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    Forest fire rages near Kasauli IAF station

    A chopper pressed into service, makes several sorties to refill water from Chandigarh to douse flames

    Forest fire rages near Kasauli IAF station

    Forest fire in Dochi village on the Kimmughat-Chakki-ka-Mor Road. Photo by writer

    Ambika Sharma

    Tribune News Service

    Solan, May 26

    A massive forest fire erupted in the forest area around the Air Force Station, Kasauli, where a chopper was pressed into service by the defence authorities to douse flames Saturday evening .The presence of dry pine needles on the forest floor triggered the blaze which spread from Dochi village on the Kimmughat-Chakki-Ka-Mor road to Naam village and Naam Sari village just below the Air Force Station. The defence station was engulfed in thick smoke as another fire broke out in the forest area lying behind the Hanuman Temple at the Monkey Point, making the task arduous for the fire-fighting team.Keeping in view the exigency of the situation, the forest staff and policemen also rushed to the spot. Four fire tenders from Parwanoo, Kasauli Cantonment and Solan also reached the spot to douse the fire.Several locals from the villages near the defence area were also seen assisting the fire-fighting operations.SHO, Kasauli, Nirmal Singh, said an IAF chopper was pressed into service to douse the fire as it was approaching the IAF station.The fire-fighting operations, which began in the afternoon, were continuing till the filing of the report and fire in about 60 per cent of the area had been controlled though it would take some more time to extinguish it.DFO, Solan, RS Jaswal, said eight to 10 staffers had been deployed to assist the defence staff. Though a fire, which had erupted at Dochi last evening, was doused around 1:30 pm, the simmering fire on the forest floor was fuelled by strong wind. It spread upwards from Naam and Naam Sari village towards the Air Force Station by evening, putting the defence authorities in a state of high alert.The chopper made several sorties to refill water from Chandigarh. DFO, Solan, RS Jaswal, also said two labourers were injured last evening while trying to douse flames which had erupted at a Sanawar village. Resorts lying on the Kimmughat-Chakki-Ka-Mor road were also threatened by the forest fire. The resort staff rued that despite calling the fire station at Parwanoo, no help had been received initially and it assumed an alarming proportion by evening.An arduous taskThe presence of dry pine needles on the forest floor triggered the blaze which spread from Dochi village on the Kimmughat-Chakki-Ka-Mor road to Naam village and Naam Sari village just below the Air Force Station. The defence station was engulfed in thick smoke as another fire broke out in the forest area lying behind the Hanuman Temple on the Monkey Point, making the task arduous for the fire-fighting team

    9 used rocket launcher shells found in Pathankot lead to scare

    9 used rocket launcher shells found in Pathankot lead to scare

    It was a late night phone call to the SSP which alerted the cops. ANI file

    Ravi Dhaliwal

    Tribune News Service

    Pathankot, May 26

    Nine used rocket launcher shells found from the bushes near the Pathankot Cantonment railway station created a scare in the city following which the cops called in GRP personnel to remove them.Initially, there were rumours that some live bombs had been found. However, SSP Vivek Sheel Soni dispelled the rumours by holding an impromptu press conference in which he clarified that “the shells which were found from near the rail track were used ones”.In army parlance they are known as ‘Training Practice Tracers’. Army and other paramilitary forces often train their personnel in the area in the use of rocket launchers. The ‘empties’, as the used shells are called, are then collected and handed over to junk dealers.It was a late night phone call to the SSP which alerted the cops.The GRP was immediately informed and efforts were on to call in army experts but once it became clear that the shells were indeed ‘empties’, the army was asked to wait.“My personnel and those of the GRP reached there in large numbers after we received a call on Friday night. Since we were not in a position to take risk in light of the infiltrations from across the border, which is nearby, we sealed all important installations like the ammunition dump, Mamun cantonment and the Air Force base. Searches near the bus stand and the railway station were intensified. However, the need to divert or stop rail traffic did not arise,” said SSP Soni.On January 2, 2016, four militants had laid siege to the Air Force station. The terrorists were killed after a 24-hour gun battle. On July 27, 2015, 5.2 kg of RDX was found on the railway track near Dinanagar, 20 km from Pathankot.    An officer claimed that since a part of Pathankot district is near the border, they took no chances.“Whenever such shells are found it is imperative on our part to launch an investigation to know how and from where these shells came,” he said


    LATEST WARRANT OF PRECEDENCE (Who Stands Where) Issued by the office of the President of India. 

    1. The President of India
    2.  The Vice President of India
    3. PM
    4. Governors of States within their respective States
    5. Former Presidents
    5A Deputy PM. 
    6. Chief Justice of India / Speaker of Lok Sabha
    7. Cabinet Ministers of the Union / CMs within their States / Former PMs
    7A. Holders of Bharat Ratna Decoration
    8. Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and High Commissioners of Commonwealth Countries / CMs outside their States / Governors outside their States
    9. SC Judges. 
    9A CEC/ CAG of India
    10. Deputy Chairman RS / Deputy CMs of States / Deputy Speaker LS / Members Planning Commission / Ministers of State of the Union
    11. Attorney General of India / Cabinet Secretary / LG within their UTs
    12. Chiefs of Army, Air and Naval Staff
    13. Envoys Extraordinary and Ministers Plenipotentiary accredited to India
    14. Chairmen and Speakers of State Legislatures within their States / Chief Justices of High Courts within their jurisdictions
    15. Cabinet Ministers of States within their States / CMs of UTs within their UTs / Deputy Union Ministers
    16. Officiating Chiefs of Army, Air and Naval Staff of the rank of Lt Gen or equivalent
    17. Chairman CAT / Chairman Minorities Commission / Chairman SC & ST Commission / Chairman UPSC / Chief Justices outside their jurisdiction / Puisne Judges of High Court within their jurisdictions
    18. Cabinet Ministers of States outside their States / Ministers of State in States within their States / Chairmen and Speakers of State Legislatures outside their States
    19. Chief Commissioners of UTs not having a Council of Ministers within their UTs / Deputy Ministers in States within their States
    20. Deputy Chairmen and Deputy Speakers of State Legislatures outside their States / Minister of State in States outside their States / Puisne Judges of High Courts outside their jurisdictions.
    21. MPs. 
    22. Deputy Ministers in State outside their States
    23. Army Commanders (GsOC-in-C) / VCOAS and equivalent in other services / Chief Secretaries to States within their States / Members of Minority Commission / Secretaries to Govt of India / Secretary to President / Secretary to PM / Secretary Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha / Solicitor General
    24. Lieutenant General or equivalent
    25. Additional Secretaries to Govt of India / Addl Solicitor General / Advocate Generals of States / Chairman Tariff Commission / Chief Secretaries outside their States / Director CBI / DG BSF / DG CRPF / Director IB / Lt Governors outside their UTs / Members UPSC / PSOs of Armed Forces of the rank of Major General and equivalent
    26. Officers of the rank of Major General and equivalent / Joint Secretary to Govt of India
    27. Vice Chancellors of Universities
    28. Commissioners of Divisions within their respective charges
    29. Brigade Commanders within their respective Charges
    30. Brigadiers / Inspector General of Forests / Inspectors General of Police
    31. Commissioners of Divisions outside their charges
    32. Secretaries to State Governments
    33. Colonels / Accountants General / Chief Conservator of Forests / Chief Engineers / Inspectors General of Prisons / Members of ICS (now known as IAS) and Indian Political Service (now Indian Foreign Service) with 23 years ‘ standing
    34. Controller Military Accounts and Pensions (now CDA)
    35. Commissioners of IT / Deputy Commissioners within their districts
    36. District and Session Judges within their charges
    37. DIG of Police
    38. Lt Col / Conservators of Forests / IAS and IFS  with 18 years standing / SEs.
    39. Excise Commissioners / Registrar of Co-operative Societies
    40. DCs of Distt / Distt and Sessions Judges / SPs of Distt within their charges (also now known with variable nomenclature as DCP / SSP in certain States)
    41. DIG of Prisons / Officers of other Class-I Services and Provincial Services with 20 years standing
    42. Majors / IAS and Foreign Service officers with 12 years service / SPs and DCPs with 15 to 20 years service
    43. Asst Commissioners of IT / Officers of Class-I and Provincial Services with 10 years standing
    44. DE / DFO / EEs / SP of Central Jails.
    WoP is issued from time to time on the basis of joint consideration of the existing Central Warrant of Precedence, Warrant of Precedence – 1937, Home Ministry office Letter No /11/99-Pub II dated 26 Dec 1966 and validity of contents of Letter No 12/1/2007-Public dated 14 Aug 2007.

    Army Captain, family attacked in Delhi’s Dwarka

    A Scorpio SUV stopped near Capt Vikas’s family and five people inside the car started passing lewd comments at the women.

    By UNI

    NEW DELHI: An Indian Army Captain along with his family was brutally beaten by five miscreants in Delhi’s posh locality, Dwarka on May 13.

    The Captain is deployed in Special Forces, had gone to Dwarka City Centre mall to have dinner with his wife, sister, brother-in-law and their children.

    “We came out of the mall after the dinner around midnight. As our vehicle was parked some distance away from the gate of the mall, I asked my wife, sister and children to stay while my brother-in-law and I went to get the car,” Capt Vikas Yadav said in a complaint.

    A Scorpio SUV stopped near them and five people inside the car started passing lewd comments at the women.

    When confronted, two of them stepped down and started misbehaving with them.

    “My brother-in-law and I reached the spot immediately with our car to rescue them. The goons started punching me. One of them smashed liquor bottle on my head that led to bleeding. They also threatened of dire consequences and raping our women folk,” Capt Yadav said.

    The miscreants were managed to flee the venue.

    However, one of them didn’t get able to board the vehicle, the Army officer chased him and nabbed him after running behind him for 2km.

    Later, he was identified as Mohamad Irshad Ali Hashmi, resident of the same locality.

    “They were arrested on May 15 and booked under various IPC sections. Additional sections will also be slapped once the final Medico Legal Certificate (MLC) report come. The SUV has also been seized,” said DCP Shibesh Singh, Dwarka.

    J-K court seeks status report in Army Major Gogoi hotel incident

    The directions came after an NGO filed an application before the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Srinagar, seeking directions to the police to furnish the status report with respect to the case

    By PTI

    SRINAGAR: A local court today directed the police to submit a status report on the investigation into the hotel fracas involving Army officer Major Leetul Gogoi.

    The directions came after an NGO filed an application before the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Srinagar, seeking directions to the police to furnish the status report with respect to the case.

    “SHO (station house officer) Khanyar to submit report in light of the application by May 30,” the CJM directed.

    The application was moved by chairman of International Forum for Justice and Human Rights (IFJHR), J-K, Mohammad Ahsan Untoo.

    On Wednesday, Gogoi was briefly detained by police in Srinagar after an altercation when he and his driver were allegedly trying to enter a hotel with an 18-year-old woman, according to a police official.

    The state police has initiated an inquiry into the incident involving Gogoi, who was set free after being detained briefly.

     Gogoi had sparked a row in April last year when he tied a local to his jeep and paraded him in Budgam district, apparently to escape stone pelting The Army has also ordered a court of inquiry into the hotel incident.

    Army Chief Bipin Rawat has said exemplary punishment would be given to the Major if he was found guilty of “any offence”.


    Nation first, Secunderabad Cantonment Board residents can take a detour: Army

    Army officials said that strategically sensitive equipment that are used in enemy operations are stored here, making it impossible to allow civilians gain access to many of these roads.

    By Express News Service

    HYDERABAD:  After all, not all Cantonment roads may be opened to the public. Days after the Ministry of Defence ordered opening of all cantonment roads, Lieutenant General DR Soni, who is the General Officer Commanding-in-chief (GOC-in-C) of Indian Army’s Southern command based in Pune, has put his foot down against the move. He is understood to have sought a review, which in all likelihood is going to result in most SCB roads remaining out of bounds for the public forever.

    The review, once undertaken, could possibly stretch for more than two months and till such time, the Local Military Authority (LMA) will prevent civilians from using a majority of the roads. So far, public is being allowed on 11 of the 25 Cantonment roads while others will remain ‘no-go’ zones.

    ‘‘The General has sought a review and study of security protocols. The matter concerns national security and we cannot allow civilians all over Cantonment area. There is no problem with civilians but who will guarantee that anti-national elements, in the grab of civilians, do not take advantage of the situation ?’’ top Army sources told Express.

    Army officials said that strategically sensitive equipment that are used in enemy operations are stored here, making it impossible to allow civilians gain access to many of these roads. Besides strategically sensitive equipment, the cantonment is home to 54 divisions and 76 Brigades apart from the Bison divisional headquarters, a fighting formation of the Indian Army. That makes it one of the most important Army stations in the Country.
    “It is here that we and our men get trained everyday to be war ready.  Many of these areas are sensitive from the security point of view and we do not have even mobile phone connectivity here. Our Jawans get trained here starting from 6 am, and opening all roads will become a hindrance to their training. Besides, our communications centres are here, so are the weaponry and defence labs. We have to safeguard them. If something goes wrong here, then it could be disastrous.

    People taking a detour of a few kilometres is better than putting the nation itself to risk by opening all roads,’’ Army officials said. “The Cantonment has existed since the time of Independence and was planned far away from the city. Will the authorities allow general public to pass through the Chief Minister’s camp office or the state Secretariat ? What is so secretive there?’’ an official questioned.

    Army officials added that though the security scenario in the country was, by and large, better till 2000, in the last 10 to 15 years, the situation has gone from bad to worse in terms of threats from the neighbouring countries which demands heightened security measures. “Even in countries like China, Pakistan, USA or UK, civilians are not allowed anywhere closer to Army bases.’’

    Morning walkers prevented from taking Wellington road
    : Though the Local Military Authority (LMA) termed the incident where morning walkers were prevented from using the AOC roads on Wednesday morning as rumours, walkers were again prevented on Thursday morning from taking Wellington road in AOC line unit by Army men guarding the locality. However, vehicles continued to ply on the stretch.

    Speaking to Express, T Satish Kumar, one of the morning walkers said, “We don’t understand that why Army men are not allowing morning walkers in the AOC line. At the time of restrictions on roads closure, they allowed morning walkers but now they are not doing so.” On contacting J Rama Krishna vice president of SCB said,“We are planning to conduct a meeting with LMA officials. “In the meeting, we requested them not to restrict civilians commuting in Cantonment area. All the issues will be solved in next two-three days.” He said that the roads that were closed are thrown open now and remaining four roads will be opened soon.

    Army wives intend to send to the RM :::Review opening of Cantt Roads to public

    Below is a letter that I believe the army wives intend to send to the RM. Well articulated and encompasses most of the issues. However many more could be added to make the RM of where the priorities should lie If the army man is unable to be sure of the safety of his Kith and Kin what security is he likely to provide to the nation. It is a sad day to see that army wives are going to take up the cudgels since their menfolk seem to have given up the role of the security provider under the garb of , ‘I am following order. My superior officer has thus ordered”.
    What a bloody shame👇🏻
    The Raksha Mantri
    South Block
    Central Secreteriat
    New Delhi 110011
    Ref: The review of closure of roads undertaken by the MoD on 19 May 2018
    Dear Madam,
    We are the families of armed forces personnel living in various cantonmnents in India. With regard to the referred matter we would like to put forth the following points 
    1. The cantonments ( herein after referred to as cantts) are our homes for the duration and time of service of the member of our family serving the country in uniform. We take extreme pride and care in maintaining high standards of living within its premises.
    2. Our children play in parks fearlessly, study in schools mostly located within the cantt premises and grow up in these cantts learning to be respectful of the environment and abide by the motto that cleanliness is next to godliness.
    3. The soldiers who are posted to border areas can do their duties without any worry about their families back home because usually they are safe and secure in the Separate Family Accomodations in cantt areas.
    4. Most family accomodations, parks, shopping complexes, movie theatres  and other places where we avail of fauji amenities are not enclosed by boundaries in most cantt areas. Your order regarding the opening of roads will greatly affect the security of these places.
    5. Each one of us has lived in cantts for several years and has never heard of events such as eve teasing, littering and  other petty crimes.  Your decision has lead to removal of all barricades and check posts and stoppage of all checking by sentries leaving us seriously vulnerable to such incidents.
    6. Till date we could stay safely within the cantts knowing no matter what the dangerous nature of the jobs of our serving family member is, his/her family is secure in a cantt. The sense of safety and security was wiped away in an instant with your order to open cantt roads.
    7. In today’s civilian society even the smallest apartment complex, mall, theatre has security guards put in place by the management. In your eyes we do not deserve even this minimum security that our civilian counterparts enjoy. With your order you have taken away the right of the armed forces personnel to protect his own home.
    8. It is moot to bring to your notice once again that the attacks by terrorists on army camps have increased in recent  times as we, the family members are seen as soft targets. Before your decision is defended on the grounds that cantts in sensitive areas will not be opened for public thoroughfare let us assert strongly that every single cantt is a sensitive area. Nothing stops an anti national element from attacking a unguarded soft target with open access anywhere in the country.
    9. In the case of occurrence of such an incident as abovementioned PLEASE  inform us who in your Government will take responsibility for the same.
    10. We have been extremely aggrieved by this decision to open all roads and the methodology that is  being followed to implement the said order as it puts us in the path of mortal danger and affects our rights enshrined in the Constitution under Article 21.  
    11. Also kindly note that the State has a moral duty to ensure the minimum safety of families of armed forces personnel living within cantts while our men/women in the forces are gone for long hours, months or years protecting our country.
    12. We proudly state that we are the pillars on which our armed forces stand and we shall come forth and fight, adopting all legal recourses available to us, when our security, our safety and OUR WAY OF LIFE is threatened.
    13. In light of the above mentioned points, please review your order regarding opening of  roads in cantts and the methodology being used to enforce the said order.
    Thanking you 
    Yours faithfully
    breakl line
    Gradually the narrative is changing to one of assertion of civil supremacy and authority. Fine, that’s how it should be in a democracy. However, if I am not mistaken, I get the message that there is an underlying sense of vanity and superiority. I feel that, that is where a mistake is being made. You do control the Armed Forces since you are the elected Government of the day, but each one has a clearly proscribed role under the law. BOTH YOU AND THE ARMED FORCES ARE SUBJECT TO IT. It’s a fine line that no one should transgress.
    The Armed Forces are your own people, any respect extended to them, will help them perform better. They, in turn, must be of high character, respectful and obedient to the Government.
    Let’s not talk about J&K for a moment. Let’s take a look at Haryana. There was a Jat agitation in Feb 2016, which 56,000 policemen of Haryana Police could not control. It is ridiculous to see that  after the situation was handed over to the Army, only 5,000 army men quickly controlled it. So too the agitation when Ram Rahim was arrested, in August 2017. The police were unable to control his followers who were blatantly rioting. Only one infantry battalion quickly brought it under control, without breaking into a sweat. Does this prove that the Army is superior to the police? ABSOLUTELY NOT, if anything, the best of the rural stock opt to join the police. The only explanation is that the police is heavily politicised and completely subservient (not obedient) to the political bosses. They are not free to act and their response is dictated by their political bosses In return, they are absolved of any accountability. The janta also recognises that in a mass agitation, even if they out rightly flaunt the law, the police will stop them because of vote bank politics. They know that the Army means business, so they simmer down and slowly slink away.
    After the Jat agitation, Mr Prakash Singh a respected ex DGP of UP, Police, investigated and blamed both, the Haryana Government and the Haryana Police. I am not aware of any action taken against the Home Secretary or the police or anyone else for gross negligence or incompetence. Nor have we heard of any police reforms having been undertaken, even though the Supreme Court ordered it more than a decade ago. Why no contempt of Court, in this case? Can anyone expect a similar attitude in the Armed Forces?
    The nation will benefit  by engaging with the Armed Forces, and listening to them. This institution is, possibly, one of the most respected in our nation. It is also like a glue that binds the nation together, therefore, it should never, ever, get politicised.
    breakl line
    While the history of military cantonments is readily available on the internet, a few relevant issues seem to be missing. The British established cantonments to keep the Army ensconced but away from the public, providing it areas for habitation, training and recreation.
    However, since these were orderly locations and the hub of all activity in the region, the future city grew around the cantonments and spread. Business establishments were first established in areas surrounding cantonments.
    Therefore, cantonments initially away from the city, became the centre of growth of the town. Presently, most cantonments possess prime lands in almost all major cities and are surrounded by the best of localities. Bangalore, Secunderabad, Lucknow, Allahabad and even Kolkata are some of the examples. The Bangalore, Secunderabad parade grounds and the Kolkata Maidan have always been viewed by state governments and builders due to their prime locations.
    Representational Image 
    It has been on the insistence of the Army, backed by the government, that the lands were protected from becoming concrete jungles. Dhaula Kuan in Delhi was an isolated location in the 1970s, but at present controls access to many parts of a growing city, including to the airport.
    Most Army cantonments are grounds where the local public come for their daily walk and fresh air. Cantonments possess greenery and open spaces which result in a difference in temperatures and low levels of pollution, and thus must be so maintained and prevented from being concrete jungles.
    Expanding cities began to surround cantonments and colonies mushroomed outside cantonment limits, with its residents freely using cantonment roads for commuting. Issues started arising once Army authorities began placing restrictions on movement on roads within the cantonment for security purposes, especially in the wake of terrorism and terror strikes within the country.
    Land in military stations come under two different entities. Some roads and land are under cantonment boards, which are developed and maintained by them, while other roads and land belong to the Army and are termed as A1 and B defence lands, meant solely for Army use. Some land is occupied by the Army, while others earmarked for its future use while the balance is with cantonment board for maintenance and security including local markets and civilian-populated colonies.
    Among the cities where use of Army land has become a bone of contention isSecunderabad, where multiple mushrooming colonies surrounding the cantonment are impacted with closure of roads. The battle for opening of roads in this city has been raging for a few years, as increased colonies mushroom in areas around cantonments. For the residents, movement through cantonments save them time and distance, which has financial implications.
    Mohan Guruswamy, a noted policy analyst, even published a scathing article on the issue of closure of roads in the Deccan Chronicletitled, “This is not Pakistan, General Saab” a few days ago. He claimed that arbitrary closure has impacted the movement of civilians and the Army is unwilling to hand over land for construction of roads and flyovers claiming market cost. He went on to accuse the Army of being in business, taking arbitrary decisions and refusing to heed to public demand.
    There are some issues, which need to be elaborated for explaining to those unaware of government rules. Transferring land from the Army to civil authorities is not under any Army officer, unless the land is A1 or B defence land. It remains under the purview of the cantonment board. However, Army views are taken. Rules were tightened by the government of India, post the illegal transfer of defence land in Pune by a defence minister, who had personal interest.
    All transfer of lands, irrespective of classification, needs the approval of the MoD, the local authorities can only recommend.
    Land has been given where essential, Kolkata and Bangalore for Metro and Lucknow for flyover and rail over bridges being recent examples. In the case of Kolkata, the land handed over was A1 defence land, on which a part of the army hospital existed. Thus, it is incumbent on the state government to process the case with the ministry. Blaming the Army is meaningless and it is the easiest target, especially for a renowned individual, as it would not respond to criticism, as is its norm.
    Security of cantonments is a primary responsibility of the local military commander. It is a bigger headache when the cantonment is open and surrounded by colonies in every direction. There are regular intelligence inputs of militant threats to Army cantonments.
    Inside cantonments, there are small colonies of family accommodation which are vulnerable spots, many of which house families of soldiers deployed in insurgency operations or along troublesome borders. Their concern for security of their families, while they battle militancy or a hostile enemy, is paramount.
    Incidents of militant attacks on family quarters in recent times in Jammu are examples of anti-national elements seeking to target army morale, by hitting at weak spots. The May 14, 2002 Kaluchak massacrewhere militants attacked the family accommodation and killed 23, including women and children still haunts the army. The latest in February this year in Sanjuwan also involved living accommodation. Attacks have also taken place in Nagrota and Pathankot. Hence, the Army would need to ensure security of its own areas. An attack in the interior of the country would be more demeaning.
    If the Army imposes caution by deploying soldiers in uniform along major roads, then the public feels it is overbearing and approaches the courts, Allahabad being an example. Hence, it has to adopt deterrent measures. An attack on a military cantonment is an embarrassment to the nation and severely impacts military morale, especially if families are targeted. The recent attack on an Army school in Pakistan resulted in the army launching a major counter-militant operation, mainly because it hurt the soldier’s morale and dented the image of their army.
    No army in the world has that luxury of soldiers that it can deploy them all over the cantonments to ensure security, as demanded by Guruswamy. It, therefore, adopts a methodology of employing quick reaction teams moving through the cantonment in vehicles at random while guarding major installations and monitoring traffic by restricting movement through certain roads.
    The national public should understand that the Army, which has stood by the nation in every aspect and would do so all through history, but has to act to ensure its own security. It must ensure security of cantonments to prevent embarrassment to the nation and itself. It may at times behave in a manner to cause inconvenience to the local public, which can always be resolved by a civil-military liaison conference. This is a regular conference attended by senior civil and military members of the city to discuss problems and arrive at solutions.
    Surplus Army lands can only be granted by the government, the local Army authorities have no right. This could easily be resolved through the same channel, which has failed in the state of Telangana for unknown reasons. If the state authorities do not adopt this approach, then they must be blamed for their own highhandedness and lack of interest in helping the public.
    Blaming the Army may be easy, but understanding its constraints is difficult. Channels of resolution always exist, employing them is more important rather than throwing the blame on an institution which maintains a studied silence because of its ethos.
    Also read: The ‘demise’ of Kashmiri
     #Defence Ministry, #Army,#Secunderabad Cantonment Board, #Defence land
    The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of or the India Today Group. The writers are solely responsible for any claims arising out of the contents of this article.
    HARSHA KAKAR @kakar_harsha
    breakl line

    Army orders court of inquiry into Major Gogoi’s conduct Exemplary punishment if found guilty: Army chief

    Army orders court of inquiry into Major Gogoi's conduct

    Tribune News Service

    New Delhi/Srinagar, May 25

    The Indian Army ordered a court of enquiry on Friday into the conduct of Major Leetul Gogoi following the incident at a hotel in Dalgate Srinagar.  The major had booked a room for himself in the hotel where a woman was scheduled to come and meet him.

    The woman has recorded a statement under Section 164 of the CrPC saying she knew Major Gogoi.Army Chief Bipin Rawat had earlier in the day said exemplary punishment would be given to Major Leetul Gogoi if he was found guilty of “any offence”.(Read: Hotel fracas: Girl states she met Major of her ‘own will’)

    “If Major Gogoi has done something wrong then I can say that he will be given due punishment and the punishment will be such that it will set an example,” Gen Rawat told reporters in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district. He arrived on a two-day visit to Kashmir on Thursday to review the security situation.

    On May 23, Gogoi was briefly detained by police in Srinagar after an altercation when he was allegedly trying to enter a hotel with an 18-year-old woman, according to a police official.“If any officer of the Indian Army is found guilty of any offence, we will take strictest possible action,” Rawat told reporters at Pahalgham while on a visit to the Army Goodwill School. “If Major Gogoi has done something wrong, I assure you that he will be awarded punishment at the earliest…the punishment will set an example,” the Army chief said.The Jammu and Kashmir Police has initiated an inquiry into the incident involving Gogoi, whose decision to tie a civilian to the bonnet of his vehicle in Kashmir last year sparked a row. — With PTI

    Why an Indian Army Major can’t just meet a woman at a hotel anywhere

    There are clear rules that govern the conduct of military officers and they are prohibited from civilian areas in sensitive zones unless on duty.

    New Delhi: Major Leetul Gogoi, who was at the centre of Kashmir’s human shield row last year, was briefly detained Wednesday after an altercation at a Srinagar hotel.

    The trouble started after the hotel manager refused to allow a young local woman into the room that the officer had checked into. The girl was accompanied by a man, who has been identified as Sameer Malla, an alleged confidant of Gogoi, who is posted in Budgam.

    The Army Major from 53 Rashtriya Rifles made headlines in April 2017 after he tied a civilian, Farooq Ahmed Dar, to the front of his jeep to deter stone pelters from attacking his convoy.

    The latest case has now led to a debate on whether the officer’s conduct warrants action and on whether he broke Army protocol.

    Consent, source and Army protocol

    Questions have been raised on what Gogoi did wrong by seeking to meet a woman who was willing to meet him.

    A high court lawyer who is an expert in military law, however, told ThePrint: “Irrespective of whether the girl was a consenting adult or not, action can be taken. The quantum of punishment depends on senior authorities. He may be let off with a reprimand, and the punishment may not be so harsh.”

    Gogoi allegedly claimed he was meeting a source but a military expert said this isn’t the norm. “Normal officers don’t meet sources in such a fashion. That is the job of specialised intelligence officers. Even if he was meeting a source, it is critical to know whether his superiors were aware of his actions,” the expert said.

    Reprimand to court martial — the possible action

    According to Section 41 of the Army Act, 1950, if Gogoi’s superiors were unaware of his meeting, he could be called up for ‘disobedience to a superior officer’. On conviction by court martial, this attracts a sentence of 14 years or less.

    Under this section, even officers not on active duty can be sentenced to up to five years in prison or less depending on senior authorities.

    “It remains to be determined whether Gogoi was on sanctioned leave or unauthorised leave. Even if an officer is on leave, he is required to submit the address to which he is travelling to his seniors,” said a military expert.

    Under Section 45, an officer is “liable to be cashiered or to suffer such less punishment” if found indulging in unbecoming conduct. Gogoi’s alleged meeting with a civilian in a sensitive area falls under this section.

    “If at all Gogoi is married, the case gets even more complicated since it can be considered unbecoming conduct,” the military expert told ThePrint.

    Then there is Section 63.

    It states: “Any person subject to this Act who is guilty of any act or omission which, though not specified in this Act, is prejudicial to good order and military discipline shall, on conviction by court-martial, be liable to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.”

    Under this section, said the military expert, officers are prohibited from civilian areas in sensitive zones unless on duty.

    “The important question to ask is – he is posted in Budgam, what was he doing in Dal Lake? In areas such as Kashmir, officers aren’t allowed to visit civilian zones unless specifically ordered,” the expert said.

    The military law expert said that contact with a civilian in a sensitive area can draw charges under all of the above sections. He, however, cautioned: “This is all speculative. Depending upon the investigation, the situation can lead to administrative action or court martial. But it is up to the senior authorities to decide that.”

    Arms, ammunition recovered from hideout in Ramban

    Ramban: A cache of arms and ammunition was recovered from a hideout at Kalimasta in Gool following a four-day-long joint search operation by the Rashtriya Rifles Uniform Force and the police in Ramban on Friday. Police sources said the arms and ammunition were found from a cave in the Kalimasta forest. The recovery includes one AK-56 rifle, .303 rifle, 7.63-mm Star pistol, a UBGL grenade, one magazine each of AK-56 rifle, .303 rifle and 7.63-mm Star pistol, 126 rounds of AK-56 rifle, six rounds each of .303 rifle and 7.63 Star pistol, besides UBGL hand grenades, two RPG rounds, explosive material and utility items such as clothes, blankets and utensils. OC

    Recoveries made by Army in Kupwara sector today incl this foldable/ collapsible ladder…walls are no longer a hindrance..