Sanjha Morcha

Naya Pakistan has old solutions for J&K by Lt-Gen Syed Ata Hasnain (Retd)

Naya Pakistan has old solutions for J&K

GROUND ZERO: Even as Pakistan struggles domestically, its inexpensive calibration in Kashmir Valley may persist.

Lt-Gen Syed Ata Hasnain (Retd)
Chancellor, Central University of KashmirGoing by the reactions to Navjot Sidhu’s visit to Islamabad for Prime Minister Imran Khan’s inauguration, there appears no stomach in India for any initiative to recommence any kind of peace process with Pakistan. The visit was but a diversion and insufficiently important to merit serious comment but did hold significance as an indicator of sentiment in India for its western neighbour. There has recently been an array of assessments on India-Pakistan relations meandering between giving Imran a chance to grow on his job and seek peace, and outright condemnation based upon his initial utterances, change of persona which is now much more Islamist and his kowtowing with the Generals to achieve his life’s ambition. Post inauguration, he has given much emphasis in his address to the mismatch of layers within the Pakistani society.In the context of India-Pakistan relations, no one expects any major change or initiative immediately under Imran and neither should one. Given the controlled freedom of action he exercises, he will not be permitted the independence to bring about change. Analysts have been elusive about what could lie in store for Jammu & Kashmir (J&K). If anything at all, the number of attempted infiltration attempts at the LoC in the last three weeks should give us a line of thinking on what the Deep State may well brief Imran Khan about. From Gurez to Tangdhar and Lipa, attempts at pushing in terrorists appear to have taken the priority even as south of Pir Panjal is relatively quiet. The strength of terrorists is not really a challenge because the resources from local recruitment continue to be available, albeit the fact that this is limited to South Kashmir. The ability to drive Pakistan’s agenda is not as well served by the local content as it is by the foreign (read Pakistani) terrorists (FTs). The Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), which has been relatively quiet during the election period in Pakistan, is known to have been expanding its Bahawalpur facility. It is well known that for every unsuccessful infiltration, there are at least one or two successful ones. Thus, with recent efforts, and what could be lined up in the immediate future, the strength of FTs is likely to go up, primarily in North Kashmir. Even as Pakistan continues to struggle domestically, the inexpensive calibration of the situation in the Kashmir Valley is likely to persist. The prime rationale for this can be reasonably assessed.Firstly, the finances for the Kashmir campaign never did come out of legitimate funds; it is well known how the separatist and terror-based industry functions on illegitimate funding hardly affecting Pakistan’s economy. Second, the Pakistan army does feel that the situation in Kashmir is not yet disadvantageous to its aims. It needs to retain the energy to continue the calibration and do it quietly. Third, and linked to the second, is the probable belief that with Governor’s rule, the focus of the authorities in the Valley has shifted to development and with no political compulsions to divert attention, the administration is likely to satisfy the needs of the people to a far greater degree. That situation is detrimental to Pakistani and separatist interests. With a relative decline in large-scale terror activity and street turbulence, the infusion of FTs is intended to re-energise the grid. In Kashmir, it is not just the importance of terrorist strength but also the requirement of appropriate leadership which is necessary. The citadel for this leadership lies in the Sopore-Handwara belt extending to Sumbal and Hajan which appear uncharacteristically quiet, indicating the success the security forces have been able to gain. Resurgence here and in the layback areas of Rafiabad and Rajwar will indicate the success of infiltration if it does get the better of the very strong dragnet at the LoC. The fact that the Pakistan army decided to breach the ceasefire in Tangdhar of all places does indicate the level of desperation to revive North Kashmir before it gets too late. It risked drawing response in Nilam Valley, its Achilles’ heel. The Indian Army’s LoC troops have innovated well to restrain themselves and yet deliver some telling blows to their adversary without crossing the LoC. With a level of urgency to reactivate north Kashmir by the deep state, the authorities will need to balance their strategy and not make the mistake of prioritising between the north and the south. Both are equally important. The three issues in the security sphere which must receive their undivided attention are recruitment, infiltration and terrorist leadership. The Amarnath Yatra with all its significance has drawn away intelligence and security resources. Now the panchayat and municipality polls will continue diverting resources and attention; this is the window that Pakistan’s Deep State would be eyeing with glee. The Army’s additional resources which have been available for the Amarnath Yatra would, in all probability, remain available for the polls coming up two weeks later. However, these should be retained till the end of the year and the arrival of snow, for appropriate deployment as per the Unified Command’s assessment, while keeping the three issues in focus. The successful conduct of the municipal and panchayat polls must be followed by empowerment. The last panchayat polls of 2011 were wasted despite the immense enthusiasm displayed by the people. Neglect in doing it this time will only result in more dismay and loss of confidence in the state. 

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The duration of Governor’s rule is a bonanza for the state as far as pending issues of the administration are concerned but it is also a period to make amends on the political front. Grassroot political activity, so characteristically missing in the Valley and other terror-hit areas, needs to revive along with field visits of government officials. The security situation has always been a ready excuse for the lack of such activity beyond district and tehsil dak bungalows. The administration will surprise itself with the enthusiasm that the people will display once politicians and officials can relate to people more effectively. However, in doing so, a part of the security resources will get divested from other priority tasks. It is the balancing act with the limited security resources which will dictate success in the immediate future in the Valley. Thinking beyond that may at present be a little futile. 


K-situation stable, but fragile: Army

Tribune News Service

Jammu, August 17

The Army has said the situation in the conflict-torn Kashmir valley, where the number of youth joining the militant ranks has been on the rise, is stable but fragile.Northern Command chief Lt Gen Ranbir Singh made this statement earlier this week during a review of the security situation and after conducting a tour of the Line of Control as well as the hinterland, said sources.“If I was to give you an overview of the situation in Kashmir, it is stable however fragile. The violence parameters which we have seen in 2018 are relatively better as compared to 2017 and earlier years. You would have all seen that there were a large number of stone-throwing activities last year but this year it is relatively less,” he said at the meeting.The Northern Command chief held Pakistan responsible for vitiating the atmosphere in the state by pushing in militants from across the LoC. “Security forces are in full control, and we should be able to handle any of the contingencies that may arise,” he observed.So far this year, 128 youth have joined militancy whereas over 123 were killed both on the LoC and in hinterland. As many as 52 security forces personnel have also been killed. There have been 137 infiltration attempts this year.


UNABATED DOWNGRADATION, DEGRADATION OF MILITARY, ANOMALIES OF OROP, 6TH CPC AND 7TH CPC REMAIN UNRECTIFIED; PROTEST MOVEMENT AT JANAT MANTAR

Dear Friends,

1.         You are fully aware of the way Military is being downgraded and degraded. Govt continues to remain adamant by not even replying to numerous letters written to PM  & RM on the above issues.

2.         Jantar Mantar Protest Movement commenced to get Actual OROP Implemented.  Not only the OROP Anomalies have not been rectified, it seems the Govt has closed the file.  One Man Judicial Committee Report which was submitted to Govt on 26 Oct 2016 has neither been made public nor implemented even after the then RM Mr. Parikar’s assurance that it will done by 15th Mar 2017.  The committee constituted in 2006 to resolve 6th CPC Anomalies did not meet for 10 years. 

3.         Serving Chiefs are also the Chiefs of Veteran Defence Personnel.  It is surprising to note that they have also not replied to any of our letters written to them requesting them to intervene to resolve above issues. 

4         Protesting Veterans are being denied their right to be heard.  We heard the New Vice President yesterday in Rajay Sabha saying to Parliamentarians to Debate, discuss & decide; is it not applicable to the issues of Welfare being projected by Veteran Defence Personnel to the Govt?  Right to be heard is the Core Value of Good Governance in a Democracy. 

5.         790 days at Jantar Mantar and total neglect by the Govt.  Calling Protesting Veterans as Negative people to say the least is Unfair and Unjust.  You are all aware that what has been implemented is not OROP but only one time increase in pension.  However, the Govt has been misinforming the nation that OROP has been implemented.

6.         We have been requesting for Meeting with PM and RM which is being denied.  Unwritten blockage of media on Defence Veterans affairs since 12 Sep 2016 is also unfair.

7.         Our OROP Case in SC is taking too long a time.  The next date mentioned in SC schedule is 18 Aug 2017.  We are not sure if it will take place.  Court Case will go on for a long time.

8.         Inspite of Honble Hight Court Judgement, our Bank Account has not been opened for withdrawals.  May we appeal to veterans to kindly voluntarily contribute for the logistic Management of the Protest Movement.

9         We also request those veterans who have been suggesting closing down Jantar Mantar to suggest alternate option to be adopted to get Actual OROP Implemented and lead the same.  Our similar requests earlier have had “No takers”. 

10.         Under the circumstances, it is imperative and necessary to continue Protest at Jantar Mantar to raise our voice for Justice.  We, therefore appeal to all members of the Defence Veterans Fraternity to visit Jantar Mantar regularly to showcase solidarity to the Cause.  Your “Yogdan” is requested please.

            With regards,                                                

            Yours Sincerely,

Maj Gen Satbir Singh, SM (Retd)

United Front of Ex Servicemen Jantar Mantar

Tele No: 0124 -4110570 & Mobile: 9312404269,

:satbirsm@gmail.com   


India shouldn’t rush into engaging with the new Imran-led Pakistan

New Delhi should let the new leader establish his bona fide intentions for combating terrorism first

It has taken the Pakistani military a full year to complete the soft coup it launched when it used a pliant judiciary to oust an elected prime minister. The military-engineered election outcome in favour of Imran Khan came virtually on the anniversary of Nawaz Sharif’s removal from office. What happened to Sharif is likely to happen to any PM that seeks to assert civilian control over a praetorian military.

AP■ The latest election has changed little in Pakistan, a country still struggling to be at peace with itself. The Pakistani military will remain the puppet master calling the shots from behind the scenes, with Imran Khan as its newest puppetIn fact, no PM has been allowed to complete a full five-year term. When a PM falls foul of the deep state, the judiciary, opposition and bureaucracy are used to smear the leader’s reputation and oust him or her. Every PM has been thrown out on charges of corruption and incompetence.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court hanged one elected PM in 1979, ousted another in 2017 and legitimised every military coup. Sharif was ousted without a trial, let alone a conviction. Turning natural justice on its head, the Supreme Court first pronounced him guilty of corrupt practices on the basis of the report of a military intelligence-associated joint investigation team and then ordered his trial postouster.

The Sharif removal anniversary last Saturday was a reminder that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprise Lahore visit proved very costly for the now-jailed Sharif and for India, with the Pakistani military responding with a series of daring terrorist attacks on Indian security bases, from Pathankot to Uri and Nagrota. Modi’s visit sealed Sharif’s political fate, with the subsequent Panama Papers leak providing the perfect pretext for ousting him.

For India, this is not just a cautionary tale but a sobering lesson that policy made on the fly increases the odds of a boomerang effect. So does diplomacy seeking to befriend Pakistan’s civilian government in the hope of both offsetting Pakistani military’s implacable hostility to India and driving a wedge between civilian and military authorities. Such diplomacy has repeatedly recoiled on India. Didn’t Atal Bihari Vajpayee ride a bus to Pakistan and then publicly bewail that his “bus got hijacked and taken to the Kargil battlefield”?

The latest election has changed little in Pakistan, a country still struggling to be at peace with itself. The Pakistani military will remain the puppet master calling the shots from behind the scenes, with Imran as its newest puppet.

The military didn’t just stack the electoral odds in Imran’s favour; it did practically everything to put him in power. It took the general election to literally mean that it was to be run by the generals. The EU team found the voting “well conducted and transparent” but cited “restrictions on freedom of expression and unequal campaign opportunities.” Former Indian chief election commissioner SY Quraishi, however, gave the polls a clean chit.

It was the military’s brainchild to bring into the political mainstream the terrorists and militants assisting its belligerent India policy and Afghanistan meddling. In the election, not all the Islamists and militants fared badly. One militant group, Tehreek-i-Labbaik, garnered nearly two million votes. Even in the case of the terrorist-affiliated groups that were routed, the military has largely succeeded in its objective of mainstreaming them. The terrorists’ conversion into politicians means not just that they no longer are pariahs; their increasing political footprint in the coming years will likely extend Pakistan’s jihad culture to the polity.

The military has actually scored a double win. The next PM is a supporter of the military-backed jihadists and Islamists. Imran, long ridiculed as “Im the Dim” for his lack of intelligence, has morphed into a religious zealot who plays the blasphemy card and whose party brass includes hardcore extremists like Ijaz Shah, an ex-ISI officer and handler of Hafiz Saeed, Mullah Omar and Daniel Pearl’s murderer. Shah, now in Parliament, also helped hide Osama bin Laden.

Make no mistake: After this contrived election, Pakistan seriously risks slipping deeper into a jihadist dungeon. Its exploding population, resource pressures, a pervasive lack of jobs, high illiteracy and fast-spreading jihadism create a deadly cocktail of internal disarray. Caught in mounting debt to China, it now needs an international bailout.

Successive Indian governments have failed to develop a clear strategy to deal with this Mecca of terrorism. India’s policy pendulum on Pakistan actually swings from one extreme to the other — from vowing a decisive fight to making schmaltzy overtures. While Washington has cut off security assistance to Pakistan and periodically slaps new sanctions on Pakistan-based terrorists, India is loath to back its rhetoric with even modest diplomatic sanctions or by leveraging the Indus Waters Treaty, the world’s most generous watersharing arrangement. All talk and no action, by undermining Indian deterrence, has invited continuing cross-border terrorism.

Today, instead of rushing to engage Imran, New Delhi should let the new leader establish his bona fide intentions for combating terrorism. Tellingly, in his “victory” speech, he called Kashmir the “core” subject but evaded the central issue for India, Afghanistan, the US and Pakistan’s own future — tackling and terminating the presence of terrorist groups on Pakistani soil.


Navy, Army partner outside naval base for the first time

Navy, Army partner outside naval base for the first time

Vice Admiral Girish Luthra, Lt Gen Satish Dua, and Air Vice-Marshal Sanjay Nimesh at the signing of the ‘Charter of Affiliation’ in Srinagar on Monday. PTI

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, August 20

For the first time, the Indian Navy has affiliated with an Army regiment outside the naval base. The Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKLI) has been affiliated with frontline warship INS Kochi.“It is for the first time that a naval unit and an Army regiment are entering into this kind of affiliation outside a naval base, and, therefore, this is the first step and is going to strengthen our jointmanship,” Vice Admiral Girish Luthra, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command, told reporters after the affiliation ceremony at the JAKLI Centre at Rangreth on the outskirts of Srinagar on Monday.While terming it a historic day, Vice Admiral Luthra said personnel from the JALKI would visit ships of the Navy unit and also sail them. “Similarly, our personnel from INS Kochi will visit their various locations and learn about the functioning of various JAKLI battalions. This will promote better understanding and synergy between the two services,” he said. The affiliation ceremony took place at the JAKLI Regimental Centre and was attended by dignitaries from the tri-services. INS Kochi is the second ship of the indigenously designed and constructed Kolkata-class guided-missile destroyers built by the Mazagon Dock Limited at Mumbai. She is named after the vibrant port city of Kochi and is packed with the state-of-the-art weapons and sensors.Srinagar-based defence spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said the JAKLI Regiment was earlier affiliated to INS Ganga which was decommissioned in March 2018.“To continue with this strong tradition of bonhomie and sharing of mutual understanding for culture and combat potential, the need was felt to identify a Naval Combat Unit. Both JAKLI and INS Kochi are indigenous. Indeed ‘Kashmir se Kanyakumari tak’ we sail together and defend the nation,” the spokesman said. A similar affiliation was formed between the JAKLI Regimental Centre and the 51 Squadron of the Air Force.Situation in Kerala improving: Vice Admiral Vice Admiral Girish Luthra on Monday said the situation in the flood-hit Kerala was improving. “The initial part of rescue is more or less completed. We will be reaching to the people who may be trapped and make sure they are taken to safer places. The situation has started to improve,” Vice Admiral Luthra said in Srinagar. He said the rescue operations in Kerala started about two weeks ago and the effort had gradually been stepped up as the rains had increased in Kerala. “The entire effort is being coordinated from Delhi,” he said. 


Soldier among 3 killed in Valley Rifleman dies in Handwara gunfight; woman shot by ultras in Pulwama

Soldier among 3 killed in Valley

A brief gunfight erupted during a search operation in Bandipora district on Friday. Tribune Photo

Majid Jahangir & Suhail A Shah

Tribune reporters

Srinagar/Anantnag, August 17

Militants unleashed a fresh wave of violence on Friday, leaving a soldier, woman and an elderly man dead and three others injured across the Valley.The day began with the killing of a soldier in a gunfight in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district in the wee hours.The gunfight erupted at Kralgund in Handwara, some 90 km from Srinagar, when joint teams of the police, Army and CRPF launched a cordon and search operation after inputs about militant presence.“As the searches were being carried out, militants hiding in the area opened fire on the forces, critically wounding a soldier,” the police said. “The soldier was shifted to the Army’s 92 Base Hospital in Srinagar, where he succumbed.”The Srinagar-based defence spokesman identified the slain soldier as Rifleman Ram Babu Shahi, 25, a resident of Chitwan in Nepal.Sources said militants managed to escape after the shooting. A massive combing operation was later launched to trace the militants.A brief gunfight also broke out at Mir Mohalla in Bandipora district during a cordon and search operation. However, again the militants managed to give the security forces the slip. During the CASO, clashes broke out between the protesters and the forces.On Friday afternoon, a woman was shot dead in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.A police officer from Pulwama said 38-year-old Shameema Akhtar of Koil village was shot dead in Drubgam village. The incident, according to the police, took place about 1 pm today.“The woman was visiting her parents in Drubgam. She was shot just outside her parent’s house,” the officer said. “Preliminary reports suggest that the Hizbul Mujahideen was behind the killing.”Not more than 15 minutes after the woman was shot dead, a 70-year-old civilian was killed and three others were injured in a grenade attack in the Awantipora area of Pulwama district .“The grenade, aimed at the SSP office, fell on the roadside where it exploded leaving four civilians injured,” a police official said. “One of the injured, Abdul Ahad (70), later succumbed to his injuries.”


Army to have helipads on all forward postsJammu: At a time when the Pakistani army is becoming unpredictable on the Line of Control (LoC) and resorting to unprovoked ceasefire violations, the Indian Army is improving its communication lines to remain prepared for any eventuality. Efforts are being made to connect all forward posts on the LoC by road to make them accessible at any time. Sources said that during a meeting of officers, Northern Command chief Lt Gen Ranbir Singh said: “We are trying to construct helipads at every forward post so that if there is any need, our soldiers can be brought down immediately through helicopters,” he said. The Army has also updated the communication system in forward areas. Apart from mobile connectivity, three more communication lines have been set up so that soldiers remain connected with their headquarters. TNS


GOLF IN ARMY: DO NOT MAKE IT ELITIST

The news of the army chief banning golf in the operationally active areas of Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast struck a chord with me. I was reminded of an incident two years back when, at about 6 pm, while driving home from work at Ambala Cantonment, my car was stopped near the golf course by two army boys in sports gear. When asked why, they said “Saheb, the golfers are coming”. By now quite a few vehicles had lined up behind me. Soon, I saw two golf carts crossing the road dividing the course with the players in front and their caddies sitting behind. I felt bad. Why should golfers be treated like the elite, and why should traffic have to stop for a golf cart?

Golf courses are maintained at a high cost, taking a heavy toll on army resources.Even at the cost of annoying some of my seniors and colleagues, let me share my candid opinion with you on the negative fallout of this otherwise fine game. I feel it is particularly relevant at this time when the army is already fighting to save its cantonments/assets and its soldierly ethos.

The worst effect of golf on soldiers is that it perpetuates a brown sahib culture. Else, why should traffic have to come to a halt for a few golfers to cross the road? Golf courses are mainground tained at a very high cost and are resource-intensive, taking a heavy toll on army resources.

The requirement of water and power to keep the ‘greens’ lush and manicured is colossal. Quite a large number of engineering resources are required for maintenance of the area.

In fact, you can be sure that the most popular spot at any station will be the golf course with a large number of senior officers, including the visiting senior commanders, making a beeline for it every day.

Another negative point is that some ambitious officers feel this is the right place to butter their bread. Sorry for using this phrase, but it is a fact that many officers talk shop while playing golf. I feel that is not only incorrect, but unethical. An officer who does not play golf but plays other sports such as basketball or volleyball, sometimes suffers.

Golf is also one of the reasons for the growing distance between the officers and jawans. Unless the officers join their men for a round of hockey or soccer, games requiring sweat and toil, how will they remain physically fit and how will the bonhomie between them increase?

Today, officers are keen to be seen on the golf course rather than on the basketball court, particularly those of the rank of colonels and upwards. It is because they have, wrongly or rightly, been tutored about “G standing for golf and G for general”. And once someone becomes a general then he more often than not welcomes selfseeking officers who bring a bad name to our fine organisation.

Golf is no substitute for soldiers’ physical fitness or training for war. That is why General K M Cariappa (later Field Marshal), had cautioned officers against wasting time on useless pursuits, famously saying, “Every second that you waste in peace you will pay for in blood during war for the lives of men you command are in your hands”.

Please, I am not against golf. By all means play golf, but do not think you are a class apart and lose touch with your men or neglect your profession. It is also not a short cut to good annual confidential reports (ACRs) or a playing for impressing your seniors.

Take it like any other sport. It is a good game of the mind, where you play against yourself. You walk for about five to six km on the lovely greens, and it relaxes you. It is also an excellent game for retired officers who can spend a few hours on the golf course and meet other officers. It is a good part of their daily routine.

We are a highly disciplined and professional army. Let’s treat golf like any other sport and not something extra special.


Don’t demoralise soldiers by diluting AFSPA

If the Armed Forces Special Powers Act is watered down, the army will hesitate to engage with militants

NO SOLDIER WANTS TO SPEND TIME RUNNING AROUND IN CIVIL COURTS TO JUSTIFY HIS ACTIONS WHILE DEALING WITH INSURGENTS AND TERRORISTS

At some point when disenchantment and alienation of the people of an area or state against the political and administrative dispensation go out of hand, the affected state or area is declared ‘disturbed’. In such a situation, if the police are unable to control lawlessness and insurgency, the Indian Army’s help is sought to restore order. Since the military does not have normal police powers for it to control unruly mobs or combat insurgents, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) was enacted. But before AFSPA is brought in, the concerned area or state has to be declared disturbed by the state or central government. The Act gives the military legal protection, especially when there are injuries or death of miscreants/insurgents. To initiate any legal action against any soldier, acting under AFSPA, the central government’s permission is required.

To give added protection to the military, earlier the civil authority seeking assistance had to provide the military a certificate, saying that all resources have been deployed and the situation is well outside the control of civil administration, and so the military’s help is being sought. This was done to put a check on civil administrations from seeking the military’s assistance at the drop of a hat. But such a certificate showed the civil administration in a poor light, and so the requirement was scrapped. Unfortunately, the military’s high command meekly accepted this decision to do away with the certificate.

In a disturbed area, the local population is usually alienated and anti-national feelings prevail. Consequently, any incident involving casualties to civilians, the locals give evidence against the military. While a few dare to give evidence against the local police, there are always enough witnesses to give false evidence against the military.

Here are two cases that illustrate my point: First, the 2004 Thangjam Manorama case in Manipur.

It was alleged that she was tortured, raped and killed by the military and that she was innocent. But the truth is that she was a terrorist and member of the People’s Liberation Army of Manipur. As part of the organisation, she was involved in laying IEDs that killed six civilians and two security personnel. During the search operation, one transmitter and two grenades were recovered from her. Two independent autopsies ruled out rape and torture, and the nature of the bullet wounds corroborated that she was shot while escaping. Yet allegations continued to be levelled against military personnel.

The second case relates to the alleged murder and rape of two women at Shopian in the Kashmir Valley by military personnel (2009). The local doctor confirmed rape and murder. Later, their bodies were exhumed and a team of independent doctors conducted another round of autopsies. The team ruled out rape and murder. In certain cases, even the local police and administration back down under local public pressure, adopting a hostile attitude towards the military. So, there is an obvious need of AFSPA for the military to operate in disturbed areas.

If the Act is diluted, military personnel will hesitate to engage with militants. No personnel wants to spend time running around in civil courts to justify his actions while dealing with insurgents and terrorists, where for sure, witnesses from local, alienated population will align against him. During firefights, locals gather at the spot and often terrorists fire at them. They do this because they know that any casualty could be pinned on the military. Let us not forget that to date, the Indian Army has lost more than 700 officers and 9,000 soldiers to the insurgency.

Last week, a group of over 300 soldiers approached the Supreme Court, appealing against any “dilution” of AFSPA. The petition said prosecuting soldiers who are doing their duty by the civilian authorities like the police and the Central Bureau of Investigation will lower their morale and endanger national security. This development is a serious one and shows the utter failure of the military’s high command to prevent the development of such circumstances where serving military personnel have to approach the court.

In insurgency-hit areas, the military is the ultimate instrument of the State to be deployed to ensure territorial integrity and security of the country. So why are we so willingly and purposefully demotivating the military?


Job for martyrs’ kin in paramilitary forces

Our Correspondent

Chamba, August 16

Himachal Pradesh was also known as Veer Bhoomi. Keeping in view the contribution of the paramilitary forces for the country, the state government had taken a decision to give employment to the kin of martyrs of the paramilitary forces on compassionate ground at par with the Army. This was said by Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister Virender Kanwar while presiding over the district-level Independence Day celebrations at the historic Chowgan here on Wednesday.The minister unfurled the national flag and took salute of the march-past presented by the contingents of police, home guards and NCC cadets.Speaking further, the minister said that the state government had enhanced the honorarium of representatives of the panchayati raj institutions.The government had also enhanced the mandays under MNREGA from 100 to 120 days.He said the government was according priority to the welfare of minorities. The Chief Minister had recently launched Minorities Welfare Scheme in the state.The minister awarded Dr Sanjeev Suri, Principal of Rising Star School, Chamba, in recognition of his services in the field of education.The minister also gave away prizes to the participants of cultural performances and others.