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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Khandu, an army intelligence officer-turned-politician

Itanagar, Oct 24 (PTI) The man who led Congress to a two-third majority in Arunachal Pradesh is a former army intelligence officer rewarded for his exploits during the Bangladesh war and turned a social activist before joining politics.

The 54-year-old Chief Minister, who was with Indian Army Intelligence Corps for seven years and received a gold medal for his services, turned his attention to providing basic amenities to people in the state and only began his political career as an anchal samiti member in 1980.

Analysts feel it was his reach among the people that helped him replace powerful Gegong Apang as Chief Minister who had ruled the tribal state for 23 years.

In 1982, Khandu led a cultural troupe to ASIAD in Delhi from his home district Tawang that won a silver medal.

Indian dangerous designs against Pakistan

By Asif Haroon Raja
India has made its standing in the world because of its size, geo-strategic importance and huge economic market. It is largest in size and population and militarily and economically the strongest country in South Asia. Indian army of 1.4 million is third largest after China and USA. It has 34 combat divisions.
In the 18 infantry and ten mountain divisions, there are 360 infantry battalions. It has two airborne brigades having 20 combat helicopter units and 90,000 surface-to-air missiles and wide variety of surface-to-surface missiles. In the three armored divisions, seven independent armored brigades and five RAPID divisions there are 93 tank regiments with 4500 tanks and 40 mechanised battalions. In two artillery divisions and independent brigades there are 52 air defence regiments and 200 artillery regiments having 12000 artillery pieces. Besides, India has formidable air force and navy.
Diplomatically it is well placed in world comity and enjoys best of relations with world powers as well as Muslim world. Till 1990 it was strategic partner of former Soviet Union and after the demise of latter it became the strategic partner of USA and continues to maintain best of relations with Russia. It has of late warmed up its relations with China after pushing the border dispute on the back burner. Israel developed special ties with India and both strive to destroy Pak nuclear facilities through a surgical strike or covert means. Israel has become biggest arms supplier of India.
In marked contrast to its high standing across the globe where it shows its humane face, India does not enjoy good reputation within South Asia where its interests clash with neighboring countries. Rather than acting as a big brother and winning over militarily and economically weak neighbors, it has all along adopted a hostile posture to make them subservient to its wishes. It is so obsessed with becoming the unchallenged regional power that it is spending huge amounts on acquisition of weapons of all hues and in modernizing its armed forces. Instead of attending to miseries of Indian people who commit suicide and sell their children and honour and their kidneys to survive, India is going berserk in building up its military power. Over 70% of Indians live below poverty line but Indian propagandist project India as ‘India shining’.
Among its neighbors, Pakistan is its chief rival since it refuses to accept India’s hegemony. Indian leaders are still not reconciled with existence of Pakistan and vie for its dismemberment.
Its survival and progress traumatize them and to lessen their anguish, they find ways and means to impede and possibly block all avenues of progression and keep looking for opportunities to deliver a death blow. India has gone to war with Pakistan five times including two limited conflicts in Rann of Katch and Kargil. Several times the two armed forces came close to a major clash with nuclear overtones. It is essentially Pakistan phobia which impels India to keep expanding its arsenal. Out of thirteen Corps, seven Indian Corps are poised against Pakistan.. RAW in close collaboration with CIA, FBI, Mossad, MI-6 and RAAM is currently engaged in destabilising Pakistan through clandestine means using Afghan soil.
Indian defence budget for the current financial year has jumped by 50% and amounts to $32.7 billion to carryout further force modernisation program. It doesn’t include expenditure on nuclear production and space projects. It plans to import military hardware worth $30 billion from USA by 2010. Cash strapped USA urgently in need of cash to tide over its economic recession and fiscal depression is too willing to oblige. 126 mirages are being procured from France, 66 Hawk trainers fighter jets from UK and a Phalcon. Navy will receive six French scorpion submarines, nuclear submarines, long range maritime reconnaissance aircraft, Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov. Army will get 12-1500 howitzer guns worth $ 3 billion from South Africa, Israel and Sweden D-90S tanks and MBRLs. Hectic preparations are underway for NBC warfare. It has taken the plea that it sees the possibility of NBC weapons falling into hands of terrorists.
In last three years India spent $ 10.5 billion on military imports. It has become largest arms importer among the developing world. It launched indigenously built nuclear submarine Arihant with underwater ballistic missiles capability on 26 July 2009 and has also procured AWACs. All these point towards its hegemonic designs. India launched a spy satellite in collaboration with Israel recently. When it learnt that China intends acquiring anti-satellite capabilities and has increased its naval presence in Indian Ocean to protect its commercial interests, it got edgy and said it is against militarization of space. None questioned India as to why it wants to keep space demilitarized and why not sea, land and air where it is spending billions to build up naval, army and air force assets. Taking advantage of civilian nuclear deal it inked with USA in 2008, it is modernizing and expanding its nuclear arsenal. India’s agreement to place its 4 out of 22 nuclear reactors under safeguards of IAEA by 2014 is inconsequential. In next five year time, it would be able to manufacture 200 additional nuclear bombs thereby doubling existing stock level. It is a purposeful move to pressurize Pakistan to do the same well knowing that US influenced IAEA has double standards when dealing with Muslim and non-Muslim countries. Indian lobby in USA succeeded in making Kerry Lugar aid bill for Pakistan harmful. Apart from other insulting conditions, the bill seeks freeze of Pak nuclear program.
India has all along adopted a duplicitous stance in its dealings with Pakistan. Duplicity of India can be gauged from its responses to various events. When Pakistan became member of SEATO and CENTO in 1950s essentially because of Indian threat to its security, India cried out that Pakistan was encouraging American influence in Indian subcontinent and becoming a threat to India. Nehru made this into an excuse to take a U turn on his commitment of holding plebiscite in Kashmir. India ignored the fact that it was sitting in the lap of USSR but outwardly espousing non-alignment. After getting beating from Chinese in 1962 conflict, India opened its doors for arms assistance both from Moscow and Washington. Indian military supported cross border terrorism in former East Pakistan in 1971 and broke Pakistan into two. From 1990s onwards, India forgetting its past conduct has consistently accused Pakistan of cross border terrorism in Indian occupied Kashmir where a popular freedom struggle is raging since 1989. It welcomed Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and vociferously condemned USA, western world and Pakistan in particular for supporting Afghan Jihad.
Having opposed the policies of USA for over four decades, it suddenly fell into the lap of USA the moment USSR lost its super power status and became its strategic partner in 1991. From that time onwards it has all along vied to spoil Pak-US relations and welcomed US intrusion in the region. It lent full support to Washington for its intended invasion of Afghanistan and offered its full services. It is party to occupation forces and is vying to become the key player in Afghanistan affairs. It has extracted highly prized civilian nuclear deal from USA and is receiving sophisticated weaponry from USA as well as from Russia in huge quantities without any compunction.
In contrast to huge defence budget and spending on purchase of latest state-of-art-of weapons by India, which has radically altered the military balance in its favor, any effort by Pakistan to procure its modest defence needs from USA, China or any other country is vociferously censured and hue and cry is made that it has aggressive designs against India.
Even the equipment procured for counter terrorism is objected to asserting that aid money would be used for purchasing offensive weapons for use against India. Indian rulers had raised serious objections to $10.5 billion military and economic assistance to Pakistan announced by George Bush for fighting US war on terror. They keep complaining at the top of their voices and do not stop grousing till such time the decision is reversed or the agreed to package drastically cut, or it is tied to tough conditions or India gets a better arms deal from USA. This has been the usual practice of India right from early 1950s. No one castigate India for its unwarranted wailing and none remind India that Pakistan has suffered a great deal at the hands of chauvinist India and is paying a very heavy price fighting US war on terror in terms of human losses, destruction of property and economic loss, which has been made more complicated because of Indian involvement.
Once Biden-Kerry Bill and later Kerry-Lugar Bill (KLB) was in the process of formulation, Indians raised a storm. Indian lobby in USA played a role in making the language of KLB insulting and in adding harmful clauses. Once the bill was passed which was apparently lucrative, offering $1.5 billion grant to Pakistan annually, surprisingly India did not make hue and cry. Rather, Indian media is trying to defend KLB and is speaking the language of ruling regime of Pakistan. Aakar Patel in his article titled ‘Kerry-Lugar is good for Pakistan’ appearing on 18 October in ‘The News’ has argued that the bill doesn’t infringe upon Pak sovereignty as asserted by Pak army.
He has subtly tried to provoke KLB lovers in Pakistan that army have no reason to get upset and to make its concerns public. He has eulogized Mehmood Qureshi calling him world-class, forgetting that during his last visit to New Delhi in November 2008 when Mumbai carnage took place, he and his colleagues had dubbed his utterances as insolent and puffed-up.
In case of Kashmir dispute, India has sought policy of bilateralism and non-interference of outside powers merely to prevent third party mediation or facilitation but seeks US intervention whenever it wants Pakistan to be coerced. It would welcome US facilitation on Kashmir if US Administration gives a solemn pledge that the dispute would be solved strictly in accordance with the wishes of India. Indian lobby in USA in league with Israeli lobby has become so influential that it made Obama backtrack on his commitment to amicably solve Kashmir dispute and for which Holbrooke had been mandated. India is at present in the forefront of US-Israeli game plan to destabilize, denuclearize and de-Islamize Pakistan and to turn it into a vassal state of India.
Ongoing spate of terrorist attacks in major cities of Punjab and NWFP and Islamabad and attack on GHQ has multiple aims. These are: force Pakistan to expedite military operation in South Waziristan Agency (SWA) so that large part of army gets fixed in that region and possibly get defeated; heighten animosity between the military and tribals to an extent that the latter refuse to side with it in case of Indo-Pak war; taking advantage of war in Waziristan, accelerate flow of RAW trained suicide bombers and terrorists from Afghanistan into Pakistan; carry forward war on terror to Punjab with a view to establish linkage of terrorists in south Punjab with Tehrik-e-Taliban and thus pressurize the government to launch another operation in Punjab; (ANP has already started to voice its demand for an operation in Punjab); provoke Pashtun belt of Balochistan including Quetta by launching drones on the pretext that Afghan Taliban Shura is stationed in Quetta; instigate MQM to make hue and cry about threat of Talibanisation in Karachi so as to justify demanding a military operation against Pashtun community based in Karachi. On directions from Washington, more and more fingers are being pointed towards Southern Punjab and Muredke. Idea is to keep pushing the army from one inferno into another so as to demoralize and exhaust it, lower its rising image in the eyes of public and thus place the army on a weak wicket to confront the Indian challenge.
- Asian Tribune -

An ostrich before the Dragon’s roar

Brave words and demeanour often cover up for a weak hand and harsh reality. So when the Chief of Army Staff General Deepak Kapoor the other day declared there would be no repetition of 1962, the tocsin should have sounded about precisely such a denouement being round the corner! Indeed, the situation on the ground has worsened so much from the high point of 1986-87 when, for the first and only time the Indian Army took the fight to the Chinese, that a determined push by massed PLA Group Armies across the Tibet front or ingress from southern Yunnan cutting across northern Myanmar into India from a direction the Indian Army does not anticipate and is unprepared for, will see the Indian forward units being stranded in a Chinese sea and the larger units falling back on the Assam plains damn fast.

The Indian Army’s unexpectedly aggressive response to a routine Chinese intrusion on that occasion may be attributed to a no-nonsense Divisional commander, who was not prepared to take guff from the Chinese, rather than to any sudden show of nerve on the Indian government’s or of guts by the army brass in Delhi.

The consequences, however, were salutary.

A chastened Chairman Deng Xiaoping reportedly told the Central Military Commission — the most powerful military body in China — that “We cannot anymore take a chicken knife to a bullock”. Meaning, presumably, that while in 1962 India was a chicken that could be trifled with, some 25 years later it had turned into a much heftier animal requiring lots more to subdue it. It eventuated in Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s state visit to Beijing in December 1988 and his “long handshake” with Deng.

However, instead of learning the lesson that Chinese respect nothing so much as they do military power and parlaying that success into beefed up mountain warfighting strength to push the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army further on the defensive, the Indian government fell back into its accommodationist stance even as the army leadership resumed its familiar activity of making a lot out of little and keying on Pakistan as “primary threat”. The psychological edge vis a vis China was thus frittered away.

The pity is that India’s China policy has ever been made, post-Jawaharlal Nehru, by Indian Foreign Service-wallahs with long stints in Shanghai and Beijing and a proven capacity to be befuddled and mesmerised by all things Chinese. Instead of emulating the Chinese habit of strategic visioning and hard realpolitik, our diplomats learn to kowtow, an attitude that serves as template for official thinking about China. To that mix are now added two other debilitating factors — Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s terminal mushiness and his National Security Adviser M K Narayanan’s patent policeman’s inability to see beyond his nose, and think strategic or even straight.

In the event, their mustering the gumption to permit the Dalai Lama to visit Tawang has come as a surprise at the end of a long series of Chinese insults and provocative behaviour that otherwise went unanswered. But to believe that the Indian government will react to Kashmir’s being shown as an independent country in its maps — the latest Chinese poke in the Indian eye — by representing Tibet in Indian maps in a different colour and, in effect, making the first of many required moves to de-recognise Chinese sovereignty over that benighted land, would be to expect entirely too much of a government that has turned tail more often than it has stood up for the national interest.

The vice-like grip on policy making by Chinese sympathisers in the Ministry of External Affairs is of long standing. It was Sardar K M Pannikar, it may be recalled, who in direct contravention of Nehru’s instructions, paved the way for the abject acquiescence in China’s subjugation of Tibet by replacing the word “sovereignty” for Nehru’s choice of “suzerainty” in describing Beijing’s relationship with Lhasa.

The important thing to note is that Nehru did not pull up the erring diplomat nor correct the text, which understandably met with Beijing’s approval. The reason, as this analyst has shown in his book — Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy, was that Nehru, disillusioned by the Indian Army’s poor, plodding, performance in the minor 1947-48 operations to rid the Srinagar Valley of the “raiders”, simply didn’t think the Indian armed forces had the druthers militarily to oust the battlehardened PLA from Tibet and hence opted pragmatically to placate China.

The Indian military’s role in reinforcing a manifestly passive-defensive, un-agile, and unimaginative foreign-military policy versus China is not talked about much but it is at the core of the country’s strategic limpness.

Before 1962, there were the likes of Chief of General Staff, Lieutenant General L Verma and the Eastern Army Commander Lieutenant General S P P Thorat who worried about the threat posed by China. But the drubbing in that war seemed to leak all the steam out of the military leadership in taking on the Chinese. This was especially glaring after the 1971 Bangladesh War when Pakistan was reduced and there was no remaining excuse not to begin reorienting the military effort primarily towards China.

Indeed, taking an ostrich-like stand — that the adversary you are not prepared to fight is unlikely to emerge as threat — the Indian Army Headquarters single- mindedly pooh-poohed the China threat for over 40 years, refusing to prioritise the acquisition of forces for offensive warfare on the Tibetan plateau. It is only in the last couple of years of incessant prodding by a few strategic analysts that the army has woken up to an aggressively rising China. A belated attempt is now being made to raise two light mountain divisions for offensive operations, but this is too little and bit late. These divisions will become active only around 2018 and will find themselves overmatched by the PLA. Because of the Qinghai-Lhasa railway and the network of nine-tonner roads right up to the Line of Actual Control, China can muster some 22-25 fighting divisions on the Indian front inside of two campaign seasons.

It is imperative the army begins a meaningful build-up against China by raising another seven light mountain divisions for a minimum of nine such formations.

Money for such force upsizing and modernisation can be found, for a start, by consolidating the existing three strike corps into one fully equipped armoured-mechanised corps to deal with Pakistan in any contingency. Otherwise, the country will end up with an absolute incapacity to deter China militarily and Indian army chiefs will have to continue making excuses for increased Chinese violations of LAC in the manner that General Kapoor did recently, saying that the aggressive actions by Chinese paramilitary border guards were not ordered by Beijing.

Right to Information? Now babus seek to cover up

NEW DELHI: After judges, it is the babus’ turn to take a call on disclosing their assets under the Right to Information Act. A confidential memo in TOI’s possession shows that senior, secretary-level bureaucrats in the government of India plan to meet on November 3 to discuss assets disclosure public employees. 

The meeting has been convened by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), a ministry that hasn’t supported the spirit of transparency embodied in the RTI Act. Government sources say the ministries and departments whose opinion has been sought have been encouraged to come up with a negative view on assets declaration. Points such as ‘‘intimidation of civil servants by busybodies’’, ‘‘mocking media analyses’’ could be over-emphasized by bureaucrats at the meeting in order to make a case for non-disclosure, the sources claim. 

DoPT’s attempt to canvas opinion stems from a directive issued in May by the Central Information Commission (CIC). The CIC was hearing an appeal by one P P Rajeev of Kerala against the Cochin Port Trust’s decision to reveal the assets of public servants working for it, under the RTI Act. 

The CIC declared it to be ‘‘critical issue’’ and asked the cabinet secretary to consult all stakeholders and report back. 

The danger that babus may block assets disclosure is thought to be apparent from the tone of the 23-page note. 

‘‘The comparison between the political class, MPs, MLAs and those contesting elections, on the one hand and civil servants on the other, is misconceived,” it said. But to be fair to the DoPT, its memo takes a neutral stance, simply listing the pros and cons of disclosing assets even as it concludes that ‘‘no further amendment to the civil service conduct rules seems necessary.’’

Now, IITs come up with their RTI 'shield'

NEW DELHI: Stung by the exposure of admission anomalies in recent years, the IIT system has come up with an innovative method of blocking transparency even as it agreed to give data under RTI on the marks obtained by the four lakh candidates in this year’s joint entrance examination (JEE). It insisted on giving the data only in the hard copy running into hundreds of thousands of pages rather than in the more convenient form of a CD. 

The information seeker, Rajeev Kumar, a computer science professor in IIT Kharagpur, is crying foul. For, the hard copy would not only result in a steep increase in the cost of information (running into six figures) but also make it almost impossible for him to detect irregularities in the latest JEE as he did in the three previous ones by analyzing the electronic data that had then by given to him under RTI. 

As a result of this change in the strategy of the IIT system, central information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi fixed a hearing for November 6 specially to resolve this soft vs hard debate. The hearing follows the unusual reasons given by Gautam Barua, director of IIT Guwahati and overall in-charge of JEE 2009, for his failure to comply with the CIC’s disclosure direction passed on July 30. 

In his first mail to CIC on October 2, Barua said that as there were a number of RTI applications seeking the CD, “we are apprehensive that this request for electronic data is to profit from it by using it for IIT JEE coaching purposes (planning, targeting particular cities, population segments, etc).” 

The reference to the coaching institutes is reminiscent of the recent controversy over the move to raise the bar on 12th class marks to be eligible for IIT selection. 

Asserting that IITs had “nothing to hide regarding the results”, Barua said, “We are ready to show the running of the software with the original data to the CIC, if it so desires.” 

As a corollary, Barua made an issue of the fact that Kumar “has not asked to see the data, but he wants an electronic version delivered to him. Why is this so?” Kumar responded to that by pointing out that the irregularities he had uncovered in the JEE of the previous three years was on the basis of “compute intensive scientific calculations and analysis, which could not have been done just by looking at the data.” 

Barua’s explanation in his subsequent mail on October 3 is: “By seeing, I meant that the appellant could come to IIT Guwahati and view the data, see the software being run, etc.” He added that if this option was unacceptable to CIC, “we will wish to provide the data in hard copy form, the costs of printing having to be borne by the appellant.” 

If Kumar is pressing that the data be given to him “in the form in which it is originally available”, it is because the access to the electronic data of the previous three years helped him unearth, for instance, the shocking fact that general category candidates got into IITs after scoring in JEE as little as little as 5% in Physics and 6% in Mathematics.

China projects Kashmir as a separate country

KATHMANDU: Besides issuing separate visas to Indian passport holders from Jammu and Kashmir, China is also projecting the disputed territory as an independent country in other ways. 

Visitors to Tibet, especially journalists invited by the Chinese government, are given handouts where Kashmir is indicated as a country separate from India. 

Media kits providing "basic information" about Tibet - which China attacked and annexed in the 1950s - says Tibet "borders with India, Nepal, Myanmar and Kashmir area". 

Except the "Kashmir area", the other three are sovereign countries. 

Maps too, available in China, Myanmar and Nepal, show an India denuded of Kashmir. 

Also, China's policy of extending assistance to only the government of a country indicates it considers India's nuclear rival and neighbour Pakistan to be in control of Pakistan-administered Kashmir by offering financial assistance to build a dam on the Indus river there. 

China, now locked in a row with India, is also asking for the tightening of the open border between India and Nepal that, it says, is abetting anti-China activities and demonstrations by Tibetans crossing into Nepal from India. 

Beijing is also indirectly asking for the closure of the seat of the Dalai Lama, the exiled leader of the Tibetans, in Dharamshala in India, hinting that such a step would improve India-China relations. 

China, which fought a war with India in 1962, says Arunachal Pradesh belongs to it. India says it is an integral and inalienable part of India. 

On the eve of the Dalai Lama's visit to Arunachal Pradesh in November, China has been hurrying Nepal to deploy armed security forces along the border between northern Nepal and Tibet. 

Both Nepal's Home Minister Bhim Rawal and Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal recently visited Mustang, the northernmost district in Nepal to assess the security plan. 

Mustang was once both part of an ancient Tibetan kingdom and later the base of anti-China guerrilla attacks by Tibet's Khampa warriors.

China's 'new front' on Indo-Nepal border

BAHRAICH: The Chinese clamour over Arunachal Pradesh has raised many eyebrows in India. Even as the meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in Thailand on Saturday was being looked at as an effort to cool down the tension between the neighbouring countries, the Dragon nation has opened another anti-India front. This time in Nepal. 

Silently but speedily China is spreading its wings in the erstwhile Hindu kingdom, mainly to unleash anti-India propaganda. Besides acquiring some major construction projects in Nepal, the Chinese are also making their presence felt by opening language centres in Nepali cities on the Indo-Nepal border. These centres are teaching Chinese language. But, what raises suspicions on Chinese intentions is the fact that these centres are open only for Nepali citizens. 

The surge in Chinese activities in the neighbour country is a matter of concern for India which is already fighting terrorism being pushed into the country from Pakistan. It’s a known fact that China often uses Nepal as a buffer state against India. After the Indo-China war of 1962, the Dragon country has made constant efforts to increase its influence in Nepal. Though it did not succeed much till Nepal was under the rule of monarchy, the fall of monarchy and growing Maoist grip over Nepal has given a fillip to Chinese plans. 

A clear indicator of this is the construction of Sikta barrage in Agaiya village of Banke district (Nepal). Its construction was delayed for almost three decades owing to Indian protest. But, once Maoists held sway over the Nepali government, the construction was given a go-ahead in 2006. Moreover, the contract for the project was given to Chinese firm — Sinehydro. In fact, a team of 40 Chinese engineers is engaged in the construction of the Sikta barrage in Agaiya district of Nepal. The district touches the Indian district of Shravasti. The distance from Indian border to the barrage is barely 14 kilometres. The possibility of Chinese infiltration in important zones of war on Indian border areas due to the presence of Chinese engineers cannot be ruled out. 

Also, after the completion of the barrage the flow of river Rapti towards India will be diverted towards Nepal which will create acute water shortage in Indian area. Efforts have also been started to divert the flow of rivers flowing towards Indian area from Parchu lake located in Chinese area adjoining the state which may lead to floods in the borders districts of India during monsoon. 

Not only this, if the and Sikta barrage ever breaks down due to technical reasons it will severely impact the security arrangements made on the India border. China, thus, seems to be working on these two projects under well-planned policy to tease India. 

Similarly, China has established the office of ‘Maitri Sangh’ in Nepal adjoining Indian border territory. 

Meanwhile, a 10-member team comprising five Chinese and five Tibetan national recently visited Nepalganj headquarters of Banke district (Nepal). The team toured the Indo-Nepal border and secretly clicked photographs of the Rupaidiha main gate located on Indo-Nepal border. 

The Indian intelligence agencies, however, learnt about this when the team had already left for Kathmandu. 

Assistant army Nayak Devendra of Shashtra Seema Bal (SSB), when contacted, told TOI that he will report the incident to his senior officers.

Use of armed forces against Maoists opposed

Urvashi Sarkar

NEW DELHI: Strongly opposing the use of armed forces in combating naxalite terror, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) national secretary D. Raja said here on Saturday that nothing would be achieved by involving the Army and the Air Force.
Mr. Raja was speaking at a meeting organised by Janhastakshep, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR).
Tamils’ plight

Citing the example of Sri Lanka, Mr. Raja said: “Sri Lanka thinks it has won the war against the LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam] by deploying its Army, Navy and Air Force. But has the problem been solved? Look at the plight of the Tamils there.”
The CPI(M) would be at the forefront in opposing any government move to deploy the armed forces, Mr. Raja said while clarifying that the CPI(M) also did not approve of the Maoists’ methodology. “We have differences with the Maoists, which is why we are separate.”
Asking the government to take responsibility for neglecting the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, he said, “Special Component Plans and Tribal Sub Plans have been introduced for the SC and the ST communities respectively, but 11 States including Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Assam have not earmarked separate funds for these plans.” He added that the neglect by the government had alienated the tribal communities.
“The armed forces should not be used against our own citizens as the armed forces in any country, particularly in India, enjoy a degree of affection in the minds of the people enjoyed not even by the police or the paramilitary forces,” said Admiral (retd.) R.H. Tahiliani.
Contrary to the government’s claim that the Army was not being involved, there was evidence to suggest its involvement, Professor G.N. Saibaba of Delhi University said.
“The joint command of the paramilitary forces, police, Army and the Air Force has already been constituted with regard to the naxal problem. The Army is involved in logistics and planning operations. News of involvement of the armed forces appears regularly in the Chhattisgarh media. We must strongly protest against the involvement of the armed forces. We did not protest much against the Army’s involvement in Jammu and Kashmir and in the northeast because it lay outside our imagination, but now it is at the centre,” he added.
“Governments of the National Democratic Alliance and the United Progressive Alliance have referred to Maoists as the biggest threat to India’s internal security. However, it is the threat of the people to destabilise the ruling classes that has the government worried,” said Janhastakshep member Pankaj Singh.
The government’s motive was to displace the tribals from their land and make it available for foreign investment, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) New Democracy member Aparna charged.

CRPF jawans retaliate after landmine blasts

KOLKATA: Suspected Maoists triggered three simultaneous landmine blasts, targeting a motorbike convoy of Central Reserve Police Force jawans near Kantapahari, seven km from Lalgarh in West Bengal on Saturday.
The rebels opened fire on the jawans immediately after the explosions. A gun battle ensued when the jawans retaliated. The Maoists finally fled the scene. None was injured.
Paschim Medinipur Superintendent of Police Manoj Kumar Verma said six CRPF jawans were on their way to the Kantapahari camp when the landmines went off. The exchange of fire continued for a few minutes. Combing operations have been launched. 

Fake certificate and growing attraction to CRPF : trouble for Army

Fake certificates of class X and XII being furnished by youths for recruitment in the Army have become a big problem even as the Army struggles to understand the growing interest of the youngsters towards a career in the CRPF.
About 40 fake certificates were detected in the last Army recruitment rally held in Samba forcing the officials to carry “fake notes detecting machines” at a rally underway in Jammu these days. The machines are being used to verify the certificates, disclosed a senior Army officer.
The rally for the recruitment of soldiers on general, technical and clerical duties, besides as nursing assistants under process since October 20 at the Sanjuwan military station has attracted around 15,000 candidates from 10 districts of the Jammu division.
This is too low compared to near 35,000 candidates who had queued up at an Army recruitment rally in Samba in January this year. The Army is deliberating on the causes that are attracting youths towards the CRPF.
“The CRPF is also in the process of recruiting constables in the state. We have noticed youngsters prefer the CRPF more as it may offer them more postings near home or in urban areas than the Army, where every two years the place of posting is changed,” said Col Sanjeev Dubey, Director, Zonal recruiting office, Jalandhar. The directorate recruits youths from Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.
CRPF spokesman Prabhakar Tripathi, while talking to The Tribune over the phone, confirmed the growing interest of youngsters towards the CRPF. “I don’t have ready data available, but we have received a overwhelming response to the recruitment rally in the state,” he said.
While the Army in a bid to attract youths pasted posters regarding the recruitment rally in civil areas instead of the usual practise of displaying them near Amry offices this time, the detection of fake certificates is giving the officials quite a headache.
“We have written to the Board of School Education (BOSE) to take necessary action against students faking certificates, check the hologram on the certificates and take some steps,” said Dubey.
Dubey revealed the Army had already spread awareness against agents who claimed they could manage recruitment. “We conduct tests before all candidates and invite the media also. Agents just cheat youths by taking money from them and claim credit if any of them is selected,” he added.
The basic education qualification for recruitment as soldiers is class XII. “But we get youths with higher qualification. There are many studying in graduation classes while a few are even science graduates.”

Psychological test

In order to check suicide incidents, the Army is for the first time conducting psychology tests on the youths at the time of recruitment as soldiers. Till now, only psychology tests at officer level was being conducted.
Col Dubey revealed a trial run of psychology test was conducted. “However, it was found that the test was tough for students of class X and XII. Now, the written psychology test for soldiers would have about 15 questions.”
He cautioned no psychological tests were foolproof. “Our studies reveal most of the soldiers committing suicide were confronting domestic problems.”

IIT faculty relents for now, accepts govt pay scales

Disappointed by the outcome of the IIT Council meeting that failed to even discuss the outstanding concerns of the faculty, the IIT Federation today decided to lower its guard for now in the interest of the institutes at large.
Meeting in the capital today to discuss the future course of action, the federation for the first time asked the IIT faculty across India to accept government pay scales for the time being and wait for HRD Minister Kapil Sibal to fulfil the assurances made on the fronts of autonomy and salary appraisal.
“We are hugely disappointed by the fact that the IIT Council did not even discuss our concerns. We will now wait for the individual boards of governors of IITs to take up our issues at the earliest. In the meantime, we have asked the IIT faculty to accept the sixth Pay Commission recommendations that come into effect from 2006. The decision is meant to secure the larger interest of the faculty and IIT system,” Prof M Thenmozhi, federation president, told The Tribune. However, they were keeping all options open, he added.
The federation would wait for some more time for the government to act on its promises. “The HRD Minister gave us several assurances. We hope he fulfils them at the earliest. But that is not to say that we have given up our struggle for better pay scales. We will wait and watch, but we do wish that the government had treated us better,” said Thenmozhi.
The federation is keen that the government should put all its verbal assurances into writing. Meanwhile, its appeal to the IIT faculty to accept the sixth Pay Commission salary is extremely significant as it reflects the federation’s willingness to relent from the path of agitation, at least for now.
It may be recalled that the federation had called off its two-month strike for autonomy and better pay scales following Sibal’s assurances. Though the minister said his promises should be deemed to have been “minuted”, the IIT faculty wants him to make a written commitment.

Swap decision was exceptional: Buddhadeb

Just three days after the “shameful” swapping of Maoist prisoners in lieu of the release of West Bengal police officer Atindranath Dutta, state Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today termed the exchange as an exception and he promised to teach the Maoists “a lesson in the future”.
The Chief Minister was addressing a press conference at Banga Bhawan in the Capital here today, a day after he met Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram to discuss the law and order situation in the state. Yesterday, he had refused to comment on the issue.
He refuted the charge that the state government turned soft in releasing tribal women and men on bail to secure freedom of the abducted police officer.
Bhattacharjee said the decision was taken on humanitarian grounds and the judicial process against the 14 tribal women and nine men, whose bail was not opposed by the state, will go on. Replying to the question if Maoists now knew that abducting the police was a certain way to secure release of its people, the Chief Minister shot back: “If they have assumed this, they are wrong. I will teach them a lesson in the future”.
The Chief Minister rubbished suggestions that the decision of the state government did not go down well with the party. He said the exchange of prisoners with the cop took place after the Maoists offered mediation, and maintained that barring the brief period when Dutta was released, the police and Maoists continued to exchange fire.
As for Maoist leader Kishanji, who was in frequent touch with media, he said the state government was trying to locate and catch him.
Earlier in the day, Union Home Minister P Chidambbaram firmly refused to respond to the comments of Maoist leader Kishanji, who had laid down certain conditions for a dialogue with the government. “He is the leader of an organisation declared as unlawful,” said the Home Minister.

PC: Maoists get arms from abroad

Disclosing that the Maoists were acquiring arms through Bangladesh, Myanmar and possibly Nepal, Home Minister P Chidambaram today nonetheless told them to "simply halt the violence" so that the government could start talks with them.
There was no evidence of any money flowing in from abroad to the Maoists but "there is certainly evidence of weapons being smuggled from abroad through Myanmar or Bangladesh" and possibly Nepal, he said.
During a wide-ranging interview, Chidambaram firmly refused to respond to the comments made by Maoist leader Kishenji, who had laid down certain conditions for a dialogue with the government.
"He is the leader of an organisation declared as unlawful." The Home Minister affirmed that the government was not insisting on the Maoists laying down arms as a pre-condition for talks.
"I have not used these words. Besides I am too practical to know they will not lay down arms.They have to halt violence, which means halt the wanton destruction of railway track, roads, telephone towers, school buildings, bridges," he said.
Chidambaram said violence must be stopped and then with the help of well-meaning people, "we can find a way in which the state governments primarily can talk to the groups in that state and the Central government will afford any assistance it can to facilitate such talks".
Referring to a statement issued by former Lok Sabha Speaker Rabi Ray and his friends for a halt to violence and holding of talks, he said he felt it was his duty to write to Ray making clear the government's policy.
"Let me state it in carefully chosen words that if any group abjures violence we are willing to talk to that group about any genuine grievances.
"This is what the Prime Minister has said. This is what I have said. We have not asked them to do anything more. We simply say halt the violence and then we can talk," the minister said.
Hitting out at "intellectuals" who voice support for the Maoists, he referred to the statement of the Maoists earlier this week that their objective of the attack on Sankhrail police station in West Bengal was weapons and money.
"Even after this statement, if people romanticise the Naxalites, all I can say is that only God can help them." — PTI