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Saturday, 28 May 2016

From Today's Papers - 28 May 2016

Valley encounters gunfights
Six ultras killed in two days; Havildar Dada succumbs after brave charge
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, May 27
Havildar Hangpang Dada, a native of Tirap in Arunachal Pradesh, on Friday succumbed to his injuries sustained in an encounter in Nowgam sector yesterday, but not before etching his name in the Army’s annals of bravery.

The 36-year-old led his team in killing three militants in a gunfight close to the Line of Control after the Army foiled an infiltration bid at Tutmar Gali in the Nowgam sector, 120 km north-west of Srinagar, before sustaining fatal injuries.

Havildar Dada served in the Army for 19 years and is survived by his wife and two children. Enrolled in the Assam Regiment in 1997, he was posted with 35 Rashtriya Rifles.

“He showed courage and bravery. Before succumbing to injuries, he eliminated foreign terrorists,” Maj Gen JS Nain, General Officer Commanding of the Baramulla-based 19 Infantry Division, said, adding that the 20-hour operation had been called off with the killing of another militant today.

“The operation was conducted in tough conditions at an altitude of 11,000-12,000 feet. It was raining and snowing,” he said. “We recovered a large quantity of arms, ammunition, radio sets, winter clothing, food items and mountaineering equipment,” he added.

The gunfight erupted on Thursday morning when Armymen observed the movement of a group of militants. The identity of the slain ultras and the group they were affiliated to was yet to be ascertained. Over 40 militants have managed to infiltrate into Kashmir this year so far, higher than the figure of 35 for last year.

Army officials said Dada was seriously injured as the militants were perched higher up on the mountains.

In a separate gunfight, two militants of the Hizbul Mujahideen were killed in north Kashmir’s Kunzer area in Baramulla district today. The gunfight erupted at Kanchipora in Tangmarg, 35 km from Srinagar,.

“They were given an offer to surrender, which they refused. They fired at the joint search parties and an encounter ensued in which three militants died,” said a police officer.
30 yrs after Bofors, gun contract ‘finalised’
Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 27
Thirty years after the controversial Bofors artillery gun deal, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is on the verge of ordering an artillery gun for which a contract is in final stages.

This will be the first-ever 155-mm artillery gun purchase since March 1986 when 400 pieces were purchased from Swedish company AB Bofors for Rs 1,500 crore. Under threat from the ‘Bofors controversy’, the purchase of artillery guns has been cancelled or withdrawn on six occasions in the past 15 years.

In an interview to The Tribune, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar yesterday said: “The self-propelled artillery gun contract is near completion for placing an order, only minor modifications need to be done.”

India is looking to buy 100 155-mm/52-caliber self-propelled howitzers at Rs 4,500 crore. The contract will have a clause for a follow-on order of 50 more such guns.

Another artillery gun, the Dhanush, based on the Bofors design and transfer of technology, is also ready.
3 militants, Armyman killed in north Kashmir encounters
As the security forces closed in, the Hizbul Mujahideen militants opened fire and in the ensuing gunbattle, two militants were gunned down.
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Three militants and an Army officer were killed in encounters at separate locations in North Kashmir Friday, the Army said.

Defence spokesperson Lt Col N N Joshi said that based on information about the presence of militants in Kunchpura village near Tangmarg, the Army and the Special Operation Group of state police launched a joint operation on Friday morning.

As the security forces closed in, the Hizbul Mujahideen militants opened fire and in the ensuing gunbattle, two militants were gunned down, he said.
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Joshi said the militants, who were allegedly involved in many acts of militancy, had refused to surrender despite several appeals.

“An AK-47 rifle and a pistol with ammunition was recovered from the encounter site.”

The slain militants have been identified as Mehrajudin Bhat of Pattan, who was active in the Kunzar area of Baramulla. Bhat, who held BSc and BEd degrees, had joined Hizbul Mujahideen two years ago.

The other slain militant has been identified as Adil Ahmad Mir of Barat Sopore.

Another militant was gunned down near the LoC in Nowgam sector, where three militants were killed Thursday, said the Army.

“Troops deployed in the forward area of Nowgam sector observed the movement of a group of militants on the early morning of May 26,”said the Army spokesperson.

“The counter infiltration grid was reinforced while the militants were kept under constant surveillance till they could be effectively engaged,” he added.

Joshi said that braving harsh weather and difficult terrain, the Army eliminated four militants.

“A Non-Commissioned Officer of Rashtriya Rifles, Hangpan Dada, who led his team and brought effective fire on the militants got profusely injured… After ensuring elimination of three militants, while being evacuated to base hospital, he succumbed to his injuries,” he said.

The militants’ identity was yet to be ascertained, he added.
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BJP MP questions India’s wartime defense capacity against Pak, China
 At a time when the rest of the BJP is praising “new benchmarks of governance” set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in two years, party MP Sonaram Choudhary is explaining how a strengthening Sino-Pak nexus has been keeping the Centre on tenterhooks.

Addressing a press conference on Friday, the Barmer MP and former colonel of Indian army justified that PM Modi’s frequent foreign tours are crucial for diplomacy with developed countries such as USA and Europe and aims at seeking military assistance besides promoting India’s defence technology. “In war with Pakistan and China, neither do we have sufficient armed equipment nor forces to win. We cannot fight with both of them,” he said.

During the first anniversary of the Modi government, retd Colonel Choudhary courted controversy when he claimed that the government had brought back black money worth Rs 1 lakh crore.

A three-time Congress MP from Barmer parliamentary constituency and MLA from Baitu assembly constituency, Sonaram Choudhary fought for BJP from Barmer in 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Accrediting himself for development in the constituency, Choudhary claimed that due to his efforts, the union government sanctioned the Barmer-Kandla rail line, which will boost trade and commerce in western Rajasthan besides strengthening the country’s border security.

“Both the Centre and the state government wants to establish a refinery at Barmer but technical problems and decreasing crude oil prices are some of the issues delaying the project,” said Choudhary.

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