Sanjha Morcha

Landslide blocks Manali-Leh highway, over 2,000 vehicles stranded

Landslide blocks Manali-Leh highway, over 2,000 vehicles stranded

Heavy rain in the area caused the landslide. Tribune photo

Tribune News Service

Manali, June 29

The Manali-Leh National Highway-3 has been blocked due to a massive landslide near Marhi at Chumbak mod, nearly 30 km from here.

Heavy rain in the area for the past 24 hours caused the landslide.

The landslide occured late night on Thursday and came into light by early morning on Friday. The local administration was informed by the commuters at around six in the morning.

Border Roads Organisation (BRO) officer Avril Jain confirmed the landslide and said that the road would be clear soon.

“The road clearing operation has started and would be done soon for the traffic. Machines have been deputed along with the BRO engineering team,” said Jain.

Long queues of vehicles were seen on both sides of the highway as the landslide left more than 2,000 vehicles stranded. The police have been deployed to monitor the traffic situation. With agencies


Cannot tolerate Pakistan becoming haven for terror groups: Haley

Cannot tolerate Pakistan becoming haven for terror groups: Haley

Nikki Haley addresses a gathering on advancing India-US relations, in New Delhi, June 28. Reuters

New Delhi, June 28

Pakistan becoming a haven for terror groups cannot be tolerated and the US has already delivered the message to Islamabad, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said on Thursday.“We cannot turn a blind eye to those harbouring terrorists… Communicating to Pakistan that this cannot be tolerated,” she said while delivering a lecture at a think tank here.She also said that India and the US must be global leaders in the fight against terrorism adding “we can and must do more”.    Touching upon a variety of issues, she said freedom of religion is very important and that a nation such as “ours can only be held together by tolerance”.     On China, she said the country was important but noted that its expansion in the region has been a matter of concern for the US and many other countries as Beijing does not share democratic values.Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent remarks at the Shangri-la dialogue in Singapore to ensure freedom of navigation and stability in the Indo-Pacific, she said President Donald Trump also believes in this vision.Haley said the US supports India’s membership in Nuclear Suppliers Group as it is a nuclear state which is widely respected.She was speaking at the Observer Research Foundation. — PTI


Army Chief junks UN report on J&K as motivated

New Delhi, June 27

Backed by a strong record of probing and dealing with alleged human rights violations in Kashmir, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Wednesday slammed a UN report, terming it “motivated”.The human rights record of the Army, he said, was well known to the people of Kashmir and to the international community. In the past 24 years, starting 1994 till May 31, there have been a total 1,037 allegations of human rights violations against the Army in Kashmir. A probe has been completed in 1,022 of these allegations and only 15 are pending investigation.After the probe, only 31 allegations were found correct, while 991 were baseless. A total of 70 personnel have faced punishment in these 31 cases. In 18 such cases the victims have been given compensation too. He said: “…I don’t think we should get too concerned about the report. Some of these reports are motivated.” — TNS


Major arrested for alleged role in murder of Army officer’s wife

Major arrested for alleged role in murder of Army officer’s wife

Shelja and Major Nikhil Handa.

Prateek Chauhan
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, June 24Delhi Police have arrested an Army Major from Meerut for his suspected role in the murder of a colleague’s 30-year-old wife, police said on Sunday.Police arrested Major Nikhil Handa from Daurala in Meerut for having possibly played a role in murdering Major Amit Diwedi’s wife Shelja. He will be handed over to a civil court for trial.Major Handa was spotted with the victim hours before she went missing from the Army Base Hospital in Delhi Cantonment. Her body was found on a secluded road near Delhi Cantonment on Saturday.A senior investigator said that information gathered at the hospital and the victim’s phone led them to the suspect, who had also disappeared since the crime came to light.Police are still unclear about the motive, saying it could either be a love affair gone sour, or a personal enmity.An image from a CCTV showed the victim arguing with a man.“We have found that the suspect and the victim had an argument before the murder. A love triangle could be a possible motive,” the source said.

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Another China Doklam drill, but India in loop

Another China Doklam drill, but India in loop

Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 20

Almost a year after Delhi and Beijing were locked in 73-day intense military stand-off at Doklam, the People’s Liberation Army troops conducted a three-day tactical exercise close to last year’s confrontation point at the tri-junction of India, China and Bhutan. The only difference this time was India was informed in advance about the drill.The exercise was conducted from June 6-8 in the southern-most edge of Chumbi valley, which is a Chinese territory located between Sikkim and Bhutan. The last year’s stand-off had started on June 16 and ended on August 28.India closely watched the exercise and an assessment had been made, said sources. Some 500 Chinese troops are now permanently based in the area close to Doklam, “which is the new normal”, said a senior functionary. India has much superior defence with more than 30,000 troops and even a regiment of tanks lined up along eastern Sikkim, which literally overlooks the Chumbi valley — 25 km at its widest and 2 km at its narrowest.In the past decade or so, India has “militarily tailored” its defence set-up along the Himalayas. In early-2004, Delhi stepped up efforts to secure areas along the 3,488-km Line of Actual Control—the de facto boundary. Every possible route of ingress is now continuously “war gamed” — it’s the art of predicting future outcomes of military postures of rivals — fine-tuned by regular military exercises, study of satellite imagery and available inputs.In March, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping had, at an informal summit in Wuhan, issued “strategic guidance” to their respective militaries. “Build trust and have a mechanism to prevent incidents in the border regions,” said a statement issued from Wuhan. The local commanders of both sides have been meeting at Nathu La in Sikkim and China had informed in advance about the exercise.China’s control over Chumbi valley has an interesting anecdote. Patrick French, author of ‘Younghusband: The last of the great imperial adventurer’, writes: “The article which allowed British access to Lhasa (after the 1904 annexation) was torn up and Younghusband’s hard-earned indemnity reduced to two-thirds of a more manageable Rs 2.5 million (Rs 25 lakh). The Chumbi valley was to be vacated by 1908.”

Wuhan effect

  • After the Wuhan summit in March, Army representatives from both sides have been meeting at Nathu La in Sikkim or China.

Truce ends today, Rajnath briefs PM

Truce ends today, Rajnath briefs PM

Wife of Shujaat Bukhari, the slain editor-in-chief of ‘Rising Kashmir’, is inconsolable during his funeral in Kreeri, north of Srinagar, on Friday. Thousands bid a tearful adieu to Bukhari. REUTERS

Tribune News Service

New Delhi/Srinagar, June 15

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday and weighed the option of extending the Ramzan ceasefire (which ends on Saturday) in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly in the backdrop of the killing of journalist Shujaat Bukhari and the upcoming Amarnath Yatra, scheduled to begin from June 28. “Indications are it is unlikely that the government would favour further suspending operations,” an official said. Rajnath said he would speak on the subject on Sunday. “Let everyone celebrate Eid on Saturday.”EDIT: Murdering a journalistOPED: Kashmir press in perilIn Srinagar, a day after the murder of Bukhari, editor-in-chief of ‘Rising Kashmir’,  the J&K  Police arrested Zubair Qayoom of Saderabal, Srinagar, who had allegedly snatched a pistol from one of the two security officers attached with Bukhari. “With the cooperation of the public, we were able to trace the fourth suspect. The pistol has been found and so have the clothes he was wearing during the attack, which he had dumped,”  IGP (Kashmir Zone)  Swayam Prakash Pani told the media here. “We are probing his role in the killing. Both PSOs (personal security officers) were carrying pistols. One pistol was recovered but the other was missing, which has now been found,” he said.A special investigation team (SIT), led by DIG (Central Kashmir Range) VK Birdi, will further probe the case. The police have already released the CCTV pictures of the three bike-borne militants who sprayed bullets on Bukhari as he stepped out of his office in Press Enclave and boarded a car on Thursday evening.  Their faces covered, one is seen with a bag. “We have leads on the identity of one of the attackers,” said a police officer. “The murder, it appears, was meticulously planned.” While the police see militants’ hand, the Muzaffarabad-based amalgam of Kashmiri militant groups — United Jihad Council (UJC) — and Lashkar-e-Toiba condemned the killing. The UJC chief, Syed Salahuddin, has demanded an international probe. “The killing of Shujaat Bukhari at a time when the UN human rights commission released a report on the  rights abuses raises many questions,” he said. 


IMA veterans to relive memories at 3-day gala

IMA veterans to relive memories at 3-day gala

(From left) Veterans Brig RS Rawat and Col Ravi Bedi release a Commemorative Ceramic Plate a day ahead of the start of celebration of their Golden Jubilee of 1968 batch. Tribune photo

Jotirmay Thapliyal

Tribune News Service

Dehradun, June 12

About 140 veteran officers along with their spouses and 20 wives of the officers who are no more are expected to turn up at Indian Military Academy, Dehradun on Wednesday for the three-day gala event meant to re-unite with their comrades and alma mater, 50 years after they passed out from the academy.These officers from 41 Regular/25 Tech courses were commissioned into Army on June 9, 1968 after successfully completing their training at IMA and many among those rose to serve the top echelons of the Army. This class of 68 gave the Army 11 Lt Generals, a Kirti Chakra and many gallantry award winners. In addition, the course has the distinction of producing a Vice Chancellor, sky divers, mountaineers, CEO of NGOs, entrepreneurs, educationists and corporate heads.Talking to the Tribune, Brig RS Rawat (retd), who was then the sword of honour of this passing out course, disclosed while they were enthusiastically looking forward at the re-union. They would also pay tribute to all staff that trained them in IMA, transforming the then trainees GCs into young officers. “We will be hosting a dinner for instructors as a mark of respect towards those who train the Gentlemen Cadets at the IMA”, he pointed out. The highlight of the reunion will be an opportunity for the veterans to scan through their dossiers recorded 50 years back during their training at the IMA. Veteran officers will also be going around the IMA, seeing the changes the academy has undergone over the years.While preparations began nearly a year back, it has been a Herculean task to contact the course scattered to the far corners of the country from Imphal to Trivandrum. The IMA too is prepared for the occasion. The IMA has created a structured programme for the participants to understand how the academy has been upgraded to meet the needs of modern warfare and to produce officers who can win battles for their country. The veterans will also perform Wreath Laying Ceremony at the IMA War Memorial to remember their comrades in arms lost in the service to the nation.“There will also be formal occasions to remember the course-mates lost otherwise and honour their brave wives and families. But more importantly, most of us are looking forward to meet their long lost company buddies and their better halves. The hub of the activities will be the Vikram Batra Gentlemen Cadet’s Mess and the Company Lines of the Gentlemen Cadets, where these veterans will be staying”, Brig Rawat observed.


Nepalese Army Gen visits war memorial

Nepalese Army Gen visits war memorial

Nepalese General Rajendra Chhetri and his wife Rita Chhetri at the Khalanga War Memorial in Dehradun on Friday. Tribune photo

Jotirmay Thapliyal

Tribune News Service

Dehradun, June 8

Lesser known Khalanga War Memorial, the symbol of first battle of Anglo-Nepalese war, shot into prominence with Nepalese Army General visiting the memorial, which depicts the brave exploits and sacrifice of the Gorkhas.Nepalese General Rajendra Chhetri, who will be reviewing the passing out parade of Indian Military Academy on Saturday, led a Nepal Army delegation to the memorial in Dehradun on Friday. General officer accompanied by his wife Rita Chhetri and other Nepal Army senior officers took time to visit this memorial which symbolises the battle of Nalapani, which was the first battle of the Anglo- Nepalese War.General Chhetri, who laid the wreath at the memorial, lauded the efforts of Gorkha Samiti and the Archaeological Survey of India in maintaining the historical legacy of Gorkhas in the form of Khalanga memorial and said the Battle of Nalapani was one of the most important landmarks in the history of the Gorkhas.At the memorial, the delegation was briefed by Lt Gen Shakti Gurung, (retd), Madhu Gurung and Ram Singh Thapa, president of the Khalanga Vikas Samiti. The delegation also interacted with the members of the samiti. The visit was facilitated by the Indian Military Academy and 1/3 Gorkha Rifles.The Khalanga War Memorial in Dehradun has immense significance. It is probably the world’s first memorial erected by an Army for their opponent. It was the Britishers who constructed the Khalanga War Memorial in the memory of Major General Rollo Gillepie who led the attacking British troops as well as Captain Balbhadra Kunwar, as a mark of tribute to the courage of the Gorkhas.The Battle of Nalapani was the first battle of the Anglo-Nepalese War. In the battle, General Gillespie was killed on the first day of the siege while rallying his men. Despite considerable odds, both in terms of numbers and firepower Captain Balbhadra and his 600-strong garrison successfully held out against more than 5,000 British troops for over a month.


10 BSF jawans en route to J&K on army special train go missing

10 BSF jawans en route to J&K on army special train go missing

Photo for representational purpose only.

Shubhadeep Choudhury

Tribune News Service

Kolkata, June 28

Disappearance of 10 BSF jawans from a special train heading for Jammu is a case of French leave taken by the jawans, a BSF spokesperson here said.Personnel from the 83rd battalion of the BSF boarded the special train on Tuesday from a station in Murshidabad district of West Bengal. Their absence was first noticed at the Mughalsarai junction on Wednesday evening. The jawans found absent are believed to have disappeared from the train between Bardhaman station of West Bengal and Dhanbad in Jharkhand.“In all likelihood the jawans are from the Jharkhand area and they went to their respective homes,” RP Jaswal, DIG, posted in the BSF’s South Bengal Frontier Headquarters here, said.Special trains meant for security forces take a long time to reach their destinations. The 10 BSF jawans who disembarked en route are expected to reach Jammu on their own and report for duty. However, they will face disciplinary action for their unauthorised absence.A complaint has been filed with the Government Railway Police in Mughalsarai station, known now as Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Nagar railway station, saying the jawans have gone “absent without leave”.Filing police complaint under such circumstances is routine, the DIG said.


For jawans, Army plans new pension criteria

For jawans, Army plans new pension criteria

Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 27

In what will change the terms of employment and pension eligibility criteria for lakhs of jawans, a new proposal has been mooted by the personnel section of the Army which requires jawans to put in more number of years into service and also a change in pension rules.The proposal for change is for all infantry units and they have been asked to give their opinion by June 30, says an internal letter, a copy of which is with The Tribune.The move comes after the OROP was granted in September 2015. It led to a spike in the number of troops seeking premature retirement. In 2017, 17,438 jawans sought premature retirement. This is nearly double of the 9,296 jawans, who sought the same in 2015.The Army suggestion says the minimum qualifying service for pension be raised from 15 years to 20 years of service. At present jawans retire between ages 35-37 and they can seek premature retirement after 15 years of service. Their ‘term’ is deemed to be completed after 17 years of service.The letter says “due to improvement in life expectancy, an additional five years service spent till approximately 40 years of age may reduce the pension liability manifold”. Another model suggested is to ‘disincentive premature retirement’ which talks about graded pensions.


Proposals mooted

  • Plan A: The minimum qualifying service for pension be raised from 15 years to 20 years of service. At present, jawans retire between age 35-37 and they can seek premature retirement after 15 years of service.
  • Plan B: Give 75% of pension to those who put in 15-17 years of service; 85% to those serving for 17-20 years and 100% to those serving for more than 20 years. At present, the last pay drawn is calculated for OROP.