Sanjha Morcha

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    It was post 1971 and the nation was euphoric. Our countrymen were lauding the Indian Armed Forces for a spectacular victory that had changed the geography of the sub-continent. The nation was savouring the victory and more than 97,368 prisoners were in our Prisoners of War Camps. It was the second largest surrender in the Military History; second only to the surrender of Gen Von Paulus, German, 6th Army at Stalingrad in the Second World War. The Armed Forces were feted everywhere for its courage and the people were convinced that it was one instrument that would never let the country down.
    Amidst this euphoria there were 4000 families, who had lost their fathers/sons/husbands in the war. Another 10,000 were wounded and maimed for life. They were picking up the lost threads of life to continue their journey in the forbidding world. However their sorrow was lost amidst the mirth, laughter and jubilation of victory.
    Unknown to the services a band of bureaucrats were conspiring as to how to cut the Armed Forces to size. Defence Secretary was Mr K B Lal, who was literally there for the entire duration of the Third Pay Commission. He was the one, who provided the inputs to the Third Pay Commission. The Commission was constituted a year before the war and concluded two years after the war. It’s final recommendation marginalising the Armed Forces was made public two months after Fd Marshal Manekshaw relinquished the post of Chief. Indeed it was a clever move as the most popular person in the country was not able to take cudgels against the government. This Pay Commission cut the Armed Forces to size for winning the war for the country. Even Fd Mshl Manekshaw was not spared; more of it later. ‘Ingratitude unkinder than the winters wind’ to adopt Shakespearean phrase to an ungrateful government. How did the Government go about the act?
    Firstly they abolished a separate Pay Commission for the Armed Forces and formulated an equivalence between the Armed Forces and Civilians. It was here that the Pay Commission struck its vilest blow when they considered that ‘a trained infantry soldier with three years of service is below a skilled labour. Little do they know that it is the infantry soldier who does the actual fighting and charges the enemy with naked bayonet literally on the very front edge of the battle and makes eye and steel contact with the enemy. He is the one who bears the brunt of more than 90% of casualty in all wars and yet he was considered the lowest strata to base their comparison. It also means that the infantry soldier with less than three years’ service was considered an semi-skilled/unskilled labour? Just mark the irony of the sinister and ignorant move? Rest of the soldiers were equated based on this preposterous formulae?
    Next step was to reduce the percentage of pension for the Armed Forces. The OROP that was effective till 1972, was annulled after the third pay commission. A soldier then served only for 15 years and went on pension at the ages ranging from 33 years to 36 years of age. In view of this, his pension was 70% of his basic pay and an officers pension was 50% of his basic pay as the bulk of them retired at 50 years of age. The civilian counterparts were getting only 30% of their basic pay as pension. Please note they served till they were 58 years of age (now 60 years) and the soldiers retired a quarter century earlier. The wretched Third Pay Commission did not consider the additional 25 years of service his civilian counterpart served and raised their pension to 50% and reduced a soldiers pension from 70% to 50% in order to achieve the so-called parity. Further the government put mandatory 33 years of service for full pension fully knowing that the soldier then retired after 15 years of service. They further as a largesse made a seemingly generous gesture to the Armed Forces by pegging the mandatory service for full pension (50%) to 25 years. Just look at the clever move; fully knowing that the soldier retired after 15 years of service. Thus the soldier in effect got only 30% of pay after 15 years of service, as extrapolated from full pension of 50% of pay with 25 years of service. Thus the Government ingeniously cut a soldiers pension from 70% to 30% of pay at the same time enhancing the civilian pension from 30% to 50%. Look at the perfidy; how can possibly a Government run down her own Armed Forces? It is indeed a remarkable feat from a nation that was a slave nation for over two centuries, yet disregards her Armed Forces who ensure her hard earned freedom?
    Our Defence Ministry were hand in glove with the proposals. There was not a whimper of protest to set right the injustice. The soldiers had to pay heavily for having won the war for the country. Their travails were not over; more was yet to come!
    One would wonder why the soldiers did not protest against the brash injustice perpetrated on them? It would be difficult to believe, as those were the times the officers in particular were told that politics and pay were not to be discussed. They were naïve and had full faith in the government that in the long run; no injustice would be done to them? The disarming naivety of our officers appear incomprehensible now; but it was true then. Hence the entire master stroke of cutting the armed forces to size by impoverishing them was done with so much of dexterity, it took us couple of decades to realise its negative impact.
    Mrs Gandhi was feted and was called ‘Durga’ and she basked in the limelight of victory and self-adulation. However, she proved to be the daughter of her illustrious father by sharing the same antipathy and disdain towards the Armed Forces. She was a smart women hence concealed it to a great extent with outer façade of support and derived maximum political mileage of the victory. The running down of the Armed Forces in the Third Pay Commission could not have been done without her active and positive consent?
    Their next target was the most popular figure in the country Fd Marshal Manekshaw. He was made a Field Marshall and the appointment is active for life, though ceremonial in nature. A Field Marshall does not retire and continues to wear his five star rank for life. He was entitled to Pay and Allowances for life. The bureaucrats who were literally jealous of his popularity ensured that he did not get his pay and allowances; low and behold! for the next 36 years, and finally a lump sum of ₹ 1.60 crore of arrears was released to him on intervention by then President Abdul Kalam. A non-descript bureaucrat gave him his pension dues on his deathbed in Jun 2007 a few days before he breathed his last. Isn’t it a national tragedy? Don’t you sometimes feel whether the country deserves selfless service from its soldiers? Can any country on this earth be more ungrateful towards her soldiers than ‘Mother India? What a great victory for the MOD for destroying the soldiers pride?
    Let us now analyse as to why a soldier fights? Why does he give his life for a cause? What makes him charge through a fusillade of bullets and splinters against sure death and injury overcoming the instinct of self-preservation? Why is he prepared to make his ultimate sacrifice and bid goodbye to the world? Why does he not think of his loving wife, his innocent children, his aged parents and the living world of mirth and bliss; knowing he has not even spent a quarter of his life? Why all his near and dear ones pale in to insignificance and he sees only his mission like Arjuna only seeing the eye of the bird? All these questions can be answered in two words; His Pride.
    It is his professional pride that make him a hero. He wants to be a hero before his comrades; before his superiors, in his unit and in his country. He is a hero of his village and hero in front of his parents. He is a hero to his wife and a super hero to his children. He also knows he is the last bastion of the nation and he is the last trump card in the hands of his nation. He knows that if he fails the nation fails. It is this emotion that drives him towards mission accomplishment. It is all the way Pride! Pride! And Pride. It is nothing else but ‘Pride’.
    Sad to say; it is exactly that the Governments of his own country wants to deprive him of? He has been badgered, humiliated, impoverished and made a laughing stock in all the successive pay commissions. His status has been lowered time and again by an insensitive government. How can noble thoughts like sacrifice, mission, cause, patriotism and pride be ever understood by self-serving, sly and scheming bureaucracy? A soldiers pride has taken a beating and believe me sir! It would be a long and painful time to build it again?
    Mr Prime Minister! Before you forget history; In Jun 1932 President Herbert Hoover, the 31st President of US ordered firing on the veterans of First World War for demanding the promised bonus. Two veterans were killed and several injured. Herbart Hoover lost the election with a devastating defeat and has gone down in history as a lack lustre President. The Great Depression may have contributed to his rout but the firing on veterans brought him great disrepute. Mr Prime Minister! You are certainly made of a better stuff than Herbert Hoover?
    Enough has been said of ‘OROP’ and nothing more needs to be said about it. Supreme court has granted it and parliamentary committee has approved it. Not a single political party has opposed it but it is still undone? For the past 70 days agitation is on and brute force of police has been unleashed on them. Dear Prime Minister! I hope you have seen the sad picture of a proud veteran trying to fight his tears and another veteran whose shirt with medals torn asunder withstands the criminal use of force against him with quiet dignity and equanimity. It is still not too late to make amends.
    Reminds me the words of Edmond Burke “ Invention is exhausted, Reason is fatigued, Experience has given its judgement but Obstinacy remains unconquered”. Mr Prime Minister ! I believe you have still the ability to overrule small minions around you, who do not have the nation in their heart and are bent upon the murdering the ‘ Pride in a Soldier’. Remember ‘Soldiers’ Pride is Nation’s Security’. You kill his pride; you endanger the nation’s security.

    Pay Scales for PBORs of Armed Forces


    Pay Scales for PBORs of Armed Forces



    Post Pay Band Grade Pay Military Service Pay# X Group Pay *
    Sepoy 5200-20200 2000 2000 1400
    Naik 5200-20200 2400 2000 1400
    Havaldar 5200-20200 2800 2000 1400
    Nb Sub 9300-34800 4200 2000 1400
    Subedar 9300-34800 4600 2000 1400
    Sub Major 9300-34800 4800 2000 1400

    Air Force

    Post Pay Band Grade Pay Military Service Pay# X Group Pay *
    AC/LAC 5200-20200 2000 2000 1400
    Corporal 5200-20200 2400 2000 1400
    Sergeant 5200-20200 2800 2000 1400
    Jr Warrant Officer 9300-34800 4200 2000 1400
    Warrant Officer 9300-34800 4600 2000 1400
    MWO 9300-34800 4800 2000 1400

    Navy (X-Group)

    Post Pay Band Grade Pay Military Service Pay# X Group Pay *
    Apprentice 5200-20200 2000 2000 1400
    Artificer – V 5200-20200 2400 2000 1400
    Artificer – IV 5200-20200 2800 2000 1400
    Artificer III – I** 9300-34800 3400 2000 1400
    Chief Artificer 9300-34800 4200 2000 1400
    MCPO – II 9300-34800 4600 2000 1400
    MCPO – I 9300-34800 4800 2000 1400

    Navy (Y-Group)

    Post Pay Band Grade Pay Military Service Pay#
    Seaman II /  I 5200-20200 2000 2000
    Leading Seaman 5200-20200 2400 2000
    Petty Officer 5200-20200 2800 2000
    Chief Petty Officer 9300-34800 4200 2000
    MCPO – II 9300-34800 4600 2000
    MCPO – I 9300-34800 4800 2000

    Pay Matrix Table for Central Government Employees

    Pay Matrix Table for Defence Personnel


    Pay matrix table-6
    Matrix Defence Personnel 3 to 5Matrix Defence Personnel 5A to 9Matrix Defence Personnel 10 to 11Matrix Defence Personnel 12A to 14

    What does the 7th pay panel mean for govt. employees?

    Here is an overview of the beneficiaries – central government employees and pensioners – and the budgetary implication of these recommendations.

    On Wednesday, the Union Cabinet approved the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission (PC) on pay and pensionary benefits.

    Here is an overview of the beneficiaries – central government employees and pensioners – and the budgetary implication of these recommendations.

    How much would this cost?

    If all recommendations of the 7th PC are considered, it will cost the government an additional amount of Rs.1,02,000 crore.

    The government has cleared the pay (increase in expenditure by 16 per cent) and pension (increase in expenditure by 24 per cent) related recommendations that will cost Rs. 84,933 crore. Of this, Rs. 60,608 crore will be borne by General Budget and Rs. 24,325 crore from Railway Budget. Note that Rs. 70,000 crore was allocated in the Union Budget for implementation of the 7th PC.

    For the remaining amount, which concerns recommendations around various allowances (increase in expenditure by 63 per cent), the government has set up committees to review the recommendations.

    How much would be spent on Pay, Allowances and Pension as a proportion of GDP?

    Over the last few years, Pay, Allowances and Pension (PAP) spending constitutes around 2.8 per cent of GDP. Additional expenditure, that includes all recommendations, will lead to an increase in 0.65 per cent of GDP on PAP, which is less than 6th PC, which led to an increase in 0.77 per cent of GDP on PAP.

    Source: 7th Pay Commission Report

    The 7th PC report says: “The Commission is of the view that this represents an extremely reasonable increase in the PAP-GDP ratio in the initial year of award. In future years this ratio will in fact decline, as GDP growth is expected to be faster than the growth rate of inflation in future years.”

    How much proportion of total Union Budget is spent on salaries and pensions?

    As of 2014-15, 7.8 per cent of total expenditure is spent on salaries and 4.6 per cent of total expenditure is spent on pensions.

    Source: Indian Public Finance Statistics, Ministry of Finance; PRS

    *2013-14 (Revised Estimates)

    *2014-15 (Budget Estimates)

    Spikes were observed after recommendations of 5th and 6th Pay Commissions were implemented.

    What does Economic Survey 2016-17 say about 7th PC recommendations?

    a. 7th PC implementation will bring increased spending from higher wages – boosting consumption.

    b. The experience of 6th Pay Commission – with greater hikes – suggests that 7th PC will not destabilise prices nor will it increase inflation.

    How many people will be benefitted?

    The Pay Commission concerns salaries and pensions of the Central Government employees. As of 2014, there were around 47 lakh central government employees. Armed forces happen to be the biggest employer, with 14 lakh employees. Pensioners – 52 lakh – are more in number than working employees.

    What is Central Government’s share in organised sector employment?

    The Central Government employed 8.5 per cent of the organised workforce in 2012. Its share in organised sector has declined over the past 15 years.

    Source: Economic Survey of India; PRS

    Between 2006 and 2014, all ministries (except Ministry of Home Affairs) witnessed a decrease in number of employees.

    Who are the pension beneficiaries?

    Source: 7th Pay Commission Report; PRS

    Of the 52 lakh Central Government pensioners, 46.5 per cent belong to defence personnel – the largest proportion. PRS Legislative Research report says that “the large proportion of defence personnel among pensioners may be due to the early retirement age of defence services personnel as compared to other government departments.”

    Railways comes next which has a share of 26.5 per cent among pensioners.

    How do government salaries compare to the private sector?

    As per the 7th PC report, at lower levels, salaries in government jobs are higher than in the private sector. These are understood to be Group C employees – those providing assistance – which constitute 88.7 per cent of all employees.

    For example, a general helper – lowest ranked employee in the government – earns Rs. 22,579 per month in government job but around Rs. 9,000 in private job.

    Source: 7th Pay Commission Report; PRS

    But at the highest echelons of governance, the compensation in government is nowhere comparable to their counterparts in the private/public sector, says the 7th PC report. These are understood to be Group A employees – occupying higher administrative positions in government – which constitute 2.8 per cent of all employees. In light of this, the Commission has accorded slightly higher index of rationalisation at the level of Senior Administrative Grade and above.

    Doubt SOP properly followed: Parrikar on Pampore attack

    Doubt SOP properly followed: Parrikar on Pampore attack
    on Sunday expressed doubt if the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) was

    Bhubaneswar, June 26

    Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday expressed doubt if the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) was followed properly by the bus-borne CRPF personnel at Pampore in Jammu and Kashmir who were attacked by terrorists leading to eight jawans being killed.

    He said he “doubted if the SOP was followed properly” while noting that the clear picture will emerge after the inquiry.

    (Follow The Tribune on Facebook and Twitter @thetribunechd)

    “We will only get to know the exact reason after the inquiry,” Parrikar told reporters here.

    The minister termed the killing of CRPF personnel at Pampore as an act of “frustration” on part of Pakistani terrorists several of whom were killed by Indian forces in past one year.

    “In last one year, we have eliminated over 25 terrorist from Pakistan who had infiltrated into our country. It was an act of frustration,” he said.

    Eight Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed and 21 others wounded when terrorists rained bullets on the bus carrying them in Pulwama district yesterday. — PTI

    Pak’s N-programme has increased risk of conflict with India: US report

    Pak’s N-programme has increased risk of conflict with India: US report
    Pakistani military personnel stand beside the long-range ballistic Shaheen-II missile during the Pakistan Day military parade in Islamabad on March 23, 2015. — AFP file photo

    Washington, June 17

    Pakistan’s “full spectrum deterrence” nuclear doctrine and increasing fissile production capability have increased the risk of a nuclear conflict with India, a Congressional report has said amid Pakistan’s efforts to drum up support for its NSG membership bid.

    “Islamabad’s expansion of its nuclear arsenal, development of new types of nuclear weapons, and adoption of a doctrine called ‘full spectrum deterrence’ have led some observers to express concern about an increased risk  of nuclear conflict between Pakistan and India, which also continues to expand its nuclear arsenal,” the bipartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) said in its latest report.

    Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal probably consists of approximately 110-130 nuclear warheads, although it could have more, said the report ‘Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons’, authored by Paul K. Kerr, analyst in non-proliferation, and Mary Beth Nikitin, specialist in non-proliferation.

    According to the copy of the report dated June 14, which was obtained by PTI, Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is widely regarded as designed to dissuade India from taking military action against it.

    CRS is the independent research wing of the US Congress, which periodically prepares reports on issues of interest to American lawmakers for information purpose only and does not represent the official position of the US Congress.

    Running into 30 pages, the report comes in the wake of Pakistan lobbying at the Capitol Hill and before the US government in support of its membership to the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group.

    Though noting that Pakistan in recent years has taken a number of steps to increase international confidence in the security of its nuclear arsenal, the CRS report observed that instability in Pakistan has called the extent and durability of these reforms into question.

    “Some observers fear radical takeover of the Pakistani government or diversion of material or technology by personnel within Pakistan’s nuclear complex. While US and Pakistani officials continue to express confidence in controls over Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, continued instability in the country could impact these safeguards,” CRS said in its report meant for the lawmakers to take an informed decision.

    CRS said the current status of Pakistan’s nuclear export network is unclear, although most official US reports indicate that, at the least, it has been damaged considerably.

    Referring to Pakistan’s NSG membership application, the CRS said according to US law, the Obama Administration could apparently back Islamabad’s NSG membership without congressional approval.

    In the past few weeks, top Pakistani leadership, including its Ambassador to the US, has been writing letters to lawmakers and meeting government officials to push for its NSG bid. — PTI

    VVIP CHOPPER DEAL ED files second charge sheet, names Michel

    ED files second charge sheet, names Michel

    New Delhi, June 15

    The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a second charge sheet in the Rs 3,600-crore VVIP chopper deal naming British national and alleged middleman Christian Michel James, his two Indian associates and an Indian company for the first time in connection with its money-laundering probe.The 1,300-page prosecution complaint (ED’s equivalent for charge sheet) was placed before a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court last week.It said the agency’s investigation into the case had found that Michel allegedly received Euro 30 million (about Rs 225 crore) from AgustaWestland that was nothing but “kickbacks” paid by the firm to execute the deal for sale of 12 helicopters to India in favour of the firm in the “guise of” of genuine transactions for performing multiple work contracts in the country.The court is expected to take cognisance of the supplementary charge sheet soon, sources said.Apart from Michel, the agency has also named Media Exim Private Limited and its directors, RK Nanda and JB Subramaniyam in the charge sheet. The firm was created by Michel along with the two individuals.Michel is one of the three middlemen being probed in the case, apart from Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa, by the ED and the CBI. Both agencies have also notified an Interpol Red Corner Notice (RCN) or the global arrest warrant against him after the court issued non-bailable warrants against him.Michel was extensively interviewed by Indian media in Dubai recently and the agencies want him to join the probe.The second charge sheet delves into the detailed role of Michel in the deal, his multiple visits to India and his transactions. The first charge sheet in the case was filed in November 2014. — PTI

    Agusta: ED files second charge sheet; names middleman Michel

    Prove you are Indian, Ministry tells RTI activist

    Agusta: ED files second charge sheet; names middleman Michel
    File photo of AW101 helicopter

    New Delhi, June 15

    The Enforcement Directorate has submitted another charge sheet accusing British national Christian Michel James, a suspected middleman of the deal — and his few Indian associates in connection with its money laundering investigations in the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal.The over 1,300 page prosecution complaint (the ED’s equivalent of charge sheet) has been placed before a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court early this week and it has said that agency’s investigation into the case has found that Michel received Euro 30 million (about Rs 225 crore) from AgustaWestland, which it claims were “kickbacks” paid by the firm to execute the 12 helicopter deal in favour of the firm in the “guise of” of genuine transactions for performing multiple work contracts in the country.(Follow The Tribune on Facebook and Twitter @thetribunechd)The court is expected to take cognisance of the supplementary charge sheet soon, agency sources said.Michel is one of the three middlemen being probed in the case, apart from Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa, by the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigations. Both agencies asked the Interpol for a red notice after court issued a non-bailable warrant against him.A red notice, also known as ‘Wanted notices’, are issued for offenders wanted at international level. The notice may either ask that the subject be arrested or extradited to the country where he is wanted. Michel was extensively interviewed by Indian media in Dubai recently.This is the second charge sheet filed in the case by ED that goes into the detailed role of Michel in the deal, his multiple visits to India and his transactions. The first charge sheet was filed by the agency in the case in November 2014.It is understood that filing a charge sheet against Michel was necessary as ED has sought his extradition from the UK and hence such a court complaint against an accused is necessary in order to execute the treaty between the two countries.The agency has also brought on record, in the charge sheet, that the three middlemen “managed to” make inroads into the Indian Air Force in order to influence and subvert the stand of the air force regarding reducing the service ceiling of the helicopters from 6,000-meters to 4,500 meters in 2005 after which AgustaWestland became eligible to supply the dozen helicopters for VVIP flying duties.ED investigations have found that remittances made by Michel through his Dubai-based firm Ms Global Services, FZE to a media firm he floated in Delhi, along with two Indians, were made from the funds that he got from AgustaWestland SpA through “criminal activity” and corruption being done in the chopper deal that led to the subsequent generation of proceeds of crime.The PMLA probe found that AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini was paying “kickbacks” to Michel and the two other middlemen, which they are suspected to have passed off numerous “consultancy contracts”. Michel is suspected of having received Euro 30 million in his Dubai company accounts and others under this arrangement.Investiations into the deal have gathered steam after an Italian court Italian defence and aerospace major Finmeccanica’s former chief Giuseppe Orsi and Spagnolini on corruption charges in the sale of these helicopters to India.The Milan court order also mentions former IAF chief SP Tyagi several times.On January 1, 2014, India cancelled a contract with Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF over suspected breach of contractual obligations and charges of paying kickbacks to the tune of Rs 423 crore for the deal. — PTI

    Internal security operations: The rub::::::::::::::::: Lt Gen RS Sujlana (retd)

    When the Army is called to aid the civil authorities, the operations are extremely sensitive. Patience and deliberation are of utmost importance. Minimum force and minimum collateral at the risk of own casualties is the thumb rule.

    Internal security operations: The rub
    A tightrope walk: The Army had to proceed with caution and avoid collateral damage. Foreigners being airlifted from Rohtak, during the Jat agitation. Tribune Photo

    The Jat Agitation in Haryana in February and the followup Prakash Singh report has brought to the fore key issues related to deployment of the Army in aid of the civil government. Both have received widespread coverage and discussion in the media, specially on the social media. The issue needs to be placed in perspective. It is necessary to understand the functioning and psyche of the Army in internal security operations; be it to aid civil authorities during natural calamities, rioting and unrest etc. or the more professional task in counter-terrorist operations. The Army always means business and therefore terms these as operations, however by nature these are offensive only while countering armed terrorists/ insurgents. Otherwise they have nothing to do with muscle and firepower. On the contrary, these operations are extremely sensitive, where patience and deliberation rule and there is no scope of instigating the population or getting carried away by any provocation by nefarious elements. The conduct has to be rational, minimum force and minimum collateral at the risk of own casualties is the thumb rule.The Army started its learning process in dealing with populations in a hostile environment in the North-East during the early years of countering insurgency in Nagaland (starting in late 1950s) and later in Mizoram. Lessons were there to learn from similar operations the world over but there were no copy-book solutions. One lesson was clear, that every insurgency had peculiarities and required ingenuity in handling. Strategy and tactics to be adopted also depended on whether operations were conducted in a foreign land against an alien people; or, within your country to handle misguided population. While in the former situation, strong-arm tactics to kill, collateral or imposing disliked measures like grouping of villages to isolate the insurgents were of no concern to the security forces but in the latter, strong-arm tactics are unacceptable and no contentious methods can be undertaken. Thus, over decades of operations in insurgency/terrorist-affected areas the Army evolved the concept of an “iron fist in a velvet glove,” while the iron fist is to counter the terrorists or other anti-national elements but more importantly was the velvet glove to deal with the majority peace-loving population. Collateral is a red herring and has immediate adverse affects; it is exploited by the terrorists/ insurgents/ rioters and their ilk to ignite the people which adversely affects operations. A hostile populace is a sure recipe for unsuccessful operations. Therefore, winning the confidence and goodwill of the local population is a must. Towards this the Army evolved the concept of a velvet glove or “Winning the Hearts and Minds (WHAM)” of people. WHAM is a well-articulated policy that has evolved and matured over years of experience and learning. It drives home the goodwill of the Army, and drives home that for a peaceful environment  is conducive for progress and prosperity. Once the confidence of the majority population is won it becomes that much easier to initially isolate and finally bring back the hostile elements back to the mainstream. WHAM activities by their very nature are carried out in close liaison with the civil administration and the involvement of the population who identify their wants and join hands with the Army. This policy has been successful in gaining the confidence of the locals; from initial small-scale projects like constructing playfields, minor water projects, road building, medical camps, veterinary camps etc. to major commercial, educational and technological spheres under Operation “Samaritan” in the North-East and Operation “Sadhbhavna” in the North. Cultural visits by schoolchildren and elders to places of interest have increased people-to-people contact countrywide, showcasing the progress of the nation and enhancing integration. However, in this entire well-meaning and humanitarian effort, the goodwill gained can be lost in a matter of hours. Collateral damage of any dimension, true or false, is a flashpoint and erupts without warning. It is often is a figment of imagination, created by anti-national elements or rioters etc. to up the ante and place the security forces on the defensive. Despite best efforts and repeatedly taking avoidable casualties to minimise collateral, a spark can always be created. For example, take  the recent alleged molestation case in Handwara, Kashmir, where a mountain was made even where there was no molehill.  It is against this backdrop that the conduct of the Army has to be seen when involved in any internal security action; the last thing that one would want is a hostile population to handle.The Army was called out during the Jat agitation. It was later construed that the presence of the Army had no effect. Did anyone rationalise the options available to the Army columns? Under no circumstance did the Army columns have the option of blasting their way through with tanks; infantry combat vehicles (which by the way are located in large numbers close at hand), heavy fire or even resorting to any violence. Despite incitement from the rioters, there was only one option to adopt a peaceful method and ensure no or minimal collateral and that is exactly what they did. To avoid any clashes or an adverse situation, troops were flown in by helicopters to begin with. As the situation improved, columns on foot moved forward to complete their allotted tasks.The Prakash Singh report mainly concluded a long-known fact that the Army should be used in internal security only as a last resort; and that repeated exposure of the Army in such operations will only reduce its effectiveness in internal security situations. However, the question here is whether or not the deployment of the Army in the agitation was a right step to bring the violent situation under control? Taking that the civil administration, the state police and the Central Police Forces abdicated their respective duties, leading to an “administrative paralysis,” with clear indications of internecine communal riots erupting, calling the Army in was possibly the right decision. This saved the situation from developing into another anti-Sikh mayhem as it happened in Delhi, where the Army arrived only when the damage was done. The report also goes on to add that the Additional Chief Secretary (Home) who evidently was sitting “dormant” at Chandigarh but had no hesitation in saying that the agitators were not daunted by the Army and that it is a matter of concern that the presence of the Army had “limited effect”. Strangely forgotten was the fact that 2,000 men of the Army effectively brought the situation under control where tens of thousands of the police/ CPOs failed.The Prakash Singh report seems to have ruffled some feathers and may finally not achieve its aim as is gradually becoming evident. The bureaucrats named are shouting blue murder, comments on an MP have been withdrawn, the role of the state police / CPOs seems to have been softpedalled, it reeks of an anti-Army bias. But the complete silence on appropriating any blame on the political leadership is indeed jarring. 

    The writer is a former Commandant, IMA & ex-Chairman, PPSC.

    Army… a way of life

    The other day while golfing at the nearby army golf course, a notice put up at the 15th tee caught my fancy, “In case of a bee attack, first-aid kit is available with the starter.” God forbid, if the bees do strike, reaching the starter, a good kilometer away, may be painfully arduous. Having experienced such kooky situations during my wonderful days in the army, I was least bit surprised at this veiled suggestion, ‘Taste their bites and get acclimatised for life or make own arrangements (the latter for the less brave)’.

    It was a warm summer afternoon during 1979, when our train reached the deserted rail station at Dehradun. Selected to be future officers of the great Indian Army, without worry and hurry we waited for some one to rush towards us, salute us , pick our luggage, escort us to the car, which would then drive us with fanfare to the Indian Military Academy (IMA). Instead, there was peace and inactivity. We de-boarded and started looking around. Our misplaced optimism was disrupted with a deep scruffy banter, “Hey you dandies! Are you here for a rock concert?” (an obvious reference to our flowing manes). Now don’t stand there like morons… get moving”, and the young captain assigned with the duty of receiving us trooped off.

    The railway station seemed bereft of porters, forcing us to lug the huge iron box and an overstuffed bedroll to the waiting army truck, which doubled as a means of transport for the luggage and the newly arrived trainees.

    The first stop was the IMA barber shop. Our pleas of having had a hair cut before leaving home went unheard. A subtle message that a crew cut is the beginning and end of life. All else is secondary.

    We had heard of an activity called the ‘Mussourie nights’, imagining it an excursion picnic to the beautiful hill station in the vicinity of Dehradun. Well this is how it unfolded. December night chill at Dehradun is not lost on most. A ‘fall in’ in PT (physical training) rig (shorts and vests) was ordered by our seniors. Once at the PT grounds, we were asked to go and take a clothed shower and get back. When back, all were asked to make a 100-metre sprint.

    The procedure was repeated half a dozen times till the chill did not matter. Back to our cabins at midnight, I wondered how many of us would report sick next morning. Surprisingly, none did. Like most, I suspect, a feeling of blocked nose and a heavy head did surface, but kept it to themselves for the fear of being labeled a weakling. The ‘endurance boost’ surely made a life time impact. Even now during peak winters, a recollection of Mussourie nights makes us feel warm and snuggy.

    I reported at my unit after getting commissioned and was escorted to the senior subaltern (senior most lieutenant in-charge of grooming the newly posted officer). Lieutenant Sidhu, without exchanging unnecessary pleasantries, asked me in his Sainik School dialect, “What do they call you?… Ok doesn’t matter! Do you drink?” “Occasionally sir,” was my genuine response.

    I don’t remember thereafter till I was woken up the next morning by my soldier buddy. Supporting blood shot eyes and a breath reeking of alcohol, I was guided to the Adjutant’s (officer incharge of discipline) office, who counseled me, “A way to avoid hangover and drunkenness is to consume butter before drinking. The smooth buttery layer avoids absorption of alcohol thus increasing your apparent capacity to consume more and remain fresh the next morning.”

    His words of wisdom keep me in good stead even today, though my wife often wonders why Captain Udawat, the adjutant never gave a simple two word advice, “Stop drinking” instead!

    P’kula-based broker has nexus in Delhi and beyond

    Sandeep Rana

    Tribune News Service

    Panchkula, June 11

    Panchkula-based real estate broker Manav Malhotra, who duped many, including serving Indian Army Colonels and Shimla MP’s brother in the tricity, of their hard-earned money, has his nexus spread in Delhi,NCR and beyond.Following a news item by Chandigarh Tribune about the cheating case yesterday, it came to light that 15 more persons were allegedly duped by him from Gurgaon and nearby areas on the promise of providing them 2 BHK flats at Bhiwadi in Rajasthan.“He showed us property at Bhiwadi with the project named Carbe India Buildtech, the property belonged to somebody else, but he claimed he was a partner in the property. The flat was priced at Rs 25 lakh and he got the money ranging between Rs 5 and 16 lakh, initially. However, he later failed to give the property or refund the money taken. To some customers, he issued cheques but they bounced,” shares Gurgaon resident Rahul Kaushik.Rahul’s father Rattan  Kumar Kaushik was allegedly duped of Rs 16.5 lakh, while his brother-in-law Sunil Sharma of Rs 12.5 lakh. Also, Gurgaon-based advocate Ritu paid around Rs six lakh and Dilreet Grewal Rs four lakh as earnest money, but have got nothing in return. They all paid the money in 2013 but have been fighting cases in courts to get their money back ever since. Malhotra showed the property in Bhiwadi to all of them. The affected parties have even approached the Commissioner of Gurgaon. However, the accused has been on the run. In one of the cases here, his bail application has also been rejected by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.   His wife Neetu Malhotra said he was innocent.

    Naval Academy passout honoured

    Tribune News Service

    Amritsar, June 11

    Baba Sewa Singh Kar Sewa Wale of Khadoor Sahib honoured Kirpa Singh, a student of one of the educational institutes run by their sect on completion of his course as Assistant Commandant in Indian Coast Guard here today.Kirpa, a resident of village near Khadoor Sahib, cleared the exam for entry into Indian Coast Guard recently. He was studying at a college run by Baba Sewa Singh.While congratulating Kirpa Singh for his achievement, Baba Sewa Singh said he was a role model for other children in this rural belt.“Kirpa Singh is one of the very few children from this area, who despite lack of educational opportunities, has managed to find a place for himself. We hope that other students will be inspired by his achievement,” he said.College Principal, Dr Surinder Bangar, said Kirpa had completed his training at Indian Naval Academy, Kerala, recently. He said educational institutions run under the Kar Sewa prepare rural children for various competitive exams. He said the sect had started an institute to prepare students for civil services examinations recently.