Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites


Wednesday, 22 August 2012

From Today's Papers - 22 Aug 2012
Cop running militant group in J&K arrested
Two-member gang carried out 13 attacks in Srinagar in 18 months
Azhar Qadri/TNS

Srinagar, August 21
The Jammu and Kashmir Police has arrested two persons allegedly involved in 13 deadly attacks, including an assassination attempt on a cabinet minister and an attack on the civil secretariat, in the capital city over the past 18 months.

The duo was operating under the outfit name Islamic Movement of Kashmir, said Inspector General of Police (Kashmir zone) SM Sahai. He identified the two persons as police constable Abdul Rashid Shigan, alias Molvi, alias Omer Mukhtar, and released militant Imtiyaz Ahmad Gojri, alias Amir. Both are residents of Srinagar city.

Shigan, a constable with the Jammu and Kashmir Armed Police since 1998 and over-ground worker (OGW) for the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen during his student years, was the mastermind of the squad. He had stockpiled rifles and ammunition at a hideout built in his house.

Two AK-47 rifles, a Krinkov assault rifle, four pistols, five grenades, 12 under-barrel grenade launcher shells, one improvised explosive device, a mine and other ammunition were seized from the hideout, the police said.

Sahai said the arrested militants had accepted their involvement in 13 attacks carried out in the city since January last year.

Shigan and Gojri assassinated retired DSP Abdul Hameed Bhat earlier this month while he was leaving a mosque near his house on the outskirts of the city. In December last year, they carried out an attack on state Law Minister Ali Mohammad in Srinagar’s old city. Though the minister survived the attack, one policeman was killed in the incident. The Kashmir police chief said the duo was able to go undetected for the past 18 months because they were not part of any militant group. “Leads (and inputs) would always come from structured set-up. They were working in isolation,” Sahai said.

This is for the second time this year that the state police has found its own men involved in militant attacks or abetting the militant cause.

Four policemen were arrested in June this year for aiding militants in Kashmir.


August 10, 2012: Retired DSP Abdul Hameed Bhat shot dead outside a mosque

July 18: Civil secretariat attacked with rifle grenade

June 28: Rifle grenades fired at Tatoo group Territorial Army camp

May 30: CRPF patrol attacked, seven injured

April 20: ASI Sukhpal Singh shot dead in a market

December 11, 2011: Law Minister Ali Mohammad Sagar attacked

June 29, 2011: Inspector Shabir Ahmad shot dead

January 4, 2011: Injured SHO Batamaloo Nazir Ahmad
6 Tamil fishermen injured in attack by Lankan navy

Rameswaram (TN), August 21
Six Tamil Nadu fishermen were injured today when they were allegedly attacked by the Sri Lankan navy which briefly detained 13 others near Katchatheevu in the Palk Straits.

The fishermen, taken to Neduntheevu in Sri Lanka along with their three boats, were ordered to be released, according to officials, who received a wireless message from Sri Lanka.

However, before ordering their release, the fishermen were allegedly hit with sticks and punched several times by the Sri Lankan navy, the sources said.

In the second such incident in two days, six fishermen were injured in the alleged attack by the Lankan navy near Katchatheevu, an islet ceded to Sri Lanka by India in 1974.

Official sources said the fishermen were attacked with stones, nylon ropes and rods and their three boats were taken away.

While one fishermen identified as Gnanasekaran has been hospitalised here for head injury, five others suffered minor injuries, they said.

On Sunday, the Lankan Navy allegedly took away at gunpoint the catch netted by fishermen who put to sea from here, when they were near Katchatheevu after surrounding 10 boats.

In another incident on the same day in Nagapattinam, eight fishermen of Vedaranyam village were injured in an attack allegedly by Sri Lankan naval personnel in mid-sea off Arukattuthurai in Tamil Nadu.

Today's attack comes a day after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, charging the government with "soft handling" the issue of Sri Lankan Navy's alleged attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen.

Ruling UPA key ally DMK chief M Karunanidhi had also slammed recurring attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen and demanded that the Centre seek a strong and permanent solution to the vexed issue.

A senior Coast Guard official said the 13 fishermen were released by the Sri Lankan Navy and were on their way back home.

"I was informed that these boats (carrying fishermen) have been released by the Sri Lankan Navy and they are on their way back to Tamil Nadu shores," Inspector General Satya Prakash Sharma Regional Commander (East) Coast Guard told reporters at Chennai. —PTI
Different compensation to BSF constables hurt in mine blasts
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 21
In an unusual case, a BSF constable who was injured in a mine blast while on operational patrol between two company posts near the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir has been termed as an accident victim and awarded lower compensation where as another constable injured in similar circumstances while proceeding to an observation post on the LoC has been classified as a battle casualty and awarded much higher compensation.

While posted at a forward defended locality (FDL) in Kupwara in March 2008, Chander Pal Singh was detailed for a link patrol between two FDLs along an existing beaten track. After moving just a few yards, he stepped on a drifted mine, seriously injuring his left foot. His injuries were attributable to government service and his disability was assessed at 40 per cent.

The BSF decided to retain him in service inspite of his disability because his injuries had occurred on operational duty. In May 2010, he applied for grant of lumpsum compensation as per rules and in March 2011, he was paid Rs 1.42 lakh.

Chander, however claimed that he was entitled to Rs 5 lakh and sent a representation to higher authorities citing that his disability came under ‘E’ category as he was injured in a forward area while undertaking operational tasks. BSF authorities, however, maintained that his case was that of an accident involving stepping on a drifted mine and there was no involvement of terrorists or militants, and hence he could be paid compensation under ‘C’ category.

Under Central Government rules, category ‘E’ includes death or disability arising as a result of attack by or during action against extremists, anti-social elements etc., enemy action in international war or border skirmishes and warlike situations, including cases which are attributable to extremist acts, exploding mines etc. and while on way to an operational area. Category ‘C’ includes death or disability due to accidents in the performance of duties, for example accidents while travelling on duty, electrocution, etc.

In November last year, he sent a detailed representation, citing the case of another BSF constable, G. Deka, who was similarly injured by a mine while moving towards an observation post adjacent to the fence on the LoC. It was also pointed out that the remarks of the competent authority in both maters is the same.

In April this year, he was informed that his disability was due to inadvertent stepping on a drifted mine in connection with surprise checking of arms and ammunitions and there was no involvement of militants or extremists, whereas Deka was going to the observation point and the incident took place near fence, with the possibility of mines having been laid by extremists or the enemy.

Chander has now sought judicial redressal to his grievance and the matter is pending before the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Under Central Government rules, category ‘E’ includes death or disability arising as a result of attack by or during action against extremists, anti-social elements etc, enemy action in international war or border skirmishes and warlike situations, including cases which are attributable to extremist acts, exploding mines etc. and while on way to an operational area. Category ‘C’ includes death or disability due to accidents in the performance of duties, for example accidents while travelling on duty, electrocution etc
Red Fort to be free of Army stamp
NEW DELHI: Red Fort is soon going to be free of all vestiges of the Indian Army, with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) razing the post-Independence structures at the 17th century Mughal citadel. These include garages, sheds, two-storey houses, staff quarters etc built during the six decades that the Indian military had camped in the Fort.

The structures will be demolished in three phases and 82 buildings have been identified for Phase I. "In total, we have identified about 200 buildings built by the Army. These structures have no historical value and are an eyesore for tourists as these obstruct a clear view of the monuments in the fort. A number of buildings have been already razed and others are in the pipeline. It will take about three more months to complete Phase I," a senior ASI official said recently.

The structures have been identified in the comprehensive conservation management plan (CCMP) prepared for Red Fort. A few years back, some structures like toilet blocks, tin sheds and hutments, also built by the Army, were razed by ASI, and this time, the heritage body has targeted bigger structures.

The cottages have been lying empty since the Army moved out of the Fort in 2003 and are falling apart. A peek inside shows a cozy, three-room cottage complete with a fire place and a verandah. However, cobwebs can be seen in the rooms, peeling-off plaster and missing window sills. There are almost a hundred such cottages which will be razed in the months to follow. While the army had spread about 70% of the Fort during their tenure, most of the cottages are located close to each other.

A few of the Army buildings being used by CISF guards at the Fort have also been identified for demolition. According to conservationists, the Army-built structures do not fit into the aesthetics of the sprawling Fort, which boasts of structures from two different eras — Mughal and British.

"The tiny cottages and sheds are occupying a good percentage of the Fort grounds and need to be cleared. Once this is completed, we will landscape the area and maintain it as a historical monument," said an ASI official.

Some years ago, there were talks about razing the colonial barracks and other buildings built by the British after they occupied the Fort from Bahadurshah Zafar following the 1857 Uprising. The ASI, however, shot this down. "The colonial structures are as much part of the Fort's history as the Mughal monuments. The barracks will be utilized as museums, libraries and interpretation centres," said an official.
Armed forces demand national war memorial at India Gate
NEW DELHI: India's national war memorial (NWM), which was first mooted in the 1960s but is yet to become a reality despite a long-pending demand by the armed forces, should come up in the India Gate complex on the Central Vista in the Capital. Making this recommendation on Tuesday, the group of ministers (GoM) headed by defence minister A K Antony also suggested that a national war museum can concurrently come up at the Princess Park complex near India Gate.

The recommendations are now being send to the Union Cabinet for the final approval,'' said an official. As reported by TOI earlier, while the majestic India Gate was built by the British to honour the 84,000 Indian soldiers killed in fighting for the British Empire in World War-I and the Afghan campaign, there is as yet no NWM to remember the soldiers who laid down their lives to guard an Independent India during the 1947-48 J&K operations, the 1962, 1965 and 1971 wars and the 1999 Kargil conflict.

The bone of contention for long was that while the armed forces wanted the NWM to come up near India Gate, the Union urban development ministry and the Delhi Urban Art Commission held it would disrupt the layout and spoil the aesthetics of the area.

But now, with the urban development ministry also on board'', the three Services will now prepare an integrated masterplan for the construction of the memorial and museum. The earlier conceptual design'' for the NWM prepared by Army basically revolves around a landscape-type memorial around the 'chhatri' (canopy) near India Gate on the Central Vista, with retaining walls'' for inscribing the names of the martyrs.
Indian air chief in Brazil to deepen defence ties
New Delhi : Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne, who heads the Indian Air Force, Tuesday left for Brazil on a bilateral visit when he will inspect the production of Embraer planes for India's indigenous airborne early warning system.

As Air Chief Marshal Browne inspects the last two of the three EMB-145 planes under this order, the first plane would reach India Wednesday to enable the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to carry out systems integration on the plane.

According to an IAF release here, the IAF chief will during the visit call on Brazilian Defence Minister Celso Amorin, apart from his counterpart Air Lieutenant Brigadier Juniti Saito and Brazilian Army commander General Enzo Martins Peri, to discuss bilateral issues of defence cooperation towards broader military ties.

The Indian air chief is scheduled to visit the Brazilian Air Force Academy at Pirassununga, Sao Paulo, its First Training Squadron and other training facilities, besides interacting with the cadets.

He would also visit the Anapolis airbase of the Brazilian Air Force and the Embraer facility located at Sao Jose dos Campos.

India had about half a decade ago sanctioned a DRDO programme for design and development of three EMB-145 aircraft based Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&C) to meet operational requirement of the IAF.

Embraer had delivered the first of the three planes to IAF three days ago at their facility in Brazil.
US Army battling racists within its own ranks
FAYETTEVILLE, North Carolina: They call it " rahowa" - short for racial holy war - and they are preparing for it by joining the ranks of the world's fiercest fighting machine, the US military.

White supremacists, neo-Nazis and skinhead groups encourage followers to enlist in the Army and Marine Corps to acquire the skills to overthrow what some call the ZOG - the Zionist Occupation Government. Get in, get trained and get out to brace for the coming race war.

If this scenario seems like fantasy or bluster, civil rights organizations take it as deadly serious, especially given recent events. Former US Army soldier Wade Page opened fire with a 9mm handgun at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin on August 5, murdering six people and critically wounding three before killing himself during a shootout with police.

The US Defense Department as well has stepped up efforts to purge violent racists from its ranks, earning praise from organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has tracked and exposed hate groups since the 1970s.

Page, who was 40, was well known in the white supremacist music scene. In the early 2000s he told academic researcher Pete Simi that he became a neo-Nazi after joining the military in 1992. Fred Lucas, who served with him, said Page openly espoused his racist views until 1998, when he was demoted from sergeant to specialist, discharged and barred from re-enlistment.

While at Fort Bragg, in North Carolina, Page told Simi , he made the acquaintance of James Burmeister, a skinhead paratrooper who in 1995 killed a black Fayetteville couple in a racially motivated shooting. Burmeister was sentenced to life in prison and died in 2007.

No one knows how many white supremacists have served since then. A 2008 report commissioned by the Justice Department found half of all right-wing extremists in the United States had military experience.

"We don't really think this is a huge problem, at Bragg, and across the Army," said Colonel Kevin Arata, a spokesman for Fort Bragg.

"In my 26 years in the Army, I've never seen it," the former company commander said.

Experts have identified the presence of street gang members as a more widespread problem. Even so, the Pentagon has launched three major pushes in recent decades to crack down on racist extremists. The first directive was issued in 1986, when Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger ordered military personnel to reject supremacist organizations.

That failed to stop former Marine T.J. Leyden, with two-inch SS bolts tattooed above his collar, from serving from 1988 to 1991 while openly supporting neo-Nazi causes. A member of the Hammerskin Nation, a skinhead group, he said he hung a swastika from his locker, taking it down only when his commander politely asked him to ahead of inspections by the commanding general.

"I went into the Marine Corps for one specific reason: I would learn how shoot," Leyden told Reuters. "I also learned how to use C-4 (explosives), blow things up. I took all my military skills and said I could use these to train other people," said Leyden, 46, who has since renounced the white power movement and is a consultant for the anti-Nazi Simon Wiesenthal Center.


In 1995, eight months before the Fort Bragg murders, two former Army soldiers bombed the Oklahoma City federal building, killing 168 people. With a growing awareness of the spreading militia movement, the Pentagon in 1996 banned military personnel from participating in supremacist causes and authorized commanders to cashier personnel for rallying, recruiting or training racists.

"What's scary about Page is that he served in the 1990s when putatively this was being treated quite seriously by the military. There's plenty of other Pages who served during the war on terror, and we don't know what they're going to be doing over the next decade or so," said Matt Kennard, author of the forthcoming book "Irregular Army: How the US Military Recruited Neo-Nazis, Gang Members and Criminals to Fight the War on Terror."

Kennard argues the US military was so desperate for troops while fighting simultaneous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that it allowed extremists, felons and gang members into the armed forces.

The military can grant a "moral waiver" to allow a convicted criminal or otherwise ineligible person into the armed forces, and the percentage of recruits granted such waivers grew from 16.7 percent in 2003 to 19.6 percent in 2006, according to Pentagon data obtained by the Palm Center in a 2007 Freedom of Information Act request. But the Pentagon says no waiver exists for participation in extremist organizations.

"Our standards have not changed; participation in extremist activities has never been tolerated and is punishable under the Uniformed Code of Military Justice," said Eileen Lainez, a Defense Department spokeswoman.

The Pentagon's third directive against white supremacists was issued in 2009 after a Department of Homeland Security report expressed concern that right-wing extremists were recruiting veterans returning from wars overseas.

The Pentagon's 2009 instruction, updated in February 2012, directs commanders to remain alert for signs of racist activity and to intervene when they see it. It bans soldiers from blogging or chatting on racist websites while on duty.

"This is the best we've ever seen," said Heidi Beirich, leader of the Southern Poverty Law Center's intelligence project, referring to the Pentagon's attitute. "It was really disheartening under the Bush administration how lightly they took it, so this is a major advance."

Her group monitors online chatter among self-described active-duty warriors serving overseas and reports it to military officials. It also receives regular calls from military investigators asking about racists in the service.

The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), another civil rights monitor, have helped train officers on how to spot extremists, although Mark Pitcavage, director of investigative research at the ADL, says the military lacks comprehensive training for recruiters and commanders. He called the military's reaction when alerted to white supremacists "patchy."

"We've discovered a great range of response, from getting a phone call the next day saying, 'He's already out,' to not doing anything at all," Pitcavage said.


The Army showed Reuters a one-hour presentation it says was designed to educate soldiers and Army leaders about its extremism policy and how to respond, including to white supremacy groups. Penalties for extremist ideology may include being removed from the military, having security clearances yanked or being demoted.

"The standard hateful message has not been replaced, just packaged differently with issues like freedom of speech, anti-gun control themes, tax reform and oppression," the presentation says, noting that recruitment may be difficult to detect, occurring quietly "in bars and break areas" on bases.

The presentation instructs Army leaders to look out for tattooed symbols of lightning bolts, skulls, swastikas, eagles and Nordic warriors. Skinheads may have tattoos showing barbed wire, hobnailed boots and hammers.

In a detailed flowchart called a "Tattoo Decision Support Matrix," Army leaders are shown how to respond to various tattoos. At the time of publication, the Army was unable to identify the locations where this course was being taught.


"We're very strict on the tattoo policy here within this recruiting station," said Sergeant Aaron Iskenderian, head of the Army recruiting office in Fayetteville, the Army town next to Fort Bragg.

With the United States withdrawn from Iraq, winding down from Afghanistan and unemployment stuck above 8 percent, recruiters can be choosy again.

Iskenderian cited the example of a young man who came in recently with a tattoo of the Confederate flag.

"We're in the South here. It's considered Southern heritage. It's on the General Lee," Iskenderian said, referring to the car from the television show "The Dukes of Hazzard."

"Is it racist? I asked him, 'What does it mean to you?' and he said, 'Southern pride.'"

The potential recruit also told Iskenderian he had a black girlfriend. Iskenderian sent the issue up the chain of command, and the young man was rejected.

Academics who study white supremacists say proponents of the "infiltration strategy" of joining the US military have adapted, telling skinheads to deceive military recruiters by letting their hair grow, avoiding or covering tattoos, and suppressing their racist views.

"You have to differentiate between some of the grandiose fantasies of some of the leaders of the movement and what actually is going on," cautioned the ADL's Pitcavage.

For neo-Nazis who get past the screeners, as with the gang members, the military needs a comprehensive strategy, said Carter F. Smith, a former military investigator who is now a professor of criminal justice at Austin Peay State University in Tennessee.

"They are some of the most disciplined soldiers we have. They really want to learn to shoot those weapons," Smith said. "The problem wasn't just that we were opening the floodgates to let them in. We let them out after prosecution or when their time was up and we didn't let the police know."
Sitrep-Assam's CM misplaced criticism of army
Is the criticism by Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi of the army's alleged "slow pattern of deployment" to curb the recent ethnic violence in the state justified? One thing must be considered by politicians of all hues before levelling charges against the armed forces in respect of internal
security operations.

The armed forces are always loath to deploying troops in aid of civil power for maintenance of law and order without specific and definite orders. It's not as if they're unaware in some way of the ground situation.
The military intelligence's internal security groups with sub-units located all over the country keep a close watch on threats to internal security and political developments that might trigger such situations.
The army's terms of engagement mean that they will always wait for written requisitions/requests to deploy troops inside the country.
That is what being armed forces, which respect democratic norms and constitutional provisions, is all about. Politicians of all hues, when they indulge in cover-ups and passing the buck operations of their own, must remember this.

3 Jat lived up to its reputation
In war, flexibility, robustness as much mental as physical, determination to achieve objectives and daring opportunism are all-important. Such qualities were displayed in ample measure by Colonel Desmond Hayde and his men of the famous 3rd Battalion of the Jat Regiment at the Battle of Batapore on September 6, 1965, the opening day of the Indian offensive in the Amritsar sector. Recruited from Jats, the tough, indomitable peasant community from Haryana, Rajasthan and Western UP and the backbone of India's defence, the battalion raised in 1823 had a proud battle record.

The Indian plan was to advance to the Bambanwala-Ravi Bedian (BRB) Canal and use it as a reverse defence. The 54 Brigade of 15 (Panther) Division, of which 3 Jat was a part, planned to have one battalion advance along the GT Road to the BRB Canal. The brigade's second battalion was to move along the Amritsar-Lahore railway line and capture the road and railway bridges at Jallo.

The 3 Jat were to infiltrate enemy territory, move cross-country, eliminate the Brigade Advance Position at Gosal-Dial on the GT Road and establish a firm base there. The idea was to position a battalion on either side of the GT Road holding the line of the BRB with a third in depth.

The Jats launched their move at 4 am, quickly moved up to their objective (held by a company less two platoons of 11 FF, a reconnaissance and support unit) and made quick work of it after a sharp encounter. Meanwhile the battalion moving along the GT Road had got into a firefight at the Rangers post at Wagah, losing around a dozen men.

Their CO lost heart and refused to move further. The Brigade Commander, Brigadier MS Rikh, then requested Hayde to take on the other unit's task. Hayde, always ready for a challenge and having full confidence in his men, soon had 3 Jat on the move along with Charlie Squadron, Scinde Horse and its Sherman tanks, even though they were mauled badly by air strikes by the quick-to-react Pakistan Air Force. Closing up to the canal, they came upon the strong screen position bolstered by concrete pill-boxes at Dograi/Jallo Mor held by two companies of 3 Baluch.

The battalion was now enveloped in a downpour of enemy artillery fire with their air force strafing the Jats relentlessly. It was now that 3 Jat's high quality of company and platoon leadership asserted itself. Maneuvering to outflank the enemy and encircle them, the Jats closed in to engage the Pakistanis in assault mode. Penetrating the Dograi defences, the battalion reached the Canal-GT Road junction at 11:30 hours.

The bridge over the canal had been blown up, but the framework stood more or less intact, though badly mangled. To exploit his success, Hayde now probed forward with two companies which worked their way across and fanned out on both sides of the GT Road. The Pakistani reaction was massive; national honour was involved. No artillery or air support was available to our own troops nor was there any communication link to the higher formation headquarters.

The 3 Jat was fighting the battle quite unaided except for the straight-shooting Scinde Horse squadron which effectively tackled enemy armour and mobile reinforcements.

The gallant foray of the Jats was soon to end however. The higher formation commanders failed to provide basic support or even go forward to see for themselves. Under tremendous enemy pressure and mindful that the remnants of the bridge would soon disintegrate leaving them marooned on the far bank, Hayde was ordered to withdraw to their original position.

In this action, 3 Jat and in particular their CO showed guts, grit, valour and an ability to grasp opportunities. Sadly, Hayde and 3 Jat's bold actions were not adequately supported by higher formation commanders who remained blissfully unaware of their resounding success in capturing Dograi and in probing forward across the BRB Canal towards the ultimate prize, Lahore.

Going beyond the call of duty
The month of August brings back painful memories of killings and mayhem in the name of religion at the time of Partition. Many armed forces personnel, even without orders, risked their careers and even their lives trying to save endangered people of all communities.

One such Good Samaritan was Captain Shamsher Singh, from the Kler military family of Kakrala village in Samrala tehsil ,serving with 2 Indian Airborne Division Signals at Quetta. On August 16, he was informed about a large number of non-Muslims having taken shelter in a local gurdwara and needing to be evacuated to India.

Accordingly, a number of officers, along with the men under their command, moved the refugees to their unit lines in the cantonment in army vehicles and housed them in empty barracks. A Pathan officer commanding a transport company also got into the spirit of things and placed his unit's jeeps and light vehicles with their trailers at the disposal of the evacuation group.

The Commanding Officer (CO), Colonel Jones, from the British Service rather than the Indian Army and newly arrived in the country without much knowledge of local affairs, now arrived on the scene. Seeing a large number of civilian refuges ensconced in his unit's barracks, he demanded an explanation from Captain Shamsher Singh on whose orders such an infringement of Army rules and orders had been done. Captain Shamsher Singh simply replied with dignity, "On the orders of Guru Gobind Singh."

When the significance of the Captain's remarks and that of the Guru as a saviour of humanity were explained to the Colonel, impressed, he just turned around and walked away saying, Carry on." The non-Muslims sheltered by the Signalmen all made it to India safely. While the Indian troops from Quetta and the rest of the division had a number of hair-raising adventures on the way home to their newly independent motherland, they had the immense satisfaction of having saved a number of lives.
Army seek information on land around Annandale ground
SHIMLA: Before the next hearing in Annandale ground arbitration case, Army authorities want to measure land around the ground in totality, for which they have approached the administration informally. As the court of divisional commissioner, Shimla, has fixed September 10 as the next date of hearing, the Army wants to study revenue records of land surrounding the ground to strengthen its case.

But the administration has made it clear that request could be routed only through the divisional commissioner, who is arbitrator in the case. During the last hearing held in June, the Army had sought time till September 10. The court had fixed August 27 as the next date of hearing.

Dispute over possession of the ground started after the government sought possession of Annandale ground back from the Army after the expiry of its lease deed. The war of work took an ugly turn when a statement issued by the defense PRO on behalf of Western Command accused the Himachal Pradesh government of shielding land mafia. The issue was also raised before defense minister AK Antony by chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal.

To reclaim the ground spread over 121 bigha, the district administration last year had filed an arbitration case. After finding that reclaiming the ground had become difficult, it invoked clause 4 in the lease agreement, which provides for arbitration and the arbitration petition was filed in the court of divisional commissioner, Shimla, on November 28, 2011.

The Union defense minister in May this year had asked the Himachal Pradesh government to maintain status quo in view of the strategic importance of the ground and till suitable land was identified by the state government to be given to the Army.

On May 15 this year, the then Army chief, General V K Singh, during his meeting with chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, had raised the issue and had claimed to come out with an amicable solution to the controversy but Dhumal had made it clear that there was no change in government's stand on Annandale.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal