Sanjha Morcha

After 30 years of service, armyman told to prove he is Indian

GUWAHATI:A retired army officer was asked to prove his Indian nationality as Assam police branded him a Bangladeshi, an action that reflects the long and contentious conflict over illegal immigrants in the northeastern state.

FILEMohd Azmal Hoque being honoured during his service days.

A foreigners tribunal served a notice to Mohammed Azmal Hoque, who retired as a junior commissioned officer (JCO) last year after serving the army for 30 years.

The Guwahati-based Hoque maintains that his family is indigenous Assamese and his father’s name is mentioned on the voters list of 1966. His mother’s name was listed in the 1951 national register of citizens.

“I’ve no doubt that I will get justice. But it pains me when my daughter questions me if this is how the country treats those who serve it for so many years,” he said on Sunday.

Hoque enlisted in 1986 in a non-combat role technician and retired from the corps of electronics and mechanical engineers (EME) as subedar. He served at frontiers in Punjab and Arunachal Pradesh.

His wife, Mamtaj Begum, was summoned by a tribunal in 2012. She was cleared.

The couple son is studying in the Rashtriya Indian Military College in Dehradun and daughter at Army Public School in Guwahati.

“This incident has saddened me a lot. Even after 30 years of service to the nation, we are asked to prove our identity. This is unnecessary harassment,” he said.

The tribunal had served notices to government officials before and a talked-about instance is Assam police constable Abu Taher Ahmed, who was accused of being an illegal immigrant.


Army to help build foot overbridge at Elphinstone station

Army to help build foot overbridge at Elphinstone station
The Elphinstone railway stations foot overbridge where a stampede took place, in Mumbai. PTI

Mumbai, October 31

The Army will hep build a new foot overbridge at the Elphinstone Road station, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today said as Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Piyush Goyal visited the station, where a deadly stampede took place last month.Fadnavis, who accompanied Defence minister Sitharaman and Railway Minister Goyal, said the Army will also help in building foot overbridges at two other stations here.23 people were killed in a stampede on the Elphinstone Road station foot overbridge (FOB) last month.”We are taking the Army’s help in building a new FOB at the Elphinstone Road station and at two other suburban train stations in Mumbai,” Fadnavis told reporters at the venue.”I have been informed that the work on these bridges will be completed by January 31,” he said.After the stampede on September 29, railway officials posted police personnel to manage the crowd on busy platforms, evicted hawkers from suburban train stations and started speeding up infrastructure projects on suburban network. — PTI


BONUS ARMY

The Bonus Army was the name applied a group over 17,000 U.S  WW1veterans who marched on Washington, D.C. during the summer of 1932 demanding immediate cash payment of the service bonuses promised to them by Congress eight years earlier.
WHY THE BONUS ARMY MARCHED
Most of the veterans marched on the Capitol in 1932 to protest against the World War Adjusted Compensation Act of 1924 promised to them, but not until 1945 — a full 27 years after the end of the war they had fought in. Something like the OROP and downgrading of the military protocol being junked by successive Indian Govts. False promises.
The World War Adjusted Compensation Act was passed by Congress as sort of a 20-year insurance policy  redeemable “Adjusted Service Certificate” worth a certain amount not  redeemable until their individual birthdays in 1945.
On May 15, 1924, President Calvin Coolidge had, veetoed the bill providing for the bonuses stating, “Patriotism, bought and paid for, is not patriotism.” Congress, however, overrode his veto a few days later.
While the veterans might have been happy to wait for their bonuses and so called promises, they had immediate needs for the money and for feeding themselves and their families.
THE BONUS ARMY VETERANS OCCUPY D.C.
The Bonus March actually began in May 1932 as some 15,000 veterans assembled in makeshift camps scattered around Washington, D.C.
where they planned to demand and wait for the immediate payment of their bonuses peacefully like Indian veteran soldiers at Jantar Mantar
The largest of the veterans’ camp was at Hooverville and housed about 10,000 veterans and their families in ramshackle shelters built from old lumber, packing boxes, and scrapped tin from a nearby junk pile. Including the veterans, their families, and other supporters, the crowd of protesters eventually grew to nearly 45,000 people.
Veterans maintained order in the camps, built military-style sanitation facilities, and held orderly daily protest parades.
THE D.C. POLICE ATTACK THE VETERANS
On June 15, 1932, the US House of Representatives passed the Wright Patman Bonus Bill to move up the payment date of the veterans’ bonuses. However, the Senate defeated the bill. The veterans protested peacefully. On June 17 the D.C. police reacted violently, resulting in the deaths of two veterans and two police officers.
THE U.S. ARMY ATTACKS THE VETERANS
On the morning of July 28, 1932, President Hoover, in his capacity as commander in chief of the military, ordered his Secretary of War Patrick J. Hurley to clear the Bonus Army camps and disperse the protesters. At 4:45 p.m., U.S. Army infantry and cavalry regiments supported by six M1917 light tanks assembled on Pennsylvania Avenue to carry out President Hoover’s orders. This was the biggest mistake of his life.
With sabers, fixed bayonets, tear gas, and a mounted machine gun, the infantry and the cavalry charged the veterans, forcibly evicting them and their families from the smaller camps on the Capitol Building side of the Anacostia River. When the veterans retreated back across the river to the Hooverville camp, President Hoover ordered the troops to stand down until the next day.
 By the end, 55 veterans had been injured and 135 arrested.
THE AFTERMATH OF THE BONUS ARMY PROTEST
In the 1932 presidential election, Roosevelt defeated Hoover by a landslide vote. Hoover’s militaristic treatment of the Bonus Army veterans had contributed to his defeat, Roosevelt had also opposed the veterans’ demands during the 1932 campaign. However, when the veterans held a similar protest in May 1933, he provided them with meals and a secure campsite.
On January 22, 1936, both houses of Congress passed the Adjusted Compensation Payment Act in 1936, appropriating $2 billion for the immediate payment of all World War I veterans’ bonuses. 
Ultimately, the events of the Bonus Army veterans’ march on Washington contributed to the enactment in 1944 of the GI Bill, which has since assisted thousands of veterans make the often difficult transition to civilian life and in some small way pay back the debt owed to those who risk their lives for their country.

J&K shouldn’t be another Syria’

NEWDELHI: The biggest challenge and the top priority in Kashmir are to deradicalise youth and militants and prevent the state from turning into a Syria of India, said Dineshwar Sharma, the newlynamed interlocutor for talks in Jammu and Kashmir.

PTI PHOTOA jawan stands guard during a shutdown in Srinagar on Friday. Separatists in the Valley called for the shutdown to protest ‘India’s annexation of Kashmir’ on this day in 1947.

An old Kashmir hand who headed the Intelligence Bureau (IB) for two years from December 2015, Sharma said his mission to bring an end to violence would include talking to anyone “even a rickshaw puller or a cart puller” who can contribute so that peace is ushered in the state “as soon as possible”.

“I feel the pain and sometimes I become emotional also. I want to see this kind of violence ends as soon as possible from all sides. The youth of Kashmir like Zakir Musa (Kashmir al-Qaeda chief) and Burhan Wani (slain Hizbul Mujahideen commander) get hype when they talk about (establishing Islamic) Caliphate,” said Sharma. He said the way Kashmir’s youth was moving, “which is radicalisation”, will ultimately “finish Kashmir. “I am worried about the people of Kashmir. If all this picked up, the situation will be like Yemen, Syria and Libya. People will start fighting in so many groups. So, it is very important that everybody, all of us, contribute …”

“I will have to convince the youth of Kashmir that they are only ruining their future and the future of all Kashmiris in the name of whether they call it azadi (independence), Islamic caliphate or Islam…”

“I am open to talking to everybody… He can be an ordinary student, ordinary youth, a rick shawwala or a the lawala with some good idea. I will consider that,” he said.

The former IPS officer, who led the spy agency’s “Islamist Terrorism Desk”, was widely known to have advocated a policy of arresting the problem by counselling and reforming, instead of arresting the potential recruits of the global terror network.

He is known to have established friendly relationships with arrested militants in a bid to reform them when he was assistant director IB from 1992-94 — the time when militancy was at its peak in J&K.


Agra E-way closed for IAF touchdown

Lucknow-Agra Expressway to be closed for IAF touchdown

Lucknow: The Lucknow-Agra Expressway will be closed for commuters from 10 am on Monday till 2 pm on Tuesday as the Indian Air Force plans to conduct a major touchdown exercise involving 20 planes on the highway. This is for the first time that transport aircraft AN-32 will “land and then take off” from this highway. PTI

Lucknow-Agra Expressway to be closed for IAF touchdown

File photo of the Sukhoi-30 MKI jet.

Lucknow, October 22

The Lucknow-Agra Expressway will be closed for commuters from 10 am on Monday till 2 pm on Tuesday as the Indian Air Force plans to conduct a major touchdown exercise involving 20 planes, including the AN-32, Mirage 2000 and Sukhoi-30 MKI, on the highway.

This is for the “first time” that transport aircraft (AN-32) will “land and then take off” from this highway, an official said.

According to PRO, Defence (Central Command), Gargi Malik Sinha, the IAF will conduct the aircraft touchdown exercise on the Agra Expressway near Bangarmau in Unnao district.

“It is for the first time that any transport aircraft will land and then take off (on the highway). The AN-32 are meant for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. The aircraft can bring a large amount of relief material and can also help in evacuating people,” Sinha said.

In all, 20 aircraft including AN-32 transport and fighter planes like Mirage 2000, Jaguar, Sukhoi 30 MKI will take part in the exercise, she said.

“Two AN-32 planes will participate in the October 24 Expressway touchdown,” the PRO said.

To ensure a smooth conduct of the touchdown by IAF aircraft, traffic restrictions will be placed on the Agra-Lucknow Expressway for general public from October 23 to October 24.

In a letter sent to district magistrate Unnao, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Uttar Pradesh Expressways Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA) Awanish Awasthi said that Indian Air Force was planning to conduct highways flying operations on October 24 on the airstrip of Agra- Lucknow Expressway in Unnao district.

The letter further said, “It is to bring to your notice that due to Diwali vacation, a lot of traffic is moving on the expressway. Hence, keeping in view the convenience of the expressway users, it is proposed to stop the use of expressway for general public from 10 am on October 23 to 2 pm on October 24”.

The CEO asked the Unnao district magistrate to ensure that sufficient police force is deployed to control the public and movement of authorised vehicles on expressway and also take measures to ensure safe flying operations on the scheduled day from 8 am till 1 pm. PTI


China, India can help solve Rohingya crisis: Chinese daily

China, India can help solve Rohingya crisis: Chinese daily
The exodus of Rohingyas to neighbouring Bangladesh began on August 25 when the Myanmar Army launched an offensive in the region following an attack by Rohingya rebels on multiple government posts.

Beijing, October 16

India and China can jointly lead efforts to solve the Rohingya crisis by offering humanitarian aid to Myanmar’s conflict-ridden Rakhine state, an article in the state-run media has said.“Given the interests Beijing and New Delhi share with Myanmar, the two could cooperate in offering humanitarian aid to Rakhine state, assist Bangladesh in resettlement of refugees, enhance economic cooperation with Myanmar,” according to the article in the Global Times.“… China and India can also promote greater integration of trade and investment in the area, including the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor.”

(Follow The Tribune on Facebook; and Twitter @thetribunechd)

The exodus of Rohingyas to neighbouring Bangladesh began on August 25 when the Myanmar Army launched an offensive in the region following an attack by Rohingya rebels on multiple government posts.“As Myanmar’s neighbours, the last thing China and India want is terrorist violence on their doorstep. In the meantime, both countries are well aware of the complexity of the Rakhine ethnic and religious conflict, knowing it will take time for the government to solve such a complex question,” the article stated.“In terms of economics, there are more reasons for the two to cooperate. China’s investment in Myanmar reached $18.53 billion in January 2017 and the country plays a unique role in Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative.“It is impossible for Beijing to remain indifferent. Nor can India’s interests be divorced from peace and stability in a nation (Myanmar) that forms a bridge between South Asia and Southeast Asia,” the article stated.“Myanmar, the gateway for New Delhi’s northeastern states to Southeast Asia, is crucial to India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Myanmar last month, during which the two sides inked a series of economic, trade, defence, energy and strategic agreements, is proof enough.”The support and sympathy offered by Beijing and New Delhi to Myanmar’s ruling National League for Democracy party over its efforts to deal with the Rohingya crisis was portrayed by the Western media as a “scramble” for influence between China and India, the article said.“The possibility of the two big countries (China, India) cooperating to help resolve the ethnic conflict in Myanmar went largely unnoticed,” it said. IANS


Govt fails to give land in lieu of Army’s 57 acres Had acquired 10 acres in Jalandhar Cantt for widening of national highway

Govt fails to give land in lieu of Army’s 57 acres
Road-widening work in progress near PAP Chowk in Jalandhar. Tribune Photo: Malkiat Singh

Jupinderjit Singh

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12

The Army is upset with the state government for dilly-dallying on giving land to it in exchange for defence land in Amritsar and Jalandhar.The government had acquired about 10 acres of land in Jalandhar Cantt for widening of the national highway near PAP Chowk. In exchange, it had promised to give an alternative land.It’s been two years and the government is yet to honour its promise. The widening of the road, though, is in progress.In Amritsar, the government had acquired 47 acres and promised 100 acres in exchange in Nawanshahr’s Bir Sarnagwal village.In a meeting here today, senior Army officers reminded Revenue and Home Department officials about the unfulfilled promises. The government assured the Army of speeding up the process of giving land in exchange for the Amritsar land. As for the Jalandhar Cantt land issue, the government said the matter had been stuck.Sources told The Tribune the Army was asked to settle the matter with the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), as both were Central departments.The Army reminded the state government that the previous SAD-BJP government had pressed on the Army to give the land for a public cause. Moreover, the state government is the executing agency for land acquisition.On the insistence of Army officers, the state government agreed to examine the possibility of acquiring land for the Army, but officials insisted the Army should settle the matter with the NHAI first.An official said Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh would take a final call on the matter.Sources said as per the laid-down formula of providing alternative land, the Army is seeking land worth Rs 400 crore in Bir Sarnagwal village in lieu of Rs 98-crore land.


Army offers to construct road  Thursday’s meeting discussed a contentious matter of passages in Jalandhar Cantonment used by residents of six villages to gain access to the national highway. Citing security threats, the Army wants to construct a boundary wall and block the entry of villagers. The villagers and local politicians protested and the matter is hanging fire. The Army proposed to construct a periphery road outside and along its boundary wall leading to the national highway for the benefit of villagers. For this, the Army has demanded 20 acres from the state government. The meeting agreed to form a committee of officials to study the project and report within 15 days.


Pakistan has gone out of Kashmir equation: Ex-RAW chief Dulat

Pakistan has gone out of Kashmir equation: Ex-RAW chief Dulat
Former RAW chief Amarjit Singh Dulat. — File photo

London, October 8

Pakistan is not viewed as a key player within the Kashmir issue despite the “mess” India may have created in the region in the last 15 months, a former spy chief of India has said.Amarjit Singh Dulat, who served as head of RAW in 1999-2000, said the whole world knows that Kashmir is a “very integral part of India” and the problems in the region can be resolved with a more “civilised” approach by talks with all groups involved.(Follow The Tribune on Facebook; and Twitter @thetribunechd)”If there is alienation in Kashmir against India or anger… there is no love lost for Pakistan. Pakistan has long gone out of the Kashmir equation and Kashmiris realise there is nothing more to be gained from Pakistan,” he said.Dulat was addressing an event entitled ‘Spymasters Speak: Can intelligence agencies do good?’ at the London School of Economics (LSE) on Friday evening.“But for the last 15 months, Kashmir was never mentioned by Pakistan or in Pakistan…Now it has been raised again because of the mess we have created in Kashmir in the last 15 months, so Pakistan is back in business,” he said.Describing the killings of youth and security personnel in the violence that has erupted in the region as “unfortunate”, Dulat stressed that “heavy-handedness” is not the answer.”One message which comes out of Kashmir is that a lot can be achieved with love and compassion but never by force. And, I think that is the mistake we have made in the last 15 months,” he said.The former intelligence chief was of the view that talks with separatist groups should not be ruled out as all matters “need to be discussed upfront” between Delhi and Srinagar.”Democracy works. Apart from the mess we have created, the mistake we are making is not talking to people. It is high time we started talking…even to the Hurriyat. The idea of talking to them is to mainstream them and get them into the democratic process,” he said.Dulat, who was also a former special director of India’s Intelligence Bureau (IB) and served as IB joint director in Kashmir in the late 1980s, claimed that the Kashmiri people are “not happy” with the BJP-PDP coalition for bringing the RSS into the Valley.”The RSS may have come into the Valley but will not achieve anything,” he said.Dulat was joined on the panel by General (retd) Ehsan ul Haq, former director-general of Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), at the event organised by the UK-based South Asia Future Forum and chaired by the LSE’s South Asia Centre.The two former spies concurred with each other on the need for the intelligence agencies of the two countries to cooperate more closely but had predictably divergent views on the Kashmir issue.”The Kashmir dispute cannot be wished away. If it is left unresolved, it will keep recurring with increasing intensity,” said Haq.”Kashmir has regained centrality in Indo-Pakistan policy focus and from Pakistan’s perspective it remains the core issue within bilateral relations,” he said.On the issue of terrorism, both former spy chiefs called for coordinated efforts between India and Pakistan to tackle the menace together.”We have borne the brunt of it for a long time. We know that Pakistan is also suffering because of terrorism. Delhi is justified in its stand of no talks until there is terrorism.But there is no way but to talk. In the case of Pakistan, we need to make this one exception and talk along with terror,” said Dulat.Haq said: “There are no problems between India and Pakistan that cannot be solved through dialogue. War is no more an option. But setting preconditions is untenable. — PTI


IAF raises concern over illegal mining around airport

Akash Ghai

Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 28

Illegal mining on land around the airport is posing a security threat to it. The Air Force authorities have raised their concern in this regard with the local administration. The issue will also be taken up in the upcoming Civil-Military Liaison Conference in the first week of December.A senior official of the Mohali administration said the threat to the airport area due to the presence of pits caused by illegal mining was one of the main points of the agenda in the upcoming meeting.“A number of pits, several of which are nearly 20-foot deep, are present around the airport area. These are the result of illegal mining, which had taken place five to six years ago. These pits are certainly a threat to the airport and the Air Force authorities are also concerned that these would cause problems during the expansion of the airport in the near future,” said the official on condition of anonymity.Mohali DC Gurpreet Kaur Sapra said the pits were the result of illegal mining. “The mining had taken place around six years ago. Currently, no mining is being done in the area,” said Sapra, adding that the issue was a cause of concern for defence personnel.“I have directed the local SDM to prepare a report in this regard after conducting a proper survey of the area. The issue is serious and steps for the redressal of the problem will be taken immediately,” said the DC.


Army plans upgrade of 2,000 military stations

New Delhi, October 22

The Army is finalising a plan to modernise around 2,000 military stations and develop them in line with the government’s Smart Cities initiative.Army officials said 58 military stations have already been identified as part of the pilot project to implement the ambitious initiative. They said all cantonments will be part of the project. “We are looking at developing the military stations as smart cities where all modern amenities will be made available. Developing state-of-the-art IT network will be a key feature,” said a senior Army official.The Army top brass had deliberated extensively on the implementation of the project during the recent commanders’ conference. “We are planning to develop all military stations across the country in a time-bound manner,” said the official. The initiative is part of the Army’s overall modernisation drive that envisages significantly ramping up infrastructure at all its military installations across the country.Another official said the Army is moving forward with the implementation of the reform measures recommended by the Lt Gen (retd) DB Shekatkar committee, which includes redeployment of nearly 57,000 officers and other ranks to enhance the combat capability of the force. — PTI