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Monday, 27 July 2015

From Today's Papers - 27 Jul 2015

Anna joins OROP protest, plans rallies in Ludhiana, Rohtak
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 26
Social activist Anna Hazare today lent his weight behind ex-servicemen in their protest against non-implementation of their demand for “One Rank One Pension (OROP)”.

The 78-year-old, who joined the veterans in their sit-in at Jantar Mantar, not only declared to hold a series of rallies for their cause across the country, but also clubbed their issue with land acquisition Bill saying he would rally for ‘jawans’ and ‘kisans’. He said the rallies would be held in Ludhiana (August 2), Rohtak (August 9), Maharashtra (August 23) and at Ramlila _Maidan (October 2).

As Hazare was addressing the ex-servicemen, barely 3 km away Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar laid a wreath at India Gate to pay obeisance to the Kargil martyrs on the occasion of Vijay Diwas. Prime Minister Narendra Modi too mentioned the soldiers in his radio programme ‘Mann ki baat’.

The ex-servicemen and their family members organised a separate event, each participating in a marathon wearing T-shirts supporting their demand for OROP.

Hazare, who took part in the 1965 war in the Punjab sector, said: “There are several war widows who merely get Rs4,000 as pension... how can they run a family?... I have come here today to make sure that whatever needs to be done for OROP is done. It should be done in a non-violent manner.”

Targeting the NDA government, he alleged there were many assurances on weeding out corruption, but nothing had been done so far. “The government is thinking they promised and the people voted for them. They are now in majority. If they think no one can touch them now, they should realise each day will be difficult for them,” he said.

Hazare had, through a letter, raised the issues with Modi earlier too. He had written: “We have to take care of our soldiers and farmers. Making hollow announcements for their welfare and actually implementing these are different things.”

The Centre had claimed it was committed to OROP and had set aside Rs8,300 crore for its implementation, but it has refused to specify a timeframe. The pension scheme, a longstanding demand of the ex-servicemen, would grant them parity with their peers retiring now. It would benefit around 25 lakh veterans.
Martyrs’ kin felicitated at Western Command
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
To pay tribute to those who had laid down their lives during the Operation Vijay to evict Pakistani intruders from the Indian Territory 16 years ago, Kargil Vijay Diwas was observed at Western Command Headquarters at Chandimandir today. It was on this day in 1999 that the last of the Pakistani infiltrators was thrown out of the Indian Territory.

A wreath laying ceremony was held at the Veer Smriti War Memorial at Chandimandir. Lt Gen KJ Singh, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief and Gen VP Malik (retd), who was the Army Chief at the time of the conflict, paid floral tribute to the martyrs, along with other serving officers, veterans, commanding officers and subedar majors of units that actively participated in the operation.

Next of kin of martyrs of Operation Vijay and gallantry award winners also took part in the ceremony and were felicitated on the occasion. A multi-faith prayer added to the emotional intensity of the atmosphere. Elena, a class VII student and daughter of late Maj Sanjay Sharma presented the evergreen “Ae mere wattan ke logo, zara aankh mein bhar lo pani…..”

In the evening, a light and sound show was held for showcasing the history of the Western Command.

Veterans from the tricity also organised a homage paying ceremony for the Kargil martyrs at the Maj Sandeep Shankla War Memorial in Panchkula. Panchkula Deputy Commissioner Vivek Attray, Secretary of the Rajya Sainik Board Brig SC Rangi (retd), Lt Gen SR Ghosh (retd), Lt Gen RS Sujlana (retd), Lt Gen Jasbir Singh (retd) and a large number of retired officers and local residents attended the event. Students from Doon Public School, Panchkula, and Vivekananda Millennium School, Pinjore, also participated in the function.
Army facing shortage of ammo: Lt Gen Hooda
Amir Karim Tantray

Tribune News Service

Jammu, July 26
Sixteen years after India fought a war on Kargil heights, forced on it by its neighbouring country and won after 527 soldiers sacrificed their lives, the Indian Army today claimed it was facing shortage of ammunition to fight a war.

Northern Army Commander Lieutenant General DS Hooda said this after a wreath-laying ceremony at the Drass war memorial to pay homage to martyrs of the 1999 Kargil war.

To honour the sacrifices of soldiers on the 16th anniversary of the war, Vijay Diwas was observed across Jammu and Kashmir with the main function being held at the Drass memorial.

Speaking to mediapersons, Hooda said there was some shortage of ammunition and the government had been made aware of it.

“We have enough ammunition for day-to-day operations, but to fight a war, we need to build up huge amount of stocks,” the Northern Army Commander said. He said the government was aware of it and steps were being taken to build up these stocks.

Lieutenant General Hooda expressed concern over the radicalisation of youth in the Kashmir valley where ISIS flags were  being waved frequently.

“Is it a matter of concern. Because ISIS is such an organisation with such radical ideology and views that we should make sure that it doesn’t get a hold... and it has no place in a democracy. There is a reason for us to see how to fight this ideological battle and frankly that is the plan at which it will get fought.”

“So, for us who are concerned with security and those concerned with governance, everybody has to put his head together and make sure that this very terrible organisation, if I may call it, doesn’t get a foothold in India,” Hooda said. The Army Commander also voiced concern over a number of youth joining militancy.

Vijay Diwas commemorates victory in war fought on the heights of Kargil and Drass in Ladakh region where the enemy had occupied mountain tops. When the Army learnt of the intrusion, they went out all out to flush out the enemy from the motherland.
A salute to Kargil war heroes
Mandi:  Ex-servicemen paid rich tributes to the martyrs on the 16th Kargil Diwas on Sunday. Capt Jagdish Chand Verma, president, Honorary Commissioned Officers Welfare Association, Himachal Pradesh, said 16 years ago, the Indian soldiers had pushed back all intruders of Pakistan from the Kargil hills, illegally occupied by them. He said all members of the association saluted the 527 soldiers who laid down their lives in the line of duty to protect the motherland. Capt Verma, along with the association members, prayed for the souls of the brave soldiers. Those who suffered injuries and participated in the Kargil conflict richly deserved appreciations, he said.  Capt Verma also appealed to the state government to give the martyrs and their families monthly allowances and annuity. — TNS
Soldiers Serve the Country But Don't Get Their Due: Anna Hazare on One Rank One Pension
New Delhi:  Social activist Anna Hazare today joined former servicemen in their protest against the Centre over non-implementation of One Rank One Pension (OROP) and said the veterans serve the country but don't get their due.

"A jawan is awake at night, that's why people sleep peacefully, but that jawan isn't being allowed to live with dignity," Anna, 78, said at Jantar Mantar where former servicemen are holding a protest today.

"There are several war widows here. They get a pension of Rs. 4000. In this day and age, how will they run a family?" Anna added.

Anna also warned the government to not go back on their promise to implement the OROP scheme.

"The government is thinking they promised and people voted for us. They are now in majority. If they think no one can touch them now, they should realise that each day will be difficult for them," he said.

Declaring he can do anything for OROP, the Gandhian activist said he will travel to other parts of the country to raise the issue and then finally converge in Delhi on October 2.

"On October 2, we will again converge at the Ramlila Maidan for a big protest. Just like we did for Lokpal," he said.

Anna had earlier announced he will launch an indefinite fast on October 2 in Delhi over OROP and the government's Land Bill.

An ex-serviceman himself, Anna had joined the Indian Army in 1963 and served for 15 years as a soldier. He was posted to several key states including Jammu-Kashmir, Assam, Sikkim, Bhutan and Mizoram and even served in the India Pakistan war of 1965.

Retired Army personnel are holding protests across India, demanding that the central government to set a date for the implementation of OROP. The government has earlier said it was committed to OROP and has set aside Rs. 8300 crore for its implementation, but has refused to specify a timeframe.

OROP, a longstanding demand of ex-servicemen, will grant retired armed forces personnel pension parity with officers and jawans of the same rank who are retiring now. OROP will benefit 25 lakh ex-servicemen.
Will ease norms for women's recruitment in defence forces: Defence Miniter

Manohar Parrikar said his ministry has already taken a call to relax certain norms for the recruitment of women in the armed forces.
Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Saturday said the government will soon relax norms for women aspirants to join the Indian Army.

"Ministry of Defence has already taken a call to relax certain norms for the recruitment of women in the armed forces and a final decision was expected to be taken within the next two months," Parrikar said while inaugurating the Mai Bhago Armed Forces Preparatory Institute for Girls in Mohali.

The minister said that there were just 3,298 women officers in the Army and the Centre wants to increase the strength. Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on setting up the Armed Forces Preparatory Institute for Girls and said the institute would attract girls to the armed forces. The institute was not merely an academy to train girls for the armed forces but would also play a significant role in the empowerment of women.

Parrikar also requested Badal to enhance the numbers of seats in the institute so that more aspirants could be accommodated in the armed forces. Recognising the contribution of Punjab in the armed forces, Badal announced to increase the grant for a Param Vir Chakra recipient from Rs 30 lakh to Rs 2 crore.

The grant for Mahavir Chakra was enhanced from Rs 20 lakh to Rs 1 crore while a Vir Chakra recipient would now get Rs 50 lakh instead of Rs 15 lakh. Meanwhile, retired Army personnel held a protest against the delay in the implementation of the One Rank One Pension scheme.

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