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    Blast after gunfight kills 6 locals in Kashmir KULGAM 20 sustain bullet, pellet injuries in unsanitised area after three ultras shot

    Blast after gunfight kills 6 locals in Kashmir

    A local resident looks at a house at Laroo village in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district that was damaged in an encounter between security forces and militants on Sunday. Tribune Photo

    Suhail A Shah

    Anantnag, October 21

    Three militants and six civilians were killed in Laroo village of south Kashmir’s Kulgam district on Sunday — the former in a gunbattle and the latter in a blast at the ‘unsanitised’ encounter site. Also, more than 20 persons were injured, a few

    sustaining bullet and many pellet injuries as the security forces tried to disperse the protesters. 

    The dead civilians were identified as Irshad Ahmad Padder, Zubair Ahmad Lone, Talib Maqbool Laway, Uzair Ahmad Dar, Aqib Ahmad Sheikh and Mansoor Ahmad Dar, all residents of villages in Kulgam district.

    The militants who were gunned down, all members of Jaish-e-Muhammad, are Shahid-ul-Islam Tantray of Shopian, Yazil Makroo of Anantnag and Zubair Lone of Kulgam.

    Police sources said a cordon and search operation was launched in Laroo village on the outskirts of Kulgam at about 2 am. “While searches were on, the militants at 3.30 am opened fire. The forces retaliated and a gunfight ensued that lasted till about 10 am. All three militants were neutralised.”

    As the forces began to evacuate the area after the encounter, hundreds of residents marched to the site. “A fire caused by explosives was still to be put off and the site yet to be sanitised,” a source said.

    An eyewitness claimed people were standing on the rubble of the house razed during the encounter when a deafening explosion took place, injuring seven. “They were rushed to the Kulgam district hospital where three of them were declared dead,” a health official said. Two more succumbed at the SMHS Hospital in Srinagar and another at the SKIMS in Soura.

    The locals blamed the security forces for the tragedy. A police source said the forces had to leave in a hurry because of incessant stone-pelting and, therefore, could not sanitise the site.

    Inspector General of Police (IGP) SP Pani said the people had been warned to keep off, but paid no heed. Despite the authorities snapping mobile and Internet services, intense clashes erupted at the site and the forces fired pellets and bullets to disperse the protesters, leaving more than 20 injured.

    Adviser to the Governor K Vijay Kumar and DGP Dilbag Singh expressed regret over the loss of lives and sent condolences to the bereaved families.


    How events unfolded 

    2 am: Cordon and Search Operation launched by forces following inputs on militants’ presence 

    3:25 am: Militants open indiscriminate fire on the forces from a house they were hiding in

    4 am: Amid the gunfight, mobile and Internet services terminated in Kulgam district as a precaution

    7 am: Locals assemble at the encounter site in large numbers, throw stones at forces, fired upon

    9 am: Several blasts at the site as the security personnel try to flush out the holed-up militants

    10 am: Militants are killed and 30 minutes later, the forces leave the site with the bodies and arms

    10:50 am: A blast pierces through the area, leaving seven injured, six of whom succumb later

    Shutdown today

    Separatists in Kashmir valley have called for a strike on Monday over the death of civilians in a blast in Kulgam district. The strike has been called by the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL).

     


    Three soldiers, 2 intruders killed in Sunderbani encounter Critically injured Armyman evacuated

    Three soldiers, 2 intruders killed in Sunderbani encounter

    Amir Karim Tantray

    Tribune News Service

    Jammu, October 21

    Three soldiers were killed and one was critically injured in an encounter with militants near the Line of Control (LoC) in Sunderbani sector of Rajouri district on Sunday. Two intruders were shot dead.

    “The intruders fired on a patrol party. In the retaliatory fire, two heavily armed militants were killed. It was a kind of a Border Action Team (BAT) operation,” a source told The Tribune.

    Jammu-based defence spokesperson Lt Col Devender Anand said the encounter took place at 1.45 pm and that the injured soldier, Rifleman Rakesh Kumar of Samba distict, had been airlifted to the Army Command Hospital in Udhampur.

    “The Army found warlike stores, including two AK-47 rifles,” he added. The deceased soldiers are Havildar Kaushal Kumar of Deeng village in Nowshera, Rajouri district; Lance Naik Ranjeet Singh of Gam village in Doda district and Rifleman Rajat Kumar Basant of Pallanwala in Jammu — all of Jak li.

    Havildar Kaushal Kumar is survived by his wife Naresh Kumari, Lance Naik Ranjeet Singh by his wife Shimu Devi and Rifleman Rajat Kumar by his father Ratan Lal.

    Sources said the intruders may have infiltrated through the Ikhni Nullah near Battal village — the route used by four heavily armed infiltrators in March this year. They were later eliminated.

    A report from Jaipur, meanwhile, said a suspected Pakistani intruder was gunned down by the BSF while trying to cross the International Border in Sriganganagar district.


    Additional Sukhois not an answer to fleet shortage, IAF tells ministry

    Says existing version has aged equipment, upgrade too costly

    Additional Sukhois not an answer to fleet shortage, IAF tells ministry

    Ajay Banerjee

    Tribune News Service

    New Delhi, October 21

    The Indian Air Force (IAF) has told the Ministry of Defence (MoD) that getting more of the existing version of Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jets is not an option to bolster numbers to the dwindling jet fleet.

    The Sukhoi-30MKI, in its present version, is not an option for the future — next 20 years or so — as its avionics, protection suite, engine and radar is now a generation previous to what is currently available, the IAF has informed the MoD, sources told The Tribune.

    The Russian origin twin-engined, Sukhoi-30MKI — a frontline jet of the IAF — is produced by public sector undertaking Hindustan Aeronautics Limited under licence from Russia. At present, the IAF has 247 Sukhoi jets in its fleet and another 25 are expected to be added over the next 24 months, taking the total to 272.

    The IAF is operating with just 31 squadrons (16-18 planes in each) as against the requirement of 42. Among these, some 130 odd planes are MiG 21s and MiG 27s, which should have been phased out a decade earlier, but are still flying due to their non-replacement with the LCA Tejas.

    Even as upgrade of the existing fleet would be expensive at $10 billion (around Rs 75,000 crore) and could take almost a decade, the sources said the plane is good for now but cannot be for the future is its existing version.

    The Russians have offered to upgrade it to a ‘super Sukhoi’, which if implemented, will give the aircraft almost fifth generation (latest) capabilities. It talks about its effectiveness in multi-role, AESA radar, more powerful electronic warfare suite like jamming systems, along with high performance engines, the AL-41F turbofan (same as the latest Sukhoi 35).

    The Sukhoi-30MKI, which in the past two decades has seen some changes, has a mix of electronic systems from a number of countries. The radar and long-range sensor is Russian. The navigation and heads-up display systems are from Thales of France. The electronic warfare systems and targeting pods are Israeli and the computers and ancillary avionics systems are Indian. The upgrade will be difficult to implement and the US can impose sanctions under the CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) for dealing with Russians.

    Also, the existing upgrades of the Mirage 2000 jets and the Jaguar are running years behind schedule. The Sukhoi-30MKI belongs to heavier class of aircraft which is optimised for ‘air superiority’ roles to dominate the skies but lacks the ‘multi-role’ requirements which IAF wants and has floated a tender to get 114 such jets.

    247Sukhois in fleet

    • At present, the IAF has 247 Sukhoi jets in its fleet and another 25 are expected to be added over the next 24 months
    • The avionics, protection suite, engine and radar of Sukhoi-30MKI is now a generation previous to what is currently available
    • The Indian Air Force is operating with just 31 squadrons (16-18 planes in each) as against therequirement of 42

    China consolidating its string of pearls by Lt-Gen Kamal Davar (retd)

    China’s growing naval build-up in the Indo-Pacific region is to overcome its “Malacca Dilemma” as the narrow Malacca Strait is the conduit from where over 70 per cent of China’s energy needs get transported from West Asia. China is wary of the US and Indian naval capabilities and, thus, it is in an overdrive to protect its interests by consolidating its ‘string of pearls’ .

    China consolidating its string of pearls

    Gwadar sea port: This Pakistani port is a part of China’s ‘string of pearls’ stratagem that has geo-political and military repercussions for India.
    Lt-Gen Kamal Davar (retd)

    Lt-Gen Kamal Davar (retd)
    First chief of India’s Defence Intelligence Agency

    Down the ages, even when its empires and ruling dispensations suffered inglorious defeats or political ignominy, China consistently managed to display uncanny steadfastness in its goals and ambitions. That a rare amalgam of strategic patience, statecraft, deep pockets and resoluteness in the pursuit of its long-term objectives, characterises the Dragon’s ever-growing footprint across Asia, Africa and the oceans, lapping the increasingly strategic region from the Strait of Hormuz to the bottleneck of the Strait of Malacca. That China has successfully kept at bay, in its area of operational interest, specifically in the South China and East China Seas even the world’s sole superpower’s naval might, speaks volumes of China’s military ascendancy in the Indo-Pacific expanse.

    China’s string of pearls

    The ‘string of pearls’ stratagem, originally an American think tank’s expression for strategic encirclement, is since a couple of decades, a virtual Chinese hallmark as it asserts itself in the Indo-Pacific region. That the Chinese avatar of the ‘string of pearls’ is directed also against India brooks no elaboration notwithstanding China’s frequent unconvincing denials stating that China’s increasing activities in the Asia-Pacific (being now largely referred to as the Indo-Pacific) are predominantly economic and commercial in nature. 

    Equally, China’s growing forays and naval build-up in the Indo-Pacific region is to overcome its “Malacca Dilemma” as the narrow Malacca Strait is the conduit from where over 70 per cent of China’s energy needs get transported from West Asia. China is understandably wary of the US and Indian naval capabilities to interdict its sea-lanes and, thus, it is in an overdrive to protect its interests by consolidating its ‘string of pearls’ to hem in India’s military resources.

    In the last 15 years or so, China has assiduously perfected its strategic encirclement of India. Commencing with the port of Hambantota in Sri Lanka over which it has acquired a 99 years’ lease, China’s $1 trillion ambitious project — the Belt and Road Initiative and the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) — traversing the Gilgit-Baltistan disputed territory in India’s north-west — the proposed China-Pakistan-India-Bangladesh-Myanmar Economic Corridor, the Chinese-supported and -built Gwadar deep sea port in Baluchistan, its first foreign naval base in Dijbouti and efforts to set up naval facilities in Maria Atoll in the Maldives are all part of its ‘string of pearls’ stratagem which have marked geo-political and military repercussions for India. 

    Adding to India’s woes

    In addition, a road is under construction from its Yunan province to the Myanmar’s deep sea port of Kyunkpyu, China’s offer of major improvements to Bangladesh’s Chittagong port and China’s growing interests in Afghanistan will add to Indian discomfiture — both militarily and economically. China’s ever-increasing financial, military and nuclear largesse to Pakistan — all form a deliberate part of the Chinese grand design using Pakistan as a low-cost proxy against India.

    To add to India’s diplomatic woes in the neighbourhood, China has successfully driven a wedge between India and Nepal by unifying the two Communist parties in Nepal. Both the militant Nepali Communist leader, Prachanda, and its PM, KP Sharma Oli, are solidly pro-Chinese and already have taken some steps to distance themselves from Nepal’s traditional fraternal relationship with India.

    Nepal withdrew from participation in counter-terrorism exercises for BIMSTEC nations hosted recently by India, besides, seeking access to far-distant Chinese ports to nullify any future Indian blockade of their mountain kingdom. Nearly a lakh of Nepalese serve in the Indian Army and other security forces. Besides, India has been providing employment to many lakhs of Nepalese citizens. India will have to deal with the current Nepalese establishment with caution, maturity and factor in scenarios if the crafty Chinese manage to further worsen India-Nepalese relations.

    India has to further ensure that its traditional relations with its tiny but strategic neighbour, Bhutan, does not follow the Nepalese pattern. After the Chinese engineered Doklam crisis in September, 2017, Bhutan too appears to be re- thinking its historical relationship with India. It is now apprehensive of a strong China creating political problems for them.

    Silver lining for India

    However, the silver lining for India in its neighbourhood has been the surprise defeat of the Chinese-supported Maldives President Abdulla Tameen by Ibrahim Solih in the Maldives presidential elections. It is expected that the wily Chinese will do their utmost to retain their influence in the strategically located Maldives.

    India will now have to marshal all its genius, build its capabilities and synergise its resources to counter China’s machinations to strategically encircle India. It must not fall a prey to China’s off-on-off guiles to lull it into complacency. Thus, India must endeavour towards far greater blue water capability to the Indian Navy, especially augmenting its submarine strength and a minimum of two additional aircraft carrier borne-task forces. Additionally, added military muscle to and cooperation among the QUAD nations is sine qua non. US and Japan themselves are seriously concerned with increasing Chinese assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific.

    All-out efforts to regain its influence among India’s neighbours must be earnestly strived for. An unambiguous message should be conveyed to all our neighbours that the economic muscle of China will ensure their colonisation and subservience by dragging them into gigantic debt traps as Sri Lanka and Pakistan have realised.

     


    Massacre on railway system Amritsar tragedy must trigger discipline on the track

    Massacre on railway system

    THERE can only be numbness but no surprise over the Amritsar train tragedy. A day that sets off a season of festivals and joy left a bitter taste as the sun came down. The Ravana effigy burning was one among the countless set off all over the country. There must have been near-escapes elsewhere but at Joda Phatak in Amritsar, our proclivity to stretch the boundaries of safety did us in. People around the effigy started retreating as it was lit and jostled with another crowd standing on the railway track when two speeding trains from opposite directions ploughed into them.

    The railways’ bane has been ribbon development or the building of houses close to the track. As shanties grow in size and develop into vote banks, there is frequent trespassing of track, leading to over 15,000 deaths every year. It is no wonder that the railways is reluctant to classify the deaths of people hit by trains while crossing the track as accidents because stopping people from crossing it in built-up areas — an offence — is impossible. The Modi government had announced a Rs 50,000-crore plan to eliminate all level crossings. Though delayed, it builds on the work of the previous administrations and could pare the death toll somewhat. But as long as we retain the predilection for jaywalking — crossing communication track with no regard for traffic — similar tragedies will keep happening.

    Noted nuclear scientist Anil Kakodkar had identified lack of barricading, fencing and pedestrian overbridges for the heavy human death toll on railway track. In Haryana, Bansi Lal had earned unpopularity but gratitude as well by clearing the highways of ‘ribbon development’. Today, this is the norm for all highways, which has cut down the death toll. Such a drastic measure along the track will cause displacement and misery. While the Amritsar civic administration should meet its just deserts, the tragedy ought to be the trigger for rapidly enforcing several such measures that were abandoned or unimplemented because of local resistance.


    “What Is My Fault?”: Amritsar Event Organiser, In Hiding, Releases Video

    Saurabh Madan Mithu, the Congress councillor’s son who organised the event in Amritsar, claimed he had warned the crowd “7-10 times” to not stand on the tracks.

    Saurabh Madan Mithu released a video saying that he was being framed by “some people”.

    AMRITSAR: Saurabh Madan Mithu, the Amritsar councillor’s son who organised the Dussehra event that ended with the death of 61 spectators on a railway track on Friday, has released a video message saying he was being unfairly targeted for the tragedy. The local strongman, who went into hiding on the night of the incident, said that he had taken all the necessary permissions but “some people” were trying to frame him.

    “It’s an extremely tragic incident, I am deeply pained by it. I arranged the Dussehra celebration to bring everyone together. I had taken all the permissions… spared no effort. Had spoken to police, (municipal) corporation, fire brigade,” he said in a video in Punjabi.

    “We organised it on a ground not on the tracks… But some people were standing there and the train came out of nowhere. It was an act of God. What is my fault in this? Some officers and people have a personal vendetta against me… we made 7 to 10 announcements saying ‘please don’t stand on the tracks’. With folded hands, I request you not to do this,” Mr Mithu added.

    jc1ji2no

    At least 61 people were killed and hundreds injured when a train ran over people watching a Dussehra event on Friday in Amritsar.

    His claim of issuing multiple warnings, however, seemed to contradict a video from the evening of the accident where one of the organisers bragged to the chief guest, Congress leader and former lawmaker Navjot Kaur Sidhu, that the crowd there was so enthusiastic to see her that they would stand on the nearby railway tracks and not budge even if hundreds of trains pass by.

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    “Madam, look here, these people don’t care about standing on tracks. Over 5,000 people are (standing) on (railway tracks) lines for you and even if 500 trains pass by, they will not move,” the man was heard saying.

    Mr Mithu and his mother, a Congress Councillor, remain missing three days after the incident. Irked by their absence, a group of people threw stones at their residence on Saturday afternoon — breaking several windows. Police brought them under control and placed the neighbourhood under guard. Earlier in the day, protesters clashed with the police demanding the arrest of those responsible.

    COMMENT

    Although the Punjab police have registered a first information report in connection with the tragedy, they did not name anybody in the document on the grounds that the accused were yet to be identified.


    Army issues ‘stern warning’ to Pak; asks it to rein in terrorists

    Army issues ‘stern warning’ to Pak; asks it to rein in terrorists

    The Army has been maintaining utmost restraint to uphold the ceasefire at the LoC despite regular provocative actions from across the border, authorities here claimed.

    Ajay Banerjee
    Tribune News Service
    New Delhi, October 22

    Having killed armed intruders from Pakistan along  the Line of Control (LoC) in Sunderbani sector of Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday, the Army has issued a ‘stern warning’ to the Pakistan Army asking it to restrain terrorists from operating from its soil.

    Sources in New Delhi said since the Director Generals of Military Operations (DGMO) of both sides had spoken in May and agreed to uphold the November 2003 ceasefire, there had been seven infiltration bids foiled by the Army in which 23 terrorists had been killed.

    The Army has been maintaining utmost restraint to uphold the ceasefire at the LoC despite regular provocative actions from across the border, authorities here claimed.

    The Pakistan Army is trying to send terrorists across the border. Army sources cited internal reports to suggest that a large number of terrorists were waiting at launch pads in the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) desperate to infiltrate before the onset of snow.

    Also, the Pakistan Army has been informed through established communication channels to take the bodies of the hostile Pakistani nationals killed at the LoC on Sunday, sources said.

    Two of the intruders were wearing combat fatigues. ‘Established communication channels’ is a military term for existing telephonic contacts that connect military commanders on either side.

    Around 1.30 pm on Sunday, five to six Pakistani armed intruders crossed the LoC and fired at an Army patrol in the Sunderbani sector of Jammu region. Three Army jawans were killed and another was injured in the unprovoked cross-border action by Pakistan. During the ensuing crossfire two intruders were killed. Their identity could not be ascertained, sources in the Army said.

     


    TSEWA has filed a case titled AFT – 29 in AFT Delhi

    Comments on the concordance tables
    as given by Brig Vidyasagar
    Pensions in OROP for all ranks was carried out by taking the Average pension of those who actually retired in calendar year 2013 and fixing the same for Pre – 2013 pensioners of the same rank and same length of service. To make it very simple, I as Brig retired on 31 Mar 2004 with qualifying service of 32 years. But I have been considered as if I retired notionally in calendar year 2013. That is why my pension from Jan 2006 to Jun 2014 has been enhanced to Average Pension of  Brig / Cmde / Air Cmde with 32 years of service. My increase in pension was from Rs 29,145 to Rs 37,280. My pension cannot be enhanced unless my date of retirement is also notionally enhanced to calendar year 2013.
    You as a pre – 2013 pensioner cannot get pension of those who actually retired in calendar year 2013 of your rank and your total service unless you are notionally retired in 2013.  This method is known as Notional Pay method of pension fixation. Therefore, your pension as Pre – 2013 pensioner is to transit from 2013 to 2016 and not your date of retirement.
          Transition from Date of Retirement. When you enhance your pay  from your date of retirement with the fitment factor to next pay commission and finally come to Notional Pay in 2015 and then to 2016 with fitment factor of 2.57, your notional pay in Defence Pay Matrix + MSP of Rs 15,500 is much lesser. Therefore, your pension in Jan 2016 is lesser than OROP x 2.57 method.
         Who Benefits from Notional Pay Method?  This method is beneficial to only those who retired in calendar year 2014 and 2015. Even Govt of India, Min of Def explained the method of fixation of pension of Notional Pay Method in 2017 it clearly shows those who retired in 2014 and 2015 get higher pension by Notional Pay Method than 2.57 x OROP method which all Pre – 2013 pensioners are drawing.
    What is the Alternative?
        TSEWA carried out in depth analysis and concluded that even Pre – 2013 pensioners having been granted OROP are to be treated as if they are notionally retired in calendar year 2013. Therefore, our actual date of retirement has no meaning.. Date of retirement even for Pre – 2013 pensioners is also to be treated as if they retired in 2013 on the basis that they are sanctioned pension by OROP which is same as pension drawn by those who actually retired in calendar year 2013.
         TSEWA has filed a case titled AFT – 29 in AFT Delhi praying our notional date of retirement to be taken as calendar year 2013 and work out our pension by Notional Pay Method. This will give higher pension than what we are drawing by 2.57 x OROP method.

    Tables – Lt to COAS

    Attachments area


    75th anniversary of Azad Hind govt: PM to join flag-hoisting ceremony at Red Fort

    75th anniversary of Azad Hind govt: PM to join flag-hoisting ceremony at Red Fort

    Subhas Chandra Bose

    New Delhi, October 20

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi will join a flag-hoisting ceremony at the Red Fort on Sunday to mark the 75thanniversary of the ‘Azad Hind government’ headed by Subhas Chandra Bose.

    Interacting with BJP workers via video-conference on Wednesday, Modi had announced his plans to attend the ceremony.

    Traditionally, the Prime Minister hoists the national Tricolour at the historic Red Fort on Independence Day on August 15.

    Modi said that BJP respects everybody who served the country, irrespective of party affiliation. He said his government celebrates the contributions of many great personalities who were neglected by the Congress in its rule of several decades.

    While the Congress neglected the likes of Bhim Rao Ambedkar, Bose and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the BJP believed in remembering everybody who contributed to nation-building, he said, citing his government’s works, including constructing museums for noted tribal personalities and developing five places linked to Dalit icon Ambedkar.

    “We respect everybody who served the country,” he had said.

    The Prime Minister would also lay the foundation stone of a museum dedicated to the Azad Hind Fauj.

    On October 21, 1943, Bose had announced the formation of the country’s first independent government. PTI