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Tuesday, 6 May 2014

From Today's Papers - 06 May 2014

Ahead of polls, Chinese copters intrude into Ladakh
Arteev Sharma
Tribune News Service

Leh, May 5
Ahead of polling for the lone Ladakh Lok Sabha seat — the country’s largest (area-wise) parliamentary segment — the Chinese Army made a major incursion in the Chumur area, close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Leh district.
The incident occurred on May 3 when three of its helicopters entered the Chumur area and conducted a recce for some time. Chumur is one of the farthest areas in the Ladakh Parliamentary segment were the Election Commission (EC) has set up a polling station for voting on May 7. The polling station there has been set up for around 80 voters. Sources told The Tribune that three helicopters of the Chinese Army entered the Chumur belt and conducted an “aerial survey” of the area on May 3, four days before voting.

Jammu and Kashmir has a 198-km-long international border (IB), 744-km-long LoC, 121-km-long Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) with Pakistan on one side and 804-km-long LAC/IB with China. “It is not yet clear why these helicopters entered the Chumur area. Three helicopters stayed in the area for a short period and returned to the Chinese side,” a source said.

It is feared that Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) troops deployed along the LAC could make attempts to disrupt the election process in the polling stations close to the China border, sources said. “At least 16 polling stations of the Ladakh seat are located close to the border with China. Seven polling stations — Chumur, Demchok, Mann, Merak, Khaktad, Korjok and Chusul -- are located very close to the LAC. Chusul is the area were Indian and Chinese Army Commanders generally hold flag meetings,” sources said. Sources said that the authorities were concerned that PLA troops could enter Indian territory on May 7 and disrupt voting at these polling stations.

Sources said that Returning officer, Ladakh parliamentary constituency, Simrandeep Singh, who is also the Deputy Commissioner of Leh district, recently had a meeting with Army Commanders here.

He sought their help for the smooth conduct of elections at all polling stations of Ladakh located close to the Pakistani and Chinese borders in case any ‘nefarious attempt’ was made to disrupt elections by the troops of these countries.

At least nine polling stations have been set up close to the border between India and Pakistan in Ladakh, sources said. There was a possibility of some “misadventure” from the other side during voting at these nine places. “These polling stations are Dha, Beima, Hanu, Turtuk, Tyaksh, Thang, Bojhdag, Chalunkha and Tonysted. Tonysted polling station is located at the Siachen base,” sources said.

The Election Commission has set up 531 polling stations -- 274 in Leh district and 257 in Kargil district -- for nearly 1.6 lakh voters in Ladakh parliamentary segment.

Under threat

    The EC has set up 531 polling stations -- 274 in Leh district and 257 in Kargil district -- for nearly 1.6 lakh voters in the Ladakh parliamentary segment
    Seven polling stations -- Chumur, Demchok, Mann, Merak, Khaktad, Korjok and Chusul -- are located close to the LAC with China
    Nine polling stations -- Dha, Beima, Hanu, Turtuk, Tyaksh, Thang, Bojhdag, Chalunkha and Tonysted -- lie close to the border between India and Pakistan in Ladakh
 Dimapur killings: Manipur HC relief for Lt General Suhag
EC yet to reply to MoD’s request on Army Chief’s appointment
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 5
The Manipur High Court has refused to entertain a petition against Vice-Chief of the Army Lt General Dalbir Singh Suhag, the front-runner to succeed General Bikram Singh as the Army Chief when he superannuates on July 31.

The Election Commission of India is yet to respond to the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) reference on appointing a new Army Chief.

Though the election commission is slated to meet any time on the matter, the commission is in a bind after the MoD’s reference. The EC on March 27 issued instructions: “The model code of conduct is not applicable to any matter pertaining to Defence forces, be it recruitments, promotions for Defence forces, all service matters pertaining to them...”. While there was no need to refer the matter to the EC, a section within the MoD believes saying it was taken reaffirmation of the previous order.

In Imphal, a writ petition filed against the Lt General Suhag was today withdrawn. Acting Chief Justice of the High Court LK Mohapatra gave the liberty to the petitioner to pursue the case and file another writ petition at the place of occurrence at Dimapur in Nagaland.

Phijam Manikumar, whose brother was allegedly killed in an encounter, in Dimapur, Nagaland, in March 2010, had filed the case. The petitioner pleaded three Manipuri youths were allegedly abducted and killed by Army personnel in Dimapur on March 10, 2010.

An agency report cited Justice Mohapatra as having said that since the incident occurred at Dimapur in Nagaland the petitioner could file the case there.
Submarines: ‘MoD, Army alive to issues’
 The government received a shot in the arm Monday with the Supreme Court expressing satisfaction on the steps being taken to ensure safe operation of Navy submarines by proper maintenance, replacements and effective repairs.

Dismissing two petitions that had sought various directives to the government, a bench led by Chief Justice of India R M Lodha observed that the Defence Ministry and the wings concerned in the Navy and the Army were apparently alive on these issues and no external interference was required.

The bench said in view of their vigilance to the issues, the court need not issue any directive for them at this juncture. It also refused to order a court-monitored probe into the fire tragedy in submarine INS Sindhuratna and a compensation of Rs 1 crore each for relatives of the two Navy officers who died.

The bench noted all required steps were being taken by the ministry and the departments concerned.
Citing the accident on board Sindhuratna on February 27 that had resulted in the death of two officers, one of the petitions had said the authorities were answerable for the tragedy, which had resulted in the resignation of Navy Chief D K Joshi. It claimed this was the 10th such accident in the last seven months and this could not be allowed to continue.

The petitioners had also sought a direction calling for the communication between the Defence Secretary and the Navy about maintenance of submarines, particularly Sindhuratna.
Petition against Army Vice Chief withdrawn
Sobhapati Samom
 IMPHAL, May 5 – The petition filed against the Union of India and others including the present Army Vice Chief Lieutenant General Dalbir Singh Suhag, in connection with the alleged extra-judicial killing of three Manipuris in March 2010, has been withdrawn from the High Court of Manipur on the ground of jurisdiction.

A petition was filed in connection with the abduction of one Phijam Naobi along with two others RK Roshan and Th Prem from Char Mile area of Dimapur town on March 10, 2010 and subsequent recovery of their bullet-ridden bodies from Lakhijan area under Bokajan police station in Karbi Anglong district on March 17.

The six respondents in the case are Defence Ministry, Manipur Government, Nagaland Government, Indian Army headquarters, the then GOC 3 Corp Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag, the then Officer Commanding Colonel Govinda Shreekumar, Intelligence Unit 3 Corp Eastern Command.

The case was withdrawn on the ground of jurisdiction, according to Senior Advocate Khaidem Mani Singh, the counsel of the petitioner Phijam Manikumar. The jurisdiction of the case falls under Nagaland and Assam as the three individuals were killed near Dimapur and their bodies were found in Assam.

Mani observed that the operational area of the 3 Corp includes Manipur. However, they decided to withdraw the case. Now the petitioner can go to an appropriate court.

The case was listed before the division bench of acting Chief Justice Laxmi Kant Mohapatra and Justice N Kotiswar of High Court of Manipur.

The Central Government standing counsel of Manipur High Court, advocate Amarjit Naorem told the media that the case was withdrawn as it could not convince the court.

Narrating the facts of the case, Amarjit said the abduction of the three took place in the intervening night of March 13 and 14, 2010 whereas the affidavit said it happened on March 10, 2010. He further clarified that Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag was posted in Delhi during those days. He came to Dimapur as 3 Corp GOC only on April 16, 2011 about a year later, he added.

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