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Sunday, 23 October 2011

From Today's Papers - 23 Oct 2011





Dhumal seeks Himalayan regiment in Army

Tribune News Service  New Delhi, October 22 Sounding a threat from China and its growing interest in infrastructure building along the borders, HP CM Prem Kumar Dhumal today asked the Centre to create a separate Himalayan regiment in the Indian Army comprising soldiers trained specifically to understand the tough topography of mountainous regions and mount a fightback if needed.  He sought the government’s support in building the long-pending rail networks, adding that since Independence only 44 km railway line had been constructed in the state.  “Today we face a major military threat from China and the Indian Army should be made fully capable to fight in the tough terrain hilly regions. A separate army regiment drawn from youths of hilly areas should be set up in the Army so that its soldiers are well conversant with tough geography and topography of the region and prepared mentally and physically to encounter the enemy. The Government must make provisions to set up Himalayan regiment in the 12th Plan,” the CM said.




Omar says AFSPA on way out from some area of JK; Indian defence ministry shows reservations

NEW DELHI/SRINAGAR(SANA): Chief Minister Omar Abdullah stated that the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) would be scrapped from some areas of Jammu and Kashmir within next few days. However, he did not specify the areas.  “Time has come for the revocation of laws (AFSPA and Disturbed Areas Act), which were introduced in the state after the onset of militancy, from some areas of the state within next few days. We have already identified the places from which the Act will be withdrawn but I am not in a position to name those areas,” Omar said while speaking on the Police Commemoration Day at Zewan here.  The announcement of the revocation came days after centre-appointed interlocutors, tasked to find a political solution to Kashmir issue, submitted their report to Union home minister P Chidambaram earlier this month recommending among other measures repeal of the Act. After the report was submitted, Omar Abdullah had a meeting with Union home minister over the review of the AFSPA.  He did not specify the areas from where the laws would be revoked. “I am not in a position to name those areas right now but I can assure you that we have reached a point after which we can start the revocation of the laws from some areas within some days,” he said.  AFSPA was invoked in Kashmir valley and in some areas of Jammu division in the year 1990 after militancy erupted in the state. However in 2001 it was extended to all the districts of the state.  As the militancy showed a decline after 2005 and the situation improved, the revocation of AFSPA was perhaps the one common point over which separatists as well as the mainstream politicians had consensus in the state. While opposition PDP raised pitch over the issue in 2006, Omar, himself, was a strong advocator for the revocation of the law. But the revocation of the law was often opposed by the army arguing that it would “hamper their operational capabilities”.  Lieutenant General S A Hasnain, General Officer Commanding (GOC) of Srinagar based Chinar Corps, on Monday (October 17) said that review or revocation of AFSPA was not discussed even once during meetings of Unified Command.  After 2010 unrest, two committees were set up by the state government to study the possibility of scrapping the Act from certain areas.  Downplaying the speculations about the security situation after repealing the Act, he said that revoking of laws will have no adverse impact over such areas.  “The return of peace in the state is due to the sacrifices of police along with other forces. Police is capable of maintaining peaceful situation and destroying any threat. There is no need of any fear on this count,” Omar said.  The improvement in situation and the decline in militancy, he said, will pave way for revoking the laws from other parts of state as well. “To revoke the laws was only possible after our policemen laid down their lives while braving the militancy. With those efforts we are able to revoke these laws,” he said lauding the role of police in tackling militancy.  “Out of 635 martyrs from across the country, the state which has been a victim of terrorism had only 18. A small state like Delhi has 15, which speaks about the improvement in the situation,” he said. Lauding the role of police in normalizing the situation this summer, he said that police as well as people played a major role for the return of peace after three years.  “What I have learnt in last three years of unrest is that if today is good there is no guarantee that tomorrow will also be good. We will have to work hard to ensure that 2012 will be as good as 2011. Attempts were made to provoke public sentiments but people refused to fall prey to the designs of vested interests. Several measures including police-public meetings, sporting programs, vocation trainings and other steps which were taken last year helped in ensuring peace this year,” he said.  Omar assured that Government would provide every possible help for the welfare and betterment for the families of slain policemen. “We have already initiated so many schemes for the welfare of police martyrs’ families. Whatever more is required in this direction would be done,” he said.

Sainik School celebrates annual day

PATNA: Sainik School Gopalganj celebrated its eighth annual day function on Saturday. The chief guest on the occasion was Director General of Military Operations, Army headquarters, New Delhi, Lieutenant General Anand Mohan Verma. He is a native of Bihar and one of the senior most lieutenant generals of the Indian Army.  An impressive guard of honour was presented to Lt General Verma by the school cadets. Thereafter, Sainik School Gopalganj principal Captain (Indian Navy) Rajvir Singh presented the school annual report for the academic year 2010-11. He assured the parents that all efforts would be taken by the school administration to get the best results in future as well.  A variety of entertainment programme was presented by the cadets on the occasion, which enthralled the gathering. The school magazine, 'Lakshya 2011', was released on the occasion by Lt General Verma. At the end, he distributed trophies to the winner house of different events -- academic, sports and co-curricular -- of the school in the academic session 2010-11. The coveted 'Cock House Trophy' was awarded to Vikramshila House.  Lt General Verma congratulated the school fraternity for the splendid achievements of the school in its very short span of existence.  Lt Col B N Rai expressed gratitude to the chief guest and district administration officials. Registrar Lt Col O P Rai co-ordinated and directed the various activities of the celebration.



Snow hampers MIG search mission, no clue of pilot yet

With the Indian air force and army still unable to trace squadron leader DS Tomar, the pilot of the MIG 29 that crashed in the mountains, inclement weather in the area hampered the rescue operations that continue for the fourth day on Saturday. Teams of Air Force and the army troopers along with locals on Saturday had began their ground search, while Indian Air Force planes and the helicopters continued their aerial recce over areas from where resident of Thirot had found debris of superior jet fighter MIG - 29 up in the mountains beyond Chokang.  The weather in the high mountains turned hostile after the fresh snowfall in the area that hampered the search operation. The teams of Indian army and air force had to return early to their base camp a thirot, since it began to snow at the site of plane crash in the afternoon. "Nothing was recovered during the search operation as the weather took turn in the mountains" said Deputy Suprintendent of Police Khazana Ram who along with police party assisted this ground search in the mountains. "Even the aerial reconnaissance had to be called off early due to the bad weather conditions," Khazana Ram told HT over phone after he returned back to base camp in Thirot.   Even as chances of pilot survival are remote, the Indian air force official said that search operations would continue till missing pilot is not found. "Our search will continue till the missing pilot is not found and till we don't find fully find the wreckage of the plane" squadron leader, Priya Joshi spokesperson for the Indian Air force  said over telephone from Delhi.   Indian force officials camping in Thirot held meeting with civil administration to intensify their search operation.  Army and Air force troopers scaled two snow laden peaks on Saturday to get more clues of the missing plane.  Indian air force is conducting the searches in the mountains areas where the villagers had witnessed a fire ball falling from the sky, which later exploded.  The two Indian Air Force planes from Adampur air base had left on Tuesday for nocturnal night flying exercises on the h above high mountains. While one returned safely, to the base the other MIG 29 had gone missing in the mountains.




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