Wing Commander Pooja Thakur, who led Guard of Honour for Obama, sues Indian Air Force

When Barack Obama visited India in January 2015, he was accorded a ceremonial reception at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. It was a grand welcome followed by the Guard of Honour, where the battalion was lead by a woman officer. This way, Wing Commander Pooja Thakur became the first woman officer to lead the Guard of Honour for a major visiting dignitary at the presidential palace.

However, on Thursday, she sued the Indian Air Force for denying her permanent commission. She has moved to the Armed Forces Tribunal, alleging that IAF’s decision to deny her full service was “biased, discriminatory, arbitrary and unreasonable.”

According to a report by NDTV, The Air Force has been asked to respond in four weeks. 

Thakur, who is being represented by retired Major S Pandey said, “IAF says Pooja Thakur was offered permanent commission in 2012, she declined it then and it can be offered only once. No new offer can be given.” Adding to this, he said that this was not a gender issue but a procedural one.

Justifying her initial refusal of permanent commission, he said that she refused the offer as she was not ready to take up full service at the time.

Daughter of an Army Colonel, Thakur  joined the Air Force in 2000.

In June, the Air Force took in its first batch of women fighter pilots, but only as short commission officers – they have to retire within fourteen months without any benefits. With Permanent commission, they will have a chance to rise to the rank of Lieutenant General and retire at 60 with full benefits.

Women were allowed in the air force as full officers only in 2010 after nearly 50 women officers including 22 from the IAF moved to court. 250 women benefited after the high court ruled in their favour.

PM Modi delivers 16th ‘Mann Ki Baat’

Speaking at the 16th edition of ‘Mann Ki Baat’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed on farmers’ woes, calling for action from people across the nation. Throwing light on the Prime Minister Crop Insurance Scheme, he said that only 20-25% of farmer population have benefited from it. “In the coming years, we hope to bring at least 50% inclusion of farmers,” he said, adding that comprehensive and simplified use of technology should be able to achieve this.

Highlighting the importance of Martyrs Day, Modi emphasized on the need to observe silence at such events claiming that “the minds become one through such events.” He further spoke about the significance of Khadi, urging people to include atleast one pair of the material in their wardrobe. “An additional 18 lakh man days can be generated if Khadi is brought back,”he said.

He then spoke about the Republic Day celebrations, praising the Gujarat and Haryana governments for having chosen the most educated girl to the hoist the flag across villages. Congratulating the Haryana government for registering a rapid increase in the sex ratio, he lauded their dedication to the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ campaign that was launched by him earlier in the state.

Talking about his latest brainchild- StartUp India, Stand Up India; Modi praised the young minds that showed increased enthusiasm in the programme. Saying that ‘startups have innumerable opportunities’, he spoke about Sikkim where a lot is being done in the agriculture sector through various startup initiatives.

Modi also announced that India will be playing host to the ‘International Fleet Review’, which will take place at Vishakhapatanam in Andhra Pradesh from February 4- February 8, where various countries will showcase their naval strength. He further added that Guwahati will play host to the 12th edition of the South Asian Games, where all the SAARC countries will be participating.


Go Air flight makes emergency landing

Earlier today, following an anonymous tip regarding a bomb on board, a GoAir flight carrying over 150 passengers made an emergency landing at Nagpur. After carrying out standard operation procedure, no suspicious item was found.
The call was made from an Odisha registered number. The caller allegedly mentioned the flight number and said, “ Suitcase mein bomb hain”. An airport manager confirmed the incident. The manager at Biju Patnaik airport received the anonymous call forcing G8 243 to land in Nagpur. The flight took off at 8.20 am from Bhubaneshwar and at 9. 29 landed at Nagpur.
After the emergency landing, the passengers were deplaned. The aircraft was then taken to a remote parking bay for security checks. Once security officials completed a thorough check, the passengers boarded the aircraft and the flight continued its journey.
On further investigation it was found that the call was made by a person named Sanjeev Mishra, who is allegedly mentally unstable. Mishra allegedly made two hoax calls over the past 18 hours.
Security has been tightened across the nation in light of the upcoming Republic Day celebrations. French President Francois Hollande will be the chief guest of the same.

Driver of missing taxi from Pathankot found dead

Ahead of French President Hollande’s visit for Republic Day, Delhi police alerted all security agencies in the wake of an incident over missing taxi.  As per reports three unidentified men hired the taxi in Pathankot. In mysterious circumstances, the driver of the taxi was found dead near Kangra in Himachal Pradesh on Wednesday. Though the police has not been able to track the car and the missing persons, Delhi police from its official handle on twitter has published photos of the taxi and three unknown men.
On January 20th another vehicle of Inspector General of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP)  was stolen outside his residence from Noida sector-23 . The police is investigating the case though an alert has been issued.
“There is no need to panic but we urge people to stay alert. Citizens should inform the police control room if they see any suspicious activity around them,” said deputy commissioner of police Rajan Bhagat said.
Delhi police has already made India gate and its surrounding area as a no-vehicle zone considering terrorist threats from different agencies. NIA(National investigative Agency) is already conducting raids at different places across the country in search of suspected ISIS links.

Kolkata hit-and-run case: Former RJD leader’s son arrested

Kolkata: The city police arrested Sambia Sohrab, the son of former RJD leader Mohammed Sohrab late on Saturday night in connection with the hit-and-run case that happened on January 13 at Red Road. Sambia has been identified as the prime accused in the accident that killed an IAF officer.

Sambia, his brother Ambia and father have been absconding since Januray 13, trying to escape the clutches of law. Sambia had been constantly changing his mobile phone number to erase any traces as well. However, Sambia’s cellphone tower was located near central city at around 8.30 last night. The police then tracked him down and finally arrested him at around 11.15p.m. at Park Ciricus when he was trying to escape to his in-laws’ place.

The accident took place on January 13 on Red road where the IAF personnel where rehearsing for the republic day parade when a white-coloured Audi mowed down the street, hitting 21-year-old Corporal Abhimanyu Gaud. Sambia was allegedly behind the wheel of the car when the accident occurred. The car barged into the parade area breaking down three guard rails before it hit the officer.


Sources: Zee News ,  IBN Live