Complete sealing of Indo-Pak border by Mar 2018

Complete sealing of Indo-Pak border with ‘smart fence’ by March 2018: BSF DG

Border Security Force DG KK Sharma said that the country’s relations with its eastern neighbour Bangladesh are “very good” at present.

Complete sealing of Indo-Pak border with 'smart fence' by March 2018: BSF DG

Sealing the Indian border with Pakistan is an immediate “priority” and a smart technology- aided fence will be in place along the Jammu sector by March next year, the BSF chief on Wednesday said.

Border Security Force DG K K Sharma, in the same breath, added that as the country’s relations with its eastern neighbour Bangladesh are “very good” at present, a similar plan to make the Indo-Bangla border impregnable would be taken up once the “resources” are available.

“My priority is Pakistan, as anything happens here (along the Indo-Pak border), it has grave consequences. We are working to ensure complete sealing of this border and make it more fortified,” the Director General said on sidelines of an event to announce the ‘BSF half marathon for martyrs’ to be held in October this year.

“We are implementing a comprehensive integrated border management (CBIM) plan and are running a pilot project to make our international border (IB) along Pakistan secure,” he said.
This project will be in place in the Jammu sector (of the IB) by March next year, Sharma said.

Asked if there were any similar plans for the 4,096-km long India-Bangladesh border, the DG replied “it is a question of priority”.

Both the governments of India and Bangladesh have good relations and the ties between the BSF and its counterpart Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) are also at an all-time high, the DG said.

“We are also conducting simultaneous coordinated patrolling wit the BGB … Once we have the resources (after completing the border sealing task with Pakistan), we will do it on the eastern side,” Sharma said.

He added that the project to create ‘smart fencing’ along the Indo-Bangla border has “not started” as of now along the eastern frontier.

The BSF DG’s statement comes in variance with that of Union home minister Rajnath Singh who has earlier said that the Assam portion of the Indo-Bangla border (about 200kms) will be completely sealed by the first half of 2018.

He added that the challenges of guarding these large borders on the two flanks of the country are very “dynamic” and hence the security requirements keep changing and nothing can be said to be adequate.

“We are modernising our equipments and the Indo-Pak border will be more fortified by the use of advanced technology. What we keep doing, I am sure, will have to be followed by my successor even,” he said.

Talking about the security situation along the Indo-Pak border, the BSF boss said terror “launch pads are always active to infiltrate terrorists from across the border into India”.

“We are committed to ensure fool proof security along the border despite all hardships and challenges at these two borders,” he said.

Sharma said since the last year, there has been no infiltration from across the IB that is under the absolute control of the force.

He added that these instances instead have taken place from the Line of Control (LoC), where the BSF is deployed under the operational command of the Army.

Talking about the half-marathon, the BSF chief said it will be held in the national capital on October 22, a day after the national police commemoration day, in the memory of its martyrs.

The families of the martyrs will be invited to witness and participate in it and the trophies of the event will be named after those personnel who laid down their lives in the line of duty, he added.

The about 2.5-lakh personnel strong force was raised in December 1965.

-August 3, 2017, New Delhi

India plans major step against terrorism

India plans major step against terrorism, to seal international boundaries with Pakistan, Bangladesh soon


Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday said India is pondering over sealing the international boundaries with Pakistan and Bangladesh soon. These borders would be sealed by 2018, he added.

Addressing the passing out parade of the Border Security Force Assistant Commandants at the BSF Academy in Tekanpur, Madhya Pradesh, Singh said: “India is planning to seal the international boundaries with Pakistan and Bangladesh as soon as possible. This could be India’s major step against terrorism and the problem of refugees.”

The minister added that the border with Pakistan would be sealed by 2018.

The decision has been taken in the wake of an increase in infiltration attempts, said Singh.

“The project will be periodically monitored by the Home Secretary at the Central level, the BSF from the security forces’ perspective and the Chief Secretaries at the state-level,” Singh said, adding that the government would apply technological solutions for sealing the border in difficult terrains.

Lauding the BSF personnel, the Home Minister stated that the force has changed the rules of engagement at international borders which have made it a known entity in the neighbouring countries.

“The BSF has changed rules of engagement at international borders. Now, the BSF is a known entity even in neighbouring countries,” Singh said.

Singh also spoke about the planning for an effective grievances redressal mechanism in the forces which will be implemented soon.

“We are planning for an effective grievances redressal mechanism in the forces. The forces are coming forward with such mechanism,” said Singh.

After the passing out parade, the Home Minister signed the visitors’ book at the BSF academy.

He also visited the national training centre for dogs at the BSF Academy.

-March 25, 2017, New Delhi


India will not count its bullet if Pakistan provokes

India will not fire first but will not count its bullet if Pakistan provokes: Rajnath Singh

“India wishes to see a Pakistan which abjures violence and takes strong preventive action against terrorists and extremists. India wishes to see a Pakistan which does not distinguish between good and bad terrorists but instead moves against all such elements irrespective of whom their hatred is directed against,” he had further said in a statement, as per PTI.

India will not fire first but will not count its bullet if Pakistan provokes: Rajnath Singh

In a stern statement, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Sunday that India will not fire first, but if the bullet is fired from Pakistan’s side then India will not count its bullet.

“India has conveyed to the world that it is a strong country and the forces that disturb her peace will not be spared,” Singh added, as per ANI.

On the other hand, Indian envoy to Islamabad had said on February 10 in Karachi that India wanted Pakistan to renounce violence and take “strong preventive action” against terrorists and extremists without discrimination.

“India wishes Pakistan well in its nation building process. India wishes to see a stable, moderate and prosperous Pakistan which is at peace with itself, at peace with its neighbours and at peace with the world,” India High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale had said at the inauguration of the 8th Karachi Literature Festival.

“India wishes to see a Pakistan which abjures violence and takes strong preventive action against terrorists and extremists. India wishes to see a Pakistan which does not distinguish between good and bad terrorists but instead moves against all such elements irrespective of whom their hatred is directed against,” he had further said in a statement, as per PTI.

Tensions have been running high between India and Pakistan since an attack on an Indian army base in Uri on September 18 last year by Pakistan-based terrorists.

-February 19, 2017 | PTI |  New Delhi


MEA rules out India Pakistan bilateral talk during SAARC

MEA rules out India Pakistan bilateral talks during SAARC meet in Islamabad

MEA rules out India-Pakistan bilateral talks during SAARC meet in Islamabad

The Ministry of External Affairs on Friday ruled out any possibility of a bilateral meeting between India and Pakistan during the SAARC event. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will represent India at the upcoming meeting of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

In a tweet message, MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup said: “Let me categorically state that the home minster of India is going for the SAARC event. There will be no bilateral meetings with Pakistan.”

The eight-member block is holding a meeting of the home ministers of SAARC nations in Islamabad from August 3 to 4.

According to sources, the home minister is likely to raise the issue of cross-border terrorism at the meeting.

At the 13th SAARC Summit held in Dhaka in November 2005, the heads of state decided that the SAARC interior/home ministers would meet annually preceded by a meeting of the interior/home secretaries to strengthen cooperation in the area of counter-terrorism.

The first meeting of SAARC home ministers was held in Dhaka on May 11, 2006, followed by a meeting in New Delhi in 2007.

-July 29, 2016, New Delhi

Union Home Minister approves New Prison Manual 2016

Union Home Minister approves New Prison Manual 2016

The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh has approved the new Model Prison Manual consisting of 32 chapters which aims at bringing in basic uniformity in laws, rules and regulations governing the administration of prisons and the management of prisoners all over the country.

The key revisions in the new Manual include the following –

(i) Access to free legal services

A new chapter on legal aid (Chapter XVI) has been incorporated in the Model Manual. Article 39A of the Constitution calls for free legal aid to the poor and weaker sections of society and seeks to ensure justice for all. The additions include:

 Appointment of jail visiting advocates;

 Setting up of a legal aid clinic in every prison;

 Legal literacy classes in prisons;

 Constitution of under-trial review committee and provisions to ensure legal services for under-trial prisoners who have undergone half of the maximum sentence for that offence.

(ii) Additional provisions for women prisoners

Safety and reformation of women prisoners are of utmost importance in prison administration. Health of women prisoners has also been recognised as a focus area warranting special attention. With this in mind, the following have been provided in the revision:

 Comprehensive health screening for women prisoners, including tests to determine presence of sexually transmitted or blood-borne diseases, mental health concerns, existence of drug dependency, etc. This is drawn from the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Female Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders adopted by the UN General Assembly (UN Bangkok Rules);

 Sensitising the staff and imparting training relating to gender issues and sexual violence;

 Educating women about preventive health-care measures;

 Enabling proper counselling and treatment for those suffering from psychological disorders;

 Focussed after-care and rehabilitation measures to ease women’s re-integration into society;

 Restrictions on certain kinds of punishments being awarded to women, for instance, punishment by close confinement should not be awarded to pregnant women, women with infants, etc.;

 Counselling programmes focussed on women, especially those who have been victims of abuse and focus on removing any further damage that imprisonment may have on a female inmate.

(iii) Rights of prisoners sentenced to death

The Supreme Court, in Shatrughan Chauhan v. Union of India and Others observed that “… the legal procedure adopted to deprive a person of his life or liberty must be fair, just and reasonable and the protection of Article 21 of the Constitution of India inheres in every person, even death-row prisoners, till the very last breath of their lives.” To this end, the Court laid down certain guidelines in respect of prisoners sentenced to death which have been echoed in the Manual recognising the necessity of ensuring the human rights of such prisoners. These have been incorporated in new Chapter XII (Chapter XI of the 2003 Manual) and broadly include:

 Provision of legal aid to prisoners sentenced to death at all stages, even after rejection of mercy petitions;

 Regular mental health evaluation for death row prisoners;

 Physical and mental health reports to certify that the prisoner is in a fit physical and mental condition;

 Procedure and channels through which mercy petitions are to be submitted;

 Communication of rejection of mercy petitions;

 Furnishing necessary documents, such as court papers, judgments, etc. to the prisoners;

 Facilitating and allowing a final meeting between a prisoner and his family.

(iv) Modernisation & Prison computerisation

Additions have been made to the Manual to encourage use of technology/ software systems where possible, including introduction of a Personal Information System for recording information relating to inmates (incorporated in Chapter V – Custodial Management). Also, any register required to be maintained by the prison authorities has also to be in an electronic form. In line with the Supreme Court’s directions in D.K. Basu v. State of West Bengal and Ors provisions have been included (in Chapter II – Institutional Framework) for installation of CCTV cameras in work sheds, kitchens, high security enclosures, main gate, etc. of prisons to prevent violation of human rights.

(v) Focus on after-care services

The Manual recognises that it is the States’ responsibility to devise and develop mechanisms for rehabilitation of released convicts (in Chapter XXII – After-Care and Rehabilitation). It is envisaged that special committees known as Discharged Prisoners’ After-Care and Rehabilitation Committees should be set up at the district or State level for planning and devising appropriate mechanisms for rehabilitation and after-care assistance to prisoners.

(vi) Provisions for children of women prisoners

In R.D. Upadhyaya v. State of A.P. and Others the Supreme Court issued guidelines in respect of children of women prisoners. While acknowledging some positive steps taken in this regard, the Court noted that “a lot more is required to be done in the States and Union Territories for looking after the interest of the children” and went on to issue guidelines to ensure holistic development of children of women prisoners inside prisons and pregnant prisoners. While certain guidelines already found mention in the 2003 Model Manual, several States are yet to have adopted these. Additional provisions (in line with the Supreme Court guidelines) have been incorporated in Chapter XXVI – Women Prisoners (Chapter XXIV of the 2003 Manual) and include:

 Provisions for holistic development of children, including provision of food, medical care, clothing, education, and recreational facilities;

 Providing pre-natal and post-natal care to pregnant women offenders;

 Taking care of nutritional requirements of children and provision of clean drinking water;

 Ensuring a well-equipped crèche and a nursery school for children to be looked after.

(vii) Organisational uniformity and increased focus on prison correctional staff

The organisational hierarchy set forth in Chapter III (Headquarters Organisation) has been streamlined with increased focus on the Correctional Wing, and engagement of professionally qualified counsellors/ psychiatrists for counselling needy prisoners, especially those suffering from substance-related addictive disorders.

(viii) Inspection of Prisons

A new chapter on inspection of prisons has been incorporated as Chapter XXVIII providing for (a) informal inspections to be carried out by senior prison officers, and (b) formal inspection to be carried out by a designated Inspector Officer. The formal inspection (which is more detailed) covers aspects such as mess facilities, medical facilities, hygiene, high security enclosures, etc. and would be a thorough review of the prison. This could help identify existing issues and deficiencies which could then be remedied through appropriate action.

(ix) Other revisions

 Insertion of a new chapter on repatriation of prisoners (Chapter X) in line with the advisory issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on the subject dated 10th August, 2015;

 Bringing uniformity and clarifying provisions regarding remission (Chapter XVIII),

 Usage of the commonly used terms ‘parole’ and ‘furlough’ in place of leave and special leave (Chapter XIX) and setting out in detail the objective behind parole and furlough and the procedure for the same;

 Bringing medical services within the domain of the State Medical Services/ Health Department instead of the prison department (Chapter VII);

 A more comprehensive and relevant security classification for high-risk offenders (Chapter XXV);

Shri Rajnath Singh in the National Seminar on Prison Reforms organized by NHRC on 13th -14th November, 2014 in his valedictory address committed to have a quick revision of the provisions of Model Prison Manual, 2003 in the light of recent Supreme Court judgments and International Conventions/Covenants like the recently revised Nelson Mandela Rules 2015, to which India is a party.

Accordingly, a committee to propose changes to the Model Prison Manual 2003 was constituted by Ministry of Home Affairs in the Centre-State Division on 11.12.2014 on the directions of the Union Home Minister. The committed was chaired by Shri Kumar Alok, Joint Secretary (CS), Centre State Division, MHA and consisted of representatives from BPR&D, NHRC, NALSA, prisons, legal and technical areas of the Ministry among others.

The Expert committee extensively reviewed the existing model prison manual and whole draft chapters were discussed by the members threadbare and the suggestions/modifications were incorporated in the draft chapters. This was also followed by peer review and extensive consultations to ensure that the new draft is aligned with the contemporary prison jurisprudence. The new manual will be sent to the States/UTs for guidance soon.

-21-January, 2016