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Friday, February 12, 2016

Lance Naik Koppad is no more ... .. .. David Headley explosive revelations !!

Nation is sad ~ the hero is no more.  He symbolised patriotism, valour and exhibited indomitable spirit of the Indian soldier. Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad, epitomized high quality as he was rescued after six days of remaining buried under 35 feet of snow in temperatures of minus 55-60 degrees centigrade.  The efforts of the Govt and army in retrieving him is laudable, sadly he passed away with  whole nation standing  by him,  prayers were being held all over for his recovery, providence had other plans despite the best of medical treatment provided.

His rescue indeed was miraculous and the herculean rescue operation mounted by the Army itself was one of the most daunting and intricate. Sonam post has a number of Fibre Glass Huts (FGH) as also a helipad. It is at an altitude of 20,500 feet where average temperatures are about minus 25 degree centigrade by day and about minus 45 degree centigrade by night.  Firstpost ridicules the queries of some media about how soldiers live on the Siachen glacier 32 years after India’s occupation of the Saltoro Range-  one is not surprised that some are so outwitted by the news of an avalanche striking Sonam post held by 19 Madras on 3 February that they suggest Indian Army (IA) should vacate the area, albeit without any inkling about the ground and its strategic significance. Incidentally, George Fernades was the only defence minister who took journalists with him on his numerous visits to the Siachen area, to bring awareness about the region, including its strategic significance and why India pre-empted Pakistani move to occupy the Saltoro Range. There are some who ask why the post was located at such place where such an avalanche could occur, again without knowing the ground realities. The post of Sonam where the avalanche occurred is an essential piece of ground which guards the approach to Bana Post (the highest on the Saltoro Range) from being cut off, Bana being the erstwhile Qaid-e-Azam post of Pakistan at a height of 6,500 metres (21,326 feet) that was captured by Indian troops in 1987 under the leadership of Honorary Captain Bana Singh who was later awarded the Param Vir Chakra.

Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad joins that elite list of illustrious valorous men.  Salute to Him.

Back home, continuing his deposition on Thursday in a special court hearing the 2008 Mumbai attacks case, American-Pakistani terrorist David Headley told the Judge G.A. Sanap that LeT members Sajjid Mir and Abu Kahaffa and a former Pakistani navy officer decided in March 2008 that Headley should go to Mumbai to select safe landing sites. Kahaffa’s nephew was one of the 10 young boys who attacked the city. Headley said he took one boat ride to the Gateway of India and two more from Cuffe Parade, which eventually became the landing point, and a fourth from Worli. He used GPS to mark locations and saved the readings for safe entry and exit. ….and what followed was quite a revelation.  Headley told the special court that Ishrat Jahan was a Lashkar-e-Taiba operative although earlier he said he knew nothing about suicide bombers in the LeT.

To a Q of the  Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, Headley chose Ishrat Jahan. “I think Ishrat Jahan was an Indian national, not a Pakistani, and was an LeT operative,” he said. Ishrat Jahan (19) was killed by the Gujarat police in an alleged fake encounter near Ahmedabad in June 2004. Javed Ghulam Sheikh, Zeeshan Johar and Ajmad Ali Akbar Ali Rana were also shot dead along with her. Explosive disclosure for that one incident has been used by opposition, political parties, so called social activists to hound the Gujarat Govt insinuating them and fighting on religious overtures.

The disclosure is certain  to ignite a fresh row around the encounter. While spilling beans about involvement of Pakistan's army and intelligence agency in terrorism in India, he said he knew ISI official Brigadier Riyaz being the handler of LeT's top commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, who was the mastermind of 26/11 attacks. Headley, who had visited Mumbai seven times to scout for targets, revealed that plans to target Mumbai had started over a year before 26/11.

See the immediate reaction – Cong spokesperson Tewari is quoted as asking -  "But the fundamental question remains: Whether Ishrat and her accomplices were killed in a fake encounter or not?" Tewari said even if a person is a terrorist, he needs to be arrested and needs to be brought to justice like Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. Nation knows what to say to this ! … and what about the social activist who reportedly minted money questioning the motives calling the dead innocent.  A couple of months ago, calling its previous order a “mistake,” the Supreme Court refused to extend interim bail to activist and her husband in connection with an embezzlement case, and said that only a larger bench should consider their plea.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

12th Feb 2016.

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