New Delhi, June 6 (IANS) The Indian Army has suspended two officers — a colonel and a major — for the alleged murder of three Kashmiri men April 30 in a staged shootout after labelling them as infiltrators from Pakistan, army sources said Sunday.
Srinagar, May 31 (IANS) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of the moderate Hurriyat group, said here Monday that ‘human rights violations and the dialogue process cannot go on together’ in Jammu and Kashmir, referring to the killing of three civilians in an alleged staged shootout last month.
Reacting to the alleged fake shootouts in Machil sector on the line of control (LOC) April 30 in which three local villagers were allegedly framed and killed as separatist guerrillas, the Mirwaiz told a media conference at his party’s uptown Rajbagh headquarters today that ‘Human rights violations and the dialogue process cannot go on together’.
‘If we have to talk about the future of the people, how can that happen once the very lives of the people are threatened here,’ the Mirwaiz said.
Three villagers — Shahzad Ahmad Khan, Riyaz Ahmad Lone and Muhammad Shafi Lone — were allegedly framed and killed as separatist guerrillas in a staged shootout April 30 in the Machil sector on the Line of Control (LOC).
An Indian Army major and four others, including a Territorial Army soldier, have been booked for the killings.
‘We will not tolerate the murders of innocent people through fake encounters. An international committee must probe these fake encounters to establish the facts,’ the Mirwaiz told reporters.
‘We have no faith in Indian investigating agencies and the local police. We have seen how the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) dealt with the Shopian double murder and rape case,’ he said.
Two women were found dead by the side of a stream in Shopian town May 29 last year, triggering a Valley-wide agitation with people alleging that the duo had been raped and subsequently murdered by the security forces.
The CBI report in December had ruled out rape and murder as no external injuries were found on their bodies. It said the two had died due to accidental drowning.
The Mirwaiz alleged that many local youths had been missing from their homes during recent months and that a probe by an international committee was needed to establish their whereabouts.
He also said that India was trying to dodge international pressure to begin demilitarization and the withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).
‘Development, progress and constructing bridges will serve no purpose as long as the future and lives of the Kashmiris are at risk,’ the Mirwaiz said.
‘Why are the so-called democratic and secular Indian political parties silent at the fake encounters,’ he asked.
He added that in future, separatist leaders would not announce their programmes as the authorities here were putting them under house arrest to scuttle their plans.
‘We will be undertaking surprise visits to meet the people and not announce our programmes ahead as the security forces here put us under house arrest to scuttle our programmes,’ the Mirwaiz said.
Kathmandu, May 29 (IANS) Known as the tranquil abode of clouds, India’s north-eastern Meghalaya state has now become an abode of terror for Nepali migrants who say they are being attacked, threatened and told to leave the state immediately or face dire consequences.
‘Nepalis can’t sleep at night,’ says Til Bahadur Bishwakarma, a 40-year-old Nepali who served with the Indian Army for nine years and lives in Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya. ‘In many places, men have formed bands to guard their families at night. Those who want to leave have to seek tortuous routes through the neighbouring state of Assam for fear of vigilantes.’
Bishwakarma is the secretary of the Migrant Nepalese Association India that has submitted a memorandum to Meghalaya’s new government headed by Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, asking him to stop attempts to ‘terrorise Nepali people in
Meghalaya with the ultimate goal of total elimination of Nepali population’.
Though there are no official figures about the number of Nepalis working in Meghalaya, Bishwakarma estimates there are between 5-800,000 migrants, working mostly in the coal mines of Garo, Khasi and Jayantia regions.
Since the violence started this month, he says nearly 70 percent of the coal mine workers have begun fleeing.
The trouble started after renewed friction with neighbouring Assam state, from which Meghalaya was separated in 1972 but with which it still remains locked in border disputes.
The Assam government sent people to disputed villages on its border with Meghalaya for a census but the Khasi tribals of Meghalaya, living in the no-man’s-land villages, reportedly sent away the investigators, saying they belonged to Meghalaya.
Soon after that, Bishwakarma says hundreds of Khasis, armed with knives and bows and arrows, attacked Nepalis during a weekly market. When police intervened, five Khasis were said to have been killed in the firing, resulting in even more fierce attacks on Nepali migrants.
In Umiam village, Vishwakarma says a 70-year Nepali cowherd was set ablaze. Three more Nepali huts were also set on fire.
The killing was followed by attacks on Nepalis and threats. ‘People, including even government employees, have been receiving quit Meghalaya notices, warning them to leave within a week or even 24 hours,’ Vishwakarma says.
The association says Meghalaya has seen such attacks against migrants since the 70s. There were riots targeting Bengalis in 1979, against Nepalis in 1987, followed by still more violence against people from Bihar and non-tribals.
Nepalis, it says, are a peace-loving community who have sacrificed their lives for India during the wars with China and Pakistan.
The association is asking the Meghalaya government to provide compensation to the displaced and injured Nepalis, medical treatment and deployment of paramilitary forces in the trouble-prone areas to ensure their safety.
New Delhi, May 20 (ANI): The Indian Army has launched the Military Police help line here.
Army Chief General VK Singh inaugurated the facility on Wednesday during the biannual Army Commanders Conference.
Common Military help line telephone number 155200 can now be accessed across the nation to provide assistance to military personnel.
The number that is available at Military Police Control Rooms has been instituted to provide immediate assistance and be instrumental in solving and mitigating crisis being faced by military personnel.
In addition, it will provide an excellent facility for the civil police and the public to contact the Army Military Police to provide first hand information of any situation where military persons are involved or has potential to affect the military persons.
The telephone number has been allotted in coordination with department of telecommunication and can be accessed locally and from outside the locality by prefixing the STD code of that station.
The facility has been activated presently at some of the metro cities and state capitals, and is likely to be extended across the nation soon. (ANI)
New Delhi, May 18 (ANI): The Naxal violence, which is spreading at an alarming rate and is regarded as the biggest internal challenge to the country’s security, will come up for discussion during the ongoing Army Commanders’ Conference on Tuesday.
In the last three years, the Naxalites have killed more than 2,600 people, including civilians. The highest number of casualties has taken place in Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa, where 2,212 people have died so far.
In the wake of prevailing and developing security environment, army commanders’ will also discuss key policy, and doctrinal issues.
The report, prepared by HQ Central Command, deals with resources required to tackle the Naxal menace, if the Army is called out to fight the Maoists.
“The Naxal situation is likely to be discussed and the resources required to tackle it, will be taken up by army commanders during the conference,” said a source.
This move is being initiated despite Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram saying the government does not envisage using the armed forces to tackle the Maoists.
However, there have been instances in the past when the armed forces were called to assist the police to put down threats to internal security like in Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.
The Army Commanders’ Conference commenced at Integrated Headquarters of Ministry of Defence (Army) on May 17. The five days conference has been scheduled from May 17 to 21.
Army Chief General VK Singh reviewed the regional security situation, in which he spoke of the asymmetric means adopted by non-state actors and terrorists to achieve their objectives.
He also mentioned the multi spectral threats, which directly affect military doctrines and restructuring. (ANI)
New Delhi, May 14 (ANI): To promote military cooperation and further strengthen ties, Defence Minister AK Antony will undertake a two day official visit to Oman from May 17.
During his stay in Muscat, Antony will hold wide-ranging talks with his Oman counterpart Sayyid Badr bin Saud bin Harib Al Busaidi on the issue of piracy in the Gulf of Eden and efforts to secure trade between two countries via the sea route.
Defence exports from India will also feature on Antony’s agenda, as Oman is the first Gulf country to procure the assault rifle INSAS, which is manufactured by the Ordnance Factory Board.
The indigenously built rifle, used by the Indian Army, was sent to Muscat in March and is currently undergoing trials for the Oman army.
A high-level delegation, including Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar, will accompany Antony during his visit.
The Defence Minister will also hold talks with the top leadership of the Sultanate of Oman and meet the Indian community.
“India and Oman have a vibrant military cooperation. In October last year Jaguar fighter jets of the Indian Air Force flew to Oman to participate in the first joint air exercise with the Royal Air Force of Oman,” said a Ministry of Defence statement.
Following the signing of a protocol agreement on military relations between India and Oman in 1972, the last decade has seen an increase of military relations between India and Oman.
Several high level visits are expected to take place between India and Oman. Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma will visit that country in June to attract investments. (ANI)
Ludhiana, May 10 (ANI): The Bhogal Hobby Tech Private Limited in Punjab”s Ludhiana city claims to have manufactured spy planes after being approached by the army.
According to them, the UAV aircraft, named Tohi, can be used in conflict zones.
“Some representatives from the army contacted us saying that they had received some aero-models on which they had to train. They approached us after being referred by the National Cadet Corps. With this purpose, we established our company,” said Manvir Bhogal of Bhogal Hobby Tech Private Limited.
The Tohi plane has a cylinder and a shaft, and is fuelled by methanol or petrol. It can fly for an hour with a liter of fuel.
“Till now, the biggest aero-model that we have manufactured has an engine capacity of 86 cc. But our main feature is the manufacturing of UAV models, which was a task assigned to us by the Indian army,” added Bhogal.
UAV are strategic defence tools that greatly benefit the armed forces.
They have previously been used by United States of America to monitor the Tora Bora Mountains in Afghanistan and Iraq post 9/11. (ANI)
Bangalore, May 7 (ANI): K. Unnikrishnan, the father of late Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan who was martyred during the 26/11 Mumbai attack, has termed the death sentence awarded to Pakistani gunman Ajmal Amir Kasab, as a symbolic punishment and wished the sentence is executed at the earliest.
Major Sandeep, an officer of Indian Army and deputed to the National Security Guards, the crack commando outfit, died fighting militants outside the Taj Hotel in Mumbai.
“There is no question of satisfaction, but this is a symbolic punishment with a symbolic judgement. We can”t bring any victim back, that”s the tragic thing, and we definitely have to do much more, to at least to have…this is just the first step, second step should be to reduce the time,” said Unnikrishnan.
In Kakra Dubwal, an obscure village in Allahabad district, the family members and friends of Phool Chand, a taxi driver who was shot dead by the Mumbai attackers also welcomed the judgement.
However, Sanju Devi, the widow of Phool Chand said that she would be satisfied only when Kasab is hung.
“I will be satisfied only when I see that he (Kasab) is hanged,” she added.
Judge M L Tahiliyani awarded a death sentence to Kasab for waging war against India, murder, conspiracy to murder, and participating in an act of terror under Unlawful Activity Prevention Act (UAPA).
Judge Tahaliyani felt that Kasab”s crime fell under the judicial definition of “rarest of rare” cases.
Judge Tahiliyani also awarded a life term to Kasab on five other counts.
Judge Tahiliyani also felt that having Kasab alive could pose perpetual danger to the nation.
He also added that Kasab was a menace to society.
Immediately after pronouncement of the death sentence, Judge Tahaliyani sent his order for confirmation to the Bombay High Court.
The death penalty will not be implemented immediately as it has to be confirmed by the High Court.
Kasab has the option of appealing to higher courts, and can also file a mercy petition for the consideration of the President of India.
Earlier, Kasab was pronounced guilty on Monday and the prosecution and defence ended their arguments on the quantum of sentence to be handed out on Tuesday. (ANI)
Kolkata, April 22 — Assault rifle INSAS (Indian Small Arms System), built by the state-run Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), will soon be used by the Royal Oman Army. The indigenously built rifle was sent to Muscat in March and is currently undergoing trial for the Oman army. “Oman has informed us that the rifles have successfully passed the trial run. INSAS will, in all likelihood, be the standard assault rifle of the Royal Oman Army,” said an OFB deputy director-rank official, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media. The rifles were subjected to endurance tests for extreme desert temperatures and sandstorms and performed well in both conditions, sources in OFB and Ministry of Defence told Hindustan Times. Developed in OFB’S Ishapore factory, 45 km north of Kolkata, in 1998, it has three variants – an assault rifle, a light machine gun and a carbine. India will be supplying the 5.56 mm assault rifle to Oman. The weapon has been sent as part of the India-Oman comprehensive defence agreement of 2003. “If a deal is struck with Oman, the quantity and size of the deal will not be made public,” said Major General V.K. Narula, additional director general (public relations) of the Indian Army. Equipped with 20 or 30-round transparent magazines, the rifle has an effective range of 450 metres. The loaded weapon weighs around four kilograms.
In 1999, it served the army against Pakistan in the Kargil confrontation.
Kuala Lumpur, Apr 22 (ANI): BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, which is a joint venture of India and Russia, will be fitted on the Indian Air Force’s 40 Su-30MKIs fighter aircraft.
CEO and MD of BrahMos Aerospace Dr AS Pillai said: “The inclusion of BrahMos cruise missile will make the aircraft unique in firepower.”
Dr Pillai was speaking to a Russian news agency at the Defence Services Asia-2010 exhibition here.
He also added that the first trials of the air-launched version were set for 2011 and the first test-flight with the missile on-board is scheduled for 2012.
The supersonic cruise missile has a range of 290-km and flies at a speed of 2.8 Mach.
The BrahMos missile is a successful joint venture of India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroeyenia.
BrahMos missiles sea and ground-launch versions have already been successfully tested and put into service by the Indian Army and Navy. (ANI)
London, Apr. 1 (ANI): The Indian chili, which is used by the Indian Army to make hand grenades to immobilize terrorist suspects, has been beaten by England’s ‘Infinity chili’ as the hottest in the world.
‘Infinity chili’ bred in the historic market town of Grantham, Lincolnshire is hotter than the Bhut Jolokia chili, according to tests conducted by the Warwick University.
On the Scoville Scale, Infinity chili has been rated at 1,067,286, while the Bhut Jolokia chili is measured at 1,041,427, The Sun reports.
A jalapeño measures just 2,500 to 5,000 on the Scoville Scale.
The Lincolnshire variety is named Infinity for its “never-ending” burn, which cannot be quelled by even the best antidote, milk.
A novice who eats it can require hospital treatment for mouth blisters and burns.
The paper quoted Grower Woody Woods, 37, of Fire Foods in Grantham, as saying: “It is like eating red-hot coal. To grow such a burning hot chili in our climate is unbelievable.”
He and pal Matt Simpson, 38, bred the Infinity in a greenhouse by crossing existing varieties.
They hope to market the seeds this year. (ANI)
New Delhi, Mar 31 (ANI): General Vijay Kumar Singh on Wednesday formally took charge as the 26th chief of the 1.13 million-strong Indian Army.
General Vijay Kumar Singh, 59, will hold the post for the next two years.
An honours graduate of the US Army Infantry School at Georgia in the US, General Vijay Kumar Singh is an alumnus of the Wellington-based Defence Services Staff College, the Mhow-based Army War College and the US Army War College, Carlisle.
A third generation army officer, General Vijay Kumar Singh was commissioned into the Rajput Regiment on June 14, 1970.
He had participated in the 1971 war against Pakistan and in the operations of the Indian Peace-Keeping Force in Sri Lanka in the mid-1980s.
He also commanded the Jalandhar-based 11 Corps and Ambala-based Strike Corps and was an instructor in the Indian Military Training Team (IMTRAT) headquarters in Bhutan.
He is a recipient of the Param Vishist Seva Medal, the Ati Vishist Seva Medal and Yudh Seva Medal. He is also one of the honorary ADCs to the President of India, who is the Supreme Commander of the armed forces.
The General has a illustrious record in the Army for standing first in the Young Officers Course of Infantry and again being awarded the Commando Dagger for standing first in the Commando Course. (ANI)
Ludhiana, Mar. 31 (ANI): A Ludhiana-based businessman who started off with aero modelling as a hobby has designed a ”half scale” unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
UAV is a light aerial vehicle used by the air force for border surveillance and light combat. Since it is an unmanned vehicle the Air Force uses it to navigate sensitive areas without loss of human life.
“After completing my college studies, I joined my family business, which is a company engaged in manufacturing bicycle parts known by the bhogal brand,” Manjeev Bhogal, owner of Bhogal Hobby Tech, said.
“After joining the business, defence forces approached for aero modelling training because they were aware of my hobby because of NCC Air Wing. When they approached us we started giving training army personnel and officers as hobby flyers,” he added.
Currently, the IAF trains its pilots with UAVs imported from Israel.
Manjeev Bhogal’s company is now eyeing an order which will enable it to manufacture ”half- scale”UAVs at half the import price of 800,000 rupees.
For five years, Bhogal hobby tech has been manufacturing small training aero models for the UAV squadrons of the IAF, Indian Army and the Indian Navy training.
The company has supplied about 24 aero models and flight simulators to the National Cadet Corps (NCC) to train their cadets for microlite flying. (ANI)
Srinagar, Mar 29 (ANI): The Indian Army on Monday sounded a terror alert, claiming that as many as 400 infiltrators are attempting to sneak into Jammu and Kashmir.
“This is going to be hot summer terrorism-wise in Kashmir as approximately 300 militants are active in the valley while another 400 are waiting in the wings in PoK to cross over to this side to step up violence,” said Brigadier General Staff, 15th Corps, Gurmeet Singh.
Singh added that there was no need to worry, as the troops were well prepared to confront any challenges.
He, however, claimed that the weapons, ammunition, equipment, food items, medicines and also some video-clips and photographs recovered from the killed militants showed signs of a high degree of terrorists anxiety.
“Approximately, 42 training camps were intact across the border. Of them 34 are active and 400 militants are waiting for an opportunity to cross over to this side from 20 launching pads,” said Singh, adding that the army had prior information about the recent infiltration attempts in Kupwara district”s keran sector.
“We were prepared for this and eliminated 8 terrorists in keran sector between March 24 to March 28. The mixed group of militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba, Hizbul Mujahideen and Harkat-ul-Mujahideen comprising eight terrorists were eliminated,” Singh said.
Singh further said the operation against the terrorists was still on in the region and the area is being extensively searched to avoid any untoward incident. (ANI)
New Delhi, March 16 (IANS) In a temporary relief for former Lieutenant-General Avadesh Prakash, the Supreme Court Tuesday decided to hear his plea against the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT)order of February that facilitated a fresh Court of Inquiry (COI) against him in the Sukna land scam.
A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice Deepak Verma and Justice B.S. Chauhan decided to hear Prakash’s plea against being made an accused in the case midway through a CoI but refused to grant any specific relief to him.
Senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Prakash, pleaded before the court to halt the CoI proceedings but the court did not oblige. However, Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaisingh assured him that ‘nothing may happen’ till the hearing in the apex court on March 29.
The former military secretary, the senior-most officer of the Indian Army ever accused of a scam, has come to the apex court claiming that COI order was a violation of the principal of natural justice. The tribunal headed by Justice A.K. Mathur had endorsed the army’s move to make him an accused in the scam.
His counsel contended that the former military secretary had appeared as a 19th witness before the CoI, probing the Sukna land scam, but after his deposition he was made an accused in the case.
As CoI ordered his court martial, the former lieutenant general moved the Armed Forces Tribunal, which gave him the permission to examine all other witnesses, examined before him.
Not satisfied with the tribunal’s ruling, Prakash moved the apex court seeking the ruling be scrapped.
The Court of Inquiry report of Sep 29, 2009, had indicted Prakash for ‘using his position of authority to pressurise the staff of Headquarters 33 Corps and influencing Lt-Gen P.K. Rath, GOC’ to issue a no-objection certificate to transfer a 71-acre tea estate adjacent to the Sukna military station to family friend and businessman Dilip Agarwal.
Jaisalmer, Mar 15 (ANI): Four Indian Army soldiers were killed during night firing practice at the Pokhran Field Firing Range in Rajasthan.
The incident occurred on Sunday night when the troops belonging to Meerut based division were firing 81 mm mortars and one of the shells exploded, killing the four soldiers at the PFFR, , army sources said on Monday.
The source said that and a probe has been ordered by the Army to ascertain the reasons behind the accident. (ANI)
New Delhi, Mar 15(ANI): Bangladesh Army Chief General Mohammed Abdul Mubeen, who is on a five-day visit to India, was given a Guard of Honour in the national capital on Monday.
Earlier on Sunday, General Mubeen, who arrived with his wife and a four-member army delegation, was received by the Deputy Director General of Indian Military Intelligence Air Marshal S. C. Malhan at the Indira Gandhi International Airport.
During his visit, General Mubeen will call on Indian Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor and discuss matters of professional interest and bilateral military issues.
He will also visit Indian Army establishments.
This is Mubeen”s maiden tour of India after his appointment as the chief of army staff last year.
General Kapoor had earlier visited Dhaka on a six-day tour in July 2008, five months after his the then counterpart and Mubeen”s predecessor General Moeen U Ahmed visited India. (ANI)
Nainital, Sep 18 (ANI): With an aim to revive yacht sailing in the country, a 15-day camp is being organised in Nainital district of Uttarakhand where in school children are being trained in yacht sailing.
Over 40 school students from the various parts of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh are taking part in the camp, which is being conducted under the aegis of Indian Army’s Central Command.
The Lucknow based Central Command is conducting such adventure camps for school children from over a decade.
The participants are receiving guidance in the yacht sailing by a team of 11 Army instructors.
“This yacht sailing is a great sport because these days it’s becoming extinct. Most of the people do not want to take part and people of Nainital are also not taking so much interest in yacht sailing. But I feel it’s a very adventurous sport and a great sport,” said Karel Caprini, a participant.
Many of the participants also feel that the training would open up new job opportunities for them.
“We have come here to revive this sport and as far as I can say it’s a very good sport and there is a lot of job opportunity in it. If we do well and learn the technique, we can make our career in the sports,” said Deep, another participant.
According to the Chief instructor of the camp, Mahip Singh the main motive behind the camp is to popularise the dying sport among youth.
“Basic purpose is that sailing is an international sport and the facilities available in Uttaranchal especially, which comes under the central command. We have got our sailors, who have participated in international levels and we got the expertise. So to give the young building up generation a chance to gain knowledge and finally if they have the interest, so excel in the sport. That’s why we have organised the camp,” said Singh.
Despite being considered as a sport at the international level, yacht sailing in India is still at its nascent stage. (ANI)
Islamabad, Sep.17 (ANI): The Pakistan government is considering commuting death sentences, but such a step may not help the cause of Sarabjeet Singh, the Indian inmate who has been awarded a death sentence by a Lahore anti-terrorism court in October 1991.
Interior Advisor Rehman Malik said the government has sent a draft to the law division seeking legal opinion on the proposal to commute death sentences.
Rehman, however, said that even if the proposal is accepted there would be no mercy for terrorists.
“They (terrorists) will have to face the death penalty,” The Dawn quoted Malik, as saying.
According to an estimate there are 7000 death inmates in Pakistan at present.
Pakistan security agencies have maintained that Singh had admitted that he was sent to Pakistan to carry out serial bomb blasts in Lahore, Faislabad, and Kasur, and was trained by the Indian Army, and the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).
Singh was awarded the death sentence by a Lahore anti-terrorism court in October 1991.
He challenged the verdict in the Supreme Court, however, the apex court quashed his appeal in September, 2005, saying that the review petition was not filed within the time period as mentioned in the law.
In March 2006, a two member Supreme Court bench dismissed Singh’s petition against his conviction in the Lahore’s Yakki Gate bomb blast in 1990.
Singh has been languishing in Pakistan jails for the last 28 years, as Pakistan has stonewalled release even on humanitarian grounds, despite continuous efforts by Indian diplomatic channels. (ANI)