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‘Use of human shield wrong, but don’t overlook Kashmir Valley circumstances’




New Delhi, April 19:With the Indian Army facing flak for using a man as a shield against stone pelters in Jammu and Kashmir, a former chief has said the action was a violation of its code on human rights — but added that the “exceptional circumstances” in Kashmir valley should also be kept in mind.

Former army chief General V.P. Malik said one should keep in mind the “exceptional circumstances” under which the army was functioning in the violence-hit valley, while former Army Chief General Bikram Singh (retired) said though it was a violation it was a “one off incident — an aberration”.

Asked about the April 13 incident in which a Kashmiri was shown tied to the front of a army jeep, Malik said: “We have to first understand the exceptional circumstances which are prevailing in the Valley today… Exceptional in the sense of the kind of agitations, stone pelting, abusing and pushing of armed services people…”

“There is no doubt it was a violation of the Army code on Human Rights, but then I think when we look at his (the indicted army officer) offence and his misdemeanour, you have to take into account the circumstances in which he was,” Malik added.

“This is not a black and white case. If I was a Commander there, I would take into account all those circumstances.”

“This is an aberration, a one off incident, I am sure the Army will take corrective action… The Indian Army is a very big organisation which has always upheld the rule of law. The Army has been known for following the rules of engagement,” General Singh said.

“I really do not know under what circumstances the officer was compelled to adopt such a tactic. The facts will certainly come out in the inquiry already underway,” he said.

“Incidentally, the Indian Army is known to operate with a people-friendly stance even in situations marked by grave provocations,” Singh said, adding that the rules of engagement followed by the Indian Army have evolved from legal as well as moral constraints.

He also said “uncorroborated inputs” suggest that the officer through this tactic was able to extricate the voting booth staff with the Electronic Voting Machine on April 13, the day of re-poll ordered for 38 booths for the Srinagar-Budgam parliamentary seat.

“I am told that about 350 stone-pelting locals had surrounded the election duty officials carrying the EVM and the ITBP (Indo-Tibetan Border Police) protection party. Imagine what would have happened if the ITBP had opened fire in self defence?”

“There would have been a large number of civilian casualties. So, let’s wait for the inquiry to be over,” he added.

A video, shot on April 13 during re-polling in the Srinagar Lok Sabha by-polls was posted on social media last week showing a man, later identified as Farooq Ahmad Dar, being tied on the bonnet of an army jeep with a placard in Badgam.

The Indian Army is probing the incident.

An FIR has been registered by the Jammu and Kashmir Police against the security forces.

Malik said it was not a “good thing to happen”, but added, “You have to understand human nature. He (the army officer) was reacting to local circumstances. I would take all those things into account when you charge him for violation.”

Asked about the FIR, Singh said the law should take its own course.

“Law of the land is supreme and I am certain that this incident, like all other earlier reported human rights violations, will also be investigated impartially and in the backdrop of the circumstances and of course, the officer’s intent,” Singh said.

He added that India should not let Pakistan’s “game plan” to succeed in the Kashmir Valley.

“I would only like to remind all those who are gunning for the officer without even knowing the facts that we need to be mindful of Pakistan’s game plan and not allow it to succeed.”

“While upholding human rights we also have to ensure that our actions do not unnecessarily impinge on the soldier’s morale,” he added.



NSA Ajit Doval meets Amit Shah



Ajit Doval, Amit Shah
Image: Defence Aviation Post

New Delhi, June 19: National security Advisor Ajit Doval on Tuesday met BJP President Amit Shah in the national capital and discussed the prevailing situation of Jammu and Kashmir.

The meeting took place ahead of high-level talks between party cabinet ministers, various office bearers of the organisation and incharges of Jammu and Kashmir over the political situation in the state including the impact of suspension of ceasfire operations during Ramzan and others.

Meanwhile, reacting to the meeting between Doval and Shah, AIMIM Chief Asaduddin Owaisi poised several questions.

“We want to know, the country wants to know what talks took place when the NSA met the chief of a political party? Why did NSA only meet the ruling party why doesn’t he meet all political parties?, he asked.


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All arrested ‘Hindu terrorists’ are from RSS: Digvijaya Singh




Congress leader Digvijaya Singh has once again accused Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh of promoting terrorism.Citing an example of Mahatma Gandhi killing,Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister said Nathu Ram Godse was also a staunch believer of Sangh ideology and all the Hindu terrorists caught up by the authorities belonged to Sangh.

“Jitne bhi Hindu dharma wale aatankwadi pakde gaye hai sab Sangh ke karyakarta rahe hai (All Hindu terrorists caught so far have been RSS members in the past),’’ the Congress leader said in Jhabua.

While speaking to media at Madhya Pradesh’s Shajapur he said RSS’ ideology spreads nothing but hate, violence and violence leads to terrorism,’.

Digvijaya had claimed that he has always spoken about Sanghi terrorism and not Hindu terrorism.

Reinforcing his stand on “Sangh terror,” he said, “bomb blasts were executed by people influenced by Sangh ideology, be it Malegaon blast, Mecca Masjid blast, blast in Samjhauta express or Dargah Sharif.”

Defending Singh’s charges, senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid said that his statements needs to be seen in the right context. “Ideologically Digvijay Singh has very strong views. He has opposed minority extremism and said that every kind of extremism is bad. We must contextualise what he said rather than generalise it and think he is saying it against one community or organisation,” Khurshid said.





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SC refuses urgent hearing on PIL over Kejriwal’s protest



Supreme Court of India

New Delhi, June 19: The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hold an urgent hearing of a PIL seeking a direction to the Delhi High Court to expeditiously hear a plea for declaring the sit-in protest at Delhi Lt. Governor Anil Baijal’s office by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and others unconstitutional and illegal.

The vacation bench comprising of Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice Indu Malhotra said the matter would be heard on the opening day when court reopens after the summer break even as lawyer Shashank Deo Sudhi, appearing for the PIL petitioner, told the court that there was a constitutional crisis and a vacuum, and the administration was paralysed.

Sudhi appeared for PIL petitioner and advocate Hari Nath Ram, who told the vacation bench that the matter was listed before the Delhi High Court on Monday (June 18) but was directed to be heard next on June 22.

Seeking a direction to the High Court to hear the matter urgently, Sudhi told the bench that politicians were not above the law and there was a threat to the rule of law.

He referred to earlier court pronouncements by which the strikes were held to be illegal.

The lawyer said before the High Court they have prayed that perjury proceedings be initiated against the Lt. Governor and the Chief Minister for making conflicting claims on the strike by the bureaucrats serving in the Delhi government.

Kejriwal along with Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Health Minister Satyendar Jain and Transport Minister Gopal Rai has been camping at the Raj Niwas, the official accommodation-cum-office of Lt. Governor Anil Baijal, since June 11.

Kejriwal has said he and his colleagues would not leave Baijal’s office until their demands, which include direction to IAS officers to end their “strike”, action against officers who have struck work for “four months” and approval to his government’s proposal for doorstep delivery of ration to the poor, were met.

During Monday’s hearing, the High Court had sought to know from the AAP government who has authorised Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues to hold a sit-in protest at the Lt. Governor’s office as it was not the place to hold a demonstration.

The bench had said the protesters cannot go inside someone’s office or house and go on strike and as such the strike cannot be held inside the Lt. Governor’s office.

The High Court has been hearing three separate petitions related to Kejriwal’s sit-in protest at the Lt. Governor’s office.

One petition was filed by Leader of Opposition in the Delhi assembly, Vijender Gupta seeking direction to Kejriwal to return to work.

Another petition was filed by Hari Nath Ram through his advocate Shashank Deo Sudhi seeking to declare the sit-in protest at the Lt. Governor’s office unconstitutional and illegal.

The third plea was filed by advocate Umesh Gupta who sought to end the alleged ‘informal strike’ by the IAS officers.


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