Noor Mohammad Tantray was a commander in the militant Jaish-e-Mohammad separatist group.
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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Authorities today imposed restrictions in parts of Srinagar to maintain law and order in view of protests called by separatists.Restrictions have been imposed in seven police station areas of Srinagar, a police official said.He said restrictions under Section 144 CrPc have been imposed in Safakadal, Nowhatta, Khanyar, Rainawari and M R Gunj police station areas of the city, while partial curbs were in force in Maisuma and Kralkhud areas.The curbs have been imposed as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order, the official said.Separatists yesterday called for peaceful protests after Friday prayers today against the killing of civilians in Shopian and Kupwara districts of Kashmir.Also readTwo terrorists killed in encounter, one woman dies in cross-fireA woman was killed in south Kashmir’s Shopian on Tuesday during an encounter in which two militants were also killed.Another woman was killed in cross-fire in Handwara area of Kupwara in north Kashmir during an encounter on December 11.The separatists, under the banner of Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), have appealed people to observe protest after Friday congregational prayers.Meanwhile, authorities have placed Mirwaiz under house arrest, while Geelani continues to remain under house detention for some time now.”Put back under #House Arrest, was released yesterday evening only !! Mirwaiz said on Twitter.
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The death toll in the avalanche along the Line of Control in the Gurez sector of North Kashmir has gone up to three after Army rescuers pulled out two more bodies on Tuesday.Lance Naik Marigendra Nath Pramanik and Sepoy Shiv Singh were part of the three-member team when an avalanche swept away their high-altitude post last week. Two soldiers are still missing.”Two bodies have been recovered from Gurez. Earlier, the body of another soldier was retrieved from the Naugam sector. However, two soldiers continue to remain missing,” said Colonel Rajesh Kalia, defence spokesman at Srinagar.Last Tuesday, a massive avalanche swept away the army bunkers at two different places. The first incident occurred at Kanzalwan sub-sector of Gurez in the LoC when an avalanche hit the `Mani Post’ in Bagtoor area. Three army jawans manning the post were swept away and are still untraceable. The second incident occurred in the Naugam sector along the LoC, when two soldiers were taken in by a snow slide.For the last seven days, army rescuers have mounted a mammoth search and rescue operation to locate the five missing soldiers. Indian army has also pressed Specialized Avalanche Rescue Teams (ARTs) into service and moved special equipment to the site to trace out the missing soldiers.
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Massive protests rocked Kupwara in north Kashmir on Sunday after a 28-year-old taxi driver was shot dead at the Thandipora village of Kralpora in the border district on Saturday night.While family and locals accused the Army troops of killing Asif Iqbal Bhat, the Army spokesperson maintained that he was killed in crossfire. The police have filed an FIR ans the J&K government has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident, in an apparent bid to calm the tempers.Meanwhile, Sajid Iqbal, brother of the slain taxi driver, said: “A passenger called us, requesting Asif to pick him up from the Batpora Road. Then my brother said he was leaving. I was in my room when I heard the gunshots. In a minute, my parents and sisters rushed to my room and said Asif has been killed. We went out to figure out who fired the shots but somebody fired at us as well.”According to the police, Asif got seriously injured after being hit by a bullet at Thandipora.”He was shifted to the sub-district hospital in Kralpora for treatment, from where he was referred to the Srinagar hospital for better treatment, but he succumbed to his injuries,” a police spokesman said.Senior superintendent of police, Kupwara, Shamsheer Hussain said it was an unfortunate incident and they have set up inquiry commission to investigate the circumstances in which the firing took place. “We will go to the bottom of this case. Locals are alleging that an Army party opened fire. Nobody is above law. We will investigate it thoroughly,” he said.When queried, Colonel Rajesh Kalia, defence spokesman at Srinagar, said the Army had placed ambushes in the Thandipora village to maintain surveillance over the area after receiving information about the presence of terrorists there on Saturday night.”At 10.55 pm, an ambush party observed suspicious movement of three persons near the Nallah in Thandipora village. The individuals were challenged by the troops but they did not respond. Thereafter, the terrorists opened fire at the ambush party, which was returned. In the crossfire, Asif Iqbal Bhat was killed due to a gunshot wound. It has been learnt that he was a Sumo taxi driver. Investigation is in progress,” Colonel Kalia said.Massive protests then rocked the village, with hundreds of people taking to the streets, raising pro-freedom slogans, blocking the roads, and clashing with the police. Sensing trouble, Kuopwara district commissioner Khalid Jahangir ordered a magisterial inquiry and asked the inquiry officer to submit a report within three weeks.Expressing grief over the incident, J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti directed the district administration to speed up the probe and punish the culprits. The main Opposition, National Conference, too, condemned the killing and demanded a thorough investigation into the incident. “The FIR registered by the police must be taken to its logical conclusion. Being killed in a crossfire can’t be a justification for Asif Iqbal’s death,” tweeted Omar Abdullah, former J&K CM.Separatists also jumped on to the bandwagon to lash out against the government. While addressing the mourners over phone, Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani used the occasion to call for an election boycott.WHAT HAPPENEDAsif Iqbal Bhat was shot dead at Thandipora village of Kralpora on Saturday night. The victim’s family and locals accused the Army troops of killing him.
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Clamour is growing for the reopening of cinema halls in the strife-torn Kashmir valley.This follows the decision of Saudi Arabia to open movie theatres in the Islamic kingdom from next year.”Time to reopen cinemas in Kashmir too. It’s an apolitical issue and shouldn’t be delayed anymore. Have to give our people the semblance of a normal, social life along with peace and stability. Reopening cinemas doesn’t negate the conflict or the need to resolve it,” tweeted Junaid Azim Mattu, state spokesman of Opposition National Conference.Mattu’s remarks came in response to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s tweet hailing Saudi Arabia’s decision to lift the ban on cinema halls.”I welcome the decision by Saudi Arabia to lift a decade-long ban on cinemas as part of a series of social reforms by the crown prince. Introspection and self reform are marks of a progressive society,” the CM tweeted.”I am strongly in favour of reopening of cinema halls in Kashmir. However, there is a rider. We need to have the censor board sort of thing so that there is check on the films to be shown in Kashmir. Whatever is shown in other parts of the country cannot be shown in Kashmir. We have to take our socio-political and socio-cultural moorings into consideration,” said Mushtaaque Ali Ahmad Khan, noted filmmaker and director of recently held Kashmir World Film Festival.The state doesn’t have any movie halls at present. Allah Tigers, now a defunct terror outfit, had banned cinema halls as well as sale and consumption of liquor in 1989. Led by self styled ‘Air Marshal’ Noor Khan, the outfit had ransacked and looted liquor shops and threatened to set ablaze cinema halls prompting them to shut down.There were eight single screen theatres in capital city of Srinagar. Of the eight, four were in old city which had become the citadel of separatist movement during early nineties. In 1999, Farooq Abdullah-led government tried to reopen Regal cinema in Srinagar, but on the inaugural show, terrorists attacked the cinema with grenades killing one person and injuring 12 others.Later two theatres — Neelam and Broadway — tried to reopen amid tight security, but were unable to attract cine-goers owing to security reasons. With the result Broadway closed some months later. Neelam Cinema crutched along but finally closed down in 2010. Cine goers had a narrow escape when militants attacked Neelam on September 7, 2005. Two militants and a policeman were killed in the attack.TERROR OVER FILMSJammu and Kashmir capital Srinagar had 8 single screen theatres. Allah Tigers — a terror outfit — had banned cinema halls and liquor sales in 1989. In 1999, the state govt tried to reopen a theatre, but terrorists attacked the launch killing one person.
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Three army jawans went missing at Mani Post Bagtoor Gurez sector of Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Bandipora district due to snow avalanche.They went missing after the night temperature at most places in Kashmir division, including Ladakh, dropped last night.Pir Panjal range in Rajouri and Srinagar continued to receive season’s first snowfall, while the Mughal road and the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway has been closed for traffic due to snowfall in the region.Meanwhile, Solang valley in Manali of Himachal Pradesh also received fresh snowfall.The Met Department had earlier said that a western disturbance would affect the state from December 11.
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A small market town in Kashmir has become a haven for foreign militants, say India’s security forces.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi High Court on Tuesday refused to pass any order on a PIL seeking action against National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah over his alleged remarks on Pakistan occupied Kashmir.A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar directed the petitioner to approach the ministry concerned, which will decide the issue on merits.The court was hearing a plea filed by Delhi-based Maulana Ansar Raza, who claims to be a social activist, seeking “immediate investigation” and “arrest” of the Srinagar MP alleging that he has favoured Pakistan and insulted India.The bench disposed of Raza’s plea, saying it was not expressing any opinion on the petition and asked the Centre to take an independent view on the matter.It also said that the petition has been filed without making any representation before the authorities concerned.The plea had alleged that Abdullah has been making “such controversial remarks and statements by which the nation and its people feel ashamed of such persons being Indian citizens”.Abdullah had on November 11 said that PoK belonged to Pakistan and “this won’t change” no matter how many wars India and Pakistan fight.The petition, filed through lawyer Nawal Kishore Jha, has said the NC chief should be tried for penal offences including sedition and treason under the IPC and the NationalInvestigation Agency (NIA) and the Intelligence Bureau be also asked to probe the entire issue.”I tell them in plain terms — not only the people of India, but also to the world — that the part (of J&K) which is with Pakistan (PoK) belongs to Pakistan and this side to India. This won’t change. Let them fight how many wars they want to. This won’t change,” Abdullah had said.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi High Court on Tuesday disposed-off a PIL seeking action against National Conference President Farooq Abdullah for his reported controversial remarks on Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).Court asked the petitioner to approach authorities and ministries like Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Ministry of Law & Justice.The plea, filed by Delhi-based Maulana Ansar Raza who claims to be a social activist, had sought ‘immediate investigation’ and ‘arrest’ of the Srinagar MP alleging that he has favoured Pakistan and insulted India.It alleged that Abdullah has been making “such controversial remarks and statements by which the nation and its people feel ashamed of such persons being Indian citizens”.The petition, filed through lawyer Nawal Kishore Jha, has said the NC chief should be tried for penal offenses including sedition and treason under the IPC and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Intelligence Bureau be also asked to probe the entire issue.Abdullah had on November 11 said that PoK belonged to Pakistan and ‘this won’t change’ no matter how many wars India and Pakistan fight.”I tell them in plain terms — not only the people of India, but also to the world — that the part (of J&K) which is with Pakistan (PoK) belongs to Pakistan and this side to India. This won’t change. Let them fight how many wars they want to. This won’t change,” Abdullah had said.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dismissing reports of the Islamic State gaining a foothold in Kashmir, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said today that Indian Muslims would never allow terrorist outfits such as IS to have a base in the country.Singh also said he has complete faith in the Indian youth that they would not let IS misled them.”Any Indian Muslim who believes in Islam would not allow any opportunity to the Islamic State to have a base in the country,” the Union home minister said.His remarks came in wake of claims that the global terror outfit was involved in an attack on security forces in Srinagar on November 17 in which a terrorist, Mugees, was killed and a sub-inspector, Imran Tak, lost his life.The terrorist group claimed the attack through its propaganda news agency, ‘Amaq’. Photographs of Mugees with the IS flag had surfaced on the social media. Even his body was wrapped in the flag of the banned terror group during funeral.Singh urged the young men, who live near the India- Pakistan border and who have been misled into joining terrorist groups, to return to the mainstream, saying proper assistance would be provided to them.Singh dismissed reports about IS gaining a foothold in the Kashmir Valley and said there was no confirmation about such reports. He said the matter was being investigated by security agencies and any conclusion should be arrived at only after their report was submitted to the government.Commenting on the recent military standoff with the Chinese Army in Dokalam area in Sikkim sector, Singh said India wants cordial ties with its neighbours and even Chinese president Xi Jinping has expressed his views on this.Indian and Chinese armies were engaged in an over two- month-long military standoff in the Dokalam area, which is claimed by Indian ally Bhutan, after Chinese troops tried to build a road. New Delhi opposed the construction of the road, fearing it would allow Beijing to cutoff India’s access to its northeastern states.The Union home minister also visited the house of Hindi author Manu Sharma, who died earlier this month, in Varanasi to pay his respects.
<!– /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.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>For the first time, the radical Islamic State (IS) or Daish has claimed responsibility for a militant attack in Kashmir.Jammu and Kashmir police was quick to deny that IS has any presence in the Valley, though it said the claims made by the Daish are a subject of investigation.Amaq News Agency of Islamic State has claimed that they carried out the attack in the Zakura area of Srinagar on November 17.A police sub-inspector was killed and an SPO injured in the attack. In retaliatory action, one militant, Mugees Ahmad Mir, was killed and another captured by the security forces.Ironically, Amaq News Agency, considered the media arm of IS, made a big faux paux by describing the deceased officer as a Pakistani policeman while owning the attack on the Special Operations Group detachment at Zakura.SITE Intel Group, which claims to be the provider of Jihadist/Far Right & Far Left/Cyber Security News, tweeted that Islamic State claims the responsibility for Zakura attack.This is the third outfit which has claimed responsibility for the Zakura attack, Tehreek-ul-Mujhadeen had claimed the attack and owned Mugees Ahmad Mir. Ansar Gazwat ul Hind, led by Zakir Musa, too had owned Mir.Mir was traveling in a car intercepted by the operational detachment of the Special Operations Group of Jammu and Kashmir police near Zakura. The militants on board fired on the cops, triggering an encounter in which sub-inspector Imran Ahmad Tak was killed.Another militant was captured alive while Mir fled despite being injured in the shootout. However, he later succumbed to his injuries in a nearby colony. A resident of Parimpora on the outskirts of Srinagar, Mugees had joined Tehreek last year before switching sides to Zakir Musa-led Ansar Gazwat ul Hind.Mir’s body was wrapped in black ISIS flag with Kalima (first fundamental of Islam) inscribed on it. He was one of the few militants of Srinagar who are currently active in Kashmir.Director General of Police, Jammu and Kashmir, Dr Shesh Paul Vaid said IS has no presence in Kashmir. “No, it (claims made by IS) is yet to be verified. I don’t think IS has imprints in Kashmir”, he said.Inspector General of Police, Kashmir Zone, Munir Ahmad Khan, ruled out any footprints of IS in the strife-torn valley.SECURITY STANDBYA police sub-inspector was killed and an SPO injured in the militant attack in the Zakura area of Srinagar on Nov 17
One militant, identified as Mugees Ahmed Mir, was killed in retaliatory action
IS third outfit to claim responsibility for attack
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The last post was sounded to pay homage to fallen police sub-inspector Imran Ahmad Tak at Udhampur district in Jammu division on Saturday. He was given a hero’s farewell for valiantly taking on armed car-borne militants at Zakura in Srinagar on Friday. He suffered grievous wounds in the shootout and succumbed to his injuries in the hospital.In the gun battle, a militant of Al-Qaeda affiliate, Ansar Ghazwat ul Hind, Mugees Ahmad Mir was killed, while another was apprehended.Meanwhile, the security establishment was aghast that the mortal remains of the slain officer were transported overnight from Sringar to Udhampur in an ambulance rather than a chopper as is the norm.In Udhampur, Tak was given an emotional farewell, with people, as a mark of respect, closing the market to pay homage to the martyr. The journey stopped at several places with local people garlanding the slain officer. “Martyr SI Imran Tak reaches home. Basantgarh market closed. Martyr garlanded at many places en-route”, tweeted Jammu and Kashmir police. At the funeral, top ministers, police officers and other people converged to lay a floral wreath on his mortal remains. Leading the nation in the homage was Jammu and Kashmir deputy chief minister Dr Nirmal Singh, state BJP chief Sat Sharma and Industries Minister Chander Prakash Ganga.”Attended the wreath laying ceremony of Shaheed SI Imran Tak in Udhampur, who sacrificed his life while fighting millitants in Zakura Kashmir. Salute to the brave soul. My sympathies to the bereaved family. Perpetrators of this attack will be dealt sternly. Jai Hind”, tweeted Dr Singh.TAK’S CAREERHailing from the remote Basanthgarh area of Udhampur district in Jammu, 31-year-old Tak was a 2010 batch officer of the Jammu and Kashmir police
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Curfew-like restrictions have been imposed in the sensitive old city after tension gripped Srinagar following the killing of a top commander of Al-Qaeda linked Ansar Gazwat-ul-Hind Mugees Ahmad Mir near Zakura on Friday evening.Jammu and Kashmir government has also ordered the closure of schools and colleges on Saturday as a precautionary measure to keep anti-national elements at bay and prevent any protest marches in the city. However, the school board examinations will be held on schedule as authorities have decided to consider roll number slips as curfew passes.Authorities have imposed curfew-like restrictions in the areas falling under the eight police station in Srinagar city. These include Pairmpora, Rainawar, Safa Kadal, Nowhatta, Khanyar and MR Gunj, There will be partial restrictions in areas under Maisuma and Kralkhud police stations. Tensions rose on Friday evening after security forces killed the top commander of Zakid Musa led Al Qaeda linked Ansar Gazwat-ul-Hind in a shootout at Zakura in Srinagar outskirts. Mugees Ahmad Mir was traveling in a car which was intercepted by the operational detachment of the Special Operations Group of Jammu and Kashmir police near Zakura. The militants on board fired on the cops triggering an encounter in which sub-inspector Imran Ahmad Tak was killed and SPO injured. Another militant was captured alive while Mugees had fled despite being injured in the shootout. However, he later succumbed to his injuries.A resident of Parimpora in Srinagar outskirts, Mugees had joined Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen last year before switching sides to Zakir Musa led Ansar Gazwat-ul-Hind. Director General of Police SP Vaid said the killing of Mugees is a big success for the security forces. “Yes it is a big success for the security forces”, he saidLate in the evening, Mugees’s body reached his home in Parimpora in Srinagar outskirts. His body was wrapped in black ISIS flag with Kalima (first fundamental of Islam) inscribed on it. Mugees was one among the few militants of Srinagar who are currently active in Kashmir.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Seemingly taking a cue from the Delhi smog, Jammu and Kashmir government has banned the bonfire of dry golden leaves and twigs to prevent the air pollution and ensure a smog-free winter in the valley.Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) has issued directions to its field staff to implement the orders on the ground so that people do not resort to bonfire of dry golden leaves and twigs this fall.Kashmir is looking stunningly beautiful with dry leaves of Chinars creating a golden carpet on the ground. Sweet aroma of the dry leaves and gentle breeze are making Kashmir truly a romantic paradise this autumn.Traditionally people used to burn the leaves and create a bonfire as a recreation at the onset of winter. Others used to burn the leaves to make charcoal for Kangris (Kashmiri fire pots). However the recreation is coming with a cost as it severely pollutes the air during the winter.”For the last 30 to 40 years people are shifting from agriculture to horticulture. We had 12000 hectares of land under horticulture in fifties in Kashmir. We have now 2.20 lakh hectares of land under horticulture. This time people prune the trees (in orchards) and then they burn (the twigs and leaves) which affect the air quality”, said Professor Shakil Ahmad Ramshoo, head department of Earth Sciences at University of Kashmir.For the last one week Kashmir has seen an increased particulate matter level which is also the reason for the government to ban the burning of leaves and twigs. . “Our particulate matter last week was hovering around 280 µg/m3 against the national permissible limit of 60 µg/m3”, said Professor Ramshoo.Commissioner of Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) Riyaz Ahmad Wani said the burning of leaves increases the content of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide in the air and therefore it has been banned.“We have to start somewhere to bring about behavioral changes among the people. The ban is intended to cutting down the pollution level in the environment”, Wani said.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) joined hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to form the coalition government in J&K in March, 2015, the then chief minister, late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, summed up the coming together of the ideologically opposite parties as ‘North Pole meeting the South Pole’. The critics dismissed the alliance as opportunistic and fragile, and predicted its fall sooner than later.Two-and-a-half years on, however, the Green and the Saffron continue to tango in the restive state, without any major divisive issue .The AoA”Nobody thought we will survive for three years. It has happened. There has been no major issue between the PDP and the BJP. Action has started on most points mentioned in the Agenda of Alliance (AOA), ” says Dr Haseeb A Drabu, J&K Minister for Finance and the architect of AOA.Setting aside their political ideologies, the two divergent parties agreed on AOA, a governance mantra, to run the coalition for six years. The two parties not only managed the alliance very well, but have also been able to give a new direction to the development process.Dark clouds of uncertainty hovered over the alliance when Mufti Mohammad Sayeed passed away in 2016. A political vacuum was created and the state was placed under the Governor’s rule. Then Mehbooba Mufti decided to take the plunge and become the first woman chief minister of the state.Mehbooba’s journey, however, was not smooth. A five-month separatist-sponsored agitation, following the killing of Hizbul Mujhadeen (HM) leader Burhan Wani on July 8, last year, sent the state into turmoil. Yet, she braved it all and silenced her critics by her perseverance and the governance mantra.Projects galoreNow, for the first time, the state has enough funds, and believe it or not, is facing the unique question of how to utilise this money. Unprecedented road network, bridges, hospitals, schools — the state is on a high of development agenda. The Rs 80,000 Prime Minister Developmental Package (PMDP) has made this difference.Under the PMDP, 63 projects have been taken up by 15 Union ministries through 39 executing agencies. Of these, nearly 80 per cent of the projects stand formally sanctioned. Of the total outlay, Rs 21,988 crore has been released under the package and five projects have already been completed. As many as seven projects are likely to be completed soon.Of the works in progress, 22 major road projects in the state include some big-ticket plans, such as semi-ring road projects for Srinagar and Jammu, Kargil-Zanaskar road, and the Udhampur-Ramban and Ramban-Banihal stretches of the National Highway, which are in various stages of completion.Impetus for higher educationThe IIM in Jammu has started functioning from its transit accommodation, with an off campus at Narkara in Budgam. Similarly, the Jammu IIT has also started functioning and the process of raising infrastructure for the two institutes has also been started. Besides, under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), the detailed project reports of 56 out of 59 projects have been approved, and 27 of them have been started.Under the Himayat programme, a target of training more than one lakh youths in the coming five years has been fixed. Similarly, indoor stadium are being constructed at 10 district headquarters.Connectivity goalsAmong the 11 projects to be taken up for execution include some ambitious ones, such as the Rs 5,100 crore Jammu-Akhnoor-Poonch road project, the Rs 1,800 crore Srinagar-Shopian-Qazigund road project, Rs 2,700 crore, 105 km connectivity project for various tourist destinations, and the Zojila tunnel project.”Under the present dispensation, the state has received substantial funding from the Centre. With an expansion in the existing road network, the state is witnessing notable growth and development in different spheres,” said Sham Lal Choudhary, J&K Minister for PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control.Health is wealthAs per the National Family Health Survey (NFHS), the mother and child health indicators in the state have improved in 2016-17, and are relatively better than the national average. This has been possible due to effective monitoring and dedicated efforts by the staff at various levels. Besides, five new medical colleges with 90 per cent funding by the Central government are coming up in the state within the next two years. The move will not only improve the overall health scenario in the state, but will also add 500 more medical seats, thereby generating employment for hundreds of technocrats. These colleges will be established at Anantnag, Baramulla, Kathua, Rajouri, and Doda, at a cost of Rs 189 crore each.To strengthen the health services, the government of India has also sanctioned two AIIMS for Jammu and Kashmir, for which the process of acquisition of land and other necessary formalities have begun. The estimated cost of each institution has been worked out to be Rs 2,000 crore, with an intake capacity of 100 seats. These two prestigious institutions will not only cater to patients from J&K, but also from the neighbouring states, such as Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, and other parts of the country.For the benefit of cancer patients, the government of India has sanctioned two state-level cancer institutes, to be constructed at a cost of Rs 120 crore each.Off the weathered roadJ&K has also emerged as one of the few states to have gone into an overdrive to create massive assets under the MNERGA scheme. Shunning the tradition of constructing lanes and drains, the Rural Development Department has effectively switched over to asset creation and numerous structures of public importance have been created.During the last fiscal, 875 foot bridges, 1,023 culverts, 20,699 link roads, 2,247 ponds, 1,362 check dams, 2,680 gabion structures, 1,201 water harvesting tanks, 10 fisheries ponds, and 26 Anganwadi centers were constructed, and 2,659 traditional water bodies were renovated.Moreover, 227 play fields were developed, 245 panchayat ghars and 7,074 IHHLs were constructed, 788 livelihood support works (goat shelter, cattle shelter, composite pits etc.), 7,585 micro irrigation works and 977 de-sliting works were completed under the MGNREGA during 2015-16.Similarly, during 2016-17, as many as 11.70 lakh job cards were issued, 312.68 lakh man-days were generated under MGNREGA, and 446 foot bridges, 381 culverts, 8,713 link roads, 29 check dams, 319 gabion structures, 3,140 water harvesting tanks, and 175 ponds were constructed, while 1,334 traditional water bodies were renovated.Besides, 96 play fields were developed, 4 fisheries ponds, 14 Aganwadi centers, 170 Panchayats ghars, and 1,552 IHHLs were constructed under MGNREGA, while 109 livelihood support works (goat shelter, cattle Shelter, composite pits etc.), 2,706 micro irrigation works, and 253 de-silting works were completed.”The social security and the basic facilities for the poor, besides good governance, are the priorities of the government, for which a vigorous campaign has been launched throughout the state,” said Ajay Nanda, J&K Minister of State for Finance and Planning.Cherry on the cakeIn the last two-and-a-half years, J&K has added many firsts to its credit. It has emerged as the first state in the country to change the budget classification, the first state to move to January budget to allow people to spend more, the first state to have announced abolition of treasuries, and the first state to move to the new system of pay-in accounts.But, the highlight of this coalition government has been the appointment of Special Representative, Dineshwar Sharma, by the Centre to initiate dialogue with all stake holders in J&K. The talks with all stakeholders was high on AoA and with the appointment of Sharma, the government says that this clause has been fulfilled.”The appointment of former Intelligence Bureau chief Dineshwar Sharma as the special representative reflected what the Prime Minister had said on Independence Day — “neither ‘goli’ (bullets) nor ‘gaali’ (abuses) can solve the Kashmir issue and it can only be addressed by embracing Kashmiris,” said Naeem Akhtar, J&K Minister for Public Works and official spokesperson of the state government.CHALLENGESBringing separatists to the table: The Joint Resistance Leadership, an amalgam of Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik, has ruled out talks with the Centre’s interlocutor, Dineshwar Sharma, terming it an “exercise in futility”. The Mehbooba government has to work hard to convince the separatist leadership for talks, in order to bring lasting peace to the troubled state.
Bringing down violence level and curbing stone pelting: Nearly 172 militants have been killed in the renewed offensive against militants this year. But, it has come at a cost of 70 security men, who laid down their lives in the line of duty. Still, there are 225-230 militants operating in the Valley.
Restoring faith and instilling confidence among tourists: 2016 and 2017 have been the worst years, as far as tourist footfall is concerned. 2018 poses a challenge, as tourist operators are looking up to the government to help the sector.
Holding Panchayat and Parliamentary elections for the Anantnang seat: With militants and separatists calling for boycott, coupled with high level of violence, the elections are proving to be a headache for the Mehbooba government. Though there is no word from the Election Commission (EC) on the polls, which were postponed on May 2, J&K Governor NN Vohra has promulgated an ordinance, clearing the decks for holding the polls in the winter of 2017-18.
Preventing radicalisation of youth and channelling their energy towards constructive projects: Youth are especially vulnerable of being exploited by radical elements to become extremists. The Mehbooba government’s biggest challenge is to stave off the youth from falling into the trap of militants and extremists. ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE ALLIANCEThe Rs 80,000-crore Prime Minister Development Package: It was the biggest package ever given by the Centre to the state. From a cash-strapped state, J&K became cash-rich state and the developmental process received a much needed fillip after 27 years of militancy. Roads, bridges, schools, colleges, hospitals, and institutions of excellence came as a bonus.
Appointment of interlocutor: Talks were at the heart of the AOA between the PDP and the BJP. By appointing former Intelligence Bureau chief Dineshwar Sharma as an interlocutor, the government has silenced its critics. Sharma, whose order has been issued by the President, has already kicked off his Mission Kashmir and met several delegations in the state.
Smart Cities: With the persistent persuasion of the state government, the Centre has included both capitals, Srinagar and Jammu, in the list of Smart Cities. The state has already constituted two committees — the State Level Advisory Committee and Special Purposes Vehicles — for implementation of the Smart City Development Projects under the ‘Smart City Mission’.
Two AIIMS: To strengthen the health services, the Government of India has sanctioned two AIIMS for Jammu and Kashmir. The estimated cost of each institution has been worked out at Rs 2,000 crore, with an intake capacity of 100 seats. The prestigious institutions will not only cater to the needs of patients of the state, but also to those from the neighbouring states, such as Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, and other parts of the country.
India’s longest road tunnel: Nashri tunnel is yet another feather in the cap of the J&K government. An engineering marvel, the 9-km tunnel located on the strategic Srinagar-Jammu National Highway was dedicated to the nation by PM Narendra Modi on April 2. Built at a cost of Rs 3,720 crore, the Nashri road tunnel has cut down the distance between Jammu and Srinagar cities by nearly 30 km.
MGNREGA projects: In an unprecedented decision, the J&K government has effectively started creating assets instead of just constructing lanes and drains under MGNREGA. Numerous structures of public importance have been created under the scheme, along with jobs. During the last fiscal, 875 foot-bridges, 1,023 culverts, 20,699 link roads, 2,247 ponds, 1,362 check dams, 2,680 Gabion structures/allied works, 1,201 water harvesting tanks/structures, 10 fisheries ponds, and 26 Anganwadi centres were constructed.
Waiving 50% Kisan Credit Card Loans: The Kisan Credit Card (KCC) has emerged as an innovative credit delivery mechanism to meet the production credit requirements of farmers in a timely and hassle-free manner. The State Finance Department has released Rs 241.186 crore to the J&K Bank (SLBC Convener) for waiving 50 per cent of KCC loans, in favour of farmers, whose accounts were standard on August 31, 2014 and the outstanding was less than Rs 1 lakh on March 31, 2015.
Reviving the powers of J&K Legislature: For the first time, the Presidential order on GST was put before the Legislative Assembly for discussions. The Presidential order on the GST was discussed and later implemented, after getting the sense of the House.
Health sector: As per the National Family Health Survey (NFHS), mother and child health indicators in the state improved during the year 2016-17 and are relatively better than the national average. This has been possible due to effective monitoring and dedicated efforts by the staff at various levels.
Medical colleges: Five new medical colleges with 90 per cent funding by the Central government are coming up in the state. The timeline for completion of these projects has been fixed as two years. The move will improve the overall health scenario in the state and add 500 more medical seats, thereby generating employment for hundreds of technocrats. These colleges will be established at Anantnag, Baramulla, Kathua, Rajouri, and Doda at Rs 189 crore each.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Pakistan army, along with terror groups and ISI, has stepped up attempts to infiltrate and carry out attacks in Kashmir to derail efforts of special representative Dineshwar Sharma to initiate talks in the conflict-hit state, intelligence inputs shared with top security officials suggest.According to ground intelligence two days after the announcement of Sharma’s appointment on October 23, Syed Salauddin, who heads the United Jihad Council, an umbrella group of terror organisations active in Kashmir, in a meeting on October 25 gave instructions that 45-50 terrorists should infiltrate India and carry out strikes aiming to disrupt any efforts for a dialogue.ISI and Pakistani army officials were also present in the conference held in Muzaffarabad, according to reports based on human and technical intelligence shared with top officials in the security establishment.Sharma, a former Intelligence Bureau chief, reached Srinagar on Monday to begin talks with all stakeholders.The Centre decided to initiate talks with all stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir hoping to restore peace by appointing Sharma as a “special representative for a sustained dialogue” following a prolonged period of violence in the state over the last one year.The separatist Hurriyat Conference has already rejected the offer of any talks through the interlocutor.In another instance, at a meeting of 3 PoK Brigade in Kotli across the Line of Control infiltrations and cross border raids were discussed.Intelligence inputs indicate that Pakistani terror groups, with the help of Pakistani army, will continue infiltration attempts even as winter sets in.Security agencies have also indentified 10 locations from where the terrorist infiltration or a cross border raid that included Paksitani army regulars can take place. Movement of terrorists and intercepts at these locations indicate they are planning a strike.Over the last one year, since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander, there has been an escalation in violence. The stone-pelting mobs including women and children clashing with security forces had become a routine affair last year. With terror outfits luring local youth and terrorists burning down schools, the dialogue process will help bringing them back to mainstream.The security forces have gunned down nearly 180 terrorists this year compared to 150 in 2016.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>China has managed to block efforts to impose an international ban on Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar. But an audio tape has revealed that JeM had been involved in a terror attack on BSF Camp in Srinagar on October 3, claims Zee News in an exclusive report. China’s claim of no evidence against Masood Azhar has fallen flat on its face, says the report. In the tapes, Masood Azhar is heard saying that some leaders in the international community offer aid in order to eliminate us. He even takes a swipe at Pervez Musharraf and claims that his efforts to eliminate JeM failed completely. An audio clip accessed by ‘Zee Media’ exposes the JeM chief, in which he is heard admitting to JeM terrorists attacking BSF camp in Srinagar on October 3.In the one-hour-45-minute long audio, Masood Azhar can be heard saying, “When the world says we will end this jihad, our men attack BSF camp in Srinagar.”Azhar accepts giving hate speeches and training terrorists in Pakistan for suicide (fidayeen) missions with emotional blackmail in the name of religion for the last 17 years.While hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump, the Pathankot terror attack mastermind says both the leaders hate Islamist terrorists and want to kill us.“When our ministers in the government (Pakistan) go abroad, some leaders across in international community ask them to kill us, in lieu of aid. But by the grace of ‘Allah’ we are alive,” Azhar said.Masood Azhar’s recent speech was reportedly inside a mosque in Pakistan. In an apparent reference to India, Azhar is heard saying that enemy country is frustrated.He further took a dig at former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf, who had once vowed to eradicate Jaish from the country.“Today Musharraf is nowhere in Pakistan, but JeM continues to exist. ‘Allah’ has saved us all,” Masood Azhar said.Last week on Thursday, China blocked a bid at the United Nations by the US, France and Britain to list Maulana Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, citing a lack of consensus among the members of the UN Security Council.A veto-wielding permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has repeatedly blocked India’s move to designate Azhar a terrorist under the Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council.The block comes as Chinese President Xi Jinping is beginning his second five-year term after the 19th Chinese Communist Party Congress last month. The Chinese block is seen as one of the irritants in the India-China bilateral relationship.The JeM, founded by Azhar, has already been in the UN’s list of banned terror outfits. “China has rejected the move as there is no consensus,” people aware of the matter in the Chinese foreign ministry told PTI in Beijing.Indian foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar expressed deep disappointment at the Chinese move.“We are deeply disappointed that once again, a single country has blocked international consensus on the designation of an acknowledged terrorist and leader of UN-designated terrorist organization, Masood Azhar,” Kumar said. “India strongly believes that double standards and selective approaches will only undermine the international community’s resolve to combat terrorist. We can only hope that there will be a realization that accommodating with terrorism for narrow objectives is both short sighted and counter productive,” Kumar said.In August, China extended by three months its technical hold on the proposal backed by US, France and Britain to name Azhar a global terrorist after blocking the move in February.Thursday’s move indicates China aims to ensure that the application to name Azhar a terrorist lapses—making it the second year in a row that China has blocked the resolution.Last year, China had stalled an India-sponsored attempt to get Azhar listed as a terrorist.(With PTI inputs)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day before Centre’s new interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma kicks off his ‘Mission Kashmir’, premier opposition party National Conference threw a spanner saying they have no expectations from the process and renewed their demand for autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir.For the first time since he was appointed interlocutor, Sharma is arriving in Srinagar on Monday on a six-day visit. During his visit, he is scheduled to meet cross-sections of society, though Joint Resistance Leadership of separatists have ruled out any talks with Sharma, calling the process an “exercise in futility”.”I have very little expectations from this new interlocutor. Like it has been done before, he will come and meet people. In 2010, then UPA government appointed interlocutors who visited the state and had detailed discussions with every section here,” said Dr Farooq Abdullah, National Conference (NC) President.Elaborating, Abdullah said the process took more than two months, after which a report was compiled. “What happened to that report? Did the government discuss that report in any forum, including Parliament? No. Instead it has been thrown into a dustbin somewhere in North Block. It was followed by a delegation comprising parliamentarians who visited Kashmir. What happened to that delegation and their recommendations? Nothing happened. So I expect nothing to happen now as well”, he said.National Conference president noted that since the Modi-led government assumed power, their Kashmir policy has been swinging like a pendulum. “The appointment of the new interlocutor itself is mired in controversies. Home Minister Rajnath Singh describes him as an interlocutor, whereas the very next day another minister in the PMO designates him as a mere spokesperson. So essentially when the mandate given to Dineshwar Sharma is not clearly specified, then what is the fun in having deliberations with him?” he askedRejecting the dialogue offer, a spokesman of a hardline faction of Hurriyat Conference said no section of Hurriyat or group will meet Sharma.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two jawans were injured on Thursday after militants attacked CRPF vehicle in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag. CRPF spokesperson said that the vehicle was coming from Jammu when the attack took place.Injured jawans are out of danger.Last month, militants had attacked a CRPF vehicle in busy Sanat Nagar area of Srinagar.On October 16, in a crackdown on terror module, the Security forces arrested two Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and on Hizbul Mujahideen militant in Jammu and Kashmir.Earlier, two Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) top commanders including a prime recruiter in an encounter at Litter village of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district were killed.In another encounter, a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) commander was killed in an encounter in Ladoora area of Baramulla.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jammu and Kashmir police have blown the lid off a plan by Hizbul Mujahedeen to send Kashmiri youth to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) for arms training.Police have arrested two youths, Danish Ghulam Lone and Suhail Ahmad Bhat, near LoC along with four overground workers (OGWs) who were facilitating their exfiltration from LoC.Senior Superintendent of Police, Kupwara, Shamsheer Hussain, said based on specific information, the police launched a cordon in Manigah Hyhama area and during search of the area, two youths were found moving suspiciously.”Some incriminating documents, including the map of areas adjoining LoC and some posters of Hizbul outfit, were also recovered from their possession. During preliminary investigation, they disclosed that they were motivated by Hizbul terrorist Adnan, operating in Pulwama-Awantipora area, to join militant ranks and exfiltration to PoK for arms training”, he said.Hussain said on the instructions of Adnan, they had visited Central Jail Srinagar and met two detainees, Ishaq Paul and Ghulam Nabi Mughal. “After returning from Central Jail, they sent their photographs and other details to the PoK handlers. Later, the OGWs network in Kupwara was activated by the PoK handlers,” he said.SSP Kupwara said the local OGWs had facilitated their journey from Srinagar to Kupwara and further to Manigah area on way to LoC. “These four OGWs were facilitating the youths of the Valley to cross LoC on the instructions of Hizbul South module in coordination with their handlers,” he said.Meanwhile, a 13-year-old girl was injured when the Pakistan army violated ceasefire in the Poonch sector. A shell landed in Khari Karmara village in which Gulnaz was injured. She has been shifted to hospital for treatment.IN A NUTSHELLPolice arrested two youths, Danish Ghulam Lone and Suhail Ahmad Bhat, near LoC along with four overground workers who were facilitating their exfiltration from LoC.
They disclosed they were motivated by Hizbul terrorist Adnan, operating in Pulwama-Awantipora area, to join
At least 40 women have reported being attacked and having their hair chopped off.
Witnesses tell the BBC how men with sticks and axes started one of the world’s longest conflicts.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A “mentally challenged” man was rescued from a mob which was trying to kill him suspecting that he was a braid-chopper, in Sopore area of the Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir, police said today.Police received information that an alleged “braid- chopper” has been nabbed by locals in the Fruit Mandi area of Sopore, 52 kms from here, a police spokesman said. “Immediately, a police party rushed to spot and found that a mob was beating one person ruthlessly. The miscreants had also burnt some grass and were trying to set the person ablaze. Some miscreants were trying to run a tractor over him,” the spokesman said. The victim, identified as Wasim Ahmad Tantray, was rescued by the police team, he said, adding Tantray is “reportedly mentally challenged”.”Tantray was immediately rushed to a hospital in Sopore.As the condition of the injured is stated to be critical, he was referred to a hospital in Srinagar,” he said. The spokesman said police have registered an FIR and identified those involved in the incident.More than 130 braid-chopping incidents have been reported from various parts of Kashmir over the past one month but police has so far failed to make any arrest. Special investigation teams have been set up to nab those involved in braid chopping, which has created fear psychosis among the people, especially the women folk. The police have announced a reward of Rs 6 lakh for information leading to arrest of braid choppers.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Institute of Technology (NIT) Srinagar is engaged in yet another showdown with its outstation students, as the administration has issued a notice regarding the Navratri event organised at the institute and students are alleging it has a communal ring to it.In the notice, the Dean has alleged that while the Navratri festival was organised with “religious fervour”, the ensuing ‘Garba Night’ involved drinking and DJ sets that “played only filmy songs instead of religious songs”. Owing to this, “no such such event will be allowed in future”, the notice reads.However, students at the institute insist that the move was motivated by ulterior motives, as the college wanted to muzzle all Hindu festivals on the campus. “The same organising committee that the Dean has congratulated for the successful Navratri festival was the one that organised the latter event. How can they be heroes and villains at the same time? Basically, since the administration cannot straightaway muzzle Navratri, they have tried to circumnavigate the issue,” said a student from UP, requesting anonymity.Meanwhile, the braid-chopping controversy, which has sparked furious protests and a renewed efforts by separatists to rally people, has threatened to singe the campus too.Some students allege that a few days ago, locals had jumped the boundary wall and accused the outstation students of being involved in chopping braids. The college, since then, has started fencing the boundary wall with severe restrictions imposed on the movement of students.Registrar of the college, SA Mir, said, “Whatever has been done, it has been done to ensure that students remain safe. We don’t want any stray incident to spark any controversy as in 2016.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hell hath no fury as a woman scorned, the terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir are fast learning to their dismay. Their jilted girlfriends have found a way to hit back, and hard, where it really hurts. These women have been turning in to informers, giving the intelligence agencies vital information, which is immensely helping the forces track down the terrorists.In fact, according to some sources in the security establishment, some of the top terrorists gunned down this year were nailed after their heartbroken lovers became turncoats. The sources further said that the trend was catching up fast, and the forces were now deliberately identifying women who might have been exploited by these womanising terrorists before being abandoned.Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander Abu Dujana and Khalid, who headed the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) operations in Kashmir, were traced and gunned down earlier this year after forces were tipped off by their lovers.Dujana was trapped in Pulwama in August, after giving the security forces a slip on at least five occasions. He was visiting his wife at the time, but she and other locals were apparently irked with his womanising ways. “His wife and her father decided to share the information, which finally led us to success,” an official said.Similarly Khalid, who was responsible for the recent attack on a Border Security Force camp in Srinagar, was killed last week after his girlfriend tipped off the security forces about his movement.Only sketchy information was available about him after he infiltrated from Pakistan in August last year. He was active in Sopore area but the intelligence agencies knew very little about him.One of his girlfriends, who was upset with his philandering, provided specific details about where he was supposed to meet her. A trap was laid accordingly and he was killed.”These top terrorists were traced because of the information shared by their partners. So, now an effort is being made to win the confidence of these women and their families. It has given us good results as many women have come forward and shared information about their hideouts and movement,” a security officer said.According to sources, most of the top Pakistani terrorists lead debauched lives. The local Kashmiri youth, who are joining the terror ranks, are also getting influenced by this. Many of these terrorists start indoctrinating teenaged girls, before exploiting them.”They have a Robin Hood-like image and young girls get attracted to that. We noticed the trend and started approaching the girls’ families,” an official said. Sometimes, neighbours of these women also help agencies track down the terrorists, sources said.Over 170 terrorists have been killed this year, so far, as compared to 150 last year.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It can’t get uglier than this on the cyberspace. A full blown twitter war has broken out between former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah and singer Adnan Sami over the Rhythm in Paradise Concert held in the lawns of Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) on the banks of Dal Lake on Saturday.Seemingly angry by the tweet of Omar about the empty chairs in the concert, Sami hit back with equal ferocity using words like “sadistic sore loser” while referring to former chief minister.It started with Omar’s tweet on Saturday evening: “The empty seats and delayed start are showing Kashmir for what it is-empty hotels, poor governance and general public despondency”.Sami did not take it lying down and asked Omar to check his sources. “Bro you are a former CM..You shouldn’t be so unnerved by a music concert. You obviously have bad sources who lie to you. Here are the photos,” he tweeted.However Omar responded again by tweeting: “How does hoping you have a houseful suggest I’m unnerved? I’m glad people got to enjoy an evening of music. I used to like yours at one time”.Minutes later it was a full blown war on twitter with Sami unleashing barrage of tweets. “Oh please Omar! You retweeting people photos like a sadistic sore loser speaks volumes of your lack of stature and pettiness. Up your game- Its music!” Sami tweeted.Omar however did not take it easy and hit back at Sami. “Aren’t you a big enough star? Do you really need the column inches in a gossip piece Omar-Adnan spar? I don’t. Enjoy Srinagar. Good night,” he tweeted.Seemingly angry Sami gave it back to Omar. “Your fickle mind should know that its not about being a Star. It’s about coming together for the purpose of promoting peace, love & harmony. GN,” he saidOmar then tried to end the spat in his own style. “Like you said right in the beginning – I am a former CM & so I’ll ignore yr 7-8 insults in three tweets. Thanks for coming to Srinagar. Stay safe,” he saidSami later lampooned Omar for realising the fact. “So you finally realized huh! Der aye durust aye (better late than never),” he tweeted.Later taking to DNA Omar said Sami was the guest and he did not want to respond “to his insults” in kind. “He is our guest. It would have been wrong on my part to responded in kind. If he thinks it is good let it be. It reflects on him. I honestly am out of sight and out of mind. It is yesterday story I am not really bothered,” he said.Omar hoped that Sami will come back one day and hold an open concert so that people can enjoy his music. “I hope he can come back one day and have a successful event. May be the event that is not politicized by the government. Have an open concert so that people can come freely and Kashmir can enjoy his music,” he said.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Singer Adnan Sami dished out a medley of his hit songs to a mesmerised audience on the shores of the Dal Lake in Srinagar. The Pakistan-born singer said he was blown away by the natural beauty of Kashmir.Sami, who performed in front of a select audience at the SKICC lawns, started off with his famous number “Mai Sirf Tera Mehbooba”.”Today I have come to realise that there is hell; because today I have seen heaven (Kashmir),” the singer said to thunderous applause from the crowd.Sharing anecdotes from his life in between songs, Sami said he has a very deep connection with Jammu and Kashmir. “Not only because my mother is from Jammu but I learned Hindustani classical from santoor maestro Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, who hails from Jammu as well.”It was because of him that I could show the world that Hindustani classical can be played on piano as well,” he added.The concert was organised by the tourism department to a boost to tourist footfall in the state. Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju, several ministers of the Jammu and Kashmir government, and senior civil administration and police officials attended the concert. Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju on Saturday termed Adnan Sami as a great musician and singer. The minister made this comment while going to attend the musical gala of Sami, who performed for the people of the Kashmir Valley in Srinagar on Saturday.Speaking to ANI, Rijju said that, ‘He’s a great musician, great composer, and great singer.’ The minister said it was good that Sami voluntarily agreed to perform at ‘Rhythm in Paradise’ concert.Earlier, the Pakistani-origin singer said that music had always helped to bridge ties between countries, especially when it comes to India and Pakistan.Renowned conductor Zubin Mehta had performed at the Shalimar Mughal Gardens in September 2013, the last major musical event in the valley. With inputs from PTI and ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) claimed that one of the holed-up fidayeens in a Border Security Force (BSF) camp tried to pose as a CRPF trooper and took position with soldiers, BSF maintained the militant was forced to came out of the administrative block before he was neutralised near the temple.Security forces had repulsed a terror attack on Monday when three Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorists were neutralised soon after they stormed a secured BSF camp near Srinagar International Airport and Air Force Station. An Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) of BSF was killed and three others injured in the operation that lasted for 10 hours.Ravideep Singh Sahi, CRPF Inspector General, Srinagar sector told a news channel, “The terrosist was wearing a camouflage dress of the CRPF. He was aiming towards the building where our forces were also aiming. When an officer turned to a soldier to hand over more ammo, they spotted the stranger.”On the other hand, Police sources said the third militant holed up in the administrative building was smoked out after forces used tear gas shells. “The forces used rockets to create a hole in the room where the militant was hiding. They fired tear gas shells inside the room and suffocated the militant forcing him to come out,” an officer said.KK Sharma, Director General of Border Security Force, said BSF officers with the help of CRPF and Speacial Operations Group (SOG) of Jammu and Kashmir police forced the third terrorist, who was hiding in the administrative block, to come out before he was neutralised.”Rashtriya Riffles (of the army) handled the outermost cordon. CRPF and SOG laid the intermediate cordon. Our job was to flush out the fidayeen. Our officers led the operation. With the help of CRPF and SOG, we forced him to come out of the administrative block, and when he came out, CRPF, SOG and BSF handling the intermediate cordon killed him near the temple,” said Sharma.Elaborating, Sharma said the militant threw the grenade when he came out of the building and that is how he was identified as he was wearing a military uniform as well.ATTACKING IN CAMOUFLAGEThree terrorists wearing CRPF camouflage attacked a BSF camp near Srinagar on Tuesday.
While a joint team of BSF and CRPF killed two, third hid himself.
After a 10-hour-long operation, all three terrorists were neutralised.
While the operation was a joint effort, the forces have varying accounts of the incident.
Three soldiers have been injured in the ongoing attack in Srinagar, Indian officials say.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>For a change, the battle hardened security forces replaced their guns with brooms on Monday to realise Mahatma Gandhi’s dream of clean India.From Dal Lake to the famed winter resort of Gulmarg, security forces joined the nation in ‘Swachhta Hi Seva’ under the Swachh Bharat campaign.Troops of Indian Army embarked on cleanliness drive in the famed resort of Gulmarg in coordination with locals and service providers including ponywalls and others.”Under Swachh Bharat Mission, we created awareness and launched many programmes involving schools and local people. Painting and poster competitions were held in schools. Gujar Bakerwal dhok (nomads’ homes) competition was held. We also held programmes in coordination with Pony Owners Association and Hotel Owners Association in Gulmarg,” said Major General RP Kalita, General Officer Commanding 19 Infantry Division.Continuing with the commitment of serving the public, the CRPF organised a cleanliness drive under the Swachh Bharat Mission in which all the Battalions of the Srinagar sector participated.”It was ensured that the local public and the schoolchildren also participate in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan so that awareness is generated and the message is spread amongst the general public to help the civic bodies in keeping the city clean and beautiful,” said Rajesh Yadav, CRPF spokesman for Kashmir.’Swachhta Hi Sewa’ campaign was launched by CRPF from September 15 to October 2, during which special emphasis was given on the cleanliness and beautification of the camps and the surrounding areas.On the last day of campaign, the Srinagar Sector CRPF led by IGP Ravideep Singh Sahi carried out a special cleanliness drive along the Dal Lake on the Boulevard and the Shankaracharya Hill. Around 500 officers and jawans from all the units of the sector participated.Addressing the troops Sahi emphasized the CRPF men to help the local public in the best possible manner.Jammu and Kashmir Police also completed the campaign across the valley on Monday. The drive was conducted in every district of the valley, in which all the officers and officials participated and cleaned their premises and adjacent areas with commitment and devotion. The drive was held in Anantnag, Ganderbal, Shopian, Budgam, Bandipora, Kulgam and other districts of the valley.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian Army on Monday foiled two infiltration bids along the Line of Control (LoC) in Rampur and Tangdhar sectors of Jammu and Kashmir, killing two terrorists.”An infiltration bid was foiled today by alert soldiers along the LoC in Rampur sector of Baramulla district,” a defence spokesman said in Srinagar.Weapons were recovered from the location, and a search operation is still in progress.Earlier in the day, the Army had foiled another infiltration bid by terrorists in Tangdhar sector of Kupwara district.An Army official said the soldiers noticed some suspicious movement near the LoC and challenged the suspects.”An exchange of fire took place between the sides,” he said adding search operation was launched soon after the gunfire stopped.Further details of the incident are awaited, he added.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On the first anniversary of the surgical strikes, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman visited the sensitive Line of Control (LoC) and commended the troops for excellent operational successes.In her first visit to Jammu and Kashmir since assuming charge, Sitharaman went to the forward areas along the LoC in North Kashmir and interacted with the troops and field commanders at Badami Bagh Cantonment for over an hour. “The defence minister was briefed about the robust counter infiltration posture along the LoC,” said Colonel Rajesh Kalia, defence spokesman at Srinagar.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>18-year-old Bilal Dar from Jammu & Kashmir’s Bandipora, whose cleanliness drive was acknowledged by PM Narendra Modi during his Mann Ki Baat speech, thanked the prime minister.Prime Minister Modi on Sunday addressed the nation in his 36th edition of monthly radio programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’. In the 30-minute long address, PM Modi appreciated the 18-year-old Dar, for actively taking up the cleanliness drive.Dar, who has cleaned more than 12,000 kg of garbage from the Dal Lake in a year has been made brand ambassador for cleanliness by Srinagar municipal corporation.”Grateful Modiji mentioned me. It is my request to him to please do something for my employment;there is no one else earning in family,” Dar said while speaking to ANI.
Police told reporters the target for the attack was a local minister, who managed to escape unhurt.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A head constable of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) was today killed in mysterious firing and another jawan was injured in Banihal area on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway, a senior police officer said. The incident took place at around 7.15 pm and the police is investigating the cause of the firing, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Ramban, Mohan Lal told PTI.”An SSB head constable suffered a fatal casualty in the brief firing while another jawan lost his jaw bone due to an attack by some blunt object,” Lal said. The deceased received one gun shot and his body was removed to the hospital for post-mortem, officials said, adding the injured jawan was also evacuated to a hospital for treatment.”It is premature to say anything about the incident right now. We are ascertaining the details,” the SSP said while not ruling out either a militant attack or fratricide. He, however, said there was no retaliation from the SSB personnel to the firing. The jawans were manning a post outside an 8.5 km-long under-construction tunnel connecting Banihal town of Ramban district in Jammu province with Kulgam district’s Qazigund, the gateway to the Kashmir valley.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Security forces dealt a major blow to terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba on Thursday when they killed its chief operations commander and prime accused in the Amarnath Yatra attack case, Abu Ismail, along with his associate Abu Qasim in a brief encounter at Aragam-Nowgam on Srinagar’s outskirts.The police said both Abu Ismail and Abu Qasim alias Chota Qasim were Pakistani nationals, involved in serious militancy-related crimes, including murder and dacoity.Operating in South Kashmir for the last 25 years, the 20-something Abu Ismail had been part of almost all attacks on the Srinagar-Jammu Highway. Abu Ismail was wanted in 15 FIRs, and was directly involved in the killing of 14 security personnel and eight civilians.Abu Ismail alias Haroon, along with Mavya and Furqan, all Pakistanis, and a local terrorist Yawar Bashir were involved in attacking the Amarnath Yatra bus on July 10 at Botengoo in Anantnag district in which eight yatris were killed and 20 others injured.”There was total condemnation of this act from all sections of society. People said loud and clear that these killers must be killed. From that day onwards, these killers were our target and our teams — whether from police, Army or CRPF — were working. You can understand the efforts that have been put in to execute this operation,” said Munir Ahmad Khan, inspector general of police, Kashmir Zone.The operation was launched after the police received specific information about the presence of the militants in a single-storey house in Aragam-Nowgam. A joint operation was launched by 50 Rashtriya Riffles, police and CRPF to hunt down the militants.”At around 4.15 pm, contact was established with two hiding terrorists in a house there. In a very brief and crisp encounter, both terrorists were killed. Two AK riffles and other materials were recovered from the slain terrorists,” said Khan.Ismail had taken over the command of LeT after the elimination of Abu Dujana on August 1. “It is great success for the security forces. Chapter of Ismail has been closed. Tomorrow will be new day for us. We will start work afresh,” said Khan.Major General BS Raju, general officer commanding of Indian Army’s Victor Force, said they are expecting the vacuum in foreign terrorist leadership of LeT after the killing of Ismail.”We are looking at serious deficiencies in their (foreign militant) leadership which should give us more opportunities. We will continue these kinds of operations to neutralise the remnant people which should bring some peace and clam in the valley”, said Major General Raju.After the killing of Abu Ismail, two more militants involved in Amarnath attack are at large. “One foreign and one local terrorist are still left. Militant leadership is important and that has to be eliminated because these motivate and instigate young boys to join the cobweb of militancy. Priority is to eliminate the militant leadership,” said Khan.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Abu Ismail, the Lashkar-e-Taiba commander who masterminded the deadly attack on Amarnath yatra pilgrims in July, was killed by security forces on Thursday along with another Pakistani terrorist, police said.The two were gunned down after a brief encounter that saw the duo running for their lives.”On specific information, a joint operation was launched in Aribagh in Nowgam area on the outskirts of Srinagar city.It was around 4:15 pm that a contact was established with the two hiding terrorists in a house there. In a very brief encounter, both the terrorists were killed,” Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, Munir Khan said.He was addressing a joint press conference along with general officer commanding of the Army’s Victor Force, Major General B S Raju, and IG CRPF Ravideep Singh Sahi.Khan said the other terrorist has been identified as Abu Qasim alias Chota Qasim.”The bodies of the slain terrorists have been kept at the appropriate place for appropriate disposal,” he said.The IGP said two AK rifles, UBGLs and other material were recovered from them.He said Ismail was involved in 15 cases including the July 10 attack on a bus carrying Amarnath yatra pilgrims in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district which left eight of them dead.”After the elimination of Abu Dujana, he (Ismail) had taken over as the chief of LeT in the valley. He was involved in around 15 criminal cases in valley which included murder, dacoities and other militancy related incidents. So, I compliment our teams for executing a wonderful operation with no collateral damage,” Khan said.”The day they (militants) killed yatris, the people said that they should be brought to justice and today they have been brought to justice. It is a great success for the security forces. A chapter of these terrorists has been closed. Tomorrow will be a new day for us. We will start our work afresh.”When the attack took place, there was total condemnation of the act committed by terrorists from all sections of the society and people said loud and clear that these killers must be killed. So, from that day onwards, these killers were our targets and our teams whether they be police, army or the CRPF – were looking for them,” he said.He thanked the people for “expressing that sentiment that time because that was against Kashmiriyat. No Kashmiri liked that”.Asked whether all the militants behind the attack have been neutralised, the IGP said “One foreign and one local terrorists are left.”He said Ismail was an “A++” category militant while Qasim was “A+” category, but refused to share further details of the operation.”It is better not to ask such questions because they are operational details which we do not want to divulge. It is not that whole militancy has been wiped out by their killing. So, it is better not to divulge the details,” he said.Khan said the priority of the security forces is to neutralise the militant leadership in the valley.”Militant leadership is important to be neutralised. That has to be eliminated because they not only are militants but also provoke and motivate children. The priority is to neutralise the militant leadership. You know who are the leaders and they will be our next target,” he said.He, however, said “we have a long way to go and we will keep on trying.”Maj Gen Raju said Ismail’s killing is extremely important because he was responsible for the death of about 14 security forces personnel and eight civilians.”This success is also important because we are expecting vacuum in the foreign terrorists’ leadership of the LeT. After the death of Abu Qasim, then Abu Dujana and now Ismail. In between we also killed (Abu) Ali. Now, we are looking at a serious deficiency in their leadership which should give us more opportunities,” he said.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who is on a four-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir, on Sunday reiterated that he is willing to have a discussion with anyone with an open heart to bring peace to the Valley.He also appealed to the people to come forward to have a discussion if they have any complaints or qualms.Interacting the Jammu and Kashmir Police here, Singh said Kashmir will be rid of violence and will become heaven again, adding no power in the world can stop this from happening.”I appeal to everyone to come forward to have a discussion. If you have any complaints or qualms, I am ready to have talks with an open heart.Kashmir will get rid of violence and will become heaven again. No power in the world can stop this from happening,” he said.The Home Minister further said that he has ordered for bullet proof vehicles at police stations in the state.”Orders have been issued for bullet proof vehicles at all police stations in Jammu and Kashmir. Our jawans should also get bullet proof jackets and fund for this has been released,” he said.Talking about police officer ASI Abdul Rashid, who was shot dead by militants in an attack in Srinagar on Tuesday, he said he was upset to see his daughter crying.”I saw image of ASI Abdul Rashid’s daughter Zohra. After seeing her teary-eyed face, my heart cannot stop feeling her pain.”Delivering Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s message to the security personnel, Home Minister Singh said, “I have Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s message for you; he appreciated and acknowledged bravery and valour shown by you.”
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who arrived on a four-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir, said that he has come with an open mind and willing to meet anyone who helps the government find solutions to the problems faced by the state.The home minister arrived at the Srinagar airport where he was received by Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh and senior officials of the state government.Singh also met Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti at Nehru Guest House in Srinagar.The official Twitter handle of the home minister said Singh will chair a review meeting of Prime Minister’s Development Package and also meet the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.”I am going there with an open mind and I am willing to meet anyone who will help us in finding solutions to problems facing J&K,” Singh said in a tweet before taking off from the capital.Meanwhile, as Rajnath Singh visits the Valley, Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (JKNF) leader Omar Abdullah reminded him of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day speech and said that the state expects it to be “acted on.””Na golli say na gaali say, galay lagana say J&K ka masla hal ho ga. We look forward to seeing these words from Red Fort on 15th Aug acted on,” said Omar Abdullah on Twitter.Rajnath Singh’s visit comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi from the ramparts of Red Fort said his government was committed to bring back the ‘lost glory’ of Kashmir.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The NIA on Wednesday conducted searches at 16 locations in Kashmir and Delhi on traders who were allegedly indulging in hawala operations and using the money for funding terror and separatist activities, officials said.Sleuths of the National Investigation Agency swooped down on traders at various parts of Srinagar and North Kashmir this morning and carried out extensive search operations at suspected locations, officials added.As many as five traders in old Delhi were also raided by the NIA officials.The raids come a day after the NIA arrested two persons, including a freelance photo-journalist, who allegedly indulged in stone pelting and mobilised support against security personnel through social media.These raids and arrests by the NIA is part of its investigation in a case registered on May 30 in which the leader of the Pakistan-based Jamaat-ud-Dawa and banned terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hafiz Saeed, was named as an accused.The NIA has arrested seven persons in the case of alleged funding of terror and subversive activities in the Kashmir Valley to fuel unrest there.The case was registered on issues of raising, receiving and collecting funds through various illegal means, including hawala channels, for funding such activities.It also included causing disruption in the Valley by stone pelting, burning schools, damaging public property and waging war against India.For the first time since the rise of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir in the early 1990s, a central probe agency conducted raids in connection with the funding of terrorist and separatist groups.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>For those who stereotype Kashmiris as anti-forces, this should serve as eye-opener.A video showing Kashmiri people helping armed soldiers after their vehicle skidded off the road near Check- e- Pahroo village at Nowgam, on the outskirts of Srinagar. Seeing the soldiers struggling to walk, locals rushed to the spot and rescued them to safety.Locals stopped their cars and came to help the soldiers in distress and people came forward with water bottles for the soldiers involved in the accident.Overwhelmed by the gesture, General Officer Commanding of 15 corps of the army Lieutenant General JS Sandhu thanked the people for helping the soldiers in distress. “This is a true indicator of Kashmiriyat and Insaniyat and will go a long way in strengthening the bond of friendship between the awaam (people) and the jawan, Colonel Rajesh Kalia, Defence Spokesman, quoting Lieutenant General Sandhu, said. It is not the first such instance. On Friday, locals cared little of their own safety as they rushed to rescue cops when terrorists attacked their bus in Zewan near Srinagar. Last year, too, some Kashmiris risked lives to rescue army men at Pantha Chowk-Lasjan.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh condemned the killing of a policeman in a militant attack in Srinagar, and asserted that terrorism and separatism sponsored by Pakistan would come to an end soon.”We condemn it (the killing of the policeman) in the strongest possible words. This is real face of terrorism, which is thrust upon us by Pakistan. Pakistan has no respect for the auspicious day (of Eid),” Singh told reporters here.Singh attended a function here to pay tributes to Head Constable Krishen Lal, killed in the militant attack on a police bus on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway in the Pantha Chowk area yesterday.”While Muslims are praying to God for restoration of peace in Jammu and Kashmir, these people, who are demons, at the behest of Pakistan are killing people and engineering bloodshed,” he said.Singh said, “Krishen Lal has sacrificed his life for the nation. His blood will not go in vain. Definitely the sacrifice will be avenged.””We are avenging the killing of every innocent whether it is Lt. Umar Fayaz, who sacrificed his life for the nation or other people,” Singh added.Lt. Umar Fayaz was abducted and killed by terrorists in May this year. “There will be peace and law & order soon,” said Singh.”Killing people who are coming in the way of the terrorists is not Islam, whose religious leaders doesn’t approve it. They are killing the people in the name of Islam and it is condemnable,” he added.Singh also warned Pakistan of serious consequences, if it did not stop cross-border firings and attacks on civilians.”Terrorism and separatism in J&K is going to end soon. It is a proxy war, the enemy is not visible. This is why we are very much on alert 24/7,” Singh added.He claimed that separatists were feeling the pressure as the National Investigation Agency (NIA) stepped up its investigation.Talking to reporters, Inspector General of Police (Jammu) S D Singh Jamwal also condemned yesterday’s attack.”I assure you all that we will give befitting reply to all the challenges and our police force will emerge stronger.Pakistan has made a terrorist environment here. We have faced many challenges of this kind for the past 30 years,” Jamwal said.Singh, Jamwal and National Conference MLA Devinder Singh Rana laid wreath on the mortal remains of Krishen Lal. His mortal remains were later consigned to flames at his native Jajjar Kotli in Jammu.
Updated: Sep 1, 2017, 09:03 PM IST, ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At least four police personnel have been injured and one lost his life, after terrorists attacked a bus of security personnel at Pantha Chowk area on the outskirts of Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir on Friday. Earlier today, an Assistant Sub-Inspector of BSF lost his life in ceasefire violation by Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district. Lashkar-e-Taiba is More details are awaited.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Police have arrested three drug peddlers in south Kashmir and seized 40 kg of poppy straw from their possession. During routine checking on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway at Marhama in Anantnag district, a police party yesterday intercepted a truck bearing a Punjab registration number, an official said here. He said the checking of the truck led to the seizure of 28 kg of poppy straw. The truck was impounded and the driver arrested, the official said, adding the police have registered a case. In another case in Kulgam district, a vehicle bearing a Jammu registration number was intercepted during routine checking at the Jawahar Tunnel police post on the national highway. 12 kg of poppy straw was seized from the possession of Harmesh Lal and Charanjeet Singh both residents of Gadi Nowhsher in Punjab. They have been arrested and case has been registered against them, the official said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Tuesday delivered one of its most momentous judgments in the history of independent India when a five-judge bench deemed it unconstitutional for a Muslim to divorce his wife by the mere utterance of ‘Talaq’ in quick succession. The verdict came at the end of a long and often-acrimonious debate about the rights of Muslim women and how Muslim personal laws could fit into the framework of the Indian Constitution without upsetting either the rights of individuals or the community at large. Starting with the Shah Bano case in the Eighties, when the Congress party caved into the demands of the Muslim clergy, and fundamentalist elements, and used it Parliamentary majority to overturn a Supreme Court ruling on alimony arising out of instant triple talaq. Now, after almost three decades, the apex court has finally ruled it void and has asked Parliament to legislate new law that embodies the changed perspective. Ironically, this time, too, a single party holds a majority in the Lok Sabha, except that it is the Bharatiya Janata Party, which has whole-heartedly backed Muslim women in their fight for equal matrimonial rights. DNA spoke to a cross-section of Indians reflecting the incredible diversity that gives this nation its character for their reactions to this historic judgement. From different regions, different income groups, different professions, even different faiths, the overriding view seemed to be that this was a long overdue and welcome move. Here is what they had to say.I welcome the SC judgement. Prophet Muhammad never liked talaq. The talaq was being misused, and misuse of anything will never benefit the society, especially women. Talaq should not be an order, but permission. Most of the time, talaq is uttered in rage, when one is not completely oneself. So, I welcome the striking down of Talaq Bidat.—Nusrat Andrabi, former member of J&K State Waqf Board and former Principal of Government Women College, SrinagarIt (triple talaq issue) should have been left to the people to choose rather than the government interfering in the personal and religious matters of communities. Isolated cases of injustice happen in every community. It should be left to responsible people and scholars in each religion to sort issues out. The government should stay out of it.—Ghulam Mohommad Dag, hotelier, SrinagarWhile it was unfortunate to not have a woman judge on the bench, I believe this is a fantastic and landmark judgement. As per my knowledge, in any case, Quranic and Sharia reading is over 90 days, but the interpretation was incorrect. The court has managed to maintain a balance by upholding the constitutional right. —Avni Sethi, Artist and founder of Conflictorium, a museum of conflicts, Ahmedabad “Triple talaq is mostly uttered in a state of rage, by persons not in a calm state of mind. I am not happy with the judgement. The question is not about instant talaq, it is about the entire system of talaq that should be wiped out from the society. “—Malek Miyaz Bibi, Juhapura resident who prevented a community member from becoming a victim of triple talaq, Ahmedabad “The abolishment of triple talaq will be the liberation of Muslim women from humiliation and servitude. It is beyond my understanding why the right to respectful divorce should be selective. When a marriage happens, the opinion of the woman matters, but it breaks on the whims and fancies of the man. The woman is left to fend for herself. Any rudimentary thought, irrespective of religious needs to be changed or abolished. —Ashoke Pandit , Flmmaker and social activist“Once a person brings a woman home, it is his responsibility to look after her. They should not be leaving them like that. As such no decision should be taken instantly and thought should be given before deciding. A law is required so that there is no problem. As such in Islam people cannot give divorce at one go.”—Naseem Khan, resident of Mohammed Ali Road, Mumbai“This judgement is the first step towards ensuring equality, empowering Muslim women and given them dignity. I read through the proceedings and it is very clear that there is no such thing (as triple talaq) in Quran. I am not against the idea of separation and divorce, but triple talaq is highly abused.—Falguni Vasavada Oza, Professor, MICA, Ahmedabad “The SC has held triple talaq unconstitutional. The judgement upholds human dignity above religious sentiments. It sets a new precedent for those religious gurus who think they are above the Constitution”—Deep Kumar, Assistant Professor, Xavier’s College of Education, PatnaThis is a historic decision. Anything which is detrimental to the fundamental rights of an individual to me need to be abolished. I am all for it and wish that our society takes a progressive stand on all such issues. —Syed Saba Karim, Former India wicket-keeper batsman“The Supreme Court judgement is good. Now, Parliament should get time to frame a new law. Triple talaq should not be done the way it is done now, in one sitting. Ample time should be given to both parties involved, before the divorce takes place.” —Ayesha Ansari, a home maker from Kurla, Mumbai “It is a good judgement. A lot of people do not know about triple talaq. Triple talaq cannot be given in an instant or on WhatsApp, as is being reported. There is a time period of three months during which some formalities are carried out. This order will help people know about the issue in a better way.” —Jamil Khan, a resident of Sahar and a hardware businessman, Mumbai “The Supreme Court has ended all our miseries in one go. We have been living like maids in our own houses, under the constant threat of triple talaq. I am thankful we will now be treated equally and respectfully even though this order does not apply to thousands of victims like me who are victims of triple talaq. I hope the central government will make some provisions so that we also get justice.” —Waheeda Bano, a triple talaq victim from Hardoi, Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow“Talaq should be carried out the way Quran and Shariat suggest. There is nothing beyond Quran and there is no place for triple talaq in it. It doesn’t say talaq can be given in one sitting either. It provides a period of one month for the couple to reconcile or mutually decide to separate” —Dr Rubina Shabnam, Secretary, Punjab Urdu Academy, Malerkotla, Punjab, Chandigarh“The judgement goes in favour of women, since the decision of triple talaq rested on the husband. But the timing of the judgement makes one a bit uneasy, considering the marginalisation of communities is being played out constantly at every level. Yes. It is wrong. Regressive. Inhuman. It should have been something that was taken cognizance of long back. It should have come from within the community.”—Neelam Mansingh Chowdhury, Chandigarh-based theatre artist, Padma Shri awardee“First of all, it’s not a judgement, but a suggestion of Honourable Supreme Court to the Government of India, and it is really confusing for the general public. It’s high time All India Muslim Personal Law Board took charge and formed its own strategy to safeguard the rights of Muslims in India.”—Navaid Hamid, President, All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat“The Supreme Court should have thought about the implications of their judgement in the long run and should have given some time to Muslim bodies to come up with changes in the law and educate people about it. The honourable court has repeated the same topic of ‘instant’ triple talaq, which is already un-Islamic. The need of the hour is to educate Muslims about actual Islamic laws and not introducing new laws.”—Atiya Siddiqui, National Secretary (women’s wing), Jamaat-e-Islami Hind“In my personal opinion, triple talaq is un-Islamic and against Quranic teachings. But, I also think that the Supreme Court and Parliament should not interfere in religious matters. Such issues should be left to religious bodies to decide. Otherwise people will keep on knocking on courts’ doors, raising religious issues and there will be no end to it.”—Zafarul Islam Khan, Chairperson, Minority Commission, New Delhi“Triple talaq does not always work against women. Most of the time, it is an exit mechanism to relieve women from unsuccessful and troublesome marriages. As the triple talaq practice is already vanishing among the Muslim community, this judgement will have very little impact on the society. We respect the judgement, but we do not appreciate the interference in the Muslim personal law.” —Dr Asma Zehra, Member, AIMPLB women’s wing
The BBC’s Divya Arya asked two teenagers, Duaa from Srinagar and Saumya in Delhi, to become pen pals.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As they made it to the NCC camp here, leaving behind stones-scattered streets and youths raising ‘azadi’ slogans, the girl cadets echo one message- “shun stone-pelting, sloganeering and enjoy the real azadi in India”. These female NCC cadets from Kashmir are among the 500, of which 147 are girls, undergoing training at a National Cadet Corps (NCC) camp at Sainik school, Nagrota, in the outskirts of Jammu city. They are participating in the 10-day camp to select a 40 -member Jammu and Kashmir Directorate Thal Sainik Team, which will take part in a national-level camp at New Delhi soon. Soft-spoken Aneesa of first JK Battalion Srinagar, and a student of government women’s degree college in Anantnag, said she was the only girl representing her college at the camp. “Most of the girls wanted to come. But were disallowed by their parents citing the prevailing situation in south Kashmir,” she said. Addressing those advocating ‘azadi’ and taking the path of violent protests, the cadets asked them to “taste the freedom enjoyed by them outside Kashmir”. “I want to tell them that the real azadi (freedom) is here. If you want azadi, it is here,” she said and asked the youth to shun stone-pelting and sloganeering. “Please don t go towards the bad things like protests, stone-pelting or getting involved in sloganeering for azadi. Azadi is nothing. If you want azadi it is here,” Aneesa said. She said she was initially worried when she joined the camp. “Before I came to this camp, I was very much worried and asking what will happen in the camp. What type of activities will be there?” she said. “But the camp commander lifted my morale. The camp commandant is very nice person and motivated me. I am enjoying a lot here. I want to suggest all girls to come forward if you want to live a life of freedom which is here,” she said. Another cadet Syed Rabia, also of first JK battalion, Srinagar, said she alongwith two other girls, had come from Army Goodwill Higher Secondary School Uri in Baramulla district of north Kashmir. “We are three girls here from Army Goodwill Higher Secondary School Uri. We are very lucky to be part of the NCC because we do not only learn discipline and unity but it helps us in our overall development,” she said. She said she would like to suggest the girls from across the state especially in the Valley, which has seen violent protest recently over several issues, to be part of the NCC for overall development. Lt Col Ravindra Singh, Commanding Officer, Second Jammu and Kashmir Independent Company NCC Bhaderwah, said this is the first phase of the ‘Thal Sainik’ camp and is run by his unit. “Second and third phase will also be organised. In the third phase, the final JK Directorate Thal Sainik team will be selected which will take part in national competition in Delhi later,” he said. About the activities at the camp, he said the day starts with physical training, yoga and drill followed by training in obstacles, firing, field and battle craft and health and hygiene. In the evening, games and crossing of obstacles are performed, he said. “In this camp, we have children from all across the state including Bhaderwah, Jammu, Akhnoor, Poonch, Rajouri, Baramulla, and 100 children from the Srinagar group,” he said. Sonum Angu, a cadet from Ladkah, said she belongs to first JK pro company and is accompanied by 12 other cadets. “I am feeling proud to be part of this camp. We get a lot of experience here, and our confidence level goes to to new height. All girls are requested to join this camp,” she said. Rajesh Kumar Vohra, 2nd officer, Second JK NCC battalion, said a total of 500 cadets, including 147 girls, are participating in the camp. Vohra, posted in Army Public School Udhampur, said he salutes the valour of children who joined the camp from the turmoil-hit Kashmir. “They have shown the courage, especially our daughters from Pulwama, Baramulla, Anantnag and Ladakh and their message is simple and straight that there is whole world outside Kashmir,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The period preceding Kargil Vijay Diwas (Day) on 26 July, till after Independence Day in Kashmir Valley, has been marked by the elimination of over 120 terrorists, and at long last, the apprehension of the separatists? henchmen involved in funding and organizing terrorist and stone-pelting/heckling activities. General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C) Northern Command, Lt. Gen. Devraj Anbu, attended the `Kargil Vijay Diwas? ceremony at Drass, the second highest extreme cold area of the world in Kargil district, to honour the martyrs and interacted with some of their families and other war heroes present. Speaking to media at Drass, he assured that a Kargil-like situation will not be allowed to happen again and that the troops are totally prepared to meet any eventuality. Regarding the overall security situation in the Kashmir Valley, Lt. Gen. Anbu said: ?Army and other security agencies are working in close coordination to carry out anti-militancy operations and they have achieved many successes in the recent past, both along LoC as well as hinterland. He said it was because of the close coordination that security forces eliminated 36 militants, including some self-styled commander in the Valley during the past three months. ?Alert troops also foiled a number of infiltration attempt from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK),? he said, adding that scores of militants were gunned down immediately after they sneaked into this side, while a large number of trained militants are waiting at launch pads near the Line of Control (LoC) in PoK to enter this side before the infiltration routes are closed due to snowfall. Lt Gen Anbu said relations between the people in Kashmir and Indian Army were strengthening day by day and as a result, more than 14,500 students are getting education in 45 Army Goodwill Schools all over Jammu and Kashmir. ?This has helped more than 1,000 local youths to get employment,? he said. Without naming China, he said, the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Western Ladakh is disputed as it has not been demarkated yet. ?We resolve the local issues, if any, at the local level,? he added. Also present was GOC 14 Crops Lt. Gen. P J S Pannu. Having planned the Kargil misadventure as early as when Pakistan?s former army chief, self-styled CEO and later President, Parvez Musharraf was the Director General of Military Operations, twelve battalions of Northern Light Infantry (NLI) were raised for this purpose. Unlike the regular Pak army dominated by major ethnic groups like the Punjabis, Pashtuns etc, NLI comprised a mix of men from the small tribes of the Kashmir region, drawn from eight major ethnic groups-Baltis (from Baltistan), Shins, Yashkuns, Mughals, Kashmiris, Pathans, Ladakhis and Turks who speak the dialects of Balti, Shina, Brushaki, Khawer, Wakhi, Turki, Pushto, Urdu and Persian. The breakdown of NLI personnel was 49 % Shias, 23 % Ismailees, 10% Noor Bakhshis and the remainder 18 % were the only Sunnis. 55% hailed from Gilgit and 35 % from Baltistan. These twelve battalions of NLI were raised by Pak army as convenient and dispensable cannon-fodder and accordingly administered poorly, as came to be known after the fighting began almost six months after their deployment in the Kargil area. Initially, following the fatal casualties of NLI personnel, Pak army disgracefully denied that they were Pakistani troops and even refused to accept their mortal remains. Later there were reports of NLI troops not receiving rations and the bodies of many of them killed being sent back to their homes only in hours of darkness as well as their next of kin lamenting that there were sugar grains stuck to their lips-an indication that they had been starving. Operation Vijay launched by Indian Army in May 1999 was fraught with many disadvantages and difficulties. Owing to New Delhi initially not believing that Kargil heights had been intruded/occupied by Pak army, Indian troops had to negotiate the exacting terrain, including almost vertical climbs to approach the advantageously positioned and well defended Pakistani troops. It was with raw courage and outstanding junior leadership that Indian soldiers successfully gained back the high altitude outposts occupied by Pakistani intruders and at the great cost of over 500 Indian armed forces personnel killed during the 60-day long war. However, refusing learn from its defeat at Kargil, Pak army and Inter Services Iintelligence have continued relentlessly to resort to various other means to keep Kashmir Valley on the boil by inciting youth through the separatists to pelt stones at and heckle Indian Army and security forces, while even helping terrorists in attacking and escaping. The zenith of eight years of anti-India operations was in 2016, when in addition to all mentioned activities, short of forty schools were destroyed by burning. Meanwhile, the Indian Army and security forces (SFs), including J&K police, relentlessly continued- again disadvantageously- to combat the terrorists while dealing with radicalized Kashmiri youth with great restraint. Results began to show by mid 2017, but at the cost of many casualties sustained by both army and SFs, even as the Chinese troops have been maintaining pressure on the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh by frequent incursions/transgressions. In 2017, till July itself, 121 Pakistani / Pak army supported Kashmiri terrorists have been killed by Army/SFs-51 on the Line Of Control (LoC) and 70 in the hinterland- a major achievement. A comparison of ceasefire violations, infiltration bids and casualties in 2016 and 2017, all till end of July, is relevant. There were 248 violations in 2016 and 368 in 2017. In both years till July, 20 terrorists each were eliminated. 40 infiltration attempts were foiled by Army in 2016 and 19 in 2017. Terrorists killed during infiltration attempts were 55 in 2016 and 54 in 2017. Personnel of Army and central armed police organization (CAPF) martyred in 2016 were 61 and 35 whereas in 2017, there have been 40 and 18 so far. 1,00,000 Army and CAPF personnel were deployed for vigil over the Amarnath yatra, which can be considered to have been successfully conducted for almost 3,00,000 pilgrims. The dastardly terrorist attack on a bus on 11 July 2017, killing seven Gujarati women and children and injuring nineteen others succeeded only because that bus did not join the protected convoy. Despite the desperation of Pak army/ISI, one basic reason for the turning of the tide this year is the public in the Valley becoming sick of terrorism and violence. The successes of Army and other SFs have come about mainly through reliable and timely human intelligence. The same populace subjected to radicalization appear to be disgusted and have been readily sharing information of the whereabouts of terrorists. The other front attacked at long last by New Delhi is that of the separatists. On 17 August 2017, National Investigation Agency (NIA) , arrested Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali in connection with a case pertaining to funding of terrorist and separatist activities in Jammu & Kashmir. His arrest followed the searches conducted by the NIA on 16 August at multiple locations in Srinagar, Handwara, Kupwara and Baramulla, belonging to the relatives and employees of Zahoor Watali. The searches unearthed highly incriminating material pertaining to receipt of funds by Zahoor Watali from foreign sources and its further distribution to the terrorists and separatists in Kashmir valley for anti-India activities. Earlier, on 3rd June, 2017, the NIA had searched Zahoor Watali?s house in Srinagar and seized incriminating documents pertaining to several financial transactions and land deals. The property documents seized have shown huge amount of cash transactions in sale and purchase. Watali, who is suspected of acting as a conduit for illegally remitting funds to the secessionists, terrorists and stone-pelters, was earlier arrested in the year 1990 by the Jammu & Kashmir Police, when some anti-national activists were found present in his house at Bagat Barzulla, Srinagar. He was taken into custody along with Yaseen Malik, Sajjad Gani Lone, Bilal Lone and others and was jailed for eight months at Jammu. Earlier,on 24 July 2017, Altaf Ahmed Shah, the son-in-law of hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, was arrested along with six more separatists by NIA in connection with its probe into the funding of terror and subversive activities in the Kashmir Valley. Altaf Ahmed Shah, popularly known as Altaf Fantoosh, was in the custody of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, who had put him in preventive detention immediately after Eid. Geelani’s close aides Tehreek-e-Hurriyat spokesman Ayaz Akbar and Peer Saifullah and yet earlier, Shahid-ul-Islam, spokesman of the ?moderate? Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq. The others arrested are Mehrajuddin Kalwal and Nayeem Khan (of the Hurriyat’s Geelani faction) and Farooq Ahmed Dar alias ‘Bitta Karate’. The houses of those arrested had been raided by NIA. Shah is perceived as an influential force in the Tehrek-e-Hurriyat. The NIA had recovered account books, Rs. 2 crore in cash and letterheads of banned terror groups, including the Lashkar eTaiyaba and Hizbul Mujahideen from the raids. The NIA investigation also seeks to identify the network of those financing of terrorist activities, including those who masterminded stone-pelting at security forces, burnt down schools and damaged government establishments. For the first time since the rise of terrorism in Kashmir in the early 1990s, a central probe agency carried out raids to detect the funding of separatists. In 2002, the Income Tax department had raided the establishments of some separatist leaders, including Mr Geelani, and seized cash and documents, but that was of no avail, as they carried on with their anti-India activities. It is reiterated that terrorism in Kashmir Valley can only be curbed completely by nabbing all the separatists and keeping them well away from that region. The views expressed in the above article are that of Col. Anil Bhat.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Allowing an Enforcement Directorate (ED) plea, a Delhi court has sent suspected hawala dealer Mohammad Aslam Wani in to judicial custody till August 31. Wani was arrested in connection with a decade-old money laundering case, involving Kashmiri separatist leader Shabir Shah.Duty magistrate Jasjeet Kaur gave the orders after ED counsel N K Matta submitted that Wani be sent to judicial custody. The 36-year-old was produced in the court after his two-week custody for interrogation ended. The ED had arrested Wani on August 6, after a sessions court issued an open-ended non-bailable warrant (NBW) against him and sent him to eight-day ED custody.According to an ED official, Wani was arrested in Srinagar with the help of state police and later brought to Delhi. Despite multiple summons issued by the ED for his appearance in the case, he had refused to appear. The agency had arrested Shah from Srinagar on July 26.The money laundering case dates back to August, 2005, when the Delhi Police’s Special Cell had arrested Wani. He had stated to have passed on Rs 2.25 crore to Shah. In 2010, a Delhi court cleared him of terror funding charges, but convicted him under the Arms Act.The ED then registered a criminal case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against Shah and Wani. At the time of his arrest, on August 26, 2005, Wani allegedly had Rs 63 lakh, received through hawala channels from the Middle East, in his possession, along with a large cache of ammunition.During questioning, Wani had told the agency that of the Rs 63 lakh, Rs 50 lakh was to be delivered to Shah and Rs 10 lakh to Jaish-e-Mohammad area commander Abu Baqar. The rest was to be his commission, the FIR stated.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Over 3000 pilgrims were provided medical aid during the recently concluded Amarnath yatra in south Kashmir Himalayas, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) said today. A medical camp established by the 54th battalion at Manigam along the Baltal route provided medical treatment to 3138 persons including 512 women during the 40-day yatra, which concluded on 7 August, the CRPF said in a statement here. It said that the pilgrims treated by a team of senior doctors of the force also included accident victims. “On July 2nd, some yatris belonging to Gurdaspur in Pujab met with an accident at Sumbal and all of them were given free of cost medical treatment for two days at Manigam hospital and were safely sent back to their destination with all necessary assistance,” the statement said. It added that on July 9, a bus from Ahmedabad rolled down near Gund and the force arranged the stay of 38 pilgrims, providing all basic amenities, for one week at the Manigam base camp and also arranged transportation for their return journey. On June 29, Constable Ramesh Kumar of 181 Battalion, deployed in Baltal, saw two pilgrims, on horses, crossing a make-shift narrow wooden foot bridge which did not seem to be safe. “He immediately shouted out to the pilgrims to be cautious but they could not listen it due to the noise of water current. Suddenly, both horses lost balance and the pilgrims fell into the glacier stream,” the statement said adding that Kumar reacted quickly and pulled them out safely. In another instance, jawans saved the occupants of a car that had met with an accident and fallen into a gorge. On July 19, a yatra bus from Andhra Pradesh carrying 11 pilgrims including four women arrived at pilgrim camp, Rangamore and informed Sub-Inspector Ramanand Yadav of 54 Battalion that the person who was heading the group, namely A Yashu Ratnam, lost his bag at Lal Chowk in Srinagar while shopping. The troops contributed money and made other arrangements for the pilgrim. All the yatris appreciated their noble gesture and expressed their sincere gratitude to CRPF, the statement said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Watali, arrested for alleged involvement in a terror funding case, was today sent to 10-day NIA custody. District Judge Poonam A Bamba allowed the agency’s plea for custody after it said that the accused was required to be confronted with evidence and needs to be taken to various places as part of the investigation. The court refused to allow the NIA plea for two-week custody. Watali was arrested from here yesterday by the agency for alleged involvement in a terror funding case. Earlier, the agency had carried out raids in the premises of the businessman and of other suspects. It had further said in a statement that on June 3, 2017, the NIA had searched Watali’s house in Srinagar and seized incriminating documents pertaining to financial transactions and land deals.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>By Athar Parvaiz SRINAGAR, India, Aug 18 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A plan for the development of Srinagar city to 2035, put together by the government of Indian-administered Kashmir, ignores lessons from the 2014 floods that hit Srinagar and southern Kashmir, disaster prevention officials have warned. The large-scale destruction wrought by those floods was widely attributed to haphazard development in Srinagar, Kashmir’s largest city, and other urban areas over decades. Critics blamed housing and infrastructure construction in former flood basins in the mountainous north Indian state. The Master Plan for development of the Srinagar Metropolitan Region, which was open for public consultation until mid-August, is due to be finalised by the end of October. Kashmir’s Chief Town Planner Fayaz Ahmad Khan said the plan does envisage some new infrastructure development in flood-prone areas where homes, shops and government offices have already been built, because of a “pathetic” lack of state-owned land. The plan proposes solutions for all potential problems, including flooding, he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. In a letter dated July 27, 2017 and addressed to Khan, the Jammu and Kashmir Irrigation and Flood Control (IFC) department said it had analysed the plan from the perspective of its own recommendations based on flood scenarios. Before the plan was drafted, Khan had asked the IFC department to categorise areas as “undevelopable”, “vulnerable” or “suitable for development”, the letter said. In response, the department advised that some parts of the city should be classified as “undevelopable” and “vulnerable”, said the letter seen by the Thomson Reuters Foundation. However, those zones have been designated as “low density residential” areas in the plan, which will “encourage and eventually attract more people in these areas” which cannot be protected “by any means” if floods occur, warned the letter. ADMINISTRATION ‘AT RISK’ The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) has also questioned a bid to move the secretariat of the Jammu and Kashmir government, which includes ministers’ offices, to a location at risk of flooding. “(The Master Plan) acknowledges many parts of Srinagar city as highly vulnerable to natural disasters, yet contradictorily gives proposals like shifting the Civil Secretariat to Railway Station Nowgam which, as per the plan, is a highly flood-prone area and a designated flood absorption basin,” said Saleem Beg, INTACH’s regional head. The IFC letter also argued the plan would allow construction on an important 242-hectare (598-acre) wetland, Narkara, in southern Srinagar, as its 100-metre (328-ft) buffer zone is depicted deep inside the wetland. The Chief Town Planner said the IFC assessment had categorised “more than half of the city”, which has a population of about 1.3 million, as vulnerable and undevelopable. “But people already live in these areas, and government and commercial infrastructure also exists there,” he said, noting the lack of alternative space for new development. The city faces a major land crunch, with as much as 57 percent of its total area of 766 sq km classed as unsuitable for development, including wetlands, water bodies, forests and areas used by the Indian army, said Khan. “This is why we have proposed some development within the developed urban areas, and also the creation of new townships around the city,” he added. DISASTER PREVENTION The Master Plan proposes – for the first time in over four decades of urban planning in Srinagar – a comprehensive disaster management strategy, he noted. It also includes measures to protect water bodies, he said. “Most significant of these … is to re-establish their connectivity with one another,” Khan said. To prevent recurring floods, the plan envisages afforestation and slope stabilisation, to retain rainwater in the upper reaches. It also recommends construction of mini-check dams, reservoirs, ponds and canals, and the preservation of natural flood basins, he said. The plan also suggests that people already settled in flood basins should be relocated in developable areas, rather than backing a proposed multi-billion-dollar flood spill channel. Experts have said the spill channel could have damaging consequences as it would require the acquisition of vast tracts of agricultural land, potentially harming food security, and could cause large silt deposits in Wular Lake downstream. Mohammad Sultan Bhat, head of Kashmir University geography department, which carried out a flood hazard study of Srinagar, said the regional government should plan land use in a way that protects residents from disasters like floods and earthquakes, especially in overcrowded Srinagar city. “The government’s urbanisation policy is such that Srinagar city bears the brunt of all the population,” he said. With the main government offices and health and education institutions located in Srinagar, people prefer to live there, he added. Jammu and Kashmir state has 46 towns, but 65 percent of the urban population is concentrated in its summer capital Srinagar, he noted. “This is what compels the government to allow construction, even in wetlands, which act as sponges during floods,” he said. “This is unfortunate.”(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid rumblings over Article 35 A, former external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha-led Track II team embarked on ‘Peace Mission 3.0’ to meet the mainstream and separatist politicians in an apparent bid to break the logjam on Kashmir.Sinha an dhis delegation called on National Conference President Farooq Abdullah and Working President and former chief minister Omar Abdullah in Srinagar.Former external affairs minister said their visit is purely a peace mission to meet cross section of society and know about the political situation in Kashmir.”We have nothing to do with the government. We have come here twice earlier on a peace mission. We will meet everyone to know the political situation and see how peace initiative can be taken forward,” he said.Sinha noted that their peace mission includes seeing how bloodshed is stopped and peace is restored in the restive valley. “Peace mission means that bloodshed should end, peace is restored and all people work together for the progress and prosperity of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.This is third time when Sinha-led team has embarked on Mission Kashmir. Last year at the height of unrest, Sinha led five-member team visited Kashmir and met Hurriyat leaders including Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq who were spearheading the agitation.In fact, the Track-II team were able to meet the Hurriyat leaders when they had slammed doors on the All Party Delegation (APD) members when they tried to call on them during the agitation to break the logjam.The fresh visit comes at a time when Kashmir is bracing up for a showdown over the state subject law under article 35 A. Entire opposition has united on this issue to pressure the government to defend the state subject law which is being heard by the supreme court.Under Article 35 A, Indian citizens other than the state subjects of Jammu and Kashmir, cannot acquire immovable property or have the voting rights in the restive state. Charu Wali Khanna, a resident of Jammu and Kashmir settled outside the state has challenged the legality of the Article 35 A in the Supreme Court on the grounds that the law disenfranchises and takes away her succession rights.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Investigation Agency today arrested Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Watali for alleged involvement in a terror funding case. The NIA said Watali, who was arrested in Delhi, would be produced before the Patiala House court here tomorrow. The agency had carried out raids in the premises of the businessman and of other suspects yesterday. “The searches have unearthed highly incriminating material pertaining to the receipt of funds by Zahoor Watali from foreign sources and its further distribution to terrorists and separatists in Kashmir Valley for anti-India activities,” the NIA said in a statement. It said that on June 3, 2017, the NIA had searched Watali’s house in Srinagar and seized incriminating documents pertaining to financial transactions and land deals. The property documents seized have shown huge amounts of cash transactions in sale and purchase, it said. “Zahoor Watali, who is suspected of acting as a conduit for illegally remitting funds to secessionists, terrorists and stone-pelters, was arrested in 1990 by the Jammu and Kashmir Police, when some anti-national activists were found in his house at Bagat Barzulla, Srinagar,” the statement said. It said Watali was taken into custody along with Yaseen Malik, Sajjad Lone, Bilal Lone and others and was jailed for eight months in Jammu. In 2009, Watali was accused of illegal land encroachment and assault, and a case was registered against him, it said. “However, as per the orders of the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir on June 22, 2016, the investigation of the case was stayed,” it said. Watali was also accused of travelling on a cancelled passport knowing that it was illegal, the NIA alleged. It said instead of surrendering the cancelled passport to the authorities, he travelled abroad on it on March 21, 2016, in violation of the law. When he tried to do so again, his invalid passport was seized in Delhi by the authorities. A case of cheating under the Ranbir Penal Code and violation of the Passport Act were registered against him. The proceedings in the case are in abeyance as per the orders of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court at present, it said. Officials in the central probe agency said the searches were carried out at 12 locations in Srinagar, Baramulla Kupwara, Pulwama and Handwara. “A lot of incriminating material, suspect financial records, property-related documents and electronic devices including mobile phones, pen drives and hard drives were seized during the searches,” a senior NIA official had said yesterday. He had said some of the seized documents related to the receipt of money from “suspect” foreign sources and its subsequent distribution to “certain persons” in the Kashmir Valley.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Investigation Agency (NIA) today conducted searches at about a dozen locations in Jammu and Kashmir in connection with the terror funding case against separatists and others. Officials in the central probe agency said the searches are being carried out at 12 locations in Srinagar, Baramulla and Handwara. They said those being searched today have alleged links to persons being investigated in this case. The NIA had arrested seven persons on July 24 in the case of alleged funding of terror and subversive activities in the Kashmir Valley to fuel unrest. The money was being raised to fund separatist and terror activities in Jammu and Kashmir, the NIA had alleged. The agency had claiming that the accused were waging war against the country and were involved in various offences punishable under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. It had also alleged that the accused were involved in creating unrest by way of anti-India demonstrations and bandhs.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Authorities today imposed restrictions in parts of Srinagar to maintain law and order in the wake of killing of two civilians in security forces’ action on stone-pelting protestors. Restrictions have been imposed in five police station areas of the city here, a police official said. He said the curbs have been enforced in the police station areas of Nowhatta, Rainawari, Khanyar, M R Gunj and Safakadal. The official said the restrictions were imposed as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order in the wake of killing of two civilians in south Kashmir yesterday. Two youth Owais Shafi and Mohammad Sayeed Bhat were killed in security forces’ action on mobs of stone-pelting youth in Pulwama and Shopian districts respectively. 22-year-old Shafi sustained multiple pellet injuries at Kakapora in Pulwama and was referred to SMHS here for treatment, where he was declared ‘dead on arrival’ by the doctors yesterday. Bhat (25) received bullet injury near the encounter site at Avneera in Shopian and was taken to a hospital where he succumbed late last night. Three militants were killed in the encounter with security forces. Educational institutions, including schools, colleges and universities, have been closed for the day in the Valley in view of the prevailing situation. The Kashmir University and the Islamic University of Sciences and Technology have also postponed the examinations scheduled for today, while the class work has been suspended.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Army today paid floral tributes to three of its personnel killed yesterday. Sepoy Gawai Sumedh Waman and Sepoy Ilayaraja P were killed in an encounter with militants in the Zainapora area of Shopian last night. Junior Commissioned Officer Naib Subedar Jagram Singh Tomar, 42, a resident of Madhya Pradesh, was killed yesterday after Pakistan army fired on Indian Army posts. “In a solemn ceremony at Badami Bagh Cantonement here, Chinar Corps Commander, Lt Gen J S Sandhu, and all ranks paid homage to the martyrs on behalf of a proud nation,” a defence spokesperson in Srinagar said. In a wreath-laying ceremony organised in Rajouri, the General Officer Commanding, Ace of Spades Division laid the wreath on behalf of the General Officer Commanding, while White Knights Corps (16 Corps) and all the ranks of the division paid tributes to the slain soldier. “The Army paid last tributes to Naib Subedar Jagram Singh Tomar, who was martyred on the Line of Control (LoC) in KG Sector yesterday,” an army spokesperson in Jammu said. Cabinet ministers Choudhary Lal Singh, Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura, Minister of state Zahoor Mir, along with chief secretary B B Vyas, principal secretary Home R K Goyal and Director General of state Police, S P Vaid, joined the army in paying tributes to the two jawans who were killed in the encounter in Badami Bagh Cantonement in Srinagar. Waman, 25, who hails from village Lonagra in Akola, Maharashtra, had joined the Army in 2011. He is survived by his parents, a brother and a sister. Ilayaraja P, 25, hailed from Kandani village of Sivagangai district in Tamil Nadu and had joined the army in 2012. He is survived by his parents, wife and sister. The mortal remains of the three soldiers have been flown for last rites to their native places, where they would be laid to rest with full military honours.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)