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Sunday, 2 May 2010

From Today's Papers - 02 May 2010

Telegraph India
Asian Age
The Pioneer
Asian Age
Asian Age
The Pioneer
Times of India
Times of India
Times of India
DNA India
DNA India
DNA India




Armed Forces Act: Human rights can’t be violated
by Sankar Sen  The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) extends to all the north-east states except Sikkim. It comes into operation after a declaration have been made under section 2 of the act that the particular area is disturbed. The Act will reportedly remain unchanged because of the objections voiced by the Army.  Earlier Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had promised to consider amendments to make the AFSPA to more humane. It was extended to Jammu and Kashmir in July 1990. It provided special powers on the members of the armed forces to effectively deal with the insurgency and the terrorists in the disturbed areas.  It authorises armed forces personnel to use such force as may be necessary to effect the arrest. It also gives powers to them to use force including opening power even to the extent of causing death, if prohibitory orders banning assembly of five or more persons or carrying arms and weapons etc. are in force in the disturbed areas.  Section 5 of the Act requires that persons arrested by the armed forces are to be handed over to the nearest police station without the least possible delay along with the report of “circumstances occasioning the arrest”. Section 6 gives the armed forces discharging duties under the act immunity from prosecution or other legal proceedings except with the previous sanction of the Centre.  Human rights activists and civil society groups have criticised the Act as draconian, giving unrestricted and unaccounted power to the security forces to carry out operations in the disturbed areas. They say the Act has been abused and misused. Attempts have also been made to seek judicial review of the law on grounds that it is repugnant to the right to equality and federal structure of the Constitution.  A five-Judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights vs. Union of India held the enactment to be constitutionally valid. The Supreme Court held that the Act was valid given the context in which it was enacted and where it was implemented. Even though it may appear to be harsh on the face of it, “it was a necessity.” As regards powers vested in the Union government, the Supreme Court noted that Section 3 was amended by Section 7 of the 1972 by virtue of which the power to declare an area to be “disturbed area” has also been conferred on the central government.  The Justice Jeevan Reddy committee examined the provisions of Section 4(a) of the Act and found that powers conferred therein are not absolute and could be invoked only in the disturbed area if already there was a prohibitory order in force. Further the opinion formed by the officers has to be fair and honest.  It was of the view that the phase “least possible delay” has to be construed in the light of Article 22(2) of the Constitution which confers the right upon the person arrested or detain in custody to be produced before the nearest magistrate within 24 hours of such arrest (excluding the journey time).  After taking the views of various stakeholders, it inferred that the Act should be repealed. It will be more appropriate to insert appropriate provisioning in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act instead of suggesting a new legislation. It held that the “Act whatever the reason has become a symbol of oppression and the object of hate and instrument of discrimination and highhandedness.” Therefore, it is desirable and advisable to repeal the Act altogether.  The Second Administrative Reforms Commission also recommended that it should be repealed. To provide for an enabling legislation for deployment of armed forces in the North-East states, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act should be amended by inserting a new Chapter VI A as recommended by the Committee to Review the Armed Forces (Special Powers Act), 1958. The new Chapters V1A would apply only to the North-Eastern states.  Senior Army officers are of the view that diluting special powers given to the security forces under law could be damaging. To operate effectively, security forces need necessary legal provisions. Such laws are only safeguards for security forces and give them the requisite legal framework which permits them to conduct pro-active operations.  In a 16-page report titled “Getting Away with Murder; 50 years of Arms Forces Special Powers Act”, Human Rights Watch has said that Indian officials have long sought to justify use of the law by citing the need for the armed forces to have an extraordinary powers to combat armed insurgents. It said that abuses facilitated by special extra-judicial killings, torture, rape and disappearances have fed public anger and disillusionment with the Indian state. This has permitted militant groups to flourish in north-eastern state and Jammu and Kashmir.  Since 2000 Irom Sharmila, an activist in Manipur, has been on hunger strike demanding repeal of the Act. The government has responded by keeping her in judicial custody and force-feeding her through a nasal tube.  The AFSPA is indeed a complex and contentious issue. There are human rights violations in the enforcement of the Act but these are often justified as necessary and are not viewed as repressive because threats to security and integrity of the nation posed by the terrorists.  The Jeevan Reddy committee recommended creation of grievance cell. Many people in the north-east have been complaining about the problems faced by those who seek information about family members and friends who have been picked up and detained by armed or security forces. There have been a large number of cases where those taken up without warrants have disappeared.  There is need for a mechanism, which is transparent, involving authorities from concerned agencies as well as civil society groups to provide information of missing persons within 24 hours. Grievance cells should be set up in each district where armed forces are deployed. These cells will receive complaints regarding missing persons or abuse of law by security/ armed forces and make prompt enquiries and information to the government.  The writer, a former Director-General, National Human Rights Commission, is presently Senior Fellow, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi








‘Tainted’ Brigadier asks for promotion He is facing trial for procuring medicines worth Rs 9 cr illegally
Vijay Mohan Tribune News Service  Chandigarh, May 1 While the Army has convened a general court martial (GCM) to try the commandant of a military hospital on charges of corruption, the accused Brigadier in turn has moved the Armed Forces Tribunal challenging his trial and demanding that he be promoted to the rank of major general as approved by a selection board earlier.  Brig Anil Kayastha, who was head of the Military Hospital, Jalandhar, is facing six charges, including three involving moral turpitude. He is alleged to have purchased medical supplies worth more than Rs 9 crore from the unregistered dealers with intent to defraud during November 2006 and January 2008.  The trial, presided by Maj Gen T.K. Das, Chief Signal Officer, Western Command, commenced at Ferozepur on April 29. Brigadier Kayastha has submitted a plea before the GCM, challenging its jurisdiction on the grounds that no charges are made out against him and there is no due application of mind by the authorities concerned while deciding his case.  As per rules, medicines are to be procured through local purchase only from registered dealers selected by a board of officers. According to sources, when board proceedings containing names of 60 dealers was put up to him for approval, he allegedly asked the board’s head to include the names of 20 more dealers. He is also alleged to have cancelled, with intent to defraud, the rate inquiries prepared by the officer in charge of the hospital’s medical store to be issued to vendors for procurement.  In his petition before the Tribunal, he has claimed that he was screened for promotion in 2008-09 and had reasons to believe that he was approved for promotion to the rank of Major General. He was expecting formal orders to this effect in May 2009 but those junior to him were promoted in June 2009. He has contended that he was denied promotion due to pendency of disciplinary proceedings whereas there were no disciplinary proceedings against him at the time he was approved for promotion.  He has claimed that he was due to pick up his rank on May 1, 2009, while the tentative charge-sheet following the court of inquiry was issued only on June 23, 2009. He had taken up the matter of denial of promotion with the Director General Medical Services, but got no response.










Sino-India armies agree to contribute for peace  
Rattan Sharma   Sun, May 02, 2010 08:31:32 IST   INDIA AND China have signed two landmark agreements namely `Peace and Tranquility Agreement’ in 1993 and `Confidence Building Measures’ in 1996. To improve relations further, Border Personnel Meeting are held six times a year between the Indian and Chinese Military delegations. The recent visit of Indian Foreign Minister, SM Krishna to Beijing in April has paved the way for greater interaction between the two countries.   At the invitation of the People Liberation Army, a Border Personnel Meeting was organised between India and China on May 01 at Chinese Border Personnel Meeting Hut, opposite Chushul, to celebrate International Labour Day. The Indian delegation headed by Brig YK Joshi, VrC was received by Senior Colonel Deng Guo Hua of People Liberation Army. In the formal meeting held in atmosphere of cooperation and camaraderie, greetings were exchanged by both sides. Also both sides agreed to join hands in contributing to peace, stability and development of the region in consonance with Border Peace and Tranquility agreements.     Brig YK Joshi, in his opening address paid tributes to the endeavours of the tireless and enterprising people of Peoples Republic of China, whose efforts have propelled the country on a path of high growth and prosperity. He also conveyed condolence to the victims of Qinghai Earthquake which took place on April 14 this year and wished for speedy recovery of those injured in the devastating earthquake.   After the formal meeting, the Indian delegation was treated to the cultural programme by a civilian troupe and a round of fun filled games followed by a rich spread of Chinese cuisine savoured by one and all. As the ceremonies drew to close, both sides exchanged pleasantries and gifts to commemorate the occasion.






Pak troops fire at Indian side, BSF jawan injured
May 01, 2010 23:32 IST
 A paramilitary Border Security Force trooper was wounded on Saturday evening when Pakistani troops resorted to heavy firing in the Krishnaghati area of Mendhar sector of the Line of Control [ Images ] in Poonch district of Jammu region.  Police sources said the BSF troops came under heavy automatic gunfire from the Pakistani side on Saturday evening resulting in injuries to a BSF trooper.  Sources said there was an infiltration bid during the firing which was foiled by the BSF.  Intermittent firing continued in the area till the last reports came in. The BSF had on Friday night foiled another infiltration bid in the Samba sector of the Jammu region.







The ghost of 1962  
Venkatesan Vembu                / DNA Sunday, May 2, 2010 1:45    Why does the Indian government refuse to declassify a report on the Sino-Indian war even now, nearly 50 years later? And how does this affect India’s efforts to work things out with China and explore options for strategic co-operation today? DNA has some answers after talking to experts, including one of the few persons to have had access to the report.  Last fortnight, a ghost made a brief appearance in Parliament. It slipped in quietly on a Monday afternoon, about the time when ministerial replies to parliamentarians’ questions are tabled, but it didn’t stay long. In fact, so fleeting was the apparition’s appearance that few legislators even noticed its presence, distracted as they were by more weighty matters, such as the telephone tapping and IPL scandals.  More diligent observers of spectral spirits would, however, have recognised this as a ghost that’s been haunting Indian official and strategic thinking on China since the 1962 war that ended in demoralising defeat for the Indian Army.  Its most recent manifestation was in a written reply that defence minister AK Antony gave Parliament to explain why a Top Secret report of a review commission could not be declassified nearly 50 years later.  Antony claimed the Henderson Brooks-Bhagat report, which was submitted to the Jawaharlal Nehru government in May 1963 and was immediately classified, could not be made public even today because an internal study by the Indian Army had established that its contents “are not only extremely sensitive but are of current operational value.”  “Those reasons are completely untrue and quite nonsensical,” says Neville Maxwell, who reported on the Sino-Indian war as South Asia correspondent for The Times and authored India’s China War, a searing critique of Nehru’s policies vis-a-vis China that ended in war. Maxwell, one of the few persons to have had (unauthorised) access to the Henderson Brooks-Bhagat report recalls that “there is nothing in it concerning tactics or strategy or military action that has any relevance to today’s strategic situation.” nationalist myths.  Antony’s pronouncement was only the latest effort by governments down the years — Congress-led and otherwise — to hold back from the Indian public the details of the political and military failings that contributed to that defeat.  This obduracy has meant that although the Indian military’s preparedness on the border today is, from all accounts, vastly superior to what it was in 1962, that benighted loss remains a festering wound on the Indian national psyche.  “It’s as if the war happened last week,” says Prof Dibyesh Anand of London’s Westminster University.  “India hasn’t forgotten it even today,” adds David Malone, a Canadian diplomat who served in New Delhi and who is writing a book on Indian foreign policy. “The Chinese have largely forgotten about the war, but then it’s easier to forget a war you’ve won than one you’ve lost.”  Reconciling that traumatic chapter in India’s political history isn’t just a matter of academic interest: analysts say that failure on that front has bedevilled India’s relations with China since then — and, additionally, cramped efforts to resolve the border dispute.  The official Indian narrative on the 1962 war suffers from “unhelpful nationalist myth-making,” says Anand. The Indian public, he adds, was “sold a specific story about 1962”: that India reached out to China in a bhai-bhai spirit, but was “betrayed”. This, he reasons, was done in order to “prevent any serious self-reflection” of the civilian and military strategies and decision-making processes prior to 1962. To this narrative, another layer of myth-making was added, which was to blame the loss, additionally, on Nehruvian naivete.  “There is no debate about whether or not the Indian government’s position was legally dubious and politically suicidal... There is no questioning of whether the Chinese had legitimate grievances against the Indian position,” adds Anand.  Publication of the Henderson Brooks-Bhagat report, for which several thinkers in India, including veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar, have been campaigning for long, would, in Maxwell’s estimation, “re-arouse Indian interest in the political background of the Sino-Indian war.” That, he adds, would be a “healthy development” — because it is a “misunderstanding of the causes of that war that blights any real hope of achieving a profound political reconciliation between India and China.”   Anand feels that declassifying the Henderson Brooks-Bhagat report may, in fact, put the Indian government “in a good position to influence public opinion that a border settlement with China, based on concession of Indian claims as well as some actual concessions, is good.” There is, he argues, no merit in repeating the “mistake” of the 1950s — “of assuming that the Indian position is the only right one.”  Need for debate In his view, India’s unwillingness in the 1950s and 1960s to negotiate a border settlement with China — which Maxwell cites as the root cause of the war — can be traced to a failure of post-colonial India to “rethink how the legacy of British India had distorted strategic thinking and the national interest.” Freed from “nationalistic myth-making”, the definition of “national interest” could be tweaked, he reasons. “National interest can be redefined as ‘making territorial concessions (of claims, rather than of de facto control) for the sake of international goodwill and friendship with neighbours so long as the people directly affected (on the borderlands) are consulted’.”  But will such a ‘concession’ — even if it’s only of Indian claims — be received by the Indian public, without accusing its leaders of “selling out to China”? In Anand’s estimation, the public can be “persuaded either way if the political leadership shows signs of moving beyond unhelpful nationalist myth-making.”  The best way to prepare the public, he argues, is to allow freer debate among scholars and opinion makers. “Having multiple views, including many critical of the government of that day, in the public realm will allow the present government more leverage in ‘selling’ a compromise — which in reality may mean simply accepting the status quo.”  By remaining paranoid about how it controls the information on the 1962 war, the government restricts its own options, Anand adds. “The first thing it can do is to allow more openness — and not only anti-China voices or a militaristic rhetoric that, in turns, blames the government for being ‘weak’.”  That, perhaps, could exorcise the ghost of 1962.








India China Border Personnel Meeting at Chinese Border opposite Chushul
by Vijay Kumar    May 01, 2010    Jammu/Leh, May 1 (Scoop News) – At the invitation of the People Liberation Army, a Border Personnel Meeting was organised today between India and China at Chinese Border Personnel Meeting Hut, opposite Chushul, to celebrate International Labour Day.     It may be mention here that India and China have signed two landmark agreements namely `Peace and Tranquility Agreement in 1993 and `Confidence Building Measures in 1996. To improve relations further, Border Personnel Meeting are held six times a year between the Indian and Chinese Military delegations. The recent visit of Indian Foreign Minister, SM Krishna to Beijing in April has paved the way for greater interaction between the two countries.     According to defence sources that the Indian delegation headed by Brig YK Joshi, VrC was received by Senior Colonel Deng Guo Hua of People Liberation Army. In the formal meeting held in atmosphere of cooperation and camaraderie, greetings were exchanged by both sides. Also both sides agreed to join hands in contributing to peace, stability and development of the region in consonance with Border Peace and Tranquility agreements.   Brig YK Joshi, VrC in his opening address paid tributes to the endeavours of the tireless and enterprising people of Peoples Republic of China, whose efforts have propelled the country on a path of high growth and prosperity. He also conveyed condolence to the victims of Qinghai Earthquake which took place on 14 Apr 2010 and wished for speedy recovery of those injured in the devastating earthquake.   After the formal meeting, the Indian delegation was treated to the cultural programme by a civilian troupe and a round of fun filled games followed by a rich spread of Chinese cuisine savoured by one and all. As the ceremonies drew to close, both sides exchanged pleasantries and gifts to commemorate the occasion.







Mahindra AXE for indian army (ALL-TERRAIN VEHICLE)
May 1st, 2010 | More  Mahindra-axe have been made to cross all difficult terrains like deserts, mountains, glaciers, rivers, jungles, and many more. Mahindra will initially import the engines for the Axe, later it will install its own engine into the Axe. Axes petrol version uses a more than 4 litre GM Votec engine (which powers the Chevrolet Blazer) while the diesel uses a 2.7 litre Mercedes derived Ssangyong engine (which powers the Rexton). Mahindra has been testing the Axe ranging from 150 hp (110 kW) to 400 hp (300 kW). The transmission system for the Axe is borrowed from Mercedes-Benz. According to Mahindra, The diesel Axe offers around 89 km per litre while the petrol Axe offers 6/7 km per litre. Axes all-wheel independent suspension system gives it extreme mobility. Mahindra has already received an order from a foreign army for 215 units of Axe of which 15 are being shipped right away. Mahindra is looking to export the Axe to countries like Malaysia in 2008 (diesel version) and for Africa, UAE, Jordan.



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