Army Colonel and Major among five martyred in Kashmir

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Col. Ashutosh Sharma

Srinagar: An Army Colonel, a Major two Army jawans and a police sub-inspector were martyred in an encounter with terrorists at a village in Handwara in North Kashmir on Sunday morning.

Two terrorists were killed by the security forces in the Handwara encounter. It was a fierce gun battle that lasted over 8 hours in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara district.

Among those martyred on the line of duty is Colonel Ashutosh Sharma, Commanding Officer of 21 Rashtriya Rifles (RR). Col Sharma is the only Commanding Officer decorated twice for gallantry in Kashmir.

The Army men & J&K Police man killed in action fighting terrorists and rescuing civilians in Handwara:

Col Ashutosh Sharma, 45
Major Anuj Sood, 31
Naik Rajesh Kumar, 30
Lance Naik Dinesh Singh, 25
Sub-Inspector Shakeel Qazi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tributes to valiant soldiers and security personnel martyred in Handwara in Jammu & Kashmir.

“Tributes to our courageous soldiers and security personnel martyred in Handwara. Their valour and sacrifice will never be forgotten. They served the nation with utmost dedication and worked tirelessly to protect our citizens. Condolences to their families and friends”, the Prime Minister said.

Reject those nurturing hatred and separatism – II

Rajiv Lochan

The Muslim Dilemma in India with relation to the promoters of Muslim Exclusivism

I would not give too much value to the Muslims of India voting in 1946 for the Muslim League and its agenda for creating a separate country for Muslims. Those were confusing times for most people. Also, do notice that the ones who voted for the Muslim League, were a negligible portion of the Muslim population of India whom I like to call the incompetent elite Muslims. They are the kathmulla elite of the Muslim community.

The Muslims who voted for a separate country for Muslims were the ones who had a degree and or were an officer working for the government, had large properties and or paid a high tax. These were the Muslims who used to complain that the Hindus were better at all these activities (government jobs, earning degrees, running businesses). These incompetent elite Muslims hoped that once they had a country to themselves they would dominate it and get ahead quickly. As we know their dreams were shattered.

Pakistan emerged as one of the most incompetent country and the country was soon overwhelmed by the Punjabis who had never before voted for the Muslim League. Not only that the Punjabis quickly sidelined the Muslim League, eliminated its leaders and took full control over Pakistan. Of course, taken in by the rhetoric of religion and nationhood that the incompetent Muslim elite put forward, the poorer Muslims, mostly from artisanal classes and a few micro-sized shopkeepers, picked up their bags and started moving towards Pakistan. It is these who paid a heavy price for the dreams of their incompetent religion mates. That Hindus of all classes had to suffer tremendously, India as a whole had to suffer heavily the sowed seeds of distrust that continue with us till today. It is in these seeds of distrust that start sprouting everytime someone like Zafarul-Islam Khan makes a foolish statement. Whether he is doing so unthinkingly or after due care does not matter. The consequence remains the same– it fosters distrust of a very high order against the Muslims.

As for the Muslims who remained in India after partition, do remember two things:

One, that lakhs of Muslims actually came back to India from Pakistan once the madness was over. During the 1948-1955 period, hundreds of thousands of them returned and were given lands and properties and not a single Hindu returned to Pakistan.

Two, many who stayed back do believe firmly in being part and parcel of the general population of India. Time and again they have demonstrated that they neither suffer from any discrimination, nor do they have any complaints against India or Hindus, nor are they unwilling to live in India as normal Indians, facing all the troubles and privileges of normal Indians.

So, where does the problem lie?

Everyone knows of those who are promoting Muslim exclusivism and Muslim separatism.

These are the social and cultural elite nurtured by the Congress eco-system. Even today the Indian National Congress provides them with support.

The thing to figure out is:
(1) Why are they doing so? Merely a hatred for Narendra Modi cannot be such a strong driving force since their behaviour far pre-dates the public arrival of Modi.

(2) What can be done to stop their influence from growing among the common Muslims of India?

For, as a lie repeated a few times ends up being considered a truth. If the people who are spreading Muslim separatism and Muslim exclusivism are not stopped today they are likely to occupy the minds of a much larger number of Muslims. After all they did manage to convert poor Zafarul-Islam Khan to their point of view. It was just that Zafarul did not have the sliminess of the LeLi and ended up making a public statement on social media. We have already seen how the Kathmullas took over Pakistan entirely and kicked out the LeLi , the Left and Liberal people from that country.

(3) Why are the common people of the Islamic faith in India scared of publicly opposing such elements among Muslims and among non-Muslims?

(4) Why are the generality of Muslims silent even while they do not agree with the people who are promoting Muslim separatism and Muslim exclusivism?

(5) What can be done to remove the fear of their kathmulla elites from the people of India who follow the Islamic faith?

The author, Rajiv Lochan, a JNU alumnus, is a renowned historian, scholar and academician

Reject those nurturing hatred and separatism

Rajiv Lochan

Reject those who are nurturing hatred and separatism around the false claims of Muslim persecution in India. Reject Muslim Exclusivism.

In 1947 a country was created for Muslims. That was Pakistan. It is the only country in the world, apart from Israel, created for a people of a religion.

Those who continued to live in India, whether Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis, Jains, Sikhs, and even Muslims, committed themselves to live together.

The Muslims who chose to live in India rejected pan Islamism, the idea that there is a single world of Islam which exists over and above India, and they rejected the idea that Allah or his word would provide the only valid guidance for life. Yet, the Congress eco-system that dominated India went out of its way to nurture various sorts of separatism.

Sikh separatism that was created by Indira Gandhi resulted in decade long blood shed. Finally it was the people of Punjab, Sikhs and Hindus, who came together to make Sikh separatism irrelevant. They publicly, vociferously, in numerous ways, rejected Sikh separatism. Muslim separatism, however, was used by Indira Gandhi and her successors to poison the minds of Muslims against India. Unfortunately for the Congress system the Muslims cottoned on to the tricks being played on them. Most of them withdrew their support to the Congress. But some of them gravitated towards pan-Islamism once again. Today the LeLi (Left-Liberal) intellectuals of India, the ones who claim to be Left but are not, the ones who claim to be Liberal but are not, have been nurturing, justifying and promoting the cause of Muslim separatism. Once in a while a good, intelligent and caring person like Zafarul-Islam Khan gets carried away by such nurturing and goes out of his way to invite the Muslims of Arabia to teach the Hindus of India a lesson. He makes some generic claims about Hindus troubling Muslims. These are the same false claims that have been spread by the LeLi people of India ever since Narendra Modi became Prime Minister.

This is a critique and in response to the following:

The author, Rajiv Lochan is a renowned historian, scholar and academician

Teak plantations, Connolly and Maniram – the unsung hero

Ravindra Nath Saxena

H.V. Conolly, the Collector of British Malabar, had raised a teak plantation near Nilambur town, in the district of Malappuram in the 19th Century. The Nilambur Teak Plantation, which attracts tourists in hordes from all over the world, is named after Connolly, who has been immortalized in the local folklore. In sharp contrast, we have Maniram, a local Forest Guard, who had raised the first teak plantation on similar lines in Central India within the same time-frame goes unsung.

Conolly Teak Plantation – Nilambur

It is believed that H.V. Conolly, the then Collector of British Malabar had raised a Teak plantation in an area under his control around 1878. It baffled me – why the Collector had taken the initiative of raising this plantation in 1878. On inquiry, it was found that there was great synergy between the Revenue and Forest Departments when it came working under the Indian Forest Act, 1878. In those days, the Collectors/Deputy Commissioners were especially directed to maximise income from forest resources in order to boost “revenue” for British India. Hence the Provincial Governments and Collectors brought more and more forest areas under Government control and scientific forestry management. But this also generated plenty of resentment in Central India, particularly in terms of the Sal forests. So these statutory provisions were diluted under Indian Forest Act, 1927. Even the provisions of implementation of “working plan” was removed from the Act. The subject of “forests” was transferred to “provincial list” from the “federal list” under the Government of India Act, 1935. It was a big retrogressive decision about “forest management” in India.


Sal (Shorea robusta, Family Dipterocarpaceae) is found in 22 States of the 28 States of Union of India. The major river system of Himalayan foothills, Central and East India originate in Sal forests, and is vital for the “ecological stability” of the country.

Photograph of Maniram plantation in Chattisgarh, taken in 1988. The plantation was in excellent condition and it seems that thinnings, CBOs were carried-out properly.

The Unsung Hero

The late Maniram, Forest Guard, had raised, one of the first Teak plantations (3.5 Acres) in 1891 in Bar Forest Village, Barnawapara Wildlife Sanctuary, Chattisgarh. I had prepared the “Wildlife Management Plan” of this sanctuary and inquired about Maniram and gathered that he was not rewarded for his great efforts. Some people believe that he was reprimanded on some count but, according to information available with me, there is no truth in it.

Sal Timber Depot, Keskal, Chattisgarh. Photo taken in 1982.

Click for Presentation on no-regeneration in Sal forests (seed viability is very low), Dry Rot formation, solidification of forest floor, moisture stress, infestation of invasive species, fragmentation & effect of Forest Rights Act, 2006; prevalence of Phoenix sylvestris, impact of Sal Borer, effect of underground coal mining on Sal crop in Central India.

The author, Ravindra Nath Saxena, is former PCCF, Madhya Pradesh.