate attention. So, this journo goes and posts his story even as he is living way beyond his means, and is loathed by majority journo colleagues. But who can really touch him when he is smart enough to gain the tutelage of a Union minister, including in the present set up? So, no one is happier than the guys across the border.

But let us assume that the above-mentioned letter is genuine and that the government would not have “leaked” it if had not been slammed for drastically reducing the disability pension of military personnel through MoD’s 30 September notification. Many would be unaware that the Directorate General of the Armed Forces Medical Services (DG AFMS) functions directly under the MoD. The Kargil Review Committee (KRC) and the follow up Group of Ministers (headed by then deputy prime minister and home minister LK Advani) reports, under which Headquarter Integrated Defence Staff (HQ IDS) was established, had recommended that both DG AFMS and the Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA) be brought under HQ IDS. However, this did not happen. Little wonder then that when a service chief went to call on the defence minister for the first time, the latter wanted to know how his relatives could be treated at the Army’s Research & Referral Hospital.

As for DGQA, the bottleneck for “certifying” items is well known, and you can well guess how bottlenecks are greased. There was a time when no reserves of special clothing for soldiers deployed on the Saltoto Range in Siachen Glacier area were maintained. Instead, there was a system called ‘Annual Provisioning Review’ which meant that the process of import of the items commenced with the new financial year) and by the time the items were imported, cleared by the DGQA and reached the troops, winters would have set in with many frostbite cases for the lack of adequate special clothing. The DGMS and DGQA continue to be under MoD, not under HQ IDS.

As to the former DG AFMS who reportedly authored the above letter, few questions need to be answered: One, since he was elevated to DG AFMS after serving as DG MS (Army) under Army HQ, did he, as advisor to the Army Chief (s), apprise the Army Chief of such happenings and recommend action against defaulters, or, did he keep quiet currying favour least he missed out elevation to DG AFMS. Two, since misuse of the provision has been reported by him since 2006, was he as a medical doctor pressurised to give the wrong certification? Did he submit to such pressure? Three, can he come on record to say he did apprise the Army Chief of such purported wrong practices? Four, if he did not apprise the Army Chief about such wrongdoings, did he issue any instructions or advisory as DGMS (Army) to Commands and hospitals warning them about such practice? Did he ask that he be informed immediately of any such incident on occurrence? Five, did he issue a similar advisory to the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force once he became DG AFMS? Five, did he send the full names and particulars of the defaulters when he reportedly wrote to the Defence Secretary, and if so, what action did he recommend? Six, was he, as DGMS (Army) or DG AFMS, aware that post-retirement grant of the disability pension is admissible to both military personnel and defence employees, and the reasons why it is permitted. Seven, since he retired in June 2016, why did he wait till the government was slammed because of the 30 September notification. Who, asked him to do so and why is he currying favour now? And, lastly, eight, is he amenable to release names of the so-called defaulters (both person granted disability and the medico certifying the same), or request the government to do so in order to clear his name because of the above questions? If not then this so called DG AFMS should stop using the title of Lt Gen.

The bottom line is that whether fact or fiction, the issue needs to be thoroughly probed, not left out as just another issue.

The author is a veteran Lt Gen of Indian Army.

AAP, Delhi Government hit out at Jung over Shunglu Committee dissolution

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi government and the Aam Aadmi Party on Saturday launched a joint attack on Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung accusing him of threatening to unleash the CBI on the Arvind Kejriwal-led state government and calling him a “spokesperson of the BJP”.The Delhi government had in a Friday cabinet decision advised Jung to dissolve the Shunglu committee constituted to review over 400 government files. The state cabinet had termed the committee as illegal and unconstitutional.”It is a matter of deep regret that the Central government’s appointee, LG Jung is openly threatening to unleash the Central Bureau of investigation (CBI) upon the democratically elected government of Delhi. It is a new low in the already blatant politicisation and misuse of the premier investigative agency of the country,” a statement issued by the Delhi government on Saturday said.”It also unmasks the ulterior motive behind setting up of the three member Shunglu Committee, whose formation was anyway in violation of the Constitution of India and the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi, Act), 1991 (GNCTD),” the statement added.Meanwhile, the AAP also intensified its attack on LG Jung, calling him a “spokesperson of (the) BJP”.”LG Jung should stop behaving like a political spokesperson of BJP. He is hiding behind the Narendra Modi government to cover-up his unconstitutional and illegal actions,” alleged AAP leader Ashutosh.Jung had on Friday countered with an official statement asking the Delhi government why it was afraid of the truth coming out. “Some misdemeanours are of the gravity that already these matters are in the process of being referred to the CBI for investigation,” he said in the statement.Jung had formed the committee chaired by former former comptroller and auditor general VK Shunglu on August 30; former chief election commissioner N Gopalaswami and former chief vigilance commissioner Pradeep Kumar are also members.”The AAP government is not afraid of Jung’s machinery and falsehoods. We have made it clear time and again that why can’t the L-G wait until the Supreme Court gives its decision. The Delhi government and the AAP will not succumb under the pressure of threat of using the CBI for political vendetta against us,” Ashutosh added.

Delhi Government accuses LG Najeeb Jung of threatening in name of CBI

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung said the 400 files of the Delhi Government show “grave misdemeanours” and are in the process of being referred to the CBI for investigation, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government on Saturday accused the former of openly threatening the democratically elected government, adding it ‘unmasks the ulterior motive’ behind setting up of the three-member Shunglu Committee.”It is a matter of deep regret that the Central government’s appointee, the Hon’ble Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, Mr Najeeb Jung, is openly threatening to unleash the CBI upon the democratically elected government of Delhi,” said the Arvind Kejriwal-led government in a statement issued here.The Delhi Government further said, “The unfortunate statement of Mr Jung was issued through an official press release on Friday evening. All major newspapers and TV channels have prominently published the said statement. It is a new low in the already blatant politicisation and misuse of the premier investigation agency of the country. Besides, it also unmasks the ulterior motive behind setting up of the three-member Shunglu Committee, whose formation was anyway in violation of the Constitution of India and the GNCTD Act.”The Council of Ministers of the Delhi Government had on Friday advised the Lieutenant Governor to dissolve this committee and return the 400 odd files “illegally” impounded by him, the statement claimed, adding that the Council had noted with deep concern as to how the Committee’s illegal functioning was crippling various ongoing projects of public welfare.”But instead of addressing the constitutional issues of legality and propriety raised by the Government of Delhi, Mr Jung regretfully chose to respond in an unconstitutional and partisan manner. His public statement only goes to highlight the deep crisis in our federal democracy,” said the AAP government.The government alleged that increasingly, the high offices of Governors and Lieutenant Governors are being politically misused to sabotage democratically elected governments. The Lieutenant Governor in a statement issued on Friday said, “The truth hidden behind the 400-odd files must come out and be brought into public domain. If everything, as claimed, is as per rules, then why is the elected government afraid of the truth coming out? Some misdemeanours are of the gravity that already these matters are in the process of being referred to the CBI for investigation.”

Jayalalithaa ‘constantly monitored’; Kerala Governor, CM visit hospital; two arrested for spreading rumour

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa continuing to receive treatment, a stream of high-profile visitors, including Kerala Governor P Sathasivam and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday visited the Apollo Hospital and enquired about her health.The hospital, where the AIADMK general secretary was admitted on September 22 after she complained of fever and dehydration, said she was “constantly being monitored”.”Prof Dr G Khilnani, Department of Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), visited Apollo Hospital again on October 9 and 10 and examined Honourable Chief Minister,” the hospital’s Chief Operating Officer, Subbiah Viswanathan, said in a release.Khilnani, part of a three-member AIIMS panel which had examined Jayalalithaa last week, had discussions with the hospital’s expert panel and “concurred with the present line of treatment” being given to the chief minister, the release said.Jayalalithaa continues to be under treatment and “is being constantly monitored by the intensivists and other consultants in the expert panel”, it added.Necessary respiratory support, antibiotics, nutrition, supportive therapy and passive physiotherapy were being given to her, the release said.Earlier, Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu, who visited the hospital yesterday, described Jayalalithaa as a “fighter” and expressed confidence that she would continue to serve the people of Tamil Nadu.”I am confident that she has a strong willpower and she is always a fighter. I am confident that she will fight back, become normal and continue to serve the people of Tamil Nadu and that is my wish,” he told reporters after making a “courtesy call” on Governor Chennamaneni Vidyasagar Rao at Raj Bhavan.Kerala Governor P Sathasivam, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi also visited the hospital and quoted the doctors as saying that Jayalalithaa “was recovering”.Vijayan, accompanied by Sathasivam, visited the hospital and held discussions with hospital CMD Prathap Reddy.”We met Dr Prathap Reddy and the other doctors providing treatment to the chief minister. The specialists informed us that she was responding well to the treatment,” Sathasivam told reporters.”Within a short period, she is likely to be discharged and it is possible for her to take charge of the administration. We also pray for her speedy recovery,” he said.Vijayan said the two had come to “convey the collective good wishes of the people of Kerala”.Bedi said, she was informed by Reddy that Jayalalithaa was “progressing”.”He said, Amma (as Jayalalithaa is addressed) is under very good care and that she is progressing. I would like to pray for her to keep progressing. I have come here out of absolute respect as a neighbour as Puducherry is Tamil Nadu’s neighbour and it is my duty to be here,” she said.Meanwhile, the AIADMK said “all is well” with Jayalalithaa.”All is well with Puratchi Thalaivi Amma (revolutionary leader mother),” the official Twitter handle of the party, @AIADMKofficial, said.Party workers and supporters continued to hold prayers across the state at different places of worship for the chief minister’s speedy recovery.Meanwhile, the police today arrested two persons, including a software engineer, for allegedly spreading rumours regarding Jayalalithaa’s health.The Central Crime Branch arrested Sathish Kumar, a software engineer from Tiruchengode, for allegedly sharing such information on his Facebook page.He “confessed” to his crime, the police said, adding that the arrest was made on a complaint from AIADMK IT Wing secretary G Ramachandran.Another person, Madasamy, was arrested from Madurai on a complaint from a Chennai resident who alleged that an audio clip, purportedly featuring the voice of a hospital employee and referring to Jayalalithaa’s health, was being circulated on the internet.The two were booked under IPC sections dealing with “wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot” and “statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes,” the police said, adding that they were remanded to judicial custody.Steps were on to nab those behind “spreading rumours” about the chief minister’s health, the police said.Efforts were on to remove such posts from social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and WhatsApp, the police said, adding that 43 cases have been filed so far in this regard.Such an offence, if proved, was punishable with seven years of imprisonment, the police said and warned the people against indulging in such activities.

Jayalalithaa’s health being constantly monitored; doctors say Tamil Nadu CM responding well to treatment

Chennai: With Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa continuing to receive treatment, a stream of high-profile visitors, including Kerala Governor P Sathasivam and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, today visited the Apollo Hospital and enquired about her health.

The hospital, where the AIADMK general secretary was admitted on 22 September after she complained of fever and dehydration, said she was “constantly being monitored”.

“Prof Dr G Khilnani, Department of Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), visited Apollo Hospital again on 9 and 10 October and examined Honourable Chief Minister,” the hospital’s Chief Operating Officer, Subbiah Viswanathan, said in a release.

File image of Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa. PTIFile image of Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa. PTI

File image of Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa. PTI

Khilnani, part of a three-member AIIMS panel which had examined Jayalalithaa last week, had discussions with the hospital’s expert panel and “concurred with the present line of treatment” being given to the chief minister, the release said.

Jayalalithaa continues to be under treatment and “is being constantly monitored by the intensivists and other consultants in the expert panel”, it added.

Necessary respiratory support, antibiotics, nutrition, supportive therapy and passive physiotherapy were being given to her, the release said.

Earlier, Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu, who visited the hospital on Sunday, described Jayalalithaa as a “fighter” and expressed confidence that she would continue to serve the people of Tamil Nadu.

“I am confident that she has a strong willpower and she is always a fighter. I am confident that she will fight back, become normal and continue to serve the people of Tamil Nadu and that is my wish,” he told reporters after making a “courtesy call” on Governor Chennamaneni Vidyasagar Rao at Raj Bhavan.

Kerala Governor P Sathasivam, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi also visited the hospital and quoted the doctors as saying that Jayalalithaa “was recovering”.

Vijayan, accompanied by Sathasivam, visited the hospital and held discussions with hospital CMD Prathap Reddy. “We met Dr Prathap Reddy and the other doctors providing treatment to the chief minister. The specialists informed us that she was responding well to the treatment,” Sathasivam told reporters.

“Within a short period, she is likely to be discharged and it is possible for her to take charge of the administration. We also pray for her speedy recovery,” he said.

Vijayan said the two had come to “convey the collective good wishes of the people of Kerala”.

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. 

LG Najeeb Jung in tussle with Delhiites, not the CM: Kejriwal

Sun, 9 Oct 2016-07:40pm , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid escalating confrontation between the Delhi government and Lieutenant General Najeeb Jung, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday alleged that Jung is not in a tussle with him but with the entire city, farmers and women. His comments came a day after he appealed to Jung not to cancel the public welfare decisions taken by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government since it came to power in February 2015.The Chief Minister had on Saturday accused the Centre of starting a process to declare “null and void” all Delhi government’s decisions taken in the last one-and-a-half-year through the Lt Governor.

With Jayalalithaa in hospital, Tamil Nadu Guv meets ministers, chief secy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa hospitalised for the past two weeks, Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao on Friday called two senior ministers and Chief Secretary P Ramamohana Rao and discussed the day-to-day administration and affairs of the government. The Governor enquired “about the general administration of the affairs of the government,” a Raj Bhavan release said.”The Chief Secretary to Government briefed Honourable Governor about the administrative affairs that are being carried out on a day-to-day basis and also other general matters,” it said.Jayalalithaa’s trusted lieutenant and Finance Minister O Panneerselvam and his cabinet colleague Edappadi K Palaniswami also met the Governor at the Raj Bhavan where he enquired with them about the health condition of the Chief Minister, it said.Although the Governor had visited Apollo Hospital, where Jayalalithaa was admitted on September 22 after she complained of fever and dehydration, on October 1, this was the first time he has held consultations with the senior ministers and the Chief Secretary since she was hospitalised. The Ministers and Chief Secretary met Rao “on the request of the Governor,” it added.With the ministers, the top two in Jayalalithaa’s Cabinet after her, the Governor “enquired about the health condition” of the AIADMK supremo, it added. Further, he also enquired about the arrangements made for the visit and information to be presented to the High Level Technical Committee on Cauvery issue constituted by the Centre “to protect the welfare of farmers of Tamil Nadu”, it added.Palaniswami, the Public Works Minister, explained in detail the arrangements made and related matters, it added.The Apollo Hospital had said yesterday that the 68-year- old AIADMK leader’s health condition “continues to improve” but requires a longer stay at the hospital. “The consensus of opinions of all the experts is that the line of treatment given to the Chief Minister should be continued as she will require a longer stay at the hospital,” a release from the hospital had said.

Surgical strikes and ceasefire violations: What India and Pakistan taught us this week

First things, first.

It’s slightly late in the day, but from one type of Special Forces to another:

vUrVnmQ - Imgur

And since we’re on the topic of things we learned, one of the most striking is how closely footballer and hat-tipper extraordinaire Mesut Özil resembles yesteryear actor/director/producer/writer Buster Keaton.


See the resemblance?

Uncanny, right?

Good. Now that that’s out of the way — because that’s neither here not there — let’s reflect on the week gone by. This week — as indeed the tail-end of the last one — has been all about the surgical strikes carried out by the Indian Army’s Special Forces across the LoC in the early hours of 29 September.

According to some, such a strike had never been conducted before. According to others, this sort of thing has been happening for years now. Here, at FP Special Forces, we simply don’t know who’s right and who’s wrong — if such a binary can, in fact, be used in this context.

What we do know, however, is that within a week the role of the media changed drastically. A former high-ranking officer of the FP Special Forces had once said that the role of the news media would only ever be to inform, interpret and elaborate, but not to educate. How wrong he was. This week, all of that changed and the media cleared the cobwebs from our understanding and truly educated us. Let’s go through some of these teachings imparted through the tireless efforts of numerous news anchors, graphic designers and talking heads:

Surgical Strikes

With a show of hands, how many of you even knew what ‘surgical strikes’ were, before DGMO Lieutenant-General Ranbir Singh, flanked by the strong and silent Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup (for moral support, we imagine), used the phrase at that fairly famous press conference? Or did you think it was what happened when a bunch of surgeons, protesting low-pay, poor work conditions or violence perpetrated by the relatives of patients, decided to down tools, pick up placards and go on strike? Be honest!

On the off-chance that you did know what they were, your definition was probably closer to the traditional one — the one that refers to a swift and focussed attack on a specific target that causes minimal collateral damage. Right?

To quote Donald Trump, “WRONG!”

As we learned this week, a surgical strike can be anything you want it to be. For example, one interpretation refers to an incredibly daring Rambo-esque operation — in which political leaders transform into eminent personalities from Indian mythology — that leaves the victors setting off fireworks and the losers crying in shame. Or something like that. Another interpretation alludes to standing at one’s post and firing away across the border in the hopes of hitting someone, preferably an enemy combatant.

A third interpretation is the one that sees the ‘striker’ do something that appears as though it never happened. And what’s so surgical about that? Well, we’re glad you asked. Think of the way a good surgeon conducts a surgery. She makes the incision, does what is required and she’s out leaving the patient unscarred. Almost like there’s no evidence of said surgery having ever taken place. “Look ma! No scars,” like the Pakistan Army told foreign journalists when they were taken on a tour of the LoC.



That’s why!

Let’s move on.

Ceasefire violations

Nearly every TV news channel explodes with angry red, blue or white (any resemblance to the US flag or the Dutch, Australian, British, Russian, French ones or any of the seemingly hundreds of others that use this colour combination is purely coincidental) tickers.

What ceasefire? According to some reports, there’ve been 20 ceasefire violations in the past week. And we’re not even going to try to calculate the total number of such violations this year. Is there even a reason to continue considering there to be a ceasefire in place if it’s going to be violated all the time? Apparently there is. And that’s what we learned.

All things covert

We also learned a new definition for the word ‘covert’. Put away your flights of fancy about ‘plausible deniability’ and ‘clandestine’ stuff. No, covert in today’s world — as we’ve been taught this week — apparently means something to brag about and something for which video evidence can be demanded. We’re sure the Indian Army’s Special Forces did a collective facepalm just as we, at FP Special Forces did, when we received this learning.

Manohar Parrikar

Nothing to add, suffice for this:

b4JWH0e - Imgur

Lt Governor Najeeb Jung directs Delhi police to deploy more personnel at crowded places

New Delhi: Ahead of the festive season, Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung on Thursday held a meeting with top Delhi Police officers and directed the force to keep a close tab on the city’s crowded places by deploying sufficient security personnel and ensuring that CCTV cameras installed at these places are functional.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Lt Governor Najeeb Jung. PTI

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Lt Governor Najeeb Jung. PTI

In the wake of the Uri attack and intelligence inputs of a terror threat to the capital, Delhi Police has ramped up security at places that see high footfall. The meeting was attended by Delhi Police Commissioner Alok Verma, Special Commissioners (Law & Order) and Joint Commissioners of Police (all ranges). The Lt Governor issued instructions to Delhi Police for strict compliance with these directions.

Jung asked the police personnel to be particularly vigilant and keep a close watch on major markets in the national capital with increased footfall during festive season. He also asked all police officers that ahead of the festive season, all CCTVs cameras installed in markets, malls and crowded places should be made fully functional. These CCTVs cameras will help the police keep an eye and help prevent any untoward incident.

In the meeting, Jung expressed concern at inadequate training of security personnel of private agencies manning malls, cinema, halls, etc. He directed Delhi Police to be extra careful in all such places.

The Lt Governor instructed that sufficient numbers of police personnel should be deployed for the safety of the citizens during Ramleela, Navratra and Muharram and other festivals and wherever there is large congregation of people. He also instructed that police personnel to ensure safety and security of sensitive installations in the capital.

People ‘left to suffer’: SC on dengue and chikungunya menace in Delhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a stinging criticism of the handling of dengue and chikungunya menace in Delhi, the Supreme Court on Thursday said the authorities here were “not interested” and the people have been “left to suffer”.It also expressed disappointment over the outcome of yesterday’s meeting between the Lieutenant Governor and Delhi government on curbing vector-borne diseases like dengue and chikungunya and asked them to hold another meeting this evening to firm up steps to check the diseases.”We have gone through the minutes of meeting held yesterday and we are quiet disappointed with the outcome,” a bench of justices M B Lokur and Amitava Rao said.”These people are not interested and the people of Delhi are left to suffer,” the bench observed and asked the LG and Delhi Government to hold a meeting at 5.30 PM today to discuss the matter.During the hearing, Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for Delhi Chief Secretary, told the bench that LG Najeeb Jung would convene a meeting in which those officers, who were directed to attend the meeting by the court in its October 4 order, would be present.The bench also asked senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, who is an amicus curiae in the matter, to participate in the meeting and express his views on how to tackle the menace of these vector-borne diseases.The bench directed that the participants should discuss the steps to be taken to prevent the problem faced by the people of Delhi this year and also the future measures.”We expect the participants to keep the interest of people of Delhi in mind while doing the entire exercise,” the bench said, adding “we expect that the action taken is collaborative and cooperative”.It fixed the matter for further hearing on October 17.The apex court had on October 4 directed Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Health Minister Satyendra Jain to hold a meeting with LG Najeeb Jung, which was held yesterday, to chalk out a strategy for curbing vector-borne diseases like dengue and chikungunya in the national capital, while warning Delhi government against indulging in blame game.

Pak shelling leaves trail of destruction on LoC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Stepping up their offensive, Pakistan Army shelled a strategic fuel depot of the security forces, leaving a trail of destruction along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Saujian sector of Poonch district in Jammu division.More than 20 shops were razed to ground after massive fire engulfed the Saujian village when Pakistan shells landed in the fuel depot, which is used for supplying oil to the forward posts of the security forces stationed on the Line of Control.”Almost 20 shops and two bikes were gutted in the fire. A car has also suffered some damages in the firing. It is a place where the fuel barrels are kept for their onward movement to the forward posts. The incident happened 48 hours ago when cross border shelling took place in Saujiyan and Shahpur sectors,” Mohammad Harun Malik, district development commissioner of Poonch, told dna.Malik said they are currently assessing the losses caused to the property due to the cross border shelling. “Loss statement has not been made. I had personally gone for the inspection of the affected area of Saujian today.Wooden works and roofs of the shops have been gutted completely but the walls are intact,” he said.Pakistani army has opened few more fronts and extended shelling to newer areas in Mendhar and Sunderbani sectors of the LoC. “Ceasefire violations in Sunderbani and Mendhar sectors are being strongly retaliated by our forces,” said an army officer.Lieutenant Colonel Manish Mehta, defence spokesman at Jammu, said Pakistan started to unprovoked cease fire violations in Krishna Ghati sector from 5 pm on Tuesday using arms, automatics and mortars.”Firing stopped at Krishna Ghati sector 8 pm but intermittently continues in Naushera sector. Firing is being appropriately responded by own troops,” he said.Deputy inspector general of police, Rajouri-Poonch range, Johnny Williams told dna that the authorities have evacuated few civilians from some areas in Naushera sector of LoC following the shelling.”We had to do evacuation in the wake of shelling. Around 50 to 60 people were evacuated. Basically the shelling is from post to post,” he said.Pakistan has also opened another front in Macchal sector by resorting to heavy shelling on Indian forward posts on Wednesday. “Ceasefire Violation in Machhal Sector by Pakistan is being strongly retaliated,” tweeted Northern Command of the Indian army.Hundreds of families have shifted to safer places after Pakistani army intensified the shelling since the Indian army carried out surgical strikes on terror launch pads in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir last week.Meanwhile, police in its continuous and sustained drive against the trouble mongers arrested 76 people involved in various offences of disturbing public order in different parts of the valley

Kashmir conflict: Tension on the India Pakistan border

The BBC’s Shaimaa Khalil travels to Kasmir’s Line of Control – the de facto border between India and Pakistan, where tensions run high between the two nuclear powers.

Pakistani Army ‘sure’ India is hiding casualties after surgical strike

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Pakistan Army said that it was “sure” that Indian troops had suffered casualties in the surgical strike on terror launch pads in PoK, alleging that India was “hiding” its losses. Pakistan military spokesman Lieutenant General Asim Saleem Bajwa stated this while briefing reporters in Baghsar area of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Radio Pakistan reported him saying that Pakistani troops have given befitting response to Indian firing on the line of control.”We are sure that the Indian side would have suffered casualties but it is hiding details in this regard,” he said. Bajwa said the country’s armed forces are fully prepared to respond any aggression however, he also said that war was not in anybody’s interest. He once again rejected as “false” and “concocted” the Indian claim of surgical strikes within Pakistani territory following the Uri terror attack that killed 19 Indian soldiers last month. The terror launch pads were targeted by the Indian Army on the intervening night of September 28 and 29 in a nearly five- hour-long operation.

Hamid Karzai hails India’s surgical strikes; says there is need for such military operations

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hailing India’s surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) in response to the terrorist attack at Uri sector as justified, former Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai has said that Kabul has been a victim of terrorism and there is a need for such kinds of military operations in the country.Karzai conveyed this to India’s Ambassador to Afghanistan Manpreet Vohra recently.Karzai reminded Vohra that Afghanistan too has been a victim of terrorism and fundamentalism and felt the need for such military operations more than anyone else.He added that Kabul has repeatedly asked the United States over the past 13 years to conduct cross-border attacks against the terrorist sanctuaries outside of Afghanistan, but with no success.Indian Army on Wednesday conducted surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) in response to the terrorist attack at Uri sector in Jammu and Kashmir in which 19 soldiers were killed.Two Pakistani soldiers and over 30 terrorists were reportedly killed in the attack.Director General of Military Operations Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh said that the motive of the operation was to hit out at the terrorists who were planning to infiltrate into the Indian Territory.Lt General Singh informed that significant casualty was caused to terrorists during the operation.The DGMO said, it is a matter of serious concern that there have been many infiltration bids by terrorists at the LoC and it was reflected in the terror attacks in Poonch and Uri on 11th and 18th of this month.

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.

Reports of Pak killing eight soldiers ‘baseless’, one soldier inadvertently crossed over: Indian Army

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian Army rejected a media report from a Pakistani paper that claimed that Pakistan had killed eight Indian soldiers and captured one while retaliating to India’s firing. Citing security sources, Dawn newspaper said that the capture and killings occurred when the Indian army opened fire across the border, killing two Pakistani soldiers. The Indian Army denied the charges saying: “Reports of killing of 8 Indian Army personnel in section of Pakistani media is completely false and baseless. One Indian soldier with weapon has inadvertently crossed over to the other side of the LoC. Pakistan has been informed about it. Such inadvertent crossing by Army and civilians not unusual on either side. They are returned through existing mechanisms.”Journalists Shiv Aroor and Rezaul Hasan Laskar pointed out on Twitter how Dawn flip-flopped about this story in a spate of few hours. In the wake of India’s conduct of surgical strikes across the Line of Control, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has called a joint session of the Parliament on October 5.’Joint session of the Parliament will be convened on Wednesday to reaffirm the national resolve for safeguarding the sovereignty and preserving the territorial integrity of the motherland against any kind of external or internal threat as well as reiterating the moral, political, and diplomatic support to the people of Kashmir,’ Prime Minister Sharif said, reports Geo News.He further said that a meeting of the National Security Committee will be held on October 4 with special invitation to all the Chief Ministers to deliberate at length the emerging scenario across the Line of Control and also in the Valley.Meanwhile, Pakistan National Security Adviser Lt. Gen.Nasir Janjua has submitted a comprehensive report on the Line of Control (LoC) cross-border escalation with Indian troops to Prime Minister Sharif, reported Radio Pakistan.The Prime Minister is also being briefed regularly on the situation on the LoC by the security establishment.Sharif, according to Radio Pakistan, expressed satisfaction on the level of preparedness of the Pakistani armed forces to match any provocation by Indian security forces.In the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday, the Indian Army claimed that it had conducted surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the Line of Control. This was confirmed by Director General of Military Operations, Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh.The motive of the operation was to hit out at the terrorists who were planning to infiltrate into Indian territory. ‘The operations were basically focused to ensure that these terrorists do not succeed in their design of infiltration and carrying out destruction and endangering the lives of citizens of our country. During these counter terrorist operations significant casualties have been caused to the terrorist and those who are trying to support them. The operation aimed at neutralising the terrorists have since seized. We do not have any plans for further continuation of the operations. However, the Indian armed forces are fully prepared for any contingency that may arrive,’ he added.With agency inputs

India United: Leaders at all-party meet laud Indian army

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Top leaders of political parties were briefed by the government about the surgical strike carried out by the Army on terror launching pads across the LoC to foil plans of terrorists to target some Indian towns.Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said after the hour-long meeting that all political parties unanimously supported the Army action, which was carried at 5-6 important places across LoC along Kupwara and Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir at an altitude of 6,000 feet and some of these terror launch pads were destroyed.”The Home Minister explained the all-party meeting about the surgical strike which was carried out by the Army to foil attempts by terrorists to carry out attack not only in Jammu and Kashmir but some other important towns,” he told reporters.The Army action came in the aftermath of terror attack in Uri on September 18 in which 18 soldiers were killed. Naidu said the terrorists had carried out strike from these launching pads and they had plans to do the same in future too. “Government and the Army had reports that the terrorists had plans to infiltrate again and create havoc in Jammu and Kashmir and some other places,” he said. After the successful operation, the Army personnel had returned to their respective bases without suffering any casualty, he said adding further details would be available later. The Minister said Representatives of Congress, NCP, CPI(M), BSP, Shiv Sena, LJSP AND TDP complimented the Indian Army action and assured the government of their support in any action in future. Those who attended the meeting include Ghulam Nabi Azad (Congress), Sharad Pawar (NCP), Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M), Satish Chandra Mishra (BSP) and Ram Vilas Paswan (LJSP). BJP President Amit Shah, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar besides the Home Minister and Naidu attended the meeting. Naidu said the surgical strike was carried out as Pakistan was not mending its ways and testing India’s patience. Director General of Military Operations Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh briefed the all-party meeting. The all-party meeting was convened to inform political parties across the board of the action taken by the Army. Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had briefed President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice-President Hamid Ansari and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of the surgical strikes. Chief Ministers of various states, including Jammu and Kashmir, were also briefed about the latest development. Just before the all-party meeting, Swaraj had met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on the development. With today’s action, Naidu said Pakistan should realise that India would no longer tolerate incidents like Uri in future. “Our neighbour is aiding, abetting and funding terrorism,” the minister said. He also said the entire country is very happy with today’s action undertaken under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi. Responding to a question on Pakistan denial of Indian action in PoK, Naidu said “what else can they say.” In a series of tweets, Rajnath Singh, who chaired the all-party meeting, congratulated the Army on successful counter terrorism operations against terror groups and their launching pads. “We are proud of our armed forces. They have once again exhibited exemplary courage and valour by destroying the anti India designs. I also congratulate the Prime Minister on taking a bold decision and showing true grit and mettle in crucial times,” he said. Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad that they congratulated the Army for the “very good, successful operation”. “We have been told that there were heavy casualties on the other side and there was no harm to our soldiers and they returned back safe. We will support all action of the security forces so that terrorism comes to an end and Pakistan does not support any terror activity from its soil,” he said. Yechury said that his party supported the Army action but felt that military action is not the answer and talks should resume between the two neighbours.

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.

Ink thrown at Manish Sisodia: Delhi court reserves order on bail plea of accused

New Delhi: A Delhi court on Wednesday reserved its order on the bail plea of a man, who had allegedly thrown ink at Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia outside the Lieutenant Governor’s office.

Manish Sisodia wiping ink from his face. PTI

Manish Sisodia wiping ink from his face. PTI

Metropolitan Magistrate Ambika Singh kept the matter for 23 September for pronouncing order on the bail application of 42-year-old Brijesh Shukla after hearing arguments of his counsel and the police. The court also extended Shukla’s judicial custody till 23 September.

During arguments, police opposed the bail plea saying he was also involved in other criminal cases, as Shukla’s counsel claimed that those cases have already been quashed by the Delhi High Court. Advocate Rajesh Kumar, representing Shukla, said his client’s custody was no more required as the investigation of police was almost complete and recovery has also been made.

He also argued that Sisodia was not a complainant in the case and it should not be made a political matter. The accused claimed in the bail plea that the allegations against him were “false and fabricated” and he had not created any hurdle for public servant in performing duty.

Shukla, a resident of Karawal Nagar in Northeast Delhi, was  remanded to a day’s police custody. He was arrested on 19 September for allegedly throwing ink at Sisodia, saying he was angry with the Deputy CM’s Finland tour at a time when the city was grappling with a health crisis.

Shukla has been booked under sections 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) of the IPC.

Shukla been engaged in protests against the AAP government over various issues and has also filed a complaint in court against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and AIMIM President Asaduddin Owaisi.

Uri mopping operation called off

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Monday, almost 36 hours after the Pakistan backed Jaish-e-Mohhammed terrorists attacked the Army brigade headquarters in Jammu and Kashmir’s Uri, killing 17 soldiers and injuring over 30, the Army called off its mopping operation. All the four terrorists involved in the ‘fidayeen’ attack were gunned down by the Army.Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh told that the Army operations have been called off after conducting a thorough search of the military complex at Uri and the are around it.Meanwhile, one more of Indian Army jawan succumbed to injuries at the Army Research and Referral hospital in Delhi where he was airlifted.He said the total recoveries from the slain terrorists, included, four AK 47 rifles, four Under Barrel Grenade Launchers (UBGL), 39 UBGL grenades, five hand grenades, two radio sets, two GPSs, two map sheets, two matrix sheets, one mobile phone and a large number of food and medicine packets having Pakistani markings.”We have displayed considerable restraint while handling the terrorist situation both along the Line of Control and in hinterland,” said the DGMO. “We have the desired capability to respond to such blatant acts of aggression and violence as deemed appropriate by us,” he warned, adding: “We reserve the right to respond to any act of the adversary at a time and place of own choosing.”Pointing that the infiltration attempts by terrorists have shown a marked increase in comparison to the past three-four years, he said in 2016, there have been 17 infiltration bids foiled by the Indian Army along the Line of Control (LoC). Of a total of 110 terrorists eliminated in J&K, 31 have been killed while they were attempting to cross the LoC.”It actually indicates a desperate attempt from across the LoC to infiltrate more terrorists into Kashmir with a view to create disturbance and foment unrest in our area,” he said and added,”The last two infiltration attempts, on September 11, in Poonch and on September 18 at Uri have been successfully thwarted by the Indian Army by killing of four terrorists in each of the operations.”

Reality Check: There’s been no let up in fidayeen attacks in Jammu and Kashmir since Kargil

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as the terror attack on a military base in Jammu and Kashmir has given political ammunition to the Opposition to target the government, a pattern since the 1999 Kargil war shows that there hasn’t been any let up in suicide or fidayeen attacks in Jammu and Kashmir. While the last two and half years of NDA-rule led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi have already witnessed 10 such attacks, the decade-long UPA rule under Manmohan Singh experienced 43 similar strikes. Interestingly, the only exception has been a two-year period between 2011 and 2012, when no such incident was reported.On Sunday when the Prime Minister strongly condemned the attack, promising that “those behind the despicable attack will not go unpunished”, the Opposition reminded him his September 2013 speech in Rewari, Haryana, saying “till we have a capable government in Delhi, which is nationalistic and committed to protect every citizen, we can’t guarantee security.” This rally was held in the backdrop of twin suicide strikes killing 13 including four policemen and four army personnel, including Lieutenant Colonel Bikramjeet Singh (39) in Samba District. “India has lost more jawans to bullets of terrorists than enemies from across the border.”Senior BJP leader Ram Madhav, in his Facebook post, recommended a “complete jaw for one tooth”. He wrote: “The PM has promised that those behind the Uri terror attack will not go unpunished. That should be the way forward. For one tooth, the complete jaw. Days of so-called strategic restraint are over.”But the Congress leaders, including former defence minister AK Antony, deputy leader in the Lok Sabha Capt Amarinder Singh and former minister Jitendra Singh, mocked him. Questioning the policy of appeasement resorted to by the Modi government, both towards Pakistan and the handling terrorism in Kashmir, Amarinder Singh, who is also spearheading party’s electoral campaign in Punjab said, “we as a nation need to tell it to Pakistan in simple and straight terms that enough is enough and we are not going to take it any more”.Antony described the attack as “a serious security lapse”. He said the incident, coming close on the heels of what happened in Pathankot, is a huge security lapse.”The Kashmir issue is drifting and reaching dangerous propositions. All this is happening with the knowledge of Pakistan,” he added. Jitendra Singh, who started the political blame game, said that the Modi government should stop diplomacy of sarees, biryanis, sweets, shawls and should instead send a hard-hitting message to Pakistan.Over the years more hardened and determined lot of militants have sneaked in to carry out sensational and deadly attacks. One such daring such attack, similar fashion to the one in Uri, which went largely unreported, took place on November 25, 2015, when three JeM militants attacked the army camp near the LoC at Tanghdar in North Kashmir’s Kupwara district, setting ablaze barracks, vehicles and kerosene depot. Sources in the security establishment here stated that since the unprecedented turbulence following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, counter-insurgency grid has come to a grinding halt. The army has intercepted the infiltrating militants and neutralised some of them in Nowgam and Machhil sectors on the LoC, there has not been a single raid or operation in the hinterland since July. They deny that the intelligence has started drying up, saying that all the security agencies including the Special Operations Group (SOG) of the Jammu and Kashmir are getting information unhindered. However, all the field units have been directed to only maintain vigil over the activities and movement of the militants and avoid conducting any raid or counter-insurgency operation in the populated areas “during the period of turbulence”.While the frequency of the encounters along the LoC indicates alertness of the security forces, it also shows the high levels of attempts of infiltration. Officials revealed that in recent times most of the hideouts had been established in the localities and districts believed to be completely free of militancy. They pointed out that Wani and two of his associates had been traced to a militant-free area in Kokernag and killed there in an operation of surgical precision.Fidayeen attacksSince Kargil – 106NDA under Narendra Modi – 10UPA under Manmohan Singh – 43NDA under Atal Bihar Vajpayee – 53

How India’s army might avenge the Kashmir attack

With fury growing over the killing of 17 soldiers in Kashmir, India’s military establishment is considering the ways it could strike back – but options may be running out.

#UriAttack: Clamour grows to hit back at Pakistan; experts say we must have our military option open

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as the clamour grew for a military offensive against Pakistan following the deadly attack on the Indian Army camp in Uri on Sunday that killed 17 soldiers and injured 19, the Director General of Military Operations (DGMO), Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh, said here that “all four (terrorists) killed were foreign terrorists and had some items with them which had Pakistani markings.”Initial reports, he said, indicated the slain terrorists belong to Jaish-e-Mohammed Tanzeem. “Four AK 47 rifles and four Under Barrel Grenade Launchers along with a large number of other war-like stores were recovered from them,” said DGMO. Lt Gen Ranbir Singh said, “I have spoken to Pakistan DGMO and conveyed our serious concerns on the same.”Even as Army didn’t release the names of the deceased soldiers, sources told dna that they included 15 from 6 Bihar Regiment and two from 10 Dogra Regiment.Sources also said that a map carried by militants was found which was marked and indicated in Pashtun language.Earlier, home minister Rajnath Singh who postponed his scheduled visits to Russia and the US held a high-level crisis meeting here with the National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, home secretary, Intelligence Bureau chief, defence secretary, DGMO and CRPF DG. Rajnath Singh later briefed the PM on the developments of the day.“Those behind this terror incident would be brought to justice. There are definite and conclusive indications that the perpetrators were highly trained, heavily armed and specially equipped,” Singh said. He also said that “Pakistan is a terrorist state and it should be identified and isolated as such.”Brigadier Gurmeet Kanwal (retired), a fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses here, told dna that “India’s response needs to be reviewed and upgraded to a more pro-active one that increases Pakistan’s cost for waging a proxy war.”“It is high time we hit back and hurt Pakistan physically,” Brigadier Kanwal said. On questions of India’s military response leading to escalation, he said that India was comfortably placed militarily and diplomatically to take this war on Pakistan’s door. “There are plenty of ways to strike back effectively without crossing the LoC. These include artillery strikes to destroy their bunkers and forward posts, communication centres, logistic infrastructure and ammunition depots. India can launch air-to-ground strikes and also let the Special Forces conduct raids on Pakistani posts through which infiltration takes places,” Kanwal said.Another expert, Lt Gen (retd) B S Jaswal, said, “We must have our military option open, if required to strike at certain places.”“Bring pickets, which have launch pad to the ground, raze them to the ground. The reason is that till the time it does not hurt Pakistan physically, they would not respect our decency,” Lt Gen Jaswal, who was GOC-in-C of the Northern Command, said.“Pakistan keeps doing it (terror strikes) again and again knowing that we would not take any action,” said Major (retd) Gaurav Arya, who has expertise in Jammu and Kashmir security situation.The problems in Kashmir are “systematically manufactured” at the GHQ in Rawalpindi, he alleged, adding “We must take immediate action. Stop trade with Pakistan, downgrade (its) Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status. The world must know we are serious.”Former military secretary and former commander of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps of the Indian Army, Lieutenant General Syed Ata Hasnain (retd), however said that, “Knee jerk reactions are the worst in this kind of conflict situation which is hybrid in nature. The cause-effect needs greater analysis for a suitable response at the right time. This is a campaign being fought and campaigns are not fought by one-off responses to losses. The responses have to be thought through for relative strategic advantage rather than tactical satisfaction and ego.”He told dna, “The government and the army would obviously be contemplating that and the Prime Minister has done well in giving his mind early. Direct action is good for public solace, but it is always the indirect method which has greater impact. No doubt an army as experienced as the Indian Army is not going to sit on its haunches without a response. The range of options will all be under analysis and the most suitable one will be chosen both by the army and the political leadership in due course. Clearly, Pakistan, which has been carefully calibrating the interference in Kashmir for all these years and attempting to keep it below the threshold of India’s tolerance, may have just crossed that line, the consequences of which it will have to bear.”

Jagdish Mukhi takes over as Lt Guv of Andaman and Nicobar

Mon, 22 Aug 2016-05:47pm , Port Blair , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior BJP leader Jagdish Mukhi assumed office as the 12th Lieutenant Governor of the union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands on Monday. He was administered the oath of office and oath of secrecy by Justice Girish Chandra Gupta, acting chief justice of Calcutta High Court at a formal swearing-in-ceremony held at Raj Niwas in Port Blair.Mukhi took over from Lt General A K Singh (Retd) who was appointed in July 2013. At the function, Chief Secretary Anindo Majumdar read out the warrant of appointment. Mukhi had been a minister and Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly in the past. Mukhi was a professor in Delhi University and has authored a book titled ‘Company Law and Secretarial Practice’.

Boycott threat looms large over pro-India politicians in Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The spectre of a ‘social boycott’ looms large over the pro-India politicians after separatists formally issued a public warning to ministers, MLAs and MLCs to quit their seats or be ready to face ostracisation in the restive Kashmir Valley.The warning was issued on the day when joint opposition called on President Pranab Mukherjee, urging him to impress upon the Central government to initiate a credible, meaningful dialogue with no further delay and involving all stakeholders to address the political issue in the state.Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), an amalgam of Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani, moderate leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik, who are jointly supervising the current unrest, issued a poster letter asking pro-India leaders to join “public movement for azadi” before it is too late.”During electioneering you bypassed azadi movement and sought votes from people on the issues of power, water and roads. Some gullible people even voted for you. In fact, you have been using it as mask to support the tyrannical occupation and to hoodwink the international community,” said JRL in the poster letter, which was released through media.JRL has asked people to put up this poster letter on every wall, post and pole around the residence of MLAs, MLCs and ministers to pressurise them to quit forthwith from their posts.”Before your anti-people activities force the masses to socially boycott you, it is better and advisable to shun your treachery and resign, and join the people who are giving umpteen sacrifices for the sacred cause,” said the JRL.The JRL cautioned that the resignation is the only way out for the pro-India politicians to redeem themselves in the society. “When the voices of freedom are clearly being heard in every household, the signs of victory are looking brighter. Without wasting any time you should resign to prove your conscience is alive. Any delay in resignation from assembly will slam all doors of honorable return for you,” said the JRL.The JRL warning comes a day after lieutenant general DS Hooda, general officer commanding in chief (GoC-in-C) of Northern Command, appealed for peace and asked everyone including separatists to sit together to find a way out of the current situation.”Cycle of conflict and violence has been going on for more than 40 days now and no one is going to get away from it unhurt… We need to find a way forward from this. It is not one person or one organisation which can do this,” he said.

Rexit: Insider Urijit Patel is govt’s pick as next Reserve Bank governor

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ending two months of intense speculation, the Union government on Saturday appointed Urijit Patel as the 24th governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for a period of three years. Patel, seen as a close aide of outgoing governor Raghuram Rajan and deputy governor in charge of monetary policy, will assume office on September 5, a day after Rajan’s term ends. He will be one among the few governors – after Manmohan Singh and Raghuram Rajan – to be appointed to the top post from outside the IAS circle.How did the scales tilt in favour of Urijit Patel when there were equally qualified experts like Arvind Subramanian, chief economic advisor, or Shantikanta Das, economic affairs secretary? Was he handpicked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself? Of course, opinion among economists, bankers and other stake-holders are divided on these counts, though most experts opine that probably the government wanted a continuity in the monetary policies and didn’t want any disruptions by bringing in a new candidate.The challenges before the new governor, however, would be to continuing to keep his grip on inflation, helping banks in strengthening their balance sheets and bringing in regulations that will ensure the stability of the financial system. Many believe that 53-year-old Patel’s prime focus will be to keep the galloping inflation under control though a granular surveillance on the interest rates. Urijit Patel, deputy governor since January 2013, has been a key figure in framing the monetary-policy framework that set food price inflation as the target for tackling inflation rather than focus on whole sale price inflation, which gave more weightage to industrial production. Arundhati Bhattacharya, chairman, SBI said, “Dr. Patel has been at the helm of instiutionalising the inflation targeting regime in the monetary policy framework. His appointment signals continuity of policy intent both on the part of RBI and the government.”The six-member rate setting committee will be set up shortly after the government appoints its three members. In the new role, Urijit Patel will have the flexibility to implement the policies on inflation and interest rates that he helped to formulate. And he takes over at a time when retail inflation and the whole sale inflation have both overshot expectations at 6.07% and 3.55% respectively.Ashutosh Khajuria, executive director, Federal bank said, “Patel is seen as Rajan’s lieutenant and the government wants to see continuity. It was his paper on monetary policy recommendations that set CPI as inflation target and the government has notified a 4% medium-term inflation target (with tolerance levels plus or minus 2%) has now become a legislation endorsed by the parliament. So his credentials as a economic policy expert is impeccable.” Chanda Kochhar, MD and CEO, ICICI Bank said, “His appointment would ensure a smooth transition and continuity in monetary policy, as India puts in place major structural reforms to transition to a higher growth path.”Patel, who completed his graduation programme from the London school of economics, has an MPhil from Oxford University and a doctorate in Economics from Yale university (1990). His previous assignment included terms with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Brookings Institution at Washington and the Massachusetts-based Boston Consulting Group and Reliance Industries and non-executive director of the multi-commodity Exchange of India Ltd.Patel will contribute to India’s growth story: JaitleyFinance minister Arun Jaitley exuded confidence that Urjit Patel will contribute to India’s economic development as the next Reserve Bank governor. “I’m sure he will successfully lead the Reserve Bank & contribute to India’s economic development,” Jaitley tweeted congratulating Patel.It’ll be idiotic to attack Patel: Subramanian SwamyUrjit Patel’s appointment appeared to have support of BJP MP Subramanian Swamy who had launched a series of attacks against the outgoing governor Raghuram Rajan. In a string of retweets and replies to his Twitter followers, Swamy said it will be utter “idiotic” to think he will attack Patel because he was born in Kenya.When one of his followers criticised Patel for being a Kenyan national, Swamy replied: “He is not a Kenyan citizen, but was. R3 was born Indian and chose to continue his US green card even though in India from 2007.” R3 is the acronym he uses for referring to Raghuram Rajan.

Urjit Patel new RBI governor: Modi has the right man for the job post Raghuram Rajan

It’s official. Urjit Patel, one of the deputy governors of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), is the next governor of the Indian central bank. Patel, the chief strategist and lieutenant of Rajan in the battle against inflation in the last three years will succeed Raghuram Rajan, the outgoing ‘rock star’ governor of the RBI after his term ends in September, the government announced on Saturday.

RBI Governor-designate Urjit Patel. Image courtesy from Patel's Twitter handleRBI Governor-designate Urjit Patel. Image courtesy from Patel's Twitter handle

RBI Governor-designate Urjit Patel. Image courtesy from Patel’s Twitter handle

The appointment is for a period of three years following the recommendations of financial sector regulatory appointments search committee (FSRASC). Post Rajan’s surprise farewell note last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a tough task of getting someone for the post, who could fill in Rajan’s shoes with the right mix of intellectual credentials and global acceptability.

The first and big take away from Patel’s appointment is that Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley have chosen the safest best in the crucial post. There are a few reasons why Patel’s appointment is a right decision.

First, Patel has an impressive CV that makes him one of the few candidates who can fight the perception battle of succeeding a governor of Rajan’s stature and repute, at RBI. Patel’s experience in dealing with the inflation policy of the central bank and seeing the policy taking shape from close quarters on a daily basis, his vast knowledge of international economy and economic relations make him no less a ‘rock star’ than Rajan in the job profile, though Patel lacks Rajan’s charismatic persona. Patel, like Rajan, too had stints at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Union government. The economist also holds a PhD in Economics from Yale University (1990) and MPhil from Oxford (1986). He has been a non-resident Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution since 2009. No one will question his academic credentials.

Second, the Modi government doesn’t want any further controversies emerging from the RBI governor or a serious disconnect with the central bank top brass on crucial issues like what happened during the Rajan period. The government had a bitter experience with Rajan on account of the governor’s controversial comments on multiple issues including economic growth, intolerance issue and Make in India like schemes. Patel is perceived to be a silent, friendly figure to Modi government and someone who would ‘keep his head down and work’. That is precisely the government wants, not a governor who oversteps his mandate and comment on politically sensitive issues and become a regular headache to the government.

Third, at a time when monetary policy structure is undergoing a historic shift towards a joint monetary policy committee (MPC) structure, Patel is a safest person to trust the handling of the central bank for the simple reason that he has been instrumental in designing the radical shift. It was based on the recommendations of a panel under Patel that the RBI accepted consumer price index based inflation (CPI) as its core price indicator to formulate the monetary policy and MPC model.

Patel is familiar with functioning of the central bank and his appointment will ensure continuity of the central bank’s policies under Rajan. This is critical, given that the central bank is going through a transitional phase both in terms of monetary policy reforms and banking structure overhaul.

Fourth, like Rajan, Patel too is a familiar and, largely, credible face for the international investors. As mentioned earlier, post Rajan’s surprise exit announcement last month, the government had a task to get someone to replace him with matching credentials and credibility to allay the concerns of international investors. In an increasingly integrated world, investors attach more credibility to the central bank’s voice on the economy than that of the political dispensation. Patel’s appointment can help allay the concerns of investors.

That said, Patel’s ability to carry on the reforms process initiated by Rajan, mainly the bad loan clean up process and banking sector reforms, will be evaluated closely and whether he can stand up for the credibility of the central bank at a time when the monetary policy structure is undergoing major changes. Continuing the inflation battle too would be tough task for Patel when the new monetary policy regime kicks in. But the good thing is that government has agreed for the 4 percent inflation target of RBI till 2021. Any deviation from this inflation target, influenced by government to facilitate sharper rate cuts would have jeopardized the inflation fight and sent a wrong signal to the outside world.

On 11 August, Firstpost had reported that Patel is among the three frontrunners for the RBI governor post. Modi government has done well to get a right replacement for Rajan, not taking chances with experiments at the helm of the central bank at a crucial period.

Delhi-Centre tussle: Supreme Court to hear AAP govt’s plea to restrain HC

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear on Monday the plea of AAP government in Delhi seeking a direction that the High Court be restrained from delivering its judgement on issues including the scope of powers of the city government to exercise its authority in performing public functions. A bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur will hear the appeal of Delhi government in which it has been claimed that only the apex court has jurisdiction under the Constitution to deal with issues relating to the powers of States and Centre.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for the Arvind Kejriwal-led government, mentioned the matter for urgent hearing before the bench that also comprised Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud. “No judgement be allowed to be delivered without decision on the jurisdiction of the Delhi High Court with regard to the dispute in question,” the senior lawyer said. She further said that the dispute is centered around the powers of Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) under Article 239A of the Constitution. It has been alleged by the AAP government that it is unable to function as most of its decisions are either annulled or changed by Centre at the behest of Lieutenant Governor (LG) Najeeb Jung on the ground that Delhi is not a complete state. At the outset, the bench was not inclined to accord an urgent hearing saying, “let the Delhi HC come out with its judgement and you (Delhi govt) are free to raise all the issues before this court.” “The pendency of this SLP will not come in the way of the Delhi High Court in delivering the judgement. We will examine the issue as and when it comes before us,” the bench observed.However, the apex court later agreed to hear the plea of Delhi government on Monday. The Delhi government, in its appeal, has alleged that its power to do public services in the state has been adversely affected. It also raised a question as to whether the Union of India can take over all powers of the state government. There is an ongoing power tussle between Delhi government and the LG on various issues including the control over the Anti-Corruption Branch and power to transfer or retain bureaucrats.The HC had on May 24 reserved its verdict on the plea of the AAP government seeking a stay on the proceedings on the petitions arising out of its standoff with the LG over powers to appoint bureaucrats in the national capital and other issues. The AAP government had sought a stay on proceedings on the ground that the issues involve a dispute of “federal nature” between the Centre and Delhi government and the Supreme Court has exclusive jurisdiction to deal with the matter. “If framers of the Constitution had wanted that disputes of federal nature to be dealt with by the various high courts, then there would have been no exclusive jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under Article 131 in such issues,” it had argued in the high court.During earlier arguments on the application, Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain had told the bench that Article 131 does not come in the way of jurisdiction of high courts under Article 226 of the Constitution. He had said that power of high courts cannot be ousted as Article 226 is a part of the doctrine of basic structure of the Constitution.A total of 11 cases arising out of the confrontation between the LG and Delhi government are being heard together by the high court. Delhi government had on May 28 last year approached the high court challenging the Centre’s notification of May 21 giving the LG absolute powers to appoint bureaucrats in the city. It had also challenged the July 23, 2014 notification limiting the jurisdiction of the Anti Corruption Branch to Delhi government officials only.

UP elections 2017: Mayawati’s trusted lieutenant RK Chaudhary quits party, accuses her of ‘auctioning’ tickets

In a second setback to BSP in as many weeks, party supremo Mayawati’s once trusted lieutenant and former minister RK Chaudhary quit on Thursday, accusing her of “auctioning” tickets for Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh.An unfazed BSP, however, downplayed 57-year-old Chaudhary’s resignation, saying it will have no impact on the party.”At election time, tickets are allotted to the person who pays the highest amount,” he alleged at a hurriedly convened press conference to announce his resignation.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said since the death of party founder Kanshi Ram, there has been a marked change in the working style of Mayawati and that veteran leaders, who functioned with missionary zeal, were not given adequate weightage.Senior BSP leader Swami Prasad Maurya quit the party on June 22, saying he felt “suffocated” and accusing the party chief of “auctioning” tickets for the polls. Hours after Chaudhary’s announcement, state BSP chief Ram Achal Rajbhar said his resignation will have no impact on the party and described the rebel leader as “selfish”.”There is no place for selfish people in BSP…Chaudhary was expelled earlier too for his selfish motives…his departure had no effect earlier and will not have any impact this time too,” he said.Chaudhary said Kanshi Ram had united different castes under one banner and evolved them into a group which could not be “sold” and due to his concerted efforts, a vote bank was created in all Assembly constituencies in UP.”But after Kanshi Ram, Mayawati started eyeing this non- saleable votebank and began selling tickets and BSP became a ‘mandi’ (wholesale market) for ticket selling…Under such circumstances, the party is no longer the mission of social change,” he said in hard-hitting remarks.Senior BSP leader and Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council Naseemudin Siddiqui said till the time Chaudhary was in BSP, the party could not form majority government.”Now we will form majority government in the state,” he said, adding, “In the past too, BSP came to power only after Chaudhary was expelled from BSP.”

AAP MLA Dinesh Mohaniya arrested for allegedly assaulting senior citizen

Police have registered a case against AAP MLA Dinesh Mohaniya, who allegedly assaulted a 60-year-old man at southeast Delhi’s Tughlaqabad area, police said on Saturday.

File image of Dinesh Mohaniya. Twitter @DineshMohaniya

File image of Dinesh Mohaniya. Twitter @DineshMohaniya

This is the second case registered against the Sangam Vihar legislator in one week. In his complaint, the 60-year-old man told police that Mohaniya allegedly slapped him, and his men thrashed him, when he approached the MLA to complain about severe water crisis in his locality on Wednesday, a senior police official said.

The FIR was registered under IPC Sections 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt, 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) against Mohaniya and his men at Govindpuri Police Station, the official said.

This is the second complaint against him in four days. Mohaniya was reportedly taken away from a live press conference on Saturday.

On 23 June, a complaint was filed against him for misbehaving with a woman, who had also visited his office to complain about their water crisis. Speaking to ANI, the woman said,”He pushed me & other women, abused us. We want a case against Dinesh Mohaniya, he should be arrested.”

AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal tweeted in Mohaniya’s defense and accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of terrorising the MLAs of his party. He also declared it an “emergency”.

“Dinesh mohaniya arrested from his press conference in front of all TV cameras. What msg does Modi want to give to everyone?” he said in another tweet.

Mohaniya denied all charges and said, “BJP is trying to divert issue from MM Khan murder case by levelling false charges against me.”

AAP leader, Ashutosh, however accused Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung of slapping false charges against his party’s MLAs.

With inputs from PTI.

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