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Saturday, 8 November 2014

From Today's Papers - 08 Nov 2014






























http://www.tribuneindia.com/2014/20141108/main1.htm
Budgam firing a mistake: Army
Promises action against guilty * Announces Rs 10 lakh relief each for kin of two youths killed
Majid Jahangir
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, November 7
The Army on Friday took responsibility for the killing of two youths in firing in central Kashmir’s Budgam district. The November 3 incident had sparked widespread outrage and protests across the Valley.

"We take responsibility for the death of two youths. I admit that mistake has happened," General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Army’s Northern Command, Lt Gen DS Hooda said. “We sincerely wish the incident would not have happened. We will ensure that such kind of incidents don’t happen in the future," he said.

Hooda announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh each for the families of those killed and Rs 5 lakh for injured. The relief has been approved by the Ministry of Defence.

Faisal Yousuf (17) and Mehraj-u-din Dar (21) were killed and two others were injured when troops of 53 Rastriya Rifles, manning a checkpoint at Chattergam village in Budgam, opened fire on a car they were travelling in. While the J&K police have registered a murder case, a Colonel of the Rashtriya Rifles is holding probe into the circumstances which led to the killing of the youths.

“While we take responsibility of what has happened, the circumstances of the incident are being investigated...15 civilian witnesses have recorded their statements. We hope to complete the inquiry in the next 10 days,” Hooda said, adding that troops on ground are constantly taught ‘dos and don'ts of operating procedures’.

Hooda said the Army will cooperate with any other agency which might be asked to probe the incident. "We will fully cooperate with any other investigation that is to be done, whether by the police or ordered by the state government or otherwise," he said. Asked whether the Army would allow civilian trial in the case and not invoke the controversial Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA), the Lt Gen said the two were not related.

“AFSPA has actually nothing to do with it. The probe is on and I assure you that there will be a transparent probe in the firing incident. If we find that rules of engagement have been violated, legal action would be taken,” he said.

The Army commander said the unit involved in the incident has been relocated from the area and troops of the 35 Rashtriya Rifles have been posted there now.

The J&K police, which is investigating the case too, has recorded statements of injured civilians.

The police are yet to question the troops accused of opening the fire.

The police said a communication has been to senior Army officers in this regard. “We are waiting for a response from the Army,” said a police officer.

Killings & outrage

* Faisal Yousuf (17) and Mehraj-u-din Dar (21) were killed and two others were injured when troops of 53 Rastriya Rifles, manning a checkpoint at Chattergam village in Budgam, opened fire on a car they were travelling in on November 3

* The incident had triggered widespread outrage across the Valley

* While the J&K police have registered a murder case, a Colonel of the Rashtriya Rifles is holding probe into the circumstances which led to the killing

Hang guilty: Jethmalani

Senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani on Friday said the Armymen involved in the Budgam killings should be awarded a death sentence. "There should be a thorough inquiry and those found guilty should be given a death sentence," he said.

We take responsibility for the death of two youths. I admit that mistake has happened — Lt Gen DS Hooda, chief of northern command


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2014/20141108/main6.htm
Only 17% roads along China border ready
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 7
Defence Minister Arun Jaitley today said India was way behind schedule on making roads along the 3,488 km-long India-China frontier.

More than eight years since the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) was tasked with building 61 roads totalling 3,410 km, only 590-km stretch on 17 roads has been completed — which is 17 per cent of the target. The organisation works under the Ministry of Defence and the roads are classified as India-China Border Roads (ICBR).

Most of the roads were to be built in Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. Jaitley was addressing the first meeting of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee attached to his ministry. He raised concern over country’s infrastructure in comparison to China, saying “our immediate neighbours have already enhanced infrastructure in proximity to the borders”. Jaitley said based on the strategic reality of the neighbourhood, the government was taking steps to create matching infrastructure on this side to realise country’s military potential.

Sources said a majority of the strategic road projects are several years behind schedule, making a mockery of the 2012 deadline set by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), the topmost security-related decision-making body at the Centre headed by the Prime Minister.

In 2006, the CCS had directed the BRO to complete the task in six years — by 2012. A more realistic deadline has now been set for 2016 and for some roads it is “beyond-2016”. Listing out the steps, he said the roads faced procedural delays, environmental clearance and shortage of hi-tech equipment to hasten the process of building roads in these critical areas.

“As far as India-China border roads are concerned, work on the balance roads structures was under way and in different stages of completion,” Jaitley told the committee. In 2006, the CCS had approved the construction of a road network along the entire India-China frontier. It was a reversal of an unwritten code under which the Government of India had deliberately not built a road network in the Himalayas, fearing a repeat of the 1962 Sino-Indian conflict. New Delhi feared the People’s Liberation Army of China, which is much bigger than the Indian Army, could use India’s own road network to rapidly advance down the Himalayas.

The Director General Border Roads, Lieut Gen. AT Parnaik said, the completion of roads has been affected due to various reasons.

BRO jumps 2012 deadline

* In 2006, the Border Roads Organisation was tasked with building 61 roads totalling 3,410 km by 2012

* But eight years on, only 590-km stretch on 17 roads — 17 per cent of the target — has been completed

* The roads face procedural delays, environmental clearance and shortage of hi-tech equipment, says Jailtey

* The deadline has now been revised to 2016, and for some roads it is ‘beyond 2016’


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2014/20141108/nation.htm#8
Navy orders probe into sinking of vessel
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, November 7
The Indian Navy today ordered a Board of Inquiry into the sinking of a Torpedo Recovery Vessel (TRV) off Visakhapatnam coast on Thursday night in which a sailor died and four others are still missing.

Navy Chief Admiral RK Dhowan, who is on a four-day visit to Seychelles till November 9, has cut short his visit and will arrive in the north coastal Andhra city.

Navy authorities said the vessel sank at 8 pm on Thursday night while it was on a “routine” mission to recover practice torpedoes fired by fleet ships during a “routine” exercise.

“The vessel experienced flooding in one of the compartments. One sailor has lost his life during the rescue operation and four personnel are reported missing. Twenty three personnel have been rescued safely by the Search and Rescue (SAR) ships dispatched to the area,” a statement said.

At the time of incident, 28 personnel were on board. After receiving a distress call from the sinking vessel, several naval ships were sent out for rescue operation.

This is the latest among a series of accident to hit the Indian Navy in the past one year. On October 31, INS Kora suffered minor damage after it was scraped by a merchant vessel near Visakhapatnam.

TRV is an auxiliary vessel which is used to recover practice torpedoes fired by fleet ships and submarines. The ship is 23-metre long and 6.5 metre at the beam. 



http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Firing-in-JKs-Budgam-Army-admits-mistake-takes-responsibility-for-loss-of-lives/articleshow/45069799.cms
Firing in J&K's Budgam: Army admits mistake, takes responsibility for loss of lives
SRINAGAR: The Army on Friday took responsibility for the recent killing of two youths by its soldiers in Budgam district and admitted that it was a "mistake" and a violation of rules of engagement. The Army also said that it would complete its inquiry within ten days and take action against the guilty.

"I admit that a mistake has happened, otherwise, why would have two civilian boys been killed like this," Northern Army Commander Lt General DS Hooda told reporters at a news conference at 15 Corps headquarters in Badami Bagh cantonment. "We sincerely wish that the killing of civilians wouldn't have happened. We share the sorrow of the families," he added.

"There was some information about a white car with terrorists. Obviously, the identity was mistaken in this case. We take responsibility for the death, " Gen Hooda said.

However, SHO Chadoora police station, Arshid Ahmed refuted the Army's claim about the information about terrorists. "I don't know from where the Army got the inputs about militants, but I and my police station had no such inputs. May be my seniors had the information but I did not have it at all," he said.

GoC 15 Corps, Lt Gen Subatra Saha admitted that there was a violation of rules of engagement. "We are questioning ourselves as to why the firing took place and why rules were not followed," Saha said.

Faisal Yusuf Bhat and Mehrajuddin Dar were killed and two others injured in Chhattergam village on November 3 when soldiers of the 53 Rashtriya Rifles fired at their speeding car. The army had claimed the car had jumped two mobile vehicle check posts (MVCPS) set up in Chattergam following specific information about terrorists in a car.

Defence spokesman Col Brijesh Pandey said that the injured youth disclosed that there were five people in the car. The boy who has been identified as Wasim Amin had escaped from the car after the firing.

Sources said the incident was being debated in the defence services with many in the Army believing that the soldiers did not only violate the standard operational procedure, but ruined the Army's efforts of having earned goodwill during the recent floods in the state.

The defence ministry has approved an ex-gratia relief of Rs 10 lakh each for the families of the deceased and Rs 5 lakh each for the injured.

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