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It is quite unfortunate to find that all along since 1947 an unending saga of discrimination against Jammu continues to be witnessed till date. While the people of Jammu region have been vociferously raising this issue time and again demanding an end to this blatant discrimination it is surprising that there has been no progress in this regard till date. In fact the degree of discrimination against this region has reached an alarming situation today as is evident from the consistent allegations of ignoring the aspirants in admissions to professional colleges in Jammu region as also quite few aspirants from Jammu region being in the selection lists issued by the PSC and various other recruiting agencies in the state. As such there is a dire need for the dignified civil society members cutting across all sections in Jammu and irrespective of their party affiliations to conduct an introspection of the situation and find out the reasons for this dismal scenario despite a prolonged struggle to end this discrimination. While Jammu Pradesh constitutes major portion of the state in terms of area as well as population as compared to Kashmir Valley it has only been getting the crumbs in terms of funds and development and even representation in the legislature is less to Jammu and more to Valley. The leaders from Jammu region cannot be absolved of their responsibility to focus on this vital issue by coming on a single platform to devise a proactive strategy in order to bring an end to about seven decade long injustice meted out to the people of Jammu Pradesh. In this regard the areas of focus should be holding delimitation of the Assembly constituencies in the state, comprehensive settlement with restoration of civil rights to all Pak and PoK refugees and removal of all forms of discrimination against the people of Jammu Pradesh or else the reorganization of the state. In this regard the Magna Carta issued earlier by the JKNPP could prove to be a beacon light in the direction of making the struggle against discrimination successful. It is a fact that the issue of delimitation is the root cause of all ills thrust upon the people of Jammu Pradesh for decades. This issue alone can automatically lead to dignified Jammu sans any discrimination. It needs to be understood that stagnating the delimitation process till 2026 is the greatest injustice meted out to the people of Jammu and the people of this region should have carried out a relentless crusade against this blatant violation of the basic principle of democracy. However it is still not too late and cross sections of the society with full dedication and sincerity should come together to work out a proactive strategy and proceed forward leaving no stone unturned until the objective is achieved. The legislators of this region be it in governance or in the opposition shall have to play a crucial role. Given the past experience the leaders of Jammu region have let down the people of this region. While failing to do anything on this front when in power the same leaders clamour about blatant discrimination against Jammu while being in opposition. It needs to be realized that every medium from streets to legislature and apex court will have to be utilized in the decades old battle for ensuring justice and equity to the people of Jammu.


Thank you India...! 


Dear Editor,
Through the medium of your esteemed newspaper I would like to appreciate the Indians for the great hospitality towards their guests which is deeply embedded in the Indian culture. I am from UK and was recently on a visit to India alongwith my husband. Travelling to various parts of India it was really a great and soothing experience with people everywhere being so wonderful, kind, supportive and hospitable. Moving around in your beautiful, enigmatic country despite not being a usual traveller and being in a wheelchair, I enjoyed every minute of my stay in your great nation be it in Kerala, Delhi, Agra, Rajasthan or J&K. While I can walk a few paces, but not unaided because of being very weak, yet everywhere we went including restaurants, hotels , airports, train stations, wonderful palaces, temples, mosques, forts, etc we met quite genuine, helpful and caring people. Whenever and wherever they could see that I needed help or needed a seat, I was offered help unconditionally. People would even stop for a chat, and ask us how we were enjoying in India. My reply was always that India is a beautiful country and of course it is the people of this great nation whom I shall always keep in my heart.
Jane Mccarthy,
London, UK.

Making of a warrior & the ultimate sacrifice

Lt Gen Raj Sujlana (retd)

On May 9, the joyous mood of wedding celebrations in the township of Batapura, Shopian suddenly turned gloomy, the terrorists struck. Their target Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz Parray was quickly bundled away; the next morning his bullet-ridden body was found. His only fault was that as an Indian Army officer he had decided to uphold the integrity of his country, contrary to the dictates of the terrorists. Earlier, families of police and Army personnel have been threatened and warning to either quit or get eliminated. Despite the danger, Ummer showed his strength of character and belief that he was on the right lines by going home on leave.
At the Indian Military Academy (IMA), he was highly motivated and a fitness freak. A one-liner on him by his course mates speaks volumes, he "could debate anyone on any topic!" Like every other young officer, he was ready to prove his worth, earn his spurs as a leader of fighting men, rise to higher ranks and what's more, to ensure a better tomorrow for his parents and two sisters. But as he lay wrapped in the Tricolour, his dreams were snuffed out with him, leaving behind a shattered family. His cold-blooded murder soon after the dastardly beheading of a JCO of the Army and a NCO of the CRPF shows the barbarism of the terrorists - brutality, cowardly conduct and total disrespect for human values and rights.
Their aim is clear, to terrorise the local population and show their helplessness. No terrorist organisation is likely to claim Ummer's killing, false propaganda will surface but silence is likely to rule. The local population, however, must see through the terrorists' game plan and rise to the occasion, instead of getting cowed down. Realisation must also dawn to perceive their future in the nefarious designs of the terrorists. Reaction to this heinous act has surprisingly been subdued. A few politicians did make a mandatory condemnation, but missing were the rhetoric-loaded human rights activists, the separatist leaders and civil society at large. Evidently, they do not see any wrong in the killing of an unarmed soldier at home feasting with his family? Sadly, his remembrance will be restricted to his family and his brother in arms.
Ummer's name will be engraved at the War Memorial at the IMA and the Hut of Remembrance at the NDA, he will rest for ever in the Valhalla of the Brave. However, his murder must not go in vain, it may just turn out to be a defining moment.
Terrorist violence will continue but their abhorrent acts will only strengthen the resolve of the Army and its leaders to crush the scourge of terrorism and its adherents. Yes, sacrifices will have to be made, but then the future officers on passing out from the IMA swear by the Code of a Warrior. The punch line reads, "I am a Warrior, fighting is my dharma," and they abide by the spirit of the Academy song, which says, "Diwarein ham banenge Ma, talwarein ham banenge Ma, chhu le tujhko hai kis mein dam, Bharat Ma teri kasam, tere rakshak rahenge hum!"
The reputation of IMA as a world-class military institute has been built by its alumni over decades. It is a matter of pride that since 1955, over 1,200 cadets from 32 friendly countries have been trained here fostering better relations with a host of countries. The training is dynamic, a confluence of tradition and technology in the field of warfare, to produce knowledge warriors. They are nurtured with attributes of outward and inner self, with compassion for the men and chivalrous traits to lead their men and order a resilient command of,"Follow me!"
Training covers a vast canvass but an interesting part is the development of military bearing and appearance by drill ustaads, our very worthy JCOs and NCOs. A different world awaits the new entrants to the IMA and for many it is a cultural shock. To start with, he is "privileged" to a new style of haircut, some refuse to recognise themselves, but given a few days and they realise that this was the easiest part of the training. Many have never seen dawn but here even before the cockerel calls, it is time to jump out of bed, rush through the morning ablutions and be on parade all spruced up and well before time. Here is where he encounters the inimitable drill instructors, who are unique and a class apart. To a greenhorn cadet, drill instructors are egoistic, who constantly preach the gospel of sincerity towards duty, honour and service to the country - their only qualities being an unnatural gloss on boots, immaculate dress, flawless creases, a chest with shining medals, ramrod straight and a voice which puts thunder to shame. But the drill instructors have their way, standards set are achieved and there is no wavering. Finally, when a cadet crosses the Rubicon of Antim Pag to the strains of the heart-touching Auld Lang Syne, he is a smart, upright and confident commissioned officer, chiselled by his ustaad who takes tremendous pride in being the first to salute the young officer. Here begins the very special Officer- Man bond. Some drill instructors are legends indeed. It's nearing five decades, but the memory of Subedar Major Kanshi Ram remains etched in mind, his penchant to speak in English had loads of humour but our smile had to be invisible as he boomed, "Who the he, understanding the tree!"
This brings me to the War Memorial, the sanctum santorum, where every cadet takes an oath to tread the path set by his predecessors, today stands proof of the tremendous sacrifices made; 845 names of brave hearts are engraved on its sacred façade, 846 and 847 are being engraved, Ummer will be at 847. Traditionally, every six months in June and December a day prior to the "Passing out Parade" a very moving and solemn remembrance service is held at the Memorial. Invited to the Academy are very special and honoured guests, the next-of-kin of the martyrs during the past five months; as paeans are read and wreaths laid, the Passing Out Course stand on vigil to honour their fallen brethren, the respect and care does provide some solace and strength to their departed comrades' family but wet eyes and emotions are in plenty.
Military training academies are also the edifice of national integration. Here petty loyalties of regionalism, caste or religion are subordinated to the brotherhood of Arms, it is indeed the Mahayana of nation building! The transformation in a short time is amazing. Cadets join as Bongs, Biharis, Jatu, Punji, Sardar, Tambi, Tante, Yado -but soon all this disappears into the realm of light banter and only Indians pass out. Camaraderie and friendships formed here are life-long, reminiscences and discussions on Army life are omnipresent, only the battleground of company-operating bases or COB has metamorphosed to charcha over beer! A few lines from a tribute to Ummer by an Army veteran, "Teri shahadat banegi aatank ki dushman; maut ka safeer 'Raji'chhipta rahega (Merchants of death will be scared and in hiding); Zinda hai Ummer Fauji tun, zinda hi rahega!"



Welfare of the Soldiers


Ranjit Kumar

Man behind the machine must also be well oiled. This has been the mission of the NDA government since last three years. When weapon systems and equipments worth millions of dollars are acquired, Jawans and Officers taking care of them for their effective use during combat, must also be hale and hearty. Ever since the NDA government assumed power, Government not only announced steep hike in pay and allowances and pensions but also took various measures to make their life easier. The nation cannot win a war if the fighting men are not assured of their welfare. A disgruntled soldier cannot be expected to sacrifice his life for the nation. Hence the NDA government has been talking and taking huge significant steps to keep their morale high.
The biggest decision of accepting, for which the soldiers were agitating for the last four decades, one rank one pension (OROP) was announced by the government on 7 November, 2015 which will cost the government exchequer around Rs 8000 crores every year. This has ensured that pension anomaly that existed among defence services personnel of the same rank, having the same number of years in service is rectified. Till 30 November last year, under first installment and lump sum payments 19,64,350 personnel were paid Rs 3,985.65 crores. In the second installment 15,46,857 personnel were disbursed Rs 2281.63 crores.
Further the government notified the acceptance of the recommendations of the 7ThCentral Pay Commission recommendation on 3rdMay, 2017. This will result in hefty hike in pay and allowances of the service personnel .For the first time the commission has substantially hiked the Military Service Pay (MSP) of all service personnel and special allowances given to Naval and Air force personnel deployed in high risk duties.
For the good health of millions of serving and retired ex-servicemen, the government expanded the scope of Employees Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) by opening more polyclinics and referral hospitals in different parts of the country. Several measures were taken to provide quality and affordable medicare to ex-servicemen and their dependents. As part of health care reforms, the Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) has been completely digitized. A total of approximately 50 lakh beneficiaries have been covered under the scheme. As of now the scheme is being run through 28 regional centres and 426 polyclinics. A total of 1445 civil hospitals have been empanelled to provide cashless treatment to ECHS beneficiaries.
In order to empower the women and look after their welfare, the government approved the induction of women in the fighter stream, thereby making them eligible for induction in all branches and streams of the IAF. Under this plan women are being selected as per uniform Qualitative Requirements at par with male counterparts. Besides, uniform QRs were also applied to both women and short service commission officers for grant of permanent commission irrespective of gender. 18 June, 2016 was the historic day for the Indian women, when three women fighter pilots of the IAF were commissioned at Dundigal. With this, India joined a select band of nations that have women fighter pilots.
As part of the PM's 'Digital India' initiative, digitization of the recruitment process of Army personnel and Communication Networks have been undertaken in full earnest. A special software system -Army Record Officers Process Automation (ARPAN) 2.0, was launched. This has enabled more than 12 lakh junior commissioned officer and jawans to access their service records and employment details online.
From July 01, 2015, Army recruitment has also gone online.A new website of the Directorate General of Recruitment has been launched for selection of officers, JCOs and Other Ranks. Candidates from all over India can now have access to information about career options in the Army, make suitable choices and apply online.
To provide better and comprehensive care to the army veterans the Army set up theDirectorateof Indian Army Veterans (DIAV) on 14 Jan,2016 at Delhi Cantt. The Directorate will provide a wide range of veteran care and support services and will act as a single point of contact for redressal of complaints of veterans, widows and their wards. The inauguration of the new Directorate coincided with the first ever celebration of Veterans Day.
For the benefit of millions of ex-servicemen and their family members the Defence ministry also set up a Pilot Project of the Army Skill Training Center on 22ndAugust, 2016. With the inauguration of this Center, the Indian Army has embarked on a new mission by bringing Army spouses and wards into the folds of the skilling landscape. Army personnel and their spouse and wards who attend training at ASTC will receive skill certificate from NSDC and will become eligible for employment or entrepreneurship under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna scheme.
In view of the hardshipsand long separation of Jawans from their families while serving in forward and high altitude areas, the Ministry took steps to expedite the Married Accommodation Project (MAP) for Armed Forces personnel on priority basis. This will provide nearly 2 lakh dwelling units for the married personnel near their places of posting. The third and final phase of MAP is under implementation for 71,000 more dwelling units... .  .



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