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

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

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

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

Lt Gen Bipin Rawat. File photo. Getty Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He does not.

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

Demonetisation effect: Army to help officials print notes in Madhya Pradesh

Dewas, Madhya Pradesh: The Army has pitched in to help out the Bank Note Press in Dewas, which is working round the clock to deal with the cash crunch across the country following demonetisation, officials said on Monday.

The Army’s help will also be taken for distribution of the notes around the country, said Bank Note Press (BNP) sources.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

According to the sources, 200 men of the Grenadier Regiment arrived here from Gwalior on Sunday to help out at the press.

The press, which has a daily capacity of two crore notes, is at this time solely engaged in printing the new Rs 500 notes, with all other denominations stopped.

According to the sources, even retired personnel have been asked to help out at the press which is working around the clock, and the Army’s help was sought due to shortage of personnel to man the press round the clock.

The press at Dewas is among the four in the country where bank notes and currency notes are printed. The others are at Nashik (Maharashtra), Salboni (West Bengal) and Mysuru (Karnataka).

The presses at Dewas and at Nashik are owned by the central government through the Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Ltd, and their yearly currency printing capacity is around 40 per cent of the total in the country.

First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 17:28 IST

Manohar Parrikar to visit Kashmir; pay homage to first Param Vir Chakra recipient, Major Somnath

Wed, 2 Nov 2016-01:47pm , Srinagar , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar is scheduled to visit Kashmir on Thursday to pay homage to the country’s first Param Vir Chakra recipient Major Somnath on his 69th death anniversary.The Defence Minister will join senior army officers and other ranks in paying tribute to Major Somnath near the Srinagar Airport in Budgam district, an army official said. He said Parikkar is likely to be briefed by army officials on the situation along the Line of Control arising due to the ceasefire violations by Pakistan in the wake of last month’s surgical strikes and the anti-militancy operations in the hinterland.Major Somnath was the first recipient of the Param Vir Chakra, the highest military honour. He was awarded the medal posthumously for his bravery in the Kashmir operations in November 1947. He laid down his life while evicting Pakistani raiders from Srinagar Airport during the war with Pakistan in 1947-48 in Kashmir. He belonged to the 4th Kumaon Regiment.

18 Maoists killed in encounter at Andhra-Odisha border

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At least 18 Maoists were on Monday killed in an exchange of fire with police on the Andhra Pradesh-Odisha Police border.Police attacked the Maoist camp in the early hours of Monday, where a meeting was being held. Two Greyhounds personnel were also injured in the encounter.According to The Hindu, the encounter took place at Jantri in Malkangiri district of Odisha, a few km away from the border with Andhra Pradesh.Key Maoist leaders of the regiment have reportedly been killed and police have seized ammunition and weapons.(More details are awaited)

Kashmir: Solider dies as Pakistan violates ceasefire along LoC in Rajouri district

Kashmir: Solider dies as Pakistan violates ceasefire along LoC in Rajouri district

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Jammu: An Indian soldier was on Sunday killed in Pakistani firing across the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district, police said.

The soldier identified as Sudesh Kumar of 6 Rajput Regiment was killed in sniper firing on the LoC in Tarkundi area of Rajouri on Sunday evening, police said.

Indian Army in action. PTI

Indian Army in action. PTI

The Pakistani Army had earlier on Sunday opened unprovoked firing at Indian positions on the LoC in Rajouri district in the morning.

“Pakistan Army violated ceasefi re in Naushera sector of the LoC using small arms. Our troops have responded befittingly using same calibre weapons,” said defence spokesman, Lt Col Manish Mehta.

“Firing exchanges stopped at 8 am,” he added

Uri attack: Bihar raises compensation for three killed soldiers

Uri attack: Bihar raises compensation for three killed soldiers

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Patna: Following criticism on social media for announcing a Rs 5 lakh each compensation for the three martyred soldiers in the Uri attack, the Bihar government on Tuesday raised the compensation to Rs 11 lakh, officials said.

“Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has ordered to increase the compensation from earlier announced Rs 5 lakh to Rs 11 lakh each for the kin of the three soldiers from the state, who lost their lives in the terror attack on Sunday,” said an official.

A file photo of Nitish Kumar. ReutersA file photo of Nitish Kumar. Reuters

A file photo of Nitish Kumar. Reuters

Meanwhile, the bodies of the soldiers — Sepoy Rakesh Singh of Kaimur district, Naik S.K. Vidyarthi from Gaya and Havildar Ashok Kumar Singh from Bhojpur district — reached their villages on Tuesday. Thousands of people thronged for last glimpses of their ‘heros’.

As per the state government’s decision, the last rites of the martyred soldiers would be performed with full state honours.

All the three soldiers were from 6th Battalion of the Bihar Regiment.

Martyr Sandip Thok’s village mourns his death

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The village of Khadangali, near Sinner in Nashik district, 23 kms away from Nashik city, is mourning the death of the son of its soil Sandip Thok (25) who attained martyrdom while he was performing his duty during an attack on the army base in Uri.Sandip is among the four jawans who took on the terrorists. He was admitted to the hospital after he was injured in the encounter but succumbed to his injuries.Sandip’s old parents received the news of their son’s demise on Monday morning.Expressing sorrow over his nephew’s death, Sandip’s uncle Dyneshwar Chavanke told the media that he was known to be enthusiastic and cheerful. “He had this dream of joining the army and serving the nation since childhood,” said Chavanke.Sandip had joined the army in Bihar Regiment two years ago and was transferred to Uri some two and a half months ago. “He had spoken to his family on the day of Ganpati visarjan on September 15 and had inquired about everyone. He was very loving and caring. He had told his mother that he would try to come home for Diwali,” added Chavanke. The family was keen to get Sandip married, and so was insisting that he comes home.Sandip was also popular in his village. He was the leader of the social group Chankababa Mitra Mandal, he had initiated many programmes for the youth. “He was our role model. Youth of the village looked up to him and he had inspired many to join the armed forces. We have lost a very dear friend”, said Vikas Thok, Sandip’s childhood friend.When Sandip used to visit his village on a holiday he made sure that he visited all the relatives and friends, inquire about them and even help them in need.Sandip’s body in the coffin wrapped in the tricolor reached Ojhar airport in Nashik on Monday evening and was taken to his village.In Khadangali people had gathered at Sandip’s house since morning. Words failed them to console the family and the mood was that of grief and yet there was anger against the attack too. “How long are we going to keep losing our boys to such coward attacks. Its time to act. The government must take action,” expressed the villagers.Milind Desai, an entrepreneur in Nashik is also saddened and angry at the loss of Sandip Thok and 16 others like him. “I don’t personally know Sandip or the other 16 boys but I am indebted to them for my life. These people were the ones who thought about the nation first. They have made supreme sacrifice for our homeland. How are we going to remember them? By keeping mum? How many soldiers need to sacrifice their lives for us to act? It is time that we ensure that such supreme sacrifice does not go in vain. It is time that we let the world know that weather they are with us or not at any cost we need to act,” said Desai.

Jammu and Kashmir: Army jawan killed in encounter near LoC

An army jawan was on Friday killed in an exchange of fire with militants near Line of Control (LoC) in Keran sector of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, police said here.Some militants fired upon an ambush party of the army’s 21 Kumaon Regiment in Keran sector during which Sepoy Ramesh Chand Yadav received bullet injuries on both legs, a police official said.He said Yadav was airlifted to army s 92 base hospital here for treatment, but the doctors declared him brought dead.

Manohar Parrikar says he was aware of possible avalanche risk in Siachen glacier

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday said his ministry was aware of the possible risk of avalanche at Siachen glacier but not of the exact spot where the snow slide struck killing ten soldiers earlier this month.”We had the information about the risk of avalanche in Siachen glacier. However, this information was not meant for this particular place (where the disaster occurred),” Parrikar said while addressing media on the sidelines of ‘Make In India’ event in Mumbai.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ten soldiers, including a junior commissioned officer (JCO) of Madras Regiment, were trapped under tonnes of snow after their post was hit by avalanche at the altitude of 19,000 feet close to the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan on February 3.While all of them were confirmed dead earlier, the rescuers found Lance Naik Hanmanthappa Koppad alive under snow after six days. However, he died on February 11.”Still, I am personally monitoring each and every case relating to the battle casualty on monthly basis so as to ensure that the families of the victims get all the relief in time,” Parrikar said.Replying to a query on the report of supply of F-16 planes by the US to Pakistan, the minister said, “Only a notification for the proposed supply of F-16 planes to Pakistan is issued by the US Congress. However, we have already raised an objection to the US’ move on the issue”.India had already conveyed its “displeasure and disappointment” over the Obama administration’s decision to sell eight F-16 jets to Pakistan worth nearly USD 700 million.

Siachen bravehearts laid to rest: From ‘Rambo’ to ‘All in One’, India bids farewell to her heroes

New Delhi: The mortal remains of nine Siachen bravehearts, who were buried alive on 3 February in an avalanche in the world’s highest battlefield, were today brought here to be flown to their respective states.

A wreath-laying ceremony was also held at the Palam Technical Airport which was attended by Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh, Army chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag, IAF chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha among others.

One of 9 whose mortal remains were brought was Subedar Nagesha TT, a highly motivated Junior Commissioned Officer, also known as ‘Rambo’.

The JCO had served 12 years in tough field areas out of his 22 years of service. During his career, he had taken part in ‘Operation Parakaram’ where he laid and recovered large number of mines, officials said.

He also participated in Operation Rakshak at Mendhar in Jammu and Kashmir for two years where he was actively involved in counter-insurgency operations. He volunteered to serve with Rashtriya Rifles in Jammu and Kashmir for two years.

The JCO also volunteered to serve as a Commando in NSG for three years. Later, he went to North East from 2009 to 2012 to take part in ‘Operation Rhino’ where he was part of several successful operations against the militants as the ghatak platoon JCO, they said.

His colleagues remember him as ‘Rambo’ who used to lift others weapons as well as load in addition to his own. He was highly adventurous and also did a para-motor course with outstanding grading. He is survived by wife Asha and two sons Amit TN and Preetham TN aged six and four respectively.

PTI image.PTI image.

PTI image.

Havildar Elumalai M, a Non Commissioned Officer (NCO) who had high level of initiative and was always willing to carry out any task assigned to him, was also among the dead.

He joined 19th Battalion The Madras Regiment on October 28, 1996 and ever since he became an inseparable part of the battalion. The NCO had always displayed high degree of courage and had conducted several successful small team operations against terrorists in both Jammu and Kashmir and North East during his nine years of field service, the officials said.

Because of his ability to motivate his juniors and lead them from front the NCO was selected to be part of Sonam Post which required men with nerves of steel and high level of physical fitness.

He attained Instructor grading in Weapon Course at Infantry School, Mhow and was posted as Instructor at The Madras Regimental Centre, Wellington where he trained several recruits and his work was praised by his superiors. He was also part of the Unit Training Team prior to induction of the unit to Siachen Glacier.

Because of his high level of intelligence and ability to carry out work without supervision, the NCO had passed his promotion tests and was about to pickup ranks of a Junior Commissioned Officer, the officials said.

He was married to E Jamuna Rani and has two sons six-year old E Kavirasu and four-year old E Sri Priyadarshan.

Lance Havildar S Kumar was yet another highly motivated and sincere soldier who was killed in the avalanche.

He joined the Madras Regiment on October 31, 1998 and had served in difficult and challenging field tenures for nine years out of his 17 years service to the nation, they said.

The soldier also has rare distinction of serving in the Siachen Glacier twice.

Kumar volunteered to serve in the Siachen Glacier as a young soldier in 1999-2000 and he once again chose to serve in Northern Glacier with his own paltan. He was hand picked by the Commanding Officer to be part of one of the most important post situated at an altitude of 19,600 feet.

He is survived by his wife Kavita and eight-year old son Riyash.

Lance Naik Sudheesh B, known as “all in one”, was also killed in the avalanche. A brave soldier, he had served in Jammu and Kashmir in ‘Operation Rakshak’ fighting insurgency. During his tenure, he has been part of intelligence collection team of the Unit and also helped the Battalion carry out several operations successfully.

A great sportsman, he was part of all the sports activities of the Battalion. You name a sport , and he played it. His peers called him “all in one”.

He is survived by his wife Salumul P who has been a pillar of support to him in his endeavour to serve the nation.

Sepoy S Mustaq Ahmed was an ever cheerful and confident soldier of 30 years of age.

He joined 19th Battalion the Madras Regiment on September 21, 2004. Ever since he joined the Battalion, he was a constant source of motivation for his peers and subordinates. His friendly and cheerful attitude gave him unflinching support from superiors and colleagues alike, Army officials said.

Hailing from the Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh, Ahmed was full of initiative and always volunteered for any opportunity.

During his illustrious career spanning over a decade he had formed part of the Battalion counter militancy in the North East as also in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

In August last year, when the Battalion was to be inducted in the Siachen Glacier, Ahmed, true to his patriotic and daring nature, volunteered to be the part of one of the most crucial post in the Glacier at an altitude of 19600 feet, having sub zero temperature, they said.

Ahmed has left behind his wife S Nasimun and his parents.

Sepoy Mahesha PN had enrolled in 19th Battalion The Madras Regiment on October 10, 2005. He displayed a very high degree of initiative and served seven years in difficult and challenging areas out of the total span of 11 years of his service, the officials said.

He was a sharp shooter of the Battalion and was part of the Battalion Firing Team which won many competitions.

He is survived by his mother Sarvamangala and a younger brother Manjunath. He was the sole bread earner of his family.

Sepoy Rama Moorthy N always volunteered for toughest of the jobs which his Battalion had to undertake.

He enrolled in Madras Regiment and was posted to 19th Battalion of the Madras Regiment on December 13, 2009.

In the short span of seven years of his service the individual was actively involved in ‘Operation Rhino”.

During this tenure, he was part of the Quick Reaction Team of the Company and played an important role in several successful operations. He was recently married to Sunita.

Sepoy Ganesan G was also killed in the avalanche. He became part of the 19th Battalion the Madras Regiment on April 5, 2010. He hailed from the Madurai district of Tamil Nadu and was always full of confidence and patriotism.

He has been instrumental in motivating his peers to perform well by setting personal example to them. During his career spanning over six years, Ganesan served in counter insurgency operations both in Jammu and Kashmir and the North East.

In August last year, when the Battalion was inducted into the highest battle field in the world, the Siachen Glacier, he was the youngest blood to be chosen to guard the frontiers at the important Sonam Post at freezing temperatures.

Inspired by him, his younger brother also joined Army to serve the motherland. He is survived his parents and younger brother.

Sepoy/Nursing Assistant Suryavanshi SV was born on 25 May 1991 at Village Maskarwadi, District Satara (Maharashtra).

After finishing his school from Dahiwadi College District Satara with good marks in science subjects, Suryavanshi opted to join the Army, and was selected as a Nursing Assistant in Army Medical Corps on September 30, 2010.

The soldier completed his basic training from Army Medical Corps Center & College on April 9, 2011 and got his first posting at Command Hospital, Eastern Command.

After that, Suryavanshi joined 410 Field Hospital on permanent posting in 2013.

He has managed the responsibility of Medical Inspection Rooms located in various difficult in Operation Meghdoot on October 6, 2015, they said.

The soldier is survived by his wife, daughter and parents.

PTI

Siachen Braveheart: 5 caricatures paying tribute to Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad

The 33-year-old Siachen braveheart, Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad, fought the odds for six days buried deep under snow. He took his last breath on Thursday morning and heart of the nation stopped for a while.People were praying for the recovery of soldier of 19th Battalion of Madras Regiment. Those same praying hands are now paying tribute.Creative minds of the country took to their canvases and poured their heartflet messages.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Manjul for dna – Satish Acharya – Subhani for Deccan Chronicle – Amul – Neelabh Banerjee –

RIP Lance Naik Hanamanthappa: Here is what you need to know about the brave soldier

Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad, the Siachen braveheart who defied death for six days after being buried under the snow, passed away on Thursday morning.”Lance Naik Hanamanthappa is no more. He breathed his last at 11:45 am,” a senior army official said. The 33-year-old soldier of the 19th Battalion of Madras Regiment is survived by his wife Mahadevi Ashok Bilebal and two-year-old daughter Netra Koppad.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Though the soldier’s battle for life ended shortly, he has etched a permanent mark in the nation’s memory as a brave soldier and as a symbol of courage and fortitude of the Indian Army.Here are a few things about the Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad:- Hanamanthappa was named after Lord Hanuman, known for his strength, courage, faith and loyalty. – As a child growing up in Karnataka he used to walk 6 km to school every day. – So strong was his desire to get into the army, he kept trying to get into the armed forces despite being rejected thrice. He had seen many from his village join the army who became an inspiration to him. – Colleagues have said that Hanamanthappa was a yoga expert and would advise them on breathing exercises. Some even allude that his yoga practice helped him stay alive despite being trapped under a block of ice.Hanamanthappa was posted to Siachen recently as part of the 10 Madras regiment.(With inputs from NDTV)

Siachen miracle: PM Narendra Modi visits soldier who miraculously survived avalanche

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday went to Army’s Research and Referral Hospital here to see Lance Naik Hanumanthappa who was miraculously found alive after remaining buried under huge mass of snow for six days at Siachen Glacier. “Going to see Lance Naik Hanumanthappa, with prayers from the entire nation,” Modi tweeted just before visiting the hospital. Thappa was flown here from Siachen Glacier this morning in a special air ambulance and admitted to the Research and Referral Hospital. His condition is critical but stable and he is undergoing various tests in the hospital, army sources said. Hanumanthappa, who hails from Karnataka, was found alive yesterday, buried under 25 feet of snow for six days after an avalanche hit his post at the altitude of 19,600 feet close to the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan. The temperature at that altitude was minus 45 degrees Celsius.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nine other personnel at the post, including a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO), of Madras Regiment have died, according to Lt Gen D S Hooda, Northern Army Commander. “Five bodies have been recovered so far and four bodies have been identified,” he has said. JCO), of Madras Regiment have died, according to Lt Gen DS Hooda, Northern Army Commander. “Five bodies have been recovered so far and four bodies have been identified,” he has said.

Siachen miracle: Rescued soldier flown to Delhi hospital, wife says she wants to see him

Lance Naik Hanamanthappa, who was miraculously found alive after remaining buried in snow for six days, was today evacuated to the army’s base camp at the Siachen Glacier from where he was flown to Delhi’s Research and Referral Hospital in a special air ambulance.He will be brought to the Palam technical airport and airlifted to the hospital, army sources said. His medical condition is still critical, but stable. A special medical team is attending him.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said, “My prayers are with Lance Naik Hanumanthappa who miraculously survived the avalanche at Siachen.” Hanamanthappa, who hails from Karnataka, was found alive on Monday after being buried under 25 feet of snow for six days after an avalanche hit his post at the altitude of 19,600 feet close to the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan where the temperature was minus 45 degrees Celsius.The other nine personnel at the post, including a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) and eight other ranks of Madras Regiment, have died, according to Lt Gen D S Hooda, Northern Army Commander. “Five bodies have been recovered so far and four bodies have been identified,” he has said.Meanwhile, Lance Naik Hanamanthappa’s family members in Dharwad breathed a sigh of relief after news of him being rescued alive reached them. His wife told ANI, “I am very happy, I want to go and see him.”(With Agency Inputs)

Avalanche hits Siachen Glacier, more than 10 Indian Army personnel missing

More than 10 soldiers of the Army have been reported missing after an avalanche hit the Siachen Glacier in Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday.The avalanche hit the northern part of the glacier. The missing army personnel belong to the Madras Regiment, says a report in the Tribune.An Army spokesperson said to the publication that rescue efforts had been launched. However, further details about the status of those missing are not available yet.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Last month, four soldiers of 3 Ladakh Scouts were killed when their patrol party was hit by a massive avalanche in the Ladkah region of Jammu and Kashmir.

No Sikh regiment in Republic Day parade: Parkash Singh Badal regrets, Congress deplores

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday regretted the absence of a Sikh regiment contingent in this year’s Republic Day parade even as opposition Congress termed it as a “grave omission”.Describing the absence of the Sikh regiment from the Republic Day parade as “sad and regrettable”, Badal has urged the central government to issue necessary instructions and guidelines to ensure that the regiment is never kept out of the parades in future.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Badal said, “A widespread feeling of hurt and resentment has been caused by the non-inclusion of the Sikh Regiment in the Republic Day parade where French President Francois Hollande was the chief guest.”Badal said the parade was always regarded as a great occasion to showcase India’s multi-cultural and multi-religious identity, highlighting its secular ethos.”As a vibrant and fiercely patriotic minority community in the country, the Sikhs are always seen as the most powerful symbol of this multi-dimensional identity and secular character of the country,” he wrote.He said Sikhs have made unparalleled sacrifices not only for the freedom of the country but also for defending that freedom against foreign aggression.”They have a strong presence in the armed forces and their patriotic and martial traditions are something on which the entire country rightly takes pride,” Badal said.”Because of these factors,” the Punjab Chief Minister said, “The presence of the Sikh regiment in the Republic Day parade is regarded as a natural part of our nationalistic symbolism.” Badal said the exclusion of the Sikh regiment from the parade would be regrettable at any time but it was doubly so this year “because of the presence of the French president as a special guest at the event.”The Sikhs have been facing several practices in France which amount to the denial of freedom to observe the fundamental religious practices to the community, including a ban on the wearing of turbans, one of the five symbols of their religion.”Badal said this would have been an appropriate occasion to demonstrate to the French dignitary the place of the Sikh community in India’s rich cultural identity and its contribution to the cause of freedom.The Chief Minister has appealed to the Prime Minister “to have the issue looked into. Necessary instructions and guidelines may also please be issued to ensure that in future the Sikh Regiment is always included in the Republic Day parade.”Regretting the absence of Sikh regiment, PCC president Amarinder Singh dubbed it as a “grave omission” particularly when President of France, where turban is banned in public places, was the chief guest.”There could not have been a better occasion to convey the importance of the turban to him,” Singh said.Ruing the state government’s “failure” to send its contingent to represent the glorious culture of the state at the parade, Amarinder said in Malerkotla, “The Akalis actually have no idea about the significance and importance of such occasions.”

And the winners are: Assam Regiment, BSF best marching contingents at Republic Day parade

New Delhi: Assam Regiment has been adjudged the best marching contingent in the services category and Border Security Force (BSF) among the para-military and other auxiliary forces which took part in 67th Republic Day parade at the Rajpath.

An official release here on Wednesday said that in the tableau category, the first position was bagged by West Bengal followed by Tripura and Assam.

ReutersReuters

Reuters

This year, a special prize has been awarded to the tableau of Ministry of Communication and Information Technology on the theme “Digital India”.

In the competitive category of school children items, the dance presented by South Central Zone Culture Centre, Nagpur (Maharashtra) has been adjudged the best.

A consolation prize has also been awarded to Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya and Rajkiya Pratibha Vikas Vidyalaya, Gandhi Nagar, Delhi, for their portrayal of traditional folk dance “dal khai”, seen in western Odisha.

The release said that the defence ministry appointed three panels of judges for assessing the marching contingents and the tableaux at the parade held on Tuesday.

IANS

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