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Sunday, 7 June 2015

From Today's Papers - 07 Jun 2015

Army foils infiltration bid in Nowgam, 3 militants killed
Majid Jahangir

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, June 6
The Army today foiled an infiltration bid in north Kashmir’s Nowgam sector killing three militants in an eight-hour-long gunfight.

Defence sources said the movement of a group of four to five infiltrators was detected at around 10 pm last night before they could enter the Line of Control (LoC) in the Tutmar Gali area of the Nowgam sector in Handwara pocket of frontier Kupwara district, 120 km northwest of Srinagar.

The group was intercepted at around 10.30 pm close to the LoC leading to a gunfight that continued till this morning,” the sources said, adding that after the gunfight erupted additional troops were rushed to the area.

The troops laid a tight cordon around the area and blocked all the entry points. “Three infiltrators have been killed so far. The exchange of fire has stopped since morning, but the combing operation in the area is still continuing,” an Army spokesman said in Srinagar.

We are searching the area and there is a possibility that other members of the group may have returned,” he added. This is the first infiltration bid along the Nowgam sector this year.

The sector is manned by the troops of Baramulla-based 19 Infantry Division. Earlier two unsuccessful bids were made by militants in the Tangdhar sector in Kupwara on May 25 and 31. Three soldiers and an unidentified militant died in the May 25 encounter while four infiltrators were shot dead in the May 31 gunfight. The encounters along the LoC indicate that militant groups have started pumping in fresh recruits and reinforcements into the Kashmir valley as melting of snow due to summer heat has opened up many mountain passes in the treacherous frontier area.

The Army says that it is on a high alert and well prepared to counter the infiltration threat. In the Nowgam sector, the last infiltration bid was foiled on December 2, in which five militants and a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) of the Army were killed.

According to official figures, there has been a steady decline in the infiltration attempts from across the border in the last three year. The Multi-Agency Centre (MAC) figures show that in 2012, 121 infiltration attempts were made, in 2013, 97 and last year 65 attempts were made by the militants to sneak into the Valley.
Implement OROP by June 14 or face stir: Ex-servicemen
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 6
The Indian Ex-servicemen Movement (IESM) today announced that it would protest from June 14 if the government does not clear the ‘One Rank, One Pension’ (OROP) scheme.

Soon after a meeting with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar remained inconclusive today, IESM threatened to hold a protest rally at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on June 14 and follow it by a hunger strike on June 15.

IESM’s Maj Gen Satbir Singh said: “The Chief of Army Staff had told us to meet the Defence Minister before holding a meeting. We, the members of IESM, met the Defence Minister. He told us that the ministry is working on it (OROP)”. Three days ago Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag had met the veterans and asked them to defer the rally.

If a letter to sanction the OROP as per the agreed definition of OROP is not issued, the agitation would commence, said the IESM. The minister was informed that there was only one definition of the OROP as accepted by the Rajya Sabha Petitions Committee chaired by Bhagat Singh Koshyari in December 2011. The committee laid down the definition of OROP: “It implies that uniform pension be paid to Armed Forces personnel retiring in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement, and any future enhancement in the rates of pension to be automatically passed on to the past pensioners. This implies bridging the gap between the rate of pensions of the current pensioners and the past pensioners and also future enhancements in the rate of pension to be automatically passed on to the past pensioners.”

The stress on this definition was after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in an interview to the Tribune published on May 30, said “… there are too many definitions (of the OROP) going around, and we are looking for one on which all stakeholders agree”.

Modi, on his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ radio programme on May 31, had assured ex-servicemen that his government would soon resolve the OROP issue.

Lt Gen Raj Kadyan (retd) said the OROP scheme had been long pending would be resolved soon. “The Prime Minister is committed, we have no doubt it will come. Now, it is stuck because somebody is trying to play around with the definition which we had worked out after careful thought. It was very simple, only two parameters were to be taken into account, rank and total service,” Lieutenant General Kadyan said.
20 cadets from Mohali armed forces preparatory institute to join NDA, INA
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
As many as 20 cadets of the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Armed Forces Preparatory Institute (MRAFPI), Mohali, will join the National Defence Academy and the Indian Naval Academy in the first week of July. Two cadets from the institute had joined the institutes in January this year, bringing this year’s tally to 22.

Cadets Armaanjit Singh Dhaliwal and Piyush D Jain had attained the 14th and 21st positions, respectively, in the all-India merit list. Around 4 lakh boys from all over the country had appeared for the entrance exam for the NDA conducted by the UPSC in September last year. The selected candidates were called for interview earlier this year. The final merit list including 450 candidates was issued by the UPSC on June 3.

The MRAFPI was established by the Punjab Government to check the dwindling number of youths joining the armed forces from Punjab. The first batch of the cadets completed its training in 2013. Since then, 51 cadets from the institute have joined the armed forces. The cadets of the fourth batch are currently preparing for the NDA entrance exam to be held in September.

Encouraged by the excellent results of this institute, the state government has established a similar institute to prepare girls for the armed forces. The Mai Bhago Armed Forces Preparatory Institute at Sector 66, Mohali, will commence training in July. The admission test for the institute will to be held on June 13 and over 1,600 girls from all over the state have applied for admission against 25 seats. The girls will be eligible to join the MBAFPI after completing Class XII.
Manipur govt, Army differ over attack on defence personnel
The Manipur government and the Indian Army appear to have different opinions on whether the attack on security personnel was a result of intelligence failure or not. While Manipur government feels there are ‘lessons to be learnt’, the Army has ruled out any intelligence lapses.

Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh while talking to reporters after offering tributes to the martyrs categorically urged the Centre to immediately start dialogue with Myanmar government where several banned militants groups are reportedly based and have formed a joint platform that unleashed the deadly Chandel attack.

He also felt that the international border with Myanmar should be first sealed and then a crack down should be launched.

Sources told Deccan Herald that Manipur government felt that there were lapses in intelligence coordination. “This is part of intelligence onus. They (Indian Army) should learn a lesson,” Ibobi told a national news channel in Imphal.

Meanwhile, the Army has rejected any intelligence failure. “It is not right to straight away say it is a case of intelligence failure. We keep on getting intelligence and we act on them. Many incidents get prevented too,” said Major General Bipin Rawat, GOC, 3 Corps.

The martyrs were accorded farewell with full national honour at Imphal. All the 17 bodies were flown to New Delhi from where they would be sent to their native places. On martyrs’ body was flown to AP earlier.
Jammu clashes: Army deployed as tension prevails
Jammu: Army was on Saturday deployed in various parts of the tense Jammu as the sikh youth killed in clashes with police was cremated after the state government accepted most of the demands of the agitating community, including magisterial probe and transfer of district police chief.

Army carried out a 'Flag March' in the disturbed areas of Jammu, including Miran Sahib, Satwari, Digiana, RS Pura, Talab Tillo, Bakshi Nagar and Rehari this morning as security was stepped up in view of the 31st death anniversary of Khalistani militant leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.

Quick reactions teams (QRTs) of police were also deployed in view of the prevailing tension arising out of four-day protest by sikh community members over removal of Bhindranwale's posters which had come up in some localities.

"The situation in Jammu is peaceful but tense. There was no report of any untoward incident from anywhere today. Elaborate security measures have been taken in view of the sensitive situation," a senior police officer said.

Defence PRO Lt Col Manish Mehta said two columns of Army were deployed in the city after requisition from the civil administration.

One column moved onto the streets and roads of Miran Sahib to conduct a 'Flag March' to caution rioters and violent protesters, he said, adding that soon after, one more column of troops was sent to control the situation in RS Pura.

"Situation is tense, however, under control," Mehta said.

Meanwhile, the sikh youth killed during clashes with police on Thursday was cremated today after the state government accepted most of the demands of the agitating community.

The government ordered magisterial probe into firing incident and violence. It would be conducted by Divisional Commissioner Jammu Pawan Kotwal.

Accepting another demand, the government ordered transfer of Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Jammu Uttam Chand, suspension of Satwari's Station House Officer (SHO) Kulbir Singh and payment of ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh and a government job to the next kin of the slain sikh youth Jagjit Singh.

A case under murder charges was also registered against SSP's PSO.

"An FIR under section 302 RPC (murder) has been lodged (in Police Station Satwari) against the PSO of SSP Uttam Chand for firing (during violent protests in which one youth was killed Gadigarh area of city yesterday)", Deputy Commissioner, Jammu Simrandeep Singh said.

The PSO of the SSP had opened fire in "self-defence" during an attack by angry protesters at Gadigarh in Satwari belt of Jammu city, police has said.

"Police has fired in self-defence in which there was one causality. The entire incident would be looked into and action would to taken against those involved in it," Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh had said.

He said there was peaceful environment in Jammu and such a situation is being created by "some people".

The government posted Ashkoor Wani as DIG Jammu, gave charge of SSP Jammu to Additional SP Rajiv Panday and posted Manjeet Singh as new Station House Officer (SHO) Satwari Police Station.

"The four-hour-long talks late in the night with the administration were successful since all the demands of the community were met," Sikh leader Tarlochan Singh Wazir told reporters here.

The government side was represented by state Home Secretary R K Goyal, Director General of Police K Rajendra Kumar, Jammu Divisional Commissioner Pawan Kotwal and other senior civil and police officials.

"The cremation has taken place peacefully at Chohala hamlet in RS Pura tehsil this afternoon. There were no protests," a police officer said today.

Streets of Jammu wore a deserted look and business establishments remained closed for third consecutive day today. Educational institutions in Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Rajauri and Poonch districts also remained shut for the second consecutive day.

The mobile and internet services were also suspended in Jammu for the second day.

Apart from the Army, police and paramilitary forces have been deployed in strength in sensitive areas.

Authorities had clamped Section 144 of CrPC, which bars gathering of more than four persons at a place, in the entire Jammu district two days back and curfew like situation prevailed in violence-hit areas of Satwari-Ranibagh-Gadigarh-R S Pura belt and elsewhere.
One-rank, one-pension: Ex-servicemen to go on hunger strike from June 15
NEW DELHI: The Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM) on Saturday said that they would agitate and call for a hunger strike, if their demands for one-rank, one-pension (OROP) are not met.

A meeting of ex-army personnel to discuss the issue of OROP was also held today.

Major General (Rtd) Satbir Singh said that their meeting with defence minister Manohar Parrikar in this regard was inconclusive. He said they will hold a rally in Jantar Mantar from June 14 and will begin hunger strike from June 15.

"The chief of Army staff had told us to meet the defence minister before holding a meeting. We, the members of Indian Ex-servicemen movement (IESM), met the defence minister. He told us that the ministry is working on it (OROP). We will meet him again, once it is finalized and the date is given to us, we will inform the rest," he said.

"If it does not happen, then we will begin an agitation from June 14, we will hold a rally at Jantar Mantar. We will begin a hunger strike from 15th onwards," he added.

Meanwhile, the NDA Government at the Centre has drawn flak from various political parties, especially from the Congress, over its delay in implementing the OROP scheme.

Prime Minister Modi, while addressing the nation in his eighth edition of the 'Mann Ki Baat' programme, had assured ex-servicemen that his government would soon resolve the OROP issue.

The OROP scheme has been a long-standing demand of ex-servicemen's associations and relates to payment of uniform pension to defence forces personnel retiring in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement.
Pakistan hikes defence budget by 11%
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan government on Friday hiked its defence spending from Rs 700 billion to Rs 780 billion, an 11 per cent increase from the previous fiscal, to meet the military and security needs as it battles Taliban insurgency in the country's northwest.

The increase in the defence budget was made as part of the annual budget.

Finance minister Ishaq Dar presented budget for the fiscal year 2015-16 (FY2015-16), showing a total outlay of Rs 4.313 trillion, which is 9.1 per cent higher than Rs 3.9 trillion of the outgoing fiscal ending on June 30.

"The government increased the defence budget by 11 per cent from 700 billion rupees to 780 billion rupees," he said in the parliament.

Pakistan has been fighting a Islamist insurgency for over a decade that has killed more than 50,000 people. Thousands of others have been made homeless because of ongoing military operations.

The finance minister also announced 100 billion rupees ($1 bn) to be allocated for the rehabilitation of thousands of families who have been forced from their homes by the insurgency.

Dar said a growth rate target of 5.5 per cent was set for the upcoming year which starts from July 1.

The target is higher than 4.2 per cent growth achieved in the outgoing year.

He also announced to achieve 7 per cent growth by the end government's tenure in 2018, as the government was following the stabilization policy.

The government set the fiscal deficit target at 4.3 per cent of GDP compared to 5 per cent in 2014-15.

Dar announced 29 per cent increase in the developmental budget which has been increased to Rs 700 billion.

He also announced to end electricity shortages by December 2017 by adding at least 10,000MW into the national grid.

Dar said the foreign exchange reserves had surged to $17 billion which will further grow to $19 billion during the next financial year.

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