Connect with us


Using human shield is not Indian Army norm: General Bipin Rawat




New Delhi, June 8, 2017: Undeterred by criticism from politicians and commentators, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat says the use of human shield by the India Army is not a norm but individual officers are entitled to decide the tactic depending on circumstances.

He also dismisses criticism that the Army is trigger-happy but says the level of violence in Jammu and Kashmir needs to be brought down for any meaningful dialogue with stakeholders. “Dialogue and violence cannot go together,” General Rawat told IANS in an interaction here at his office.

The Army Chief maintains that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir is not as bad as it is portrayed in the media and dismisses a perception that people of the state are against the Army.

“It (human shield) is not a general norm. As a practice it is not supported. But situations would dictate. Under the circumstances he (Major Leetul Gogoi) took a decision independently. He can’t look back at that stage and wait for orders. I think in his own wisdom he took the action,” General Rawat said.

“If somebody has any other ideas as to how to tackle such a situation, then he can pass it on to us. We will take a look at it,” he said.

Read More: Shocking video of youth tied to army jeep triggers anger in Kashmir

General Rawat was asked to comment on a string of criticisms about his earlier remarks defending Major Gogoi’s action of tying a civilian to the bonnet of an Army jeep when facing a crowd of stone pelters in the valley.

He was then criticised for justifying the Major’s action that was described as unprofessional and damaging to the reputation of the Indian Army and being violative of the Geneva Convention that lays down rules of warfare.

Replying to a question on the comments by CPI-M leader Prakash Karat over his reported remarks that stone pelters should rather use guns as amounting to instigating them to take to guns, General Rawat maintained that he was misquoted on the issue.

“In a proxy war situation like this the enemy cannot be identified. He is not wearing a band or a uniform that can identify him as a terrorist. Only when he fires then you know what to do in such a situation. The Army cannot throw stones, that is not my pattern. I can’t throw stones.”

Asked about the absence of any dialogue with stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir and whether there can be a military solution that can be lasting, General Rawat said it should be an “integrated” solution.

“Military has to bring the violence level down. We have to bring peace for the people of Jammu and Kashmir. After all, it is the poor people like daily wagers, pony walas, shikaras, and others who depend on tourism like hotels. Students are also affected as schools and colleges are shut.

“They have already seen one bad (tourism) season, another bad year will affect them worse. Why are we doing, what we are doing? We are doing it to bring peace in the valley,” he said.

He rejected reports of local people in the Kashmir valley being “angry” with the Army, saying it is not as bad as projected in the media. At the same time he asserted that there was nothing wrong with the killing of militants like Burhan Wani.

“I don’t think there is that kind of resentment. Of course people are angry about issues like unemployment. That is an issue even in the rest of the country, but for that you do not take to guns. Look at the way the youth are coming to join Army in large numbers,” he said.

The General said Kashmir with its rich resources could be a leader in so many fields, but economic development was not taking place because of violence.

“Violence had come down after 2011-12. What have the Army or security forces done (to evoke anger)? Army cannot be faulted for the killing of Burhan Wani. Something is happening behind the scene, someone is instigating people,” he said.

Read More: Indian Army honours Major Gogoi who tied Kashmiri to military jeep

Asked about absence of dialogue at present in Jammu and Kashmir, he said the violence level has to come down.

“You say I am not going to indulge in violence, then we will talk. If people want to have a dialogue, then dialogue and violence cannot go together. You can’t say Army and civilians will be involved in a gun battle and say let’s have talks. A semblance of peace and tranquility is essential, then we can talk.”

Asked about the criticism that the Army Chief’s view was reflecting the government’s views, General Rawat said in a democracy the Army has to work under a democratically elected government.

“We take directions from the government… Are we supposed to work away from the government? Directions are always given by the government,” he said.

He said the government gave the Army a free hand in executing its directions. Similarly the Army gave freedom to units to execute its directions.

(By Anjali Ojha and V.S. Chandrasekar)



Sushma should apologize to 39 bereaved families for ‘misleading’ them: Congress



Randeep Surjewala

New Delhi, March 20 : The Congress on Tuesday demanded that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj should apologise to families of the 39 Indians, killed in Iraq, for “misleading” them and also demanded that the Narendra Modi government compensate them.

The party also accused the government of crossing all limits of “insensitivity, inhumanity, and being merciless” as well as politicising the issue.

“The 39 Indians were kidnapped in June 2014. The entire world and the neighbouring countries had confirmed that they were not alive,” said Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala.

However, the government had however assured the country and the families seven times from 2014 till July 2017 that they were and being provided basic amenities and food, he said.

“When Indian media went to Mosul in July 2017 and reported that the Indians were not alive, Sushma Swaraj and Modi government rejected it. When an eyewitness came forward said that the ISIS have killed the Indians, they rejected it too.

“Sushma Swaraj had said when Iraqi Prime Minister comes to India, the government will confirm it from him, but didn’t do anything,” he added.

“Did the government think about the families even once, when they were desperately waiting for their dear ones for four years.

“Now they are blaming us for politicising it. 39 Indians have died, but the minister is praising the government and thanking the PM and her junior minister,” he said.

Surjewala also asked what was the need to give the statement in a hurry. “Was it not because Iraq’s Martyrs Foundation was going to hold a press conference in the afternoon today (Tuesday) and was about the reveal the truth about the killing of 39 Indians? She, therefore, gave the statement in a hurry.

“She gave the statement when the issue of no-confidence came up. Sushma Swaraj and Modi government should not have done politics with this….Unfortunately, even today they are politicising it.”

“We demand, if there is slightest of humanity left, the minister should visit all the families and apologise to them for misleading them. Modi government must also compensate the families respectfully for the long wait of four years,” he demanded.

Continue Reading


Aadhaar exposes transgenders to surveillance, harassment: SC told

Appearing for Swatantra, advocate Jayana Kothari told the court that agencies collecting demography information for Aadhaar could not insist on the disclosure of gender identity as it is covered under privacy.



Majority of transgendera

New Delhi, March 20 : The Supreme Court was told on Tuesday that the parting of personal biometric and demographic information by transgenders and sexual minorities under the Aadhaar Act exposes them to “violence, surveillance and harassment by the State and private persons”.

“Once the personal demographic details of transgenders and sexual minorities is declared, it exposes them to surveillance, violence, and discrimination including infringement of their fundamental right to life and liberty, equality, free speech and movement,” NGO Swatantra told a constitution bench.

The five-judge bench, comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justices A.K. Sikri, A.M. Khanwilkar, D.Y. Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, is hearing a batch of petitions including by former Karnataka High Court Judge K.S. Puttuswamy, Magsaysay awardee Shanta Sinha, feminist researcher Kalyani Sen Menon and others challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act.

Appearing for Swatantra, advocate Jayana Kothari told the court that agencies collecting demography information for Aadhaar could not insist on the disclosure of gender identity as it is covered under privacy.

Pointing to the Supreme Court granting transgenders the legal status by recognising them as the third gender, Kothari said the compulsory disclosure of gender identity while parting with biometric and demographic information was violative of the Constitution’s Article 14.

Referring to the top court judgment upholding right to privacy as a fundamental right, Kothari said this would also include the right to informational privacy which permits individual control over the dissemination of personal information including gender identity.

Mentioning past and prevailing laws, including the Karnataka Police Act and Telangana Eunuchs Act, Kothari said “these laws continue to enable the State to target and prosecute (people from the) transgender community solely on the basis of their gender identity”.

Kothari told the court that Telangana Eunuchs Act is a “draconian colonial legislation” which empowers the State to make arrests solely on the basis of gender identity.

“A brief review of existing legislation, ongoing litigation and State action (and)prosecution confirms that wherever the State has been permitted to aggregate information about transgender community it has often led to systematic discrimination and oppression of the community in India,” Kothari said.

Continue Reading


Amarinder urges Centre to extend help to kin of hostages killed in Iraq

Expressing grief at the news, the Chief Minister said it had come as a shock to the families and to everyone else in Punjab, as they had been hoping and praying for the well-being of the hostages, who had been abducted by the ISIS in 2014.



Amrinder Singh

Chandigarh, March 20 : Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday asked External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to provide all necessary assistance to the families of the hostages killed in Iraq in performing the last rites, along with an ex-gratia relief for them.

The Chief Minister, who wrote to Sushma Swaraj on the issue, also called her to speak to her personally to ensure that the central government makes all efforts to bring the mortal remains of the deceased to India for the last rites.

The External Affairs Minister assured Amarinder Singh that the Indian government was making arrangements to bring the last remains in coffins with due respect being accorded to the deceased, a statement by the state government said.

The Chief Minister told her that his government would make arrangements for the coffins to be delivered to the families of the victims for the final rites.

Amarinder Singh said he had already directed state government officials to personally visit the bereaved families to share the sad news.

In his letter to the Union Minister, the Chief Minister pointed out that 24 of the deceased hailed from Punjab.

While the state government had been providing a monthly assistance of Rs 20,000 to the bereaved families, he said he would be grateful if the Centre could also give them due assistance in view of the extra-ordinary circumstances surrounding the matter.

Expressing grief at the news, the Chief Minister said it had come as a shock to the families and to everyone else in Punjab, as they had been hoping and praying for the well-being of the hostages, who had been abducted by the ISIS in 2014.

Amarinder Singh earlier told reporters outside the state assembly here that the deaths of the 39 hostages should have been confirmed by the central government immediately after the lone survivor revealed that the remaining had been taken hostage.

The families had been living under a pall of uncertainty all these years, which would naturally have aggravated their miseries manifold, he added.

Continue Reading

Most Popular