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Pulwama: Five CRPF jawans killed in JeM attack, 2 terrorists neutralised

In a pre-dawn strike, five CRPF men were killed when heavily armed terrorists carried out suicide attack on a camp of the paramilitary force in Pulwama district of south Kashmir, officials said.This is first time local terrorists carried out a suicide attack, which has been claimed by Pakistan-based Jaish-e- Mohammed. CRPF spokesperson Rajesh Yadav said the two terrorists are Manzoor Ahmad Baba from Drubgam (Pulwama) and Fardeen Ahmad Khanday from Nazeempora (Tral). Khanday is the son a serving policeman. “Five CRPF jawans have been martyred and three others are injured. The bodies of two terrorists have also been recovered. We believe another terrorist has also been killed but the body has not been retrieved,” Yadav told PTI.Also readPulwama encounter: 5 CRPF jawans martyred, 2 terrorists killedThe paramilitary force’s officials in Delhi said the two terrorists are reportedly from Jaish-e-Mohammed and their bodies have been recovered with arms and ammunition. Also, in a statement issued to news agencies here, the JeM has claimed responsibility for the attack. Yadav said the deceased personnel are Inspector Kuldip Roy from Hamirpur (Himachal Pradesh), Head Constable Taufail Ahmed of Rajouri (J&K), constables Sharief-ud-din Ganaie of Chadoora in Budgam (J&K), Rajendra Nain of Churu (Rajasthan) and P K Panda of Sundargarh (Odisha). He said while Roy died of heart attack during the gunbattle, the four others succumbed to bullet injuries.The injured personnel are constables Narendra Kumar, Malam Samadhan and Mala Ram, he said. “One or two terrorists are still holed up but firing has stopped. Forces are still continuing the search operation,” he said”The heavily armed terrorists stormed the camp at about 2 AM. They were armed with under-barrel grenade launchers and automatic weapons. They were challenged by camp sentries,” another CRPF official said, adding they fired indiscriminately injuring three personnel.Also readCongress blasts Modi govt’s foreign policy after Pulwama attackTerming the attack “unfortunate”, Jammu and Kashmir’s Director General of Police S P Vaid said security forces had input about an imminent militant strike in the Kashmir Valley for the past three days. He said as long as Pakistan keeps sending militants, security forces and people of Kashmir will continue to go through this. “There was an input from the last two-three days. They (militants) were trying. They probably could not get a place and time earlier. So, they struck last night,” Vaid told reporters here.The CRPF camp also serves as training centre for troops inducted for counter-militancy operations in the Kashmir Valley. A Jammu and Kashmir Police team is also co-located with CRPF in this camp.

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At four feet two inches, walking with a limp, ‘merchant of death’ Noor Tantray meets his inevitable fate

He was just four feet two inches tall and walked with a limp. Noor Mohammed Tantray, the Jaish-e-Mohammed commander who was gunned down today, stood out in a crowd but his mental acuity more than made up for that disadvantage, officials said.Called “merchant of death” by a special court in Delhi, Tantray was believed to be the brains behind several terror strikes, including the attack on the BSF camp outside the Srinagar airport on October 3 and on state minister Naeem Akhtar’s cavalcade in Tral on September 21 this year. The end came during the intervening night of December 25 and 26 at Samboora in Pulwama district of South Kashmir, not far from his home in Tral. The killing of the 47-year-old JeM divisional commander, who was out on parole, is a “significant blow” to the terror group’s operations in the Valley, officials said.”We had missed him only by few minutes in the past and I was sure he would run out of luck soon as his height was his biggest disadvantage. With each passing day, the search narrowed,” a senior police official, involved in the operations, said on condition of anonymity. Tantray’s limp also made it difficult for him to disappear into a crowd and police officials were sure they would be able to isolate him. After escaping from the Aripal encounter — in which three JeM militants were killed — at Tral in April this year, Tantray had been on the radar of the Special Unit of the Jammu and Kashmir Police.Also readTop Jaish-e-Mohammad commander gunned down in Jammu and Kashmir’s PulwamaTheir efforts to track him down finally bore fruit on Christmas night when he was trapped in a house and could not escape. His two other accomplices, believed to be foreign militants, managed to flee, an official said.Tantray, who spent eight years in Tihar jail, had intensified his activities since his release on parole in 2015. A close aide of Jaish commander Ghazi Baba, who masterminded the 2001 attack on Parliament, Tantray was arrested from Delhi’s Sadar Bazar on August 31, 2003.He was arrested along with four others and charged with conspiracy to carry out terror attacks in various parts of the national capital. The five militants were arrested following an encounter in which two terrorists were killed. Besides arms and ammunition, police also recovered a sum of Rs 19.20 lakh from Tantray. Then special POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act) judge R K Gauba words proved prophetic when Tantray emerged as the most wanted militant in the Kashmir Valley after his release from jail, an official said.He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2011 in the case and shifted to Srinagar’s Central Jail in 2015 before being released on parole. His parole was extended by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court same year.While sentencing him along with others under the stringent anti-terror law in 2011, the judge had said the challenge posed by terrorism had to be met “head-on by a multi-prolonged strategy”. “India’s war against terrorism is to be waged not only by security measures but also by all organs of the state, including the judiciary which must share the responsibility of dealing with such elements with an iron hand,” he said. Terming the five “merchants of death”, the court had said the “foot soldiers of forces inimical to India and bent upon sabotaging the peace and tranquility here, besides posing a serious threat to its unity, sovereignty and integrity, have to be neutralised”.The “merchants of death” had to be locked away for the rest of their lives “…In order that they are suitably de- fanged and blunted so as to be of no further use to the enemy”, the judge had said in his seven page order. Tantray’s terror graph validated the judge’s words, said an official. Tantray is believed to have provided logistical support to JeM militants who stormed the Police Lines in Pulwama in August this year. Eight security personnel and three militants were killed in that attack. He was allegedly involved in the JeM attack on the BSF camp, outside the Srinagar International Airport, on October 3, in which one BSF officer and three militants were killed. Tantray was also found to be involved in the grenade attack on State PWD Minister Naeem Akhtar?s cavalcade in Tral on September 21

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Post Dokalam stand-off, China’s ties with India still fragile, says Global Times op-ed

An opinion piece in a Chinese daily has described China`s ties with India as still being fragile, especially after troops of both countries were engaged in a military stand-off near the trilateral boundary that they share with Bhutan on the Doklam Plateau.The opinion piece further rubs in the fact that Beijing exhibited its prowess and strength and emphatically sent out a message in the neighbourhood that it could not be messed around with when it came to its sovereignty over the territory.”This summer witnessed the Doklam standoff between China and India. The two sides eventually resolved the crisis peacefully. Yet the incident exposed how fragile Sino-Indian ties are, while indicating (at the same time) Chinese capability to push back provocations from other nations (Read India) through its own strength,” says the opinion piece in the state-run Global Times.Also readPost Dokalam stand-off, India and China are working to ‘take their relationship forward’Doklam or Zhoglam (in Standard Tibetan), known as Donglang in Chinese is an area with a plateau and a valley, lying between Tibet’s Chumbi Valley to the north, Bhutan’s Ha Valley to the east and India’s Sikkim state to the west.In June 2017, a military standoff occurred between China and India as China attempted to extend a road on the Doklam Plateau southwards near the Doka La pass and Indian troops moved in to prevent the Chinese.Also readWill continue to engage with China for Dokalam solution: IndiaIndia claimed to have acted on behalf of Bhutan, with which it has a ‘special relationship’. Bhutan also then formally objected to China’s road construction in a disputed area.On August 28, 2017, it was announced that India and China had mutually agreed to a speedy disengagement on the Doklam Plateau, bringing to an end to the military face-off that lasted for close to three months.The Chinese foreign ministry, however, sidestepped the question of whether Beijing would continue the road construction.Latest reports and satellite images of the area indicate that China is continuing with road construction activity on its side of the trilateral boundary.”Needless to say, the neighbourhood around China is the most complex one among major powers. Without stability in the region surrounding the country, the Global Times simultaneously adds that “it is (would be) impossible for Beijing to take its strategic initiative around the world.”Describing China as a rising power, the daily says that “China is getting to know better how to adapt to its surrounding nations. Although individual problems and crisis had at time been troublesome, the strategic stability following the emergence of China has increased.”On tensions related to the South China Sea, it says that the year 2017 has seen an improvement in Beijing’s ties with the ASEAN and this momentum being maintained and sustained with the help of a framework for establishing a Code of Conduct for the South China Sea.”Beijing’s diplomatic efforts have played a significant role in cooling troubled waters. The rise of China is a fact..Tensions in the South China Sea have tested relevant nations in this regard and consensus concerning those questions has been accumulated..The biggest challenge in China`s periphery in 2017 is the situation on the Korean Peninsula. The almost uncontrollable confrontation between Washington and Pyongyang mirrored the limitations of China`s ability to shape the landscape around it,” the Global Times opines.”Yet 2017 tells us that emerging China has the resources to solve and control the problems even as they increase.The self-healing ability of crisis in our neighbourhood is also growing stronger.The biggest driving force for solving China`s problems on its periphery is development. As long as Beijing keeps its strong development momentum, China will be able to implement ever greater strategic initiatives,” the opinion piece concludes.

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5 soldiers missing along LoC after heavy snowfall in Kashmir

Five soldiers have gone missing along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir’s Gurez and Naugam sectors, following heavy snowfall in the valley since yesterday, a defence official said today.Jammu and Kashmir is experiencing widespread snowfall and rain with the meteorological (MeT) office forecasting present weather conditions to continue till Thursday due to a western disturbance over the state.”Two soldiers fell down a slope in Naugam sector (Kupwara district) while three others went missing from a forward post in the Kanzalwan sub-sector of Gurez (Bandipora district) during heavy snowfall,” Defence spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said here.Also readSnowfall in Kashmir: Valley cut off from rest of India, 3 Army jawans missing after avalancheSearch and rescue operations are on to trace the five missing soldiers, he said.Earlier, a police official had said that the three soldiers in Gurez sector went missing after an avalanche hit their post at Baktoor near the LoC.Also readNorth India experience chilly weather; snowfall in J&K and Himachal, rain in DelhiAn army porter is missing since yesterday after he came under an avalanche in Tulail in Gurez.

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Court extends NIA custody of alleged LeT terrorist

A Delhi court has allowed further custody of an alleged Pakistani Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist, arrested recently along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir, to the National Investigation Agency till December 18.The accused, identified as Mohammed Amir Awan, was arrested by the Army on November 24 from Handwara area of North Kashmir during an intensive search launched after an encounter in the area on November 21 that had left three alleged Lashkar militants dead. One soldier was also killed during the encounter.District judge Poonam A Bamba allowed his further NIA custody after he was produced before the court on expiry of his earlier custody.In its application, the probe agency told the court that the accused was needed for further custodial interrogation. The matter was transferred to the NIA which had registered a case on November 26 and took custody of the alleged terrorist.During initial interrogation, he had identified himself as Mohammed Amir Awan whose code in the Lashkar terror group was Abu Haamaz, the NIA said.The accused told his interrogators that he hailed from Bardiya town near the port city of Karachi and was recruited and trained by the terror group.He was allegedly pushed into the Kashmir valley from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir to carry out attacks on various important installations in the Valley, the agency said.

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Rs 200 crore loss as saffron production dips sharply

Persistent dry spell in Kashmir valley has led a 80 per cent drop in the production of saffron causing Rs 200 crore financial loss to the farmers.Official figures reveal that saffron production in 2017 was 3.5 metric tonnes against 17 metric tonnes in 2016. Estimates worked out by the Agriculture department peg the financial loss at over Rs 200 crore.”On an average, our saffron production is 17 metric tonnes. This year there is a 80 per cent drop in production. One kilogramme saffron sells at Rs 1.6 lakh, and by that estimate we have suffered roughly Rs 200 crore loss,” said Altaf Aijaz Andrabi, director of department of agriculture, Kashmir.Experts say increased temperature and no rainfall during sprouting period are the main reasons for crop failure this year.”It requires rainfall in September. In addition, temperatures should also be moderate. Moisture in corn helps sprouting. We had no rainfall, which resulted in crest formation,” Andrabi said.Touted as world’s most expensive spice, saffron is used in multiple ways in multiple industries — ranging from medicine, beauty, colour, food, among others. Kashmiri saffron kahwa (tea) is a delicacy which is served on special occasions signifying the importance of the guests. It is used in beauty products and has a high medicinal value.Around 3,715 hectares of land is used for saffron cultivation in Jammu and Kashmir. Pampore in the Pulwama district of south Kashmir tops the list with 3,200 hectares under saffron cultivation. It is followed by Budgam and Srinagar with 328 and 165 hectares respectively under the saffron cultivation.”Production is almost nil and farmers are ruined. We have suffered huge financial losses this year. Government should come up with a scheme to help the farmers in distress. We have no other source of income,” said GM Pampori, president J&K Saffron Growers and Dealers Association.”Our worry is now about the mother corn. You need good water regime for multiplication of corn for next year’s crops. If the dry spell continues for another month, it will have catastrophic effect on future crops,” said Andrabi.SUDDEN DIPOfficial data reveals that saffron production in 2017 was 3.5 metric tonnes against 17 metric tonnes in 2016. Experts blame increased temperature and lack of rain in the Valley are the primary reasons behind failure of the crop this year.

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Security agencies entered ‘Tora Bora’ of Kashmir to kill JeM militants

A recent encounter in which four Jaish-e-Mohammed militants were killed in Budgam’s Pakharpora area is being seen as the security forces’ maiden entry into an area popularly known as ‘Tora Bora’ because of the heavy presence of foreign militants there, officials here said.The militants are often in hiding in the area’s deep forests, a maze not very different from the labyrinth of caves of Taliban-controlled Tora Bora in northern Afghanistan, they said.The Special Operations Group of Jammu and Kashmir police and Army carried out its first operation in this region on Thursday, killing the four terrorists.Also readIslamic State claims it captured Osama bin Laden’s Afghan hideout of Tora BoraIn April this year, two militants were killed at Hyat Pura, 8km from Pakharpora, but that officials said was a chance encounter as the incident followed a routine check.Militants have been particularly active over the last year in Pakharpora, located strategically in the district of Budgam, for it leads into South Kashmir as well as Srinagar city.Also read5 militants killed in two separate encounters in KashmirHeightened militancy this year has been receiving ground support, with local people strongly resisting the forces, especially during counter-insurgency operations.The Valley’s ‘Tora Bora’ had figured prominently in many meetings of security agencies after the area, 45km from here, became the infiltration route for militants entering South Kashmir, the epicentre of unrest following the killing of Burhan Wani, the poster boy of the Hizbul Mujahideen militant group, on July 8 last year.An official said the region has become the “reception area” for foreign militants who sneak into South Kashmir via Pakharpora. The dense forests and deep gorges in the region provide a natural cover to the militants.There is also a constant stream of people visiting Pakharpora because of a shrine there which has become popular in the last couple of years. This makes it difficult for security forces to swiftly identify the militants, the official said.After it came to light that terrorists were using public roads instead of the usual mountainous path while moving towards the south, security agencies had suggested barricading the roads and increasing patrolling in the area — a move turned down by the state government.Not much has been done to plug this route despite repeated warnings by the central intelligence agencies, official sources said.However, the Army recently moved in a battalion comprising 1000 men around the area and also established a camp near Pakharpora, which is a part of the Beerwah Assembly constituency represented by former chief minister Omar Abdullah, to give a semblance of security to the region.According to intelligence reports, accessed by PTI, there are various villages around Pakharpora which witness militant movements and have a network of militants.These villages include Kuzwera, Magray Pora, Behrampora, Kaisemullah, Gowharpora, Qazipora, Wanbugh, Hayat Pora, Malpora, Tujan and Dalwan, the reports said.The reports highlighted that these areas are among the most dangerous in the twin districts of pulwama and Budgam.
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Kashmiri pandit’s sweet gesture: Candies for Eid procession

There was a ray of hope for people in troubled south Kashmir on Friday, as it saw Kashmiryat (pluralistic cuslture) in full bloom. A Kashmiri pandit and his wife greeted the a procession of Eid Milad-un-Nabi (the Prophet’s birthday) by distributing candies to the Muslims as a token of love.Vimal and Shushma Tickoo surprised the procession that lined up on the route. Carrying a bag full of candies, the couple distributed toffees to pedestrians a a mark of respect.”We are greeting them on the auspicious occasion. We are welcoming them. We do it every year”, said Vimal.Hailing from Mattan area of Anantnag, the couple came out to greet the procession in a traditional style. “They (Muslims) too join us when we celebrate our festivals. We have brotherhood in our area. There has been no problem in Mattan. They are our well wishers”, said Shushma.The couple’s gesture stole the hearts of local Muslims. Young Muslims came forward to click selfies with the couple.Even the video of the gesture has gone viral on social networking sites. The Director General of Police, Dr Shesh Paul Vaid, retweeted the video of the couple distributing candies to the people during the Milad procession.Figures released by Kashmir Pandit Sangrash Simiti (KPSS), the apex body of non-migrant pandits, reveals that 677 Kashmiri pandits have been killed by the militants since 1990. The figures include mass massacres at different places. However, the state government figures reveal that only 219 Kashmiri pandits were killed in the state since 1989.Official figures reveal that around 41,117 migrant families from Kashmir are registered in Jammu and 21,000 others in Delhi and other states. Of them, 37,128 are Hindus, 2,246 Muslims and 1,758 Sikhs.Thousands marched through South Kashmir’s Anantnag to celebrate the birthday of the last messenger of Allah. The south Kashmir district has been the epicentre of last year’s unrest in the Valley.
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Eid-e-Milad 2017: When a Kashmiri Pandit couple stole hearts by greeting Milad procession

For those who spread hate, this should serve as an eye-opener.Welcome to the troubled South Kashmir, where Kashmiryat (pluralistic culture) was in full bloom on Friday.A middle-aged Kashmiri pandit couple greeted the procession of Eid Milad-ud-Nabi (Birthday of Prophet Mohommad) by distributing candies to the Muslims as a token of love and affection.Vimal and Shushma Tickoo surprised the people when they lined up on the route of the Milad procession and showered candies.Carrying a bag full of candies, the couple was distributed the toffees to pedestrians a mark of respect.“We are greeting them on the auspicious occasion. We are welcoming them. We do it every year”, said Vimal Tickoo.Hailing from Mattan area of Anantnag and braving sub-zero temperatures, the couple came out of their home to greet the procession.“They too join us when we celebrate our festival. We have so much of brotherhood in our area. There has been no problem in Mattan. They are our well wishers”, said Shushma Tickoo.The gesture of the couple stole the hearts of the local Muslims. Selfies and handshakes followed. A young Muslim man came forward to click selfies with the couple as a gesture of love from the majority community of Kashmir.The video of the kind gesture by Pandits have gone viral on social networking sites. Director General of Police Dr Shesh Paul Vaid also retweeted the video of Pandit couple distributing candies to the people during Milad procession.Figures released by Kashmir Pandit Sangrash Simiti (KPSS), an apex body of non migrant pandits, reveal that 677 Kashmiri pandits have been killed by the militants since 1990.The figures include the mass massacres of Kashmiri pandits at different places at different times. However the state government figures reveal that only 219 Kashmiri pandits were killed in the state since 1989. Official figures reveal that around 41,117 migrant families from Kashmir are registered in Jammu and 21,000 others in Delhi and other states.Of the total migrant families living in Jammu, 37,128 are Hindus, 2,246 Muslims and 1,758 Sikhs. Thousands of people marched through South Kashmir’s Anantnag to celebrate the birthday of the Last Messenger of Allah.The south Kashmir district has been the epicenter of last year’s unrest in the Valley.Watch full video here:
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ED seizes city hotel in Rose Valley case

There were apprehensions that the money earned from Rose Valley Chit Fund scam was used to buy this hotel, which is situated on 2533.7 square yards. For the moment, the ED action would not hamper its functioning but if the provisional attachment is verified, the hotel would become property of the government of India. General Manager Manvendra Tomar refused to comment on the ED action, saying that only the corporate office is authorised to comment. The Rose Valley Chit Fund scam was worth Rs 1950 crore in West Bengal and Odisha and some TMC and CPM leaders have been accused of involvement.work taken up by the Raghubar Das government in Jharkhand.”
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–><!–end of breadcrumbx–>ED seizes city hotel in Rose Valley case Enforcement Directorate
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written ByVimal Kothari <!–end of artlbotbor–>Friday 1 December 2017 6:50 ISTMust readDon’t treat people as files, CM Vasundhara Raje warns officials‘Snubbing HC order’, Vasundhara Raje government all set to bring regional, urban planning act<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>Enforcement directorate on Thursday seized Hotel Park Prime near Statue Circle. Jaipur staff of ED provisionally attached the hotel after receiving an order from the Kolkata office. Hotel’s local administrators signed the attachment copy and another was pasted on the entrance gate of the hotel. The action was taken under the prevention of money laundering act.There were apprehensions that the money earned from Rose Valley Chit Fund scam was used to buy this hotel, which is situated on 2533.7 square yards. For the moment, the ED action would not hamper its functioning but if the provisional attachment is verified, the hotel would become property of the government of India. General Manager Manvendra Tomar refused to comment on the ED action, saying that only the corporate office is authorised to comment. The Rose Valley Chit Fund scam was worth Rs 1950 crore in West Bengal and Odisha and some TMC and CPM leaders have been accused of involvement.work taken up by the Raghubar Das government in Jharkhand.
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District magistrate objects to employee’s branded clothes

Anger has swept across the Chenab Valley after a district development commissioner of Kishtwar allegedly humiliated an employee for wearing a branded clothes and forcing him to remove his jacket in full public view.Bittu Kumar, working as Gram Rozgar Sewak (GRS) in the rural development department Kishtwar, was called on the stage by district development commissioner (DDC) Angrez Singh Rana during a public darbar and asked to remove the branded jacket.Rana’s objection was that how a man earning Rs 6,000 could afford branded clothes. The DDC’s bizarre action could have gone unnoticed had it not been caught on tape.Anger swept across the district when the video of the deputy commissioner went viral. Employees went on a pen down strike against the deputy commissioner for what they said humiliating their colleague in full public view.”I am a post graduate in English. I have also done BEd. Since there is lot of unemployment, I got the job of GRS. On the fateful day the deputy commissioner forced me to remove my jacket and made spectacle out of it. Later the video became viral. My family and I are unable to face people because of the humiliation we suffered. I want justice,” said Kumar.District Development Commissioner, however, said during a grievance camp he received complaints about non-payment of NREGA dues.”Since GRS is a functionary at village level, I spotted him and saw him wearing good clothes–pant, sweater and jacket. I made him understand and warned that if I receive complaints again I will take action. I have not taken any action. It is my duty to first convince the employees please do not commit any wrong. I told him the people from Gujjar community work as daily wagers and earn Rs 6000 and you compare your living standard with them”, Rana said.
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SC issues order to auction Aamby Valley

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered fresh auctioning of the embattled Aamby Valley in the next two months after issuing a warning to real estate honcho Subrato Roy to desist obstructing the process.”We will send you to jail and end this chapter if you obstruct the auction this time,” the apex court bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said in a direct warning to Roy.The bench directed the Receiver of the Bombay High Court to help the Liquidator in getting the Sahara Group’s prime property auctioned.”We want the property to be auctioned. Till then we will appoint the Receiver of the Bombay HC to help in auctioning till it is complete,” the bench said.Earlier in October, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the country’s market regulator, filed a contempt petition against Roy and other senior executives of Sahara for allegedly obstructing the auction of its prized Aamby Valley.Representing SEBI, advocate Pratap Venugopal had submitted that the project “had adopted subterfuge methods to avoid auction of the property”.

Healing touch in Kashmir: Centre asks state govt to withdraw stone pelting cases against first-time offenders

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking the suggestion of the Centre’s special representative Dineshwar Sharma forward, over 4,500 cases against youths involved in stone pelting for the first time will be dropped in a bid to win hearts in the Kashmir Valley, officials said.Sharma, who visited the Valley earlier this month, was flooded with requests from various individuals and groups for withdrawing cases against youths who were booked by the police for indulging in stone pelting. Over 11,500 cases against stone pelters were registered from July last year when unrest broke out in Kashmir following the death of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani in an encounter, they said. Out of these, over 4,500 cases were registered against youths who were found indulging in stone pelting for the first time, the officials said.When contacted, Sharma refused to comment on it but said “my attempt was to change the narrative in the state to peace and for that I need support of youths and students.” The officials said after seeing the response of the step, the Centre was keen to review the remaining cases against stone pelters in consultation with the PDP-BJP state government in the state. The Centre may also consider rehabilitating locals who have joined militant groups but have not indulged in any heinous crime, they said.
ALSO READ Will try to meet separatist leaders to resolve Kashmir issue, says Dineshwar SharmaSharma found residents in the Valley facing the problem of electricity shortage, especially during winters and, therefore, an additional 300 Mega Watt will be provided to Kashmir this year. Attempts are being made to ensure round-the-clock electricity supply by the beginning of winter next year, the officials said, adding talks are being held with power ministry for implementing this project. The central government will also enhance the compensation to the policemen killed during encounters. At present, a local policeman gets Rs 40 lakh.The decisions were considered to be part of discussions held by Sharma during his visit to the Valley for talking with all stakeholders. All these issues were discussed in detail recently at the core group on Kashmir, chaired by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and attended by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, the officials said.
ALSO READ Day 2 in J&K: Centre’s interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma meets youngsters even as big names stay awayThe state government is expected to take the initiatives according to the suggestions of the central government. Top officials of the ministries of home and defence, chiefs of intelligence agencies, besides Sharma also attended the meeting.

From demanding tougher action in Kashmir to BJP supporters trusting media: 10 things Pew survey said about India

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pew Research asked a host of questions to 2464 Indians selected strategically from 16 of the 18 most populous states (except Kerala and Assam). Some of the replies fit with the general perception whereas others may come across as counter intuitive to the general narrative commonplace in newsrooms and political circles. Indians extremely happy with the state of democracy:How often have we seen columns about democracy dying in India? Well, it may be for the Lutyens elite, trying to cope with the changing realities but common people clearly don’t share the feeling. 85% people trust democracy and 79% are satisfied with the way democracy is running. So the rhetoric about failing democracy clearly holds no currency with those who matter, the voters.However, India won’t mind a military regime too: If the Pew survey is to be believed, 53% Indians are okay with being ruled by the military. In a separate question, 86% respondents have said that military has very good influence in the country. The acceptance of a hypothetical military rule is in contrivance to the above point of people being happy with democracy. What can explain this apparent dichotomy? Perhaps it is the high respect the armed forces get in the country and the inherent notion that military would impart a much-needed discipline missing in public life. Almost 55% also support a strong leader, and it is skewed heavily amongst BJP supporters and those in urban areas. That may possibly explain the enthusiastic response towards demonetization, which was largely hailed as a dramatic measure done to cleanse the financial system.People in South India are more happy with economy:This probably comes as no surprise. The Southern states are well off on average than their fellow countrymen. Hence, 91% are satisfied with the state of economy, whereas it is only 79% for Eastern India. Only one in three care for communal relations:While there is tonnes of newsreel and TV time spent on discussing several instances of communal disharmony in the country, that is not exactly the concern of the common Indian. However, it doesn’t mean it is not a serious issue. It merely shows the politicians and media aren’t on the same page as the audience. Crime and terrorism are the top recall issues plaguing Indians. From Russia, with love:Nearly 44% Indians have favourable views about Russia, little less than US enjoying 49% of favourability. This is counter-intuitive considering the amount of pop culture influence one can see in urban India. The goodwill of US has fallen from 58% to 49%, possibly owing to talks of tightening norms for H1B visa among others. Indians though have a 41% approval rating for Donald Trump, much higher than what he enjoys in many other countries. But what explains India’s love for Russia? Perhaps the historical bond and presence of a strong leader in Putin who is seen as a man who can get things done. We hate Pakistan, South India a little less: If Youtube comments in Coke Studio Pakistan videos are to be believed, India and Pakistan can totally be friends but it’s the politicians who are keeping the feud going. That theory though is not exactly backed by data from this survey. 72% have a negative view of Pakistan and in fact Modi government’s ambivalent Pak policy has got extremely low ratings (22%). So the shroud of suspicion is pretty high about Pakistan. However, only 36% in South India have an unfavourable view about Pakistan, much lesser than in East, North and West. Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai misnomer?56% Indians are wary about China’s growing military clout. Nearly one in two Indians also feel, their growing economic dominance is bad news for us. Globally, China’s dominance comes third in list of threats for Indians, only next to global climate change and threat from ISIS. This survey was done in pre-Doklam era, so the ill-feeling towards Chinese is likely to grow more. Jholawalas are more trusted than godmans:In India, the human rights organisations have often come from severe criticism from different sections for peddling their own agenda. They have been derided as jholawalas by sections of media and people in social media. Some have even been branded as ‘anti-national’. But Indians in general, have a positive view about them. About 67% think they have positive influence, whereas for religious leaders, it is way below at 53%. This again, was before teh Baba Ram Rahim Singh fiasco. So favourability for religious leaders may have plummeted further. More BJP supporters believe in media than Congress: The mainstream media has often been vilified online, with one Union Minister even coining a colourful name for the press. However if the survey is to be believed, 76% Indians believe media has good influence in general, though the intensity of faith has significantly gone down from 2015. The survey says, 79% BJP supporters believe media has a good influence, nearly 20 points more than that of Congress supporters. It would come as a surprise for people who inhabit a Twitter echo chamber. Spare the rod, spoil insurgents in Kashmir:About 63% Indians are in favour of more stringent military action in Kashmir. Only 8% advocate for less. So while the doves may call for withdrawal of AFSPA and other measures, the Indian public is overwhelmingly hoping for the state to crush the insurgency in the Valley. This survey was done, when the unrest in J&K post Burhan Wani’s death was still simmering. So the continued media reports from that timeframe may have somewhat skewed the response. Read the full report here

‘Jammu and Kashmir is ours, PoK belongs to Pakistan’, Rishi Kapoor backs Farooq Abdullah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Veteran actor Rishi Kapoor said he agrees with National Conference president Farooq Abdullah, who claimed that Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) belongs to Pakistan and “this won’t change” no matter how many wars India and Pakistan fight against each other.Abdullah on Saturday said that talk of an independent Kashmir was “wrong” as the Valley is landlocked and surrounded by three nuclear powers — China, Pakistan and India.His statement came days after Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had rejected the idea of an “independent Kashmir”, saying it was not based on “reality”.Reacting to the same, Rishi wrote on Twitter, “Farooq Abdullah ji, Salaam! Totally agree with you sir. Jammu and Kashmir is ours, and PoK is theirs. This is the only way we can solve our problem.”Accept it, I am 65-years-old and I want to see Pakistan before I die. I want my children to see their roots. Bas karva dijiye (Please make it happen). Jai Mata Di!”The Kapoor clan has a house in Peshawar, Pakistan. It was constructed between 1918 and 1922 by Dewan Basheswarnath Kapoor, father of Prithviraj Kapoor, who was the first from the family to enter the Indian film industry.The family shifted to India after Partition.

Pandits renew homeland demand, UT status for exiled community

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Building pressure on Modi government, representatives of Kashmiri Pandits on Friday met Dineshwar Sharma, the Centre’s special representative for Kashmir, and reiterated their demand for reinstatement in homeland with Union territory status. They demanded that Article 370 and Article 35A be revoked for finding a permanent solution to the vexed Kashmir issue.The four-member delegation of displaced Kashmiri Pandit community, under the aegis of Panun Kashmir, also asserted before Sharma that the sovereignty of the country is non-negotiable.”A serious dialogue process should be initiated by the government for the establishment of a separate homeland in Kashmir valley as explicitly demanded in the Margdarshan Resolution of 1991,” said Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo, president of Panun Kashmir, who led the delegation.In a resolution passed by Panun Kashmir in December 1991, Kashmiri Pandits demanded that the Centre create a homeland comprising the regions of the valley to the East and North of river Jhelum. The homeland, according to Panun Kashmir, should have a union territory status where the Constitution of India is made applicable in letter and spirit to ensure right to life, liberty, freedom of expression and faith, equality and rule of law.”The Article 370 and Article 35A have become an unnecessary baggage of the past errors of the rulers of India; there is a national consensus to review these absurd laws that are in contravention of the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Indian Constitution to the citizens of India,” said Chrungoo.Article 370 recognizes the special status to the state, while Article 35A empowers the J&K government to frame laws to bar all Indians — except original inhabitants — from purchasing immovable property, getting government jobs and availing of state-sponsored scholarship schemes.”They should be abrogated under the due process of law as soon as possible and the Constitution (Application to Jammu & Kashmir state) Order 14th May 1954, since was/is an intentional fraud, be also abrogated along with,” said Chrungoo.Official figures reveal that around 41,117 migrant families from Kashmir are registered in Jammu and 21,000 others in Delhi and other states. Of the total migrant families living in Jammu, 37,128 are Hindus, 2,246 Muslims and 1,758 Sikhs.Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s advisor Professor Amitabh Mattoo said the government is committed for ensuring honorable and safe return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley.”Late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had the vision that migrants are part of Kashmiriyat and they should return with dignity, as Kashmiri Pandits are an inseparable part of the Kashmiri society, and the inclusive ethos, for which Kashmir has been known for ages, is incomplete without them,” Prof Mattoo further maintained.Meanwhile, on the fifth day of his Mission J&K, Sharma met cross sections of society in the winter capital on Friday. From Pandits to business leaders, Centre’s interlocutor interacted with several delegations in Jammu on Friday.Migrant familiesOfficial figures reveal around 41,117 migrant families from Kashmir are registered in Jammu and 21,000 others in Delhi and other states.Of the total migrant families living in Jammu, 37,128 are Hindus, 2,246 Muslims and 1,758 Sikhs, the figures reveal.

All Indian citizens in JK are stakeholders: Special rep Dineshwar Sharma

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Centre’s special representative for Kashmir, today said all Indian citizens in Jammu and Kashmir were “stakeholders” in the dialogue process and that he would keep coming to the state in the future.Sharma, who arrived here last evening on the second leg of his visit to J&K, said the Centre had given him the task to restore peace in Kashmir and find some solution.Asked whether he considered the Hurriyat Conference a stakeholder in the dialogue process, he said, “All Indian citizens in Jammu and Kashmir are stakeholders.” Sharma, who was appointed the Centre’s special representative last month for consultations with various groups and political parties, called on state governor N N Vohra and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti here last night and discussed the ways to reach out to the stakeholders, officials said.On the issue of a meeting with Hurriyat leaders, he said, “Let us see.”Asked further, the former Intelligence Bureau chief said, “I am going to visit Jammu and Kashmir again and again.” Replying to a question, he said his visit to the state had been “successful”.He had arrived here yesterday after spending four days in the Valley, during which he met various delegations and political leaders which included former chief minister Omar Abdullah, state Congress chief G A Mir and CPM leaders among others.He also met a BJP delegation, led by the party’s state president Sat Sharma, here yesterday. Sharma is scheduled to return to the national capital tomorrow. PTI AB SC

Demonetization Anniversary: In seven minutes long video, PM Modi highlighting benefits of note-ban

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On demonetization anniversary, Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighting the benefits of the same shared a video from his twitter handle.The seven minutes long video underlines the need and importance of ban on high-value currency.The video depicts demonetization as one of the bravest steps taken by Prime Minister Modi after coming to power in 2014.The video says that the country was suffering from the menace of corruption and black money before 2014 and the decision of demonetization was a step to ‘clean the Indian economy’.The video claims the poor and the commoner was not troubled with the decision as they always had faith that an ‘honest government’ is fighting for them.The video further claims, that the decision broke the backbone of terrorism and naxalism in the country and reduced stone pelting activity in the Kashmir Valley.On this day last year the old Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes – 86 % of currency in circulation – was scrapped after Prime Minister Modi made an unexpected announcement during a surprise television address.He also gave the nation’s 1.3 billion people a 50-day window to either deposit them into bank accounts or exchange them for minted notes.

Masood Azhar nephew among 3 terrorists killed in J&K

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Security forces dealt a blow to Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and gunned down its top commander Talha Rashid — nephew of Pathankot attack mastermind Moulana Masood Azhar — and recovered a US-made M4 carbine at Aglar-Kandi village in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Monday evening.Rashid was among the militants — including Pakistani JeM divisional commander Mohammad Bhai and local Wasim Ahmad Ganai — killed in a swift operation by a joint team of Army, CRPF and police. An Army soldier of 44 Rashtriya Riffles lost his life in the line of duty.The assault rifle is the first such weapon recovered from terrorists. It was smuggled into Kashmir after Pakistan’s Army passed it on to infiltrators for use against security forces.Police sources said Talha had been operating in Pulwama for the last four to five months after he infiltrated into the Valley from Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir.”For the first time they (JeM) have owned up a Pakistani militant. He (Rashid) is nephew of Moulana Azhar. Now we will take up the matter through proper channels. We request (Pakistan) very firmly, please claim the body and please take the body because they have said that he is a Pakistani nephew of Moulana Masood Azhar”, said Munir Ahmad Khan, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir Range.This is the second time this year when any family member of an India’s most wanted has been killed in an encounter in the Valley. On January 19, security forces killed Abu Musaib — nephew of 26/11 Mumbai terror attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi — at Hajin village in North Kashmir’s Bandipora district.The Army said the main feature of the Pulwama operation was the seizure of the rifle. “It is a US-made weapon presently with a lot of Armies of NATO and special forces of Pakistan’s Army. We have reasons to believe that this particular weapon was given by Pakistan’s Army to JeM cadres. This clearly shows the complicity between JeM and Pakistan”, said Major General BS Raju, General Officer Commanding (GOC) Indian Army’s Victor Force.”We have reasons to believe 5 to 10 such weapons could have been brought in by terrorists who infiltrated recently”, said Major General Raju.Meanwhile, the Army paid tributes to its soldier Sepoy Vrahma Pal Singh. Singh, 30, had joined the Army in 2004. He was from village Shaujana Rani in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr district. He is survived by his wife, two daughters and a three-year-old son.

Congress unnecessarily criticizing Centre’s economic policies: Rajnath Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday accused the Congress Party of unnecessarily castigating the Centre for its economic policies.”The Congress is trying to defame the Central government on the economic front. The demonetization and the GST are strong economic measures. Had India’s economy not been strong no foreign investor would’ve come here. Fact is foreign investments is rising,” Singh said.The Union Home Minister also claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will attain two-third majority in the upcoming Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections.The polling in the hills is slated to be held in single-phase on November 9. The results will be declared on December 18.Singh also took the occasion to praise the Indian Army.While asserting that the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the Jammu and Kashmir Police and the Intelligence Bureau are working together to neutralize the terrorists and their intentions in the Valley, Singh said, “Pakistan indulges in unholy practices but co-ordination among our security forces is so good that terrorists are being regularly neutralized.”

Interlocutor kickstarts J&K dialogue process

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Terror threats loomed large as the Centre’s interlocutor for dialogue with stakeholders in Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma, arrived here on a five-day visit. Nine delegations and individuals met him on Day One, sources said.These include Youth Sports Forum Qamarwari, Students Association Pattan, Youth Sports Fraternity, Gujar Association, Peace Forum Ganderbal and Youth Forum Kupwara, besides others. He is scheduled to stay for three days and meet a cross-section of society and different political parties.”The hope of resolution via dialogue has been rekindled in J&K. I am optimistic that parties and organisations in J&K will not miss this opportunity to be a part of peace parley”, tweeted J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti.Jammu and Kashmir Minister for Public Works and official spokesperson of the state government, Naeem Akhtar, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has kept his promise by appointing a special representative for Kashmir.”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 that it can only be addressed by embracing Kashmiris”, he saidWhile the government hopes that Sharma’s efforts will break the ice, intelligence inputs received by security forces indicate that militants might step up violence to scuttle the dialogue process in Kashmir.Security forces are suspecting a spurt in grenade attacks on security forces and shoot-and-scoot attacks by militants to create an environment of fear and overshadow the dialogue process in the Valley.”There is an input that there may be grenade throwing and there may be hit-and-run attacks on CRPF and police. Whenever steps are taken which lead to peace, the enemy does not like it”, said Ravideep Singh Sahi, inspector general of CRPF.Sources said security forces have been put on the maximum alert to thwart militant designs and ensure peace in the restive Valley.Meanwhile, Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani asked people to disassociate themselves from pro-Indian politicians, “who are bargaining and exploiting the sacrifices for their personal gains”.

Don’t have a magic wand, but my efforts should be judged with sincerity: J&K special interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Centre’s special representative for Kashmir Dineshwar Sharma says he does not have a magic wand, but wants to be judged by his actions when he starts the process of talks in the Valley on Monday.”I do not have a magic wand but my efforts have to be judged with sincerity and not through the prism of the past,” Sharma, 61, said.The former Intelligence Bureau director added that no one should jump to conclusions before the process of talks with various stakeholders in Kashmir began.”I would like to be judged by my actions,” he told PTI from Delhi.Describing his work as a “serious effort”, he added that “one should refrain from fishing in the desert”.”I am going there tomorrow to be with my people and understand their pain and suffering and find a suitable remedy to their problems,” Sharma said.Responding to criticisms which have appeared in sections of the media, he said in due course he would also meet intellectuals for their advice in achieving “this difficult national task”.Sharma, who is originally from Bihar and was a Kerala- cadre IPS officer of the 1979 batch, held the country’s top- most post for a police officer from 2014 to 2016.He said Kashmir was his “second home” as his professional journey in the premier intelligence unit began here in 1992.”Nothing has changed since I was there for the first time. Kashmiriyat, which means compassion and brotherhood, has not changed even an iota. Therefore, I am hopeful that I will be at least able to contribute towards a new Kashmir, a peaceful Valley where prosperity will be the order of the day,” he said.Last month, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, while announcing that Sharma would be the interlocutor for Kashmir, had referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech from the Red Fort this year.Modi had said on August 15, “Na gaali se, na goli se, parivartan hoga gale lagaane se (Only by embracing the people, and not with abuses or bullets, can there be a change in Kashmir).”Asked about the course of action he would follow, Sharma said, “I do not have a magic wand to change the situation overnight. But having said that, I will like to emphasise during my proposed meetings beginning tomorrow, my every effort will be to work towards ensuring permanent peace in the state.”The special representative will meet political leaders, traders and other delegations tomorrow, according to a list drawn up by the state government.However, he made it clear he had his own list of people whom he would meet as well.To a question about a statement made by the Joint Resistance Front comprising separatist groups including moderate and hardline factions of the Hurriyat and JKLF that they would not meet him, Sharma said the government’s effort should not be seen through the “prism of the past”.”It is purely their choice whether they want to be a partner in peace or on the opposite side of the fence where destruction has been topping the agenda. My suggestion to everyone is that they should not see this effort of the government through the prism of the past.” he said.Efforts had previously been made by successive central governments too, he said.”I have no idea what happened to them and, therefore, I would not like to comment. I can only talk about this initiative which has been done with a serious thought process and months of hard work by many,” he said.

J&K Muslim clergy gears up for fight against liquor

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Muslim clergy in Jammu and Kashmir is bracing up for a showdown against the state government for opening a liquor shop at Srinagar International Airport.Though Jammu and Kashmir is not a dry state, terror outfits have banned liquor in the valley since 1990. Allah Tigers — now a defunct group — ransacked and looted the liquor shops forcing all of them to close down instantly at the onset of militancy in 1990. However four vends were opened in mid nineties amid tight security.The liquor shop at the highly fortified Srinagar International Airport will be a new addition to cater to the tourists and passengers. “Now travellers need not go to different shops, but can pick up liquor of choice from the counter,” said Sharad Kumar, director Airport Authority of India (AAI) Srinagar International Airport.Islamic clergy, angry over the decision, has threatened to launch a public movement and move courts against setting up the liquor shop.”We will not remain silent. We will launch a public movement against this decision. We will also go to court,” said Moulana Ghulam Rasool Hami, chairman of Karwan-e-Islami (KeI), one of the largest religious organisations in Jammu and Kashmir.Opposition too has joined the chorus against banning liquor in the state. “This is against our ethos. All efforts should be made to discourage setting up the liquor shop at the airport. We will take up the issue in Legislative Assembly,” said Hakeem Mohommad Yasin, president of Peoples Democratic Front who represents Khan Sahab constituency in the Assembly.INFORMAL BANWhile Jammu and Kashmir is not a dry state, terror outfits have practically banned liquor in the Valley since 1990.

J&K Police busts ring sending youth to PoK for arms training

<!– /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

FM releases Himachal manifesto, raises J&K

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday linked Jammu and Kashmir’s issues to Himachal Pradesh’s elections and hit out at the Congress, saying that its understanding of the problems in the troubled Valley was inadequate.Speaking at Shimla while releasing the party’s vision document, Jaitley questioned the understanding of former Home Minister P Chidambaram. “Lots of young men from Himachal Pradesh join the forces. If the Congress is asking for greater autonomy for Kashmir, it is looking at weakening the Constitutional relationship Kashmir shares with the country, while security forces work around the clock to ensure peace in the Valley. The hopes of a nation are attached to Kashmir,” he said.Asked whether the BJP has now given up on the issue of development in poll-bound states by raising other issues, Jaitley said that national security and unity will always be issues for the BJP. “These issues are linked to Himachal, the people of this state are very patriotic and have joined the forces in large numbers,” said the finance minister.Jaitley also said that the CM candidate of the party will be an experienced hand. Further, he defended the inclusion of Anil Singh into the party despite its insistence on a corruption-free government. Singh’s father Sukhram Singh Sukhu had been mired in several cases. “But there are no cases against Anil,” said Jaitley.Hitting out at the state government in Himachal, Jaitley said that the Congress’ rule in the last five years was a wasted opportunity. “The financial integrity of the government is in doldrums and there have been several scandals involving the top brass,” said the Finance Minister.He also spoke about the Goods and Services Tax Council’s decision to exempt businesses in hill states earning less than Rs 10 lakh per annum from the tax net. “Several hill states asked to be exempted from the Rs 20 lakh bracket as earnings in the Northeastern and hill states are low. While Jammu and Kashmir asked for a Rs 20 lakh bracket, Himachal Pradesh asked for the Rs 10 lakh bracket,” he said.He added that the Centre-state share is one of the highest in the country; it was 40% which went up by 50%. “(JP) Nadda being the Health Minister has helped Himachal in several ways. Connectivity is an issue here and in an unprecedented way, the transport ministry under (Nitin) Gadkari has ensured that schemes reach the people in the state,” he said.

Those indulging in terrorism in Kashmir will not be forgiven: Ram Madhav

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav on Sunady said while most people in Kashmir want peace, only a few people are indulging in terrorism and they will not be forgiven.Madhav was here to attend the working committee meeting of the BJP’s state unit — the first one in the Valley.A few people in the state are supporting terrorism.”There will be no forgiveness for terrorism. People indulging in terrorism will be dealt with according to the law … but most people here want peace and development and our government will strive to provide the same”, Madhav told reporters here.Madhav said the people of Jammu and Kashmir have rich cultural heritage, but some elements have misled them for their vested interests.The meeting was attended by BJP national vice-president and J&K in-charge Avinash Rai Khanna and Minister of State in PMO Jitendra Singh.

Stop giving conflicting statements about Kashmir: Omar Abdullah to union ministers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Sunday requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to direct his ministers not to issue conflicting statements on the Kashmir issue.Citing Union minister Jitendra Singh’s remark that “there is no such things as the Kashmir issue”, Abdullah at a delegates’ session of the National Conference asked why the Centre appointed a special representative for a sustained dialogue then.He said Dineshwar Sharma, the former Intelligence Bureau chief, who has been tasked with initiating talks with all stakeholders in Kashmir, “would be confused by now due to so many conflicting statements by several Union ministers”.After the Centre named Sharma as its representative, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said “talks would be held with everyone and the Hurriyat would be included. However, Singh said there would be no talks with the Hurriyat.”Then the MoS (Home) also said no talks would be held with the Hurriyat … This won’t work. I have a request.Please stop issuing statements … the way you did ‘note bandi’ (demonetisation) please do ‘zuban bandi’ (keep silent), put a silencer on the ministers. Otherwise, the initiative would end before it even begins… which would be unfortunate for the state and its people,” he said.The NC working president said perhaps the ministers of the central government do not listen to the prime minister.”The prime minister spoke from Red Fort (on Independence Day) … He said Kashmir’s problems can only be resolved by embracing Kashmiris. Wish the ministers had listened to your (PM) speech. It seems your cabinet colleagues were sleeping … None of them pondered over your speech,” he said.On Chidambaram’s remark about greater autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir, Abdullah said the senior Congress leader was speaking “on the basis of his experience and he was speaking for himself not for his party”.Autonomy for the state was not outside the purview of the Constitution, he said, adding that J-K “has acceded, not merged with India”.”We have safeguarded our identity. We have our own Constitution, flag and you cannot compare us with other states,” he said.Abdullah said if achieving anything under the Indian Constitution is anti-national, then he is a “proud anti-national”.The NC working president claimed the situation in the state was worse than what it was in 2014.”I am disappointed that the situation is not the same…The BJP and the PDP ruined this state. There is not a single place in the state where the people are not complaining and where they are not disappointed over their 2014 decision (of voting for the PDP-BJP),” he said.Criticising the chief minister, Abdullah alleged that Mehbooba’s handling of the state has given birth to several militant commanders in the Valley.The NC leader said the Kashmir issue cannot be resolved by economic packages or force, but it has to be resolved politically.”The resolution of the issue cannot be purchased, neither it can be achieved through the barrel of gun. Dialogue is the only solution,” he said.

Valley can’t turn into Syria: Govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government’s interlocutor for talks in Jammu and Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma, has said that the biggest challenge and the top priority are to deradicalise the youth and militants and prevent the Valley from turning into India’s Syria.The mission is to talk to anyone — ordinary youth, even a rickshawala or a thelawala — who can contribute in ensuring that violence ends and peace returns as soon as possible, Sharma told a news agency.”I am worried about the people of Kashmir. If all this picked up, the situation will be like Yemen, Syria and Libya. People will start fighting in so many groups. So, it is very important that everybody, all of us, contribute so that suffering of Kashmiris end”.On October 23, the government decided to initiate talks with all stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir, hoping to restore peace by appointing the former Intelligence Bureau chief as a “special representative for a sustained dialogue”, following a prolonged period of violence in the state.He told the news agency that he will have to convince the youth of Kashmir that they are only ruining their future and the future of all Kashmiris in the name of whether they call it azadi, Islamic caliphate or Islam.”It is a big challenge and I will go about my job with an open mind,” Sharma had earlier told DNA. On being asked whether he will also talk to the separatist leadership of Hurriyat Conference, he had said, “We will speak to whoever is required to speak to… after consultations and a sense of the ground situation”. Sharma is a Bihar-born, Kerala-cadre IPS officer of the 1979 batch. He tracked terror networks in Kashmir and in the Northeast for decades. He is known to have compassionate view on the sufferings of the conflict-hit state. Sharma always kept a low profile and spent 25 years in the IB and headed the agency between 2014 and 2016.Over the last one year since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, there has been an escalation in violence. 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 focus on bringing them back to mainstream. Security forces have gunned down 175 terrorists this year compared to 150 in 2016.

Kashmir: 72 assaulted in braid-chopping incidents in Valley

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In Kashmir, there were 72 cases of people beating up innocents on the suspicion of them being braid-choppers and cases would be registered against all those who took law into their own hands, Director General of Police (DGP) Dr S P Vaid said on Monday.He also said if needed, those accused of beating up the innocent would be slapped with Public Safety Act (PSA), but no innocent person being branded as braid-chopper by the public on suspicion would be booked.”In 72 cases (of braid chopping), people took law into their own hands and beat up the innocent (in Kashmir Valley)”, Vaid told PTI on Monday.Asserting that FIRs would be lodged in all the 72 cases, he said, “The police will deal with miscreants sternly.” The DGP said police would not book any innocent person and in cases where an innocent person have been handed over to the police by the public on the suspicion of being a braid- chopper, police authorities should tell the facts to the media clearly.Vaid said all districts now have Special Investigation Teams (SITs) and officials from Social Welfare and Health department have be involved in it.The health department should depute teams to meet braid- chopping victims and probe the matter, he said.The DGP said, “It (braid-chopping incidents) took place in many parts of northern India and then it was reported in Jammu. Such cases were also reported in south, central and north Kashmir”.”But the difference is that, in Kashmir, there are elements who do not want peace and normalcy,” Vaid said, adding such elements were trying to exploit people’s sentiments to trigger unrest.

Peace is top priority: Dineshwar Sharma on being appointed govt’s special representative on Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The clock has turned full circle for former IB chief Dineshwar Sharma, who was appointed the Centre’s special representative in Kashmir on Monday, 25 years after his first posting for the bureau in the Valley.It was May 1992. Militancy was at its peak and Sharma, then 36, arrived in Srinagar after completing a year of customary training at the Intelligence Bureau headquarters in New Delhi.The Kerala-cadre officer, who was posted as assistant director between 1992 to 1994, went on to head the IB from 2014 to 2016. Today, he was appointed special representative for the government’s “sustained dialogue” process for peace in the Valley.”It’s like homecoming for me. I am sure that I will be able to fulfil the expectations of the government and people of the country,” Sharma said.The 61-year-old — at present the Centre’s pointperson for dialogue with Assam-based militant groups — said he feels honoured that he has been assigned such a challenging task.Kashmir has been a running thread through his career. After his return from the Valley in 1994, Sharma was again posted at the Kashmir desk in the national capital.”The times were tough and I hope that now we will together bring peace in the Valley,” he said.Asked whether he would talk to separatist groups in the Valley, Sharma said, “The modalities are being worked out but I would like to talk to everyone who is interested in bringing permanent peace in the Valley.””Let me make it clear that peace is the priority and for that my doors will be open to everyone,” he said.Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day speech, Sharma said, “… We have to work towards the goal set by the prime minister and embrace Kashmiri’s and ensure that lasting peace is achieved.”Sharma, who has also served in Uttar Pradesh and northeastern states besides holding sensitive posts at the IB headquarters here, called on Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.Sharma would hold talks with all sections of people and organisations, the minister had said at a hurriedly called press conference here earlier in the day.The home minister made it clear that Sharma, who would hold the rank of a cabinet secretary, would have complete independence in deciding who to hold talks with.”The Centre has shown conviction and consistency on Kashmir issue and carrying forward this policy, we have decided to begin a sustained dialogue policy for Jammu and Kashmir,” the minister said.

Remember Burhan Wani’s viral group photo? 2 years on, security forces have neutralised all but one

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On July 8, 2016, Burhan Muzaffar Wani, the 21-year-old ‘poster boy’ of new wave of Kashmir militancy was gunned in Anantnag’s Kokernag area.More than a year later, top Laskar-e-Taiba commander Waseem Shah was killed in Pulwama on Saturday.Between the encounters of Wani and Shah lies the success of Indian armed forces.For Wani and Shah were part of the group photo that went viral in 2015. The photo of 11 young terrorists in army fatigue not only rattled the security forces but also became hugely popular among the youth of Kashmir.Seen as a propaganda attempt, Burhan Wani and his terror gang not only impressed the young minds but swayed the mood in the Valley in their favour.But the Anantnag encounter changed the narrative and thus began the story that led security forces to neutralise one terrorist after another.Despite the clashes and tension following Burhan Wani killing, the security forces were successful in making the impact.But the 2015 photo may have helped the security forces. Before Burhan Wani, Adil Ahmad Khanday, Afaaqullah Bhat and Waseem Malla were killed in 2015 itself. Another major blow that year was surrender of Tariq Ahmad Pandit. In 2016, Burhan Wani was killed in Anantnag. Others who were eliminated include Ishfaq Hameed and Naseer Ahmad Pandit.This year, the biggest success was encounter of Sabzar Ahmad Bhat. Today’s encounter in Pulwama killed Waseem Shah, who had switched sides from Hizbul to Lashkar. Local information also suggests that Anees has also been killed.The only surviving member of the original Burhan Wani gang is Saddam Paddar.Apart from these, other major successes this year include Lashkar chief Abu Dujana, Jaish-e-Mohammed’s operational chief Abu Khalid among others.But the biggest headache of the security agencies remains Zakir Musa, chief of Al Qaeda-linked New Jihadist group ‘Ansar Ghazwat-Ul-Hind. The former top commander of Hizbul Mujahideen has not only distanced himself from the pro-Pakistan group, but is also seen and heard talking about establishing Sharia rule in Kashmir.

Terrorist, girlfriend and an encounter: Real story of killing of Jaish-e-Mohammed’s top commander

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Khalid, one of the oldest surviving foreign terrorists operating in Kashmir, was gunned down by the security forces in Baramulla on Monday.What’s intriguing is the way the security agencies got a very specific intel about Khalid’s movement that led to a brief encounter in Ladoora in north Kashmir.As it turned out, it was one of Khalid’s ex-girlfriend who told the forces about the top Jaish-e-Mohammed commander.According to an India Today report, the woman walked into a senior cop’s office and said that she wanted Khalid dead.She said that she would provide all information but her ex must be eliminated.It was she who told the security forces that Khalid was supposed to meet her in Ladoora.The woman had relationship with Khalid for sometime. But when she got pregnant with his child, he flatly refused to acknowledge her or their unborn child.Angry and heartbroken, the woman left the Valley and went to Jallandhar to abort her child.She later returned to Kashmir to seek revenge form Khalid. There are reports that she was one of the 17 girlfriends Khalid had.Trained in Pakistan, Khalid was also the mastermind of the attack on the BSF camp near Srinagar last week.

Adnan Sami mesmerises audience with medley of hits on shores of Dal Lake in Srinagar

<!– /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

Dibang Valley tops Beti Bachao plan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With an increase of 416 points, the Dibang Valley district in Arunachal Pradesh has seen the highest improvement under the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao programme, followed by Lakshadweep, Hamirpur (Himachal Pradesh), Kadapa (Karnataka) and Pulwama (Jammu and Kashmir), according to officials of the Ministry of Women and Child Development.Officials added that of the 161 districts with the worst sex ratio at birth (SRB), where the flagship programme of the BJP-led government was implemented, a total of 104 districts showed an increase in the SRB. “In 119 districts, the first trimester registration showed improvements, while 12 districts remained stable. In 146 districts, there were improvements in institutional delivery,” WCD secretary Rakesh Srivastava said, adding that the ministry was considering extending the scheme to all districts.In 2015-16, the SRB of Dibang Valley was 761 points, and it rose to 1,176 points in 2016-17. In Lakshadweep, there was a 122-point increase, from 832 to 955 points, while Hamirpur recorded an increase of 94 points, from 849 to 943 points.In Kadapa, there was a 74-point increase from 900 to 974 points, and Pulwama made a 69-point jump from 949 to 1018. The data, officials said, were computed till March 31, 2017.Officials added that while the districts were chosen on the child sex ratio (CSR) numbers from the 2011 census, the progress was counted on the basis of the SRB. The national CSR as per the 2011 census was 918, which means 918 girls were born for every 1,000 boys.SRB data is collected by state officials from the registrations of births and is eventually compiled to compute the CSR.In terms of secondary education, officials said that while the target was to ensure 76 to 79 per cent enrollment of girls in the 161 districts in 2016, they achieved 81 per cent enrollment. The target for 2017 was to have 85 per cent enrollment.”If we draw a vertical line across the map of India, states on the left side have low sex ratio,” said Srivastava, adding that despite the slow progress, things are looking up.In Haryana, the state with the worst child sex ratio (834), when the programme was launched, 14 of the 20 chosen districts showed an improvement, informed joint secretary K Moses Chalai. “In Rajasthan, of the 14 districts, 10 showed improvement, while in Punjab, which had the worst sex ratio after Haryana, 14 of the 20 districts showed an increase,” said Chalai.Chalai added that the districts with the highest points of decline in SRB were Manipur’s Saiha (898 from 1,022), Nicobar Islands (839 from 948), Jammu and Kashmir’s Shopian (959 from 1,062) and Bandipur (885 from 964), and Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad (908 from 977).CAPITAL SHOWOf Delhi’s seven districts, four showed an increase, while the remaining three showed a decline in SRB from 2015-16 to 2016-17. Of those which saw an increase were Northwest Delhi (from 899 to 911), North Delhi (904 to 930), West Delhi (881 to 915), and Northeast Delhi (920 to 960). The districts that showed a decline were East Delhi (918 to 900), South Delhi (916 to 899) and Southwest Delhi (881 to 875).

China resumes building road on Doklam plateau, 10 km from last stand-off: Reports

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>China has resumed building a road on Doklam plateau, latest media reports say.The current road construction is taking place just 10 km from the last stand-off site between India and China.According to NDTV, there are about 500 Chinese troops present at the site guarding the construction.India has yet not objected the construction as it is not southwards towards the militarily-sensitive Jampheri Ridge area like last time.The bulldozers and other material that were used last time have been shifted to the new site by China.An indication of tension between the two countries due to presence of Chinese forces in the Chumbi Valley in the Dokalam Plateau was also given by Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa in New Delhi on Thursday.Addressing media during the annual press conference of the Indian Air Force in New Delhi on Thursday, the Air Chief said despite Doklam resolution Beijing has still not withdrawn the forces from ground completely. “We expect them withdraw,” Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa said.The news comes almost two months after both India and China agreed to “expeditious disengagement” over Doklam.The diplomatic success came at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was scheduled to visit China for the BRICS summit.The stand-off started in mid-June when Chinese troops entered Bhutanese territory to build a road, sparking India’s intervention, citing agreements to maintain a status quo in the region. India had deployed about 350 Army personnel in the area.The status of Chinese troops in geopolitically crucial Chumbi Valley, which was at the heart of Doklam standoff, will have its implications.Days after the face-off ended, Army Chief Bipin Rawat had said China has started “flexing its muscles” and warned that the situation in India’s northern border could snowball into a larger conflict.Sources said though Chinese troops have been deployed in Dokalam Plateau, they leave the area during winters. (With PTI inputs)

Indian Air Force has capability to locate, fix and strike across the border: BS Dhanoa

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa on Thursday said that the Indian Air Force has the capability of locating, fixing and striking across the border.Addressing a press conference on the eve of Air Force Day, Dhanao said that the IAF is prepared to fight at short notice in full synergy with other two sister services if the need arises.”The force is ready for a full spectrum operation but added that any decision on surgical strike involving the IAF has to be taken by the government. We are ready to take on any challenge,” he said.Army chief Gen. Bipin Rawat had said last month that the country should be prepared for a two-front war, insisting China has started ‘lexing its muscles’, while there seems to be no scope for reconciliation with Pakistan whose military and polity saw an adversary in India.Referring to the Doklam standoff, the Air chief said Chinese forces are still present in Tibet’s Chumbi Valley and have not withdrawn completely.“We expect them to withdraw,” Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa said.The stand-off started in mid-June when Chinese troops entered Bhutanese territory to build a road, sparking India’s intervention, citing agreements to maintain a status quo in the region. India had deployed about 350 Army personnel in the area.The status of Chinese troops in geopolitically crucial Chumbi Valley, which was at the heart of Dokla standoff, will have its implications.The Chief of Air Staff also said the IAF will achieve sanctioned strength of 42 fighter squadrons by 2032.

Chinese forces still deployed in Tibet’s Chumbi Valley post-Doklam standoff, reveals Air Chief BS Dhanoa

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chinese forces are still present in Tibet’s Chumbi Valley, Air Chief BS Dhanoa said today.Addressing media during the annual press conference of the Indian Air Force in New Delhi on Thursday, the Air Chief said despite Doklam resolution Beijing has still not withdrawn the forces from ground completely.“We expect them withdraw,” Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa said.The news comes almost two months after both India and China agreed to “expeditious disengagement” over Doklam.The diplomatic success came at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was scheduled to visit China for the BRICS summit.The stand-off started in mid-June when Chinese troops entered Bhutanese territory to build a road, sparking India’s intervention, citing agreements to maintain a status quo in the region. India had deployed about 350 Army personnel in the area.The status of Chinese troops in geopolitically crucial Chumbi Valley, which was at the heart of Dokla standoff, will have its implications.Talking about surgical strikes, the Air Chief Marshal said, “Surgical strike is a decision that has to be taken by the government. Indian Air Force has the capability to carry out full spectrum of air ops.”“Our losses during peace time are cause of concern. We are making concentrated efforts to minimize accidents and preserve our assets,” he added.

Apex court expresses its dismay over bar association’s body submission on pellet guns

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association suggested that accession of the state, rigged elections and the security personnel’s capture and kill policy were the “historical reasons” why the Valley erupted in violence.The Supreme Court on Wednesday said they were “slightly shocked” by the disclosure presented by the lawyers’ body. The Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, along with Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud were hearing a plea seeking a ban on the use of pellet guns in the Valley.The public interest petition filed by the lawyers’ body accused security personnel of using excessive force to control the crowd in the aftermath of Burhan Wani’s death in July 2016. In an affidavit, filed at the behest of the court which sought to understand why the citizens in the Valley were protesting, the lawyer’s association pointed out the “historical reasons” for the continued violence over the years.The Centre, however, contested the submissions made and urged the top court to dismiss them. Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, representing the Centre, said the lawyer’s body had crossed the boundaries of their petition and hence it was not maintainable.”They say every poll since 1947 was rigged, that accession should not have happened, they say that instead of taking peaceful means, a catch-and-kill policy is adopted,” Kumar said.

The inside story of the Srinagar BSF encounter

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A nine-hour long gun-battle was what it took to neutralize the three Jaish-E-Mohammed (JeM) terrorists who had infiltrated inside the 182nd Battalion Camp of the Border Security Force (BSF) in Srinagar in the wee hours of Tuesday but security forces have reason to believe that there are four more JeM cadres who are still roaming free in the Valley and plotting another fidayeen attack.“There is credible information that 10 JeM terrorists had infiltrated into the Valley a few days back. Three of them were killed in the encounter in Pulwama where they attacked the District Police Lines. Of the seven who were remaining, three were neutralized today. That still leaves us with four more terrorists who are still out there planning the next fidayeen attack,” reliable sources told WION/DNA.The BSF Battalion Camp that came under attack today is located in close proximity of the Srinagar International Airport, in the Humhama area falling in Budgam district. And while security agencies maintained that the airport was not the target, the possibility of them using this camp as a base to launch an attack on the airport was not being ruled out completely.The three terrorists who were gunned down today had been spotted in a black-coloured Alto car on the Pulwana-Budgam border late Monday night. Two of them were clad in BSF uniform while the third was in civilian clothing, sources said. In the wee hours today, these terrorists used a wire-cutter to cut the perimeter wire of the BSF camp to get inside. “It appeared to be a brand new, newly-purchased wire-cutter,” a source said.As soon as the three terrorists gained entry inside the camp from the back side of the Subordinate Officers’ (SO) Mess, they ran into different directions. While one of them dashed toward the Administrative Block, the second made his way to the SO Mess and the third made a run towards the canteen.It was then that the terrorist who was running towards the canteen—wearing civilian clothes–was challenged by a BSF sentry. “This terrorist responded with firing a burst but was not good enough for this sentry who took him out swiftly,” a source revealed.The other two terrorists managed to enter the Administrative Block and the SO Mess, respectively. “It was in the SO Mess that this terrorist martyred the BSF Assistant Sub Inspector. Before he could cause more damage, he was overpowered by the JCOs there who snatched his weapon and neutralized him,” the source said.Meanwhile, the terrorist who entered the Administration Block opened fire and injure an Exchange Operator and 2-3 more BSF personnel, one of whom was hit by a bullet in the abdomen. This terrorist was finally neutralized when he tried to escape from the Administration Block by running away.Sources said the three JeM terrorists were heavily armed. They were carrying AK-47s and Pakistani-made Shaheen pistols. A US-made sabre knife (having a compass) was also recovered from one of the killed terrorists.

Nirmala Sitharaman meets J&K Guv, CM; security situation discussed

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today met Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra at the Raj Bhavan here and discussed the security situation in the state.An official spokesman said the meeting lasted an hour.Sitharaman was accompanied by Chief of Army Staff Gen. Bipin Rawat.”The governor and Sitharaman discussed several important inter-related issues concerning effective management of internal and external security, particularly in the context of increasing infiltration attempts, the ongoing anti-terrorist operations, and sustained terrorist attacks on security forces personnel in the Valley,” the spokesman said.At the meeting, the governor stressed the urgent need for enlargement of the Border Roads Organisation and strengthening of its resources for ensuring the maintenance of vital road networks and strategic connectivities in J&K, particularly in the Ladakh region.The governor also sought Sitharaman’s intervention for the return of certain pockets of land to the state government which were no longer required for military purposes.Sitharaman also met Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti here this evening.The two leaders discussed several issues related to the prevailing situation in the state.Mehbooba sought the intervention of the defence minister for the return of certain pockets of land in the state which are no longer required for operational purposes by the Army and about which consensus has already been arrived between state government and the Defence Ministry.Mehbooba also raised the issue of speeding up work on some important roads in the state being constructed by the BRO.She also pitched for the construction of tunnels at the Razdan pass on the Bandipore-Gurez road and the Sadhna pass on the Kupwara-Tanghdar road.The chief minister also proposed opening areas such as Battalik, Siachin base for tourist activities.Sitharaman assured Mehbooba to look into the issues raised by her in a time-bound manner, the spokesman said.

BSF jawan Rameez Ahmad Parray shot dead by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir’s Bandipora

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a stark reminder of Lt Umar Faiyaz’s killing in May, the terrorists gunned down a jawan of the Border Security Forces in Jammu and Kashmir’s Bandipora on Wednesday.According to initial reports, the terrorists stormed the house of Rameez Ahmad Parray in Bandipora’s Hajin area, and started firing indiscriminately.The 33-year-old BSF personnel, who had come home on leave, was declared dead on arrival at the local hospital.Other members of Parray’s family including his father Mohamad Mqabool Parray, mother and his aunt also got injured in the attack.The trio have been shifted to hospital for treatment. The Jammu and Kashmir Police took to Twitter to inform about the killing.Parray’s killing is eerily similar to the kidnapping and murder of Lt Umar Faiyaz, a 22-year-old young army officer, who was posted with 2 Rajputana Rifle.Lt Faiyaz was was picked up from his house at Harmein in Kulgam in May. The body of the young officer was later found three kilometres from his house.The incident took place when the army officer had gone to attend the wedding ceremony of a relative.He was abducted by five to six terrorists from his relative’s house in south Kashmir’s Shopian.His bullet-riddled body was found in Harmain area of Shopian.A local boy from Kulgam district, Faiyaz was in the Infantry and posted in Akhnoor area in Jammu.He was commissioned in the Army in December last year. His death, particularly the brutal nature of it had shaken the Valley.

Banihal terror attack: Two terrorists nabbed, hunt for Aquib continues

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a major success, the Indian Army and J&K Police, in a swift joint operation arrested Gajnafar and Arif, involved in the terrorist attack at Banihal on the SSB personnel on Wednesday. Two service rifles, including an AK assault rifle and an Insas rifle, which were snatched during the attack, were also recovered from their possession. The arrests came less than 48 hours after the terror attack.Yaqub and Arif had been recruited by the inimical forces in the Kashmir valley to foment terror in the Chenab valley region. The duo, along with Aquib Wahid were involved in the terror attack wherein an SSB personnel was martyred and another critically injured. They have been handed over to the Police and hunt for Aquib is presently on.The arrest is a significant blow to the nefarious designs of Anti-National elements in promoting and supporting terrorism in otherwise peaceful Chenab Valley in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. A search of the area and further investigations are under progress.The police are on the lookout for Aquib of Kaskoot, the third suspected terrorist. Aquif was separated from the arrested terrorists after they carried out the attack on the SSB personnel on Wednesday night.

Kashmir tourism bleeds, Rs 1,100 cr loss in a year

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Fida Ahmad Khan, 49, looks pensive at his Spartan office in Downtown Srinagar. For the last one year, Khan, who owns Peace Holidays Private Ltd, has been struggling to pay wages and meet daily office expenses.In the last one year, the number of annual bookings fell to 30 from 300. Khan has suffered a loss of Rs 15 lakh this year alone. “We have become defaulters because we could not pay our loan installments to banks. We lost out on 90 per cent of bookings this year,” says Khan.Khan is not alone. Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani’s killing on July 8 last year and subsequent unrest have cost Kashmir’s hotel industry Rs 1,100 crore.Burhan’s encounter killing sparked daily clashes between security forces and stone-pelting protesters.The protests plunged the Valley in an unprecedented four-month spiral of violence that claimed 90-odd lives and left thousands of people wounded. Curfews, hartals, stone pelting and encounters have shaken the confidence of tourists.”Last year we suffered losses worth Rs 500 crore. This year so far, we have lost out on Rs 600 crore. We have 54,000 beds in the Valley, and occupancy was not even 10 per cent this year. Fifty per cent of our hotels are locked.Most employees in hotels have been retrenched. These losses pertain only to the hotel industry”, says Adil Khan, vice-president of Kashmir Hotel and Restaurants Association (KHARA).In 2017, 7.9 lakh tourists, including 2.6 lakh Amarnath Yatris, have visited Kashmir. In 2016, Kashmir had 11.27 lakh tourists, most of them came before Hizb posterboy Wani was killed by security forces.The tourism sector suffered a loss of Rs 3,000 crore due to unrest in 2016. Around three lakh tourists had visited the Valley between July 2015 and September 2015. The footfalls of tourist however were reduced to a trickle in the corresponding period of 2016 because of the post Wani killing unrest.”This year, arrivals have been hit. It is because of the problems we have been facing for the last one year. We have had ups and downs in the tourism sector”, says Mehmood Ahmad Shah, Director of Tourism, Kashmir.The tourism department is now planning a major publicity blitzkrieg to woo tourists back to the Valley. “We are starting an aggressive advertisement campaign, both through print and electronic media. Plus, there will be road shows, familiar tour and travel marts,” says Shah.”We have had some positive takeaways this year as a record number of Thai and Malaysian tourists arrived in the Valley”, he, however, says.

Hizbul Mujahideen vs Al Qaeda: Split wide open within Kashmir terror groups

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As security forces gunned down Abu Ismail, architect of the Amarnath terror attack, the conflict between Kashmir terror groups came out in open.The simmering tension between pro-Pakistan United Jihadi Council and pro-Islamic rule Al Qaeda has been going on since May when top commander of Hizbul Mujahideen Zakir Musa was named Ameer (chief) of Al Qaeda-linked New Jihadist group ‘Ansar Ghazwat-Ul-Hind.Musa has not only distanced himself from the pro-Pakistan group, but is also seen and heard talking about establishing Sharia rule in Kashmir.Earlier in March, a video was circulated in the Valley in which Musa was seen exhorting the Islamic values.A Guardian report said that the softly-spoken Musa appealed to protesters such as the Pulwama students “not to fall for nationalism”. “I see that many people in Kashmir are engaged in a war of nationalism, which is forbidden in Islam,” he said.The fight in the region should “not be for the sake of Kashmir,” he said. “It should be exclusively for Islam so that Sharia is established here.”Later on July 30, a highly influential Hizbul commander Riyaz Naikoo appeared at the funeral of one of the two terrorists killed in Pulwama encounter and cautioned people against falling into the Al Qaeda trap.Naikoo asked people not to join those who ‘defame freedom movement’.The security forces are closely watching this rift between the terror groups.“Time will tell, but it is definitely an important shift,” SP Vaid, the director-general of the Jammu and Kashmir police service was quoted as saying by the Guardian.Abu Ismail’s encounter is the latest flashpoint in this ongoing conflict.A Firstpost report said Ismail had replaced Abu Dujana as operational chief in Kashmir after Dujana sided himself with Musa.Hours after the death of Ismail, Lashkar’s Jammu and Kashmir chief Mehmood Shah issued a stern warning to the “informers”.So, is this conflict helping the security forces?This cannot be proven directly, but the way Abu Ismail was killed in a 5-minute gun battle, it shows that the secirity forces had a very specific intel about him.Soon after the encounter, Major General BS Raju, commanding officer of Indian Army’s Victor Force said that they are expecting a vacuum in Lashkar’s foreign leadership.“He (Abu Ismail) was directly responsible for the death of 14 security force personal and eight civilians besides injures to lot of people. We are looking 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.”

‘Vaadi-e-Kashmir’ released by Home Minister Rajnath Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Vaadi-e-Kashmir”, a short film on Kashmir, a CSR initiative of KENT RO, was dedicated to Kashmir on behalf of the nation by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Rajya Sabha MP Hema Malini along with Kent RO Chairman Mahesh Gupta.The short film has been created by Law & Kenneth Saatchi & Saatchi.While dedicating this film to the nation, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, “Kashmiris are an important part of the development of this nation. We wish to ensure a promising future for the people of Jammu & Kashmir”.The film endeavours to knit the people of Kashmir with the rest of the country in an open hearted, warm and compassionate message of togetherness. It is a joyful celebration of a diverse country that we inhabit, Kashmir included! The film splendidly appreciates the mesmerising beauty of the valley of Kashmir and its people. Commenting on the film, Mahesh Gupta, Chairman, KENT RO, said, “The film celebrates the beauty of Kashmir and its people, and celebrates the love and togetherness that we share as a nation. The vision of this short 6 minutes film is to ‘make our brothers and sisters in Kashmir feel that the rest of the country stands with them’ and also open many more doors to bring us closer to each other. It’s a simple film which carries a message of oneness, with purity of heart and intent. Just like what KENT RO stands for, purity. It is simple. It is not driven by any political or religious agenda. Instead it is driven by humanity and the sense of family & togetherness. India is a one big diverse family and Kashmir is an integral part of our lives. And we need to celebrate it.”Hema Malini is the curator of this film, working closely with Gupta, Kenneth and the team to ensure this message is captured and shared with the nation. Sharing her thoughts on this initiative she adds “Ye film mere ek bhartiye hone ke naate… hamare pyare Kashmir se judne… aur hamare Kashmiri bhaiyo behonon ke dil ko chhoone ka ek prayas hai…”“As an Indian, this film is my attempt to reach out to Kashmir and touch the hearts of our brothers and sisters in the Valley.”The six-minute short film, directed by the legendary film maker Pradeep Sarkar, is a scintillating way to build a bridge of hearts, between Kashmir and the rest of the country. Shot over a period of 2 weeks in Kashmir, Pradeep Sarkar has brought alive this “Paradise on Earth.”Narrating his experience of shooting this film, Pradeep Sarkar says: “Falling in love at the age of 62 years is possible… it happened to me when I went and met Kashmir! Though it was my first trip to Kashmir, it seemed like I knew the place… the warm and friendly people just make you feel at home instantly. In this film I tried to capture her beauty… but I want to go back to capture her beauty unawares – and also to know her a little better… Believe it, we all need to know her a little better!The film starts with an introduction by Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan. His powerful presence and message is enough to keep you hooked to the film. Shot in the backdrop of beautiful valley of Kashmir with its stunning mountains, greenery and shikara, the video is uniquely fascinating while the youth of the country proudly showcase the love and bond. Furthermore, the outstandingly captivating song sung by Shankar Mahadevan and composed by Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy with lyrics written by Gulzaar, lifts the film and the message to a whole new level.

Pakistan should stop infiltrating terrorists into Jammu and Kashmir: HM Rajnath Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after reviewing the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir at a high-level meeting, Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday asked Pakistan to stop infiltrating terrorists into the Valley.”Pakistan should stop infiltrating terrorists into Jammu and Kashmir,” reported PTI quoting the Home Minister.”We wish to resolve the problems facing Kashmir. I am ready to make all the efforts in this endeavour The situation is improving in Kashmir valley. We wish to see smiles on the face of Kashmiri people,” the Union minister, who is on a four-day visit to the state said while addressing media.”The terrorists have destroyed many generations of Kashmiris. We will not allow another generation to go waste in Kashmir. The worst affected groups in Kashmir are the youth, businessmen, workers and the poor,” he said.Rajnath Singh also said that the government will not go against sentiments of people on Article 35A. “There are no issues left that are why such issues are being raised,” he said.The Home Minister also said that the Centre will run a special tourism drive for Kashmir to promote tourism in the state.The Home Minister also spoke about the permanent solution to Kashmir problem. He says his outreach is based on Five Cs. “The Five Cs of HM’s Kashmir outreach are 1-Compassion 2- Communication 3- Coexistence 4-Confidence Building & 5- Consistency,” Singh said.

Rahul Gandhi leaves for two-week US tour; to meet global thinkers and overseas Indians

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Sunday night left for the US, where he will interact with global thinkers, political leaders and overseas Indians on international, economic and technology issues.Gandhi, 47, will begin his nearly two-week trip to the US with an address at the University of California, Berkeley, tomorrow on the subject ‘India at 70 — Reflections on the Path forward’, where he will talk about contemporary India and the path forward for the world’s largest democracy. His great grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister, delivered a speech at Berkeley in 1949.”Looking forward to addressing students of University of California, Berkeley and interacting with Indian Overseas Congress members with Sam Pitroda during my visit to the US,” Gandhi said on twitter. The Congress party also said on its twitter handle that, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi will interact with students of UC Berkeley on Tuesday, September 12, 7 AM IST.” “The purpose of the visit is two-fold. One is to meet interesting and global thinkers, to have a conversation on what is happening world over on economy, on technology, on opportunities, and really understand different views from experts on the global scene,” technocrat Sam Pitroda, who is involved with the preparations of Gandhi’s visit, told PTI.Pitroda worked with Gandhi’s father and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi for nearly a decade to transform India’s telecom sector. He said Gandhi will meet overseas Indians at an event in New York as part of an outreach by the Congress party. The Congress vice president is scheduled to visit Washington DC. He is likely to address members of the think- tank community at an event organised by the Centre for American Progress, and interact with the corporate world at another programme organised by the US-India Business Council.Gandhi may meet some members of the ruling Republican Party as well. “A lot of these meetings are going to be small and private,” Pitroda said. “He wants to understand more about what’s happening globally and what’s the global view of the situation is,” he said. “He is coming to meet with students and academicians and various thinking people in the US,” Pitroda said. The Congress vice president has often visited the US, but this could possibly be the first time in his political career that Gandhi would hold public meetings, meet political leaders and deliver speeches in the country.”You know he needs to be out, he needs to express his views. You know he has been not, may be, talking publicly about his trips. But I think, it is important that he meets a large number of people this time and also overseas Congress members,” Pitroda said. “Today, the view of India is one short of protected by one group of people. We need to really talk about Indian aspirations, Indian concerns about what is going on not just in India but the world over. Rise of populism is one topic I am sure will come up in the conversation,” Pitroda said.He said Gandhi would interact with Silicon Valley people, where the technology, talent and Indian “brain power” is concentrated. “So, the idea is if you were to meet a lot of Silicon Valley people, it is better to talk about things in San Francisco.” Gandhi will also address a gathering at the Princeton University.

Rajnath Singh reviews security situation in J&K, meets various stake-holders

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today reviewed the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir at a high-level meeting.Governor N N Vohra, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and senior officials from civil administration, police, CRPF and intelligence agencies attended the meeting.Singh was briefed about the prevailing situation in the Valley, an official said.The home minister complimented the security forces for their successes against militants in the state over the past few months, and urged them to maintain their guard, he said.The Union minister, who is on a four-day visit to the state, is scheduled to address a press conference here tomorrow before flying to the Rajouri district in Jammu for the second leg of his visit. A delegation of the opposition National Conference, led by former chief minister Omar Abdullah, today conveyed to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh the party’s concern over the Centre’s ambiguity in defending Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 35A of the Constitution.The delegation called on Singh, who is on a four-day visit to the state, here this afternoon.”While highlighting the political, historical and constitutional context of the state’s special status, Omar registered the party’s concern and disappointment over the central government’s ambiguity in defending the state’s special status in the Supreme Court with respect to Article 35A,” a spokesman of the National Conference said after the meeting.Omar also highlighted the “worsened and constantly deteriorating situation” in the valley.The delegation also sought a sustained and open-ended political engagement with stakeholders in Kashmir irrespective of their ideology, and urged New Delhi and Islamabad to make sincere and sustained efforts towards resumption of a comprehensive dialogue on all outstanding issues including that of Kashmir, the spokesman said.He said the party delegation also reiterated its struggle for the restoration of autonomy and asked the central government to initiate a process of reversing “erosions” made to the state’s autonomy that had been violated by extending various hitherto inapplicable central laws to the state, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) being the most recent example.”The party also decried the singular focus on operational and military mechanisms in dealing with an inherently political issue and asked the central government to reach out to the alienated and isolated youth of the valley,” he added.Meanwhile, party representatives in the delegation from Leh and Kargil, Phuntsog Wangdan Shunu and Aga Syed Abbas Rizvi respectively, highlighted pressing issues in Leh and Kargil.”The representatives raised challenges faced on the connectivity, communication and infrastructure front and sought that the central Government resolves these issues that are a cause of great misery and inconvenience to the people,” the spokesman said.Shunu said the exorbitant airfare to Leh round the year, especially during the months when the road-link is closed, is a source of great misery to the people.He asked the central government to take all possible measures to ensure a reasonable airfare policy for such hilly areas.He also highlighted poor and in certain places defunct quality of BSNL network connectivity, and said the corporation was solely focussed on reaping benefits of infrastructural monopoly in far-flung areas of Leh while failing to provide even basic connectivity.They also sought measures be taken for utilisation of allocated funds for the Zojila tunnel and connectivity to the national grid.Rizvi also reiterated the long-pending demand of a functional civil airport in Kargil and interim, adequate winter air-connectivity arrangement for Kargil that would enable the district to explore it maximum economic and tourism potential.A PDP delegation, led by party vice president Sartaj Madni, also called on Singh and conveyed the party’s views on the issues facing the state.Delegations of state units of the BJP, Congress, People’s Conference and the CPI(M) also called on the home minister.

Hope PM Modi’s message for J&K on I-Day implemented: Omar Abdullah tells Rajnath Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah on Sunday anticipated that Union Home Rajnath Singh will take decisions in the favour of Jammu and Kashmir. Omar asserted and said that he hopes that the message which Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave from the ramparts of Red Fort is implemented and situation in the valley is brought back to normal. ‘We have put forward party’s view point in front of the Home Minister in reference to the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, my other members who came from Leh and Kargil have put forward their view point in reference to Leh and Kargil. The Home Minister has now come on a four-day visit here and meeting people. And we expect that he will take some decision after reaching the centre that will benefit the state of Jammu and Kashmir,’ said Omar.’Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s words from the Red Fort on August 15 have touched every heart in Jammu and Kashmir and we wish that those words are implemented,’ he added.Singh is on a four-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir to hold talks with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and meet all the stakeholders. 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 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.’

Kashmir will be rid of violence, no power can stop it from becoming heaven again: Rajnath Singh

<!– /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.”

J&K police personnel to get bullet-proof vehicles soon: Rajnath Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Centre has allocated funds for the purchase of bullet-proof vehicles for Jammu and Kashmir Police personnel, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said during his interaction with cops in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district on Sunday.His announcement comes in the wake of the killing of six police personnel, including SHO Feroz Ahmad, in Achabal area of Anantnag district on June 16. The slain SHO had requisitioned a bullet-proof vehicle in view of the danger posed by militants in south Kashmir, but was not provided one.”We have allocated funds for purchase of bullet-proof vehicles for Jammu and Kashmir police,” Singh said in Anantnag, 52 kilometres from here.The home minister also said the Centre has approved funds for opening a trauma centre for police personnel and lauded them for working in the “extremely challenging conditions” in the Valley.He paid tributes to the sacrifice made by ASI Abdul Rasheed and constable Imtiyaz who were killed in militant attacks in south Kashmir recently.”Their supreme sacrifices have been made for Kashmir. We are proud of the police personnel. You are working in extremely challenging conditions here. I do not have words to praise the bravery of our brave personnel from Jammu and Kashmir police. Even the Prime Minister has praised your courage,” he said.Underlining the priority attached by the Centre to Kashmir, Singh said no other home minister had ever visited the state so frequently. “I have come to the state the fifth time within an year or so.”The home minister said he had come with an open mind and was willing to interact with anyone who wanted to help in resolving the problems facing Kashmir.Singh will interact with CRPF personnel in Anantnag and is scheduled to chair a security review meeting here later in the day.

Violent protests rock Anantnag, 6 cops injured

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Violent protests rocked Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s constituency Anantnag after a mob protesting the persecution of Rohiynga Muslims turned violent and torched police vehicle and attacked security forces injuring six policemen including two senior police officers.”Soon after the culmination of Friday prayers, some miscreants from a mob started pelting stones on the police and security force personnel deployment at Lal Chowk in Anantnag. They also set a police vehicle on fire. They were chased off by using mild force,” a police spokesman said.Police said six police officers including two deputy superintendent of police Anantnag — Mohommad Yousuf and sub inspector Junaid Ahmad — suffered wounds.A police officer said that Deputy Superintendent of Police Mohammad Yousuf was beaten by a mob and his bullet proof police vehicle set ablaze during the clashes.Other cops injured in the stone pelting include head constable Gurdeep Singh, Constable Shabir Ahmad, Constable Bilal Ahmad and Constable Javaid Ahmad. All the injured were taken to hospital for treatment.Police has registered a case, and massive hunt has been launched to nab the stone pelters. “A case was registered and investigation was set in motion to identify these people,” the spokesman said.Protests and incidents of stone pelting were reported from different parts of the Valley as people took to streets soon after the Friday prayers to protest the persecution of Rohinyga Muslims. Clashes erupted at Pulwama when people tried to lead a march from Jamia Masjid. When the protesters were stopped, they pelted stones prompting security forces to use smoke shells and lathi charge to disperse the mob. Protests were also held in University of Kashmir.Curfew like restrictions were imposed in old Srinagar city to prevent the marches. The call for the protests was given the Joint Resistance Leadership of separatists.What happenedPeople took to the streets to protest the persecution of Rohingya Muslims after Friday prayers in masjids.When stopped by the police, angry mob started pelting stones and set a police officer’s car ablaze. Six police officers, including two deputy superintendent were injured in the clashes.

Day after threatening to march to NIA office in Delhi, JKLF chief Yasin Malik arrested

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front leader Yasin Malik was arrested on Thursday and shifted to a Central Jail in Srinagar till September 11, it has been reported.Sources said the Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was placed under house arrest to prevent the separatist leaders from going to Delhi tomorrow.Malik was detained at his office a day after he threatened to march to the National Investigation Agency in New Delhi after separatists were arrested for their role in stone pelting in the Valley.On Wednesday, two men, including a freelance photo-journalist, arrested yesterday for alleged stone-pelting in Kashmir Valley and mobilising support against security personnel through the social media, were on Wednesday sent to 10-day NIA custody for interrogation. Responding to the move, Malik said that he would not be intimidated by the NIA move. “We will go to the NIA gate to protest,” said Malik.During in-chamber proceedings, the NIA also said the two had to be taken to various places in relation to the ongoing investigation, the sources said.Continuing with its probe in the funding of terror and separatist activities in the Kashmir Valley, the NIA had yesterday arrested Bhat and Yusuf.According to the agency, they were involved in stone- pelting incidents besides organising groups of youths who would throw stones at security personnel involved in counter- insurgency operations.Yusuf, who had often been warned by the local police, was allegedly mobilising the youth and clicking their pictures for circulation in local and national newspapers, it had said.The two, also circulated pictures and videos on social networking sites that sparked widespread rumours in the Valley, the officials alleged.The NIA has arrested seven people 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.

Safeguarding India at home

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The growing threat of radicalisation with the lure of terror groups like Islamic State (ISIS) for thousands of youth has been one of the biggest internal security concerns for the home ministry. To deal with this threat, a change of strategy was introduced with the focus being on counter-radicalisation and a more proactive cyber monitoring mechanism.Bringing militants into the mainstreamThe home ministry’s counter-radicalisation approach which started two years back is yielding positive results. Counter terror agencies say that they are now being told to wait and watch suspects with arrests only being made after they cross a certain threshold. Officials also say that in many cases, after being intercepted, the suspects have not been taken into custody. Instead, with the help of family members and local community leaders, many have been “de-radicalised” and brought back into the mainstream.The government clearly views its de-radicalisation strategy as a success. Presenting a report card in June over what his ministry had achieved over the last three years, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the fact that terror groups like ISIS had failed to establish themselves in India – despite the country’s large Muslim population – was a sign the government’s policies were working.Dealing with security challengesBut while that may be so the government cannot afford to rest on its laurels. Figures show that till now over 90 ISIS aspirants have been arrested from across the country with Kerala, Telangana and Tamil Nadu being the hotbed of activity for attracting young Muslims to jihad.Experts say that to deal with such security challenges, the sharing of intelligence needs to be improved and cyber security must play a larger role in combating terrorism. “There is an urgent need to have a robust mechanism of sharing intelligence in real time between Centre and state, various intelligence agencies and even private organisations that can help,” said a senior home ministry official.On the issue of cyber security, former Home Secretary GK Pillai said old fashioned techniques of gathering intelligence were obsolete and technology had to play a larger role. “There are people who want to still do the things the old way but today the use of technology in intelligence gathering is a must. There has to be a change in the governance pattern to attract youngsters with technical knowhow to assist them in fighting terror threats.”Normalising the situation in J&KDespite condemnation from certain sections over the government allowing the Army and security forces to use excessive force to curb stone pelters in the Valley last year, the ministry claims that the situation has vastly improved today thanks to its policies.According to data from the home ministry, 583 cases have been registered this year against 2,897 cases last year. The data also states that the 2,808 incidents of stone pelting that rocked the Valley last year have come down to 664 in 2017.Asked to explain the reason for the drop in figures, ministry officials say it is thanks to more effective anti-terror operations this year. Ministry data shows that over 135 terrorists have so far been killed this year, as compared to last year’s tally of 150, and it is expected that this year’s tally will overtake 2016 by the year end.Officials believe that this “firm hand” against militancy has led to the drop in terror attacks this year. On July 9, 2017 the ministry informed Parliament that there were 172 recorded incidents of “violence by militants” in the state this year as compared to 322 in 2016. They concluded that by end 2017, the number of terror attacks would be far less than 2016.Fighting the Maoist threatApart from J&K, one of the biggest internal security challenges for the country has been the Maoist insurgency. Though it has shown signs of a decline in recent times, the Maoist threat is far from over. The challenges have certainly taken a toll on security personnel who are taking on rebels indulging in guerrilla warfare. Using their knowledge of the local terrain, guerrillas have planted Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and ambushed security forces which has often resulted in mass killings.The good news is that in the last three years between July 2014 and June 2017 there has been a 22 percent dip in Maoist violence. The government says that the news is all the more welcome considering that the preceding three year period, during the UPA regime, between 2011 and 2014 saw an increase of 78 percent in Maoist attacks.Ministry officials claim the fall in the Maoist attacks is thanks to the dual policy it is following – first of development in the interior areas controlled by Maoists, and second, going after the top leadership. This policy with its focus on road projects, installation of mobile towers for better communication and more recruitment of locals in the Forces has shown some positive signs.However, challenges remain. Ministry officials admit that the government’s bid to expedite road projects in highly troubled areas has not been that encouraging. For instance, the under construction road where 25 CRPF personnel were killed by Maoists in Sukma, Chhattisgarh, has still not been completed for the last three years. The failure to complete the road has continued to risk the lives of the Forces there.On the positive side, the government points to the fact that more and more Maoists are being persuaded to give up the gun. Last year, a record breaking 1,442 surrenders by the red rebels was cited as a high point of success for security forces, the various state governments and the Centre.However, critics have raised questions about the extremely high number of surrenders with some terming them as “fake” or staged. The fact that intelligence agencies too in the past have claimed that “fake surrenders” have been taking place, does take some of the shine away from the government’s claims of success in combating the Maoist threat.Modernising the ForcesEnsuring internal security and safeguarding the border areas cannot be done without modernising and keeping up the Forces’ morale. In this regard, the ministry is facing some challenges. Shortage of arms and ammunition, lack of promotional opportunities, inadequate medical facilities, and allegations of corruption against senior officers by their juniors, are huge challenges for the ministry to overcome.While the ministry has to deal with these challenges quickly, the Forces also need to keep pace with changing technologies, not only to be more effective but also safeguard themselves against new techniques being adopted by the enemy.The Maoists for example have intensified the use of IEDs and have been using new technologies for this. IEDs have accounted for a high number of CRPF deaths in the red zone. Naturally, the Central Reserve Police Force – the main Force that deals with Maoists – wants to upgrade their equipment to deal with this threat, and have written to the ministry about this.Such challenges ensure that the home ministry, despite a string of successes, has much work to do to ensure the country’s internal security. It remains to be seen just how they go about doing this.WHAT OUR FORCES DOCentral Armed Police Forces
Assist state police organisations in special circumstances like communal riots, insurgency and border skirmishes
Border Security Force & Indo Tibetan Border Police
Guard the Pakistan, Bangladesh and China borders
Central Reserve Police Force
They are main force combating Maoists
Central Industrial Security Force
Guards airports and provides security to industries
Sashastra Seema Bal
Guards the Indo-Nepal border

DNA Edit: A kashmiri start-up

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Those who think that power flows from the barrel of the gun and that a violent ideology is the only recourse of the disgruntled people in the Kashmir Valley, should do well to learn from the success of three Kashmiri youngsters.Abrar Yaseen, Muazzam Khursheed and Haider Pareez are sterling examples of how talent can triumph over adversities, and lead the way for innovation. The absence of formal training in Information Technology wasn’t a handicap for the trio, which is credited with rewriting the rules of the start-up game. Their venture PaperSquare, with a seed capital from pocket money, has grown big enough to cater to schools and hospitals by tapping into their software needs. Curiously, their natural aptitude, humble beginnings and entrepreneurial spirit reminds one of another Valley, the Silicon Valley, though the settings are vastly different. Regardless of the everyday violence on the ground, a section of Kashmiri youth is expressing eagerness to join the mainstream. This participation is spontaneous, one that is born out of a realisation of the futility of bloodshed. Their success in IAS exams in the last couple of years bolsters an alternative narrative of peace. These success stories need to be highlighted by both the government and the media to inspire misguided youths to take up gainful employment.

Massive setbacks to terrorists and separatists in Kashmir Valley @ 8/21/2017 4:36:29 PM

<!– /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.)

Massive setbacks to terrorists and separatists in Kashmir Valley

<!– /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.)

Air Defence Regiment to compile data on Spiti Valley’s flora

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The India Army’s oldest Air Defence Regiment today began a trekking expedition to Himachal Pradesh’s picturesque Spiti Valley to compile data on the flora and fauna of the region. The expedition from Kiato to Poh with altitudes upto 15500 feet along the way will be undertaken by the team in a span of 10 days. The expedition team comprising officers, Junior Commissioned Officers and soldiers led by Captain Shantanu Kaushik was flagged off by the Commander, Rising Star Brigade, today. The trekking team will carry the message of the indomitable spirit and Will to Win over the course of the expedition and spread awareness about the Army among the people living in remote Kiato and Pooh areas, a defence spokesman said. The unit will also compile details of flora and fauna of the region on behalf of the formation, he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Hundreds of mourners in funeral procession of man killed by

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hundreds of people participated in the last rites of a cable operator shot dead by militants in Kashmir’s Shopian district, police said today. The funeral procession of Hilal Ahmad Malik, who was killed yesterday, began from his home and passed through Shopian town. His funeral prayers were offered outside the Jamia Mosque there, a police official said. Such funerals in the Valley are generally seen for militants and send the subtle message that people are against the killing of innocents, he said. Malik was shot outside his residence last night by militants and rushed to a hospital here. He succumbed to injuries on the way. The militants involved in the attack have been as Zubair Ahmad Turray and Umar Nazir, police said. Operations have been launched to track down the killers, a police spokesperson said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Maneka Gandhi wants rehab centres away from cops

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Those battling drug addiction in Jammu and Kashmir may have found an ally in Union Minister of Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi. In the last meeting of the group of ministers deliberating over the draft cabinet note of the National Drug Demand Reduction Policy, Gandhi said that people in the Valley addicted to drugs are averse to the idea of going to rehab because most addiction centres are attached to police stations. In a previous meeting, Gandhi had batted for the legalisation of marijuana.The minister’s view was that since these centres are attached to police stations, addicted individuals view going to rehab as a taboo of sorts. She asked union minister of social justice and empowerment Thaawarchand Gehlot to look into the matter.A study conducted by United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNIDCP) in 2008 revealed that over 70,000 people in J&K were addicted to drugs, including over 70% of its student community. The study also showed that over 4,000 of the addicts were women.It was also learnt that in the same meeting, union law and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that, if needed, his ministry will look at ways of helping drug addiction online.The meeting, supposed to be attended by over eight Cabinet ministers, however, saw the attendance of only a handful. The group of ministers is chaired by home minister Rajnath Singh and includes finance minister Arun Jaitley, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, law and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, health minister JP Nadda, apart from Maneka Gandhi and Thaawarchand Gehlot. However, those present included Rajnath Singh, Gandhi, Gehlot and Prasad.

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