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Thursday, 13 September 2012

From Today's Papers - 13 Sep 2012


Pilots did the right thing in not flying Rahul: IAF

Tribune News Service


New Delhi, September 12

The Indian Air Force on Wednesday said its pilots did the right thing is not flying Congress leader Rahul Gandhi from Kokrajhar to Guwahati in Assam last evening. The decision was taken on safety grounds as the weather was inclement. The Mi-17 chopper carrying Gandhi had not returned from Kokrajhar till this morning.


Based on the prevailing weather and approaching sunset, the pilots took into account the safety of the VIP as being paramount, and arrived at the decision that it was unsafe to undertake the flight, IAF spokesperson Wing Commander Gerard Galway said.


“The pilot’s decision was taken using his professional judgement in the interest of safety of occupants,” he added. After a chopper carrying Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister crashed last year, detailed guidelines were issued and pilots have been asked to follow those.


Following the decision of not flying to Guwahati, the Congress leader had changed his travel plans for reaching Guwahati from Kokrajhar and travelled by road. Gandhi’s flight was planned from Kokrajhar to Guwahati around 5 pm and the weather at Guwahati was reported as continuous rain, lightning and thundershowers, Gallway said.


The weather at diversionary airfield Hashimara lying en route from Kokrajhar to Guwahati was also overcast with low clouds and widespread rain patches, he said.


Gandhi was on a day’s trip to the state on Tuesday to meet victims of ethnic violence in relief camps and held discussions with Bodoland Territorial Council leaders on the prevailing situation in Assam.

SC tells Vectra chief to approach trial court

Legal Correspondent


New Delhi, September 12

The Supreme Court today refused to grant any relief to Vectra chief Ravinder Rishi, an accused in the Tatra scam, and directed him to approach the trial court for the purpose.


Rishi, who has a substantial stake in Tatra Sipox UK, had sought permission to go to the UK for his medical treatment, besides challenging the lookout notice issued against him.


Senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi and Ranjit Kumar pleaded that despite the registration of an FIR by the CBI against their client, state-owned Bharat Earth Movers Ltd (BEML) had placed fresh orders for Tatra trucks. The Army had bought Tatra trucks through BEML allegedly paying a higher price.


The CBI opposed Rishi’s plea for going abroad for treatment. Going by the medical reports, Rishi did not face any serious risk to his life, it said. Accepting CBI’s contentions, the court asked Rishi to approach the trial court for seeking relief.

Rights body seeks probe into army deployment delay

GUWAHATI: Coming down heavily on the state government, Centre and the Army for failing to prevent the recent ethnic clashes in western Assam districts, the Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) on Tuesday asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to order an inquiry into the delay by the Army in deploying its personnel in the riot-hit areas, fix the responsibility and take necessary measures, including disciplinary action, for criminal dereliction of duty.


Releasing its report titled "Assam Riots: Preventable But Not Prevented" on Tuesday, ACHR recommended establishing the supremacy of chief minister Tarun Gogoi as the chairman of the "Unified Command" through a standard process.


"Between the first incident of killing on July 6 and the next on July 28 that resulted in ethnic violence later, the state government got three weeks time to react. But why preventive measures were not taken during that time?" it questioned.


"The riots were preventable but not prevented because of the criminal dereliction of duty starting from Kokrajhar Police to the highest authorities of the ministry of defence, Chief of the Army Staff, director general military operations and the commander of the Eastern Command," alleged Suhas Chakma, the director of ACHR.


According to ACHR, though the state has 27,595 armed policemen, it failed to deploy them at the earliest to prevent riots. "The state government did not even deploy central paramilitary forces existing here. Instead, it waited for the Centre to instruct West Bengal and Meghalaya to send paramilitary forces. The initial refusal of the army to be deployed directly led to increased loss of lives, displacement and consequent spread of hatred in the country. By the time the army moved in on July 25, about 44 persons were killed and over 200,000 were displaced. There must be accountability for such criminal dereliction of duty," added Chakma.


ACHR also criticized Assam DGP J N Choudhury, a former top intelligence bureau official, and blamed him for failing to gather proper inputs about the riots. The rights body also pressed the Centre to discuss the issue of illegal migration in India at national and international level.


"Influx, followed by pressure on land, is the main cause of riots. Kokrajhar district bore the brunt of illegal immigration more than the state. The census records post independence reveal that the district has an abnormal population growth which is much higher than the state," he said.


Census records say during 1951-1961, Kokrajhar had a decadal growth rate of 46.44 against 34.98 in Assam, while it increased to 54.28(Kokrajhar) against 34.95 (Assam) during 1961-1971. From 1971-1991, the decadal growth rate of population in Kokrajhar was 76.75% against 53.25% in Assam.


The ACHR also asked the Centre to make proper immigration and refugee policies and demanded seize arms in the BTC area.

Army to hone war fighting skills with United States

New Delhi, Sep 11, 2012, DHNS:


Special forces from India and the US are all set to test each other’s ability to carry out commando operations on the Himalayan heights next month.


Indian Army commandos will engage with their counterparts from US Special Forces in a 20-day-long mock war game at the Special Forces regiment at Nahan in Himachal Pradesh.

Beginning October 15, exercise “Vajra Prahar” with the US will continue till November 4.


Participation from India will be at platoon level, said Army officers. The objective of the exercise, however, has been kept under wraps.


Exercises with the US Army have become a regular affair for India but the core theme varies each time. “Vajra Prahar” will be the third one in 2012 as it was preceded by “Shatrujit” and “Yudh Abhyas”.


The last exercise, “Shatrujit”, took place in the USA in April where close to 200 Indian troops participated. A month ago, exercise “Yudh Abhyas” took place in Jaisalmer under the South Western Command in which the US fielded its top-notch armoured vehicle Stryker whereas India used its mechanised regiments.


“Vajra Prahar” is preceded by exercise “Maitree” with Thailand in the forests of eastern India. The 15-day exercise focusing on counter-insurgency operations in rural and urban settings began on Tuesday at Ramgarh near Ranchi in Jharkahnd.


While 45 Thai Army personnel, including five officers, are taking part in the exercise, the Indian side is represented by a platoon from the grenadiers. Earlier in the year, Thailand participated in a table top exercise with the Navy and the Thai prime minister was the Guest of Honour at the Republic Day event.


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