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Monday, November 2, 2009

7 militants killed in Manipur

As many as seven unidentified militants were gunned down by an Assam Rifles search party at Androsenapat in Imphal East district following an encounter late last night and recovered huge quantity of arms and ammunition.

A spokesman of Assam Rifles based in Imphal said a search party of Assam Rifles was challenged by a group of about 15 militants at Androsenapat in Imphal East district at around 11 pm yesterday and seven of the militants were killed in the ensuing gunbattle.

The bodies of the militants who are yet to be identified were later handed over to police at Yairipok police station. The Assam Rifles party recovered two AK 47 assault rifles, one US-made rifles, three .9 mm pistols, one .32 pistol with a magazine, three bombs, one RPG, two grenades., one radio set and lots of assorted ammunition.

Army dishes out bonanza, doubles house rent

Realising that the cost of living had gone up and it was impossible to provide government housing to all its officers and jawans, the Indian Army has doubled the house rent allowance. This will apply to those who have not been allotted official houses and have to take accommodation on rent in civilian areas.

Orders of the Army Headquarters in this regard have been circulated to all regiments, officials said while adding that these have been implemented with immediate affect.

A number of officers and jawans are forced to take places on rent in civilian areas, especially in cities like Delhi and Chandigarh, where accommodation is not enough and is very expensive to rent out a decent two-room place.

The Army also ramped up the scales of accommodation applicable to all its officers and jawans. Notably in case of barrack style accommodation for “single-living” jawans, that is the pattern of living in most forward bases, the jawans will have more space. This will be bigger living area and in some case the increase is 40 per cent of the existing area. The common room will be doubled while the jawans will have bigger bathrooms and more number of urinals.

Provision for desert coolers, educational rooms and computer rooms have been made. For varying seniority of officers geysers, AC and Kota stone flooring will be the new standard of fittings allowed in homes. The kitchen will have a proper utensil and cutlery storage cabinet. As of now, officers get it done with their own money. The review of the new scales of accommodation was carried out after 20 years or so and since then living conditions have changed considerably.

Army to train state police personnel


Perturbed by the growing demand for central paramilitary forces by the Naxal-affected states to tackle Maoist violence, the Centre has decided to get a select group of the state police personnel trained by Army officials in jungle warfare (guerilla war) so that they could take on the ultras more effectively.

Sources in the state police headquarters revealed that the plan was already finalised in consultation with the Union Home Ministry and quite a few meetings between the officers of the Bihar police and the Army officials had been held in this connection.

Four battalion headquarters of the Bihar Military Police (BMP) had been selected as training schools for the purpose. The Centre had already provided Rs 1.5 crore to each of these upcoming schools for developing infrastructure and procuring equipment. Around 250 police personnel selected from the District Armed Police and the BMP would be trained in one batch at each of these training schools.

The state Home department will constitute a team of senior police officers who would select the policemen for this special training and also their trainers. The IG (operations) and Brigadier of Danapur cantonment would be permanent members of this committee.

The local sub-area office of the Army has already provided a list of retired Army officials to the state government for the selection of trainers. In all likelihood, the training schools would become functional by December 2009, said ADG (Headquarters) Neelmani. After undergoing rigorous training for three months, the trained police personnel would be included in the Special Task Force (STF) raised by the state government exclusively to take on the Naxals.

As a part of its anti-Naxal operation, the Centre had also provided Rs 18.90 crore to Bihar government for creating special infrastructure, strengthening security around police stations, building roads and helipads in Naxal-dominated areas. The money would also be spent on providing armoured vehicles and bulletproof jackets, besides latest weapons to the police.

Maoists are also reported to have raised an exclusive women’s brigade to counter the Centre’s offensive against them. The Centre has decided to deploy its newly raised COBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action) force against the Naxals in Bihar very shortly.

The strategy of the Maoists, as indicated by intelligence agencies, is to put their specially trained women commandos in front to keep the COBRA force engaged in a gunbattle while their armed squad comprising men would be put on ambush duty from behind. Naxals had recently demonstrated their newly recruited women commandos by making them parade with their weapons in a combat outfit in a forest under the Dumaria police station of Gaya district.

Centre mulls special drive to recruit IPS officials


In order to meet the shortfall of officials for manning the security situation across the country, the Union Home Ministry has been asked to recruit 130 IPS officers each year up till 2020.

Also, a competitive examination may be conducted over the next seven years to recruit an additional 448 IPS officials, suggests a report by the one-member committee of former IPS officer Kamal Kumar on “Recruitment Plan (2009-2020) for the Indian Police Service”. The report was submitted to the Home Ministry on October 15. The committee suggests the annual recruitment between 2009-10 and 2019-20 fiscals be fixed at 130 officers.

In this connection, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram said on Friday: “The report confirms my conclusion that there was grave neglect in determining the number of candidates to be recruited to the IPS in the Civil Services Examination between 1999 and 2002.”

As against the number of 85 needed per annum, only 36 candidates were recruited each year, resulting in a shortfall of 49 officials a year or a total shortfall of 196 candidates. The damage could be corrected only over a period of 11 years.

The Home Minister said he had directed that the report of the committee be processed expeditiously and placed before the competent authority for appropriate action. However, for conducting a special exam, said sources, a cabinet approval might be needed. The matter would be referred to the ministry of personnel.

Separately, a mid-career training programme (MCTP) for IPS officials has been approved at an estimated cost of Rs 68.53 crore. Under the programme -beginning January 2010 - selected SP, DIG and IG-level officers would be imparted specialised training at premier Indian and international institutions.

Centre ready with anti-Naxal plan

Two days after extending an olive branch to Maoists, Home Minister P Chidambaram has said that he will not allow an armed revolution to succeed in India till his last breath. The government is also ready to launch the much-awaited full-fledged anti-Naxal operations in three different areas, considered tri-junctions of Maoist violence.

“Till last blood is there in my life, I will not allow armed revolution or terrorism and violence to overtake us in India,” the Home Minister told a public meeting in Madurai. Chidambaram said both the Congress and the BJP governments at the Centre had “underestimated” the Naxalites for the last 10 to 13 years.

“Now they (Naxalites) are trying to create problems in the country with arms in their hands. They are not going to succeed in this,” he said. At the same time, he said the Centre is ready to have dialogue with them provided they abjure violence.

Meanwhile, the tri-junctions, which have been identified for the offensive against the ‘Red Rebels’, are: Andhra Pradesh-Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh; Orissa-Jharkhand-Chhattisgarh and West Bengal-Jharkhand-Orissa.

Home Ministry sources said around 40,000 paramilitary personnel would assist the respective state police forces during the operations that will be launched soon. Almost 7,000 specially trained troops in jungle warfare are also part of the total strength of the Central forces to be deployed for the task.

The Cabinet Committee on Security had already approved the government’s new plan to counter Maoists under which the affected states will have an effective coordination and the police will take a lead role.

The anti-Naxal plan also includes Rs 7,300 crore package for unleashing developmental works in areas cleared off the Left-wing extremists.

Officials feel that the Naxal menace, which has now spread to 40,000 sq km area across the country, can be wiped out in a period of 12 to 30 months.

Around 25 lakh people live in areas where Maoists are now having a free run. The Naxalites have killed more than 2,600 people, including civilians, in 5,800 incidents in last three years.

The highest number of incidents of violence has taken place in four states — Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa — where 2,212 people lost their lives from January 2006 to August this year. According to the Home Ministry, Naxalism has spread to 20 states with over 2,000 police station areas in 223 districts partially or substantially affected. — PTI

IAF's 48 sq completes 50 glorious years

CHANDIGARH: The city-based 48 squadron of the Indian Air Force, which flies Russian-built AN-32 medium lift tactical transport aircraft is celebrating its golden jubilee for completing 50 commendable years.

The squadron has scripted several new chapters in the aviation sector by landing at various strategic locations at high altitudes and inaccessible places.

Famously called - Himalayan Lifeline or camel - the 48 squadron is familiar with each peak, valley, river, lake, and international borders with China and Pakistan.

The squadron was equipped with the Russian built AN-32 tactical transport aircraft for high altitude operations at Allahabad in 1985.

The following year, it moved to Chandigarh and since then, it has been the lifeline for all air maintenance activities in Jammu and Kashmir, para-dropping loads in the Siachen sector and landing at high altitude forward bases in Leh, Thoise, DBO, Fukche and Nyoma, in harsh conditions and inhospitable terrains, often beyond the aircraft maneuvering envelope.

The squadron was raised at Barrackpore, Srinagar, in 1959 and was initially equipped with six Dakotas, workhorse of the IAF at that time. During hostilities in 1962, the squadron operated in the Eastern Sector, airlifting troops and military hardware, besides evacuating civilians from forward locations.
In 1965, it was actively engaged in airlifting of troops and armament in both the western and eastern sectors and was also employed for the movement of fighter squadrons and their associated equipment to their operational locations.

During the 1971 Indo-Pak war, the camel squadron played a major role as they carried arms and ammunition to Agartala, evacuated displaced civilians and airlifted casualties.

The squadron aircraft led by the its commanding officer (CO) group captain SC Chafekar has undertaken several world records like landing at the highest advanced landing ground (short, high altitude, kutcha airstrip) in the world at DBO at 16,200 feet, followed by trial landings at Fukche and Nyoma, both above 13,500 feet.

Driven by the motto - Sahasam Falati Sarvatraha, Shaurya Chakra awardee Gp Capt Chafekar told TOI, "We have achieved these feats because of the efforts put by our team."

The squadron was awarded the Presidents Colours in February 2007 for its contribution to the country.

The squadron has been involved in many military and civil operations - 1962, 1965, 1971, IPKF, CACTUS, Safed Sagar, Parakram, Bhuj and Tsunami relief etc. This is a great moment of pride for the squadron members. 

Russian nuclear submarine test-fires missile

MOSCOW - A Russian nuclear submarine has successfully test-fired a ballistic missile, authorities said Sunday.

“On Nov 1, the Northern Fleet’s nuclear-powered missile-carrying submarine, Bryansk, successfully test-launched an intercontinental ballistic missile in the Barents Sea from a submerged position,” the defence ministry said in a statement.

“The warheads reached the target area at the designated time,” the statement said.

Russia’s nuclear triad comprises land-based ballistic missile systems, nuclear-powered submarines armed with sea-launched ballistic missiles, and strategic bombers carrying nuclear bombs and nuclear-capable cruise missiles.

Indian Navy to procure five midget submarines

New Delhi, Nov 1 (PTI) To strengthen its capabilities of carrying out special underwater operations in high seas and enemy harbours, the Indian Navy is planning to procure five midget submarines for the Marine Commandos (MARCOS).

Submarines weighing less than 150 tonnes are classified as midgets and are used by the Navies to carry out underwater covert operations and surveillance missions.

The Navy has already initiated the process of procuring these vessels and recently issued a Request for Proposal to Indian shipyards including Hindustan Shipyards Limited, ABG and Pipavav shipyards, Defence Ministry sources told PTI here.

Initially, Navy is planning to get only five of these vessels but the inductions can be doubled later on.

The induction of these midgets is part of the Navy's efforts to strengthen its operational capabilities after the 26/11 terror strikes in Mumbai last year, sources said.

Militants kill Valley cops

Srinagar, Nov. 1: Militants struck in Srinagar city today, killing two police constables in a daylight shooting, days after the high-profile visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and home minister P. Chidambaram.

During their visit, both Singh and Chidambaram had claimed a significant improvement in the situation here.

The militants, who were carrying pistols, surfaced at the busy Qamarwari locality of Srinagar and fired at two policemen on duty from close range.

Head constable Manzoor Ahmad died on the spot while his colleague Abdul Qabir succumbed to his injuries in hospital.

“Both of them were posted with Qamarwari police station,” Kashmir police chief Farooq Ahmad said.

In another incident, a Lashkar-e-Toiba militant, Mohammad Farooq alias Abu Talha, was killed in a fierce encounter at Bal Angralla-Mahore in Reasi district of Jammu. Police said the encounter between 61 Rashtriya Rifles and militants broke out last night.

Militants are increasingly targeting major cities and towns across Kashmir, which were relatively calm for years. The rebels have regrouped taking advantage of the engagement of the security forces in quelling street protests against the Amarnath land hand-over and the alleged Shopian rape and murders.

The militants last struck at Sopore, an important north Kashmir town, on September 29 by adopting similar hit-and-run techniques, killing three CRPF jawans.

On August 1, militants had shot at two CRPF men and a Jammu and Kashmir policeman at two different places within a radius of 2km in Srinagar city, leaving two of the victims dead and the third injured.

On August 31, militants launched two back-to-back attacks in the heart of Srinagar, leaving two CRPF men dead and over 25 others, including 20 civilians, injured.

The resurgence of militant attacks in the city comes as the Union government prepares for talks with the moderate separatist leaders. Such attacks are seen as a reminder to the Hurriyat doves that the militants are alive and would not allow any “sellout” on Kashmir. The militants are against bilateral negotiations with New Delhi.

Mobility of Personnel and Pensions

Dear Readers

The link to govt order on mobility of govt servants into various cadre and its implication on pension is given here:

Clarification on relaxation of age limit for ex-servicemen

Dear Readers,

Thr govt order on relaxation of upper age limit to the ex-servicemen/commissioned officers, ECOs/SSCOS for appointment to Group A and Group B posts filled by direct recruitment is here.