Saturday, February 23, 2013


02/22/2013 07:55 AM CST           Fri, Feb 22, 2013 at 7:44 PM
Public, Family Support Vital to Deployed Forces
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 22, 2013 - As U.S. forces continue to draw down in Afghanistan and the December 2014 deadline for the end of combat operations there draws steadily closer, a senior commander wrapping up his year-long deployment emphasized the importance of continued support from military families and the American public.

"You may not read about it so much anymore in the news or hear it on TV, but we out here believe that America is still strongly behind us," Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Charles "Mark" Gurganus, commander of the International Security Assistance Force's Regional Command Southwest, told American Forces Press Service in a telephone interview yesterday.

Gurganus and his fellow 1st Marine Expeditionary Force Marines are scheduled to return to Camp Pendleton, Calif., during the first week of March following a deployment to Afghanistan's Helmand and Nimroz provinces. The region is among the most challenging in Afghanistan.

What sustained his forces, Gurganus said, was the bond they developed as brothers and sisters in arms, and confidence in the support of the people they left behind. That support is evident wherever they serve, he said, from encouraging emails and snail-mail letters to care packages brimming with thoughtful treats and mementos.

"The support of the American people is just huge to these Marines," Gurganus said. "They really do want to know that people care about them and about what they are doing."

The most important support of all, he said, comes from military families themselves.

Traveling around his battle space to bid goodbye to the forces serving there, Gurganus said, he asked them to make a point to extend thanks to their families from "the old gray-haired guy out here."

"I just couldn't tell the families 'thank you' enough," he said. "I would never be able to express my true gratitude to the support we have gotten from them."

It's been a major factor, not just in troops' sense of well-being, but in their ability to do their mission, Gurganus said.

"You can't account for how much the support of their loved ones goes to strengthen the guy's will to do what he is doing," he said. "If these guys out here know they've got support, and the families back there are providing that support, it really does allow them to keep their minds on what they are doing out here."

This, in turn, helps them to perform their duties better and safer -- a measure that protects them and their fellow Marines, the general explained.

Reflecting on the key role families play in mission success, Gurganus said they're the ones who pay the biggest toll during a deployment.

"We're trained for what we do," he said of military members. "We train for a long time to get ready to come here. We know pretty much what is expected of us when we get here, and we have a team, ... so we have somebody to lean on."

Not so with families -- despite what Gurganus acknowledged has grown to become an extensive support network. "Nobody is standing right next to them every day," he said. "Their world has a lot of uncertainty in it when we are gone."

Yet their continued support will remain vital, even as U.S. forces draw down, and until the last U.S. service member returns home from Afghanistan, Gurganus said.

"So I really want to thank and admire the families for continuing to provide that level of support," he added.

Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Charles "Mark" Gurganus
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NATO International Security Assistance Force

Mumbai Consultation on Police Reforms:'

Sent: Friday, February 22, 2013 10:17 PM
Better Policing-Safer City:How to make it happen
                                                                                        From: Dolphy D'souza
Date: Friday, 22 February, 2013

Venue: Utsav Banquet Hall, JamshedJi Tata Road ChurchGate 

Press Statement  on the deliberations at the above meeting:22/02/13

with Citizen Initiative for Peace (CIP), Praja, PCGT, M R. Pai Foundation. Akshara, Forum against Oppression of Women and Forum of Free Enterprise organized this event.

A meeting of over 80 of the leading activists representing over 30 organisations / civil society in Mumbai voiced deep concern about the state of women's safety and indeed the safety of all mumbaikars.

Attended by no less personage as Shri Julio Rebeiro, [ Former Mumbai Police Commissioner], Dr. Shri A.N Roy [Former Director General of Police, Maharashtra], Shri Shailesh Gandhi [ former Central Information Commissioner ]. Mr. Satish Sahney [Former Mumbai Police Commissioner], leading Advocates, Women and Rights Activists and concerned Citizens.

The discussions pointed out that despite the bitter complaints against the inefficiencies of policing in Mumbai, its bias's and violence, police performance was failing the public. Bandage remedies such as transfers or punishment postings will not do. There is a need for root and branch improvement. The constabulary have to be better equipped not with arms and ammunition but with a better value system
that ensures that there will be more responsive and less illegal policing and better all round every day performance.

The leadership must ensure that the ordinary constable has good working conditions decent wages and better hours of work. Training must be imparted to the police personnel in educating on high standards to human rights, gender sensitivity and respecting multi-religious diversity. At the same time they must take responsibility for lapses in policing and be completely accountable.

The political administration is responsible for delivering better policing that has the confidence of the public in Maharastra.

The meeting also called the State Government to implement the Police Reforms as outlined in the Supreme Court Judgement of 2006. The Supreme Court had given certain directions in view of the urgent need for preservation and strengthening of the Rule of Law. It had prescribed the setting up of three institutions in the state: A State
Security Commission, Police Establishment Board and Police Complaints Authority, in other words calling for a systemic changes into the functioning of the Police Department.

It must lay down policing policies and targets to be achieved in the year after creating a political plan. This plan must be made in consultation with local communities and be a public document against which police performance can be evaluated and judged. It is only when communities are engaged with policing that the police will gain public confidence.

The meeting called for the State Security Commission to put in place a credible planning process in which enhanced safety of women and vulnerable groups such as children, migrants and minorities is specially addressed.

The meeting also agreed to a plan of action to make this an election issue for the forthcoming 2014 elections and demand from the Political parties to not only include this in their manifesto but ensure that the Police Reforms are implemented thereafter .

Hence it becomes necessary for the incumbent Government to bring in the police reforms without any further delay during their current tenure.

The meeting agreed to work together with police and administration in creating better policing outcomes for the city and asked all Mumbaikars to join in this effort.

Issued by Dolphy D'souza, Citizens Initiative for Peace [CIP] & Ms Maja Daruwalla , Director CHRI, Organising Committee and the participants of the meeting .
Cell: 9820226227 Email:

Dolphy Dsouza - 9820226227

Citizens Initiative for Peace [CIP]
43, Kalina, Santacruz East,
Mumbai 400 029.