The Hindu Important Articles 16 April 2018
Kathua outrage has united nation: Mufti
J&K Chief Minister accepts resignations of 2 BJP Ministers
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday accepted the resignations of the two BJP Ministers who had participated in a rally in support of those arrested in connection with the rape-cum-murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua.
The acceptance of resignations came amid public protests in major metropolitan cities, including Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru, demanding justice for the rape victims in Kathua and Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao.
The resignations of Ministers Choudhary Lal Singh and Chandar Prakash Ganga, sent through BJP State chief Sat Sharma, were immediately accepted by the Chief Minister and forwarded to Governor N.N. Vohra for completing procedural formalities. BJP general secretary Ram Madhav had on Saturday said the resignations would be forwarded for further action.
Mr. Singh and Mr. Ganga had addressed the rally of the Hindu Ekta Manch, a group demanding transfer of the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation, on March 4 and defended those arrested by the police.
A much-relieved Chief Minister thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for defusing the situation and said the unfortunate incident had brought the people of the State and the rest of the country “together.”
Call off strike: BCI
In another development on Sunday, the Bar Council of India (BCI) asked the bar associations of Kathua and Jammu to call off their strike and constituted a five-member committee headed by a former High Court Chief Justice to inquire into the alleged misconduct by the lawyers there in connection with the Kathua case.
The decision was taken at the BCI’s general body meeting held in the backdrop of the Supreme Court’s suo motu cognisance of the issue and subsequent issuance of notices to the bar associations and the State government, seeking responses by April 19. On April 13, the SC took cognisance of the alleged efforts made by local lawyers to obstruct the filing of a charge sheet in the case with the intention of derailing the police investigation.
Meanwhile, the trial in the case begins on Monday. Eight persons have been accused of holding the girl in captivity for a week in January this year, during which she was kept sedated and sexually assaulted before being bludgeoned to death.
Terming the matter “very sensitive and serious”, the Council on Sunday said a committee headed by former High Court Chief Justice Tarun Agarwal and comprising two BCI co-chairmen S. Prabakaran and Rameshchandra G. Shah, among others had been set up.The committee will visit Jammu, Kathua and other places on April 20 to verify the allegations. It will interact with members and office-bearers of the bar associations concerned and also with the eight-year-old victim’s relatives.
( With PTI inputs )
Air Force tests its sinews with 1,110 aircraft
Operation Gaganshakti simulates airborne assault, mass evacuation, deployment of air power in short and intense battles
The Indian Air Force is trying out a variety of new tactics and operational strategies during its ongoing exercise, Gaganshakti, in which over 1,100 aircraft are taking part. The exercise began on April 8 and will conclude on April 22.
On Saturday evening and night, the Air Force and the Army’s Parachute Brigade undertook a battalion-level airborne assault operation in the desert sector.
“This assault included paradrop of 560 paratroopers, combat vehicles and GPS-guided cargo platforms. The landing force was dropped behind the simulated enemy lines to soften up the likely resistance to our own armoured offensive,” the IAF spokesperson said.
Six C-130J transport aircraft and seven An-32 transport aircraft launched from multiple IAF bases for the operation.
AWACS (airborne warning and control system) provided aerial surveillance and a fleet of Su-30 air-superiority fighters gave protection.
Gaganshakti covers real-time coordination, deployment and employment of air power in a short and intense battle scenario, and joint operations with other services, the IAF said. “Concepts of accelerated operations, network-centric operations, long-range missions with concentrated weapon releases across all air-to-ground ranges in India, inter-valley troop transfer, flexible use of airspace, joint maritime air operations with the Navy, joint operations with the Army, simulated combat search and rescue for effective extraction of downed aircrew behind enemy lines, special operations with Garuds, mass casualty evacuation from highway and ALG (advance landing ground) operations, to name a few, would be tested,” an Air Force press statement said.
For the first time in IAF history, the indigenously made light combat aircraft, Tejas, has been deployed to test its efficacy and integration in the operational matrix of the IAF.
Apart from wartime drills, the IAF is carrying out exercises to test its ability to carry out mass casualty evacuation in the northern sector.
The press statement said that in a simulation earlier this week, 88 “casualties” were airlifted from Leh to Chandigarh. A C-17 Globemaster aircraft was converted for this role by fixing support structures for stretchers in the main cabin.
“An indigenously developed patient transfer unit, capable of providing in-flight critical care to patients, was demonstrated during the exercise,” the IAF said.
After landing in Chandigarh, a green corridor was made available, in liaison with Chandigarh civil authorities, to transfer the “patients” swiftly to the Command Hospital in Chandimandir, the Air Force said. For the first time, the IAF formalised the concept of a forward surgical centre. It is set up in a remote forward location to enhance the medical capabilities of a forward base away from a service hospital, thus providing medical facility to IAF and Army personnel in remote areas.
Naliya is the first Air Force Station where such a centre has started operations, using men and material of the IAF, the statement added.
On April 14, the IAF conducted maritime air operations on the western seaboard, to validate its capabilities over the extended area of interest in the Indian Ocean region.
“In the long-range strike concept validation, the Su-30s, airborne from a base on the eastern coast, engaged multiple targets, in the western seaboard, at distances beyond 2,500 km and landed in a southern base, thus covering a total distance of 4,000 km in a single mission,” the IAF statement said.
During this operation, the IL-78 flight refuelling aircraft provided mid-air refuelling to the Su-30 fighters.
Govt. ties up with IIT-Delhi for safety switches on vehicles
Aimed at women’s security, the panic button will sound an alarm when pressed
Under pressure on the issue of safety of women in the country, the NDA government has turned to technology for a solution. The Ministry of Electronics and IT in partnership with IIT-Delhi is working on a switch-based device in cars and buses to aid safety of women.
“We are using technology to ensure help in case of distress while travelling in public transport. The proposed panic switch system when invoked will generate a loud alarm in the vehicle which will attract public attention, and send the coordinates of the person to a server [police control room] to provide necessary help,” a senior ministry official said.
Ensures system health
The system will include features such as authenticating the driver of the vehicles and a camera interface. “The system is designed [to] monitor the health of the switch… whether it is in proper working condition or not, and it will also enable tamper proof operation,” the official said.
The field trials for the beta version of the system are already underway, and the Ministry expects to start rolling out the final version by next month. “The first version has been field tested and the final version is expected in May, 2018 for cars and by August, 2018 for buses,” the official said.
From Nirbhaya fund
The project, being developed by IIT-Delhi, is being funded by the Nirbhaya Fund, set up in 2013 for implementation of initiatives aimed at enhancing the safety and security of women in the country. However, the government has been facing criticism for under-utilisation of the fund.
The total number of crimes registered against women in the country during the year 2014, 2015 and 2016 were 3,39,457, 3,29,243 and 3,38,954, respectively, showing a mixed trend with a decline of 3.0% in 2015 over 2014 and an increase of 2.9% in 2016 over 2015, as per the government data.
In 2016, the government had announced plans to make it mandatory for mobile phone makers to provide a panic button on the device, starting January 2017. However, the plans were delayed by almost a year. The trial for the system finally started in U.P. earlier this year.