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Thursday, 13 November 2014

From Today's Papers - 13 Nov 2014

Army convicts two officers, 5 others
General Court Martial awards life sentence to all convicts, suspends service benefits
Majid Jahangir
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, November 12
The Army has convicted seven of its men, including two officers, involved in the 2010 Machil fake encounter case that had triggered widespread agitation in the Valley. All convicts have been awarded life imprisonment and their service benefits have been suspended.

Senior defence officials in J&K and New Delhi have confirmed the conviction of seven Armymen.

Those convicted by General Court Martial (GCM) include the then Commanding Officer of the 4 Rajput regiment (the unit which was involved in the encounter) Col DK Pathania , Captain Upendra Singh, Subedar Satbir Singh, Havildar Bir Singh, Sepoy Chadraban, Sepoy Nagendra Singh and Sepoy Narinder Singh. Abbas Hussain Shah of Territorial Army was exonerated by the GCM.

The court martial proceedings began in January this year and ended in September. The soldiers were found guilty of killing civilians, hatching a conspiracy and later branding the dead as Pakistani militants.

On April 29, 2010, two counter-insurgents along with Territorial Army rifleman Abbas Hussain lured three youths from Nadihal village in north Kashmir — Shezad Ahmad, Riyaz Ahmad and Mohammad Shafi — to Kalaroos in Kupwara district with the promise of job and money.

The three were killed in a staged encounter by troops near the LoC and dubbed as Pakistani militants attempting to infiltrate.

The proceedings in the case were presided by Brigadier Deepak Mehra of Kupwara-based 68 Mountain Brigade. The GCM consisted of eight members headed by Mehra. The proceedings were preceded by recording the ‘summary of evidence’ and before that a Court of Inquiry was conducted by the Army. The two civilian accused named in the chargesheet are Bashir Ahmad Lone and Abdul Hamid Bhat. They are facing trial in the Baramulla Sessions Court . The J&K police had on July 15, 2010, presented a chargesheet against 11, including eight Armymen, a TA solider and two civilians under Section 302 before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Sopore.

The encounter diaries

    April 30, 2010: Three Pak infiltrators killed in the Machil sector along the LoC, says Army
    Slain persons turn out to be missing local civilians
    May 27, 2010: The J&K government orders probe
    July 15, 2010: The police chargesheet Armymen. Col DK Pathania, CO of 4 Rajput Rifles, and two other officers named as main accused
    July 27, 2012: Sopore CJM allows the Army to try the accused Col, two officers and four soldiers in a military court
    March 18, 2013: The HC permits the Army to try TA rifleman Abbas Hussain Shah under court martial proceedings
    Jan 2014: General Court Martial proceedings begin. One Major exonerated
 Indian WW-II hero’s medals up for auction to save legacy
Shyam Bhatia in London

The son of an Indian World War-II hero is selling his father’s coveted medals so that they can “go to a serious collector”, rather than to grandchildren who he fears might fight over them.

Bambi Majumdar is the son of late Wing Commander Karun Krishna Majumdar, affectionately referred to as “Jumbo” by his friends and colleagues and revered as the “father of the Indian Air Force.” Jumbo’s maternal grandfather WC (Womesh Chunder) Bonnerjee was the first president of the Indian National Congress.

Marshal of the IAF Arjan Singh, the only surviving contemporary of Squadron Leader Majumdar, describes him as “my hero Jumbo Majumdar” on a signed personal portrait he has given to Bambi. For his part, Bambi, now an NRI chartered accountant living on the outskirts of Birmingham, has no memory of his father who died in 1945 during an air display in Lyallpur when he was only two years old.

He was subsequently brought up by his mother, “Premo” Premola Dutt, was from a well-known Bengali family settled in Lahore who moved to Jalandhar after Partition. Her second husband and Bambi’s stepfather was Kanwar Mahindar Singh of the Kapurthala royal family.

The medals that Bambi is selling include his father’s ‘Double’ Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), India General Service Medal, Flying Logbook and other items. They are expected to raise between £20,000-£30,000 (just under Rs 30 lakh) when they come up for sale at a London auction next Wednesday.

“I decided to sell them after due consideration,” Bambi told The Tribune. “I have two children and six grandchildren and ask myself what would happen if I died. There would be a conflict over who was entitled to them.”

The DFC and Bar were awarded to Jumbo for acts of skill and courage on both the Burma front and in Europe. The official citation for his DFC reads: “Early this year this officer commanded the squadron during its activities in Burma. He led two unescorted attacks on enemy airfields in Thailand and attacks in support of the army in Tennasserim; he also completed valuable reconnaissances during the retirement from Rangoon to the Prome positions.” The official citation for the Bar to his DFC reads in part: “His skill and courage have always been outstanding…Before the advance northwards in France, he completed exceptionally valuable photographic reconnaisances of the Seine bridges, in the face of heavy ground defences.”

To go under hammer

    Bambi Majumdar, Wing Commander Majumdar's son, is selling his father's 'Double' Distinguished Flying Cross, India General Service Medal, flying logbook and other items

'Father of the IAF'

    Wing Commander Karun Krishna Majumdar, affectionately referred to as 'Jumbo', is revered as the 'Father of the Indian Air Force'
    Kolkata-born Majumdar went to St Paul's School, Darjeeling, before leaving for England in 1932
    Majumdar died during an air display over Lyallpur in February 1945 when the Hurricane he was flying stalled and crashed
Pak opens fire along IB in Jammu, Samba

Jammu, November 12
After a brief lull, Pak Rangers opened fire on Indian forward positions along the 198-km International Border in the Arnia, Makwal and Ramgarh sub-sectors of Jammu and Samba districts in the past 24 hours.

“Around 11.20 am today, Rangers fired one sniper shot at Stop 2 post of the BSF in Arnia sub-sector from their New Awam post. The shot, however, missed the target and there was no casualty or injury to any of the BSF personnel,” said an Intelligence source.

“They come close to the embankment on their side of the border with silencer-fitted guns and then open sniper fire on the BSF men. The BSF men didn’t retaliate,” he added.

In the Ramgarh sub-sector of Samba district, the Rangers today fired seven rounds of fire on the Majra forward post of the BSF, said a police officer.

The BSF didn’t respond and there were no casualties or injuries to its men, he added. In the Makwal area of Jammu district, Rangers fired a few rounds on the Simbal post last night. There was no damage on the Indian side, he added. “We are on a high alert monitoring the situation sharply but we are not retaliating to their minor provocations because harvesting of paddy is still on and polls are also nearing,” said a BSF officer. — TNS
CRPF ready for worst scenario in J&K polls
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 12
The Central Reserve Police Force, which is coordinating the movement of security forces during the upcoming Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand, is preparing for the “worst case scenario”.

It is planning to replace its problematic INSAS rifles with superior assault rifles.

At a press conference today, CRPF Director General Dilip Trivedi said: “We are not an intelligence agency that we can give an assessment. We are prepared to handle even very high level of attempt to disturb the elections and accordingly planning for the worst. We are briefing and equipping our troops.”

Sources in the CRPF said the force was preparing to counter terrorist attacks while keeping in view possible infiltration attempts in J&K. It is also doing the same in the Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected areas. But the force faces a bigger problem, that of IEDs being used by Maoists, some containing explosives ranging up to 100 kg.

Trivedi said the use of explosives in this way has a “demoralising” affect on the force. The CRPF are finding ways to counter this lethal weapon by setting up an IED school in Pune, which analyses IED attacks and traines state police to counter it. The CRPF has also inducted Belgian Malinois dogs, which can be used in infantry patrols and for sniffing out IEDs.
'Majority of Defence Deals Stuck Up Due To Lobbying, Vested Interest and Kickbacks': Manohar Parrikar
Panaji:  The new Union Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar, on Wednesday said most of the defence deals executed during the erstwhile Congress-led UPA regime had got "stuck" due to lobbying, vested interest and kickbacks involved.

Underlining the need to remove procedural bottlenecks, he said if this was not done, it would affect the procurement process.

"The issue of procurement for the armed forces has been taken on priority. This is very crucial to build the capability of the armed forces," Mr Parrikar told reporters at a media conference on his first visit to Goa after taking charge of the defence portfolio.
The minister also said the reported incursions by China into Arunachal Pradesh were "not serious" and is being effectively tackled by the army on a day-to-day basis.

"Chinese intrusion is not a serious issue. It is a serious issue for media. The incidents of incursions by China are a small issue that is being tackled by the army chief or the concerned commander in that area," he said.

There are large tracts of land along the imaginary border and many a time the forces cross it, he said. "The issue should be considered serious when they (China) set up their camps in our territory," he added.

The minister said the incursions like the one reported in Arunachal Pradesh "happen many a time in many sectors and are tackled within a day or couple of days". "It is not correct to call them major intrusions. They are a breach of LAC (the Line of Actual Control)," he added.

But he underlined the need to set up infrastructural back-up to handle "these kind of problems".

China's last major transgression in Arunachal occurred on 2013 in Chaglagam. But soldiers of the People's Liberation Army often transgress into the stretches where round-the-clock vigil is not possible. The "fishtail area" - so named because of the shape of the LAC there - is one such stretch.

In September, the Chinese and the Indian soldiers have been engaged in a three-week face off in Ladakh's Chumur after the PLA had transgressed into Indian territory. After several rounds of talks, the two nations resolved the matter and "status quo ante as on September 1" was restored.
Parrikar to focus on defence infrastructure
 Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday said he would prioritise logistics, infrastructure and indigenous procurement. Addressing a press conference, Mr. Parrikar said progress in defence deals had, over the last 10 years, become clogged due to scams and graft. “Henceforth, except in case of sophisticated equipment, my endeavour will be to promote Indian companies in procurements,” said Mr. Parrikar.

Mr. Parrikar said he would visit the Eastern Border soon. He said he would seek to strengthen the capacities and capabilities of the defence forces and create an atmosphere of peace along the Line of Control.

The Army was a huge institution with large infrastructure spread across the length and breadth of the country, said the newly elected Defence Minister, stressing on optimal utilisation of the nearly 20 lakh hectares of land held by the Indian Army across the country. “I am aware of the fact that all facilities at the National Defence Academy need to be spruced up,” Mr. Parrikar said.
Indian Army discusses land issues with West Bengal government
Senior officials of the Army and West Bengal administration on Wednesday discussed issues relating to the Army's requirement for land at various locations in the state for strategic and national security needs.

A defence statement said both sides agreed to remain pro-actively involved in all matters that will help enhance the synergy between them. A civil-military liaison conference is held annually to mutually resolve issues.

The meeting was co-chaired by West Bengal Chief Secretary Sanjay Mitra and General Officer Commanding, Bengal Area, Lt Gen Raman Dhawan.

Among other issues they also discussed matters of ex-servicemen welfare, the statement added.

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