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Wednesday, 3 December 2014

From Today's Papers - 03 Dec 2014

Local cadres planned Sukma Maoist ambush: Police
The deadly Maoist ambush, claiming lives of 14 CRPF personnel in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district on Monday, was planned and supervised by local Naxal leaders who were reportedly camping in south Bastar for past few days, a senior police official said today.

“We received inputs that dreaded Maoist leaders of the Dandakaranya region were holding meetings in forests of south Bastar-Sukma, Bijpaur and Narayanpur, worried over a large number of surrenders and arrest of their cadres during the past few months,” a senior police official involved in anti-Naxal operations said.

“We suspect that the attack was planned and carried out by the same group of leaders by taking the support of local lower rung supporters,” he said.

The official, however, did not rule out the involvement of Maoist’s Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee secretary Ramanna, the top Maoist leader of the region.

Preliminary information indicates that nearly 150 armed guerrilla military cadres were positioned on three sides in the forests of Kasalpada and Elmaguda and were assisted by a supporting group of 100 militia and sangham supporters of local villages, he said.

The Maoists certainly got a tip-off about the route of security forces during their return to camp on December 1 after a three-day search and area domination operation and may have set up the ambush in just a short span of time, he said.

Prima facie it appears that light machine guns (LMGs) used by the cadres caused much damage to the security personnel, he said.

After the encounter, Naxals looted three under barrel grenade launcher armoured AK-47, 7 AK-47, one Insas-LMG, one Insas, a bullet-proof jacket, a GPS, one binoculars, a monopack and several magazines of AK-47, Insas and Insas-LMG of CRPF men and fled to the dense forests, he said.

The official ruled out any intelligence lapse in view of the incident and said routine area domination operations were intensified in the region from past several weeks and were not based on any specific inputs.

Meanwhile, security has been tightened across the Naxal-hit Bastar region as the Maoists are observing Peoples’ Liberation Guerrilla Army week from today in the honour of their slain leaders. PTI
Maoists ambush CRPF squad in C’garh; 13 dead
Using human shields, Maoists today killed 13 CRPF personnel, including two officers, and injured an equal number in the second attack on the force in 10 days in the same area in the Naxal hotbed of Sukma district in Chhattisgarh.

A senior Chattisgarh police official said the attack on a CRPF squad by a large group of armed Maoists took place near Chintagufa, about 450 km from here, at 10.30 am in the dense forests in south Bastar region when the security personnel were returning to their camp after combing and area domination operation in the region that lasted for several days.

"Two officers, one in the rank of Deputy Commandant and an Assistant Commandant, have been killed," R K Vij, Chattisgarh's Additional Director General of Police (Naxal Operation), said. The Deputy Commandant and Assistant Commandant were identified as BS Verma and Rajesh.

A CRPF officer here said over a dozen personnel have also been injured and there could also be casualties on the Maoist side in the encounter during when the rebels opened indiscriminate firing. The squad comprised personnel from the 223 and 206 battalions of CRPF and its commando unit CoBRA.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh strongly condemned the attack as an act of cowardice and a "dastardly act" of violence. He is leaving for Chattisgarh tomorrow for an assessment of the situation.

"I express my condolences to the families of our brave CRPF men who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. It is an act of cowardice. I strongly condemn this dastardly act of violence. Deeply saddened and disturbed to know of 13 CRPF men being killed by the Naxals during an ongoing encounter in Chhattisgarh," he said.
Singh also spoke to Chattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh and asked him to monitor the situation. A CRPF officer said that the Maoists fired at the CRPF patrol party using the cover of locals and villagers and hence the force had to fire with restraint.

One squad was in the jungles for the last 10 days to carry out operations, he said. Most of the victims suffered bullet injuries, he said, adding the injured and the dead will be airlifted to Jagdalpur and the state capital tomorrow.

Reinforcements are being sent to the area and the offensive by security forces is being led by CRPF Inspector General (Chhattisgarh), HS Sidhu.

Five CRPF personnel were injured on November 21 in the same area in an encounter with Maoists who also attacked an IAF helicopter. An IAF commando was also injured.

The attack came a day after Chief Minister Raman Singh said the day is not far when Chhattisgarh will become "Naxal-free" due to the joint efforts of the State Government and the Centre. In the recent months, several dozen Naxals have surrendered in Chhattisgarh, one of the worst states to be affected by Left wing extremism. — PTI
Chinese troops did not intrude, but transgressed: Parrikar
There have been no instances of intrusion along the India-China border. There is no commonly delineated LAC between India and China. There are areas along the border where India and China have differing perception of LAC

Manohar Parrikar, Defence Minister

New Delhi, December 2
Transgressions along the India-China border occurred when troops of both the countries undertook patrolling “up to their respective perception of the Line of Actual Control (LAC),” Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said today.

In September, Chinese troops had “transgressed temporarily across our perception of the LAC in the Chumar area,” he said in reply to a written question in Rajya Sabha, adding they pulled back after a flag meeting.

“There have been no instances of intrusion along the India-China border. There is no commonly delineated LAC between India and China. There are areas along the border where India and China have differing perception of LAC,” Parrikar said.

“Transgressions occur, on occasions, on account of both sides undertaking patrolling up to their respective perception of LAC,” the Minister said.

Replying to another related question, he said “due to such difference of perceptions, transgressions have also occurred in the general area of Pangong Tso Lake.” Parrikar said the government regularly took up any violation along the LAC through the established mechanisms, including border personnel meeting, flag meetings and Working Mechanism on Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs. — PTI
GCM to try colonel for Nyoma fracas

Vijay Mohan

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
About two-and-a-half years after a serious clash between officers and jawans in an artillery unit based in Ladakh had sent ripples down the military establishment, the Army has convened a general court martial (GCM) to try the unit’s commanding officer.

The GCM has assembled in Akhnoor near Jammu. According to sources, the officer, who was himself seriously injured while taking stock of the situation, is facing charges of failing to report the incident to higher authorities in a timely manner and allowing family members to be present in an operational area without due authorisation.

Sources said that during pre-trial proceedings, the officer has pleaded not guilty to the charges leveled against him and has maintained that given his operational commitments and glitches in the communication network, he had acted as swiftly as possible to deal with the situation.

Earlier this year, three officers of the rank of Major were convicted by separate GCMs for assaulting a jawan from the unit, who had allegedly sexually assaulted the wife of an officer at a field firing range where a section of the unit was deployed for training. The officers were severely reprimanded and awarded loss of seniority for the purpose of promotion and pension.

The assault on the jawan had triggered rumours about his state of health and spread unsubstantiated information in the unit leading to the clash. The role of some JCOs also came under scrutiny for their alleged failure to take stock of the situation, exercise due control over the troops and suppressing and mishandling information

In perhaps the largest collective disciplinary action initiated by the Army, as many as 168 personnel from the 226 Field Regiment, including five officers, were held blameworthy by a court of inquiry (COI) presided by Brig Ajay Talwar, Deputy General Officer Commanding 3 Infantry Division, to investigate the circumstances under which jawans clashed with officers when the unit was on a field firing exercise at Nyoma in eastern Ladakh during May 2012.
India Slashes Solar Energy Goals For Defence Forces
The Indian government’s plan to boost solar power capacity with the help of the defence forces has run aground.

The Indian defence forces have clarified to the government that they do not have any surplus land available to set up large-scale solar power projects. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy had initially planned to set up 1 GW of solar power capacity at currently unused land owned by the defence forces.

The Department of Defence and Services has now clarified that it would use the large tracts of unused land for military purposes only. This has forced the Ministry to reduce its initial capacity addition target to just 300 MW.

This capacity is expected to be fully installed by 2019, and the Ministry would provide a viability gap funding of Rs 750 crore ($125 million). These projects will sell electricity at a fixed rate of Rs 5,500 ($91.7) per MWh for a period of 25 years.

The Indian government had planned an elaborate ecosystem of solar power development through this program. The government had decided, in August this year, that it would not pursue anti-dumping investigations of imported solar PV modules. In order to support domestic solar module manufacturers, the government decided to ask its own institutions like the defence forces and public sector companies to set up solar power plants.

The understanding was that projects set up by these institutions would be able to use domestically manufactured solar PV modules without violating the WTO rules since they are government-owned entities.

As a result, the government may now have to ask state-owned power companies like NTPC, BHEL, and NHPC to enhance their own solar power capacity addition targets.
Government trying to attract youth to armed forces: Manohar Parrikar

There is a shortage of 7,989 officers and 26,928 other ranks in the Army, 1,499 officers and 11,631 sailors in the Navy and 357 officers and 2,951 airmen in the Air Force said Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.

The figures do not include the shortage in medical and dental branches.

"Government has taken a number of measures to encourage the youth to join the armed forces, including sustained image projection, participation in career fairs and exhibitions, media campaign etc," Parrikar said.

"Government has taken various steps to make armed forces jobs attractive, these include implementation of recommendations of the Sixth Central Pay Commission with improved pay structure, additional family accommodation through Married Accommodation Project (MAP) and improvement in promotion prospects in the armed forces," he said.

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