Srinagar, Apr 27: Two months after an Indian Air Force helicopter crashed in J & K killing six IAF personnel and one civilian, the Court of Inquiry (COI) set up to fix responsibility is yet to submit its report. Business Standard reported on Saturday that IAF has been asked to put the report on ‘hold’ till after the elections get over.
The reason, says Business Standard columnist, strategic affairs expert and a former army officer Ajai Shukla, is the finding that the helicopter was mistakenly brought down by missile fired by Indian ground forces guarding the Srinagar air base.
Quoting IAF officers, the report said, they are keen to serve justice quickly and make an example of those found guilty of operational lapses.
“However, they are held back by a “go-slow” order from above. They say the reason is: With the Balakot bombing and the Pakistani response, including the alleged shooting down of a Pakistani F-16 fighter, being painted in election campaigning as a major Indian victory, admitting the loss of a helicopter and seven personnel due to friendly fire would present a bleaker picture,” the report said.
Shukla’s report was quickly contradicted by the IAF on Saturday morning itself. And in a tweet the IAF spokesman claimed that inquiries conducted by Courts of Inquiry are time-taking and they are not prescribed any time limit.
But the IAF did not contradict Shukla’s claim that the helicopter was brought down by friendly fire after it was mistaken to be a hostile, Pakistani aircraft. Nor has it contradicted the explanation provided by Shukla, based on inputs he claims to have received from credible IAF sources, on how the mistake occurred.
This version, writes Shukla, holds that the IFF (Identify Friend or Foe) system in the helicopter, it was found by the COI, was not switched on. Also, the helicopter did not follow the prescribed corridor for IAF aircrafts. Since it approached the air base from the wrong side, from Budgam, the Ground Defence forces assumed it was ‘enemy’ aircrafts and fired an Israeli missile to bring it down.
It was on the ground that it was identified as an IAF helicopter.
Shukla updated his report in the Business Standard and quoted the IAF tweet before declaring that he stood by his report.
THE IAF’s tweet: Today in an article written by Ajai Shukla he has incorrectly speculated that the IAF Court of Inquiry constituted to investigate the Mi-17 V5 crash at Srinagar on 27 Feb has been put on hold. This is his imagination and IAF categorically denies this.”
“CoI of aircraft accidents are meticulous & time consuming. All past inquiries of aircraft accidents bear testimony to this. Proceedings of a CoI are not commented upon by IAF till completion of the inquiry in all cases. There is no connection between elections & completion of CoI.”
Guv reassigns depts to Advisors
Srinagar, Jul 17: Governor Satya Pal Malik Wednesday re-assigned the charge of departments to his Advisors.
As per the order issued by the General Administration Department (GAD), Advisor Vijay Kumar has been assigned charge of the departments of Home, Forest, Ecology & Environment, Health & Medical Education, Youth Services & Sports, Hospitality & Protocol, Civil Aviation, Estates and Information.
Advisor Khurshid A Ganai has been assigned the charge of the departments of Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs, ARI & Trainings, Cooperative, Floriculture, Tourism, Election, Planning, Development & Monitoring, Labour & Employment and Higher Education.
Advisor, K Skandan has been assigned the charge of the departments of Information Technology, Industries and Commerce, Animal & Sheep Husbandry, Ladakh Affairs, Revenue, Disaster Management, Relief, Rehabilitation & Reconstruction, Transport and Law, Justice & Parliamentary Affairs.
Advisor Kewal Kumar Sharma has been assigned the charge of the departments of Public Works (R&B), Public Health Engineering, Irrigation and Flood Control, Power, Finance, Housing & Urban Development and Science and Technology.
Advisor Farooq Ahmad Khan has been assigned the charge of the departments of School Education, Technical Education, Hajj and Auqaf, Social Welfare, Tribal Affairs, Culture, Agriculture/ Horticulture and Rural Development & Panchayati Raj.
Papers related to General Administration Department shall be submitted by the Chief Secretary directly to Governor.
PDP still believes it will bounce back
Srinagar, Jul 17: A high level meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) leadership from south Kashmir was held at the party head office here in which various crucial issues confronting the state at present were discussed in detail.
Chaired by Party Vice President Abdul Rahman Veeri, the meeting deliberated over various measures that the party has taken in the recent past to widen its reach and make masses aware about its agenda and mission.
Veeri in his address stressed upon the leadership to hold constant contact with the general public and highlight the issues they face on day to day basis and seek their resolution on priority from the concerned quarters.
“Veeri expressed full confidence that the PDP will bounce back in a revitalised form on the state’s political scene and that the party will continue to push for peace with dignity which is the focal point of its agenda,” the party statement read.
He, it added, said that the workers are committed to the agenda of the party and the vision provided by its founder Mufti Sayeed who founded the party in “trying circumstances”.
PDP General Secretary Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura, while addressing the meeting, stated that the party “will continue to pursue it till durable peace is restored and that will never barter interests of the state against petty political gains.”
PDP leader, Sartaj Madni in his address stated that the need of the hour is that the party leadership, functionaries, activists and supporters must work in close coordination and make sustainable efforts in party’s overall growth and impressive performance in the coming time.
The participants of the meeting expressed full confidence in the leadership of the PDP President Mehbooba Mufti, resolving in unison to support her each and every endeavour aimed at getting the people out of the cycle of uncertainty and lead the state towards a prosperous future.
Will find, deport all infiltrators in India: HM
New Delhi, Jul 17: The Centre will identify illegal immigrants staying in any part of the country and deport them as per international law, Home Minister Amit Shah said in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
The minister was replying to a supplementary query by Samajwadi Party member Javed Ali Khan on whether the National Register of Citizens will be implemented in other states as well.
Currently, the NRC is being updated under the strict monitoring of the Supreme Court in Assam and July 31 has been set as a deadline for final publication of the registered data.
“It is a very good question. The NRC is part of the Assam Accord and was also in (BJP’s) election manifesto based on which the government has come to power. The government will identify illegal immigrants living on every inch of the country’s soil and will deport them as per the international law,” Shah said in the Upper House.
Noting that the Centre has received many representations for extending the NRC deadline in Assam, Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai said a petition signed by about 25 lakh applicants submitted to the Centre and the President demanded extension to correct anomalies.
Since many genuine names have been left out and many bogus names are registered, the minister said, “So the government has requested the (Supreme) Court to extend the time for this purpose”.
“There will be some delay but the NRC will be implemented properly without any faults,” he said, asserting that the government’s intention is to ensure no genuine citizen is left out of the NRC.
To a query on number of Rohingya Muslims in India, Rai said, “We don’t have an accurate data. They are spread across the country. Some of them have gone back to Bangladesh. We will get the data soon.” The government’s intention is to ensure no illegal immigrant is registered under the NRC. Foreigner tribunals have also been set up to curb illegal stay of foreigners in India, he added.