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Archive for January, 2012

LEST WE FORGET: Indian Army Brutes Killing of Pakistan POWS in 1971

During India’s Invasion of East Pakistan in 1971, the Indian Army committed cowardly, genocidal crimes of killing captured prisoners of war.  The few who survived tried to escape from the medieval POW camps. Pakistanis will never forget, nor forgive. We will get even with India! Rest assured!

In those dreadful dungeons, the only ray of kindness was a Hindu Duty Havaldar who would throw in a toffee, a candy or some such thing through the window and mutter softly a few words of sympathy and solace

By January 1972, our plan to escape from the Agra Central Jail that was refitted as PoW (prisoner of war) Camp 44 had been finalised. To escape from the PoW camp is the duty of every captured soldier and to stop him the right of the captor. What happens in that little battle of wits and guts is a given accepted by both parties to the conflict, which includes blood and gore. By April we were quite advanced in digging a tunnel that was to pass under the huge inner and outer walls, surfacing a few yards beyond but for a catastrophic accident. Just after the first wall, water began to slowly dribble into the tunnel from its ceiling and before we knew it the tunnel on the other side of the wall collapsed as the soil was unfortunately terribly sandy. We were later told that there was a small used water pond overground on the other side that seeped down and killed the plan. It took them very little time and a lot of anxiety to single out our barrack that conceived and executed the escape plot.
We became kind of instant celebrities and objects of curiosity simultaneously. Here was a real life escape attempt by the prisoners of war; therefore, officers, families and children began to visit and chatted excitedly about the adventure. Although we may have been despised a bit at that time, there quietly walked in a soothing whiff of sanity and a lurking longing about our own folks. Except a stealthy, hesitant waving of hands here and there to an irresistibly lovely child, we were careful not to spoil their fun. We were locked up in any case. Misery is not always physical; it can be infinitely more painful when emotional. Hatred like any other ecstasy does not normally last long, its scars do.
Shortly, the entire barrack — about 30 of us — were marched out to death row cells in a different compound and sentenced to solitary confinement for three months. This was a unique experience: ugly, terribly oppressive, and extremely taxing. The incubators were a regulation eight feet long, about as much high and four feet wide. The door was a block of heavy iron plate with a small sliding window, both bolted from outside. A hole with metal grill near the ceiling was, I guess, a ventilator. A water pitcher and an open native bed pan at the end of the cemented bed served as a toilet. Summers were at their peak in Agra, temperatures raging anything up to 110 to120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sizzling heat, incessant sweating and huge swarms of mosquitoes soon turned us into walking dummies full of all kinds of sores, bites and scars. I had never seen prickly heat the size of a pea before. Our responses to smell, pain, hunger and sleep withered away beyond a certain point some weeks into the confinement. We were let out for 10 minutes each in the morning and evening to go to the community toilets where all pretensions of privacy got effectively dismantled.
In those dreadful dungeons, the only ray of kindness was a Hindu Duty Havaldar who would throw in a toffee, a candy or some such thing through the window and mutter softly a few words of sympathy and solace. May that noble man’s goodness be rewarded and his bliss increased manifold.
We kept steaming in that swelter in filth and privation and knew it was part of the package, therefore no complaints were made. Then one day it was announced that we had been declared the ‘Most Dangerous PoWs’ and were to be shifted by rail to Camp 95 Ranchi in Bihar. Ranchi was a British-era Cantonment located among lush green tea gardens. The journey was to take three days and three nights. Major Naseebullah was from the seniors barrack; he made a great effort and succeeded in getting himself included in the transfer list. A Kashmiri and Special Services Group (SSG) officer, he just had a handbag and a small pocketbook with a photograph of his wife and lovely children. He was very fond of them and talked about them with deep affection. Basically, he was a very cheerful and restless man. Shortly before departure he had started to offer prayers regularly as it seemed to make him at peace with himself in an imperceptible way. Sadly, he was not to reach Ranchi alive.
The day we were to leave for Ranchi, a row erupted. We refused to be handcuffed and shackled before departure to the railway station. Finally, we agreed to be handcuffed two together and that could be hidden easily while walking out of trucks to the railway compartment. We hid our prized possession: a broken steel cutting file carelessly discarded by some workman while the jail was being refitted for the PoWs. Captain Shujaat Latif and I were handcuffed together; we were also course mates. This man Shujaat was made of pure mercury, fearless, eruptive and utterly restless but awfully accident-prone. During the insurgency he surprised a Mukti position across a small river when he suddenly charged with his LMG blazing over the bridge and straight into their strong point that was holding up his unit’s advance. The moment we stepped into the train, we began to figure out an escape plan and soon finalised it. It was simple but workable.
My sheered handcuff and the dangling chain was enough evidence to show my complicity. I was promptly handcuffed afresh to the iron leg of the seat, hunched up like a pet on the floor
Ours was a third class compartment with barred windows normally meant for female passengers in the subcontinent, and had a washroom at one end, with passenger doors opening on either side of the passage. The guards had planted themselves in that passage. It looked like a Sikh Para Battalion Guard and their compartment was right next door. We had decided to file our handcuff chains, turn by turn, with the broken iron saw and in the next step to saw off an end each of the two lower bars of the window farthest from the guard so that one could slide through the gap easily. We had found out the first night that the guard would do the last head count by about 10 pm and then huddle in the passage for the night till the morning roll call. That meant we could have six to seven hours of darkness available for the escape. Everyone wanted to leave first, therefore, lists had to be drawn. Shujaat turned out to be the first to go and I had to be the next to jump. Major Naseebullah was handcuffed alone and his turn was somewhere in the middle. We decided that the escape attempt would be made the third night as most of the handcuff chains would be sheered by then and we would be somewhere in Bihar where one could possibly merge in the mixed population reasonably, we guessed.
By the third night we were still short of Banaras (Varanasi). Just as the nightly headcount ended the train began to slow down as if on cue. Quickly we flexed the weakened link and pulled the window bars inwards. Shujaat slid out and soon was gone into the night. As I prepared to slide out, the train began to pick up speed and for the next two hours or so made it at a fast pace. Suddenly the Guard Commander appeared in the passageway walking up towards us, possibly on a hunch. We sank into our seats feigning sleep. Major Naseebullah moved closer to me to show that we were handcuffed together. It turned out to be a snap count as he switched on the bogey lights. He counted once, then again and the third time by touching each head physically. There was one less, he could not believe. Quickly he went to the guard passage. The guard stood to, their weapons pointed at us. Recount began; again there was one missing. The train was stopped at the next station. The Train Adjutant and the Subedar Major came in to count for themselves. By then they were sure that a prisoner of war (PoW) had escaped but the question was how? They thought that the one handcuffed alone must have been the one who got away. Every place under the seats, in the toilet, along the walls of the compartment and its floor was checked looking for the escape hatch but in vain.
It was full daylight and the train was parked at a deserted platform when a Sikh Para Soldier walked up to our window and said, “You people do not let an opportunity go, now why do you not tell us how he escaped?” We kept quiet and prayed hard as he had placed his hand on a bar just above the ones that we had sheered and pushed back in place. Disappointed he turned to go when his hand brushed over the loosened bar. Instantly he turned and pulled the suspect bar, which gave way easily. Soon an officer arrived. Myself and Major Naseebullah were asked to stand up. My sheered handcuff and the dangling chain was enough evidence to show my complicity. I was promptly handcuffed afresh to the iron leg of the seat, hunched up like a pet on the floor. We could see a sort of Para Guard War Council in session at the other end of the platform but could not make out what was being discussed so heatedly.
By the evening the train began to chug out of the platform on its way to Ranchi. This time the sentries were not taking any chances. A few hours into the night a sentry walked up to me and asked if I wanted to go to the washroom. I did want to, more for the very uncomfortable position that I was chained in. Major Naseebullah intervened and insisted to go first. After an unusual haggling the guard agreed. As Major Naseeb turned right in the far end of the passage towards the toilet, we heard a distinct weapon cocking sound followed by Major Naseeb shouting: “What are you doing?” The guard fired a burst from his automatic weapon. Whistles were blown, the train slowly came to a halt and then began to reverse. After some time Major Naseebullah’s dead body was brought in. He had received nine bullets in his chest from a very close range and the impact must have thrown him out of the door, possibly, kept open for just such a thing. That is perhaps what the Council of War was about.
By morning the next day we reached Ranchi Camp. After a few days Shujaat joined us in a terribly bashed up shape but unbroken in spirit. His nose fractured, a few front teeth gone, a foot in plaster and awful bruises all over the body. As he jumped out, his big toe tangled in the low running signal cable, his head hit the rail track and he passed out. Locals found him and handed him over to the police. The story in the newspapers said two Pakistani PoWs attempted to escape from the train, one was captured and the other got killed. Quite understandable. Since the start of the war this was the fourth time I survived purely by chance. I carried his bag and pocketbook to Pakistan.

The writer is a retired brigadier of the Pakistan Army. He can be reached at clay.potter@hotmail.com

 

 

 

 

COMMENT: The train escape that could have been — II —Mehboob Qadir

My sheered handcuff and the dangling chain was enough evidence to show my complicity. I was promptly handcuffed afresh to the iron leg of the seat, hunched up like a pet on the floor

Ours was a third class compartment with barred windows normally meant for female passengers in the subcontinent, and had a washroom at one end, with passenger doors opening on either side of the passage. The guards had planted themselves in that passage. It looked like a Sikh Para Battalion Guard and their compartment was right next door. We had decided to file our handcuff chains, turn by turn, with the broken iron saw and in the next step to saw off an end each of the two lower bars of the window farthest from the guard so that one could slide through the gap easily. We had found out the first night that the guard would do the last head count by about 10 pm and then huddle in the passage for the night till the morning roll call. That meant we could have six to seven hours of darkness available for the escape. Everyone wanted to leave first, therefore, lists had to be drawn. Shujaat turned out to be the first to go and I had to be the next to jump. Major Naseebullah was handcuffed alone and his turn was somewhere in the middle. We decided that the escape attempt would be made the third night as most of the handcuff chains would be sheered by then and we would be somewhere in Bihar where one could possibly merge in the mixed population reasonably, we guessed.

By the third night we were still short of Banaras (Varanasi). Just as the nightly headcount ended the train began to slow down as if on cue. Quickly we flexed the weakened link and pulled the window bars inwards. Shujaat slid out and soon was gone into the night. As I prepared to slide out, the train began to pick up speed and for the next two hours or so made it at a fast pace. Suddenly the Guard Commander appeared in the passageway walking up towards us, possibly on a hunch. We sank into our seats feigning sleep. Major Naseebullah moved closer to me to show that we were handcuffed together. It turned out to be a snap count as he switched on the bogey lights. He counted once, then again and the third time by touching each head physically. There was one less, he could not believe. Quickly he went to the guard passage. The guard stood to, their weapons pointed at us. Recount began; again there was one missing. The train was stopped at the next station. The Train Adjutant and the Subedar Major came in to count for themselves. By then they were sure that a prisoner of war (PoW) had escaped but the question was how? They thought that the one handcuffed alone must have been the one who got away. Every place under the seats, in the toilet, along the walls of the compartment and its floor was checked looking for the escape hatch but in vain.

It was full daylight and the train was parked at a deserted platform when a Sikh Para Soldier walked up to our window and said, “You people do not let an opportunity go, now why do you not tell us how he escaped?” We kept quiet and prayed hard as he had placed his hand on a bar just above the ones that we had sheered and pushed back in place. Disappointed he turned to go when his hand brushed over the loosened bar. Instantly he turned and pulled the suspect bar, which gave way easily. Soon an officer arrived. Myself and Major Naseebullah were asked to stand up. My sheered handcuff and the dangling chain was enough evidence to show my complicity. I was promptly handcuffed afresh to the iron leg of the seat, hunched up like a pet on the floor. We could see a sort of Para Guard War Council in session at the other end of the platform but could not make out what was being discussed so heatedly.

By the evening the train began to chug out of the platform on its way to Ranchi. This time the sentries were not taking any chances. A few hours into the night a sentry walked up to me and asked if I wanted to go to the washroom. I did want to, more for the very uncomfortable position that I was chained in. Major Naseebullah intervened and insisted to go first. After an unusual haggling the guard agreed. As Major Naseeb turned right in the far end of the passage towards the toilet, we heard a distinct weapon cocking sound followed by Major Naseeb shouting: “What are you doing?” The guard fired a burst from his automatic weapon. Whistles were blown, the train slowly came to a halt and then began to reverse. After some time Major Naseebullah’s dead body was brought in. He had received nine bullets in his chest from a very close range and the impact must have thrown him out of the door, possibly, kept open for just such a thing. That is perhaps what the Council of War was about.

By morning the next day we reached Ranchi Camp. After a few days Shujaat joined us in a terribly bashed up shape but unbroken in spirit. His nose fractured, a few front teeth gone, a foot in plaster and awful bruises all over the body. As he jumped out, his big toe tangled in the low running signal cable, his head hit the rail track and he passed out. Locals found him and handed him over to the police. The story in the newspapers said two Pakistani PoWs attempted to escape from the train, one was captured and the other got killed. Quite understandable. Since the start of the war this was the fourth time I survived purely by chance. I carried his bag and pocketbook to Pakistan.

The writer is a retired brigadier of the Pakistan Army. He can be reached at clay.potter@hotmail.com

 

 

 

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mukhbari – مخبری After Raymond Davis will we release another CIA Agent (Dr. Shakil Afridi)?

PESHAWAR: The “distressed” family of Dr Shakil Afridi is in disbelief that he had work for the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to help track down Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad before May 2 operation without informing civil and military leadership in Islamabad. 

“He is not that sort of person. I am surprised how he could do this, if it is true,” the wife of Khyber Agency surgeon Dr Afridi, shaken by a British newspaper’s report, told Daily Times on Tuesday. Guardian newspaper said the American CIA “recruited” Dr Shakil Afridi, resident of Bara tehsil of Khyber Agency where he was the top health official also, to run “fake vaccination drive” in Abbottabad to try to get DNA samples from the family members of Osama bin Laden.

Dr Afridi was “kidnapped” from Karkhano Market close to border with Khyber Agency in May, his family said. The US government was also furious at Islamabad for arresting the “CIA agents” who helped track down Osama bin Laden. Pakistan had admitted to having arrested some of these agents. “He is a simple person,” the wife said. Dr Afridi was removed from the post of surgeon on “corruption charges” last year, but was reinstated after he had won a legal battle early this year.

Former FATA security chief Brig (r) Mehmood Shah said it was likely that the CIA “recruited” Dr Afridi to work as an “agent” and the American CIA was “looking for soft people and (it) enrolled many as its agents.” “Dr Shakil could be one of these CIA agents,” Mehmood Shah told Daily Times.

“When he disappeared we had a feeling he might have been kidnapped by Taliban or professional kidnappers or the government. But this report at least let us know who is holding him,” the alleged “CIA agent’s” wife went on to say. She said no government agency approached the missing agency surgeon’s family since his disappearance and said the family lodged a complaint with police station but it was not yet turned into an FIR.

I think it should be investigated if the US played a role in winning him his legal battle against corruption.

Shakil Afridi, must pay for his treachery against Pakistan.

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Heritage of Pakistan: Ameer Hamza Khan Shinwari, Pashto Poet

Ameer Hamza Khan Shinwari Best Pashto Poetry

Hamza Shinwari Pashto great poet pashto best ghazal “Poetry” in Picture.


 

HAZRAT AMIR HAMZA SHINWARI BABA 
Chishti Nizami Niazi (R. A.) 

حضرت امیر حمزہ شنواری بابا 
چشتی نظامی نیازی

 

Amir Hamza Khan Shinwari Baba was a leading mystic luminary of the twentieth century, with enormous contribution to pushto and urdu literature, not only in poetry but also in prose and drama. Being the founder of Khyber School of Literature, Hamza Baba is considered a versatile genious and an institution. He has encourged and fostered a large number of budding pushto poets who owe their growth and perfection to his benign care and artistic excellence. And, being at the same time a practising sufi and spiritual guide (MURSHID), he has also trained an equally large number of disciples in the esoteric, spiritual discipline. 

…I heard a voice, ‘alasto bir rabikum’ (am I not your Lord?) and I suddenly had a consciousness of my being. It might be said that before this I was in the state of unconsciousness, even if I was there already. And in the reply I said, ‘bala’, (yes Thou Art); and I felt that there was an element of doubt in my voice. While yet in my mother`s womb I was feeling a gradually receding light; and than I felt as if I had a fall from above, with the light finally disappearing from my sight; leaving me the lap of a suffocating darkness. At this I cried and the women gathered around my mother cheerfully proclaimed, “Oh, its a boy,” ….

(Autobiography, Hamza Shinwari)

….All creations exists in or because of God. It is the attributes of God that come across each other to have self conciousness and the sense of externality and this way God minifests Himself. This the reality of the unreality that we call creations; whether we call it the shadow or reality or its mirror, it is realy saying the same thing. God was a hidden treasure and He wanted to minifest Him self. He created this entire universe in this way. Now looking at His creation is actually looking at God, not from the point of view of the universe being the wonderfull handicraft of a master artisan but also because it is still Him or inside Him. We can not imagine a separate God against a separate universe for that will limit His Omnipresence, may also bestow eternity on the universe. There can not be two co-eternal, co-existing at the same time. If God is Omnipotent and Omnipresent than what is the potentiality or even the reality of the universe and where does it exist? We are forced to conclude that it is entirly dependent upon God and can exist only in him. And that is the doctrine of Wahdatul Wajud (the unity of essence)….

(Muktoobat-e-HamzaBaba)

 

ستا پہ اننګو کې د حمزہ د وینو سره دي

تہ شوې د پښتو غزلہ ځوان زہ دې بابا کړم

(Your cheeks are flushed with the blood of Hamza;You come of age, Pushto Ghazal, But I Become an old Baba)

تمہارے گالوں میں حمزہ کے خون کی سرخی ہے        اے پشتو غزل،تم جوان ہوئیں اور مجھے بوڑھا کر دیا

Courtesy: Please visit: http://www.hamzababa.faithweb.com/ 

 

BABA-E-GHAZAL (Loosly translated)

Your cheeks are flushed with the blood of Hamza;

You come of age, Pushto Ghazal,

But I Become an old Baba.

A bubble, like an eye in your search,

I am drifting in the sea of your love.

O love you are self centered while I am a pakhtoon,

I have never taught begging to my eyes.

Do not touch the blister on my Pakhtoon heart,
Lest the beautiful tent of Laila is broken.

The sun of your face has blinded me

Spred your dark tresses so light comes again to my eyes.

Please God increase ten times the beauty of Laila of Pashtoo
,

And than also increase my love ten times more than Majnoons

I wonder at your simplicity, dear,
My poetry is but considered a puzzle

Watch carefully, life was a point in the begnning,

Up and down, entire universe was its circle

Neither have I wandered out side my self,

Nor have I gone any where, nor come back

My dreams are thristy of water of interpretation,

Only those having really no wings find the river difficult to cross

The pan of the sun went up to the sky,

When I wished to weigh your beauty with the sun

I have not yet shown on the horizon of Pakhtoonkhwa,

I am that universal sun which has not yet arisen



You are the book of existence,

I am its text;

All these other things are but the margin of this book

You have not understood the truth of Wajud,

when still searching for space in the universe

The adversary call it a language of hell
but to heaven

I shall go with Pashto



Until I bring them all to one centre,

I shall go with jargas to every tribe



I thought this sleeping nation would wake up with my calls,

It seems I have been calling a sleepy people in dream



An indivisual, like a drop,

Can neither wet nor irrigate;

Only with plentiful rain

Does the parched earth vegitate


 

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Hyderabad a U.S. visa fraud hub

Hyderabad a U.S. visa fraud hub

A. SRIVATHSAN

The Hindu

Consular offices across India outline a growing trend of sharp practices resorted to by applicants

After sifting through visa applications received by consular offices in India during 2008 and 2009, the United States Consulate in Chennai, where the country-level coordination office for Fraud Prevention Programme is located, found that the volume of fraudulent applications was on the rise. In a cable sent from Chennai (229319: unclassified, dated October 13, 2009), the States of Gujarat, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh were identified as hubs of such fraudulent practices. Hyderabad in particular was seen as a centre of large-scale documentation fraud. This affected visa processing not only at the Hyderabad centre but also in other offices in India, the cable said.

This cable, along with two cables (195313: unclassified, dated March 5, 2009 and 216420: unclassified, dated July 14, 2009) sent from New Delhi and Mumbai respectively, listed different types of fraud, described some key incidents, and named some agencies and people involved. They briefly discussed improved methods of detection and a tightened process of verification adopted by consulates. After dealing with Indian visa applications, U.S. officials in India gained enough expertise to host training sessions in “adjudication techniques and fraud prevention strategies” for officers stationed in other countries.

These cables were accessed by The Hindu through WikiLeaks.

Consular operations in India are “amongst the busiest in the world” for the U.S. In 2008, about 7,56,000 non-immigrant and 27,000 immigrant visa applications were processed. About 3,083 cases of non-immigrant visa fraud cases were identified. Though this is small compared to the overall number of applications received, the cable noted that the number of fraudulent applications was on the rise. For instance, the number of reported cases of B1 (for business) and B2 (for pleasure) visa frauds “nearly doubled from 1,089 to 2,121” over the first six months of 2009.

Sharp practices were detected across different types of applications. In the case of the business visa, some applicants submitted “fraudulent experience letters and fake document packages, which include passport copies of false relatives, bogus financial documents, and affidavits of support.” There were fake priests from Nepal and Karnataka. “Many student applicants, even legitimate ones,” presented “fraudulent packages of bank statements and land documents in their interviews.”

Other instances

The Kolkata Consulate encountered some blatant cases of fraud in R1 — religious worker — visa applications. A cable (142989: unclassified, dated February 26, 2008) sent from this office, described how two ‘monks’ — one of them was trying to use a stolen passport and the other had a forged one — were caught. Also, some Buddhist monks from the ‘Northern District’ of West Bengal who applied for the R1 visa “did not belong to the monasteries as they claimed.” The cable noted that at times, sources outside India were also complicit in the fraud.

It was observed that in some instances, cooks and maintenance men tried to pass themselves off as Hindu priests. The Kolkata consular office was wary of one particular Hindu institution. It noted that they specially looked out for applicants with any connection to “the cunning and adaptive Gaudiya Vaisnava Society (GVS), also known as the Sri Ram Temple, in Milwaukee, founded by former R-1 visa holder and current Lexus driving legal permanent resident (LPR) Hari Gopal Das a.k.a Sudarshan Halder,” which ran a temple that looked like a “boarding house.” The Fraud Prevention Unit (FPU) of the Mumbai Consulate identified a trend of “mix-and-match” couples where “multiple spouses pretended to be married to the same spouse” who was a legitimate H1-B (speciality occupation) visa holder in the United States, in order to obtain dependant visas. The cable noted that “these applicants were to pay upon issuance approximately $70,000 to the smuggler that arranged their documentation.” Misrepresentations of marital status such as “falsely claiming to be single by denying the applicant has a spouse and children and misrepresentations of the age of children in order to qualify as part of the family eligible to immigrate” were prevalent among applicants, particularly those from Kerala.

The cable documented that the majority of fake documents fabricating educational and employment qualifications came from Hyderabad. When 150 companies in Hyderabad were investigated, 77 per cent of them “turned out to be fraudulent or highly suspect.” They encountered several fictitious companies in places such as Bangalore and Pune “staffed by Hyderabadis.” The cable said “the Hyderabadis claimed that they had opened shell companies in Bangalore because ‘everyone knows Hyderabad has fraud and Bangalore is reputable’.” Fake certificates issued by shell companies in Pune helped Hyderabadi applicants “to apply in Mumbai’s consular district and avoid Chennai.”

Even special initiatives such as the Business Executive Programme (BEP) that was meant to enable “large firms with a high volume of travel to the United States to access a priority visa appointment calendar and allows for expedited processing of applicants on the day of the appointment” were not free of fraudulent practices.

Cable 195313, sent from the New Delhi Embassy, pointed out that a purported vice president of Maxwell Industries admitted during an interview at the Consulate General in Chennai that he had purchased a complete package of fraudulent supporting documents from a vendor in Hyderabad in order to benefit from the BEP programme. What surprised the consular officials was not the presence of fictitious company, but “a genuine letter of support from the regional director of Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC) based in New Delhi.” This letter sought to confirm that “the applicant and his fictitious company were official members of IACC’s delegation to attend the Pack Expo in Chicago.” The IACC is a non-governmental, industry-led organisation that looks at ways to promote commercial relations between India and the U.S. Further investigation showed that more companies that were part of the IACC had submitted fraudulent documents.

The U.S. officials noted that “the IACC showed no accountability for its applicants” and that “several IACC applicants, including the CEO for Saravana Bhavan [a south Indian restaurant chain caught in a fraudulent visa application case] confirmed that IACC charged them to obtain an IACC BEP appointment.” The IACC was removed from the BEP programme in January 2009. However, the U.S. Mission in India acknowledged “the otherwise positive work that the IACC does on behalf of U.S.-India commercial relations and will continue to work with IACC on non-visa issues.” FPUs in consular offices use a combination of methods and tools to detect fraud. For instance, the New Delhi office verified applications from Punjab using applicants’ voter identity papers. By looking up the website www.ceopunjab.nic.in, it found “who lives in the voter’s house, their age and marital status and/or father’s name.”

Based on this information, it detected three cases for investigation. Using online phone lists, FPUs located “phone numbers in the area in which the applicant lives and call those neighbors for information about the beneficiaries and sometimes petitioner.”

Professional verification services such as Lexis-Nexis (‘a global company that helps professionals verify identity and prevent fraud’) checks were used. In addition, the Consular Consolidated Data Base (CCD) and Arrival and Departure Information System (ADIS) were deployed to check the status of applicants.

The cables noted that all fraud prevention units in India “are [now] better equipped, and most will soon have appropriate offices from which to operate.” They appreciated the cooperation of local authorities. In particular, they favourably mentioned emerging systems such as OLIVE, an online verification system for high priority educational degrees in Andhra Pradesh.

(This article is a part of the series “The India Cables” based on the US diplomatic cables accessed by The Hindu via Wikileaks.)

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IAF officer charged with raping colleague’s wife

IAF officer charged with raping colleague’s wife

6042011 Indian Express Reference

 

Bhartesh  Singh Thakur.

A Court of Inquiry (CoI) has been instituted at Chandigarh’s Air Force Station against a Wing Commander for repeatedly raping and “stealing the love and affection” of his colleague’s wife.

The inquiry was instituted after a Lieutenant Colonel, who did not wish to be named, complained that 39-year-old Wing Commander Akshay Phadke sexually exploited his wife and tried to benefit from his marital discord by misguiding her that the marriage was over.

As per the complainant, his wife first came in contact with Phadke’s kin in United Kingdom in 2005. After he was posted to Army Headquarters in Delhi, she also joined him but soon their marriage hit a rock. In July 2009, the Lieutenant Colonel moved to Congo leaving his wife behind. In the meantime, Phadke also moved to Delhi and became a neighbour of his wife.

In the complaint submitted to Air Officer In-Charge Administration, Air Marshal JN Burma, in January this year the Lieutenant Colonel writes, Phadke got the mobile number of his wife and started chatting with her. Soon he tried to capitalise on the their marital discord and allegedly raped her. He also complained that Phadke’s father who is a senior officer in Air Force also threatened him with dire consequences when he protested against Wing Commander’s action.

The CoI was initiated by an order dated February 7 and comprises Group Captain Biji Philip as the Presiding Officer and Wing Commander Vineet Lamba, as a member.

Phadke later approached the Chandigarh Bench of Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) against the CoI, but it refused to intervene into the matter.

In his defence, Phadke claimed that the charges of repeated rapes in the November of 2009 were never reported to the local police for 16 months.

He added that such offences should be investigated by the local police, which is the appropriate authority, and the case be tried in Delhi courts.

-via Indian Express

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