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Friday, 13 June 2008

From Today's Papers - 13 Jun

IAF chopper team adjudged best
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 12
The Indian Air Force helicopter display team “Sarang” has been adjudged the “best looking close formation” aerobatic team at the just-concluded Berlin Air Show 2008.

Out of the five participating aircraft formation teams from India, Switzerland, Austria, the UK and Germany, the “Sarang” stood out. It may be recalled that India participated in a big way at the recently concluded ILA Berlin Air Show 2008.

At present, the “Sarang” comprising four Dhruv helicopters, 14 officers and 32 airmen led by Wing Cdr Shashank Mishra, after performing at the Berlin Air Show, are participating in various shows in England.

It is slated to perform at the Biggin Hill Air Show followed by the Waddington Air Show, Fairford Royal International and the prestigious Farnborough International Air Show before returning home.

India to give Pak ‘irrefutable evidence’ of ISI activities
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 12
India will provide to Pakistan “irrefutable evidence” about the increasing activities of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and various Pakistan-based ultra groups in Jammu and Kashmir to sabotage the coming assembly elections in the state when the joint anti-terror mechanism between the two countries meets here on June 24.

Pakistan high commissioner to India Shahid Malik has confirmed that the panel would meet on June 24. This would be the third meeting of the mechanism that was formed in September 2006 after a meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf in Havana on the sidelines of the NAM Summit.

Sources said the Indian side would furnish evidence about cross-border linkages to various terror incidents, including Ajmer and Hyderabad, which occurred in India. The attention of the Pakistani side would also be drawn towards reports with Indian intelligence agencies that the ISI proposed to double the financial aid to terrorist groups in Jammu and Kashmir in the run up to the assembly elections.

The reports with the Indian agencies have also suggested that the ISI had assured the Pakistani political establishment that it would ensure that pro-Pakistani elements and parties stayed away from the democratic exercise.

India is keen to ensure free, fair and peaceful elections in the state. The appointment of seasoned bureaucrat N.N. Vohra as the new Governor of Jammu and Kashmir is being seen as a significant effort in the direction of persuading all sections of the people in the state to participate in the electoral exercise. Recent attempts by ‘jehadi’ elements to cross the Line of Control (LoC) have also been a matter of concern for the Indian security forces.

The anti-terror mechanism would meet at a time when the new government in Pakistan has at every level expressed its keenness to cooperate with India in fighting terrorism and improving bilateral relations.

IAF Sarang adjudged 'best' at Berlin Air Show
The Sarang helicopter display team of the Indian Air Force presented a marvellous aerobatic display at the ILA Berlin Air Show. It was chosen the best aerobatic team out of the five aircraft formation teams, which had participated..

THE HELICOPTER display team ’Sarang’ of the Indian Air Force, has garnered applauses for being adjudged the ‘Best looking close formation’ aerobatic team at the ILA Berlin Air Show 2008.

Out of the five aircraft formation teams from India, Switzerland, Austria, England and Germany, the Indian ‘Sarang’ came out with flying colours and gave India a reason to boast of.

The recently concluded ILA Berlin Air Show 2008 saw the Indian participation in a big way, which comprised, apart from DPSU’s, OFB, DRDO and private defence industries, Sarang helicopter display team and the air warrior symphony orchestra of the IAF.

At present, the ‘Sarang’ squad of four Dhruv helicopters, 14 officers and 32 air persons, led by wing commander Shashank Mishra, having performed at the Berlin Air Show, have been taking part in various displays across England.

They are expected to perform at Biggin Hill Air Show, followed by Waddington Air Show, Fairford Royal International and the prestigious Farnborough International Air Show before returning back to India.

‘Sarang’ helicopter display squad of the IAF was founded in March 2002 for showcasing its expertise and the leapfrog of the Indian aviation industry.

The name ‘Sarang’ stands for the national bird peacock. It epitomises beauty and grace that symbolise the spirit of the squad. The teams’ helicopters are painted in a distinct paint scheme, which uses bright hues with a peacock form imposed on it.

The team formulated and executed a three helicopter display profile with slight experience in the field of display in a very short span of time.

Its first public display was during the Asian Aerospace in Singapore in 2004. Ever since, the team has graduated to a four helicopter team and has participated in many displays at home and abroad.

This Army unit never sleeps

It is one unit of the Army which never seems to sleep. This is the Army headquarters’ transport company which chauffeurs the top brass of the Defence Ministry.

The company, which was raised in 1942 and celebated its 66th anniversary this week, has the unique distinction of providing transport support round the clock, throughout the year to the ministers, Indian defence forces and the ministry’s bureaucrats. Its vehicles cover a distance of over one million kilometers every month ferrying officials in Delhi and neighbouring towns.

A carefully computed man-management programme ensures that the drivers’ whereabouts are known at any given time, making for a precise operation.

Army on Stand-by in Siliguri after Clashes

The army was kept on stand-by and assembly of more than four people was banned in West Bengal's Siliguri town Thursday after a group demanding a separate Gorkhaland state clashed with Bengali-speaking groups. Some tourists were injured in the attack.

Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee called the army to stage a flag march in Siliguri and its adjacent areas as the town turned into a battle field between the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) activists and an outfit of Bengali-speaking people, Amra Bangali (We are Bengalis), who oppose creation of a separate Gorkhaland in Darjeeling hills.

Considering the gravity of situation, the district administration banned congregation of five or more people at Bhaktinagar and Pradhannagar areas in Darjeeling district.

However, Home Secretary Ashok Mohon Chakraborty said the situation has been brought under control and the government has decided not to deploy the army in the violence-hit areas.

"The situation in Siliguri is better now. The review committee, comprising top officials from the army, Darjeeling district administration and the police, have decided to keep the army on stand-by," Chakraborty told reporters here.

He said a large contingent of the police has been deployed in all trouble-prone zones in Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri districts.

"We have asked the army to be prepared. If there is any trouble we will call the army immediately to tackle the situation," the home secretary added.

A violent clash broke out between the GJM supporters and the Amra Bangali outfit. Police vehicles were torched by GJM supporters in Siliguri and nine police personnel were injured in violence at Champasari.

"We had to lob four teargas shells to disperse the crowd. We have deployed a huge contingent of police. The Rapid Action Force is currently patrolling Siliguri town," state Inspector General of Police (North Bengal) K.L. Tamta said.

A group of GJM activists attacked a tourist vehicle in Jalpaiguri Thursday morning while it was returning from the hills. Eight tourists were injured in the attack.

The GJM leaders called an indefinite shutdown from Tuesday in the Darjeeling hills, demanding a separate Gorkhaland state in the region.

Thousands of tourists had a harrowing time as transport kept off the roads and food became scarce during the shutdown. The government opened several guest houses to provide shelter to tourists in the hills, which was also lashed by heavy rains.

Thousands of tourists were stranded in Sikkim as the National Highway No 31-A, linking the state with Siliguri railhead, remained cut off because of the blockade by GJM activists.

Tea gardens too were hit because of the indefinite shutdown in three hill sub-divisions - Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong - and some portions of Dooars in Jalpaiguri district.

"All tea estates in northern Bengal are incurring an accumulated loss of worth Rs.20 million everyday because of the shutdown," Siliguri Tea Traders Association secretary Rajiv Lochan said.

The Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) personnel have been called to patrol the area. Six companies of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) would be deployed in Siliguri.

The GJM, led by its president Bimal Gurung, has been spearheading a movement in the hills for a separate state, besides opposing the Sixth Schedule status for Darjeeling district.

The central government in 2005 conferred the Sixth Schedule status on the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF)-led Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) that ensures greater autonomy to the district's governing body.

The DGHC was formed in 1988 through an agreement between the central and state governments and the GNLF after the hills witnessed violence for about two years.

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