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Indo-Pak Flag Meeting decides to keep communication alive

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A Battalion Commander Level Flag Meeting between India and Pakistan army officers was held at Chakan-Da-Bagh in Poonch district on Tuesday.

Indian Army and Pakistan Army Officers during a Flag Meeting at the Chakan Da Bagh in Poonch on Tuesday.

PTI
India and Pakistan on Tuesday agreed to exercise restraint and keep the communication channels alive that were established through reconciliation mechanism as senior Army officers of the two countries held a Flag Meeting in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir. A Battalion Commander Level Flag Meeting between India and Pakistan army officers was held at Chakan-Da-Bagh in Poonch district on Tuesday.”The meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere to take forward the confidence building measures initiated during the Brigade Commander Level Flag Meeting in September,” Defence spokesman Lt Col Manish Mehta said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said that the representatives of the two nations deliberated on a host of issues, including ceasefire violations, return of civilians who cross the border inadvertently, air space violations and construction activity close to the Line of Control.”In the meeting which lasted for nearly an hour and half, the colonel ranked officers leading the respective delegations acknowledged each other’s efforts in maintaining peace and tranquillity on the Line of Control in the recent past”, Mehta said.The spokesperson noted that both the sides mutually agreed to the importance of exercising restraint on the Line of Control and keeping the communication alive through established reconciliation mechanism.”The Flag Meeting ended on a positive note wherein the two sides exchanged pleasantries and sweets at the zero line”, he said.

OROP: Ex-servicemen threatens to intensify stir, if demands not met within 3 weeks

The United Front of Ex-servicemen (UFES), an umbrella body of associations of ex-servicemen which is leading the protest, demanded that the Centre appoints “formally” former Army Chief and Union Minister V K Singh as the mediator between them and the government to resolve the issue “immediately”.

File Image

PTI
Ex-servicemen agitating over the ‘One Rank, One Pension’ (OROP) issue on Sunday threatened to intensify the protest if their demands were not met by the Centre within three weeks even as they decided to not vote for BJP in the upcoming assembly elections.The United Front of Ex-servicemen (UFES), an umbrella body of associations of ex-servicemen which is leading the protest, demanded that the Centre appoints “formally” former Army Chief and Union Minister V K Singh as the mediator between them and the government to resolve the issue “immediately”. The veterans “gave” 15 days’ time to the government to “correct” its OROP scheme in line with the protesters’ expectations — failing which a seven-day notice period will be given to the government before the protest is intensified.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We are giving the government 15 days’ time, requesting the government for mediation and after that we will give them seven days’ notice. “Issue an order today itself empowering V K Singh to mediate with us and discuss the issue with us and resolve it within three-four days by removing seven discrepancies in the government OROP,” major general (retd) Satbir Singh, who is leading the protest, said. Singh made the demand during ‘Sainik Aakrosh’ rally organised by UFES at Jantar Mantar here.Aiming to mount pressure on the NDA government, the UFES urged its members to not vote for the BJP in the upcoming assembly elections in several including Assam. The veterans claimed it were the votes of ex-servicemen which helped BJP improve its tally in the 2014 Lok Sabha – more than what the NDA major itself had expected, they claimed. However, the government has “cheated” veterans by not giving the OROP they wanted and BJP had promised to give, Singh said.”You saw what happened to the party in Delhi and recently Bihar. We urge the members to not vote for it in upcoming polls now if our demands are ignored,” he added. The UFES also called upon ex-servicemen present at the rally to boycott Republic Day celebrations this year. Major general (retd) Singh also hit out at Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for stating that the government’s OROP formula was accepted by most of the ex-servicemen’s organisations and that only a small section had some issues with it. “He (Jaitley) should come here and see the number of people who have turned up here,” Singh said, pointing towards the gathering.”The number would be even bigger had our other colleagues reached here in time. Jaitley claims their OROP is acceptable to most of us, it is a lie. More than 99.99 per cent of us are against it,” he claimed. Singh also challenged Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Jaitley and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to face a debate with UFES on the issue and added that the ex-servicemen will call of the movement if proved wrong.Singh also announced the UFES rejected 7th pay commission report, saying it is over and above OROP. The rally was also addressed by Colonel Inderjit Singh, who is considered to have begun the fight for OROP. He urged the ex-servicemen to stay “united” for their rights.The government came out with a notification on OROP on November 7 but the veterans still remain unsatisfied. They have demanded that OROP should be implemented from April 1, 2014 and not July 1, 2015 as in the government notification. OROP principle is in perpetuity and cannot be fiddled with, they maintain.

Pakistan and Lashkar terror matrix in Jammu and Kashmir exposed again

Indian Army had foiled an infiltration bid in Poonch-Saujian area near Makhiari Nala on December 3 and killed three top militants.

The items recovered from the militants; (inset) A food packet shows Pakistani marking proving that it was produced there

Pakistan and Lashkar-e-Taiba’s role in exporting terror has been exposed after the Indian army recovered Jamat-ud-Dawa’s thermal suits and Pakistan made items from the three infiltrators who were gunned down by troops on the Line of Control (LoC) in Saujian area of Poonch sector.Indian Army had foiled an infiltration bid in Poonch-Saujian area near Makhiari Nala on December 3 and killed three top militants. The operation was launched in the evening hours on December 3 when the infiltration bid was detected by surveillance devices and the sentries guarding the area of operation.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The area was cordoned off and search operations carried on till next day morning. On 4 December, army recovered a huge quantity of arms, ammunitions and other war likes stores. Many Pakistan manufactured/ origin items were also recovered (from slain ultras”, said Colonel SD Goswami, defence spokesman at Northern Command Headquarters.The items recovered from three slain militants included two AK-47 rifles, one AK-56 rifle, one long barrel rifle one (Sniper), two pistols, one UBGL, 2005 rounds of AK-47 amounation, four UBGL grenade, 20 rounds of Pistol, five sniper rounds.What however has exposed Pakistan was the recovery of thermal suits of Jamat-ud-Dawa, the fountainhead of Lashkar-e-Taiba led by Mumbai terror mastermind Hafiz Mohammad Sayeed, and Pakistani made food items used by infiltrators to sustain during infiltration.The other items include one sleeping bag 01, six socks, three blankets, 20 fuel tablets, six biscuit packets, two oil bottles,13 dry fruit packets, 14 assorted toffies, three thermal trousers, one thermal t shirt, one knee cap. Besides, roties pickle, water bottles, medicines and lip balm were also recovered.”The recovery of Pakistani items including Jamat-ud-dawa clothing bears the testimony of Pakistan’s involvement in exporting terror and sending in Lashkar militants to foment trouble in Jammu and Kashmir,” said an army officer.

India scores major diplomatic victory after China invites northern army commander for talks

The invitation comes five years after China refused to host the then Northern Army Commander Lieutenant General BS Jaswal on the grounds that he was posted in Jammu and Kashmir, which is a ‘disputed’ territory.

Lt Gen DS Hooda

Far from the euphoria over Bangkok handshake, India is quietly basking under a major diplomatic victory after China invited Northern Army Commander Lieutenant General DS Hooda for discussions on the border management and boundary issues.The invitation comes five years after China refused to host the then Northern Army Commander Lieutenant General BS Jaswal on the grounds that he was posted in Jammu and Kashmir, which is a ‘disputed’ territory.Lt Gen Hooda, general officer commanding in chief (GoC-in-C) of Udhampur- based Northern Command, along with other army commanders are scheduled to travel to China in mid-December to hold discussions with Chinese counterparts on varied issues relating to the boundary issues.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”He (Lt Gen Hooda) is likely to visit China in mid-December. Exact dates will be intimated later,” Colonel SD Goswami, defence spokesman at Northern Command, told dna.The four-day-long talks between Indian and Chinese military delegation will focus on a host of issues relating to the boundary disputes, border management and maintaining peace and tranquility on the line of actual control in Ladakh and other parts of the country that shares border with China.India shares a 3,488-km border with China while Jammu and Kashmir shares 646 Km of line of actual control (LAC) with China. Jammu and Kashmir is the only state in the country which shares its borders with both Pakistan and China.The incursions and transgressions by People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been a cause of worry for the people in Ladakh division, though the number has decreased for the last one year.In September, two armies were engaged in a bitter standoff after Indian troops dismantled the watch tower constructed by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) at Burste in Depsang Plains on the LAC.In April 2013 Indian and PLA were engaged in a major face-off when the Chinese troops had come 19 kilometres deep inside the Indian Territory at Daulat Beg Oldi sector on LAC and set up tented posts. The 20-day standoff ended on May 5 2013 when troops from both sides withdrew to the pre-incursion positions on the LAC.”We hope that there will be a movement forward in the meeting between the military leaderships of the two countries. There is a major policy shift in China and a lot of goodwill towards India. We hope to carry forward the mission of friendship with China,” said an army officer.

Indian army foils major fidayeen attack, three ultras and a civliian killed, one solider injured

The incident occurred around 6.15 am when three fidayeens lobbed grenades and used under-barrel grenade launchers on the 3/1 GR camp at Tangdhar from the nearby ridgeline on the rear side of the facility.

Army soldiers stand guard near to where an encounter took place in Kupwara district on Wednesday

PTI
Indian Army on Wednesday repulsed a major fidayeen (suicidal) attack on the Gorkha Riffles (GR) camp when they killed three ultras before they could storm the facility at Tangdhar area near the Line of Control (LoC) in North Kashmir’s Kupwara district. A civilian, however, lost his life while a solider sustained injuries in the attack.The incident occurred around 6.15 am when three fidayeens lobbed grenades and used under-barrel grenade launchers on the 3/1 GR camp at Tangdhar from the nearby ridgeline on the rear side of the facility.Some grenades hit an oil depot setting off huge fire balls in the air. Plumes of smoke were seen blowing inside the camp as the troops swiftly engaged the ultras in a fierce gun fight. Special Forces were immediately rushed in to the area to smoke out the militants who were hiding outside the camp site.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Three ultras were later gunned down by the troops in a fierce gunfight. A civilian, working with army as generator operator, was also killed while a soldier received wounds in the attack.The slain civilian has been identified as Tanvir Ahmed Sheikh of Tangdhar Kupwara. Some vehicles of the troopers were also damaged in the gunfight.”The terrorists had tried to sneak into an army camp in the early hours firing indiscriminately which resulted in the killing of one civilian and injuring army personnel. The terrorists were effectively intercepted by the army’s Quick Reaction Teams which hemmed them in a cordon thus preventing their escape. In the ensuing gun fight, three terrorists were killed,” Colonel NN Joshi, defence spokesman at Srinagar.Indian Army also denied some reports that fidayeen had managed to storm the camp. “No, they (ultras) could not enter into the camp”, said Colonel Joshi.Indian Army has launched a massive combing operation to sanitise the area and find out if any ultra is hiding there. “Three weapons have so far been recovered from the dead terrorists. Operations are in progress to fully sanitise the area,” said the defence spokesman. Dreaded Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit has claimed responsibility for the Tangdhar attack. Muhammad Hassan Shah, spokesperson of the Jaish, called up a local news agency claiming that the three ultras “stormed the camp soon after fajr (morning) prayers and inflicted heavy loss to the troops.”

Lieutenant Colonel Pankaj Sharma dies of cardiac arrest during military exercise near Pokhran

A defence spokesperson said that the deceased passed away at 16.30 hours on Monday following complaints of chest pain that was later discovered by the doctors as a cardiac arrest.

An army officer died of cardiac attack at Pokhran in Jaisalmer on Monday evening. The 39-year-old Lieutenant Colonel Pankaj Sharma was there to attend an ongoing army exercise. The officer, who belonged to Dehradun was from the Ordnance Corp of the army and was currently posted at Secunderabad.A defence spokesperson said that the deceased passed away at 16.30 hours on Monday following complaints of chest pain that was later discovered by the doctors as a cardiac arrest.Sharma is survived by his wife and a 12-year-old son. Army officials said that his mortal remains would be airlifted to Dehradun for the last rites.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as the incident comes a week after an army lost a colonel last week who was martyred fighting terrorists in Kashmir, last month, an army major lost his life during the same exercise at Pokhran range in a freak accident. Major Dhruv Yadav was hit by a splinter from a misfired round from a tank being used in the exercise.Before Yadav’s death, in an another incident at Jodhpur, an army officer died of suspected Swine Flu.38-year-old commanding officer of 12 Guards Colonel Vishnu Prasad died at a military hospital due to multiple organ failure caused by H1N1 swine flu.

Army avenges Santosh Mahadik’s killing, eliminates LeT militant

Colonel Santosh Mahadik

The Indian Army drew first blood after they killed one of the militants responsible for killing Colonel Santosh Mahadik in the high-altitude Manigarh forests of Kupwara district. Security forces have also intensified anti-terror operations, in which three militants and a soldier were killed across Jammu and Kashmir on MondayOn the eleventh day of the Manigarh operation, security forces killed the first militant of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) deep inside the jungle.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The operation was launched on November 13, after security forces received a tip-off about the presence of militants in the area. The Army and the police launched a cordon-and-search operation to hunt down the militants. The Army later in rushed in special forces and choppers.“One militant has been killed so far. We suspect three more are in the area. We have had four contacts (exchange of firing) so far, one of which killed Colonel Mahadik and five others. A Lieutenant Colonel was injured”, Ajaz Ahmad, senior superintendent of police, Kupwara, told dna.Security forces also killed three terrorists of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen at Aishmuqam in Anantnag districtColonel NN Joshi, defence spokesman at Srinagar, said that acting on a tip-off, the Rashtriya Rifles and the police launched a swift operation to flush them out.“As the Army and the police approached the suspects’ house, the terrorists fired indiscriminately. Exercising strict restraint to avoid any collateral damage to civilians, the Army engaged the three terrorists in a brief gun battle and eliminated them,” he said.The slain militants were identified as Sartaj Ahmad Lone, Adil Ahmad Sheikh and Tanveer Ahamd Bhat.“Adil Sheikh was involved in the killing of a policeman, Arif Nazir Khan, in June 16 this year. Tanveer was involved in the killing of a civilian, Javid Ahamd Sofi. Three AK-47 rifles, six magazines, one Under Barrel Grenade Launcher (UBGL), three UBGL grenades and one pistol with magazine were recovered,” a police spokesman saidIn a separate incident, a soldier was killed when his patrol came under heavy firing near the Line of Control in Naoshera sector.“Our troops retaliated. In the ensuing fight, one soldier was injured and attained martyrdom while being taken to the military hospital. Search operations were still on,” said Lt Colonel Manish Mehta, defence spokesman at Jammu.

3 Hizbul Mujahideen militants among 4 killed in Kashmir encounters

The Hizbul militants – Sartaj Ahmad Lone, Adil Ahmad Sheikh and Tanveer Ahmad Bhat – were killed in the gunfight with a joint search party of police, Rashtriya Rifles and CRPF at village Siligam in Ashmuqam

PTI
Four militants, including three of Hizbul Mujahideen, were on Monday killed in two gunfights during search operations in Anantnag and Kupwara districts of Kashmir valley, officials said.The Hizbul militants – Sartaj Ahmad Lone, Adil Ahmad Sheikh and Tanveer Ahmad Bhat – were killed in the gunfight with a joint search party of police, Rashtriya Rifles and CRPF at village Siligam in Ashmuqam, 80 km from here, in Anantang district of south Kashmir, a police spokesman said. He said the encounter took place when the trio, hailing from Bijbehara area of Anantnag, opened fire on the security forces who had moved to the village following specific information about their presence.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Terming the killing of the three militants as a “major success”, the spokesman said Aadil and Tanveer were involved in the killing of a policeman and a civilian in Bijbehara on March 22 and June 16. While the policeman, Arif Nazir Khan, was killed on June 16, Javid Ahmad Sofi was shot dead on March 22. Three AK-47 riffles, six magazines, a UBGL with three grenades, a pistol with a magazine were recovered from the encounter site, the spokesman said.Commenting on the encounter, a defence spokesman said, “It was a major blow to the terrorist organisations as also a true homage to the sacrifices of all soldiers fighting terror.” In a separate operation in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, which entered its 11th day today, the security forces killed one militant while efforts were on to flush out his accomplices, the official said. The unidentified militant was killed in the encounter in the dense forests of Manigah, where Colonel Santosh Mahadik was killed last week, he said.Security forces are continuing a massive search operation in the forest near the Line of Control (LoC) since November 13 following information about presence of a group of heavily- armed militants. On November 17, an encounter between the militants and the security forces left Colonel Mahadik, Commanding Officer of 41 Rashtriya Rifles, dead. In another exchange of fire yesterday, two army personnel including a Lt Colonel were injured in the district yesterday.

Four militants killed in two encounters in Kashmir

Srinagar: Four unidentified militants were killed on Monday in two separate encounters with security forces in Kupwara and Anantnag districts of Kashmir, officials said in Srinagar.

Three militants were killed in an encounter with security forces in Asghmuqam area of Anantnag district this afternoon, an army official said.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The gunbattle started when militants opened fire on security force personnel who had cordoned off Siligam village to carry out a search operation, the official said.

He said the search operation was still in progress while the identity of the slain militants was being ascertained.

In a separate operation in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, which entered its 11th day on Sunday, the security forces killed one militant while efforts were on to flush out his accomplices, the official said.

The unidentified militant was killed in the encounter in the dense forests of Manigah, where Colonel Santosh Mahadik was killed last week, he said.

Security forces are continuing a massive search operation in the forest near the Line of Control (LoC) since 13 November following information about presence of a group of heavily-armed militants.

On 17 November, an encounter between the militants and the security forces left Colonel Mahadik, Commanding Officer of 41 Rashtriya Rifles, dead.

In another exchange of fire on Sunday, two army personnel including a Lt Colonel were injured in the district yesterday.

PTI

Jammu & Kashmir: Army jawan killed as Pakistan violates ceasefire

An Indian Army jawan was killed on Monday in a ceasefire violation by Pakistan in Laam sector of Nowshera in Jammu and Kashmir.

An Indian Army jawan was killed on Monday in a ceasefire violation by Pakistan in Laam sector of Nowshera in Jammu and Kashmir.Meanwhile, a militant was neutralised by the Army during the ongoing encounter in the dense forests of Manigah and the search operation continues in attempts to flush out the remaining terrorists.An officer and two jawans have been injured since yesterday during the operation.Security forces have been combing the forest near the Line of Control (LoC) since November 13 after receiving information about the presence of a group of heavily-armed militants.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On November 17, Commanding Officer of 41 Rashtriya Rifles Colonel Santosh Mahadik was killed in an encounter with militants.

Jammu and Kashmir: One militant killed in encounter in Kupwara; massive combing operation underway

The militants are believed to be cornered and attempts are being made to capture or neutralise them.

Representational image

One militant was killed on Monday in an ongoing encounter with security forces in Kupwara in Jammu and Kashmir.A massive encounter entered its second day on Monday as Indian Army personnel are engaged in a search operation to flush out hiding terrorists from the Rajwar forests in Handwara.The fierce gun battle that has been raging on since Sunday entered its second and so far three Army personnel have been injured, including a Lieutenant-Colonel and two jawans.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The militants are believed to be cornered and attempts are being made to capture or neutralise them.Heavy firing is underway and additional troops have been rushed to cordon off the forest area.Earlier, the Army had launched a search operation in Kupwara where Colonel Santosh Mahadik, the Commanding Officer (CO) of 41 Rashtriya Rifles was killed in a fierce gun battle with terrorists.

Militants strike again, injures Lt Colonel of the army in Kupwara forests

A Lieutenant Colonel of the army was injured when fresh gun battle broke between the militants and search party of the troops inside the Manigah forests on Sunday.

A joint team of the Indian army and the police launched the cordon and search operation to hunt down the ultras.
Representational Image
PTI
Wounds of Colonel Santosh Mahadik’s death were still fresh when militants attacked once again injuring a Lieutenant Colonel rank officer of the Indian army in the Manigah forests in border district of Kupwara on Sunday. Thousands of troops backed by helicopters are combing the dense forests to flush out the hiding ultras even as the operation entered into the tenth day on Sunday.A Lieutenant Colonel of the army was injured when fresh gun battle broke between the militants and search party of the troops inside the Manigah forests on Sunday. “One lieutenant colonel of 160 Territorial Army (TA) has been injured in the gun battle but he is out of danger,” said Colonel NN Joshi, defence spokesman at Srinagar.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior superintendent of police, Kupwara, Ajaz Ahmad told dna that the operation is continuing in the forest area against the militants. This is the same forest area where Colonel Mahadik, the commanding officer of 41 Rashtriya Riffles (RR) was killed by the militants on November 17.The operation was launched on November 13 after the security forces got a tip off about the presence of militants in the jungles. A joint team of the Indian army and the police launched the cordon and search operation to hunt down the ultras.Indian army later rushed in reinforcements to the area which includes men from the Special Forces to track down the ultras. Choppers too have been pressed into service to trace the ultras. However so far no ultra has been killed.Manigah is a bowl surrounded by the mountains and forests. There are rocks and thick foliage in the jungles. Besides ultras, security forces have to battle the poor visibility and inclement weather conditions given the high altitude area.Security forces suspect that the militants are still hiding in the area under the cover of rocky caves and dense foliage. That is why they have cordoned off around five square kilometre area to plug all the holes so that the ultras are unable to escape.”Temperatures are dropping fast and they cannot sustain for long. Our troops are zeroing in and we will get them soon,” said an officer.

Colonel dies, policeman injured in Kashmir operation to flush out militants

Srinagar: An Army Colonel of the elite Para Commando force was on Tuesday killed and a policeman injured after coming under fire from militants in a forest area of Kashmir where the officer was leading a search party to flush out the hiding ultras.

39-year-old Colonel Santosh Mahadik, Commanding Officer of 41 Rashtriya Rifles, was critically injured during the operation in the Haji Naka forest area of Kupwara near the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, officials said.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

He was immediately evacuated to a hospital but he succumbed to injuries, the officials said.

A police constable was also injured in the firing and was undergoing treatment.

Santosh, who hailed from Maharashtra and was commissioned in the Army in 1998, was originally from the Special Forces. He had received Sena Medal for exhibiting gallantry and leadership in counter terrorist operations, Defence spokesman said.

The operation to track down the militants was continuing when last reports were received, the officials said.

The party of army and police came under fire when it was conducting searches as part of an operation started on November 13 to flush out terrorists hiding in the forest area on the basis of a specific information.

An Army jawan was injured on the first day of the operation.

After the initial contact on November 13, the militants fled deep into the forests and the security forces continued the chase them, leading to fresh contact today, the officials said.

Col Santosh leaves behind wife and two children, aged 11 and five years, the defence spokesman said, adding the Army is committed to providing all support to the family in this hour of grief.

The spokesman said the Colonel was a true soldier and had conducted many successful counter-terrorist operations.

General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Northern Command Lt Gen DS Hooda has expressed deep condolences on the loss of this brave Commanding Officer.

“We owe a deep debt of gratitude to officers like Santosh who lead from the front and are willing to pay the ultimate price in the fight against terrorism,” Lt Gen Hooda said.

PTI

Maha CM Fadnavis pays tribute to slain army colonel Santosh Mahadik

The 39-year-old colonel, Commanding Officer of 41 Rashtriya Rifles, was critically injured during an operation in the Haji Naka forest area of Kupwara near the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir.

“It is because of such courageous fighters like Colonel Santosh Mahadik that our nation lives in peace and feels safe and protected. Jai Hind,” Fadnavis added. (Image from MOD Twitter handle)

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis paid rich tributes to Col Santosh Mahadik, Commanding Officer of 41 Rashtriya Rifles, who was today slain by militants in Kashmir. “Tributes and Salute to the brave son of Bharat Mata Colonel Santosh Mahadik from Satara, Maharashtra, who got martyred in Jammu and Kashmir,” Fadnavis said in his message on twitter.”It is because of such courageous fighters like Colonel Santosh Mahadik that our nation lives in peace and feels safe and protected. Jai Hind,” he added.The 39-year-old colonel, Commanding Officer of 41 Rashtriya Rifles, was critically injured during an operation in the Haji Naka forest area of Kupwara near the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir. He succumbed to his injuries at t hospital.

Manohar Parrikar pays tribute to Colonel killed in Kupwara encounter

The Commanding Officer of 41 Rashtriya Rifles Colonel Santosh, who was leading a search party, was critically injured when militants hiding in a dense forest area of Haji Naka opened fire.

“We are proud of our young officers like him who lead from the front and did not hesitate to sacrifice their lives to protect the nation,” he said.

File Photo
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday paid his tributes to Colonel Santosh Mahadik who was martyred in an encounter in Kupwara in Jammu and Kashmir today.In a message, he said, “We are proud of our young officers like him who lead from the front and did not hesitate to sacrifice their lives to protect the nation.” The Commanding Officer of 41 Rashtriya Rifles Colonel Santosh, who was leading a search party, was critically injured when militants hiding in a dense forest area of Haji Naka opened fire.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Also read- Jammu and Kashmir: Militants kill army colonel in Kupwara encounter Santosh, who was from the elite regiment of Para Commandos, was evacuated to a hospital but he succumbed to injuries.

Jammu and Kashmir: Militants kill army colonel in Kupwara encounter

The party of army and police came under fire when it was conducting searches as part of an operation started on November 13 to flush out terrorists hiding in the forest area on the basis of a specific information.

An Army jawan was injured on the first day of the operation (Representational Image)

A Colonel of Army’s elite Para Commando force was today killed and a policeman injured by militants during an operation near the Line of Control (LoC) in Kupwara district of Kashmir, officials said. The Commanding Officer of 41 Rashtriya Rifles Colonel Santosh, who was leading a search party, was critically injured when militants hiding in a dense forest area of Haji Naka opened fire, the officials said. Santosh, who was from the elite regiment of Para Commandos, was evacuated to a hospital but he succumbed to injuries, the officials said. They said a police constable was also injured in the firing and was undergoing treatment. The operation to track down the militants was continuing when last reports were received, the officials said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The party of army and police came under fire when it was conducting searches as part of an operation started on November 13 to flush out terrorists hiding in the forest area on the basis of a specific information. An Army jawan was injured on the first day of the operation.After the initial contact on November 13, the militants fled deep into the forests and the security forces continued the chase them, leading to fresh contact today, the officials said.

OROP protest: Ex-servicemen to hold rally in Punjab tomorrow

“Around 100 of our members who turned up here from parts of the country did meditation as part of the protest,” IESM spokesman Colonel (retd) Anil Kaul said.

Continuing with their protest over ‘One Rank One Pension’ (OROP) scheme, members of Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM) held demonstrations at Rajghat on Saturday even as they threatened to escalate pressure on government with a rally in Haryana’s Ambala tomorrow. “We sought from the Father of the Nation to guide us in our fight against the injustice. Around 100 of our members who turned up here from parts of the country did meditation as part of the protest,” IESM spokesman Colonel (retd) Anil Kaul said. Kaul maintained the veterans have received no communique on behalf of the government over the issues they have raised and said that a rally will be held in Ambala as part of series of demonstrations. “We are going to hold a rally in Ambala tomorrow. Our teams from northern India will gather there in big number. Our Delhi unit too will join the agitators there,” Kaul said. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Government had last Saturday notified OROP scheme for over 24 lakh ex-servicemen and six lakh war widows in the country. It has dropped the contentious proposal to exclude ex-servicemen who sought premature retirement from the ambit of OROP. But the armed forces personnel who opt to get discharged on their request would henceforth not get OROP benefits, as per the notification.IESM members who have been protesting at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi since June, have rejected the notification and returned their medals expressing dissent over the same.

U.S. ‘reasonably certain’ that British Islamic State militant Jihadi John killed in strike | Reuters

WASHINGTON/BEIRUT The United States announced on Friday it was “reasonably certain” a drone strike in Syria had killed Jihadi John, a British citizen who became the public face of Islamic State and a symbol of its brutality after appearing in hostage execution videos.

U.S. and British officials welcomed the apparent success of the operation targeting Mohammed Emwazi, saying his death, if confirmed, would be a big blow to Islamic State’s image and prestige even though Emwazi was not a significant tactical or operational figure in the militant group.

“If this strike was successful – and we still await confirmation of that – it will be a strike at the heart of ISIL (Islamic State),” British Prime Minister David Cameron said in a statement outside his official London residence.

The U.S.-British missile strike believed to have killed Emwazi was months in preparation but came together at lightning speed shortly before midnight on Thursday, as two U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drones and one British MQ-9 cruised above the Syrian town of Raqqa, officials said.

U.S. Army Colonel Steve Warren, a spokesman in Baghdad for the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State, said a Hellfire missile was fired at a car believed to be carrying Emwazi and another man. The missile killed the people riding in the car, he said.

“It’s still a little early, but we are reasonably certain that we killed the target that we intended to kill, which is Jihadi John,” Warren told reporters, adding the verification process still had to be completed.

An Islamic State fighter confirmed a strike took place in Raqqa, the organisation’s headquarters in Syria, and killed several “brothers” and civilians but added via the Internet that “there is a decision not to announce names.”

Rami Abdulrahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group, said a car carrying four Islamic State leaders, including one Briton, had been killed in the strike in Raqqa. He quoted sources in Raqqa as saying Emwazi’s body had been blown apart.

While experts questioned whether Emwazi’s death would have much impact on Islamic State since he was not a senior military figure, Cameron described him as a “barbaric murderer” and Islamic State’s “lead executioner.”

“It was the right thing to do,” Cameron said.

E‎mwazi took part in videos showing the murders of U.S. journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley, U.S. aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig, British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning, Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, and other hostages.

Shown in the videos dressed entirely in black, a balaclava covering all but his eyes and the bridge of his nose, Emwazi became a menacing symbol of Islamic State brutality and one of the world’s most wanted men.

He used such videos to threaten the West, admonish its Arab allies and taunt U.S. President Barack Obama and Cameron before hostages seen cowering in orange jump suits.

Born in Kuwait in 1988, Emwazi was brought to Britain by his family when he was 6 years old and graduated in computer programming in London.

He appears to have come to the attention of the British authorities police by 2009, when he was barred from entering Tanzania at the request of British security services.

The British government also believes Emwazi was a member of a network convicted of trying to bomb London’s underground railway in 2005, two weeks after an attack by another group killed 52 people.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters the operation against Emwazi did not require prior presidential approval because it was conducted under guidance Obama laid down for the fight against Islamic State, which includes going after their leaders. He said Obama was briefed on the operation on Thursday.

The strike came as the U.S. president is trying to boost U.S. efforts to defeat Islamic State, including sending a small contingent of U.S. special forces troops to Syria.

RELIEF MIXED WITH FRESH GRIEF

Reacting to news about Emwazi, relatives of slain hostages spoke of relief but also a desire to hear him explain his actions.

“As much as I wanted him dead, I also wanted answers as to why he did it, why my Dad, how did it make a difference,” said Bethany Haines, whose father David was shown being killed on video, told Britain’s ITV News.

Steven Sotloff’s parents, Art and Shirley Sotloff, said in a statement the development was “too little, too late” and they were focussed on the positive contributions of their son and James Foley.

John and Diane Foley, parents of James, said in a statement: “If only so much effort had been given to finding and rescuing Jim and the other hostages who were subsequently murdered … they might be alive today.”

Experts said Emwazi’s death may not make much difference to Islamic State or to the struggle against radicalisation among some young British Muslims.

“Islamic State will survive ‘Jihadi John’,” said Jonathan Russell, political liaison officer at the Quilliam Foundation, which aims to debunk the belief systems of Islamic extremism.

“If we’re going to make any sort of progress on winning this global war against Jihadism, we’ve got to focus on the ideology and win the battle of ideas, not just have a look at their propaganda tools and their frontmen and their symbols.”

Peter Neumann, director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King’s College London, said the military impact would be small even if the symbolic importance was significant.

“It feeds into a wider narrative that ISIS (Islamic State) in its core territory isn’t really winning anymore,” he said.

(Additional reporting by John Davison in Beirut, Doina Chiacu in Washington, Estelle Shirbon in London and Robert Muller in Prague; Editing by Samia Nakhoul, Timothy Heritage, David Alexander and Frances Kerry)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

The ‘scarlet letter’ by OROP veterans is high drama, but will it do the trick?

Over 100 officers of the rank of general and 100 junior commissioned officers (JCOs) got together at Jantar Mantar on Sunday afternoon to sign a petition to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating their dismay over the non-implementation of the One Rank One Pension (OROP) initiative and the shards of what the vets call ‘broken promises’.

All the signatures were signed with the blood of the signatories.

According to an OROP spokesperson, “If we can shed our lifeblood for our land, why cannot we shed a few drops for the sake of righting a wrong?”

File image of veterans calling for the implementation of OROP earlier this year. PTI

File image of veterans calling for the implementation of OROP earlier this year. PTI

Adding to the pathos was a retired colonel — the father of Captain Vijayant Thapar who died in Kargil. “There are many who have lost their limbs in the battlefield. It’s the same blood here that lies scattered on the battlefield,” the colonel was quoted as saying.

Much emotion, but what next?

The OROP drama has moved from scene to scene since June and has had its own share of controversy. After the accusation that the media had walked away under pressure from the government, the media boycott is being rescinded by the veterans because they have individually invited media representatives to the Monday event at 1 pm. Their message was sent to specific media outlets, more as a challenge of their integrity as media men and women.

The scarlet letter, so to speak, is supposed to re-ignite a spark and galvanise what is a sluggish and almost ignored movement, its merits notwithstanding. To a point, it has succeeded with the mildly macabre exercise bringing in the media and the subsequent coverage.

The time has come now to end this rather tawdry impasse and get on with the pledge as given by the prime minister in the presence of the three service chiefs.

If we just put aside those merits (or lack thereof) in the untiring OROP protesters,  the harsh fact is that we are giving comfort to those who do not wish us well. Within our borders and outside. No government can afford to be seen to be antagonising its men in uniform even if they hung them up.

The blood sacrifice is also a bit tacky and it has to be said, not particularly edifying. It’s also clearly an act of those who are hurt, mystified and angered as well as totally frustrated. The government has to grab this nettle and either keep its promise or unequivocally state its position.

The OROP frontline has stated theirs.

Is the OROP implemented?

If the answer is to the question is ‘yes’, then why is the government shying away from facing the veterans? Why are their ministers and party members making ill-informed statements? Why are a large number of ex-servicemen (ESM) attending the rallies being organised all over the country? Who are the nameless veterans with whom the government claims to have discussed the matter?

By having the three service chiefs flanking the minister of defence when the announcement was made, the government is trying to spread the false impression that its announcement had legitimacy. The government is conspicuously opaque on the fact that the service chiefs have no say at all in policy formulation, and are duty-bound to agree to any policy of the government.

The impression being permeated by the government in society that it has the support of the chiefs and veteran organisation for the OROP that it has implemented is pure perfidy, and this has been proved by the response of the ESMs within the country and abroad by pointing out the glaring flaws.

The ball is in the Centre’s court. Time to return the service.

Malegaon blasts: Rohini Salian names NIA official who asked her to ‘go soft’ on accused

In an affidavit, Salian has disclosed in an affidavit to Bombay High Court that it was Suhas Warke, a Superintendent of Police in NIA had made the request to her.

Rohini Salian

More than three months after dropping a bombshell that a NIA officer had asked her to go soft against the accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case, former Special Prosecutor Rohini Salian has now named the officer. In an affidavit, Salian has disclosed in an affidavit to Bombay High Court that it was Suhas Warke, a Superintendent of Police in NIA had made the request to her. “I am told that a criminal contempt petition is filed before this Honb’le court and in administration of justice and as an officer of the court, I am disclosing the name of the NIA officer, who had tried to interfere with the delivery of the administration of justice, as a messenger. His name is Suhas Warke, SP, NIA, Mumbai branch,” Salian said in her affidavit reports The Indian Express. According to Salian, from the time the current central government came in power, she was asked by the officers to go slow on various cases citing pressure from top. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Malegaon 2008 case was investigated by late Hemant Karkare, who was killed in the 26/11 terror attack, and this case opened a Pandora’s box in country’s terrorism history, with groups owing allegiance to Hindu outfit was unravelled.After this case, the Malegaon 2006 blasts was also found to be a handiwork of right-wing terror groups, besides the infamous blast in Samjhauta Express, the rail link between India and Pakistan, Ajmer Sharif blast in Jaipur and twin blasts in Hyderabad.A serving Colonel of Indian Army Col R Purohit, and Sadhvi Pragya have been arrested in connection with Malegaon 2008 blast case and have been since in custody.The NIA has filed a charge sheet in the Malegaon 2006 bomb blast case against four accused Lokesh Sharma, Dhan Singh, Manohar Singh and Rajendra Choudhary, who were arrested by the agency after two years of probe from various places.However, the charge sheet in 2008 case was yet to be filed due to litigations in various courts from time to time. While 37 deaths took place in the 2006 blasts, the 2008 blasts had claimed lives of eight victims.Earlier NIA had refuted claims of Rohini Salian saying the accused had not been charge-sheeted so far, and denied any officer had met her to create “impediments” in her work.The agency, in a long statement, said that Rohini Salian was empanelled as Special Public Prosecutor in National Investigation Agency (NIA) on September 1, 2010.The NIA said that its Director General Sharad Sinha, an official of the Home Ministry and legal Advisor of the agency had met in January this year to review the performance, suitability and availability of the Special Public Prosecutors who are in the panels of five years or more or who are in the last quarter of completing five years, will be assessed and if need be, recommendations be made for denotifying them, the statement said.”In compliance of the decision of the designated committee heads of NIA branches were asked to send their recommendations for denotification. In response, the Mumbai branch on June 16 has recommended for denotifying three Special Public Prosecutors including Rohini Salian (who will be completing five years on August 31) in view of many SPP already available for representing the branch,” it said.”Recommendation of the branch has reached the head office and the matter is under process,” it said. The NIA claimed that the work for a SPP starts only after the investigating agency files charge-sheet in a trial court. “NIA Special Court proceedings during the stage of investigation are of miscellaneous nature and usually the branch PPs deal with the same, except when a complex legal matter is involved which warrants the services of SPP.”The Malegaon blast case 2008 has not yet reached the trial stage. Therefore, it is incorrect to infer that Salian was being bypassed for court appearances,” it said. “Further, NIA completely denies the issuance of inappropriate briefing by any officer of the agency to the SPP or creating impediments in her prosecution work of NIA cases she has been handling,” the statement said.With PTI inputs

dna Morning Must Read: From IMF’s latest projection about India to woman employee’s sexual harassment case against Wipro

Here is a list of curated stories for your morning read.

1. IMF lowers India growth rate marginally to 7.3% on external worriesIndia’s growth rate has been marginally lowered from the previous 7.5% to 7.3% this year due to a difficult external environment, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said. “India remains one of the fastest growing economies in the world. We have, a more difficult external environment in general, with a slowdown in growth relative to last year,” said Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, Deputy Director, Research Department, IMF. Read More <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2. India’s response to four-point agenda set by Nawaz Sharif not encouraging: Pakistan Amid chill in bilateral ties, Pakistan on Wednesday said setting preconditions for talks and “cherry picking” never worked before and will not succeed in future as remaining disengaged would not improve relations. Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit said Pakistan expected a positive response from India on the four-point agenda put forth by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to normalise ties but India’s response to it was not encouraging. Read More 3. Sexual harassment case: Indian woman employee files one million pound case against WiproAn Indian woman employee at the London office of IT major Wipro has filed a 1 million pounds compensation case of sexual discrimination, unequal pay and unfair dismissal against the firm.She alleged she was subjected to a “deeply predatory, misogynistic culture” and forced into an affair with a married boss at the Bangalore-headquartered firm’s UK division. The 39-year-old told an employment tribunal in London this week how her boss called her “a seductive dancer from Indian mythology”. Read More 4. Nigeria: Suicide bombers kill 40 including in 2 mosquesSuicide bombers, some screaming “God is great,” have killed at least 40 people in two northeastern Nigerian states, including explosions in two mosques,officials and witnesses said.All the bombers died. Earlier, Boko Haram Islamic extremists had attacked a rural military camp in northeastern Yobe state overnight but were repulsed by troops who killed at least 100 of the insurgents, army spokesman Colonel Sani Usman said on Wednesday. Seven troops died in that fighting and nine were injured, he said. Hours later, at around 6 am (local time) when mosques are filled with the faithful performing early-morning prayers, two women suicide bombers struck in Damaturu, Yobe state’s commercial center. Read More 5. Manipur government has disappointed me: Irom SharmilaShe hasn’t touched a morsel of food for over 14 years and, in these years, has courted as many arrests. In the national capital to argue against the Delhi Police’s charges of suicide, Irom says that the Manipur government and the Manipuri people have disappointed her.“I don’t see my fasting as a punishment; it is my duty. Yet, I feel somewhat dissatisfied with the local people. I, too, am part of contemporary Manipuri society, so why should they isolate me; celebrate me and sing my glories but act but behave like I have passed away?” says the 43-year-old crusader, fighting against the imposition of the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). Read MoreWith Agency inputs

Kashmir: Two Jaish-e-Mohammad militants killed in Pulwama encounter

The killing of the two ultras comes five days after India hit back at Pakistan rejecting its proposal to de-militarise Kashmir and instead asked the neighboring county to de-terrorise.

Days after India asked Pakistan to de-terrorise its territory, security forces dealt a major blow to the Pakistan based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) on Sunday when they gunned down two top foreign militants in a surgical operation in Tral-Awantipora area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district. A soldier of Indian army suffered injures in the gun battle.Identified as Adil Pathan and Chota Burmi, the duo was operating in the valley since 2010 and has been involved in number of attacks on the security forces and civilians particularly in south Kashmir.The killing of the two ultras comes five days after India hit back at Pakistan rejecting its proposal to de-militarise Kashmir and instead asked the neighboring county to de-terrorise.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Police said the encounter broke out when Rashtirya Riffles of the Indian army and Jammu and Kashmir police encircled Hari-Kaigam village after receiving specific intelligence inputs about the presence of high value targets in the area.As the security forces were zeroing-in on the specific hideout, the militants hiding inside fired on them triggering a brief but fierce gun battle. Security forces later gunned down the two militants who were wanted for different crimes in the south Kashmir area.”The operation has also led to the recovery of two AK47 rifles and other war like stores from the slain terrorists. One army soldier who sustained a gunshot wound was immediately evacuated and his condition is reported to be stable,” said Colonel NN Joshi, defence spokesman at Srinagar.Deputy inspector general of police, south Kashmir range, Nitesh Kumar told dna it was a very clean and surgically conducted operation. There was no collateral damage, he said.Putting all speculation about their nationalities to rest, Kumar said the duo was from Pakistan and were known by their code names in the Kashmir Valley. “When they (ultras) infiltrate they change their names and use only codes,” Kumar said.Chota Burmi and Adil Pathan belonged to JeM founded by Moulana Masood Azhar, a dreaded militant commander, who was one of the three ultras released in exchange of passengers of hijacked Indian Airlines plane IC 814 from Kathmandu in 1999. Azhar-led JeM was also involved in the attack on Parliament in 2001.A few years later one of the masterminds of the attack, Gazi Baba, was killed in an encounter with the Border Security Force in Noorbagh area of Srinagar.

Indian, Chinese troops hold meet on Arunachal border

The proceedings reflected a mutual desire of maintaining and improving relations at the border

A ceremonial Border Personnel Meeting (BPM) between India and China was held near Bumla in Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh on the occasion of Chinese National Day, weeks after a face-off between the two along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh.The Indian delegation was led by Brigadier D S Kushwah, Commander of Tawang Brigade while Colonel Tang Fu Cheng, Commander of Tsona Dzong Garrison represented the Chinese delegation, a defence communique informed in Itanagar on Saturday. The meeting was marked by unfurling the national flags of India and China, followed by ceremonial address by both the delegation leaders. Thereafter a function showcasing vibrant cultures took place, the statement said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The proceedings reflected a mutual desire of maintaining and improving relations at the border. Both delegations interacted with each other in a congenial and cordial environment. The delegations parted amidst feelings of bonhomie and commitment towards enhancing the existing cordial relations and maintaining peace along the LAC.Both sides also sought to build on the mutual feeling for upholding the treaties and agreements signed between the governments of the two sides to maintain peace and tranquility along the LAC, the communique added.A similar exchange of pleasantries between the two countries was yesterday held at the Chinese Border Personnel Meeting huts at Chushul and Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) in eastern Ladakh to mark the 67 Anniversary of Chinese National Day.The BPM, on the occasion of Chinese National Day on October 1, is conducted every year by Chinese troops with great enthusiasm, the communique said.

Ex-army officer’s daughter who wanted to join ISIS wasn’t in touch with any operative: NIA report

After being notified by the retired Lt Colonel, the NIA went through her social media profiles who did not find anything suspicious.
Representational Image
Reuters
After the daughter of a former Lieutenant Colonel of the Indian Army reportedly expressed desire to join Islamic State, she was put under watch by security agencies, reports The Hindustan Times. The Delhi university student was reportedly planning to go to Syria to fight in the ongoing war. But her father had cautioned NIA who are now trying to counsel her. The officials from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) have reportedly said that the girl was disturbed as she had broken up with her Muslim boyfriend a few years ago. After being notified by the retired Lt Colonel, the NIA went through her social media profiles who did not find anything suspicious. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Increasingly, there are reports of Indian youths getting radicalised online by ISIS recruiters. Just a few days ago, an Indian woman who was accused of being an ISIS recruiter was deported by the UAE. Last week, four Indians were deported for being ISIS sympathisers by UAE.The Indian government believes that as of now ISIS radicalisation in India is not a major problem. However, security agencies are alert to the problem.

Ex-servicemen hold mega rally over OROP

Veterans also said that 200 buses full of supporters had been stopped by the Haryana Police at the Delhi-Haryana borders at Bahadurgarh and Badarpur, though no reason had been given as to why.

Ex-servicemen during their rally at Jantar Mantar
B B Yadav
dna
Despite recent internal strife and divisions in their movement, ex-servicemen from across the country made one more stand on Saturday in the national capital, to show that their agitation for one rank one pension was going nowhere. Thousands of war veterans and their families poured into Jantar Mantar for the movement’s mega rally to publicly declare their commitment to carrying one.Veterans who have been organising the protest at Jantar Mantar for the past 90 days said anywhere between 15,000 to 20,000 people had turned up during the day, while Major General (retd) Satbir Singh, chairman of the United Force of ex-servicemen, the umbrella organisation leading the protest, gave a bombastic figure of one lakh.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Veterans also said that 200 buses full of supporters had been stopped by the Haryana Police at the Delhi-Haryana borders at Bahadurgarh and Badarpur, though no reason had been given as to why.Though the Prime Minister announced implementation of the OROP scheme on September 4, the mood at the rally was far from celebratory, with the attendees wearing black armbands and speakers routinely shaming the government for making a fool out of them all. The 50 veterans on a relay hunger strike will continue their fasts as a sign of the agitation continuing.Wheelchair bound Colonel Inderjit Singh, popularly known as the father of the OROP movement, who said he submitted the first memorandum to Indira Gandhi in 1982, chastised the current NDA government for the implementing a scheme that shortchanges the veterans and goes against the Parliament accepted definition of OROP. He thanked Union finance minister Arun Jaitley and the Delhi Police for lathi-charging the veterans on August 14, saying that had garnered support for the movement across the country. This sentiment has been echoed by many veterans over the past month, that the government’s own punitive actions bolstered support for OROP.Satbir Singh spoke again about all that was wrong with the current scheme and caustically rejected the 5 year gap in pension revision, the one man judicial commision, the implemented base. Despite thanking the PM and the centre on September 6 for announcing OROP, he minced no words on Saturday saying the people in charge had no clue as to how the armed forces functioned. He also demanded the implementation letter from the government, which is yet to come.There was much outrage at recent statements by the Prime Minister and defence minister Parrikar. The PM had said on Friday that he had given 10,000 crore of the poor people’s money to the armed forces for OROP and Parrikar said on Saturday that everyone could not always get what they demanded. Amidst much booing of the government, many veterans, especially the jawans, reminded the PM that the poor were their families, they were the sons and brothers of the poor.There was also a great deal of emphasis on the unity of the movement — they could only take it forward united — which came in the wake of General (retd.) Balbir Singh’s departure, along with his organisation, from the United Front. Singh was one of the three main negotiators, along with Satbir Singh and Inderjit Singh, and apparently left as he thought the demands had been largely fulfilled. His departure, on the eve of the rally, had cast doubts on the strength left in the OROP agitation, revealing the division within the leaders.Even at the rally, despite the war cries on the mic, some veterans expressed skepticism as to the future of the movement, saying they weren’t sure how it would continue.

2 soldiers, two ultras killed in Handwara encounter

“As the operation progressed to track down the terrorists, contact was established at night and a fierce gun battle ensued which continued intermittently through the night. Two heavily-armed terrorists were later eliminated in the operation,” he said.

Two army soldiers were killed in a fierce encounter with heavily-armed militants in the Rajwar forests of Handwara in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district on Friday. Two ultras were later gunned down by the security forces.Colonel NN Joshi, defence spokesman at Srinagar, said based on the specific intelligence input about the presence of some terrorists in the Rajwar forest in Handwara, a joint operation was launched by the army and Jammu and Kashmir police on Thursday evening.”As the operation progressed to track down the terrorists, contact was established at night and a fierce gun battle ensued which continued intermittently through the night. Two heavily-armed terrorists were later eliminated in the operation,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Troops have recovered a large quantity of arms, ammunition and other war-like stores, which include two AK-47 Rifles, two pistols and one Under barrel grenade launcher (UBGL) with eight grenades. The identity of the killed terrorists is being ascertained.”Two army soldiers attained martyrdom during the operation. The army is searching and sanitizing the area so that no harm befalls on the people living in the nearby areas,” said Colonel Joshi.Since August 23, security forces have eliminated around 14 militants in the twin border districts of Kupwara and Baramulla in the north Kashmir.

India is ready to neutralise its enemies: Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore on Dawood, Saeed

New Delhi: The country’s enemies, like Dawood Ibrahim and LeT chief Hafiz Saeed, should not believe that India is not “thinking” anything about them, Union Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said on Sunday.

“We always remain ready to neutralise our enemy,” he said when asked what the government was doing about Dawood Ibrahim, the main accused in 1993 Mumbai blasts, and Saeed, who are wanted in India.

Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore. PIBRajyavardhan Singh Rathore. PIB

Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore. PIB

“Wherever the enemy of India is, he should not think that India is not thinking anything about him,” Rathore said in ‘Seedhi Baat’ programme on Aaj Tak when it was noted that fugitives like Dawood and Saeed are living peacefully in Pakistan.

It was pointed out to him that 15 months of Modi government have passed but nothing had been done with regard to fugitives taking shelter in Pakistan, except for preparing a dossier.

To this, he replied, “saam, daam, dand, beid (all means will be used). Besides dossier, and other means also will be used. Whenever it happens, you will get the news.”

Asked whether there could be any covert operation, the minister who was formerly a Colonel in the Army, said, “We may do it but there will be no publicity before that. After the operation, there may be or there may not be. It depends on whether the government says it should be ‘covert operation’ or a ‘special operation’.

He said a covert operation may never be known but information about a special operation may be given after it is done.

“A special operation is made public after it is done. It depends on the government as to when to do it…. Who knows it may be happening now or not happening now but it will be made public only after it is done,” Rathore said.

PTI

OROP agitation to continue: Veterans welcome implementation, but see devil in details

In a landmark decision, the Narendra Modi government on Saturday decided to implement the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme. Addressing a section of the media on Saturday afternoon, Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said, “The Government of India respects its defence forces. They display courage and bravery in difficult circumstances. The issue of OROP has been pending for over four decades and the Prime Minister has on many occasions reiterated this government’s commitment to implement OROP.” Parrikar added that the previous government had estimated that implementation of the scheme would cost Rs 500 crore, however the “reality is that OROP scheme would cost 8,000 crore to the exchequer. Therefore, the government has decided to implement the OROP scheme despite huge financial burden.”

Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.

Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.

Veterans demanding the implementation of the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme met the defence minister on Saturday. “OROP will be implemented from 1 July, 2014 and the base year for calculating the arrears has been fixed at 2013. Personnel who opt for voluntary retirement will not be covered under the OROP scheme,” Parrikar told the media. “The pension will be re-fixed every five years. A one-member judicial committee will be constituted, and the panel will give reports in six months. Expenditure on arrears alone would be Rs 10,000-12,000 crore.”

Since there are many cases of veterans of the same rank earning different pensions, the government proposed to take the average of the maximum and minimum pensions paid per rank, while protecting those who earn above average pensions in their rank. “All widows, including war widows, will be paid arrears in one installment. Further enhancement in the rate of pensions will be automatically passed to past pensioners, bridging the gap between current and past pensioners,” Parrikar said.

Earlier in the day, Major-General Satbir Singh (retd), who is leading the OROP campaign, had said that the government has agreed to implementing the OROP scheme, however according to him there is still a deadlock on the issue of pension revision period, which is five years. However, after Parrikar’s announcement, General Singh spoke to the media and said that the protesting-servicemen were not happy with government’s proposal. “We will continue to protest. We are not fully satisfied. Out of the six demands that we made, the government has only agreed with one. We want clarification on the premature retirement point in the OROP from the government. We reject the one-member committee. We want five members of which three will be veterans, one will be serving serviceman, and one of their choice. We want a clarification on the VRS issue, if they still don’t accept it, then it is a big blow to the forces.”

According to reports, ex-servicemen have withdrew the hunger strike but added that the agitation will continue.

It is understood that a draft proposal on OROP was circulated at a RSS meeting on Friday which envisaged commencement of the scheme from 1 July, 2014, besides the revision of pensions every five years. According to the draft, the basis for the implementation of the scheme will be 2013, and arrears are to be paid in four instalments.

Satbir-Singh2_OROPSatbir-Singh2_OROP

Major-General Satbir Singh, who is leading the campaign.

The veterans and the government have been negotiating for months now. The Prime Minister’s Office stepped in last month after the protests escalated into a hunger-strike and a few veterans were taken critically sick.

Soldiers were brought, alongside other Central government employees, under the ambit of the Pay Commission in 1983. The following year, a 17-member committee headed by minister of state for defence Kamakhya Prasad Singh Deo submitted a proposal that is credited with carrying the first reference to OROP.

Unfortunately, there has been no movement by the government on the issue since.

Close to 26 lakh retired servicemen and over six lakh war widows stand to be immediate beneficiaries of the scheme, which envisages a uniform pension for the defence personnel who retire in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement.

Currently, the pension for retired personnel is based on the Pay Commission recommendations of the time when he or she retired. So, a Major General who retired in 1996 draws less pension than a Lt Colonel who retired after 1996.

With inputs from agencies

OROP breakthrough ahead? Govt, army veterans likely to reach consensus through compromise

New Delhi: The agitating ex-servicemen and the government appeared to have ironed out some major differences over the contentious issue of one rank one pension with the defence veterans saying on Wednesday night that they may accept revision of pension once in two years instead of one year as demanded by them.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

War veteran Maj Gen (retd) Satbir Singh, who has been leading the protest in Jantar Mantar for the last 80 days, said they have got positive signals from the government for the last few days but stopped short of saying there was a breakthrough.

Singh said the issue was non-negotiable and both the elements of the OROP concept cannot be interfered. An agreement can be reached once we know what is on the platter (offer by the government), he said, adding effective date of revision must be from 1 April, 2014.

Independent MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar, who has been mediating on the issue, said it was time veterans must return home with honour and grace by reaching an early settlement.

He urged them to accept the revision of pension every three years.

Meanwhile, not in the best of health yet undeterred, Colonel (retd) Pushpendra Singh on Wednesday resumed his fast-unto-death demanding prompt implementation of One Rank, One Pension scheme at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi hours after he was discharged from an army hospital.

Singh, one of the ex-servicemen fasting in demand of the immediate implementation of the OROP scheme, was hospitalised on Monday last — the ninth day of his fast after his medical report showed increased ketone levels.

Singh was admitted to the ICU of Army Hospital Research and Referral, from where he was discharged on Wednesday.

Hours later, he returned to the protest site to join his fellow ex-servicemen, whose agitation entered the 80th day on Wednesday.

PTI

PM Modi to release digital version of AIR’s Ramcharitmanas today

Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley, Minister of State for I and B Colonel (Retired) Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Prasar Bharati Chairperson A Suryaprakash, and other senior officials are expected to be present.

PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will release a special digital version of epic Ramcharitmanas produced by All India Radio on Monday, as part of the AIR’s attempts to go digital to reach audiences globally.An AIR release said that the Prime Minister would also felicitate some prominent artists at the event.Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley, Minister of State for I and B Colonel (Retired) Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Prasar Bharati Chairperson A Suryaprakash, and other senior officials are expected to be present.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The recordings of Goswami Tulsidas work, sung by leading singers of the Bhopal Gharana, have been done by the AIR over several years and are regularly broadcast especially in the Hindi heartland.The Ramcharitmanas was composed and recorded for the first time in 1980 at Akashvani Bhopal.

OROP stir: 70-year-old Army veteran collapses; hospitalised

Havildar Bal Singh was rushed to the Army Research and Referral hospital after his health took a turn for the worst and he fainted.

ongoing protest at the Jantar Mantar entered its 77th day today with constant flow of family members and other supporters (File photo)

A 70-year-old Army veteran who was on a relay hunger strike here as part of agitation by veterans for early implementation of ‘One Rank One Pension’ today collapsed on stage and was rushed to the Army hospital where his condition is said to be stable. The incident took place even as the protest by ex-servicemen entered its 77th day.Havildar Bal Singh was rushed to the Army Research and Referral hospital after his health took a turn for the worst and he fainted. Veterans said his condition is stable now. The incident happened a day after the ex-servicemen wrote a letter to President Pranab Mukherjee, who is also the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, stating that he and the government will be held responsible if any untoward incident happened.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government had last night said that it had “significantly narrowed down gaps” with the agitating veterans but held out no concrete assurances over the vexed issue. Representatives of the veterans also held a meeting with Army Chief Dalbir Singh Suhag at his house earlier today. “It was a routine meeting and nothing more. We met at his house,” Lt Gen Balbir Singh (Retd) President of Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement told PTI.As the ongoing protest at the Jantar Mantar entered its 77th day today with constant flow of family members and other supporters, a group of Harley Davidson bikers from Delhi also came to the spot riding their motorcycles to show support to the veterans. Close to 22 lakh retired servicemen and over six lakh war widows stand to be the immediate beneficiaries of the scheme, which envisages a uniform pension for the defence personnel who retire in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement.Currently, the pension for retired personnel is based on the Pay Commission recommendations of the time when he or she has retired. So, a Major General who retired in 1996 draws less pension than a Lt Colonel who retired after 1996.

Ex-servicemen write to President Mukherjee, seek his intervention in OROP issue

The letter requested Mukherjee to instruct the government to implement OROP as per the Ministry of Defence letter dated February 26, 2014.

Karnal Singh, 73, sits with other Army veterans at a protest site in New Delhi on August 28, 2015.

AFP photo
Ex-servicemen on Saturday took their 76-day-old agitation a notch higher seeking the intervention of President Pranab Mukherjee to resolve the vexed issue of ‘One Rank One Pension’, stating that if any “damage or mishap happens” to those on hunger strike he and the government will be “solely responsible”.In a letter to the President, who is also the Supreme Commander of the armed forces, United Front of Ex-servicemen (UFESM) said a soldier is supposed to kill enemy before laying down his life for country,<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”But under your rule, a soldier’s life is at stake and is being wasted as he is being deprived of his legitimate dues”.UFESM, an umbrella organisation of agitating veterans, noted that as many as four former soldiers, who are on fast- unto-death, have been hospitalised and that health of another ex-serviceman Havildar Major Singh, who was on an indefinite fast since August 16, was fast deteriorating.”Panel of Doctors has declared that his medical condition has deteriorated to dangerous level and he needs to be hospitalised immediately to save his life,” the letter, a copy of which has also been sent to PMO, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and BJP President Amit Shah, said.Havildar Major has refused to be evacuated to the hospital and “he is steadfast” in his resolve that he will not take any medical treatment till OROP is implemented as per the approved definition, it said. However, Havildar Major has been sent to the hospital for detailed check-ups.”Your Excellency and the Government of India will be solely responsible if any damage/mishap happens to Havildar Major Singh or any other ex-servicemen because of hunger strike,” it said.The letter requested Mukherjee to instruct the government to implement OROP as per the Ministry of Defence letter dated February 26, 2014. The veterans said that there are some issues where financial cost cannot be the sole determinant factor and that the pensions of defence veterans is one of these.”OROP stands approved both by the UPA as well as the present NDA government. However, its implementation has not been carried out so far for the reason best known to your government,” the letter said.Meanwhile, another veteran Havildar Abhilash Singh, who was on a relay hunger strike, was admitted to hospital after his health deteriorated. It added that during the veterans’ meeting with DefenceMinister, they had been informed that the proposal for implementation of OROP costing Rs 8,298.48 crore had been approved by him and forwarded to the Ministry of Finance on March 17, 2015.”It is here, where OROP file seems to have been stuck,” the letter said.The OROP has been stuck for a while despite hectic back channel talks between the government and veterans. The government had initially wanted base year being 2011 but then relented to stick to the veterans’ demand of 2013-14 as per vote on account and finance bill 2014. But they wanted the pay out date be pushed forward from April 1, 2014 to April 1, 2015, a proposal rejected by the veterans.In subsequent talks, the government pushed the payout date from April 1, 2014 to September 1, 2014. However, there would be a provision of review of pensions once every five years against the veterans’ proposal of once a year or once at least every two years.”The UFESM retracted its offer of acceptance of payment from June 1, 2014 and rejected this proposal too. The underlying reason being the review of pension yearly or once in two years is the heart and soul of the OROP proposal. As of today all escalation points have come into immediate effect,” Col Anil Kaul (Retd), media Advisor to United Front of Ex-Servicemen, said.Yesterday the government had said “some more time” will be required to roll out OROP as “small gaps are being filled”.Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said, “In principle, the Prime Minister on August 15 (Independence Day speech) has given an approval. Now, PMO is directly involved…then by saying that do it in these many days will not help. All efforts are being made to solve the issue.” Close to 22 lakh retired servicemen and over six lakh war widows stand to be immediate beneficiaries of the scheme, which envisages a uniform pension for the defence personnel who retire in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement.Currently, the pension for retired personnel is based on the Pay Commission recommendations of the time when he or she retired. So, a Major General who retired in 1996 draws less pension than a Lt Colonel who retired after 1996.

Jammu and Kashmir: Another Lashkar terrorist caught alive; what has Pakistan got to say now?

Another LeT militant, 22-yr-old Sajad Ahmad, caught alive in J&K, four others killed

Sajad Ahmad alias Javid Ahmad alias Abu Ubadullah

Pakistan’s terror matrix was again exposed when the Indian Army captured a Pakistani militant alive, after a four-day operation in the high altitude forested area of Rafiabad in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district. Sajad Ahmad alias Javid Ahmad alias Abu Ubadullah, a 22-year-old Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative from Muzaffargarh in South West Pakistan, was captured alive after his four associates were gunned down during a fierce gunfight at two locations spread over a 10-12 km radius from Bijhama to Panzala forests, at an altitude of 14,000 feet. Sources said Sajad was nabbed from a cave.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> According to a PTI report, troops fired chilly grenades and teargas shells into the cave. He panicked and begged for mercy. After sometime, when troops entered the cave, they found Sajad weeping bitterly — because of panic and the effect of chilly grenades, the report said. This is second big catch after LeT militant Mohammad Naveed alias Usman was overpowered by two of his hostages and handed over to the security forces in Udhampur on August 5. Usman had tried to flee after he and his slain associate, Noman alias Momin, attacked a BSF convoy, killing two soldiers and injuring 11 others near Samroli on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. Sajad, too, is said to have undergone training in a Lashkar camp in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. He was part of a five-member LeT group that infiltrated from the Uri sector early this week. Colonel SD Goswami, defence spokesperson at the Northern Command headquarters, said that based on intelligence inputs about the presence of terrorists in the forested area of Rafiabad, a search operation was launched by the Army on August 24, which forced the terrorists to move towards the higher reaches of the Kazinag Dhar Ridge. “An effective cordon was established by the Army, including Special Forces, which were inducted by helicopters to prevent the terrorists from escaping,” he said. The Army encountered the terrorists first in the morning of August 26 and killed one near Bijhama in the Uri sector. The forces then encountered the remaining terrorists, who had taken shelter inside a natural cave in the afternoon of August 26. “Three more terrorists were eliminated and one was captured alive. Four AK- 47 rifles and two Under Barrel Grenade Launchers (UBGLs) were recovered,” Colonel Goswami said. Sajad, sources said, is being airlifted to the joint interrogation centre in Srinagar.”We want to know what their plans were. We want to know where he has been trained, who the trainers were, how many people are waiting to infiltrate and what is Pakistan’s role,” said an intelligence official.

OROP protest set to escalate as back channel talks fail

We have rejected the proposal. Escalation of our protest in expected: Ex-servicemen

OROP protest (File Photo)

A final solution to the ‘One Rank One Pension’ row remained out of reach despite hectic back channel talks, as the protesting ex-servicemen on Wednesday rejected government’s formula saying an attempt was being made to “short change” them. “Government is hell bent on short changing. There are only three points of contention,” a source here said.Sources said that the government wants 2011 to be the base year besides no 3% annual increase. The government also wants payment to begin from April 1, 2015 as against the agreed date of April 1, 2014. “We have rejected the proposal. Escalation of our protest in expected. The complicated arithmetic will mean reduced payout,” source in the ex-servicemen movement said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The development came after a nearly two-hour long meeting was held between representatives of ex-servicemen and Army chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag. Government sources have now said that in the wake of these differences, an announcement on OROP in the next few days is unlikely.It was speculated that the government might announce OROP on August 28, the 50th anniversary of 1965 war with Pakistan. This comes even as six Army veterans are on fast-unto-death and two of them are currently in hospital.The Army veterans currently on fast-unto-death are Colonel Pushpender Singh, Havaldar Major Singh, Havaldar Sahib Singh, Havaldar Ashok Chauhan, Major Piar Chand and Naik Uday Singh. Close to 22 lakh retired servicemen and over six lakh war widows stand to be the immediate beneficiaries of the scheme, which envisages a uniform pension for the defence personnel who retire in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement.Currently, the pension for retired personnel is based on the Pay Commission recommendations of the time when he or she retired. So, a Major General who retired in 1996 draws less pension than a Lieutenant Colonel who retired after 1996.

Killing of jawan while opposing eve teasers unfortunate: SP leader Gaurav Bhatia

The jawan, who was staying at Gopal Vihar with his wife and children, was admitted to Army Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries on Friday night, police said. Three accused has been arrested and search was on to nab others.

Photo Courtesy: ANI Twitter
Ruling Samajwadi Party on Sunday termed as “unfortunate” the killing of an army jawan by eve-teasers in Meerut, even as BJP demanded stern action and immediate arrest of the accused. SP leader Gaurav Bhatia, while condemning the incident, assured the family members of the 35-year-old army jawan that justice would be done. The jawan was beaten to death by some of the eve teaser when he tried to rescue the girl on Thursday.Vedmitra Chaudhury, a Lance Naik in 416 Engineering Brigade, had gone to get milk from a booth on Rohtak Road in Hardevnagar when he saw some youths teasing the daughter of the booth owner. The jawan came to the girl’s rescue and even beat up one of the eve-teasers – Akash Saini, police said. Later, Akash called his friends, who arrived at the spot armed with sticks and assaulted Chaudhury, leaving him seriously injured.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The jawan, who was staying at Gopal Vihar with his wife and children, was admitted to Army Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries on Friday night, police said. Three accused has been arrested and search was on to nab others.”It is very unfortunate that a soldier has lost his life and it pains everybody more because this news has come on Independence Day,” Bhatia said.Meanwhile, BJP state BJP chief Laxmi Kant Bajpai said police should hang their heads in shame that a soldier had to lay down his life to save the modesty of a girl. Bajpai said if the police failed to take strong action, BJP workers would take the responsibility of protecting girls on their own.”We should not be, in that case, be blamed,” he said, adding that BJP will raise the issue vociferously in the state legislature tomorrow.Sub-Area Colonel Rajiv Kumar said Chaudhury performed the duty of an Indian citizen and protected a girl’s honour. He will be remembered as a martyr.

New border meeting point at Daulat Beg Oldie in Ladakh sector

“This will be the northern-most meeting point between armies of both countries on the LAC near DBO,” the spokesman said, adding, it would go a long way in ensuring peace and stability along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh.

A new Border Personnel Meeting (BPM) point was on Saturday operationalised at Daulat Beg Oldie along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh sector, which would serve as the northern-most meeting point between armies of India and China.The point was operationalised in line with the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement signed between the two countries in October 2013, Defence Spokesman for Northern Command Col S D Goswami said.”This will be the northern-most meeting point between armies of both countries on the LAC near DBO,” the spokesman said, adding, it would go a long way in ensuring peace and stability along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The point is strategically important as it is the second meeting point, after Chusul, in Eastern Ladakh.To celebrate India’s 69th Independence day, the Indian Army also hosted the Chinese PLA at special border personnel meetings at Chushul and Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO).Addressing both delegations during the function, the Indian side extolled the virtues of maintaining peace and stability along the LAC.The Chinese delegation was led by Senior Colonel Liu Geping.In the inaugural Border Personnel Meeting at DBO, a PLA delegations took part in the celebrations hosted by the Indian side, he said.The celebrations showcased Indian culture and traditions wherein apart from dances and songs, an old form of martial arts called ‘Gatka’ was performed by the troops, while the ‘daredevils’ of the Indian Army Signal Regiment performed acrobatics on their motorcycle, Col Goswami said.A volleyball match was also organised fielding mixed team of both Indian and Chinese troops.The Chinese delegation participated in all the events with equal zeal and enthusiasm, he said.

Dog, army handler die fighting terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir

Mansi, the 4-yr-old Labrador, had alerted army about ingress of militants at the Tangdhar sector

Amit Bandre
dna
The dog who died a hero’s death!Mansi, a four-year-old Labrador, and her Kashmiri master, Bashir Ahmed War, from the Territorial Army (TA), made India proud when they made the supreme sacrifice while gallantly fighting a group of heavily armed infiltrators in the high altitude area along the line of control (LoC) in Tangdhar sector on Saturday.Mansi, a trekker dog, prevented a huge ingress of militants when it noticed some movement on the LoC and alerted his master Bashir Ahmad War. Sensing trouble, the infiltrators showered a volley of bullets at Mansi and Bashir, killing them on the spot.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Bashir who was with the trekker dog volunteered to go with the search party to track down the militants. He was right ahead because the dog was running… The animal understands the mist and fog. During the ensuing gunfight, Bashir got two bullets on his face and neck and one on his leg….Mansi too was shot dead. We salute the two because they laid down their lives for the sake of the nation,” Colonel Chander Bhan Singh, commanding officer of 160 Territorial Army battalion, told dna.In fact, Bashir and Mansi proved the best buddies even in their death. Mansi has all along been attached with Bashir, and when he was shifted to the Tangdhar sector, the dog ,too, came along with him.”He was treating Mansi like his son. Once Bashir came home and was about to have a meal, he suddenly realised that Mansi would be hungry and it would not accept food from anyone. He left home immediately to feed Mansi”, Abdul Rasheed War, brother of slain Bashir, told dna.Mansi has been the apple of the unit, given the prowess and successes it had in foiling infiltration bids this year. Mansi was part of the group that successfully foiled several infiltration bids along the LoC.In fact, dogs are the unsung heroes in the war against terror in Kashmir. They have helped the army to eliminate many dreaded militants. They have been instrumental in saving hundreds of precious lives. Their bravery has won them battle honours, ranging from the chief of army staff commendation cards to general officer commanding commendation cards.Dogs attached with different counter-insurgency units have varied responsibilities in Kashmir. For example, trekker dogs are meant for helping the troops in anti-insurgency operations, guard dogs are responsible for guarding garrisons during nights, and explosive detection and infantry patrol dogs help in bomb and IED detection.

2 militants, army jawan killed in LoC gunbattle

Alert troops noticed suspicious movements of the militants trying to sneak into this side of Kashmir. There was a gunfight in which two ultras were gunned down.
Representational Image

Even before the wounds of Udhampur could heal, Pakistan again tried to push in militants into the Kashmir valley from across the line of control (LoC) in Tangdhar and Keran sectors in the last 24 hours. Alert Indian army troops foiled both the infiltration attempts but lost a soldier. Two others sustained injuries. Two infiltrators were also gunned down by the troops in the ensuing encounter.The first infiltration bid was foiled on Saturday in Tangdhar sector of Kupwara district of North Kashmir. Troops noticed a suspicious movement along the LoC and laid an ambush. As militants were trying to sneak in, they were challenged. The infiltrators opened indiscriminate firing.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There is status quo at Tangdhar. Infiltration bid was foiled on Saturday. Contact was established. Since morning it is very foggy and forest being dense and progress is slow. We have lost one soldier and two have got minor injuries. The injuries are not so prominent,” Colonel NN Joshi, defence spokesman at Srinagar, told dna.This is the second major infiltration attempt to have been foiled in Tanghdar sector since July 23. Two militants were killed when army troops thwarted the militants’ attempt to infiltrate in Tangdhar sector on the night of July 22 and 23. An army officer and a soldier were injured in the incidentOn Saturday night, Indian army foiled another infiltration bid in Keran sector of Kupwara district when they killed two militants who tried to enter into Kashmir. Alert troops noticed suspicious movements of the militants trying to sneak into this side of Kashmir. There was a gunfight in which two ultras were gunned down.”There was infiltration bid in the night. Two terrorists were killed. There was no casualties on our side,” said Col Joshi.Official figures reveal that around 97 militants infiltrated in 2013 followed by 65 in 2014 into Jammu and Kashmir. Around 100 militants had been neutralized along LoC and the hinterland in 2013. Over 150 militants were killed in 2014 and 40 militants till July 20 this year.Figures reveal that this year there have been eight to 10 infiltration bids so far. However the security forces say in the next three-four months there may be an increase in infiltration attempts. Intelligence estimates reveal that around 250 to -300 infiltrators were waiting across the LoC to sneak into the Valley and 150 others are waiting to cross from the other side Pir Panjal into the Jammu region.

Tension on LoC after Pakistani snipers kill Indian army soldier

Pakistani army violated the border ceasefire again when its snipers killed the Indian army soldier on the Line of Control (LoC) in the Krishna Ghati sector of Poonch district in the Jammu division on Wednesday night.

Rajya Sabha MPs Jaya Bhachchan and Sitaram Yechuri at Parliament House on Thursday

PTI
Pakistani army violated the border ceasefire again when its snipers killed the Indian army soldier on the Line of Control (LoC) in the Krishna Ghati sector of Poonch district in the Jammu division on Wednesday night.The incident occurred on Wednesday night when Pakistani army sniped at the Indian army jawan who was guarding his post along the LoC. The jawan suffered grievous injuries and was shifted to the hospital where he succumbed.“There was a sniper fire from across the (LoC) in which one of our solider was martyred. The jawan was in the post when they (Pakistan army) sniped at him,” Lieutenant Colonel Manish Mehta, defence spokesman at Jammu, told dna.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Indian army exercised restrain and did not retaliate to Pakistani provocation. “We did not retaliate,” said Lt Col Mehta.The fresh ceasefire violation comes 12 days after Pakistani army pounded civilian areas to disrupt the Eid revelry in Shahpur and Qasba villages of Poonch district injuring five people including three women.Official figures reveal that there have been 199 ceasefire violations from January 1 to June 30 2015 in which two soldiers and two civilians were killed. Last year 583 ceasefire violations took place in which four jawans and 13 civilians were killed. Official figures reveal there have been 347 ceasefire violations from Pakistan in 2013 in which 10 jawans were killed.“All violations of ceasefire are taken up with Pakistan military authorities at the appropriate level through the established mechanism of hotlines, flag meetings as well as weekly talks between the Directorate Generals of Military Operations of the two countries. BSF, too, holds talks at various levels with its counterpart viz. Pakistan Rangers,” said Colonel SD Goswami defence spokesman at Northern Command, quoting the reply of defence minister Manohar Parrikar in Rajya Sabha.Colonel Goswami added, “Diplomatically, India has repeatedly emphasised, the need for Pakistan to uphold the sanctity of the Line of Control (LoC) and abide by the ceasefire commitment of 2003 along the International Border and LoC.” On Thursday evening, Pakistani army resorted to unprovoked firing on the Indian forward posts at 6.15 pm in Krishna Ghati Sector of Poonch district.”Our troops are responding appropriately. No casualty or damage has been reported till now,” said Lt Col Manish Mehta, defence spokesman at Jammu

Indian Army to move from World War 2 era canvas to sports shoes

A few years ago, the Army had asked sports shoe manufacturing companies to design sports shoes for the Army, but that failed to take place.

File Photo of soldiers patrolling near the LOC

The Indian Army is all set to provide new branded sports shoes to their soldiers to replace the World War II era thin brown canvas PT shoes. A few years ago, the Army had asked sports shoe manufacturing companies to design sports shoes for the Army, but that scheme never materialised. In 2008, during the UPAs regime, the Army was in the process of finalising a sports shoe. The final list had shoes made of cow leather. However Maneka Gandhi objected to the use of the shoes on the basis of animal cruelty. The Army responded saying , “cow leather was unanimously approved as the most appropriate material, being most versatile and tough to withstand anticipated usage by soldiers”. The then Defence Minister AK Anthony cancelled the procurement in 2011. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence Minister Prakash Javadekar has taken it up and hence the Army is expecting to overcome the usual issues related to pricing and specifications.The canvas PT shoe has not seen any upgradation in terms of quality since the time it was used in the service. “Today’s jawans don’t like to wear those shoes. They are paid good salaries and wear smart sneakers when they are in civil dress. In fact, we give our unit’s basketball and cross-country teams branded sports shoes from our own regimental funds,” a Colonel commanding an infantry battalion told The Indian Express.“We need to manage the perception of our jawans better, in tune with changing times”, a senior military official further said, adding, “Providing better quality uniform, proper shoes and functional equipment is our topmost priority. The present defence minister is equally committed to the cause,”The Army gets around 20 lakh canvas shoes annually from the Ordnance Factories Board (OFB). The OFB is not the manufacturer itself, but purchases them from civilian. A soldier gets a pair of shoes from the Army every siz months.The sports shoes also have a longer life span of at least 12-15 years. A study conducted by the Army a few years ago on drill boots, sports shoes and canvas shoes. It was found that canvas shoes were not well equipped for physical activities like running and playing sports. “Physical training-induced injuries are mainly overuse injuries, whereas injuries incurred during playing a field sport are acute in nature. The aim of a good running or PT shoe is to prevent and reduce stress-related injuries caused by overuse. Technical parameters — like vertical ground reaction force peak impact, ground reaction force loading rate and peak tibial acceleration — will need to be considered while selecting a good shoe,” according to a sports medicine qualified Army doctor, involved in the study.

NIA seeks to downplay controversy after SPP Rohini Salin’s allegation

New Delhi: National Investigation Agency on Thursday refuted claims made by its Special Public Prosecutor in the 2008 Malegaon blast case that the agency asked her to “go soft” on the accused, saying they had not been charge-sheeted so far, and denied any officer had met her to create “impediments” in her work.

AFPAFP

AFP

The agency, in a long statement, said that Rohini Salian was empanelled as Special Public Prosecutor in National Investigation Agency (NIA) on September 1, 2010.

The NIA said that its Director General Sharad Sinha, an official of the Home Ministry and legal Advisor of the agency had met in January this year to review the performance, suitability and availability of the Special Public Prosecutors who are in the panels of five years or more or who are in the last quarter of completing five years, will be assessed and if need be, recommendations be made for denotifying them, the statement said.

“In compliance of the decision of the designated committee heads of NIA branches were asked to send their recommendations for denotification. In response, the Mumbai branch on June 16 has recommended for denotifying three Special Public Prosecutors including Rohini Salian (who will be completing five years on August 31) in view of many SPP already available for representing the branch,” it said.

“Recommendation of the branch has reached the head office and the matter is under process,” it said.

The NIA claimed that the work for a SPP starts only after the investigating agency files charge-sheet in a trial court.

“NIA Special Court proceedings during the stage of investigation are of miscellaneous nature and usually the branch PPs deal with the same, except when a complex legal matter is involved which warrants the services of SPP.

“The Malegaon blast case 2008 has not yet reached the trial stage. Therefore, it is incorrect to infer that Salian was being bypassed for court appearances,” it said.

“Further, NIA completely denies the issuance of inappropriate briefing by any officer of the agency to the SPP or creating impediments in her prosecution work of NIA cases she has been handling,” the statement said.

The Malegaon 2008 case was investigated by late Hemant Karkare, who was killed in the 26/11 terror attack, and this case opened a Pandora’s box in country’s terrorism history, with groups owing allegiance to Hindu outfit was unravelled.

After this case, the Malegaon 2006 blasts was also found to be a handiwork of right-wing terror groups, besides the infamous blast in Samjauta Express, the rail link between India and Pakistan, Ajmer Sharif blast in Jaipur and twin blasts in Hyderabad.

A serving Colonel of Indian Army Col R Purohit, and Sadhvi Pragya have been arrested in connection with Malegaon 2008 blast case and have been since in custody.

Salian had alleged that she had been asked to “go soft” on the accused who were to apply for bail in the Bombay High Court again.

The NIA has filed a charge sheet in the Malegaon 2006 bomb blast case against four accused Lokesh Sharma, Dhan Singh, Manohar Singh and Rajendra Choudhary, who were arrested by the agency after two years of probe from various places. However, the charge sheet in 2008 case was yet to be filed due to litigations in various courts from time to time.

While 37 deaths took place in 2006 blasts, the 2008 blasts had claimed lives of eight victims.

PTI

Modi government planning to tinker with definition of One Rank One Pension, allege ex-servicemen

An ex-servicemen’s organisation on Wednesday claimed the government is planning to tinker with the definition of ‘One Rank, One Pension’ (OROP), and asserted they would vehemently oppose any such move.

Representational Image

An ex-servicemen’s organisation on Wednesday claimed the government is planning to tinker with the definition of ‘One Rank, One Pension’ (OROP), and asserted they would vehemently oppose any such move.”Some unconfirmed reports suggest that there is a possibility of the government announcing the OROP implementation in the next couple of days,” a statement released by the United Front of Ex-Servicemen said.It claimed that this will have two “glaring anomalies” — implementation of OROP for Junior Commissioned Officers and those below the rank and “tinkering with the definition for everyone”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”This is a dangerous move to divide the rank structure of the Armed Forces with a mischievous intent to further demoralise them. It could have serious repercussions in the serving ranks also,” the statement said.While there is no objection to a proposal for deferred payments with priority to widows, other ranks, Non- Commissioned officers and Junior Commissioned Officers and finally officers, any dilution to the accepted definition for any rank is objectionable.The organisation “rejects any such unethical move unequivocally”. The ex-servicemen will continue their ongoing relay hunger strike and boycott all official functions, it said.”The message of non-fulfillment of promises would be carried to all-poll bound states,” it added. Close to 22 lakh ex-servicemen and over six lakh war widows stand to be immediate beneficiaries of the scheme, which envisages a uniform pension for the defence personnel who retire in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement.At present, the pension for retired personnel is based on Pay Commission recommendations of the time when he or she retired. So, a Major General who retired in 1996 draws a lower pension than a Lieutenant Colonel who retired after 1996.

Indian Army avenges Manipur ambush: The ‘why’, ‘how’ and ‘what next’ of covert Myanmar mission

In response to the killing of 18 of its troops by militants in Manipur, the Indian Army in one of its biggest covert missions sent troops into Myanmar to strike at two camps and, according to official estimates, killed over 20 suspected militants.

The operation seemed to signal a more aggressive Indian military strategy aimed at weeding out terrorist threats. So how was such a bold operation planned, and what really happened on the ground? And is it a precursor for more such strikes in the future? Here’s everything you need to know about the Myanmar operation:

How did the Indian Army know where to attack?

The Indian Army has said that it had received ‘credible and specific intelligence’ on the basis of which it carried out attacks on two separate groups of insurgents who were camped in Myanmar along the Nagaland and Manipur border.

Representational image. AFP imageRepresentational image. AFP image

Representational image. AFP image

The army had received intelligence about two camps of the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang) and its allies from operatives, who reportedly crossed over into Myanmar days ago and returned with photographs that showed the precise locations, said a Times of India report.

The militant camps are reported to have housed militants from the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang) and other Meitei insurgent groups, according to a Hindustan Times report. Top leaders of the NSCN, including the group’s self-styled finance minister Starson Lamkang, who is said to have been responsible for the Manipur attack, may have been present at the camp, sources told the newspaper.

How was the attack carried out?

Reports said that National Security Advisor Ajit Doval had dropped out of the Prime Minister’s diplomatic visit to Bangladesh to help plan the operation with Army chief General Dalbir Singh.

According to an NDTV report, Mi-17 helicopters were used to ferry personnel from the Army’s 21 Para (Special Forces) unit and Assam Rifles two-kilometres deep into Myanmar. The commandoes then reportedly proceeded on foot and in the last leg of their journey crawled hundreds of metres to finally raid the camps. They were also reportedly assisted by the helicopters and drones deployed by the Indian Air Force, according to the Times of India.

Not a single Indian troop sustained major injuries in the attack, while the number of suspected militants killed is currently pegged at 20 but could be higher, officials said.

The helicopters were then used to ferry the troops back into India.

So did Myanmar know about the attack?

The Indian Army in its official statement said that they had been in touch with Myanmar authorities.

“We are in communication with the Myanmar authorities on this matter. There is a history of close cooperation between our two militaries. We look forward to working with them to combat such terrorism,” the official statement from the Indian Army said.

However, reports said that the India had informed Myanmar well after the operation had already begun. The Times of India said that Indian authorities had done so, despite having an agreement to permit troops crossing the border, because they feared a leak of information from the lower ranks of the Myanmar army to the militants.

According to an Economic Times report, the Myanmar army doesn’t have operational control in the region where the attacks were carried out.

Is this the first such cross-border operation of its kind?

Turns out it has. An Indian Express report cites the various instances where the Indian Army has acted in collaboration with the armed forces of the neighbouring nations. However, the last major attack carried out in Myanmar was reportedly in 1995 when India had carried out a joint military operation to block 200 militants from reaching Manipur with a consignment of arms.

But the report also notes that never before has the Indian Army been as public about a attack carried out across the border. Equally unprecedented is the speed of the reprisal for a terrorist attack.

In this case, the Indian Army is reported to have acted with such alacrity due to a clearance from the Prime Minister. The reprisal was reportedly sanctioned in order to boost the morale of the army after the Manipur attack in which 18 soldiers were killed.

Does this mean the Indian army can do the same in other neighbouring countries?

The Indian Army’s press release and other statements by the government hint that the Modi government will not be averse to carrying out other such strikes in other neighbouring countries.

MoS and retired Colonel Rajyavardhan Rathore’s tweet on the attack is also seen as a sign of things to come.

He also told the Indian Express , “This is a message for all countries, including Pakistan, and groups harbouring terror intent towards India. A terrorist is a terrorist and has no other identity. We will strike when we want to.”

However, the Indian Army doesn’t have agreements of the same kind it with these countries. Similar attacks carried out along the Line of Control have been done clandestinely and close to the border. Wading two kilometres into an other country is near impossible without sanction from the concerned nation and the Indian government is unlikely to risk antagonising other nations by doing so.

So no ‘surgical strikes’ deep in Pakistan?

Except in Bollywood films, such a strike is very very unlikely. Unless the Indian Army intends to start an all out war, it will not be able to carry out an attack of this sort in Pakistan.

Pakistan National Security Advisor had cautioned in 2014 that a ‘surgical strike’ was not an option for India.

“Our army is fully alert and capable to appropriate response,” he had warned. Add to that the threat of nuclear war and you have two very good reasons why Indian choppers won’t be flying across the Pakistan border any time soon.

A day after getting gallantry award, Colonel dies fighting militants

Colonel Rai, the commanding officer of 42 Rashtriya Rifles, recipient of Yudh Seva Medal, was killed in an encounter in Tral area of Kashmir on Tuesday

Representative Picture

Colonel Munindra Nath Rai was not used to saviour the laurels like the Yudh Seva Medal he won on Republic Day. The brave-heart loved challenges. Hours after his name showed up in the recipients of Yudh Seva Medal winners, Colonel Rai, the commanding officer of 42 Rashtirya Rifles (RR), found himself in the thick of action again in Tral area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.What happened?Police said on a specific information regarding presence of militants, J&K police, 42 RR and 185 CRPF launched a cordon and search operation in village Hundru, Tral. “During the search operation militants fired upon the joint search party. Two Hizbul Mujhadeen militants Sheeraz Hassan Dar and Abid Khan alias Hamza were killed in the ensuing encounter,” a police spokesman said.Leading from the front was Col Rai who charged at the well dug in militants little caring for his own safety. The officer was hit, but he kept his nerves directing his men and pining down the two hardcore militants.By the time army and police zeroed in on the militants, Col Rai and head constable Sanjeevan Singh were badly wounded. In the hail of bullets by his buddies, Col Rai was removed from the spot and shifted to army hospital at Badami Bagh cantonment in Srinagar. But the wound proved fatal and brave-heart’s life was cut short. Head Constable Singh too succumbed to his wounds.Who was Colonel Rai?Commissioned in Gurkha Riffles, Colonel Rai was commanding the 42 RR, which is responsible for counter insurgency operations in Tral, nicknamed Kandahar owing to the huge infestation of militancy in the area. Father of two daughters and son, Col Rai, one of 13 Yudh Seva Medal winners on Republic Day, was posted in the area for more than one and half year and his two year tenure was coming to an end in March.Was he popular in south Kashmir?Friends recall the officer as sober, suave and brave who was not only popular among the troops but the local population, a quality which Indian army cherishes in the conflict zones. “He was a soft and sober officer who had built a great rapport with the public in Tral. He was a brave officer who always led his men from the front”, Sheikh Faisal Qayoom, sub divisional police officer, a close friend of Col Rai, told dna.How did his colleagues recall Col Rai as an officer?”Col Rai was such a great strategist that Tral, which is one of the problem areas as far militancy is concerned, witnessed the peaceful assembly polls recently. His deployment techniques, his area domination exercises and his plan of action was par excellent”, said an officer in the security establishment. The officer had penchant for challenges and that is why he was always leading his men from the front in encounters. “He is one who always used to take part in the operations. He was always ready for challenges. Taking on the militants and fighting alongside his troops was his trademark style”, said another friend.

Bangladesh Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed expresses need for market share in India

Bangladesh Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said that the country has expressed to get its share in the Indian market during the inauguration of the first border haat (market) in the Tripura-Bangladesh border here.

Bangladesh Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed

Bangladesh Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said that the country has expressed to get its share in the Indian market during the inauguration of the first border haat (market) in the Tripura-Bangladesh border here. “We shall have to come to such a position where we can also take the share of the market of India. We are grateful to the Government of India that they have awarded us duty free, quota free market access in almost all the items except in two items – alcohol and tobacco,” Ahmed said. “All the other items we can export to India without duty but in spite of that there is some trade barriers which are known as tariff and non-tariff barriers. I hope that with proper discussion of both the countries we will be able to remove this,” he added. According to Ahmed, after getting liberation from Pakistan, Bangladesh has grown faster and the economy of the nation has moved far ahead. “Economically we are going ahead, even in the social sectors which have been reported by news papers and researchers that we are far-far ahead of Pakistan. Once upon a time, Bangladesh was deprived to get its due share from Pakistan and that was one of the reason for our liberation to start. But today in various sectors especially social sector we are ahead of Pakistan,” said the Bangladeshi minister thanking India and its people for helping during its freedom struggle by proving place to live and as well as arms and force. “We are always thankful to the government and people of India because during our liberation war we got all types of support. We got place to take refuge, arms to fight and all help required. That is why our national leader Bangabandhu as sign of gratitude after coming out of Pakistan jail he via London went to Delhi before coming to his mother land on 10th January 1972,” said the minister. “The Bangladesh parliament has already ratified the India-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement but the Indian parliament is yet to endorse the deal,” he added. He was addressing after the joint inauguration of the ‘Border Haat’ along with his Indian counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman in the presence of thousands of people of both the neighbouring nations. The Bangladesh minister assured that his country is considering for allowing India to use the Chittagong port for either transit or transshipment. Meanwhile, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that India is keen to further strengthen economic relations with Bangladesh. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already announced to convert the ‘Look East Policy’ to ‘Act East Policy’ for better relations and further all round development of the northeastern region after closely connecting the region with the Southeast Asian countries including Bangladesh and seriously wants to further reinforce the trade, economy and people to people relations and all other mutual issues,” said Sitharaman. “Tripura is located at the threshold and in an advantageous position in respect of strategic, diplomatic and economic relations with Bangladesh, is likely to become the gateway in tandem with implementation of the ‘Act East’ policy adopted by the government of India,” she added. She suggested that in the border haats not only perishable items like vegetable, fruits and locally produced items thing should be there in the items bust also those items which are produce in small industries on both sides as it will not only help in earning revenue but also solve unemployment problems. “The commerce between the two nations will only encourage and build better relations and these are common citizens between Bangladesh and India who will do trade. Small traders and purchasers are going to come here to purchase and sell goods which are going to revive the local economy,” said Sitharaman. “I just suggested that not just primary perishable goods like vegetables and fruits but there should also be value added goods which should be traded here because if have local manufacturing through which some income to the state government will come. Although if you buy and sell here there cannot be any duty but by producing small and medium enterprise which can prevail here and I presume in Bangladesh the local employment potential will increase, local employment and productivity will add revenue to the state government and of course international trade will prosper,” she added. Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, Lok Sabha Member Jitendra Chowdhury, MPs of Feni and senior Indian and Bangladeshi officials were among others present on the occasion. However, according to the border guards, the border haats would play a vital role in reducing illegal trade and smuggling and thus help in batter manning the border. Colonel Kader Ahamed, Sector Commander Comilla of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) said, “It is the bridge between both the countries and have very good impact for the bordering people. It will reduce smuggling and help both the forces BSF and BGB to work together and increase the cooperation and friendship between the two countries.” Meanwhile, the common people on both sides welcomed the move of India and Bangladesh to setup border haats which according to them will not only revive the pre-partition trade but also improve the people-to-people relation between both the nations.

Bangladesh delegation receives order to act against Indian insurgents

Issues like joint border management, border smuggling, human trafficking, border crimes, infiltration were discussed at Indo-Bangla Joint Border Conference

Instructions have been given to launch operation against Indian insurgents using the soil of Bangladesh for carrying out “subversive” activities in India, a delegate for the ongoing two-day Indo-Bangla Joint Border Conference said on Friday.”We were instructed to launch operations if any Indian insurgents use the soil of Bangladesh for causing subversive activities in Indian side. We have also conducted a number of operations against them,” Director of 54 Border Guard Battalion of Bangladesh Lt Colonel Kazi Mahamudunnabi said.
Bangladesh has decided to set up five more border outposts in the Chittagong Hill Tract areas bordering Dhalai district of Tripura for better vigil and stop cross border movement of insurgents, he said. Md Hasanujjamad Kallol, Deputy Commissioner of Comilla said, “We want proper sharing of water from the Gomati, which flows through Comilla.”The 30-member Bangladesh team leader District Magistrate of Feni Humayan Kabir Khanderkar said, “We work at the district level and face various border-related issues and such meetings will help us to address them through dialogues.” The Bangladeshi team comprises five district magistrates, representatives of police, paramilitary forces and border guards.From the Indian side, Dr Prashant Kumar Goyal, District Magistrate of Sipahijala said “We have discussed issues like joint border management, border smuggling, human trafficking, border crimes, infiltration and cross border movements of insurgents or terrorists.” “We pledged to cooperate with each other in this regard. Both side attached importance for better coordination in grassroots level to address the issues and improve relations between the two countries,” he said.The conference is scheduled to end on January 10.

Jammu and Kashmir: Ceasefire violations on LoC in 2014 breach 11-year-old record

The year 2014 saw over 550 violations by Pakistan of the 2003 cease-fire agreement between India and Pakistan, breaching a 11-year-old record.In 2014, according to available figures provided by the army, there was a 158% increase in cease-fire violations by Pakistan. “2014 has seen the highest cease-fire violations by Pakistan, targeting civilian areas and forward border posts along LoC and international border (IB),” said military spokesman Colonel SD Goswami.Troops of India and Pakistan intermittently exchange fire on the LoC (Line of Control) and IB (international Border), despite the 2003 agreement to observe the ceasefire. Pakistan’s increased firing and sniper attacks on civilian areas and forward posts have made the army take a tough stand.Colonel Goswami further stated, “We are giving primacy to preventing infiltration by adopting a robust counter-infiltration strategy, which has an appropriate mix of technology and human resources put together to check infiltration effectively, while we simultaneously degrade remaining terrorists in the hinterland”.Data accessed from the Ministry Of Defence said that the highest ceasefire violations were reported from Jammu sector. The army has been directed to respond appropriately with double the force, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said recently.It may be recalled that over 32,000 people were forced to leave their homes and take shelter in relief camps established by the government following heavy firing by Pakistan troops on civilian areas and forward posts along the LoC.Former Border Security Force Director General DK Pathak termed the ceasefire violations as the most heavy case of firing and shelling since the 1971 Indo-Pak War.