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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.

CIC asks Home Ministry to provide the list of people facing sedition charges

New Delhi: With tags of ‘patriots’ and ‘anti-nationals’ being at the centre of debate, the Central Information Commission has asked the Home Ministry to make public the list of people who are facing sedition charges for indulging in alleged anti-national activities.

The transparency watchdog’s directives came on a petition by Moradabad-resident Pawan Aggarwal, who had sought from the Prime Minister’s Office through an RTI application the list of persons declared as “martyrs” and “anti-nationals”.

File photo of Rajnath Singh. AFP

File photo of Rajnath Singh. AFP

Aggarwal’s petition was forwarded by the PMO to the Home Ministry which responded that there was no list available with it in which people were categorised as “patriots”, “martyrs” or anti-nationals, hence the information cannot be provided.

The Ministry had said that it did not categorise any person as a “patriot”, “traitor” or a “martyr” based on certain yardsticks and specifications or maintained any data of such categories of persons.

“The respondent further submitted that under the provisions of the RTI Act, 2005, a public authority is under obligation to provide an applicant only that information which exists in the records and is held by or under the control of that authority,” Information Commissioner Sudhir Bhargava noted in the order.

During the hearing before Bhargava, Aggarwal contended that sedition cases have been filed against a number of persons.

Hence, MHA should be having details about persons who are being involved in anti-national activities. Similarly, the Freedom Fighters Division, MHA will also be having information about freedom fighters/martyrs, he argued.

“The Commission, after hearing the submissions of both the parties and perusing the records, observes that as per National Crime Bureau Research (NCRB) 47 cases pertaining to sedition were registered in 2014. Hence, information about persons indulging in anti-national activities should be available,” Bhargava said.

Bhargava said in case the information was not available with MHA, the RTI application should have been transferred to the public authority which holds such information.

The Information Commissioner pointed out that he had come to know from another case that Indian Council for Historical Research has been working on a project of the Culture Ministry entitled as “Dictionary of Martyrs: India’s Freedom Struggle (1857 to 1947)”.

“The Commission had also observed that MHA should have acredible repository of information on freedom fighters. The Commission, therefore, directs the CPIO, MHA to provide point wise information as available with them to the appellant and point(s) for which the information is not available with them, forward the RTI application to the public authority concerned,” Bhargava directed.

First Published On : Nov 27, 2016 13:53 IST

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan, ministers stage dharna outside RBI office

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, along with his ministers, sat on a dharna in front of the RBI office here protesting against the Centre’s move to “destroy” the cooperative sector in the state under the cover of demonetization process and also took pot shots at Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Vijayan and his Cabinet colleagues marched from the Martyrs Column at Palayam to the RBI regional office here, before commencing the dharna.The CM termed the Centre’s move a “political conspiracy”, backed by BJP, and rejected the saffron party’s charge that cooperative societies are “hub for black money”.Attacking the Prime Minister, he said the demonetization of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes “without taking proper precautionary measures” had led to the present “crisis” and hardships to people.Arguing that about 84-86% of currency in circulation was that in the demonetized notes, he said the sudden withdrawal had led to the “present crisis”. “It was not an appropriate decision of a seasoned administrator,” he said. Vijayan said the cooperative sector was not being allowed to accept deposits and exchange demonetized Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes which had led to “deep crisis” and attributed this to the outcome of BJP’s “propaganda”.”All financial transactions in these societies have accurate inspection system and these are deposits of ordinary persons,” he said, adding, the sector stands with the people of the state. Vijayan said he and state Finance Minister Thomas Issac had met Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on November 14 to apprise the Centre of the difficulties of the cooperative sector.”We pointed out that primary agricultural cooperative societies should also be allowed to exchange notes and accept deposits. We thought there would be a favourable decision. But by afternoon, the Centre decided to take back the permission given to district banks also,” he said, adding, “this was not a normal action”.Pointing that some people may be shocked that cooperative sector in the state had such deposits of about Rs 1.27 lakh crore, he said, “The sector has grown step by step and people working in this field are socially committed”.Highlighting the importance of cooperative societies in Kerala, he said 70% of agriculture loans for farmers were given by the sector. Besides, it also meets the day-to-day needs of the people, he said. Vijayan said, “Cooperative sector in Kerala has a bond with the people right from their birth to their death. People depend for all their small needs on the sector”. To save the cooperative sector, Kerala will fight unitedly, he said. “We need to stand together on the issue. We need to fight out forces who are trying to destroy the sector,” he said. A special Cabinet has been called later in the day to discuss the issues of the sector and an all-party meeting would be held on November 21 on the issue, he said. CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said all India programmes and actions on the issue will be launched along with other opposition parties and his party would take the initiative.

Uri terror attack: As dust settles, kin of deceased soldiers await govt’s response

Clamour is growing for decisive action against Pakistan to avenge the killings of eighteen soldiers killed in a deadly attack carried out by four alleged Jaish-e-Mohammad militants on Indian Army’s 12 Infantry Brigade base Headquarters in Uri town.

From Uttar Pradesh up to Bihar to Bengal, the kins of martyrs want the centre government to take stringent action against Pakistan for “exporting terror to India,” and killing their loved ones.

“India should carry out strikes against terrorist camps in Pakistan where these people get trained to unleash terror. The government should send forces across the border, and carry out air strikes, to eliminate these terrorists. If they are not ashamed of their act why should we be,” Anikat Yadav, a master’s student and cousin of slain Sepoy Harinder Yadav, a resident of Village Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh, told Firstpost over the phone.

The army camp where the attack happened. PTIThe army camp where the attack happened. PTI

The army camp where the attack happened. PTI

Hundreds of people turned up to receive coffins and raised slogans against Pakistan in Jammu region, two out of eighteen slain soldiers killed in Sunday’s early morning attacks were from the region, whose last rites were performed on Monday evening.

Havildar Ravi Paul and Naib Subedar Karnail Singh, both from Jammu, lost their lives in the brutal attack, leaving their families in mourning. Both were from 10 Dogra regiment and were headed for Pathankot in a day or two for a routine turnover.

“He (Ravi) served this nation for 23 years. We are proud of his ultimate sacrifice. He was to be posted out and was joining in Pathankot in a couple of days,” Yash Paul, brother of Havildar Ravi Paul, told Firstpost.

The advance party of 10 Dogra Regiment had already left for the neighbouring state and the troops of 6 Bihar, which was replacing 10 Dogra, too had arrived at the 12 infantry brigade at Uri.

Ravi was to retire next year and Pathankot was his last posting. “His two sons were already admitted in a school in Pathankot so that they could continue their studies. We had never imagined in his the last year of his service he would achieve martyrdom,” Yash, the brother of slain soldier Ravi, added.

While Paul and Singh were waiting to leave for the neighboring state of Pathankot for their posting, Lance Naik R K Yadav of 6 Bihar, who had just landed in Uri on Friday for his new posting, was also killed in the attack.

Yadav, 33, a resident of Ballia, Uttar Pradesh has two daughters and his wife is pregnant with their third child. On Saturday he had made a call to his mother asking her about the health of his wife. “He talked for hours as if he was thinking this was his last time,” Yadav mother told reporters.

Joginder Singh, Karnail Singh’s brother, told Firstpost on a phone from Jammu that India’s response should be same and Pakistan should “feel what losing the near and dear ones means”. He said he was “proud of the sacrifice of his brother for the nation”.

“He had brought a shawl and gifts from Kashmir for his wife and was expected to visit home briefly before heading towards Pathankot. Now instead of gifts, his coffin arrived in his home,” Karnail said. Singh is survived by an ailing mother, wife and three sons.

Anmol Singh, son of Karnail Singh, who is an undergraduate student in a local college in Jammu, said that this was the time for India to hit Pakistan as much as “we could”. “I will do everything to join Army and avenge the death of my father. These people needed to be taught a lesson,” the Anmol, said.

In the village of Jamuna Balia, Howarah in West Bengal, villagers gathered outside the house of Sepoy G Dalai waiting for his body to be brought to his home for the last time.

Dalai, 22, had called his mother on Thursday and told her that he was returning home in few days. “I had never thought I was talking to him for the last time. He was an obedient child,” Dalai’s mother told visiting reporters. “The people responsible for this attack should be strictly punished,” she added.

After Sunday’s attack, questions are being asked about what kind of response the Indian government needs to take in response.

Director General of Military Operations, Lt Gen Ranbir Singh said, “The Indian Army has displayed considerable restraint while handling the terrorist situation both along the Line of Control and in the hinterland. However, we have the desired capability to respond to such blatant acts of aggression and violence as deemed appropriate by us.”

Rajendra Prasad Singh whose son Sepoy Rajesh Kumar Singh, a resident of Jaunpur village in Uttar Pradesh, was also killed in the attack, said he wished his son was killed in a war instead of a terrorist attack.

“But I also want to know why my son was sleeping in the tent. I don’t know if he was awake when these terrorists attacked them, had he been awake, I am sure, he would have fought like a warrior,” Rajendra said. Singh is survived by his aged parents, wife and a six-year-old son.

Soldiers were resting inside two tents when militants carried out the strike and hurled grenades and opened indiscriminate fire. The army said on Monday that many of its soldiers were burned alive when the tent they were sleeping in caught fire. After the wreath laying ceremony in Army’s 15 Corps Headquarters in Srinagar, the bodies of slain soldiers were flown out of Srinagar.

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