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Sunday, 1 January 2012

From Today's Papers - 01 Jan 2012


Over 50 % of 1st female battalion of Indian Army is pregnant. 
The first battalion of Indian army that actually comprises sex workers, recruited from relight areas across India with the help of RAW and posted as Border Guards in the occupied Kashmir by Indian army in September 2009, with aims to provide “fun” to soldiers in the area who were constantly committing suicide, is now reported to be suffering from some serious medical problems due to unsafe sexual activities while at least 63 out of the total 178 female “soldiers”, posted under Northern Command in September last, are reported t have been tested positive in the pregnancy tests, carried out at military hospitals while many male soldiers have also been diagnosed with serious sex related diseases, reveal the investigations of The Daily Mail.
The Daily Mail’s investigations reveal that the problem started occurring when in the month of December a large number of female “soldiers” started reporting SIQ (Sick-In-Quarter) at different formations with complaints of minute illness like vomiting and headaches. However, as the number of complaints in this direction started rising dramatically, the patients were referred to Military Hospital at Badamibagh cantonment in Srinagar. At Srinagar’s Military Hospital, after different tests, it was found that the female soldiers sent there from different formations were mostly suffering from no disease but were found to pregnant while a few others were treated for different unsafe-sex related minor diseases. Captain Dr. Jyoti (name changes on source’s request) of the IAMC (Indian Army Medical Corps), posted at the Military Hospital told The Daily Mail that at least 63 female soldiers, sent to the base hospital from different field units were tested positive in the pregnancy tests. “It was something unusual that these women were found 8 to 10 weeks with pregnancy while they were not sent on leave since their posting some 12 to 14 weeks back. Similarly some other 38 were found having some minor diseases but these were sex related diseases that occur normally due to unsafe sexual activities and thus we reported the matter to the commandant of the hospital who forwarded the same to the high command”, asserted Dr. Jyoti.
The Daily Mail’s findings indicate that the situation rang alarm bells in the Eastern Command’s headquarters where an emergency meeting was held which, apart from others, was attended by Major General Harinder Singh, Commandant of the IAMC of Northern Command. Since the matter was of very serious nature, it was decided in the meeting that was held under the command of the Commander of the 14th corps to bring the matter to the notice of the Army Headquarters at New Delhi. The News arrived at Army Headquarters at New Delhi as a bomb because the headquarter was already suffering from a high profile controversy of land scams and the rift between Army Chief and Commander Eastern Command over the issue was at the peak and Defence Minister was in no mood to give any support to Army Chief Deepak Kapoor.
The Daily Mail’s findings indicate that since the project of posting sex workers in the disguise of female soldiers in Kashmir was initiated by the orders of General Deepak Kapoor without seeking any formal approval from the Defence Minister, the news cam as a big shock as General Kapoor was already at odds with the Defence Minister A.K Antony over the issue of corruption in sale of army lands. Our sources reveal that upon this, Army Chief held a classified meeting with his confidants and aides and also invited Director General of Armed Forces Medical Services Lt. General N.K Parmar. In the meeting, it was decided to dash a team of gynecologists from Delhi to Northern Command to tackle the situation on emergency, yet confidential basis. Upon this, a team of 9 gynecologists from IAMC was sent to Northern Command. The team performed the abortions upon some 56 “soldiers while rest of the 7 were shifted to Udhampur-based military hospital as their ‘cases’ were reported to be bit complicated and required some serious surgeries. The said team of Army Gynecologists, headed by Lt. Colonel. Bharti Sharma, not only treated the patients but also gave them tips to follow the safe sex practices. In the meanwhile, several male soldiers from the same region were also reported SIQ with sex related diseases.
The Daily Mail’s findings indicate that as the situation started worsening, the Army Chief General Kapoor contacted Lt. General. Raj Kumar Karwal, who was the head of the committee which recommended the posting of undercover sex workers in Kashmir to meet the natural requirements of the sex starving male soldiers. Sources reveal that General Karwal told General Kapoor that while following his committee’s recommendations, the recommendations, regarding the provision of safe sex devices like the condoms and educating the soldiers about safe sex practices were not followed at all as the committee had recommended that prior to the posting of sex workers amongst the ranks of soldiers, the soldiers must be provided with precautionary measures and should be given tips regarding the safe sex practices.
Sources revealed that upon this, General Kapoor, who had hopes of a support from Defence Minister Antony in this matter, decided to approach the Home Affairs Minister P Chidambaram. Upon contacting, Chidambaram promised general Kapoor of his all out support.
The Daily Mail’s findings indicate that hiding behind the notion of helping the Paramilitary forces, Chidambaram ordered the Home Affairs Ministry to procure condom making machines to be given to military and paramilitary authorities for installing at remote areas of deployment, particularly along the borders. According to a report, released by Indian’s State news agency Press Trust of India (PTI), Indian Government is procuring more than 1,000 units of condom vending machines to promote safe sex practices among its military and para-military deployed in far flung areas.
The machines, the PTI reports further, for the men of forces like CRPF, CISF, SSB, ITBP, BSF and NSG will be installed at the battalion and sector headquarters of the forces, especially along the borders.
“A total of 1,080 machines are being procured by the Home Ministry. The idea is to promote safe sex practices amongst the soldier who are deployed at far off places for long durations,” PTI reports, quoting a senior para-military officer.
The PTI further reports that the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) has been appointed as nodal agency by the Home Ministry for procurement of these machines as well as all health related purchase and activities.
“The condoms, to be provided through these machines, have been procured from different companies and would be provided to the soldiers free of cost but on rationing basis every month,” concludes the PTI report.
The Daily Mail’s finding further indicate that the soldier of Indian army, posted in Indian Occupied Kashmir and other border areas of India often indulge into unsafe sexual activities including rapes and prostitution. While the complaints of rapes and gang rapes by Indian soldiers are fairly common in Kashmir valley, the border natives other regions are also constant victims of brutal forced rapes of women by the frustrating Indian soldiers. The female villagers along the either side of Indo-Myanmar border, Indo-Bangladesh border and Indo- Nepal border are often sexually assaulted by Indian soldiers while visiting the prostitution dens and opting for paid, yet unsafe sex is a common practice throughout the Indian Army and at many garrisons, Indian Army High Command has taken stringent measures to curb prostitution and have even displayed sign suggesting a ban on prostitution in the area. However the number of such incident had reached alarming limits and the Indian soldiers got into a severe trauma of sexual and mental frustration due to continuous bans on different recreational facilities by the top authorities and thus they started indulging into suicide practices and killing the colleagues as well. The Daily Mail’s findings indicate that adding to the miseries of soldiers in Kashmir, the Indian Army announced imposing a ban on use of mobile phones by soldiers, posted in the Occupied valley. These findings indicate that senior medical officers of the Indian armed forces believe that just engaging the sex workers under the grab of female soldiers was not enough to rid the soldiers of frustration and mental stress but the use of mobile phone by troops was also a permanent source of stress and strain for the soldiers, deployed in the occupied valley.
“The problem is not the stress in the encounter, the problem is the cell phone and that should be banned,’’ said Lt-General Dipankar Ganguly, speaking on the occasion of the 246th anniversary of the Army Medical Corps
The top General said that cell phones allowed the soldiers to maintain regular contact with their families and get updated on their problems, which led to higher levels of stress among them.
Armed Forces Medical Services Director General Lt-Gen N K Parmar, in his observation, said that the armed forces had taken a number of steps to tackle stress-related issues among the troops
Note – ludicrous propaganda post from Pakistan!

Army commander refutes reports about Chinese incursion

Tezpur (Assam), Dec 31 (PTI) A top army commander today refuted media reports about Chinese incursion into the Indian territory near Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. Lt Gen Shakti Gurung, GOC, 4 Corp, denied the reports that Chinese soldiers had entered 250 metres inside the Indian territory near Tawang and opened fire on a 'wall' there. Some regional TV channels had last week telecast footage of Chinese troops damaging a 'wall' constructed by the Army on the Indian side of the Indo-Sino border. Interacting with reporters here, Lt Gen Gurung said the border situation across the Indo-Chinese boundary remained peaceful and the Army was on alert to face any eventuality. The anti-insurgent Unified Command Structure commander against militants in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh with headquarters here also claimed that the Army was not responsible for the killing of three persons in Arunachal Pradesh's Namchai. Stating the government has already ordered an inquiry into the Namchai incident, Lt Gen Gurung said the three persons, believed to be having close links with ULFA, had opened fire on the security personnel who retaliated.

Why is the army so popular in Pakistan?

With a population a seventh India’s size, with an economy a tenth India’s size, Pakistan maintains an army half India’s size.
In September last year, the BBC reported the army telling the government it would need to spend an additional $1.28 billion. This money, Pakistan then informed the IMF, would come from a 50 per cent cut in the development budget and a 20 per cent cut in the non-development budget, the report had said.
No nation can prosper by halving its development budget. But Pakistanis approve of this. Indeed, they are enthusiastic about it (if they think about it at all) given the army’s popularity. Let us try and understand why.
India’s national anthem was composed in December 1911, a century ago and 36 years before Partition. The anthem announces the geography of India. The first two regions we sing of are Punjab and Sindh. After Partition, of these two states, India got a third of one and nothing of the other. However, the anthem’s words do not seem out of place today. A Punjabi is India’s prime minister, and Sindh and the Indus are how India got its name.
What is remarkable is that even in 1911, Balochistan and the Northwest frontier were not a part of the India of our imagination. The Pathan has always been a foreigner, even as a Bollywood character.
At Partition, few Baloch Hindus were displaced and no Pashtun Hindus, because there were none. These two places were unaffected by Partition. The Partition of India on the west was actually only the partition of Punjab.
Punjabis were savage with one another. Today, few Muslims remain in Indian Punjab, having been thrown out or killed, and almost no Sikhs and Hindus remain in Pakistani Punjab. So it was religious partitioning, but this is unimportant. The partition of Punjab was also a partition of its castes. This separation is its critical aspect and it defines the character of Pakistani Punjab. What had been a stable society in united Punjab became lighter on the side of the castes the Hindus dominated — trade, commerce — and heavier on the side of the peasant castes, which Muslims dominated. It is true that the largest component of all three Punjabi faiths — Muslim, Sikh and Hindu was the peasantry — and it was the dominant component of the British Indian army.
However, the Hindu Punjabis had a very large mercantile population, comprising Khatris, Aroras and the Vaish (Baniyas). They were the creators of wealth and are today all in India. Two of these castes (Khatris and Aroras) were present in strong numbers in the Sikhs. Muslims had very few Khatris and no Baniyas. This is why Pakistani Punjab, though it contains over half of Pakistan’s population, does not dominate the country’s economy.
The economy of Pakistan is commanded by one city in Sindh, Karachi. Over 50 per cent of all government revenue comes from Karachi.
Despite the violence in Karachi, which is mainly of a secular nature, Sindh is more normal than Punjab. One reason for this is because it has a stable society. How? The Sindhi Hindus who left at Partition were replaced by two communities. One was the educated middle class of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the Mohajirs. The gap in the trading community created by the migration of Hindus was filled by Muslim Gujaratis of the Lohana caste — Memon, Khoja and Vora. Quaid-e-Azam was also a Lohana, one of the most talented and prosperous trading castes of India.
This is why Sindh is more normal than Punjab, despite the Mohajir-Pashtun skirmishes in Karachi. Because it is a stable society in terms of balance between those parts that are feudal and those parts that are mercantile. This balance is missing in Punjab.
Pakistanis may feel offended at such reduction in their identity to what might be seen as a purely Hindu currency, caste. However, it is impossible to understand India without being aware of caste and I see no reason why this should not be true for the area that used to be India till 65 years ago.
I would say that the Baloch are a nation, Pashtuns are a nation, Gujaratis are a nation, Tamilians are a nation and Punjabis are a nation. But Punjabi Muslims are not a nation, only half a nation.
How does this imbalance manifest itself in the way Punjab views the army? We shall explore that next week.

Controversy over Indian army chief’s age continues

NEW DELHI (SANA): The controversy over Indian army chief’s age has not come to its end still, meanwhile Indian Defence Ministry has rejected General VK Singh’s statutory complaint to consider May 10, 1951 as his date of birth and conveyed to him that he would have to retire on May 31, 2012.
Army Chief Singh had filed the statutory complaint with Defence Minister A. K Anthony, the first to do so, after New Delhi on July 21 issued an order saying that it will consider May 10, 1950 as his date of birth, which would have denied him another 10 months in office.
The Ministry’s decision on the issue of his date of birth was conveyed to the army chief.
After the Ministry’s decision, the Army chief has exhausted the in-house remedies available to him and is planning to approach a court of law, which can either be the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) or the High Court. The Ministry has taken the decision of considering May 10, 1950 as his date of birth on the basis of the third opinion given by the Attorney General.
If 1951 is accepted as the year of birth of Gen Singh, he will be in office for another 10 months. This will also change the succession plan of the Army and Lt Gen K T Parnaik will be the front-runner for the post of Army chief.

Indian Army Chief Says, APSPA Repeal Will Create Militant Havens
Srinagar, Dec 31: The Indian army chief on Saturday claimed that lifting the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) even partially in Kashmir would create militant sanctuaries in the region and have disastrous consequences for national interest.
Gen VK Singh said that the AFSPA was legal protection for the armed forces deployed in Jammu and Kashmir.
“One season of calm cannot be cited as proof of peace having returned (in Kashmir),” the army chief was quoted as having said in an interview. “Tampering with the AFSPA will severely impair national interest.”
“The army will not be able to conduct operations (in areas where the AFSPA is revoked). And if the situation worsens, it will be hampered in other areas as well,” the general said.
“If matters take a bad turn, the army will have no legal cover during operations,” he said.
“Though militant activity has seen a marked decline in Jammu and Kashmir, the militant infrastructure is still intact across the line,” he said.
“Lifting the AFSPA even partially will automatically restrict army activity, and this will have a detrimental effect on the overall situation in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

Recalling the India-Pakistan war of 1971
The high-water mark of my journalistic career was reporting the Indo-Pak War of 1971 for the New York Times. I had the rare opportunity of meeting some of the
leading characters of this dramatic episode in history including Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, known as Banga
Bandhu, Maulana Bhashani and General Jagjit Singh Aurora. A year earlier I had been commissioned by the Indian Government to write a booklet on the influx of over 3 million Hindu refugees from East Pakistan. I was then editing Yojna. I spent a week visiting refugee camps with a Bengali photographer to help me out with my language problem. My lengthy report was published by the Government under the title No Wanted In Pakistan”.
Prime Minister Indira Gandhi realised that Pakistan was never likely to take back the refugees. And India could not afford to absorb them. She first tried to convince the
western countries and briefed  them on the predicament India was facing. War with Pakistan could no longer be avoided.
She faked the hi-jacking of an Indian plane by Pakistan and forbade their planes flying over India. By then the Indian Air Force had bombed the run-way of Dhaka Airport and made lit difficult for Pakistani planes stationed there to be able to take off. With a single direct strike it also knocked down Pakistani Air Force quarters across the road from the airport. By then our Army had infiltrated over 40 miles into East Pakistan and our officers were heading many units of Mukti Bahini. The people of East Pakistan had been subjected to severe cruelties and humiliations by General Tikka Khan, regarded as “the butcher of Bangladesh”.
Thousands of innocent Bangladeshis had been killed, their women raped and the Hindu population forced to migrate to India. By the time Pakistan declared War against India, the Indian Army was more than 40 miles into East Pakistan and welcomed by the locals. The strategy worked out by General Manekshaw and his advisers paid handsome dividends. Our Army avoided direct conflict with the Pakistani Army. Instead it by-passed them till lit got to the capital, Dhaka. It overwhelmed the Pakistani units posted there. The Pakistani Army was left with no option but to admit defeat. 93,000 Pakistani solders laid down arms to become prisoners of India. The victory was acclaimed as a jewel in India’s crown. Indira Gandhi, who masterminded the aftermath, was conferred Bharat Ratna.
An amusing episode remains in my mind. A German journalist who relied heavily on information I gave him wanted to repay me.  He asked me “do you know the war cry of the Mukti Bahini?
I replied I did not know they had such a thing as a war cry.  “They have,” he insisted, “I will tell you for all the help you have given me, is Sat Sri Akal.”

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