Sunday, December 19, 2010

Gallantry award given to deserters - Survivor Of INS Khukri Seeks Correction In Naval History On Role Of INS Kirpan In 71 Indo-Pak War

Chandigarh: Did the crew of INS Kirpan,the Indian Navy frigate which was honoured with gallantry award for its role in 1971 Indo-Pak war,actually deserve the honour or did it play an ignominious role by deserting fellow sailors who were drowning in INS Khukri  Nearly 40 years after the sinking of INS Khukri,this is the question being raised by one of the survivors of the illfated frigate of Indian Navy.

A retired sailor,Chanchal Singh Gill,who served in the Indian Navy for 14 years,has moved the Chandigarh bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) seeking correction of Naval history related to the INS Khukri. A comprehensive time bound inquiry by a commission,withdrawal of gallantry awards from those who allegedly showed cowardice,including officers and Commanding Officer of INS Kirpan,and fixing responsibility for the Indian Navys greatest cover up after the greatest tragedy,besides their court martial,has also been sought.

The main allegations of 58-year old Gill who was on duty as artificer apprentice on the fateful night of December 9,1971 when the Pakistani submarine PNS Hangor hit the INS Khukri is that the record prepared by the Historical Cell of Directorate of Naval Operations,at Naval Headquarters,New Delhi,pertaining to INS Khukri is far away from the truth. While pointing out glaring errors in the records,which came to his notice in February 2004,that Khukri sank just by one torpedo hit whereas INS Kirpan manoeuvered to deflect torpedo attacks,Gill claims that actually three torpedoes had hit Khukri and instead of joining action to counter the attack,INS Kirpan fled away.

After reading the official account,Gill immediately sent letters to parliamentary standing committee on defence seeking correction of the records but has not heard from them till now. Along with his petition, which would now come up for hearing before AFT on December 24,Gill has also annexed the report of Commander B Bhushan who had submitted a report in January,1972 on Khukris sinking.Commander Bhushans report,which was declassified in 2005,if gone through carefully,highlights an amazing cover up (on INS Kirpans role) by the naval authorities,Gill claimed.

Gill said he was one of the few survivors who were thrown out at the time of first blast but survived as he could take hold of a life raft and operated it in the darkness of night besides rescuing six more survivors from freezing waters. INS Kirpan,which was in the vicinity,did not respond to distress signals,instead,speeded away from the spot,abandoning the drowning crew of Khukri,he alleged.He also claimed that not all of the survivors were questioned about how the tragedy had happened and no independent inquiry was instituted.



    1. Ex-service men status & Extension of Limited medical facility at MH to Honorably RETIRED Defense personnel’s OF TERRITORIAL ARMY alike SSCO
    INTRODUCTION Amended definition of EXSERVICEMAN—presidential sanction accorded vide MOD GOI letter dated 26 sept 1996
    “any person who has been released from service after completing the specified period of engagement(SSC Officers), otherwise than at his own request or by any of dismissal or discharge on account of misconduct or Inefficiency and has been given a gratuity”.

    As per the existing definition, laid down by the Department of Personnel & Training(DOP&T), Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, which has been in vogue since 01 Jul 1987, an ex-servicemen means a person:

    ;-Who has served in any rank whether as a combatant or non- combatant in the regular Army, Navy or Air Force of the Indian Union but does not include a person who has served in the Defense Security Corps (DSC), the General Reserve Engineering Force (GREF), the Lok Sahayak Sena and the Para Military Forces

    -The personnel of Territorial Army (TA) who are pension holders for continuous embodied service, persons with disability attributable to military service and gallantry award winners released on or after 15 Nov 1986 are eligible to status of ex-servicemen.
    Short Service Commissioned Officers. are eligible to the status of Ex-servicemen, if discharged on completion of specific period/terms of engagement and paid gratuity.
    pension & Gallantry award is the criteria - to attain the status of Ex serviceman for the personnel of Territorial Army unlike Gratuity as for SSCO & others- personnel’s of Indian ARMED Forces
    services of Territorial army personnel in comparison to other Indian armed personnel is neither inferior nor services required by the Indian Armed Forces are superior to Territorial army When this is the position, to deny the status of EXSERVICEMAN to Honorably RETIRED (with gratuity ) Defense personnel’s of Territorial army is wholly arbitrary, discriminatory and violation of Article 14 of the Constitution.
    The operational responsibilities & compatibility of the TERRITORIAL ARMY are similar in nature to those of the Army. comparability of Soldiers of TERRITORIAL ARMY and the regular Army to fight the enemy is lesser to none

    Indian Army is composed o those who have undertaken aa definite liability for military service, viz, combatant troops, administrative service/departments and enrolled non-combatants-
    The Army Comprises of-. The Regular Army;
    The Army Reserve & The Territorial Army

    Authority:-Defense service regulation DSR vol I chapter I page I
    TERRITORIAL ARMY was constituted by an Act called Territorial army Act 1948 Officers in the TERRITORIAL ARMY are holding commission ,granted by the president of INDIA with designation of Rank corresponding to those of Indian commissioned officers of the regular Army & granted Gratuity by the competent Authority - PCDA on their honorable Discharge\Release after 05 years of physical embodied service/10 years of commissioned service alike SSCO
    than why are the retired Gratuity holders of Territorial Army personnels are not granted the status of EXSERVICEMAN

  2. BURNING issues for the welfare of TA faternity

    (i) Family pension for those TA pers who die during disembodiment,
    initially, after 10 years of Embodied service and then for others.

    (ii)LMC> TA pers be not boarded out, particularly when the injury/ disease is neither
    attributable nor aggravated by military service and he is not to get any
    (iii) TA officers who are LMC (attributable or aggravated by military
    service) at time of release/ retirement should get Disability Pension
    along with Service Element
    (iv) TA Hony commissioned pre-2006 retirees to get same pension as those
    post-2005 retirees.
    (v) pre-2006 retirees to get pension equal to regular Army retirees with
    same length of paid military service.

    The problem is accentuated when some Generals who had been of the opinion
    that since TA is a inferior organization its pers can't be given benefits
    > equal to pers of Regular Army, are made member of the AF Tribunal without
    any legal training as to concept of valid classification and social
    equality; they do not realize that although they are legally far too
    inferior to Judicial member, yet they get benefits equal to Judicial member
    despite that tedious work of writing judgments is mostly done by judicial
    For similar reasons, the Commission ordered by the Apex Court should have
    ex-TA Brigadier as its member, may be part-time; if the Govt does notr agree
    to it Apex Court need to be approached.

  3. Mr. GIll 100 % correct. INS Khukri was hit by three torpedoes and INS Kirpan run away from the war field like coward. Captain of INS Kirpan should have been court marshelled and put behind bar with war crimes. I am one among 66 survivors.