December 9, 2021 8:25:20 am
The nation’s most senior military officer, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and 11 other people on board an Indian Air Force helicopter were killed in a crash near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu. A local who witnessed the crash said: “When we reached the spot, we saw a man running out. He was in flames and fell on the ground. At least three-four others came out… All had severe burn injuries.”
The lone survivor of the crash, Group Captain Varun Singh, is in critical condition at the Military Hospital in Wellington. A year ago, he had a close call when a Light Combat Aircraft that he was flying developed system failure, resulting in total loss of control. Going “beyond the call of duty”, he managed to land the aircraft and for this “act of exceptional gallantry”, he was awarded the Shaurya Chakra on Independence Day this year.
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Retired Major General Ashok K Mehta recalls how Bipin Rawat started his career as an officer in the Gorkhas and rose to command 5/11 Gorkha Rifles, the battalion his father Lt Gen L S Rawat also commanded, and the time he planned a “bold and daring” cross-border retaliatory operation inside Myanmar to avenge the ambush of a Dogra battalion.
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The farmers’ body spearheading the year-long protest against farm law at the borders of Delhi will likely call off the agitation or temporarily suspend it today after the 32 unions under its ambit accepted a revised draft proposal from the Government, including the unconditional withdrawal of all police cases lodged against protesters during the agitation.
In his autobiography titled Justice for the Judge: And Autobiography, former chief justice of India Ranjan Gogoi recounted several key incidents related to his career, including the allegations of sexual harassment against him and his decision to accept the Rajya Sabha nomination. He also brought to light that he took his colleagues, who were part of the bench that settled the Ram Janmabhoomi case, for a dinner at Hotel Taj Mansingh and ordered their best wine.
One of the most celebrated soldiers of his time, late Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat was best known for two things — the ability to come up with ideas, and not being shy to express them. Former Vice Chief of the Army, Lt Gen S K Saini, called him an “unflappable” man who “came up with innovative solutions to manpower problems”. In fact, during an Idea Exchange in 2016, Rawat spoke about women taking up combat rules in the military.
The Gandhi statue at Parliament House bears the look of a happy picnic spot these days. Inner wrangling may have left a bitter taste in the Opposition, but over the 12 suspended MPs, a common bond has been formed over food. With the House functioning in fits and starts over the suspensions, among other issues, other parliamentarians keep dropping by. While DMK MP Tiruchi Siva brought idlis, sambar and chutney, the NCP’s Supriya Sule got poha and sabudana vadas.
After the botched Army operation in Nagaland, Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes on the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA): “AFSPA is a moral abomination, arguably the single biggest legal blot on the Indian state. The repeal of AFSPA is necessary not just for restoring constitutional sanity, but also as a way of acknowledging the brutally dark history of our conduct in Nagaland.”
For Virat Kohli, captaincy seemed more of an instinct than duty, predestined the moment he broke into first-class cricket. Through largely good times, and the intermittent bad, leading a team never seemed to burden him. But it was inevitable that while being a leader, lead batsman, talisman and an ambassador of the game, something had to give, one day. It was white-ball captaincy in the end, and though he would miss it undoubtedly, it might be the small price he might have to pay for reviving his anomalous batting form.
Delhi Confidential: A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned his party MPs about regular attendance in Parliament, only 58 party members, and nine ministers who had to respond to questions, were present in Lok Sabha at 11.10 am.
In today’s episode of the ‘3 Things’ podcast, our reporter Tora Agarwala discusses her meeting with the survivors of the botched security operation in Nagaland, we then take a look at why policymakers should look at ‘employment rate’ if they want to accurately assess the scale of joblessness in India, and the tragic helicopter accident that lead to 13 deaths including CDS Bipin Rawat.
Leela Prasad G and Rahel Philipose
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