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Friday, 16 July 2010

From Today's Papers - 16 Jul 2010

Naxal  Menace Day after, doubts raised over Unified Command Senior cops, leaders feel left out, say concept not viable
Man Mohan Our Roving Editor  Raipur, July 15 Politicians and many high-ranking police officers are not excited over the model of a separate Unified Command which is going to be set up in four worst Maoist-hit states - Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal - as they feel that they may not have much say in the new operational set-up.To be headed by states’ chief secretaries, these unified commands will have a retired Major General, with an experience in jungle warfare, as an advisor. These unified commands will not have politicians as members.  The decision to set up a Unified Command in four states was taken at a high-level meeting, wherein chief ministers of seven Naxal-affected states were summoned by the Prime Minister to chalk out fresh strategy against the Left-wing extremists, at New Delhi.  The experiment of having a Unified Command has already been carried out by the Centre in Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and many other north-eastern states, where the Army, paramilitary forces and the state police operate under a common command structure.  The Centre is hoping to finish the Maoist terrorism in three to seven years. A senior officer of the Union Home Ministry told The Tribune that the Naxalites are no longer confined to a single state and, therefore, the need of the hour is to go for a comprehensive plan for dealing with the problem at the national level.  Interestingly, the BJP-ruled Chhattisgarh is already having its own Unified Command to handle the Naxal menace. Headed by CM Dr Raman Singh, the command has two sub-groups: While operations are headed by DGP Vishwa Ranjan, the development issues are looked after by the Chief Secretary Joy Oommen.  The fresh move by the Centre now means that the Chhattisgarh’s existing command will be dissolved.Some police officials and politicians believe that the Centre’s concept won’t work as ultimately the state machinery will have to decide the strategy to tackle the Naxalites.  “A retired Major General, despite his vast experience, won’t be of much use in giving advice. There is no dearth of talent in the state,” said a senior police officer. “The BJP has taken a strong stand against Naxals. Our CM has always batted for an aggressive approach to crush the rebels. The CMs have been kept out of the new Unified Command. This is not at all a practical move,” remarked a party functionary.  However, the Opposition believes that the ruling BJP will operate “by proxy” to tap huge funds that are coming for development works in the Maoist-hit areas, especially Bastar.  “The Unified Command’s head - the Chief Secretary - can’t go against the wishes of the CM,” said a Congress leader. “The so-called current Unified Command of Chhattisgarh is just a political gimmick. The CM has put political representatives up to the block level in it.The CM just meets them to have a chit-chat, nothing concrete emerges from such routine meetings,” he alleged Many police officers have not liked the ‘command’ going to the IAS lobby. At present, operational tasks are handled by the DGP. Thought the development issues are handled by the Chief Secretary, he will now oversee even operational tasks under the new set-up.  Sources said the Army would suggest a panel of retired Major Generals to the states for induction in the Unified Command. Each state will be free to choose one of them, keeping in mind the individual’s equation with the state’s DGP and heads of the paramilitary forces.It is not yet clear whether these Major Generals as ‘advisors’ will be stationed in the state capital or will keep shuttling between New Delhi and state. It is also not yet known whether they will be reporting to the state government or Union Home Ministry or the Defence Ministry.

Pak Rangers fire at Indian post 
Jammu, July 15 Pakistan Rangers fired twice on an Indian post along the Indo-Pak border in RS Pora, about 35 km from here, but there were no reports of any casualties, a senior BSF official said tonight.  The first incident took place at the forward post of Kharkola border outpost at 7:30 PM and the next one at 9:00 PM, he said.  No one was injured in the firing which came from across the border close to Ablashah Post of Pakistan on the outpost being guarded by BSF troops of 122 Battalion, he said.  Indian and Pakistani troops traded intermittent gunfire till late into the night at Krishna Ghati, about 280km from Jammu.  “This is a ceasefire violation by Pakistan and protests will be lodged,” said an Army officer.  Today's incidents was the sixth ceasefire violation by Pakistani troops in the last two weeks.  This was the second time in 10 days that Pakistani troops opened fire on Indian positions at Krishna Ghati sub-sector. Pakistani troops had fired at forward positions along the Line of Control in Krishna Ghati area of Poonch sector on July 5.  On July 9, Pakistani Rangers had violated the ceasefire by resorting to small arms firing along International Border on Khawara order outpost in Mawa belt of Samba district.  Pakistani troops had last violated the ceasefire on July 7 when they opened fire at the Chak Pagwari BOP in Pargwal in Jammu. — PTI

Army files review petition on Brigadier’s Kargil role
Tribune News Service  New Delhi, July 15 The Indian Army yesterday filed a review petition in the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) against a May 27 directive that asked the Army to correct the records of the 1999 Kargil war.  The Delhi-based Principal Bench of the Tribunal in an order on May 27 had sought corrections to the records pertaining to Brigadier Davinder Singh, who was leading the 70 Infantry Brigade during the war. The brigade was stationed at Battalik on the banks of the Indus and is 160 km north of Leh.  "…The Army, after due scrutiny of its records filed an appeal in the AFT in the case…... The Army records show that there is no reason to correct them, as they are based on battle performance reports filed by officers senior to Brig Singh," a senior Army officer in the headquarters here said. The AFT had asked the Army to expunge the Annual Confidential Report (ACR) of Brig Singh written by his superior Lt Gen Kishan Pal, the then corps commander.  Brig Singh had claimed that his role as a leader of the 70 Infantry Brigade in Batalik had been underplayed and this had cost him a war medal and promotions. The Tribunal had upheld his claim and said his contribution had been incorrectly represented by Lt Gen Pal.

  Battling Maoists Can more money and men fight the scourge?
 Velvet gloves over an iron fist. Development and police action. Carrots and the stick. That has always been the government’s strategy in dealing with insurgency in Jammu & Kashmir, in the Northeast and while handling the Maoists. The slew of measures announced at the meeting of Chief Ministers of seven Maoist-affected states on Wednesday also conform to the same pattern. There were few surprises as the Centre pledged to the states more money, more policemen and more resources to take on the Maoists. Rs. 950 crore will be disbursed this year for the states to lay and repair roads in these states and Rs. 800 crore more to modernise the police stations. As many as 400 police stations are to be ‘strengthened’ over the next two years at a cost of Rs 2 crore each, according to reports. The number of choppers at the disposal of the seven states has been trebled and more choppers promised. The number of ‘special police officers’, a euphemism for local villagers acting as guides and informers, 14,000 at present, will now go up to 30,000 following the recruitment of 16,000 more ‘men’.  While all this is old hat really, the proposed unified command , the third such command after that in Kashmir and the Northeast, does indicate the government’s seriousness in improving coordination among the states. It will be the full-time job of a retired Major-General and two serving Inspectors-General of Police in each state, one of them from the Central Reserve Police Force, to fine-tune strategies to outwit the Maoists and ensure that the security forces are not outwitted by them. The decision is timely in view of the ominous admission by the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister, Raman Singh, that as many as 50,000 Maoist cadres have set up their base in Bastar to wage a war against the elected government.  It was left to the Prime Minister to strike the right chord though. While addressing the meeting, Dr Manmohan Singh candidly said, “ For far too long have our tribal brothers and sisters seen the administration in the form of a rapacious forest guard, a brutal policeman and a greedy patwari…” The real war the government must wage is against the inefficiencies, injustice and corruption in the administration. There are strong reasons to believe that much of the money spent by the government for ‘development’ actually lines the pockets of middlemen and power-brokers. The government, therefore, must try and develop one Maoist pocket to set an example first, rather than spread its resources thin over a large area.

‘Fake’ Encounter Colonel, Major chargesheeted 
Srinagar, July 15  The Jammu and Kashmir Police today filed a chargesheet against a Colonel, a Major and seven others in a case of alleged fake encounter in which three youths were killed in the frontier district of Kupwara in April.  Official sources the chargesheet has named Col DK Pathania, Maj Upinder and four others of the unit besides a Territorial Army jawan and two others for allegedly conspiring and kidnapping three youths from Sopore on the pretext of giving them jobs and later killing them in the higher reaches of Kupwara claiming they were terrorists. The chargesheet was filed in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate in Sopore.  The Army was sent three reminders by the police for handing over the custody of the officers for their custodial interrogation as they claimed there was enough evidence to suggest their involvement in the killing of Muhammad Shafi, Shehzad Ahmed and Riyaz Ahmed, who were shot on the night of April 29. — PTI

Martyr laid to rest after 48 years
Lalit Mohan Tribune News Service  Agojar, a small hamlet located about 13 km from Palampur, is also famous for another reason.  Eminent Punjabi writer Amrita Pritam, who stayed in the area in the 1960s, based one of her popular novels Agojar Dian Parian (The Fairies of Agojar) on the village  Agojar (Dharamsala), July 15 A small and quite hamlet in the lap of Shivalik hills near Palampur was today buzzing with activity. Army men from the Dogra Regiment were present in a large number to receive martyr Karam Chand Katoch whose mortal remains were recovered from Walong in Arunachal Pradesh after about 48 years.  The two-storey house of Karam Chand was packed with visitors jostling with each other to catch a glimpse of the wooden box in which mortal remains of the martyr were kept.  Wife of Karam Chand’s brother Beena Kumari and his nephew Jaswant Singh, who is serving in Paramilitary Force (SSB), were carrying out religious ceremonies.  Since in the past 48 years most of the kin and acquaintances close to Karam Chand had passed away, there were a few to shed tears at his death.  Dulo Ram, a 95-year-old retired havaldar from the Dogra Regiment, with eclipsed memories, was the only one who remembered how he got Karam Chand recruited in the Army. He talked about valour of his regiment and how they fought the Chinese in Walong in the 1962 war.  The body was carried in a military vehicle to the cremation ground, located about 1 km from the village. Thousands of villagers, including IPH Minister Ravinder Ravi, followed the procession. Various Army officers, including Lt-Gen Jasbir Singh Col of the Dogra Regiment, Maj General Amarjit Singh, GOC, 39 Mountain Division and Lt-Gen SS Sangra (retd) laid wreathes on the coffin.  Later, while addressing the media, Lt-Gen Jasbir Singh said Karam Chand was a brave soldier who died serving the nation.  On July 1 this year, due to incessant rains, a massive landslide took place near Walong. While cleaning the earth, Border Road Task Force (BRTF) labourers found a circular identity disc and a silver ring. The identity disc was found to be that of Sepoy Karam Chand of 4 Dogra Regiment. Unit of the Sikh Regiment dug out all area and recovered a fountain pen, cover of a pay book and parts of skeleton of Karam Chand. The remains were handed over to the Dogra Regiment with full military honours that further contacted the kin of the martyr at Agojar village. The mother, father and brother of Karam Chand had passed away. He is survived by wife of his brother and her family.  Lt-Gen Jasbir Singh said since no immediate kin of Karam Chand was alive, compensation could not be given to anybody. The name of Karam Chand would, however, be entered on the list of martyrs at Walong and Dharamsala.

Pak Rangers target Indian posts, India retaliates 
NDTV Correspondent, Updated: July 16, 2010 00:01 IST  Jammu:  On a day when India and Pakistan Foreign Ministers held talks, there are reports of ceasefire violation in the Krishna Ghati sector of Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir.  Pakistan Rangers on Thursday night targeted five Indian posts. The first incident took place at the forward post of Kharkola border outpost at 7:30 PM and the next one at 09:00 PM, a senior BSF official said.  Indian Army has retaliated. Sources have told NDTV that it is an unprovoked violation.  No one was injured in the firing which came from across the border close to Ablashah Post of Pakistan on the outpost being guarded by BSF troops of 122 Battalion, the officer saidVPrint   "This is a ceasefire violation by Pakistan and protests will be lodged", said an Army officer.  Today's incident was the sixth ceasefire violation by Pakistani troops in the last two weeks.  This was the second time in ten days that Pakistani troops opened fire on Indian positions at Krishna Ghati sub sector. Pakistani troops had fired at forward positions along the Line of Control in Krishna Ghati area of Poonch sector on July 5 night.  On July 9, Pakistani Rangers had violated the ceasefire by resorting to small arms firing along International Border on Khawara Border Out Post in Mawa belt of Samba district.  Pakistani troops had last violated the ceasefire on July 7 when they opened fire at the Chak Pagwari BOP in Pargwal in Jammu.  On July 6, Pakistani troops had fired at Pindi, Mala Bela and Chak Phagwari border outpost around 2230 in which a BSF jawan was killed and a villager injured.  Pakistani troops had also fired at the Chak Pagwari BOP on July 5 and killed BSF trooper Sultan Ali.  Earlier, Pakistani troops had also violated the ceasefire last month when they fired at a forward outpost along the International Border in Jammu on June 21. (With PTI inputs)

Army officer in Congo faces sex charge
TNN, Jul 16, 2010, 12.23am IST NEW DELHI: The UN peace-keeping mission in Congo has put an Indian Army Major under the scanner on sexual misconduct charges after he was allegedly found in the company of sex workers in a hotel there earlier this month.  Defence ministry officials said on Thursday that Major R S Ghumman, belonging to the J&K Rifles, was being questioned by the UN conduct and discipline unit since visiting sex workers is barred under the peacekeeping rules and code of conduct prescribed for the Congo mission.  "If the officer is found guilty, strict action will be taken," said an official.

Pallam Raju tries to gatecrash equestrian body polls
TNN, Jul 16, 2010, 12.51am IST NEW DELHI: It is one of the last sports bodies run by professionals but political greed seems to threaten it.  According to authoritative sources, minister of state for defence Pallam Raju has filed his nomination for election to the post of president of Equestrian Federation of India (EFI). Elections for EFI office-bearers are slated for July 31.  The quirky twist to Raju's effort is the fact that EFI has historically been run by the Army, given its control over trained horses and grounds meant for equestrian events in India. In fact, the Quarter Master General (QMG) of the Army, who is a senior lieutenant general, has always been the president of EFI. Presently, Lt Gen S S Kumar, QMG at the Army headquarters, is holding the position.  Now, sources said Raju had made a flash entry and filed his nomination against Kumar's candidature. Not just that, sources said Raju was prompting the Army to withdraw Kumar's candidature.  The minister did not return calls from TOI to his office. A senior MoD official said the minister's effort was in his personal capacity. The official defended the minister, saying, "If it is allowed under the Constitution, then why can't he contest the elections?"  Headquartered in New Delhi, EFI was constituted in 1967 and oversees all equestrian sports in India. Army dominates EFI because it also controls most of the trained horses and equestrian grounds of India, and in fact most of its members are Army officers. The EFI annual general body meeting and elections are to be held at Defence Services Officer's Institute (DSOI) in Dhaula Kuan in New Delhi.  Raju's move has come under criticism from Clean Sports India Movement, a group of former sportsmen who have been carrying out a campaign against politicians taking over sports bodies. The movement said in a statement that the minister was trying to manage a sport that he had never played. It also said that Raju would try to use his influence as a minister to influence Army officers, who form the majority of voters, to vote for him. They have sought the defence minister's intervention before Raju uses his authority over the armed forces to get elected as EFI president.

DRDO develops new medicine to fight deadly wild mosquitoes
 2010-07-15 19:40:00  Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) after decades of research has successfully developed a breakthrough technology to fight away deadly mosquitoes which transmits diseases like Malaria, Dengue, Chikungunia, Yellow fever, Black Fever, Elephantiasis, etc.  The new molecule, Diethyl Phenyl Acetamide (DEPA), will help Indian Army soldiers fight deadly wild mosquitoes and other blood-sucking insects.  Initiatives were taken under the aegis of DRDO-FICCI-ATAC program to make available the benefits of DEPA to the common man in India as well as in other countries.  These initiatives have been spearheaded by Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, Director Technology Acquisition- Defense Research and development Organisation (DRDO) and Nirankar Saxena, Director FICCI under the leadership of Dr. Prahlada, Chief Controller - DRDO.  DRDO partnered with Jyothy Laboratories Ltd. to manufacture DEPA and bring out multi-insect repellent in its various formulations to the masses for their protection from painful insect bites and vector borne diseases as a spin -off defense technology for civil society in India and abroad.  The technology has been transferred exclusively to Jyothy Labs to manufacture DEPA and formulations based thereon under the close supervision of DRDE. (ANI)

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