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5,500 first-time stone pelters to be granted amnesty in 2018

Call it a New Year gift to the misguided stone throwers, Jammu and Kashmir government is reviewing cases of 5,500 youth in a bid to save their academic career and amalgam them into the mainstream.Under the amnesty scheme for misguided youth, cases of around 5,500 first-time stone pelters of 2016-17 are being currently reviewed by the expert committee constituted by the Jammu and Kashmir government.Earlier, in November, cases against 4,327 youths involved in 744 incidents of stone pelting and other law and order problems during 2010-2014, were withdrawn under the Chief Minister’s amnesty scheme. Around 634 youths involved in 104 cases of 2008-2009 were given amnesty under this scheme.”Due to the improvement in situation this year the government took a decision of amnesty for those children who were misguided and not involved in heinous cases so that their career is not ruined. Same committee has been authorised by the government to review the cases of 2016-17. There are cases against 5,500 children and the committee, which I am chairing, is examining them,” said Dr Shesh Paul Vaid, director general of police (DGP), Jammu and Kashmir.Jammu and Kashmir police have brought back 74 boys from the jaws of militancy this year in the valley. Plus the new homecoming policy for local militants too have yielded positive results. “Seven boys have come back to join their family. I hope more boys will come back. Our effort is that the local terrorists should drop guns and we will help them to join the mainstream,” said Dr Vaid.The Director General of Police said this year around 206 terrorists have been neutralised, of which 84 were locals and 121 foreign terrorists. “It (local recruitment) has come down drastically and I am sure things will further improve,” he said.Additional Director General of Police, Kashmir, Munir Ahmad Khan said this year they have targeted leadership of militants who besides taking active part of terrorism were recruiting youth to militancy.”This year they have started operation in the areas where for some reason police was not able to enter for two years. There was resistance at some places. During the course of encounters there were some civil casualties because of cross fire. We have been appealing people to avoid going to sites where encounters are on,” said Khan.This year around 24 civilians have died near the encounter sites across Kashmir. “There is misconception that Operation All Out is about killing. It is not like that. Part of it is killing but it is about overall improvement by way of getting youth back, surrender and counselling,” he said.BUILDING TRUSTJ&K police, in 2017, brought back 74 boys from the jaws of militancy. The new homecoming policy for local militants too have yielded positive results. The forces also neutralised around 206 terrorists in 2017. Of this 84 terrorists were locals and 121 of foreign origin.

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CM Mehbooba Mufti urges voters to not shun panchayat polls

Days after separatists linked the recently announced Panchayat polls with the Kashmir issue to enforce a voter boycott, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday again called on the people to vote in large numbers to strengthen the grassroots democracy in the restive state.”The government is committed to empowering the grassroots level institutions. The proposed elections to the Panchayats and later to be followed by the urban local bodies polls are a major step in this direction and will fully empower the basic democratic institutions,” Mehbooba said.Seeking larger participation of the people in the Panchayat elections scheduled to be held from February 15, Mehbooba said her government had made a commitment on the floor of the House in June 2016 that the elections to the rural and urban local bodies would be held at the earliest.She added that the State’s Election Authority would formally set the process into motion after the Rural Development Department issues the requisite notification in accordance with the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act.Mehbooba’s statement comes two days after Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL)of separatists called upon the people to boycott the Panchayat polls and claimed that India is using the election to negate Kashmiris demand for “self-determination and freedom”.JRL is an amalgam of Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Geelani, Moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik.

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Situation better in Naxal-hit areas, J&K: Rajnath Singh

Lauding the security establishment, Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday said the situation in conflict zones like Jammu and Kashmir, North East and Naxal-hit areas had improved.He said this during an inter-ministerial meeting convened to discuss development issues in Jammu and Kashmir, Left Wing Extremism-affected states and the Northeast region.The Home Minister said that the overall security situation in the country had shown considerable improvement, an official statement said.Those who attended the meeting included Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar, Minister of State for Communications Manoj Sinha among others.The meeting discussed issues related to increasing the limit of general approval under the Forest Conservation Act from five hectares to 40 hectares for all linear projects, upgradation of 2,187 mobile towers installed in Phase-I and installation of 4,072 mobile towers in Phase-II, the Home Ministry statement read.Functioning of approved 1,789 post offices, approval for additional 4,173 post offices in the 106 LWE- affected districts and provision of banking services in these post offices were also discussed.Education infrastructure with the opening of additional Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas and Kendriya Vidyalayas, opening of additional girls hostels and upgradation of schools in Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan and extension of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan in Naxal areas was also discussed.Provision of solar pumps, lamps and street lights in LWE -affected districts, improvement of communication infrastructure in the Northeast, Jammu and Kashmir, particularly the Ladakh region, and Lakshadweep were discussed.Strengthening of the education infrastructure in Jammu and Kashmir was discussed at length.THE AGENDAThe Home Minister said that the overall security situation in the country had shown improvement. Functioning of approved 1,789 post offices, approval for additional 4,173 post offices in the 106 LWE- affected districts.

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Separatists in Jammu and Kashmir call for poll boycott

The recently-called Panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir are already in jeopardy as the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL)of separatists have called for a boycott and asked people to stay away from the democratic process.After a gap of two years, the Jammu and Kashmir government on Monday announced the decision to hold Panchayat elections from February 15 in the strife- torn state.”Indian rulers and their Kashmiri stooges, who on a daily basis trample upon democracy and humanity have been using this election drama to negate the Kashmiri demand for self-determination and freedom. As a living nation, it is our responsibility to safeguard sacrifices rendered by our martyrs,” said the JRL.The JRL is an amalgam of Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Geelani, Moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik, who spearheaded last year’s unrest in Kashmir valley that left 100 people dead.”By exemplary boycott, Kashmiris will deliver a message to India and to the international community that they want freedom and that they will accept nothing less,” said the separatist trio.Invoking executed JKLF leader Maqbool Butt and parliament attack convicted Afzal Guru, the JRL said India stages the election drama to hoodwink international community. “Pro-India parties and their leaders try to lure people and after the drama, declare this vote as a vote for India,” they added.

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Separatists call for boycott of panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir

Separatists today appealed people to boycott the upcoming panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir, saying the central and state governments have been using such elections to hoodwink international community.Separatists Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik said boycott of these elections will deliver a message that Kashmiris want freedom from Indian occupation, and that they will accept nothing less than freedom and right to self determination.”India and its stooges repeatedly stage this election drama to hoodwink international community, and pro-India parties and their leaders try to lure people in the name of roads, unemployment and other sugar-coated things,” the separatists said in a joint statement under the banner of Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL).”Soon (after) this election drama is over, these hypocrites, their masters in Delhi and media, declare this vote as a vote for India and use this farce to camouflage atrocities and human rights abuses in Kashmir,” they said.The separatists said any sort of election under this system — be it for “so-called assembly, Parliament, municipal committee or panchayat”– is meant only to “harm the interests of Kashmiris .”We appeal people of Kashmir to boycott panchayat election drama announced by the so-called rulers,” they said.The Jammu and Kashmir government on Monday said it would hold panchayat elections from Feburary 15 next year.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
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Stone pelting goes down, but terror incident increase in Kashmir

The number of stone-pelting incidents in Jammu and Kashmir have come down to less than half, as compared to last year, till November 2017 even though terror related incidents increased.The total number of stone-pelting incidents have decreased from 2,808 in 2016 to 1,198 till November this year, Parliament was informed on Wednesday.”The incidents of stone-pelting against security forces in the state of Jammu and Kashmir are reported to be 2,808 during the year 2016 and 1,198 till November this year,” Union Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir said while replying to a written question in the Rajya Sabha.The number of terror incidents this year was recorded at 337 till December 14 this year — the highest since 2011. The number was 332 last year. There was an increase in violence in the conflict-hit state since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen Commander Burhan Wani in July 2016.Security forces have killed 210 terrorists this year, going well beyond last year’s 150.Ahir said that an adequate number of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) personnel were deployed in Jammu and Kashmir to assist the state government in maintaining public order.”It is not considered appropriate to disclose the level of deployment of the security forces,” Ahir said, replying to another question in this regard.

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Pakistan’s ISI trying to revive pro-Khalistan movement for anti-India activities: Govt

Operatives of Pakistan’s espionage agency ISI are making efforts through moral and financial support to revive pro-Khalistan elements for anti- India activities, the government informed the Rajya Sabha today.Certain elements in Pakistan are providing funds to separatists for secessionist and terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir as well, Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Gangaram Ahir said in response to a question.”Inputs indicate that ISI operatives are making efforts towards moral/financial support to pro-Khalistan elements for anti-India activities as well as to revive militancy in Punjab,” he said.He said the government has adopted an integrated approach to counter the attempts to revive militancy. This includes sustained vigilance along the borders, strengthening of mechanisms for intelligence gathering and sharing.”A close watch is maintained on the activities of various groups known to have been engaged in trying to foment terrorist activities. Necessary action is taken so as to maintain peace and harmony in the State,” he said.

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Cases of stone pelting in J&K reduced by nearly 1600 in one year: Govt

Incidents of stone-pelting in Jammu and Kashmir had come down significantly — from 2,808 in 2016 to 1,198 till November this year — Parliament was informed today.”The incidents of stone-pelting against security forces in the state of Jammu and Kashmir are reported to be 2,808 during the year 2016 and 1,198 till November this year,” Union Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir said, replying to a written question in the Rajya Sabha.He said an adequate number of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) personnel were deployed in Jammu and Kashmir to assist the state government in maintaining public order.”It is not considered appropriate to disclose the level of deployment of the security forces,” Ahir said, replying to another question in this regard.

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Pakistan denies Indian troops crossed LoC, summons envoy for ‘ceasefire violations’

Pakistan today summoned India’s acting deputy high commissioner to protest “unprovoked” firing by the Indian Army that killed its three soldiers along the LoC.The Foreign Office in a statement rejected reports that the Indian Army commandos crossed the Line of Control in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir and smashed a post. “The false claims by India about the alleged cross LoC adventures are a figment of their imagination and counter- productive for peace and tranquillity on the LoC,” it said. “The Indian actions got a befitting response from the Pakistani side and their guns were silenced,” it claimedThe Foreign Office spokesman said Director General (SA & SAARC) Mohammad Faisal summoned India’s acting deputy high commissioner and “condemned the unprovoked ceasefire violations” by Indian forces in the Rakhchikri sector.He claimed that the firing “provided a cover for the planting of IEDs by non-state actors”, resulting in the death of three soldiers. Faisal urged the Indian side to “respect the 2003 Ceasefire arrangement; investigate this and other incidents of ceasefire violations; instruct the Indian forces to respect the ceasefire, in letter and spirit and maintain peace on the LoC.”Also readIndian Army crosses LOC to retaliate, kills three Pak soldiers The Indian Army sources in New Delhi earlier said a “small group” of ‘Ghatak’ commandos carried out a tactical level selective targeting of the Pakistani post around 200-300 metres across the LoC last evening in which three Pakistani soldiers were killed and one was injured. The operation is seen as avenging the killing of four Indian Army personnel by a Border Action Team of the Pakistan Army in Keri sector Rajouri district three days ago.

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Border tensions spike as Pak Army resorts to truce breach

Even before the wounds of Rajouri could heal, Pakistan army again resorted to unprovoked heavy firing on Indian forward posts along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Poonch sector of the Jammu division on Sunday.The ceasefire violation came a day after tension gripped the LoC when Pakistan army resorted to unprovoked firing in the Keri battalion area of Rajouri sector leaving four Indian army soldiers, including a Major from Maharashtra, dead and another injured.Deputy Commissioner of Poonch Tariq Ahmad Zargar told DNA that the cross-border firing started at 12.30 pm on Sunday at Shahpur sector of the Poonch district and there was no loss of life or the property.”It started at about 12.30 pm. There was no report of loss of any life and property. The cross-border firing continued for more than an hour”, said Zargar.Sources said soon after Pakistan opened fire, the Indian troops swung into action and retaliated in kind to silence the Pakistani guns. The exchange of fire between the two sides continued for some time before it stopped.Seemingly fearing flare up, the authorities has put all emergency departments on alert to meet exigency.”We are always in the state of alert. You never know when ceasefire violation takes place. So we keep our medical and other teams ready”, said Zargar.Meanwhile, rich tributes were paid to the four soldiers who laid down their lives in the line of duty in Rajouri sector of LoC on Saturday. Major Moharkar Prafulla Ambadas, Lance Naik Gurmail Singh, Lance Naik Kuldeep Singh and Sepoy Pargat Singh were grievously injured in the cease fire violation and succumbed later on Saturday.Indian army has vowed to avenge the killing of four brave hearts by Pakistani forces at the place and time of their chosing. “The nation will remain ever indebted of the supreme sacrifice of our heroes. Army shall retaliate this dastardly act at a place and choice of our choosing”, tweeted Nagrota based White Knight Corps of the Indian army.Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh said the sacrifices rendered by valiant army officers and soldiers would be remembered for ever. “It will be recorded in the annals of history, so that the young generation get the requisite inspiration to serve the cause of nation”, he saidFigures presented in the Lok Sabha revealed that Pakistan has violated the ceasefire along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir 771 times till December 10 this year, and 110 times along the International Border till November-end. Around 30 people including 14 army personnel, 12 civilians and four BSF personnel were killed in these ceasefire violations this year.Last year there were 449 incidents of ceasefire violations in which 13 civilians and 13 security personnel were killed and 83 civilians and 99 security personnel were injured. The truce between India and Pakistan along the International Border, the Line of Control and the Actual Ground Position Line in Siachen glacier came into force in November 2003.

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Jammu and Kashmir: Army bids farewell to soldiers slain in cross-border firing

The Army on Sunday bid farewell to four soldiers who were killed in Saturday’s ceasefire violation in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir.General Officer Commanding of White Knight Corps Lt Gen Saranjeet Singh laid wreaths at a military send-off in Jammu which was attended by senior Army officers, police officers and other ranks, a defence spokesperson said.Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh, Speaker of legislative Assembly Kavinder Gupta and some other ministers of the state also attended the ceremony and paid tributes to the slain soldiers, he said.Lt Gen Saranjeet Singh said the soldiers’ sacrifice would motivate the future generations.”The nation will remain forever indebted for the supreme sacrifice and devotion to duty of our heroes,” he said.Also read4 soldiers killed in Keri sector: Army says no mutilation of bodiesA separate ceremony was held in Udhampur where GOC-in-C northern command Lt Gen D Anbu laid the wreaths, the spokesman said.Major Moharkar Prafulla Ambadas (32) of Maharashtra, Lance Naik Gurmail Singh (34) and Lance Naik Kuldeep Singh (30) of Punjab, and Sepoy Pargat Singh (30) of Haryana were killed in a cross-border firing by Pakistani troops along the LoC in Keri sector.

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CRPF hails amnesty scheme for stone-pelters

Giving a thumbs up to the amnesty scheme for first-time stone-pelters, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) on Saturday said that the large-hearted approach will help to encourage more people to shun the path of violenceLast month, the Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti announced a major amnesty scheme and ordered the withdrawal of cases against 4,327 youth involved in 744 incidents of stone pelting and other law and order problems.”The amnesty given to first-time stone pelters is a good step. It will encourage people to shun the path of violence. These people should now take advantage of the large-hearted approach (of the government) and channelise their energy in a positive way”, said Ravideep Sahi, Inspector General of CRPF Srinagar.Most of the stone pelters, who were granted amnesty, were involved in the cases of 2016 unrest. More than 90 people have been killed and over 13000 people injured in the unrest, which began after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen poster boy Burhan Wani on July 8, 2016. Over 1,100 people, mostly teenagers, have suffered injuries in their eyes in incidents where security forces fired pellet munitions to quell the mobs across Kashmir.Officially, the state government said only 76 people including two cops, have died in the summer unrest. More than 4,113 policemen got injured in the four months of unrest last year. Around 2,371 law and order incidents were reported since the killing of Burhan Wani on July 8, 2016, till November 2016.Meanwhile, the homecoming policy of the security forces for the local militants has yielded positive results. “We have got successes and many people have left violence. It is an opportunity for the youth to rectify their mistakes and rejoin the mainstream”, said Sahi.

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X’mas bells in Valley church after 50 yrs

History will be created on Monday when the sacred bell at the British-era Holy Family Catholic Church in Srinagar will ring after 50 years, on the occasion of Christmas.The 105 kg bell, the largest of its kind in Jammu and Kashmir, was installed in the 121-year-old church in October this year. The belfry of the church was torched in 1967, in an incident of arson, and since then there had been no bell to call the faithful for the prayers.”It is a very happy and historic occasion. Most of the Christian people here are less than 50 years of age. They have never heard bells ringing on the occasion of Christmas. Only few elderly people remember that,” said SM Rath, spokesman of the Church Committee.Traditionally, the bell is used to call worshipers to the church for a prayer service and for announcing times of daily prayer. “There was no bell since 1967. We put up a bell only in October this year. Now every Sunday, the bell rings in church. This will be first time that this bell will ring on Christmas,” Rath said. Midnight prayer services, however, will not be held due to the security reasons.”We have one prayer service on December 24. Usually, the service should be held at 11.30 pm but we have not been holding the midnight services for the last 25 years. Our prayer service will be held at 6 pm on December 24. On Christmas, we will have a prayer service at 10 am,” Rath said.He further said that there are less than 200 Christians — Catholics and Protestants — living in Srinagar. There are five churches in Kashmir and regular prayer services are held only in three of them.

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PM Modi meets students from Jammu and Kashmir; discusses girl education, Swachh Bharat

A group of 30 school girls from Jammu and Kashmir’s Srinagar met Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Saturday.The students are currently on a tour to various parts of the country, as part of the Indian Army’s Operation Sadbhavna.In the meeting, Prime Minister Modi interacted with the students on various issues such as their dreams and aspirations, girls’ education and Swachh Bharat.During the meeting, the girls posed various questions to the Prime Minister, to which he explained the various steps being taken for girls’ education. He further explained the various spin-off benefits, including on health and tourism that can accrue through the Swachh Bharat Mission.Prime Minister Modi also explained the students about the benefits of concentration-improving Yoga.He further appreciated the increasing number of youths from Jammu and Kashmir making it to the civil services and showing great potential in sports.The Prime Minister asserted that India has a bright future, and the children and youths of Jammu and Kashmir have a lot to contribute to the nation.

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J&K: Pak violates ceasefire in Keri, three Indian jawans including one Major killed

In a case of another blatant provocation, a ceasefire violation by Pakistani forces in Keri Sector along Line of Control has resulted in death of three Indian soldiers. Out of the three jawans, one was a Major. One Indian soldier is injured too, according to reports received. Currently firing is underway According to reports, from 12.15 PM on Saturday, 120 Infantry Brigade encountered heavy shelling in Keri battalion area which lead to death of the three Indian soldiers. Indian side is currently retaliating to this unprovoked ceasefire violation. Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Friday said peace talks with Pakistan can take place only when it stops supporting terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir. Given its actions, it doesn’t appear that Pakistan really wants peace, the Army chief added.Also readMHA review reveals surge in ceasefire violations by Pak this yearHe was in the Thar desert in the western sector to witness the ‘Hamesha Vijayee’ exercise conducted by the Southern Command close to the India-Pakistan border in Rajasthan. Rawat said Pakistan should stop supporting terrorists. “Only then can we say that peace talks should take place,” he told reporters in the exercise area near Barmer.”We also want that relations should be better but given what kind of actions there are (from their side) and terrorism is spreading in Jammu and Kashmir, it doesn’t appear that they really want peace,” Rawat said.More details are awaited

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Peace talks only when Pakistan stops supporting terror in Jammu and Kashmir: General Bipin Rawat

Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat today said peace talks with Pakistan can take place only when it stops supporting terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir.Given its actions, it doesn’t appear that Pakistan really wants peace, the Army chief added.He was in the western sector, close to the India-Pakistan border, to witness the “Hamesha Vijayee” exercise conducted by the Southern Command in Thar desert.Rawat said Pakistan should stop supporting terrorists.”Only then can we say that peace talks should take place,” he told reporters in the exercise area near Barmer.Also readOperations against terrorists in Kashmir will go on, says General Bipin Rawat “We also want relations should be better but given what kind of actions there are (from their side) and terrorism is spreading in Jammu and Kashmir, it doesn’t appear that they really want peace,? Rawat said.The Army, paramilitary forces and Jammu and Kashmir police have been taking actions against militants in Jammu and Kashmir successfully and the action will continue, he added.Also readPakistan Army chief urges govt to improve relations with India, assures supportRawat’s comments come a day after Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said India would like good relations with Pakistan provided Islamabad takes action against terror groups.”It is important for Pakistan to understand our core concern, which is terrorism. We have time and again asked them to take action against terrorists who are operating from their soil. This is something they (Pakistan) will have to handle if they are serious in cultivating this friendship,” Kumar said.The assertions follow Pakistan’s Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa pledging his support for better ties.According to media reports, Bajwa has said he will support any initiative of the civilian government to resolve issues with India through talks.In a rare move, the Pakistan Army chief briefed the Senate – the upper house of the parliament – on security situation and regional issues on Tuesday.

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J&K women’s body: Do soaps make women spies?

Are television serials teaching women spying, infidelity and rebellion in the restive Jammu and Kashmir? The Jammu and Kashmir State Commission for Women (SCW) has sought opinion on this question from people on social media after men complained about women watching television serials and learning spying and rebellion.”During one of our awareness programmes, some men suggested women should stop watching TV serials which teach them nothing except spying, infidelity and rebellion… I want you to respond to this….what is your view on it…” SCW asked in a Facebook post.”Usually we include men as well (in awareness camps) because of gender sensitisation. Somebody said these serials teach women spying and we should stop them from watching those. I said, no, you can’t just tell them what to watch and what not to. Everybody has a right on what to wear, eat or watch and you can’t force your opinion on them”, Nayeema Ahmad Mehjoor, chairperson of SCW, told DNA.Later women in the camp retorted back saying they never ask their men not to watch football, cricket or the sports channels.However, the SCW chairperson said people should discuss the issues even if these are trivial. “It is stupid. Even if it is a trivial or petty issue, we should discuss it so that we do not have to keep everything to chest. We should come out, we should open up to each other and we should talk about these things. We should evolve a discussion about every point which is making our life little bit uncomfortable”, said Mehjoor.Official figures reveal that SCW has received 3000 complaints of domestic violence and harassment at work places in the last three to four years.Waking up to the rising incidence of violence against women, SCW has started a one-stop crisis centre to help women in distress.SCW has opened an exclusive phone line where women in distress can call or text or even WhatsApp to lodge a complaint. Officials of SCW can immediately reach out to women and help her to redress their grievances.Police figures reveal that 2,920 cases of crime against women were reported in 2016. These include 805 cases of kidnapping, 275 cases of rape, 157 cases of eve-teasing and 1,233 cases of molestation in 2016.

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No plans to currently abolish articles 35A and 370: Govt tells Parliament

The government today said there was no proposal as of now for abolition of articles 35A and 370 which give special status to Jammu and Kashmir.The reply came in response to the question posed by Akali Dal MP Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa about the status of abolishing Article 35A and Article 370. “No proposal regarding abolition of Article 35A and Article 370 in respect of Jammu and Kashmir is at present under consideration of the government,” Union Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir said replying to a written question.Abrogation of Article 370, that gives autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir, continues to be a part of the core ideology of the ruling BJP, but the party maintains that it does not have enough numbers in Parliament to do away with it. In case of Section 35A, a writ petition was filed in the Supreme Court by an NGO seeking its abrogation.Also readJ&K special status: SC defers verdict on constitutional validity of Article 35A by 3 monthsThe PIL said the Jammu and Kashmir government, under the guise of articles 35A and 370, were discriminating against non-residents who are debarred from buying properties, getting a government job or voting in the local elections. Article 35A was added to the Constitution by a presidential order in 1954 and it empowers the state legislature to define the state’s “permanent residents” and their special rights and privileges.While the Jammu and Kashmir government contested the petition saying the president had the power to incorporate a new provision in the Constitution by way of an order, the Centre had expressed its reservations.It filed a reply and requested the apex court to refer the matter to a larger bench as constitutional issues were involved in the case.The matter is currently sub-judice.

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Jammu and Kashmir | Education gets mega boost, 16 new colleges, 400 upgraded govt schools to come up next year

Forget 2016 unrest; the students of Jammu and Kashmir have all the reasons to look forward to 2017.The education sector in the state is all set for a major boost to offset the losses it suffered in the turmoil.More than 400 government schools will be upgraded and 16 new government degree colleges will be established in Jammu and Kashmir.Of the schools to be upgraded, 200 will be promoted from middle to higher and rest 200 from higher to the higher secondary level.The fresh steps to boost education comes a year after education became the prime casualty of the separatist-sponsored civil unrest in Kashmir.Official figures reveal that 34 schools were burnt by attackers during the 2016 unrest. Around 14 incidents of the school burning were timely addressed and property saved.More than 12 lakh students were sitting home as the schools and educational institutions in the valley remained shut for five months following the unrest.“Teachers both in government and private sector deserve all praise for their commitment towards their noble profession. The state is indebted to them. Present government led by Mehbooba Mufti is committed to take education sector to a new high”, said Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari, Jammu and Kashmir Minister for Education.Economic Survey Report presented by the Jammu and Kashmir government in the Legislative Assembly few months ago has depicted a grim picture of the education scenario in the valley in 2016.According to the report, normal schooling could be conducted only for a period of four months in the Kashmir valley last year due to the unrest which started after the killing of Hizbul Mujhadeen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter in Bamdoora village on July 8 2016.“No one can dispute the fact that the young generation of technocrats and officers serving the state at present are the lot which was educated by the teachers in the times of turbulence. Both public and private sector institutions are contributing to raise the education standard in their own ways”, said Bukhari.

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Jammu and Kashmir: Cases against 5,000 stone pelters to be withdrawn

A committee set up by the Jammu and Kashmir government has recommended the withdrawal of cases against 5,000 youths, accused of pelting stones on security forces, the Lok Sabha was informed on Tuesday.Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir said the government of Jammu and Kashmir has constituted a committee under the chairmanship of the state director general of police to review the cases registered against the youths and examine the legal aspects of withdrawal or closure of such cases which are not heinous in nature.”The committee has recommended 850 cases involving 4,961 (one-time offenders) persons/youths subject to certain terms and condition to the state government,” he said, replying to a written question.The move came after Home Minister Rajnath Singh requested Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to do the needful to withdraw cases against those who were accused of pelting stones for the first time.

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Army recovers one jawan’s body, four lie buried in snow

After five days of intense search, Army rescuers pulled out the body of one of the five missing soldiers from the mounds of snow along the Line of Control (LoC) in Naugam sector of North Kashmir’s Kupwara district. Massive rescue and search operations are on to locate four other soldiers.Sepoy Koushal Singh of 20 Dogra regiment was part of a two-member Operational Team which was swept away by massive snow slide at high altitude area of the Naugam sector along the LoC on Tuesday.”Concerted efforts of the specially equipped Avalanche Rescue Teams, which have continued despite the inhospitable terrain and weather conditions, have led to the recovery of mortal remains of the martyr on Saturday,” said an Army spokesman.Son of soil sepoy Koushal Singh hailed from Batla Deonia, a village in Samba district of Jammu division. The 19-year-old had donned uniform last year and is survived by his parents and siblings.Massive avalanches had swept away Army bunkers at two different places on Tuesday. The first incident had occurred at Kanzalwan sub-sector of Gurez in the LoC when a snow avalanche swept away a high altitude ‘Mani Post’ in Bagtoor area. Three army jawans, who were manning the post were swept away by the avalanche and continue to remain untraceable. The second incident occurred in Naugam sector along the LoC when two soldiers were swept away by snow slide.For the last five days army rescuers are busy in mammoth search and rescue operations to locate five missing soldiers in the huge mounds of snow in Gurez and Naugam sectors along the Line of Control (LoC) in North Kashmir.Inclement weather and poor visibility in high altitude areas is also hampering the search and rescue operations. Upper reaches and high altitude areas have been receiving heavy snowfall in the last five days.Army has pressed Specialized Avalanche Rescue Teams (ARTs) into service and moved special equipment to the site to trace out the missing soldiers. Specially trained sniffer dogs too have been brought in to help the soldiers in the search and rescue operations. Tones of snow has accumulated at both the places and army rescuers are digging deep to locate the missing soldiers.The fresh tragedy has come 11 months after the Army lost 20 soldiers in the snow avalanches in Gurez, Sonamarg and Machil areas in the north and central Kashmir.EARLIER CASEThe fresh tragedy has come 11 months after the Army lost 20 soldiers in the snow avalanches in Gurez, Sonamarg and Machil areas in the north and central Kashmir.

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School reinstates teacher couple after sacking them

The Muslim Education Institute (MEI) has reinstated the teacher couple who were sacked for having an affair, which could have adverse impact on students.On their wedding day, Tariq Ahmad Bhat and Sumaya Bashir, both teachers at Muslim Education Institute (MEI), Pampore, were given marching orders over the phone. Ironically, the call was made hours before Tariq was set to leave to bring his bride home to Tral Township of south Kashmir on November 30.Taking cognizance of the arbitrary decision against the couple, Jammu and Kashmir government went into an overdrive and asked the MEI management to withdraw the termination order forthwith or face the consequences.”The expulsion order has been withdrawn by the school. Both the parties were present. They (school) also apologised. They said both teachers will come to the school. They will be given the same respect and honour. I have both orders –withdrawal and acceptance –before me”, said GM Dar, deputy commissioner of Pulwama.Principal of the School Tariq Ahmad said the teachers have been reinstated forthwith. “We told them join today. Since tomorrow is Sunday, they will resume their duties on Monday”, he said.On Friday, Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) had also taken suo moto notice of the reports and directed the director of school education Kashmir and principal of MEI to submit a report in this regard. The SHRC also asked the principal to be personally present in the Commission on December 18, the next date of the hearing in the case.”While taking cognizance chairperson of SHRC took serious note of it (news reports about sacking of teacher couple) and directed the director education Kashmir and Principal MEI to file report before the commission on Monday.Besides Principal of the Institute is directed to be present in person on the said date”, said the spokesman of SHRC

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Hopes fade after 5 days of rescue ops for missing soldiers

It is turning out to be one of the biggest search and rescue missions in Kashmir. For the last four days, army rescuers are busy in the mammoth search and rescue operations to locate five missing soldiers in the huge mounds of snow in Gurez and Naugam sectors along the Line of Control (LoC) in North Kashmir.Massive snow avalanches had swept away army bunkers at two different places on Tuesday. The first incident had occurred at Kanzalwan sub-sector of Gurez in the LoC when a snow avalanche swept away a high altitude ‘Mani Post’ in Bagtoor area. Three army jawans, who were manning the post, were swept away by the avalanche and continue to remain untraceable. The second incident occurred in Naugam sector along the LoC when two soldiers slipped down from the high altitude area.Massive search and rescue operations continued for the fourth day on Friday to locate the missing soldiers in the huge mounds of snow.”Rescue efforts are going on. We do not have concrete results. The massive effort is on. Most of the time weather did not permit for last two-three days. Now things have improved rescue operation is gaining momentum”, said an army spokesman.Inclement weather and poor visibility in high altitude areas are also hampering the search and rescue operations. Upper reaches and high altitude areas have been receiving heavy snowfall in the last four days. Indian army has pressed Specialized Avalanche Rescue Teams into service and moved special equipment to the site to trace out the missing soldiers. Specially trained sniffer dogs too have been brought in to help the soldiers in the search and rescue operations. Tones of snow have accumulated at both the places and army rescuers are digging deep to locate the missing soldiers.Families of soldiers are hoping against the hope see their loved one in blood and flesh again. One of the soldiers is hailing from Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir. The fresh tragedy has come 11 months after the army lost 20 soldiers in the snow avalanches in Gurez, Sonamarg and central Kashmir.wDEADLY AVALANCHEMassive snow avalanches had swept away army bunkers at two different places on Tuesday. The first incident had occurred at Kanzalwan sub-sector of Gurez in the LoC when a snow avalanche swept away a high altitude ‘Mani Post’ in Bagtoor area.

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Mehbooba Mufti clamps down on separatists to thwart ‘resistance’ march in Anantnag

Strict restrictions have been imposed in Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti’s Assembly constituency of Anantnag to thwart the march of Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) of separatists to the South Kashmir Township on Friday.“General Public is informed that restriction is imposed in certain parts of Anantnag town under police station Anantnag for mitigating any law and order situation”, tweeted deputy inspector general of police, South Kashmir Range.JRL had asked people to march to Anantnag for a rally to counter the narrative of the government that separatists have lost the battle for azadi in Kashmir.JRL is an amalgam of Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Geelani, Moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik, who spearheaded the last year’s unrest in Kashmir Valley that left 100 people dead and thousands others injured and blinded.Authorities, however, went into an overdrive and placed Mirwaiz Umar Farooq under house detention. Few days ago JKLF leader Mohammad Yasin Malik was arrested when he defied orders and tried to lead a march from in Srinagar.Hurriyat hawk continues to remain under house detention at his residence at Hyder Pora.Authorities have also imposed restrictions in four police areas of old Srinagar city and two police stations areas of uptown to prevent people from marching towards Anantnag on Friday.Hardline faction of Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani said police arrested and raided residences of several leaders to thwart the march to Anantnag on Friiday.“Such coercive measures and repression won’t break our resolve. Most of its leaders and activists succeeded and reached Anantnag”, said a spokesman of Hurriyat.Appealing people of south Kashmir for their participation in Anantnag rally, Huriyat said that it will symbolise their dedication and commitment with “freedom movement”.On the other side a crucial meeting of moderate Hurriyat Conference was held at the Awami Action Committee headquarters at Rajouri Kadal and it was decided in the meeting Mirwaiz will try to leave for Anantnag at 11 am on Friday.“JRL leaders will address the people and announce their future strategy,” a spokesman of Hurriyat said.

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Bogged down by weather, Pooja Express upsets plans of many

Pooja Express which takes about 5 hours to reach Delhi from Jaipur was on Thursday running 5 hours late. The train 12413 Ajmer-Jammu Tawi Pooja Express, departs from Jaipur junction at 16:15 hours so as to reach Delhi by 21:55 hours. However, on Thursday the railways informed that the train was expected to depart from Jaipur at 21:17 hours.This is the time by which passengers who board the train actually reach Delhi. This enormous delay in the train schedule disturbed the travel plan of many people.After they got the information of the 5-hour delay, many of the passengers got the tickets cancelled and looked for alternatives. Though there are a few flights from Jaipur to Delhi during evening hours, the fares were as high as Rs 5000-Rs 6000 per person.“We have got the reservation cancelled for this train and will now travel by bus. There is no use sitting and waiting for the train,” said a bank professional who was travelling to Delhi to attend a marriage function to be held on Friday.As such the rush for the roadways buses and lo parivahan buses was seen for going to Delhi by the passengers. Sources informed that the reason for this delay was the arrival of 12414 Jammu-Tawi-Ajmer in Jaipur. This train came more than 6 hours late on Thursday owing to poor weather condition in north IndiaApart from this train, 8 more trains were late due to weather conditions and many passengers who were not updated about the changed schedule were seen waiting for their respective trains at the platforms. Dibrugarh Lalgarh train was late by more than 14 hours while Marudhar Express which runs between Varanasi and Jodhpur was late by 3 hours apart from other trains.PICKY EATERS A passenger travelling by New Delhi-Ajmer Shatabdi complained about no non-veg food being served on Thursday. Joydeep Chakraborti complained this through twitter to the Railway authorities. In his tweet sent from the twitter handle @joydeepchakra he said, “No non-veg breakfast in Ajmer Shtabdi C9 coach coz its Thursday !” Reacting on his tweet, @RailMinIndia sprung into action and asked the IRCTC to look into the issue.

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ISIS ka halla Quran mey kahin nahin hain: Army chief Rawat to Kashmir students

The message of peace and harmony is “beautifully portrayed” in the holy Quran and people often do not understand its essence, Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat told a group of students from Jammu and Kashmir today, adding it does not propagate violence.Interacting with the group of madrasa students at his office here, Gen. Rawat also asked them to pick up sports like cricket and football and work towards containing terrorism so that Kashmir valley flourishes again. “How many of you have read the holy Quran?” Gen Rawat asked the 25-member group which is here as part of a national integration tour being conducted by the Army. “I will tell you what is the message in it. It is the message of peace and harmony (‘Aman ka paigam hai’). And, it has been beautifully portrayed in it. And, all this noise made by the IS, it is nowhere mentioned in Quran (‘Ye jo IS ka halla hai na, yeh Quran mey kahin nahin hai’) ,” he said.”So, you must follow the message embedded in the holy text. You think people understand the message. We do not properly understand it. In simple ways, Quran has given the lessons (on human values),” the Army chief asserted. The students, aged 13-22, arrived here on December 12 and many of them are visiting Delhi for the first time. Various militant outfits have been trying to radicalise the youths in Kashmir Valley by using different means including online propaganda. A number of people were arrested in the Valley in the past few months on charges of raising flags of dreaded terror group Islamic State (IS).Also readKeep military out of politics: General Bipin RawatThe Army chief warmly shook hands with all the students and accompanying teachers and asked them what difference they found between Delhi and Kashmir. “Unlike Kashmir, you do not see bunkers here, people roam at night in peace. We want the same peaceful environment in Jammu and Kashmir too so that you can fearlessly go to schools and madrassas.”Kashmir valley is equated with the heavens, and if you want that land to flourish, we must stop terrorism,” Rawat said. He suggested that they take up cricket and football and engage themselves in constructive activities.”Play cricket and football, but I hear that the youth there play hide-and-seek with weapons (‘hathiyar ke saath chor-sipahi’),” he said. Abdul Hameed, 13, from Panjgram village in Jammu, said, “I am very happy to be in Delhi. I have never travelled out of Jammu. And for the first time I travelled in a train.” A senior Army official said the group visited Taj Mahal yesterday and tomorrow they will go to see Red Fort and Jama Masjid.During the trip, the students also visited the National Science Centre in Delhi, the official said, adding, “Today, we will take them for a metro ride”.Also readOperations against terrorists in Kashmir will go on, says General Bipin Rawat “In Agra, they also prayed at a mosque, and tomorrow, they will also offer prayers at the Jama Masjid. And, in the evening, we will take a train back to the state,” he said. 37-year-old teacher Abdul Majid, accompanying the students, said, “We will return and spread the message of peace (‘Paigam-e-Aman’) back home as the Quran says.” The Army has adopted a tough approach against militants in Kashmir valley and stepped up its counter-terror operations in the last six months.The Army has also been carrying out various activities including organising national integration tours for youths of the state as part of efforts to reach out to the local residents.

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‘Their romance could adversely affects the students’: Teacher couple sacked by private school in Pulwama

A teacher couple working in a private school in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir were sacked on their wedding day with the school management claiming their “romance could adversely affect the students”.Tariq Bhat and Sumaya Bashir, residents of Tral town in Pulwama, were working in Boys’ and Girls’ wings, respectively, of Pampore Muslim Educational Institute for the past several years.They alleged their services were abruptly terminated by the school management on November 30, the day they entered the wedlock.While the principal of the school did not respond to calls for a comment on the sacking, chairman of the school Bashir Masoodi said the duo were relieved from service as they were in a “romantic relationship” before getting married.”They were having romance and it is not good for the 2,000 students of the school and 200 staff members working there. This can adversely affect the students,” Masoodi told PTI.On other queries, he asked the reporter to “visit the school and talk to the principal for it”.The couple claimed that they had an arranged marriage.”Ours was an arranged marriage. We got engaged a few months ago and the entire school management knew about it as Sumaya hosted a party for the staff members soon after the engagement ceremony,” Bhat said.He questioned the school management’s claim of “romantic relationship”, asking why they were not given an opportunity to explain if it were the case.”We both applied for leave to get married almost a month before the wedding day and the school management sanctioned the leave. If we were in a romantic relationship, did they come to know of it only after we announced our wedding plans?” Bhat asked.The couple alleged the school management was “tarnishing” their image. “We have got married which is the right thing to do from which ever perspective one looks at it. We have not sinned or committed a crime,” they said.

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RTI reply: 19000 Kashmiri migrants moved to Delhi, 40000 still settled in Jammu

Since 1990, due to militancy issues in the Kashmir valley, 61,000 Kashmiri Pandit families along with some Muslim and Sikh families have migrated from the valley. However, surprisingly 40,000 are still residing in the state, and are in Jammu, while 19,000 have come to Delhi and remaining 2,000 to various other parts of the country. This has been revealed in an RTI reply from the Ministry of Home Affairs (Jammu and Kashmir Division), Government of India. The RTI was filed by a Pune based entrepreneur Prafful Sarda seeking details on how many Kashmiri Pandita have been affected by the militancy. He had posed an array of questions, of which the ministry replied only this much. For the remaining ones he has been asked to apply under RTI rules prevalent in Jammu and Kashmir state, which is different from the rest of the country. The RTI reply reads, “Due to militancy in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in the early 1990s most of the Kashmiri Pandit families along with some Sikh and Muslim families migrated from the Kashmir valley to Jammu, Delhi and other parts of the country. More than 40,000 registered Kashmiri Migrant families are residing in Jammu, about 19,000 registered Kashmiri Migrant families are living in Adelphi and about 2000 families are settled in other states.” Also readKashmiri pandit’s sweet gesture: Candies for Eid processionSarda claims his reason for seeking this information was that, “With this RTI figures, I wish to highlight our courts do have time to know and understand Rohingya Muslims issue but the citizen of this country “Kashmiri Pandits” are fighting for justice and courts have not given any firm decision in last 30 years.”

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North India experience chilly weather; snowfall in J&K and Himachal, rain in Delhi

Northern India on Monday experienced drop in temperature as Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir were graced with the first snowfall of the season.Heavy snowfall was witnessed in the Leh region and moderate snowfall in the other regions. Leh continues to be the coldest recorded place in Jammu and Kashmir.Rains lashed several parts of the national capital on Monday, bringing the mercury down by several notches, even as the weatherman forecast similar conditions for Tuesday.The minimum temperature on Monday settled at 8.2 degrees Celsius, a notch below the normal, while the maximum temperature was recorded at 24.2 degrees Celsius, a notch above the season’s average.However, following the rains, the mercury fell down to 17 degrees Celsius at around 8 pm.The rains increased humidity levels which oscillated between 97 and 47 per cent.The MeT office has forecast overcast skies along with likelihood of very light rains and drizzle in some parts of the city.”The maximum and minimum temperatures are likely to hover at 23 and 10 degrees respectively tomorrow,” the weatherman said.Yesterday, the minimum temperature was recorded at 7.4 degrees Celsius while the maximum temperature settled at 27.2degrees Celsius.

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Gunmen fire at bank vehicle in Shopian, two employees injured

Two employees of a bank were injured today when gunmen opened fire on their vehicle in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir, police said. <!– /11440465/DNA_Mobile_Article_300x250_BTF_1 –>Security forces have launched a search operation to track down the assailants. A police official said, “Unknown gunmen opened fire on a vehicle of Jammu and Kashmir Bank in Keller area of Shopian this afternoon, resulting in injuries to two employees”. He said the injured are being shifted to a hospital.

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From helpline to WhatsApp number: Steps taken to help women in distress in Jammu and Kashmir

Waking up to the rising incidence of violence against women, Jammu and Kashmir State Commission for Women (SCW) has started one-stop-crisis-centre to help the women in distress at their doorsteps.SCW has started a helpline where the women can lodge a complaint over the phone and without walking into the office of the SCW. SCW has opened an exclusive phone line where women in distress can call or text or even WhatsApp to lodge a complaint. Officials of the SCW can immediately reach out to the women and help her to redress their grievances.“Please circulate this number among all for lodging complaint regarding any issue or problem any woman is facing at home or office..J&K state commission for women has kept this number exclusively for women to text, WhatsApp, message or give miss call. The commission will contact you soon”, tweeted Nayeema Ahmad Mehjoor, chairperson of SCW.Official figures reveal that the SCW has received 3000 complaints of domestic violence and harassment at the workplace in the last three to four years.Also readJammu and Kashmir women’s commission chief bats for introduction of Women’s Reservation Bill“People have no direct access. They have to come to our office and lodge complaint then we will see and call them. But the phone line gives them immediate and instant access to the commission. I am seeing since yesterday there are so many calls. I think people have problems particularly women. If this type of instant access is provided to them they will come and find a solution to their problems”, Mehjoor told DNA.The helpline will act as the one-stop crisis centre where SCW officials can seek help from police and other agencies to help the women in the distress. “We can help in many ways. If she needs the support of police we can call the concerned police station, If she needs health-related help we can call the health centre. If there is domestic violence, we can intervene and send our team. There are different channels working”, she said.Police figures reveal 2,920 cases of crime against women were reported in 2016. These include 805 cases of kidnapping, 275 cases of rape, 157 cases of eve-teasing and 1,233 cases of molestation in 2016.

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In secret conclave, Masood Azhar’s Jaish-e-Mohammed pledges to step up terror against India, US

The Jaish-e-Mohammed, a group founded by UN-designated terrorist Masood Azhar, recently organised a ‘Shohada-e-Kashmir’ conference in Rawalakot to commemorate the martyrdom of several terrorists killed in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama.Three militants of JeM – identified as Talha Rasheed (nephew of Maulana Masood Azhar), Bhai Mohammad and Bilal – were killed in the encounter by the Indian security forces on November 6 in Pulwama.The secret conclave was attended by Maulana Talha Saif, younger brother of Maulana Masood Azhar, Maulana Mufti Asghar Khan, Amir JeM, PoK, Mukhtar, father of Bhai Muhammad, one of the killed militants, and many others.Over a thousand JeM cadres attended the event in which slogans against India and the United States were raised.Also readMove to block resolution on Masood Azhar not contradictory to BRICS declaration: China Challenging the democratic countries, including India and the United States, Maulana Talha Saif, in his speech, said, “If someone wants that ‘Fidayeen missions? must stop their attacks then they must stand in front of them like both hands folded.”A senior JeM functionary Saifullah Akhtar, in his speech, said, “JeM cadres will not forget their martyrdom and will continue their mission till it gets completed.”Mukhtar, father of Bhai Muhammad, one of the killed militants, said, “We have been waging a war since for the past 28 years and still asking we had got nothing. But, if you ask from those who are ready to sacrifice their lives for Kashmir then they will tell you that their shedding of blood in Kashmir will not go in vain but it becomes more fruitful. They are doing Jehad for Kashmir but doing it for Allah.”Also readJeM Chief Masood Azhar is a ‘bad guy’, should be called global terrorist: USNaveed Masood Hashmi, a senior JeM functionary from Islamabad, accused Nawaz Sharif for acting against JeM.He said, “Mauland Masood Azhar had prepared hundreds of JeM cadres and sent them Kashmir for the protection of Kashmiri brothers and sisters. But, Nawaz Sharif wanted to arrest them in Punjab.”He added, “Who is enemy of Islam” Nawaz Sharif or Maulana Masood Azhar? Nawaz Sharif is the enemy of Islam and that’ s why we are not getting a victory in Kashmir. Kashmir will get liberated only after the pro-Islamic government is established in Pakistan.”Such gatherings in support of terrorists killed in Jammu and Kashmir authenticate the Pakistan-based terror outfits to be behind terror activities in India, especially J-K. This also affirms the fact that Pakistan-based terror outfits not only use the PoK territory for `jihad’ against India, but also organise conferences to emotionally exploit the locals for proxy wars.Also readDefer all non-essential travel to Pakistan: US tells citizens amid increasing terrorist violence

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Jammu and Kashmir | 3 terrorists gunned down in Handwara encounter, ‘raining whole night,’ tweets DGP

Three terrorists were gunned down in a joint operation by the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir’s Handwara on Monday.Giving out the details of the encounter, Jammu and Kashmir’ Director General of Police, SP Vaid tweeted that, “In Unisoo, Handwara all the three terrorists apparently Pakistanis have been neutralised.”He also said that the anti-terror operation was carried out by the joint team of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, the Rashtriya Rifles and the CRPF.Lauding the valour of the men involved in the encounter, Vaid also said that ‘It has been raining whole night & boys were out there in the cold (sic).’Apart from the three terrorists, a civilian woman has also been killed in the encounter. ” Bodies of three terrorists killed in the operation and three weapons recovered. No other operations in the area”, th army spokesman said clarified.The clarification came in the wake of the update tweeted by news agency ANI that in a separate operation, two terrorists were killed and one captured alive in Baramulla’s Bomai area.However, the army has clarified that there was just one operation in Handwara and three terrorists have been killed in the encounter. This year, the security forces have killed more than 200 terrorists in various operations in Jammu and Kashmir.

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Omar Abdullah demands action against man accused of molesting ‘Dangal’ actress Zaira Wasim

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Sunday demanded legal action against an unidentified man accused of molesting “Dangal” actress Zaira Wasim on board a Delhi-Mumbai flight.”The passenger should be identified to the police by @airvistara & a case filed for legal action. None of this ‘he fell at my feet so I forgive him’ rubbish!”, he wrote on Twitter.The National Award winning actress was allegedly molested by a co-passenger on the Delhi-Mumbai Air Vistara flight.The actor narrated her ordeal on Instagram via live video.Also read’Stay strong Zaira’, ‘we are with you’: Twitter supports Dangal star Zaira said she was on the Air Vistara flight from Delhi to Mumbai when a co-passenger sitting behind her put up his feet on her armrest.”So, I was in a flight travelling from Delhi to Mumbai today and right behind me one middle-aged man who made my two-hour journey miserable. I tried to record it on phone to understand it better because the cabin lights were dimmed, I failed to get it…”The lights were dimmed, so it was even worse. It continued for another five to ten minutes and then I was sure of it. He kept nudging my shoulder and continued to move his foot up and down my back and neck,” she said in the video post.Also readZaira Wasim molestation | Cops reach Dangal girl’s hotel, Vistara source says she refused to file complaintThe incident drew strong ire from netizens, who voiced their support for the actress.In a statement on Twitter, the airline Vistara said it would look into the complaint, and added that it had “zero tolerance for such behaviour”.”We @airvistara have seen the reports regarding @ZairaWasimmm experience with another customer on board our flight last night. We are carrying out a detailed investigation and will support Zaira in every way required. We have zero tolerance for such behaviour”.

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4 CRPF personnel shot dead allegedly by colleague in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur

Four Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel, including two sub-inspectors (SIs), were today killed and another wounded in a gunfire allegedly opened by their colleague at a camp in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district, officials said.The fratricide was reported around 5 PM at the ‘G’ company camp of the paramilitary force’s 168th battalion in Basaguda, about 450 km from here, Deputy Inspector General of Police (Dantewada range) Sundarraj P told PTI in Raipur.Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh has condemned the the killing of the CRPF men — deployed for anti-Naxal operations in the state.According to preliminary information, constable Sanath Kumar (35) allegedly opened fire with his service weapon, an AK 47 rifle, leaving four personnel dead on the spot and another injured, he said.Three of the four CRPF men killed in the fratricide were senior to Kumar, a resident of Firozabad in Uttar Pradesh.The deceased were identified as SI Vikey Sharma (34) hailing from Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir, SI Megh Singh (52) from Ahmedabad in Gujarat, Assistant SI Rajveer Singh (48) from Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan and constable G Sankara Rao (37) from Vijaynagram in Andhra Pradesh,?a police official told PTI.ASI Gajanand (49), a native of Rewari in Haryana, suffered injuries in his ribs during the firing, the official said.The bodies and the injured ASI were evacuated from Basaguda to Bijapur at 6 PM. An MI17 helicopter was sent to airlift the injured and the bodies to Raipur, he added.Officials said Kumar was soon overpowered and apprehended by other colleagues who were present in the camp. The jawans reportedly had a brawl before the fatal incident took place and a probe has been ordered into the incident, they added.”The chief minister has condemned the incident which took place in Basaguda village of Bijapur around 5 PM today,” an official statement here said.Expressing condolence, Chief Minister Singh extended sympathy to the family members of the victims, according to an official statement.He has also prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured ASI, it said.

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Centre assures help to Jammu and Kashmir under ‘Incredible India’

The Centre has assured the Jammu and Kashmir government support under the its flagship tourism programme ‘Incredible India’, an official spokesman said on Tuesday.The central government has also called for roping in business and corporate houses for facilitating promotion of tourism in the state, he said.Director General, Tourism Ministry, Satyajeet Rajan has suggested that the International Travel Mart be held in the state’s summer capital Srinagar around the Tulip Season in March, the spokesman said.Rajan was speaking at a high-level meeting convened here last evening to review the progress of tourism projects in J-K under the Prime Minister’s Developmental Package (PMDP).Under the package, Rs 2,000 crore has been earmarked for development of tourism infrastructure in the state, the spokesman said.These funds are to be spent over a period of five years beginning 2016 with Rs 400 crore to be released by the Centre each year, he said.Rajan suggested that corporate bodies such as the CII and the FICCI should be involved by the state for the promotion of tourism and said that support under Incredible India would be provided to J-K .Chief Secretary B B Vyas said that Jammu and Kashmir has immense potential for varied tourism activities and with adequate infrastructure in place.He said that the tourism sector has the potential to create jobs and it can be harnessed to address unemployment in the state.Given the resources available for infrastructure development in the tourism sector, the state is going to witness huge augmentation of facilities in the coming years, the chief secretary said.He called for fast-pacing tourism projects to ensure productive use of resources under the PMDP.”Access the funds available to the sector, use it judiciously and deliver the mandated outcome within the set time-frame,” Vyas said.The key projects taken up under the PMDP include the development of tourism facilities on the Mantalai Sudhmahadev-Patnitop, Gulmarg-Baramulla-Kupwara-Leh, Jammu- Rajouri-Shopian-Pulwama, Anantnag-Pahalgam-Daksum-Ranjit Sagar circuits.These projects are being executed by central government subsidiaries– the National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC) and the National Projects Construction Corporation (NPCC).The official said that coordinated efforts must be made at various levels in the administration to remove bottlenecks and called for regular follow-up of projects.”You can personally flag issues with me, if my intervention is needed at any level to expedite the execution of these important projects,” the chief secretary told the officers.He also called for employing innovative marketing strategies to sell tourism projects.The projects to be taken up under PMDP include providing infrastructure to 12 tourism development authorities, creating three tourism circuits, setting up 50 proposed tourist villages and conservation of the Wullar Lake, the official said.
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J&K encounter: 1 soldier martyred, 2 terrorists dead

One soldier has been martyred and another injured in a major gun battle that ensued in the Valley on Monday after terrorists attacked an Army convoy on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway. Two terrorists have been gunned down by the security forces after they were cornered in a building near Qazigund in Kulgam district after a hard chase.The terrorists attacked the convoy at 12.40 pm near Bonigam-Qazigund and fired indiscriminately at the troops. A soldier, who was on a Road Opening Party (ROP) duty was injured in the incident.”The Army convoy on its way to Srinagar was fired at by terrorists near Qazigund area at 1240 hrs. Search operations is on,” said an army spokesman at Srinagar.Security forces swung into action immediately and chased the fleeing terrorists. They later took shelter in a building and fired at the troops again. Troops immediately cordoned off the area and a fierce gun battle started.Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) has claimed responsibility for the attack. Dr Abdullah Ghaznavi, the spokesperson of the outfit, in a statement to a local news agency, said the attack on the convoy was carried out by Bashir Lashkari Shaheed Squad of LeT.”Terrorists who had earlier attacked the Army convoy have been cordoned and an encounter is underway at Nussu Badergund, Qazigund, in South Kashmir. We wish the best of luck to our officers and jawans involved in the operation,” tweeted Dr Shesh Paul Vaid, Director General of Police, Jammu and Kashmir.Meanwhile, two policemen were injured when the service rifle of a constable went off accidentally inside the Kulgam Police Station on Monday morning. Both the injured were rushed to a hospital for treatment.”Due to accidental fire in a police station in Kulgam, two officers received minor injuries,” tweeted Deputy Inspector General of Police, South Kashmir range.THE GUNBATTLEThe Army convoy on its way to Srinagar was fired at by terrorists near Qazigund area at 12.40 pm. One of the terrorists killed by security forces is LeT divisional commander Furkan.
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India stands ‘isolated’ on Kashmir issue, claims Pakistan

Pakistan today said India has been “isolated” on the Kashmir issue after a UN General Assembly committee recently adopted a resolution in support of the right to self-determination.The committee last month unanimously passed the Pakistan- sponsored draft resolution, co-sponsored by 75 countries, over the right to self-determination for peoples who are subject to colonial domination and foreign occupation.It was a “testimony to the fact that on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, India stands isolated”, the Foreign Office (FO) said in a statement.The resolution, which is being adopted every year for the past four decades, signified that India “had failed to convince the world and its obfuscate facts trying to pass off its crime against humanity as counter-terrorism efforts had also failed”, it claimed.The only way for India to end its international isolation on Kashmir is to implement the resolutions of the UN Security Council that call for a free and fair election under the auspices of the UN and allow the people of Jammu and Kashmir to choose their own destiny, it added.
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National Commission for Minorities seeks Law Commission’s opinion on minority status to Hindus in 8 states

The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) on Sunday sought the Law Commission’s opinion on minority status to the Hindus in eight states on the representation given by the petitioner, Ashwini Upadhyay.The Supreme Court had, earlier, asked the petitioner to approach the NCM as he urged the court to declare that Hindus were a minority community in eight states including Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab.Upadhyay has referred to December 18, 1992 resolution of the UN General Assembly and a judgement of the top court to back his plea.Also readMuslim helpline: VHP for scrapping of NCM, Minority AffairsIn his plea, the petitioner sought the Hindus be declared minority in the eight states including Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Lakshdweep, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.
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Omar Abdullah greets Mehbooba Mufti on sixth term as PDP prez

Leaving their political bitterness behind, former Chief Minister and National Conference Working President Omar Abdullah went into an overdrive to greet Mehbooba Mufti for being elected People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president for the sixth time, evoking a quick and positive response from the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister.”Congratulations to Mehbooba Mufti on being re-elected as President of PDP. We may not agree on much these days but I wish you well”, Omar tweeted.Hours later Mehbooba too took to Twitter to return the favour. “Thanks for the wishes, Omar. Debate is the essence of democracy so we can agree to disagree on certain issues”, she said.For two bitter political rivals, the camaraderie was like a breeze as both Mehbooba and Omar have been slugging it out almost daily. From accusations to counter accusations, the two leaders have been at loggerheads on varied issues. Be it the state subject law under Article 35A or dealing with the unrest, the two leaders have been fighting it out openly.Political slugfest notwithstanding, Mehbooba Mufti has even silenced critics and detractors within her party by winning the election for president unopposed.Mehbooba has been facing criticism from within the party, particularly about dealing with the 2016 unrest. In fact senior leader Tariq Karra quit the party post as well as the MP from Srinagar constituency last year over differences with Mehbooba over with unrest. The party ultimately lost the bye-polls for the seat to National Conference President Farooq Abdullah in April.A hesitant politician initially, she plunged into the electoral fray in 1996 from her home constituency Bijbhera on the insistence of her father late Mufti Mohommad Sayeed, who was then the tallest Congress leader in J&K.It was sheer luck for Mehbooba to plunge into politics as her father wanted his son Mufti Tasaduq Hussain to contest the polls. Since he was underage, Mufti picked Mehbooba from Bijbhera seat while his wife Gulshan was nominated from Pahalgam constituency.A law graduate Mehbooba holds the record of not losing any election from the traditional pocket borough of south Kashmir either in the Assembly or the parliament. She however lost the parliamentary election once from Srinagar when she contested against Omar Abdullah in 1999.Last year Mehbooba became the first woman Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir after the demise of her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.
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Omar Abdullah congratulates CM Mehbooba Mufti on being re-elected as PDP chief

NC working president Omar Abdullah on Saturday congratulated Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on being re-elected the president of her party the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).”Congratulations to MehboobaMufti on being re-elected as President of jkpdp. We may not agree on much these days but I wish you well,” he tweeted.In her reply, Mufti wrote, “Thanks for the wishes Omar. Debate is the essence of democracy so we can agree to disagree on certain issues.”She was today re-elected the president of the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for the next three years. The PDP leadership met at the official residence of the chief minister here, where Mehbooba was ‘unanimously’ elected as head of the party.Mehbooba Mufti emerged from the shadow of her illustrious father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who founded the PDP in 1999, to head Jammu and Kashmir as the first woman chief minister of the state last year.”Thankful to the party in reposing their trust and electing me as their President. Will work tirelessly to fulfil our shared vision of development, inclusiveness and reconciliation in J&K,” Mehbooba Mufti wrote on Twitter.
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Jammu and Kashmir: Suspected terrorists fire upon civilian in Shopian district

A civilian sustained multiple bullet injuries on Saturday after suspected militants fired upon him in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir.<!– /11440465/DNA_Mobile_Article_300x250_BTF_1 –>Reportedly, the militant opened fired at the 28-year-old man near his home in Keegam village.The injured person has been rushed to the nearby hospital for medical treatment.More details are awaited.
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Mehbooba Mufti elected PDP president for 6th consecutive term

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was today re-elected the president of the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for the next three years.Mehbooba’s election for the sixth consecutive term was unanimous, party leaders said.She thanked party leaders for “reposing their trust and electing me as their president”.”Will work tirelessly to fulfil our shared vision of development, inclusiveness and reconciliation in J&K,” she wrote on Twitter.The PDP leadership met at the official residence of the chief minister here for the election of the party president.Also readMehbooba Mufti set to be PDP prez for 6th termA law graduate, 57-year-old Mehbooba took the plunge into mainstream politics of the state in 1996 by joining the Congress, along with her father, at a time when militancy was at its peak in the state.She emerged from the shadow of her illustrious father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who founded the PDP in 1999, to head Jammu and Kashmir as the first woman chief minister of the state last year.Also readMehbooba Mufti orders withdrawal of cases against 4,327 stone-pelters “Under @MehboobaMufti’s leadership, the party strives to carry forward its mission of holistic development and stability in Jammu and Kashmir,” senior PDP leader and sports minister Imran Raza Ansari said.The party’s Twitter handle posted, “From grassroots politics to emergence as a beacon of hope for young & dis- empowered, your dynamism & all inclusive politics have set new benchmarks & changed the course of polity in subcontinent. May your leadership continue to steer us to newer heights.”
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Syed Salahuddin’s son among 18 inmates: Tihar jail to MHA

Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin’s son Syed Shahid Yusuf is one of the 18 prisoners referred to AIIMS after being allegedly beaten up by security personnel in Tihar jail, the prison authorities have informed the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).Two separate probe panels will be investigating the incident.A district judge has been appointed to look into the incident while a law professor from National Law University has been asked to provide legal assistance to inmates involved in the scuffle that led to the alleged thrashing of prisoners last week.Another inquiry will be conducted by Commandant of the Tamil Nadu Special Police posted at the high security cell who were allegedly involved in the scuffle.There were 25 prisoners in the high security ward when the incident took place on the night of November 21-22.Several Kashmiri prisoners are currently lodged in Tihar jail in Delhi after being arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in a terror funding case. Saluhuddin’s son Yusuf, who was a government employee in Jammu and Kashmir, is also part of the same investigation.The Tamil Nadu police personnel posted at the cell have been removed, Tihar jail authorities said in their report to MHA.”The prisoners referred to AIIMS will be examined by a panel of three doctors who will submit a report on the nature of injuries,” said a home ministry official.Yusuf faces allegations of receiving money from his father who is based in Pakistan. Syed Salahuddin, who also heads the United Jihad Council — an umbrella organisation of all terror outfits operating in Kashmir, has been declared a global terrorist by the US Department of State.The incident took place when during a search certain objectionable material was found leading to a confrontation between some prisoners and jail security following which MHA asked for a detailed report from Tihar authorities.Tihar autorities in its report to MHA also stated that jail officials have been sensitised to ensure that inherent dignity of prisoners is always maintained, especially during searches.Following reports of some Kashmiri prisoners being beaten up Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti spoke to union home secretary Rajiv Gauba expressing her concern over the security of inmates from the state.INSIDE THE JAILThere were 25 prisoners in the high security ward when the violent thrashing took place. MHA had asked for a report on the incident from the prison authorities.
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CISF jawan runs amok, kills 3 including wife, colleague

A Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) constable ran amok on Wednesday night and shot dead his wife, colleague and his wife on the suspicion of allegedly being involved in extra martial affairs in the Kishtwar district of Jammu division.Police have arrested the accused CISF constable Ingalpu Surendar and booked him under section 302 Ranbir Penal Code (RPC). Police said extra-marital affairs appeared to be the motive behind the murder.Police said during the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday, constable Ingalpu Surendar, posted to guard the Dul Hasti hydro-power project, barged into the residential quarter of his colleague constable Kekane Rajesh Kiran and fired indiscriminately, killing him on the spot.When Rajesh’s wife Shobha tried to save her husband, the accused turned his gun at her too, killing her on the spot. Later Constable Rajesh went to his residential quarter and shot dead his wife Lavanya.Both slain constable Rajesh and his wife Shobha hail from Nashik in Maharashtra. The accused constable hail from Khamam district of Telengana.”Preliminary investigation reveals that cause of death is some extra-martial issue. Further investigation is on. We have arrested the accused and recovered the empty cases of his service weapon from the spot,” said Abrar Chaudhary, senior superintendent of police, Kishtwar.Police said constable Surendar was posted at the drop gate of the Dul Hasti Hydro Electric Power Project when he sought permission from his in-charge to go to toilet. However, instead of going to toilet he went to residential quarters at the Shalimar Colony and killed the three.”We received information during the intervening night that constable Surendar has killed his wife, colleague and his wife. Immediately, a team headed by Station House Officer rushed to the spot,” said Chaudhary.Later, the bodies were removed to the mortuary and a team of doctors was constituted to conduct the postmortem. “Further investigation in the case is under progress,” said Chaudhary.He doubted wifeAccording to preliminary investigations, the accused suspected his wife of having extra-marital affairs with his colleague. When the latter’s wife tried to save him, she too was shot dead.
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Line of Control becomes Line of Learning in Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Winds of Change seem to be blowing on the sensitive Line of Control (LoC) with the last point on the Indo-Pak border in the Uri sector becoming the Line of Learning for the students on educational tours.As a part of education tour, the Indian army organized an excursion for 55 students of Army Goodwill School Uri and Aseem-Goodwill Computer Centre at Kamalkot to Kamaan Aman Setu– the last point on Indian side on the LoC –in Uri sector of North Kashmir a few days ago.During the visit, the students were made aware of the commercial and strategic significance of the Kaman Aman Setu. “The students also witnessed the trade services between India and Pakistan. They also visited Kaman Transit point, Cafe Kaman and the Currency Changing Point”, said an army spokesman.Officer – In – Charge of Kaman Aman Setu briefed the students about the importance of the Kaman Bridge; inter-country trade service and cross LoC bus service between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad. He also briefed them about the procedure of immigration and various facilities available at Kaman Transit Point.“All visitors displayed a keen interest in understanding the significance of the bridge and the excitement among the students was evident. Students expressed their gratitude to the Army for providing this opportunity”, said the spokesman.The strategically important bridge on the Kaman post connects North Kashmir to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. The bridge was refurbished in 2005 when India and Pakistan decided to start the cross LoC Karwan-e-Aman bus, which plies every Monday in the valley.Touted as one the biggest Confidence Building Measures, the cross LoC peace bus enabled reuniting the divided families living on both sides of the Line of Control. A year later another cross LoC route connecting Poonch in Jammu to Rawlakote road in PoK.Three years later the cross LoC trade started in October 2008 when Jammu and Kashmir was up in arms over Amarnath land row. There are two cross LoC routes — Srinagar-Muzaffarabad, Poonch-Rawalakote — that are being used to ferry goods between Jammu and Kashmir and PoK.

J&K: Pakistani troops violate ceasefire in Rajouri

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistani troops opened fire at Indian posts along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district in violation of the ceasefire, police said.”Pakistani troops resorted to firing in Jhangar forward area from 1845 hours to 1900 hours,” a senior police officer said, adding that further details were awaitedLast night’s violation of the ceasefire came after a lull of over a week in firing by Pakistani troops at Indian posts. ALSO READ Ceasefire agreements can help save Indo-Pak relationsPakistani troops violated the ceasefire for three consecutive days between November 15 and November 17 in Jammu and Poonch districts. An Army jawan was injured in the exchange of fire in Poonch.On November 2, a BSF jawan was killed when Pakistan Rangers attacked a patrol party along the International Border in Samba district.A girl was injured when Pakistani troops opened fire from small arms along the LoC in Karmara belt of Poonch district on October 31.On October 18, eight civilians, including a two-year-old child, were injured in heavy Pakistani shelling in Poonch. ALSO READ J&K: Pakistan violates ceasefire in Nowgam

Bananas successfully cultivated for first time in Jammu and Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Scientists have achieved a rare feat after they successfully cultivated bananas in Jammu and Kashmir. It is for the first time that the experiment of growing bananas in Jammu and Kashmir has succeeded with precision.“Experimental works involved growing the banana by tissue culture technique at Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (IIIM) Jammu. The samplings of this high quality tissue culture variety known as Bhim Grand Naine (G-9) banana were brought from Agro Division of Cadila Pharmaceutical Limited, Ahmedabad, Gujarat. The first trial of cultivation over two acres land of Field experimental farm Chatha has been successfully completed”, said Dr. Ram Vishwakarma, Director CSIR-IIIM, Jammu.First cultivation trial was conducted by planting 2000 samplings of banana plants with the narrow spacing in August 2016. The fruit setting commenced in July-August, 2017 while as the maturity and harvesting attained in 13 months.“The plant grew to a height of 6.5 to 7.5 feet and gave yield 20-30 kg per plant and 20-25 tonnes/acre. In term of economy involved, as per market analysis, price of banana in Jammu is approximately Rs. 20 per kg. Thus on an average, 20-30 Kg yield/plant gives Rs. 250-300/Banana plant”, said Dr Vishwakarma.On the basis of market demand, approximately Rs. 2.5 lakh net return can be obtained by cultivation of this crop on one acre of land which is attractive business for farmers of the Jammu and Kashmir as it involves very less inputs but lucrative profit.More than 164,000 acres of land in India is under the banana cultivation. Most edible banana species are widely cultivated in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala, Maharashtra, Gujarart, Karnataka, Assam, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar. Many wild species of banana are also reported from Northeast and South India.Till date, no initiative of commercial cultivation of banana has been done in Jammu and Kashmir. Scientists said the commercial cultivation of banana in Jammu and Kashmir would be most profitable agriculture business for farmers of the State. This crop will be particularly suit Jammu region. “The next target of IIIM to introduce the banana cultivation in Kashmir region through modern biotechnology approach (Polyhouses) which would be done in 2018”, said the spokesman of CSIR-IIIM.

‘Ready to strengthen connectivity…’: China hints it may rename CPEC to address India’s ‘concerns’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A week after a proposal by Chinese envoy to India to rename the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to address New Delhi’s concerns, Beijing has hinted that it mayn rename CPEC if India joins OBOR initiative.China’s ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui during an interaction with experts on Chinese affairs and students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) last week offered to rename the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as well as build an alternative corridor through Jammu and Kashmir.However, On Lu’s reported remark about building an alternative corridor through Jammu and Kashmir, the foreign ministry said, “China is ready to strengthen connectivity with all neighbouring countries and promote regional economic cooperation and common prosperity”.According to The Times of India, the Chinese ministry neither endorsed or denied Luo’s statement, indicating that it may be willing to discuss the issue with New Delhi while ensuring that the move does not affect its ties with Pakistan.The Chinese Foreign Ministry also said China s stand is that the CPEC is an economic cooperation initiative and has ‘nothing to do with territorial sovereignty disputes’. The CPEC “does not affect China and Pakistan’s position on the Kashmir issue,” it said.India skipped the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) in May this year due to its sovereignty concerns over the nearly $ 60 billion CPEC, a flagship project of China’s prestigious One Belt One Road (OBOR), which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).India has raised concerns over the project as it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The CPEC is a planned network of roads, railways and energy projects linking southern Pakistan, and the Gwadar Port, to China’s restive Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region.In his address to the United Services Institution in New Delhi on May 5, Luo Zhaohui had echoed similar views.His remarks were, however, subsequently removed from the transcript of his address posted on the website of the Chinese Embassy amid reports that Pakistan sought a clarification on it.

Anti Terrorist Front India announces Rs 21 lakh bounty for Farooq Abdullah’s tongue

Updated: Nov 21, 2017, 06:57 PM IST, PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Anti Terrorist Front India today announced a bounty of Rs 21 lakh prize for cutting former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah’s tongue, saying he has “insulted” the country with his pro- Pakistan remarks and was speaking “against” the RSS.Front national president Viresh Shandilya also demanded immediate investigation and arrest of the Srinagar MP. “Farooq has been speaking against the RSS and supporting Pakistan and insulted India in his recent remarks,” he said in a statement here. “Farooq is a big traitor in India and the central government should withdraw Z plus security from him. I will award Rs 21 lakh to the person who cuts Farooq’s tongue,” he said.Recently, Abdullah had courted controversy with his remarks “PoK belongs to Pakistan”. A few days later, the National Conference chief said Pakistan was “not weak and was not wearing bangles to allow India to take that part of Jammu and Kashmir under its occupation”.

RSS gives another shot to end ‘separatist’ narrative in Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has made yet another attempt to expand the dialogue on Kashmir and end the “separatist narrative” that identifies the state with just the Valley as an affiliated body would be celebrating the birth centenary of the best known Buddhist lama of Ladakh Kushok Bakula Rinpoche.The RSS has always maintained that the mainstream narrative regarding Kashmir was exclusivist, having over-emphasised the significance of the Valley, while not giving due pride of place, political as well as social, to the other regions of the state, such as Kargil and Ladakh, which constitute majority of the state. Such, narrative, RSS believes gives more say to the separatists voices. The move attains political significance as the Centre had recently appointed former top spy Dineshwar Sharma as interlocutor in Kashmir.RSS’ primary affiliate working in Kashmir, Jammu Kashmir Study Centre (JKSC), in association with Himalayan Sanskriti Sanrakshan Sabha would be celebrating the 100th birth anniversary of 19th Kushok Bakula Rinpoche on November 23.According to JKSC functionaries, while Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan would inaugurate the event, RSS leader Suresh Soni would be the chief guest on the occasion. What lends more weight to the commemoration is the representation of the state, most probably by deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh.”Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan will be inaugurating the centenary celebrations of Buddhist saint Kushok Bakula. The 19th Kushok Bakula is recognized by the 13th Dalai Lama as a direct disciple of Gautam Buddha and is popularly considered as the architect of modern Ladakh, the largest region of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Kushok Bakula Lobzang Thupten Chognor is considered as GOD figure in Ladakh, Russia, Tibet and Mongolia because of his social and spiritual contributions,” said Abha Khanna, JKSC’s Director (Media).The acclaimed Buddhist saint was also a statesman and diplomat. He was elected to the Parliament, and was deeply engaged with welfare, education and rights of Scheduled Castes and Tribes of India. In his later years, he became India’s Ambassador in Mongolia. In 2005, the Leh airport was renamed as the Kushok Bakula Airport.

No authoritative info on presence of Islamic state in J&K: Home Ministry

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government today sought to downplay Islamic State’s presence in Jammu and Kashmir, but acknowledged the resurgence of a radical group in the Valley.There is no authoritative information about the presence of ISIS in Jammu and Kashmir, a senior home ministry official said.The comment came in the wake of claims that the global terror organization was involved in an encounter with security forces in Srinagar wherein a terrorist, identified as Mugees, was killed and a sub-inspector, Imran Tak, lost his life.’Amaq’, which is the official news agency of ISIS, had claimed the responsibility for the attack.Pictures of Mugees with the ISIS flag in the background surfaced on social media. Even his body was wrapped in the flag of the banned terror group during funeral.However, the official said it has come to light that Mugees belonged to an extremist group called Tehrik-ul- Mujahideen and was its Pulwama district commander.The Tehrik-ul-Mujahideen was among the first few militant groups that emerged at the onset of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir in the early 1990s, the official said.It follows the ideology of Salafism which is ultra radical like ISIS. However, the police have found no logistical connection between the two, another official said.The cadre strength of the group is very small and it has been facing an extreme shortage of weapons.Officials said the Tehrik-Ul-Mujahideen was founded much before the Pakistan-based group Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen came into existence.After the killing of Mujees, Adil Ahmed has been appointed the group’s commander in Pulwama district.

Farooq Abdullah does it again, slams BJP with ‘aur kitne Pakistan’ jibe

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jammu and Kashmir’s former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah is known for his acerbic words and on Saturday hid did it again.Addressing a gathering in Jammu, he lashed out at the ruling BJP.He said that there are some BJP leaders in Uttar Pradesh who threaten the Muslims that if they don’t vote for them, they will face consequences.“Ye Hindustan tumhare baap ka nahi (This country is not your father’s) This country belongs to everyone, be it Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or Christian. They can choose their candidate, it’s their right.”“You can’t force or threaten people. And if you think you will continue with your threatening ways that do remember that this is how you made one Pakistan. Aur kitne Pakistan banaoge (How many Pakistans will you make). How many more pieces will you cut India into,” Abdullah roared.Unfazed by the recent criticism of his Pakistan occupied Kashmir remarks, he reiterated, “Yes, I say it (PoK) belongs to them (Pakistan). Are they (Pakistan) wearing bangles? They also have atom bombs! Do you want us to be killed by them? You are sitting in palaces, think about the poor people living in border areas, who are bombed daily.”On Friday, a sedition case was filed against the National Conference Chief for his PoK remarks.Last week, in a shocking statement, Abdullah had said that PoK belongs to Pakistan. “The part which is with Pakistan belongs to Pakistan and this is India’s part,” Abdullah was quoted as saying by the news agency ANI. He had also said that India must accede to Kashmir’s autonomy, “ the government (must) conclude that an autonomy will be given to us as well as them (PoK).”

India’s football legend Bhaichung Bhutia offers to train Majid Khan who returned home from Lashkar-e-Taiba

India’s football legend Bhaichung Bhutia has offered to train Majid Khan who returned home from Lashkar-e-Taiba, barely days after he had joined the terror outfit.After hearing pleas of a wailing mother and passionate appeal from his father, the 22-year-old Khan walked into an Army camp in the middle of the night and surrendered before the security forces.<!– /11440465/DNA_Mobile_Article_300x250_BTF_1 –>The former Indian Football Captain has written to the Jammu and Kashmir Football Federation offering training to Majid at Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools in New Delhi.”I felt concerned reading this news and hence I have spoken to J&K Football Association President to Reach out to him and convey my offer that he can train with @BBFSchools in Delhi which will give him an opportunity at becoming a pro footballer,” Bhutia said in a tweet.He also added that he hopes Majid will accept his offer.The school also tweeted saying they “will love to have Majid train” with them.”I was very sad to read reports of Majid joining a terrorist organisation. Football has provided solace to many over the years and I feel he requires a platform to play the ‘Beautiful game, again’,” reported ANI quoting Bhutia, the sole Indian Player to have played over 100 International matches stated.”I want him to train under my Coaches and then we can decide where he stands as a player. I believe he deserves an opportunity and hence, felt best to open the doors for him,” he added.Meanwhile, the Army officer feels that Khan’s return could turn into a test case for those who want to leave militancy and join the mainstream.Khan, who is the only son of his parents, was allowed to meet his mother and father for a few hours separately after which he was kept at a room with all the amenities required for a student.His surrender was seen as a whiff of fresh air in tense South Kashmir which has witnessed large-scale recruitment of local youths by militants in the past. Unofficial estimates have put the figure of such youths at nearly 150 since July 2016.Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also termed the return of Khan as “good development” and expressed hope that he would resume his normal life soon. Comments 20Next storyPoes Garden raids ‘betrayal to Amma’s soul,’ an attempt to destroy our family, alleges TTV Dhinakaran

It was a very brave decision: Major General BS Raju hails Kashmiri footballer Majid Khan for leaving LeT

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a major success for the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir, Anantnag’s footballer turned terrorist has surrendered.The 20-year-old footballer, Majid Khan, who had recently joined Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), surrendered before the security forces in Kashmir.Majid was presented before the media at a press conference here on Friday.’It was a very brave decision by Majid Khan. I compliment him and assure that he will be able to get back to normal life very soon,’ said Major General BS Raju, who heads the Victor Force that performs counter-insurgency operations in five districts of South Kashmir.Majid surrendered before the First Rashtriya Rifles and is currently under the custody of Victor Force in Awantipora.Majid reportedly surrendered after his parents’ appeal.Even the top police officer of Jammu and Kashmir appealed Majid to surrender and once again join the mainstream.On Thursday, Inspector General of Police (Kashmir range) Munir Khan told media, ‘A very serious counselling campaign is going on in Kashmir to discourage youth to join militancy and we will get positive results in near future. It is our sincere endeavour to ensure that these misguided youth come and join the mainstream.’He also informed the media that the government is preparing a new surrender policy for local Kashmiri militants.

J&K: Footballer Majid Khan who joined LeT surrenders before security forces

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Majid Irshad Khan, a district level footballer from Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag who had recently joined militant organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba, on Friday surrendered before the security forces.The 20-year-old had left home late October and joined the Lashkar-e-Toiba, leaving his family and friends distraught.Majid’s goalkeeping skills were the talk of the town before he left to join the terror outfit.It is believed that he had joined militancy after participating in the funeral of his friend Yawar Nissar Shergujri, a militant who was killed in an encounter with security forces at Herpora in Anantnag district in August.Khan had hinted his inclination to join militant ranks in a Facebook post on October 29.”Jab shauq-e-shahadat ho dil mai, tou suli say gabrana kya (When the desire for martyrdom beats in your heart, why fear the gallows then),” he said in the post.Khan was member of a local football club since he in the ninth standard.In a video doing rounds on social media, his mother, Ayesha, was seen pleading for his return.”Come back and kill us, then go back. Who you have left me for? Majid come as fast as you can, for the sake of your father,” she says.

Two terrorists gunned down in Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Security forces repulsed a terrorist attack on Monday evening when they gunned down two ultras who fired at a patrol team at Zachaldara area of Handwara in North Kashmir’s Kupwara district.The gun battle ensued after the terrorists opened fire on a joint team of police, Army and the Central Reserve Police Force at Galganzer village, prompting the forces to retaliate.“Two terrorists neutralized in Zachaldara Handwara in North Kashmir in a joint operation of Jammu and Kashmir police, Army and CRPF. Good work. Keep it up!” tweeted Dr Shesh Paul Vaid, director general of police, Jammu and Kashmir.With the latest success, the number of terrorists killed so far this year has reached 180 in the Kashmir Valley. “Coordinated operations by Army, CRPF & JKP will continue”, tweeted Chinar Corps of the Indian army. Sources said that nearly 70 security personnel have lost their lives in the line of duty this year, while an equal number of ultras have infiltrated into Kashmir in the past 10 months. Last year, an estimated 112 terrorists had managed to sneak into the Valley, compared to 33 in 2015. The figures were 65 and 97 in 2014 and 2013 respectively.70 infiltratedAccording to sources, an estimated 70 terrorists have infiltrated into Kashmir in the past 10 months. An equal number of security personnel have lost their lives in the line of duty.

Only 50,000 pilgrims allowed at Vaishno Devi a day: NGT

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>To ensure safety of pilgrims, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ruled on Monday that only 50,000 devotees would be allowed to visit the Vaishno Devi shrine each day in Katra, Jammu. The tribunal also directed authorities to gradually phase out use of horses and ponies from the old path and open the new path to the shrine from November 24, to be used only by pedestrians and battery-operated cars.“The new path, which was constructed at a cost of Rs 40 crore, should be positively opened to public by November 24. No further time will be granted and, in default, appropriate action will be taken against the concerned authorities,” the bench said. Further, the bench also directed that a fine of Rs 2,000 should be imposed for littering in Katra town. The Vaishno Devi shrine is one of the most revered Hindu pilgrimage sites in the country and sees an annual footfall of over a crore. A three-member bench of the NGT, headed by chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar, ordered the cap on pilgrims while hearing a plea by animal and environment activist Gauri Maulekhi.

PM package has been biggest boost, much of it is implemented: Dr Haseeb A Drabu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dr Haseeb A Drabu, economist-turned-J&K Finance Minister, has been in the thick of things since the BJP-PDP government was formed in the restive state. From stitching one of the most difficult alliances to framing the Agenda of Alliance, Dr Drabu has been the crisis manager and the Man of the Moment in the Mehbooba Mufti-led government for the last two-and-a-half years. In a freewheeling interview at his official residence in Srinagar, Dr Drabu delves deep into issues ranging from politics to development in the state. Edited excerpts:What has been the biggest positive of this government?The biggest positive has been the Prime Minister’s economic package of Rs 80,000 crore — the fact that it was designed and that a large part of it was implemented. The Centre and the state both are involved. The upgrade of roads was also a big hit. Unprecedented macadamisation (black-topping of roads) was done. Another big hit was the better utilisation of MNERGA and creation of assets based on Centrally sponsored schemes.Did the development process suffer due to unrest last year?Of course, some speed breakers are there. In fact, the biggest challenge for us is the utilisation of resources. The institutional capacity to spend is not very high, and we are not able to spend at an appropriate pace. That is not because of the disturbance alone, but also because of the institutional capacity of the government itself. The process of tendering also takes time.The education system was the worst hit in 2016. What has been done to revive the sector?Huge funds have been allocated for the sector. For the first time, we have streamlined the system for teachers’ salaries. The Rehbar-e-Taleem teachers were not getting salary for the last nine months. They are up to date now and there is no pendency. Similarly, earlier, people had to wait for a year to get their general provident funds. Now, they can get it in one day. We have also utilised Rs 400-500 crore under the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA). We have set up some 21 new degree colleges. Such massive expansion has not happened in the last 20 years. Big focus is on the upgrade of schools and colleges.What about the health sector?We have acquired land for two AIIMS coming up in Kashmir and Jammu. The process has started and the project officer has been appointed. It will be a huge development. Also, five model hospitals have been created.You were the architect of the Agenda of Alliance (AOA), which set the tone for development in the militancy-plagued J&K. How confident are you about its success?It was an agreement on the agenda of governance. It was not about what we wrote there but what we intend to do. I am pretty sure that at the end of six years, we will be satisfied with the entire process. It may take time. It is a difficult alliance, politically, ideologically, and perception-wise. There is no doubt about it. There is a saying that you may live a thousand years but die every year. It is that kind of a thing. But, I think we have done well in the last three years.First of all, nobody thought the alliance will survive for three years but it has. There has been no major issue between PDP and BJP. If not completed, action on most agendas has at least started. For instance, the transfer of land from the Army, the issues concerning the west Pakistan refugees, the talks, and the economic package. Of 10 points, action has been taken on seven or eight points.The talks were at the heart of AOA. You have appointed an interlocutor but the Hurriyat has refused to talk. Don’t you think it is a setback?It is not an administrative matter but a political move. Till now, all interlocutors were told by the government to have informal talks. Dineshwar Sharma’s order has been issued by the President of India. There is a certain degree of seriousness, because he has a certain mandate. Earlier, Radha Kumar and Dileep Padgaonkar were told by the government to do it. There was no backing. This is an important step.The revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) is another important point in AOA…If you look at it practically, the situation on the ground is not conducive. But the intent is there.What about handing over of the NHPC-run power projects to the state?I will keep saying that it will happen. It was never decided that it will happen within a year. We are working on it.What do you rate as the biggest achievement of your 2.5 years in power?We have made history by taking Presidential order on GST to the Legislative Assembly. When has that ever happened? For the 40 times that President issued orders in the past, have they ever been discussed in the Assembly? I think the biggest gain of this government was the revival of the Assembly’s powers. Major autonomy erosion had happened in 1975 and 1986. People did not even know about the Presidential order issue. We discussed it and took a view. It was a huge political hit for us.Has GST helped J&K?It is in the transitional phase and I am very confident that it will help us quite a lot. Under GST, we will be the biggest beneficiaries as it is a consumption tax. Except carpets, everything else has been sorted out in the handicrafts sector. We are trying to convince the GST Council to cut the slab from 12 to 5 per cent on carpets. In all other cases, all demands made by Kashmir have been met. In fact, we are the only state in the country where exemptions have been granted to the industry — 100 per cent CGST and SGST refund.You braved the 2016 unrest and survived it all. Are you satisfied? Did you learn any lessons?It is not a thing to be satisfied of. Yes, the situation could have been better. We lived through all that and it is well behind us now. And we are attempting a course correction. Hopefully, things will change. We have started major welfare programmes, such as regularisation of employees. In the last 30 years, nobody has done it. We have at least outlined the framework. That is a major decision.The anti-corruption drive was high on AoA. Any progress on that front?You cannot fight corruption without changing the system. Today, corruption is not personalised, it is systemic. You can’t go after five people. The next five guys will come and do the same thing because the system has become corrupt over the last 40-50 years. Unless you change the system, you will never remove corruption. And that is exactly what we have done by abolishing treasuries and moving to pay-in accounts. We do not have the old system of receiving and giving cash. Similarly, we have implemented GST to combat corruption in taxation.What about the robust financial system?J&K is the first state in the country to change the budget classification, which everybody is following now. We were the first state to move to January budget to allow people to spend more. We were the first state to have announced abolition of treasuries and move to the new system of pay-in accounts. The tax regime, the excise policy, the budget formulation, and the payment system have been changed.But the investment climate is still not conducive?I was in Dubai and I made a presentation to nearly 800 investors. We are now hoping for some foreign investment in the hospitality, tourism, and urban development sectors. One must also know that if the situation is not very good, it is difficult to get investment. Peace is imperative.How has the PDP-BJP alliance fared, so far?It is a difficult but fruitful alliance. It was created with a purpose — not to get in government but to bring Jammu and Kashmir together, to have a much larger say for the Valley vis-a-vis Delhi. You might not see benefits in the short term, but you will see them in the long term.What are the plans for the next three years of your government?There will be a lot of welfare-oriented measures to give relief to people. In the next three years, the power situation will improve radically. A lot of focus will be on income generation in rural sectors. A safety net has been created and insurance is being done for everybody. We are planning on universal basic income for those below the poverty line. We hope to see a lot of welfare and development in the next three years.

There has been decline in incidents of extremism, credit should go to followers of Islam: Rajnath Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today said Pakistan was continuing with its antics and making efforts to break India, but in spite of that, the situation in Jammu and Kashmir had improved significantly.He also said there was a decline in the incidents of extremism and that the credit for this should go to the followers of Islam in the country. Speaking at an event organised by a newspaper here today, Singh said, “Pakistan is continuing with its antics and making efforts to break us, but the co-ordination among our Army, paramilitary forces, the Jammu and Kashmir Police and intelligence agencies has been excellent.” He said there were 86,000 terror-related incidents in Jammu and Kashmir in 1995, adding that over the last one year, the number of such incidents had come down to 300 in that state.Stating that there had been a significant improvement in the situation in the restive region, Singh pointed out that the Centre had already appointed a special representative (former Intelligence Bureau chief Dineshwar Sharma) for a dialogue with all the stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir, including the Hurriyat leaders. “The special representative will talk to all the stakeholders and recommend to the Government of India as to what should be done to resolve the problems,” he added. Replying to a question pertaining to Jammu and Kashmir, the home minister said, “When we are in the government, there is a direct conversation with the public. We are working in the direction of resolving problems.”On the issue of rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley, he said, “Everyone wants them to be rehabilitated. There were talks with former (Jammu and Kashmir) chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and he had given his consent (to it). Later, the matter got stalled owing to disturbances there.” Singh added that the issue of rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits was discussed with current Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti as well and that the latter had promised effective steps in this regard. “We want to resolve the Kashmir issue by taking the people of Kashmir into confidence,” he said.On a question on the Rohingya Muslims issue, the BJP leader blamed the erstwhile Congress-led UPA government for the current situation involving the refugees. He reiterated the Centre’s commitment to alleviating poverty and unemployment and said employment would be given to one crore youth of the country through its skill development programme. “It is possible that the immediate effects may not be visible. But, tough decisions lead to long-term benefits. We want sabka saath, sabka vikas,” Singh said, referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision for the country.On extremism, the home minister said, “There has been a decline in the incidents of extremism. The credit for this should go to the followers of Islam in India.” Claiming that terrorism and Naxalism would gradually lose steam and would be eliminated by 2022, he said, “Advanced weapons are being given and advanced training is being imparted to the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and other paramilitary forces. “In the Naxalism-hit areas, we have made an effort to reach out to the public and establish a dialogue with them. We are integrating the people with the process of development.”Singh also said the number of battalions of the central paramilitary forces was being increased. “We are laying an emphasis on the use of technology and in this regard, help from other countries is being sought,” he added. On a question over the smog in Delhi-NCR, Singh said, “We want a pollution-free Delhi. Whatever steps are being taken by the Delhi government in this regard, we will support those initiatives.” The home minister also said the world had started realising that India was no longer a weak nation and that it belonged to the club of powerful countries in the world.”At the international level, India’s importance has grown. The world realises that India, at this point of time, has emerged as the biggest economy in the world. India today is no longer a weak country, but in the club of the powerful nations of the world,” he said. Replying to a question, the BJP leader said, “At places, there are more praises and less criticism now. Whatever we had envisaged to achieve, we have achieved it.”On another question pertaining to the performance of the BJP-led government at the Centre over the last three years, Singh said he would not like to evaluate his own performance, but added that overall, the clout and credibility of the country had increased.

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