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Sunday, 16 March 2014

From Today's Papers - 16 Mar 2014

 Pathribal case never reached GCM stage
Ishfaq Tantry
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, March 15
General court martial proceedings were not initiated against five Army men, including four officers, who were accused in the Pathribal fake encounter case. The Army did not convene any military court and only conducted “effectual proceedings” following which the case was dismissed.

These new details, hitherto unknown, have emerged in the 11-page reply filed by the Army in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Srinagar, on Friday. The CJM had directed the Army to hand over documents pertaining to the court martial proceedings to the family members of Zahoor Ahmad Dalala, one of the victims in the 2000 encounter case.

The Army had on January 23, 2014, announced the closure of the Pathribal case and given a clean chit to five of its men accused of killing an equal number of civilians during a “staged encounter” in south Kashmir on March 25, 2000.

It had cited lack of evidence for closing the proceedings in the case. In its report, however, to the CJM on January 20, 2014, the Army did not specify at what stage the proceedings were closed and charges dropped against the accused. In its fresh reply, the Army said: “GoC 16 Corps, the Commanding Officer of all the five accused, heard the charges against them and found that the evidence on record did not establish a prima facie case against any of the five accused. He referred the “summary of evidence” to General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GoC-in-C), Northern Command, under the Rule 24 (1) (b) of the Army Rules, 1954.

New revelations

    The 11-page reply filed by the Army in the court of Srinagar CJM has revealed that no military court was convened and only “effectual proceedings” were conducted following which the case was dismissed
    GoC 16 Corps, the Commanding Officer of the five accused, heard the charges against them and found that the evidence on record did not establish a prima facie case against any of the accused
    He forwarded the matter to the GoC-in-C, who after analysing the evidence, agreed with the commanding officer that there was no need for court martial proceedings
    The GoC-in-C then directed the commanding officer to dismiss all charges against the accused
 Hunt for new Navy Chief enters Week 3
KV Prasad
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 15
Two weeks after the sudden exit of Admiral DK Joshi, the hunt for a new Chief of Naval Staff continues as the government is processing it through a list of five Vice-Admirals who are in the zone of consideration.

Last Thursday, a buzz went around that an announcement was imminent with the name of the one of the five as having been the chosen one. All that happened was that the file pertaining to the appointment reached the desk of the Defence Minister and returned seeking more clarifications.

As things stand today, Vice-Chief of Naval Staff Robin Dhowan is officiating as the Chief and is among the five Vice-Admirals whose papers are being processed before the minister takes the decision for approval of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet which includes the Prime Minister and the Minister for Personnel in this case.

Sources said since the Model Code of Conduct is in operation, approval of the Election Commission has been obtained so that the government can finalise on a name from among Vice-Chief Admiral Dhowan, Western Naval Commander Shekhar Sinha, Eastern Naval Commander Anil Chopra, Southern Naval Commander Satish Soni and Strategic Forces Commander SPS Cheema, who is the junior most in the hierarchy.

Usually the government begins the process some six months before the date of retirement of the incumbent Chief but Admiral Joshi’s resignation upset the line of succession.
UK to bring alive role of Indian soldiers
 Hundred years after 10 lakh Indian soldiers fought in World War I for the British Army, the UK government is preparing to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the war and bring to life the role played by Indians in the battle.

While Defence Ministry’s response to the British government’s proposal has been lukewarm, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has shown interest and roped in the United Service Institution (USI), a defence think tank, to participate in the commemoration in India.

“The Indian Army played a major role in the conflict. It fought in western Europe, in some of the most famous battles like Ypres (Belgium) and the Somme (France). It fought in the Mediterranean and at Gallipoli. It fought in the Middle East, in what was then Mesopotamia (now Iraq), in Palestime and in Suez. And it fought in East Africa,” the British High Commissioner James Bevan said Saturday.

“For us, this will be a commemoration not a celebration. Our aim is to show respect and gratitude to those who died and to their families, to ensure that today’s young people learn the facts and the lessons of that conflict and to promote a common resolve among all nations involved in WWI to ensure a peaceful and just world for future generations,” he said.

Squadron Leader Rana Chhina, who is secretary at USI’s Centre for Armed Forces Historical Research, said: “It is very significant that we are able to utilise this centenary commemoration to highlight India’s involvement in that conflict… to reclaim what was in a sense a forgotten history but is a very important one and also part of the shared heritage of India and the UK.”

Around 1.2 million soldiers from undivided India fought for the British Empire during the war, of which 74,000 died.

A major commemorative event would be held on October 30 in which leading dignitaries and representatives from India, UK and other countries involved in WWI will be invited. “A programme to honour the soldiers who won Victoria Crosses will also be held. A total of 11 VCs were awarded to soldiers hailing from United India – six from today’s India, three from now Pakistan and two Nepalese nationals,” Bevan said.

Apart from these, a guide book to the battlefields of France and Belgium will be published for families wishing to visit sites where Indian servicemen fought.

Publication of an illustrated book giving a pictorial overview of India and WWI and digitisation of war diaries of Indian regiments which fought in France and Flanders will also be done, Bevan said.
256 officers inducted into Indian Army
CHENNAI: A total of 256 officers, including 62 women, were on Saturday commissioned into the Indian Army as short service officers here.

The officers were inducted during the ceremonial passing out parade at the Officers Training Academy.

Along with them, four officers from Seychelles and one from Ethiopia completed their training at the Academy.

Maldives chief of defence forces Maj Gen Ahmed Shiyam reviewed the parade at the Academy.

While the chief of Army Banner was awarded to Basanter Company, the coveted 'Sword of Honour' was awarded to Academy Cadet Adjutant Sonu Singh Bhaduria.

Later, the cadets were pipped by their parents, followed by oath-taking ceremony.

The cadets would also be awarded a PG diploma in Defence Management and Strategic Studies from the University of Madras.

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