- NEW DELHI: The Army will start implementing a stringent set of new rules from June to cut down on obesity in the ranks, with a ban on promotions , foreign postings and distinguished awards for soldiers not found to be in shape.Getting on with its action plan on ‘Reducing Obesity in the Indian Army ‘, instructions have been issued by HQ to all units across the country to maintain records of soldiers and officers who are found to be over 10 per cent of their ideal body weight.Senior officers have been asked to conduct spot checks, surprise visits and scrutinize records “if the individual appears to be obese”.
- The detailed set of instructions accessed by ET also require the army to now maintain photographs of soldiers in their annual appraisal reports that will have a ‘side profile’ for visual records.Soldiers not meeting the ideal weight criteria will not be allowed to go for any foreign postings, including to the much coveted United Nations peacekeeping forces and, according to the new rules, any plum posting will not be given to the identified individuals.Officers and soldiers will also need to cut flab to pick up promotions that they would have otherwise qualified for.
- “If an individual is found more than 10% beyond ideal body weight, records office will not issue promotion order till such time as the individual comes within laid down weight parameters,” the instructions state.The rules are also applicable to other non combat streams of the army including the army medical corps, defence security corps and the Territorial Army, empowering ‘commanders in the chain’ to conduct random checks to identify obese personnel.
- The only exception to the rules is for soldiers who have received wounds in combat and individuals certified as having heavy muscle or bone density.Obese soldiers will also no longer be visible at public functions and events like awards ceremonies.While gallantry award winners would be allowed, any other awardees or escorts deemed to be obese would not be permitted to take part in the prestigious investiture ceremonies.
The paradigms shift in approach towards Kashmir left security agencies in a tizzy. Where the army chief Lt General Bipin Rawat on February 15, 2017 had warned of dire consequences, after initial reluctance, the newly appointed Police Chief Dr SP Vaid has also fallen in line and said that ‘Youth protesting near the encounter sites are committing suicide; social media being used to instigate violence’.
Acting on the Chief’s statement the local authorities have asked the public in Kashmir to stay away from the places of encounters and imposition of prohibitory orders in the radius of 3 km from such sites in three districts. However, the restrictions shall not apply to the movement of ambulances, medical, paramedical staff and government employee’s .The decision had come a day after Army Chief General Bipin Rawat warned of tough action against those hampering counterinsurgency operations.
But main stream politicians, separatists have their own take on the issue. On one side lot of youth are being provided various job opportunities. Recently, the state police recruited 10,000 SPO’s from these very pelters. But this has not dampened the spirits of the stone pelters which are swelling by the day. Earlier such incidents were limited to few localities of Srinagar city, since 2008 the scene has shifted to various areas of the Valley. And now a new phenomenon has been adopted by militants and their mentors sitting across the border, i.e wherever an encounter takes place these hired pelters divert the attention of the security force by fiercely pelting stones, with the result injuring many defence personnel. In recent days about 25 militants reportedly escaped from the encounter sites owing to stone pelting. According to sources, the modus operandi is simple, where rampant use of social media is being made. The moment security forces vehicle are seen moving towards a certain area, Whatapp messages are flashed directing the paid pelters to reach the encounter site, who in turn after reaching the spot instigate locals also and start pelting stones on the security forces ,who are engaged in encounter insurgency. The government may be mulling with the idea of taming the social media, which may again be counterproductive. The need of the hour is to re-establish the writ of the law before it is too late, as this time around, a new strategy having the tactical support of the separatists’ and those sitting across is to defunct the local police, whereby families of the cops operating in the infested areas are being threatened with dire consequences if their kin did not fall in line. Time to ponder upon the surrender policy touted by the then National Conference and Congress government in the state having full backing of UPA government at centre, whereupon those local Pak trained militants desirous of surrender were provided safe route through Nepal and were allowed to settle back in their homes and hearths seems a misfired move on the part of government as there are reports that most of them are working as sleeper cells and have also added to this mess of stone pelting. Will mare appeal be sufficient to set the course right?
New Delhi, Mar 31 -The Supreme Court today refused to grant an early hearing in a plea filed by senior BJP leader Dr Subramanian Swamy in the Ayodhya case. A bench of the Apex Court headed by Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar refused to grant an early hearing into Mr Swamy’s petition. The bench asked Swamy why did he not inform the court that he was not a party to the Ayodhya case. On Swamy’s request, the SC had earlier said that the issue should be resolved through negotiations by various parties, including all the petitioners and respondents. Dr Swamy had knocked the doors of the Apex Court seeking an urgent hearing into the matter. After hearing him, the court said, “We don’t have time right now to hear your plea.
New Delhi, Mar 31 -The Uttar Pradesh government has ordered probe into the two incidents of attack on African nationals, including Nigerians, in Noida and Greater Noida area and the investigation reports are being awaited, the Lok Sabha was informed today. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said this in the House during Zero Hour in response to queries on the matter raised by Congress Member Rajeev Shankarrao Satav. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is likely to make a statement in the House on these incidents and the probe findings on April 5, the Minister said. “Two incidents have been reported and the entire House is concerned about the gravity of the incidents,” Mr Kumar said. He said immediately after the incidents were reported, Ms Swaraj spoke to the new Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who has confirmed on his part that probe has been ordered immediately. “Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister has himself assured that there will be an impartial probe and once the investigation reports come in, External Affairs Minister is likely to make a statement in the House on April 5,” Mr Kumar said. Mr Satav, said the reports of attacks on Africans and Nigerians were serious. “It is more of concern that the attacks still continue,” he said, adding even a woman named Maria was “manhandled mercilessly”. The issue is complex as reports of drug abuse has also come to light, Mr Satav said, adding according to local police about 450 African nationals, including Nigerians, reside in Noida and Greater Noida areas – in close vicinity – of the national capital.
Bhubaneswar, Mar 31- Protesting against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s April 15 visit to Odisha, armed Maoists today blasted the Doikalu railway station under Rayagada section of the East Coast Railway (ECoR), severely disrupting traffic. East Coast Railway( ECoR ) Chief Public Relation Officer Jyoti Mishra said about 15 to 20 armed rebels entered the station at about 0130 hours, pushed out the staff and blasted the station. The Red ultras had left posters at the station opposing the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Odisha on April 15 to attend BJP’s National Council body meeting. They also blasted an engine of a goods train standing at the station and left the station at about 0200 hours. As a result movement of trains in the Rayagada – Titlagarh section between Muniguda and Ambadola was hampered. Partial services resumed after the police gave clearance at about 0900 hours today. Mr Mishra said only goods trains were being run with restricted sped. Express and passenger trains had been detained and controlled at various stations. Trains held up outside Doikalu station were now being brought to the station. The CPRO said only after the goods train reach the Doikalu station, will they think of running Express and passenger trains controlled at various stations. As many as nine long distance Express trains had been detained and controlled at various stations since the attack
New Delhi, Mar 31 – The Supreme Court today asked Kolkata High Court sitting judge Justice C S Karnan to file his written submissions in connection with his alleged remarks against certain judges that they were involved in corruption. The court had earlier coercively passed an order asking him to personally appear before the court today. A seven-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, was hearing the case against Justice Karnan.
New Delhi, Mar 31 – Home Minister Rajnath Singh today squarely blamed Pakistan for continuous efforts to destabilise Jammu and Kashmir and said even the “stone pelting” exercises resorted by youth in that state has Pakistani connection. “My appeal to the youth of Jammu and Kashmir is that they should not be misguided by Pakistan and elements in Pakistan,” Mr Singh said in the Lok Sabha during Zero Hour. Responding to the issues of security situations in Jammu and Kashmir raised by Trinamool Congress Member Saugata Roy, the Home Minister asserted that the “Pakistani terrorists and infiltrators” are being given befitting reply by Indian security forces “in the language they understand the best”. “Terrorists are being fought and will be fought befittingly in the future also and I am sure, we will achieve success,” Mr Singh said
ISLAMABAD, Mar 31 (Reuters) An explosion hit the Pakistani city of Parachinar, in the remote northwestern tribal region, today killing at least five people and wounding 40, Ikramullah Khan, the local political agent, said. Earlier this year, at least 21 people were killed when an explosion hit a vegetable market in Parachinar, near the border with Afghanistan.
Srinagar, Mar 31 – Chairmen of both the factions of the Hurriyat Conference (HC) Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Moulvi Omar Farooq, besides about a dozen other separatist leaders, remained under house arrest while Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief has been lodged in central Jail, Srinagar. Meanwhile, during night raids dozens of other separatist workers and supporters, have been taken into custody in south Kashmir and Srinagar where bypoll in two parliamentary constituencies will be held next month. The separatists have already issued poll boycott call in both Srinagar and Anantnag seats where voting will be held on April 9 and 12 respectively. There is also a call for holding protests after Friday prayers in the valley against the killing of three civilians in security force firing on March 28 in central Kashmir district of Badgam, where a militant was killed and a soldier injured in an encounter. However, official sources said that restrictions on separatists had been imposed to prevent any law and order problem. There is no change in the situation as majority separatist leaders remained under house arrest, a spokesman for the hardline HC Aiyaz Akbar said. He said Mr Geelani remained under house arrest since May last year and he was not even allowed to offer Friday prayers in a mosque since then. A large number of security forces and state police personnel remained deployed outside the Hyderpora residence of Mr Geelani, who was arrested a number of time for defying restrictions. However, he was being released every time. Mr Aiyaz said about a dozen other senior leaders, including Mohammad Ashraf Sehrayee, Shabir Ahmad Shah, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, Peer Saifullah, Altaf Ahmad Shah, Raja Mehrajuddin and Mohammad Ashraf Laya have been put under house arrest while Umar Adil Dar has been detained in police station. I am also under house arrest, Aiyaz alleged, ‘We have apprehension that restrictions on separatist leaders will continue till election drama in Srinagar and Anantnag parliamentary constituencies is over on April 12,’ he said. He alleged that hundreds of youths were arrested in the Kashmir valley, particularly in south Kashmir, during the past about two week and more night raids are being conducted by the police. Meanwhile, chairman of moderate HC Mirwaiz also remained under house arrest, a spokesman for the amalgam told UNI. Security forces and state police personnel remained deployed outside the Nigeen house of the Mirwaiz, who remained under house arrest for the past more than a week. Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) has been lodged in Central jail, Srinagar despite his ill health, a spokesman for the front said. Meanwhile, dozens of youths, allegedly known stone-pelters, have also been taken into preventive custody in the city and outskirts during the past one week.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Mar 31 – A recycled SpaceX rocket recovered at sea from its first flight nearly a year ago blasted off again on Thursday from Florida on a satellite-delivery mission, another key step in founder Elon Musk’s plan to slash launch costs by reusing his rockets. The Falcon 9 booster, which previously flew in April 2016, lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center at 6:27 p.m. EDT (2227 GMT) to put a communications satellite into orbit for Luxembourg-based SES SA. The booster’s main section was set to attempt to land itself on a floating platform in the ocean, which would enable its recovery for a possible third mission. Musk’s SpaceX, formally known as Space Exploration Technologies Corp, made history in December 2015 when it landed an orbital rocket after launch for the first time, a feat it since has repeated seven times. By reusing rockets, SpaceX aims to cut its costs by about 30 percent, the company has said. It lists the cost of a Falcon 9 ride at $62 million but has not yet announced a price for flying on a recycled rocket. “We’re really looking for true operational reusability like an aircraft,” SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said during a launch webcast. “We’re looking to land and relaunch on the same day