Forces across border jittery over normalcy in J&K: Antony

Forces across border jittery over normalcy in J&K: Antony

13 January 2010
The Daily Excelsior


NEW DELHI: Voicing serious concern over rise in infiltration from Pakistan, Defence Minister A K Antony today attributed it to forces across the border which are 'jittery' over return of normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir. 'In 2009, violence in Jammu and Kashmir came down, compared to 2008. At the same time, compared to 2008, last year attempts to infiltrate have gone up. It is a matter of serious concern to us,' Antony told reporters on the sidelines of a CII Defence seminar here. Giving his assessment of the situation in the border State, Antony said, 'inimical forces across the border are jittery' as they saw normalcy returning to Jammu and Kashmir. 'If the situation continues like this, J&K will fast return to normalcy and peace. That, militant forces will not allow. 'When they realised violence level has come down across the State and tourists are coming and normalcy is coming, they started making serious attempts to sabotage the situation. That is why there are more attempts of infiltration,' he said. Antony held discussion with the Chief Minister and civil administration in the presence of Army chief Deepak Kapoor in Jammu yesterday and directed the security forces to be 'more vigilant' against infiltration attempts this year, particularly at the end of this month. 'This increasing number of attempts to infiltrate is a matter of serious concern. So, we cannot lower our guard. We have to be more vigilant and be prepared to face serious threats at any time this year, particularly in January,' he said. Downplaying reports of India losing territory to China in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, Defence Minister said there was 'no change' in the Line of Actual Control (LAC). He said the issue was raised at a meeting he had with J&K Government officials and Army officers in Jammu yesterday, where the Army Corps Commander for Ladakh had categorically reported that there was not much change in the situation along the LAC. However, he said there were troop movements 'here and there' because of the differing perceptions (of the LAC). 'Because of differing perceptions, our people are going there, their people are coming here. Generally there is no change in the atmosphere and no change in the LAC. This was explained by the Army commander. I told them to further study this in detail,' he said. An official report had recently stated that the area along the LAC with China had 'shrunk' over a period of time and India had lost 'substantial' amount of land in the last two decades. About senior Army officers involvement in a land scam in Darjeeling, he said such officers will face 'some disciplinary and administrative action' that will be taken by the Army chief. The Army had yesterday initiated disciplinary action against Lt Gen P K Rath that may lead to a court martial and started administrative action that could result in dismissal of Military Secretary Lt Gen Avadesh Prakash, 11 Corps Commander Ramesh Halgali and Maj Gen P Sen for their role in the sale of 70-acre civilian land adjacent to Sukna military station near Darjeeling. Antony said the Defence Ministry had received a report from Army chief Deepak Kapoor in this regard only last night and, therefore, it was 'too early' for him to comment on the action to be taken against the Generals. The Army chief had on Monday directed Adjutant General Mukesh Sabharwal to issue 30-day show cause notices to Lt Gens Prakash, Rath and Halgali, and Major General P Sen after a probe had allegedly held them culpable in the land scam. Lt Gen Prakash is one of the top eight aides of the Army chief at the headquarters in Delhi. Disciplinary action was initiated against Lt Gen Rath, who had allegedly played a major role in the issuance of a No Objection Certificate to a private realtor for buying a 70-acre plot adjacent to the Sukna military station near Darjeeling. Armyís Eastern Command chief Lt Gen V K Singh would proceed against Lt Gen Rath, who had reportedly also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the private realtor for allotment of seats to Army personnelís wards in the school that was to come up on the land. Rath, whose appointment as Deputy Army chief was scrapped last year after a probe was ordered into the land scam, is currently attached to the Eastern Command headquarters in Kolkata. In the case of Lt Gen Prakash, who is set to retire on January 31, Lt Gen Halgali and Maj Gen P Sen, the administrative action could lead to punishment from a minor censure or recording of displeasure in their service records to loss of pension benefits or dismissal from service. The land scam came to light after it became known that the private realtor, Dalip Aggarwal, who is said to be close to Lt Gen Prakash, 'falsely' represented to the Army that his trust would open an affiliate of the Ajmer-based Mayo College. (PTI)


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