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Author: Ishfaq-ul-Hassan

Centre shelves plan to set up world biggest solar power project in Leh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Centre has dropped the plan to set up the world’s biggest solar power project in Leh owing to the huge transmission system cost.Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) had planned to set up 5,000 Mega Watt (MW) solar power project in Leh and 2,500 MW project in Kargil in 2013.The Leh administration had also identified the land for the project. But owing to the huge costs on the transmission system, the government decided to drop the project as of now.”The land too was identified where this project was to be established. But the transmission cost of the project was huge. So MNRE decided to drop it as of now,” T Gyalson, assistant director planning, Leh, told DNA.The solar power project was to be set up in the Leh district which is at the altitude of 11,562 feet and known as roof of the world. The project required at least 20,000 acre of the land in the cold desert. “We had identified the land at Chang Tha side for the project. But it did not take off because of the huge transmission cost”, said Gyalson.The ambitious project was supposed to not only meet the local energy demand but to make the restive Jammu and Kashmir a power surplus state.”India has 5,000 megawatt hydro power projects. It would have been the first solar power project with 5,000 megawatt capacity. It would have been world’s biggest in harnessing solar power,” said an officer.Cold desert of Ladakh has a huge potential in tapping the solar energy. Vast patches of barren land surrounded by gigantic mountains makes Leh a suitable place for setting up the solar power projects.However, the cold desert was left out from the scheme of things till 2013. It was after the experts realised the potential of Ladakh that the planners put their heads together and decided to harness the solar energy potential in a bid to make Jammu and Kashmir a power surplus state.”The evacuation for the transmission line is a big problem for executing the mega project. It is a very costly exercise. Therefore as of now, this project will not take off. However, we are working on smaller projects. There is a proposal for setting up small solar power plants. We are in the process of identifying the land for smaller projects,” said an official of MNRE.

Shelling-proof bunkers to protect civilians in Jammu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India is constructing underground bunkers in the border villages of Jammu as a life saving measure for the civilians to duck the Pakistani shelling.The move comes amid Pakistani forces’ new tactics of shelling in the civilian areas to instill fear among the local population. More than 12 civilians have been killed and over 80 others have been injured in Pakistani firing and shelling on the border villages in the Jammu division since the Indian army carried out surgical strikes on the terror launch pads in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir on September 29. Around 18 soldiers have also been killed by Pakistan army and Rangers along the Line of Control (LoC) and the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir since surgical strikes.More than 87 critical villages have been identified along the LoC and the IB in Jammu district where the government has put the construction of the shelling-proof underground bunkers on fast track.”All the 87 critical villages have been given at least one bunker. We need at least five bunkers in one critical village. In the second round two more bunkers will be given to each critical village”, Simrandeep Singh, district development commissioner, Jammu, told DNA.Constructed at the cost of Rs 4.5 crore under two different government projects, the underground bunkers are being built in such a manner that those could withstand the shells and mortars fired by Pakistani forces.”These are shelling proof bunkers constructed inside the villages. They have double RCC slab which is covered with lot of earth. Each bunker can accommodate 20 people. During the recent cross border shelling 80 people had taken shelter in one bunker,” said Singh.Jammu and Kashmir government has set January 20 deadline for the completion of the bunkers in the first phase. “Around 97 bunkers are to be constructed under two projects, of which 80 have been completed so far. Rest of the 17 bunkers will be completed by January 20”, said Singh.Figures reveal that there are 35,000 to 40,000 people living in the villages which are the worst affected by the shelling from Pakistan. “During shelling, some of the villagers flee their homes for safety. However, some stay back to look after their cattle and other property. Those who stay back can use these bunkers. It is a safety measure because their houses may not be shelling proof”, he said.

Kashmir’s Christian community keeps X’mas a low-key affair

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Standing in solidarity with the victims of unrest, Kashmir’s Christian community on Sunday won the hearts of the majority Muslim community by keeping Christmas celebrations a low-key affair Unlike past, the churches were not decorated and Carol singing was missing too. Churches had deliberately done away with the decorative exterior lighting.Even the customary Santa Claus was missing in the churches as a mark of respect for the people who suffered during the five months of unrest in Kashmir. “So many people have suffered. So many people have died. Kashmiris did not celebrate Eid this year. So therefore we decided to celebrate Christmas with simplicity,” Shami Joseph, an official at the Holy Family Catholic Church, told DNA.More than 90 people have been killed and over 13,000 people injured in the unrest which began after the killing of Hizbul Mujhadeen poster boy Burhan Wani on July 8.Over 1,100 people mostly teenagers have suffered injuries in their eyes when security forces fired pellets to quell the violent mobs across Kashmir. Over 5000 persons have been arrested of whom 500 detained under Public Safety Act, under which a person can be jailed without trial and bail up to two years.“So many of our brothers and sisters suffered due to the unrest. We focused on the spiritual aspect of the celebration rather than the external aspects,” said Father Roy Mathews of Holy Family Catholic Church.

Leh safest route on Kaliash Manasarovar yatra

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Focus has shifted to the Centre after Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti favoured starting the Kaliash Manasarovar yatra from Leh.“I am in favour of opening of more routes. I strongly favour starting of Kailash Manasarovar Yatra through Leh so that the area gets a tourist and economic boost,” said Mufti.Situated at the altitude of 22,028 feet, Mount Kailash is the abode of Lord Shiva in Tibet. Pilgrims perform parikrama at Mount Kailash after the arduous trek. En route is the Manasarovar lake in which a dip is considered holy.So far, yatris took two routes—Lipulekh Pass in Uttarakhand and Nathu La in Sikkim. This involves trekking at altitudes of up to 19,500 feet in inhospitable conditions. An easier route is via Damchok, in the Leh district. However, the Chinese government is reluctant to open this as it falls on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).Leh-Damchok-Mansorvar is the shortest and safest route. In fact, the Ladakhi people have been demanding the opening of this route for economic prosperity as well. A memorandum presented to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014 by former Chief Executive Councilor of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Leh, said, “From here, pilgrims can make the trek in two days. This would also give a much-needed fillip to the local economy.”Nawang Rigzin Jora, who represents Leh constituency in Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly, said India has taken up the matter with China from time to time, but they are reluctant.“They may have their own reasons. There have been incursions off and on (from China) on the Indo China border. Another reason could be Ladakhis are big followers of the Dalai Lama,” Jora said.Jora said there is a road up to the Kailash Mansrovar right from Leh. “Safest route is through Leh. You can fly to Leh, take one or two days to acclimatize and then drive up to Kailash Mansarovar.”

Birdsong replaces boom of guns at Indo-Pak border

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The boom of guns has given way to more soothing sounds along the Indo-Pak international border after winged guests kept their date with the famous Gharana wetland in the RS Pora sector of Jammu division.Earlier the shelling from across the border would scare the birds away. Now that the guns have fallen silent, the birds have stayed for the winter. “Fifteen days ago a shell landed near my quarter smashing its window panes. Since the arrival of birds there is no incident of shelling. If there is shelling again there will be effects on birds, they will flee to some other place,” Amit Kumar Sharma, Wildlife Warden, Jammu, told DNA.More than 1,300 migratory birds from different countries have arrived in the Gharana Wetland Conservation Reserve. Jammu and Kashmir Wildlife Protection Department officials are expecting more than 3,000 birds to arrive in the wetland this fall.“More than 750 bar-headed geese, which is our special feature, have so far arrived in the Gharana wetland. Other species which have arrived so far include pintail, common teal, mallard, black-headed ibis etc,” Sharma, Wildlife Warden said.The arrival of five pairs of majestic black-headed ibis at the wetland has rejuvenated enthusiasm among local bird watchers who await the arrival of their guests every year. “Last year, only one black-headed ibis had arrived at the wetland. This year, five black- headed ibis have arrived so far. This bird has a black head with curved beak,” said Sharma.Spread over 1,600 kanals (20 kanal equals one hectare) of land, the Gharana wetland has been notified as a Wetland Conservation Reserve. Falling under the North West Himalayan bio-geographical zone with sub-tropical climate, the major source of precipitation in the area is monsoon rains.This year, the birds which had earlier been fitted with tracking collars also arrived at the reserve, helping wildlife authorities monitor their migratory patterns and to map their routes. “Two bar-headed geese with neck collars have also arrived. For example, data from one neck collar reveal that the bird was first spotted at Pong Dam from which it has taken a flight to Gharana,” said Sharma.Jammu and Kashmir government has gone on an overdrive to promote the Gharana wetland as an eco-tourism paradise in the state. Every year before the arrival of the migratory birds, the authorities de-weed and de-silt the area to ensure the birds are comfortable in their winter homes. “Lots of bird watchers also visit this site,” said Sharma.

Electric bulbs glow after 70 years in cold desert

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It took more than 70 years for the people in the upper reaches of Kargil to see an electric bulb glowing.Thanks to solar energy, Stakchey brok and Fooker Bodh Kharbu villages situated at the altitude of 14000 feet, have been electrified for the first time since Independence.Since the villages are located at a higher altitude, the authorities had not laid electric cables and poles in these remote areas. This resulted in the people living in abject darkness and using traditional and hazardous means of lighting.Come 2016, the Kargil Renewable Energy Development Agency (KREDA) has installed 12 grids using state-of-the-art DC Nano Grid solar technology to electrify the two villages. Three grids with 250W, 100W, and 70W capacity have been installed in Stakchey brok. Nine grids — three each with 70W capacity, one grid with 250W and five grids of 100W capacity — have been installed in Fookar Bodh Kharboo .”It is for the first time that the villagers are seeing an electricity bulb glowing in their homes. We had given them a home lighting system (solar lantern) in 2010, but its life was only for five years. Now we have used Nano Grid technology to electrify the villages”, Kacho Ahmad Ali Khan, Project Director, Kargil Renewable Energy Development Agency (KREDA), told DNA.Located 80 kilometres away from the town of Kargil, and situated at an altitude of 14000 feet, the two villages house 38 families comprising 150 souls. Most of the villagers eke out their living by rearing cattle. Some of the villages migrate to the plains during winters to graze their cattle.”What we have done is that we have connected three to four houses with one grid. We have given 7-10 LED lights to each family. Every room of the family will now have an LED bulb. The technology is such that the grid is capable of handling the load. Plus the kids of these villagers will now be able to study at home”, said Kacho.After achieving this incredible feat, the Jammu and Kashmir government has set another goal of setting up a 100 KW solar power project to electrify the bigger village on the higher altitudes.”Under this project we will be installing a 100 KW plant to tap the solar power which could cater to a large population in the area”, said Kacho.

Built at a cost of Rs 3,720 crore, India’s longest road tunnel ready to be commissioned

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India has joined the league of extraordinary nations by constructing the longest road tunnel in the country on the strategic Srinagar-Jammu national highway.Built at the cost of Rs 3720 crores, the nine kilometer long Nashri road tunnel is expected to be commissioned early next year. An engineering marvel, it will mark the country’s debut in adopting the integrated tunnel control system (ITCS).The state-of-the-art ITCS system, which is hallmark of selective few countries in the world, will ensure automatic control of tunnel lighting, ventilation, communication, fire control, vehicle monitoring et al. The tunnel will cut down the distance by around 30 kilometers and will save the motorists travel time by two hours.”There was no road tunnel with nine kilometer distance in the country till now. Nashri tunnel will be the longest road tunnel in the country. Civil works inside the tunnel is complete. Only some works on the north side is pending which will be completed in next eight to 10 days. Mechanical and electric works are currently on”, MT Attarde, project director of National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), told DNA.The tunnel and approach roads provide 11km alternative route for 41km of the existing national highway. In addition to the main tunnel, it will have a parallel escape tunnel for the evacuation of commuters in case of any eventuality.The two tubes of the tunnel will be internally connected through 29 cross-passages (each after a gap of 300 meters) and the escape tunnel will be used exclusively by pedestrians.”Everything is automatic. There are two ducts in the tunnel –one for fresh air and another for exhausting the polluted air. There are CCTVs, fight fighting equipment and communication systems installed all along the route. If anything goes wrong the people sitting in the control room will come to know instantly”, said AttardeThe Srinagar-Jammu national highway passes through steep mountains and hundreds of people have lost their lives in accidents and weather vagaries over the years. The authorities have taken several measures to make the journey safer and the tunnel is part of a four lane project on the national highway undertaken to give respite to the commuters.The NHAI is also constructing another major road tunnel – 8.45 km long Banihal Qazigund stretch – on Srinagar Jammu national highway, which will again cut down the distance between two towns by 16 kms.The Kashmir Valley is also being connected by a 292 km train link from Udhampur in Jammu to Baramulla in Kashmir. The Rs 11,000-crore rail link is divided into three sections — Udhampur-Katra, Katra-Qazigund and Qazigund-Baramulla.The first and third stretch of the rail link has been made operational. But the train to valley will become reality only when middle 148 km long section will be completed. This stretch will have the world’s tallest railway bridge – 359 metres tall – on Chenab river in district Reasi.

Leopard trapped in wire fence at LoC rescued

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A six-year old leopard was trapped in a multi-layer razor wire fence on Line of Control (LoC), while trying to cross over. The Army sprung in to action and sent an SOS to the wild life authorities to save the animal in distress.The male leopard had injured his leg when it tried to cross the LoC fence in the Poonch sector a few days ago. The fence is an effective anti-infiltration obstacle system established by the Army to prevent the ingress of militants into Indian side from the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). It was not immediately known whether the leopard was trying to infiltrate or exfilitrate into Pakistan Occupied Kashmir”We got a call from the Army that leopard has been trapped in the fence. We immediately rushed a rescue team to the area. They found leopard trapped in the fence. Its leg had got stuck in between the wires and the animal was trying hard to pull it out. In that process the animal suffered injuries,” Nain Chand Sharma, Wild Life Warden, Rajouri-Poonch range, told DNA.Wild life rescuers pulled out the animal from the fence in a meticulously planned operation. A veterinarian was immediately summoned who administered first aid to the animal before it was shifted to the Jammu zoo for specialised treatment.”Our veterinary doctor at zoo examined the animal and administered injection. After check up, he declared animal fit for releasing in the wild. We later took animal back and released it in its natural habitat near Mughal Road,” said Sharma.What added an interesting feature to the whole saga was that the concern shown by the Army troops who dutifully informed the wild life authorities to rescue the animal in distress.”They did not fire at the animal. Had they fired the animal would have died. In the morning troops when troops saw the animal trapped in the fence they immediately called us up,” said Sharma.Wildlife authorities said the population of leopards have increased manifold in the upper reaches of Poonch where the LoC is located. However the authorities have not been able to conduct any census since the area is highly sensitive.”It happens in this area quite often that wild animals like leopards try to cross the fence. It is not an untold story. It is a forested area. There is no fence at the zero line. At some places fence is half a kilometer ahead of the zero line in our area,” said Mohommad Harun Malik, deputy commissioner of Poonch.

Pampore attack: Army salutes heroes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Eyes went moist and patriotism filled the hearts when the last post was sounded to pay homage to the three fallen heroes of Pampore. Three soldiers were killed when militants ambushed an Army convoy on the strategic Srinagar-Jammu national highway at Kadlabal area of Pampore in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Saturday. The convoy was on its way to Srinagar from Jammu. Most of the soldiers were returning to rejoin their duties in the Valley after visiting their homes.One of three martyrs hailed from Pune, Maharashtra. Thirty-three-year old gunner Farate Sourabh Nandkumar of Bhekrai Nagar, Pune had joined the Army in 2004 and is survived by his wife Sonali Sourabh Farate and twin daughters.Hailing from Kotolipram, Kannur district in Kerala, Naik (gunner) Ratheesh C, 35 had joined Army in 2001 and is survived by his wife Jyoti Krishna Kumar and a son.Only 24, gunner Shashikant Pandey had four years of service in the Army and was in fact on his way to join his unit in the Valley. Survived by his parents, gunner Pandey hailed from Zharian, Dhanbad district in Jharkhand.On Sunday, Indian Army paid befitting tributes to three of its comrades who embraced martyrdom.In a solemn ceremony at Badami Bagh Cantonment, Srinagar, many senior officials from the civil administration and other security agencies joined Lieutenant General JS Sandhu, General Officer Commanding 15 Corps and all ranks in paying homage to the martyrs on behalf of the nation.“The mortal remains of the martyrs will be flown for last rites to their native places where they will be laid to rest with full military honours,” said an army spokesman here.On this occasion, Indian Army pledged to extend all help to the families of the fallen heroes of Pampore. “In this hour of grief, the Army stands in solidarity with the bereaved families of the martyrs and remains committed to their needs and well-being,” said the spokesman.Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Dalbir Singh Suhag also paid tributes to the fallen heroes of Pampore. “COAS and all ranks salute supreme sacrifice of our martyrs and offer condolences to the families of the brave hearts of Pampore,” tweeted Additional Directorate General of Public Information (ADGPI) of Indian Army.

Families still hope missing 1971 heroes will return one day

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Every year on December 16, Nirmal Kour wakes up early and gazes at the king-size portrait of missing war hero Subaidar Asa Singh and tears start rolling down her cheeks.Flashback of memories with her husband plays in her mind as the nation celebrates the victory of the 1971 war against Pakistan.Subaidar Asa Singh of 5 Sikh regiment went missing while fighting gallantly against the Pakistan army in the Chamb sector of the Jammu division. For the last 45 years, Nirmal Kour, 77, has been fighting a quiet battle to bring her husband and other war heroes’ home from Pakistani jails.Kour even went to Pakistan, along with the family members of other missing soldiers, but to no avail. Even after four decades, she has not lost hope and believes that Singh will return home one day.”On this day every year, there is a mourning-like situation at our home. I used to go to Gujarat on December 16 to attend the Vijay Diwas function. But nobody invites us here in Jammu. We are confident that the missing soldiers are lodged in Pakistani jails. If the government tries hard, Pakistan will be forced to release our war heroes,” Kour told DNA.Singh is among the six soldiers of the Jammu division who went missing in the 1971 war. In 2007, the families of missing soldiers visited Pakistan and went to about seven jails but to no avail.”They (Pakistani jail authorities) did not allow us to enter the prison. They kept us in a room outside and showed us some files. They did not allow us to meet anyone in jail,” said Kour.Ninety kilometres away from Kour’s home in Jammu at Kathua, 66- year-old Rano Devi vividly remembers the day when her husband, Sepoy Jagdish Lal of 2 Mahar, left for the battlefield and went missing in the Dhaka theatre.”Jagdish’s wife was pregnant when he left for war. Their third daughter was born when he went missing. We have been fighting since 1971 to bring our heroes home. We even went to the court and won the case after 15 years. The court asked the government to treat the missing soldiers as in service and promote them to the next two ranks. Sepoy Jagdish Lal was promoted to Subaidar while being missing-in custody,” said son-in-law Bansi Lal. Subaidar Asa Singh was promoted as honorary captain.

Demonetization hits terror hard in Kashmir: Starved of cash, militants resort to looting banks

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Demonetization has hit the militants hard in the strife torn Jammu and Kashmir. Starved of funds post demonetization, militants have resorted to looting banks to replenish their coffers in the restive Kashmir Valley.Post-demonetization, robbers have looted four branches of Jammu and Kashmir Bank and decamped with around Rs 69.45 lakh of which Rs 25.16 lakh comprised of old denomination notes of Rs 500 and RS 1000. One of the attempts to loot the bank was foiled in Budgam district of central Kashmir.Most of the banks were looted by militants in militancy-infested south Kashmir belt. Latest being the J&K bank Ratnipora branch in Pulwama district where militants looted around Rs 10 lakh on Thursday. “Obviously they must be feeling the heat of demonetization. Demonetization has apparently squeezed them financially,” Dr SP Vaid, special director general of police, Jammu and Kashmir, told DNA.Terror financing has been a problem area for the security forces given the underhand dealings using different hawala and cross border channels. Most terror money used to be in old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes because it was easy to carry and distribute.After demonetization, the militants and their over ground workers have suddenly faced cash crunch that has hit their activities hard in Jammu and Kashmir.“They (ultras) are facing the heat. Since demonetization it is the third incident of bank robbery and each time they have decamped with around Rs 10 lakh. It is same four-member Lashkar-e-Tioba group comprising two Pakistani ultras and two locals who carry out bank robberies”, Rayees Mohommad Bhat, senior superintendent of police, Pulwama, told DNA.Police said the militants are facing cash crunch because they require huge money for paying to their cadres and buying logistics. “They pay their cadres as per their need. There is no fixed amount that they pay to their cadres. Plus they need money to buy phones, SIM cards and for transportation. They also need money to pay their over ground workers (for arranging logistics). But post demonetization they are facing the shortage of finances”, he said.Figures reveal last year security forces seized Rs 6,75,684 in Indian currency from the militants during different counter terror operations. The cash seizure is the tip of the iceberg because most of the money is handled by over ground workers and the currency seized was from the ultras.“Everything is done in cash. The demonetizing has hit them hard. The money they might be having has gone waste because they were dealing mostly in old high denomination notes”, said an intelligence officer.The cases:Nov 21: Suspected militants barged into the Jammu and Kashmir Bank branch in Central Kashmir’s Malpora village and looted the Rs 12.45 lakh on the gunpoint. However, Rs 11 lakh of the total looted money comprised of the old currency notes.Nov 23: Unidentified robbers opened the locks of Jammu and Kashmir bank branch at Sarthal in Kishtwar district in the dead of night and walked away with Rs 34 lakh cash. Of the total looted amount, Rs 12 lakh was in old de-registered currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000.Dec 8: Unidentified gunmen looted a Jammu and Kashmir Bank branch at Arihal in Pulwama district and decamped with more than Rs 13 lakh cash including Rs 11 lakh new currency.Dec 8: Militants bid to loot the J&K bank at Poshkar village in Budgam district was foiled.Dec 15: Militants barged into the Ratnipora Branch of Jammu Kashmir and Rs 9. 86 lakh cash. It included Rs 16,000 in old denomination notes

Women footballers score a goal against orthodoxy, tension in Jammu & Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Undeterred by the dipping temperatures or indeed the taboos imposed on them by a conservative society, women footballers in Kashmir Valley are bending it just like Beckham did. The women, some dressed in body suits with hijabs covering their heads, are also bending societal rules as they play the game to cheering crowds at the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF)-sponsored football tournament.Pushing tensions and unrest into the background, the footballers have broken new ground every day of the 11-day tournament for young boys and girls that entered the finals Wednesday. Braving the bone-chilling cold, nearly 40 teams, including10 women teams, participated in the event here. Each team, comprising 16 players, played league matches before four teams, two each of boys and girls, made it to the finals.What added zing to the tournament, described as a runaway success by the organisers, were the hijab-wearing players who stole the show. Rewriting global uniform rules, these Kashmiri girls, some of whom have been training with the boys, say the head scarf is part of their dress code.Insha Rasheed, a BA student of the Government Women College in MA Road, has been wearing the hijab since her school days. “I have been playing football for the last one-and-a half years. But I have never shunned the hijab. It is part of my dress code. It is giving me a lot of confidence,” Insha, a defender in her team, told DNA.Afshan Ashiq, who plays as a goalie for Team Women College, also covers her head but, determined to succeed in the world of soccer, trains with the boys. Despite the unrest in the Valley, she would make it a point to be present for practice at Bakshi Stadium.”I am a goalie and sometimes play as a striker. I have been playing football for three years now and have been wearing a hijab all through. I train with the Real Kashmir Club and want to be a world class soccer player,” she said.The mood in the stadium has been electric as crowds leave behind the stresses of the last few months to throng the stadium. When the girls enter the ground, there are loud cheers. For every move, there’s a clap and for every goal, a cheer.Just yards away from the ground, the boys practice hard to win the title.”We stopped practising football for one month during the peak time of hartal and agitation. Sportsmen have a different mentality. Politics and sports are two different things,” said Kamran Shafi Wani, defender of the finalist International Football Club, Nowgam.They have often faced objections from stone-pelting mobs. “We were stopped by stone-pelters many times when we were going for practice. We could not train for months. Our families too were afraid of us going to play fields,” said another footballer, who preferred not to be named.Rajesh Yadav, CRPF Spokesman at Srinagar, said that they had planned the tournament in July but had to defer it till December after trouble broke out following the killing of Burhan Wani.”We are very satisfied with the success of the tournament. Particularly because, the girls have come forward to participate in the tournament. This is very encouraging,” he said.

Former Pak army man arrested on the International Border in Jammu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan has been exposed again after Border Security Force (BSF) arrested 65-year-old former Pakistan army man when he was trying to infiltrate into Jammu and Kashmir from the International Border (IB) in Ramgarh sector of Samba district in Jammu division.Mohammad Baksh hailing from Village Gandiya of Sialkot was arrested on Monday night when he was attempted to sneak in under the cover of dense fog and thick sarkanda (elephant grass) growth.Two Pakistani 500 rupee currency notes, two identity cards, one small knife and one paper with “CMA Lahore Cantt” written on it with pen was recovered from his possession.”It would be relevant to mention here that the Pakistani agencies are making desperate and regular attempts to infiltrate militants/intruders with ill intentions inside Indian territory in order to execute their nefarious designs,” said a BSF spokesman.Giving further details, the spokesman said suspected movement of four to five persons was noticed inside Pakistan territory close to the International Boundary on Monday night.”The vigilant BSF troops kept their movement under close observation despite poor visibility in the area. In order to have a better observation of the area, BSF troops fired Para Illuminating Bombs; the suspected persons retreated back towards Pakistan territory”, he said.However after some time, movement of another suspected person was again spotted by the alert sentries close to the International Boundary at about 50 meters ahead of fence.”The alert BSF jawan challenged the intruder but he kept on moving without any heed. A few precautionary rounds were fired in his direction. However, the intruder escaped unhurt due to the undulating ground in the area. After that, the entire area was kept under strict vigil. Subsequently, the intruder again showed up at some distance and was apprehended by BSF party ahead of fence,” he said.On preliminary questioning, Baksh revealed his name and mentioned that he has served in Pakistan Army and is now a pensioner.Inspector General of BSF, Jammu Frontier, DK Upadhyay told DNA that generally old people work as guides for infiltrators and when they are caught they pretend to be insane.”He could have been guide or he might have to be sent to see whether BSF is vigilant or not or to do recci of some route where from people could be infiltrated. His interrogation is still on,” he saidLast time on September 23, Border Security Force (BSF) arrested a top Lashkar-e-Taiba commander when he was trying to infiltrate into the Indian side of IB at Pragwal sector of Akhnoor area in Jammu division. Abdul Qayum, 32, of Pul Bajuan village in Sialkot, Pakistan, was arrested when he was trying to negotiate border fence to infiltrate into Indian territory.

Russian woman who sacrificed freedom for faith gets ‘moksha’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>For 41-year-old Russian Bonetekia Zoia, it is freedom at last. Zoia had embarked on a spiritual journey to the abode of Lord Shiva at the Holy Amarnath cave in search of Zoia and world peace. Zoia, a mother of two, has been deported to Russia after serving one-year sentence for illegally entering the Valley.Faith transcended all boundaries for Zoia when she embarked on the spiritual journey from St Petersburg to the Amarnath cave in August last year. Luck, however, was not on her side. She was arrested by the police near Domeal Sonamarg last year and charged under Section 14 of the Foreigners Act. Four months later, Zoia, a practising Hindu, was sentenced to one-year jail by a trial court.Though there was a bail provision, she could not get it as nobody in Kashmir was ready to stand surety for her.“I could have bailed her out during the course of trial. But nobody stood surety. Later, we confessed, and, on that basis, she was convicted. Her sentence expired on August 24. But she was released only on November 23. It was a lapse on the part of the government. They bought time to make arrangements for her deportation,” Umar Rashid Wani, Zoia’s counsel, told DNA.Superintendent of Kot Bhalwal Jail, Jammu, Dinesh Sharma, told DNA that she was lodged under the Public Safety Act (from August 24 to November 23) to make arrangements for her deportation. “Later, she got clearance and she was handed over to the Russian embassy,” he said. Zoia converted to Hinduism a few years ago and started her spiritual journey from Pushupatinath temple in Nepal to Kedarnath in Uttarakhand. Amarnath shrine was the next destination. But before she could visit the cave shrine to take a darshan of the Holy Lingam, police arrested her near Sonamarg. “Her entire journey was for moksha and world peace,” said Umar. Zoia, according to her counsel, lost her passport in Nepal and entered India on an ID card. Later, she visited Kedarnath temple and took the Manali-Leh-Sonamarg route for Amarnath yatra.“However, she was not allowed in the cave. She protested and there was a tussle, in the melee, she lost her ID card. She could not prove her identity and the police were trying to arrest her but she ran away and spent a night at Domeal. A day later, she was arrested,” said Umar.

Teen girl with no social media presence becomes Internet star

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When a self-effacing 18-year-old student sang a Punjabi song during a college study tour, little did she know that this was going to be her stairway to stardom. Isha Andotra, BA (second year) student of Kathua district of Jammu, has become an Internet singing star after an amateur video of her Punjabi number became a chart buster notching 8.4 million views and 2.37 lakh shares on Facebook. Interestingly, the new queen of the social media has no cell phone, and therefore no WhatsApp account, and no presence on the social networking sites.If this was not enough, the singing offers galore and producers’ emissaries are making a beeline to woo her for upcoming next project. Unfazed by the new found popularity, Isha has refused all the offers because she wants to focus on her studies.“We had gone to Purthu to visit Grassland for our Environmental Sciences project. During the trip my friends insisted I sing a few lines. I sang from my heart and all my friends and our staff members recorded it on their mobile phones. I don’t know who uploaded the video on Facebook, and on YouTube. It has become so popular that I am getting calls”, Isha told DNA.The 18-year-old and her elder sister have been singing in school and college functions since childhood. But they never considered professional singing till Isha’s video went viral. Isha and her sister have not received any formal training in music from any school or institution. “My sister and I have been singing together in school and college events. Since my sister is now pursuing her Masters in Social Work, I am singing solo”, she said.“A secretary of a Patiala-based music company visited our home and offered to train me professionally for one and half years before launching me in the industry. But I sought more time to think. I want to complete my education before making a foray in the industry,” she said.Isha’s parents are proud, but they want her to complete her education. “It feels great to see and hear about her popularity. My suggestion to Isha is to complete her studies first and then see how things shape up”, said Krishna Devi, Isha’s mother.

Shun stones, focus on careers… counsels police

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jammu and Kashmir Police have embarked on an arduous journey to counsel stone throwers in a bid to wean them away from the path of violence in the valley.Thousands were arrested while more than 90 people have been killed and over 13,000 injured in the unrest since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen leader Burhan Wani’s killing on july 8. More than 1,100 people, mostly teenagers, have suffered injuries in their eyes when security forces fired pellets to quell the violent mobs.Come December, the police are adopting a humane approach to help the youth shun violence and concentrate on career building. To start with, police on Friday organised a counselling session for the youth of Baramulla town and adjoining areas who were involved in violent activities for the past few months.“The session was aimed at creating an understanding so that ways and means are found to prevent recurrence of such violent incidents in future. Many parents and respectable citizens of the town also joined,” said a police spokesman.Senior Superintendent of Police Baramulla Imtiyaz Hussain impressed upon the youth to concentrate on career building and work hard to make up the loss they have suffered in the past few months.“These youth should not to fall prey to the propaganda and, instead, should channelise their energy in constructive and positive pursuits,” he said.“Peace is must for developmental activities and law enforcing agencies have a major role to lead the State towards tranquility and prosperity,” said K Rajendra Kumar, Director General of Police.

Jammu and Kashmir: Terrorists kill 7 Army men in Nagrota, 16 hostages rescued

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On a day General Qamar Javed Bajwa took over as Pakistan Army Chief from General Raheel Sharif, who sent out a warning to India over its “aggressive stance”, terrorists attacked security forces in two separate strikes in Nagrota and Chamliyal in the Ramgarh sector of the Samba district in Jammu. The attack killed seven Army personnel and left eight security men wounded. In retaliation, the Forces killed six terrorists.In Nagrota, a group of heavily-armed terrorists donning police uniforms stormed into an Army mess in the highly fortified camp near 16 Corps headquarters and killed seven soldiers, including two officers, at Nagrota on the strategic Jammu-Srinagar highway on Tuesday.Three militants were later neutralised in the day-long gunfight. Sixteen hostages, including 12 soldiers, two women, and two children, were safely rescued by Army troops.This is the first time since the September 18 Uri attack that terrorists have managed to storm into the Army camp in Jammu and Kashmir. Since Uri, the troops have successfully foiled three terror attacks in Baramulla, Langate and Pampore by killing and forcing militants to retreat. But the growing infiltration bids have also seen a higher death toll. Since the surgical strikes by the Indian Army after the Uri attack, 25 security personnel have been killed in the last two months in Jammu and Kashmir.The terror attack was mounted at 5:30 am when the guards were changing their duties in the formation. A group of terrorists lobbed grenades and fired indiscriminately on the sentries before forcing their way into the formation. The militants then barged into the officers’ mess complex triggering a massive gunfight. Three soldiers, including a major rank officer, were killed in the initial gun battle with the militants.”In the early hours of November 29, a group of heavily armed terrorists disguised in police uniforms targeted an Army unit located three kilometres from the Corps Headquarters at Nagrota. The terrorists forced their entry into the Officers Mess complex by throwing grenades and firing at the sentries. In the initial counteraction, one officer and three soldiers of the Army were martyred,” said Colonel NN Joshi, defence spokesman at Northern Command headquarters.Colonel Joshi said the terrorists later entered two buildings which were occupied by Officers, families and men. “This led to a hostage like situation. The situation was very quickly contained and thereafter, in a deliberate operation all were successfully rescued, which included 12 soldiers, two ladies and two children,” he said.Earlier in the day the Border Security Force (BSF) managed to kill three terrorists but a DIG and another official were injured when IEDs planted on them exploded, as they lifted their corpses.The three militants were carrying handcuffs, suicide belts, nitro-glycerine bottles (liquid explosives), chained improvised explosive devices, grenades, daggers and automatic rifles.BSF officials were surprised to find so many arms and ammunition spurring fears that the militants were being sent into India for a long haul. “They (militants) had big plans. Had they entered, I do not know what they would have done,” DK Upadhyay, Inspector General of BSF, Jammu Frontier, told DNA.The militants were killed in an encounter after they crossed into Indian side and hid themselves in a small structure near the tubewell station near Chamliyal. Alert BSF troops, had been following the ultras since Monday night, after they noticed suspicious movements. In the morning, a heavy exchange of fire took place in which all the three militants were gunned down.”We had controlled them in the tube well structure. We had observed their movements and kept them under fire and observation cover during the night. Since it was pitch dark we started our operation in the morning and eliminated all the three militants,” said Upadhyay.

Jammu and Kashmir: 3 soldiers killed, India warns Pakistan of heavy retribution

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shock, anger and outrage gripped the security and political establishment after the suspected Border Action Team (BAT) of Pakistan badly mutilated the body of an Indian Army soldier and killed two others when they ambushed counter-infiltration patrol on the Line of Control (LoC) at Machhal sector of Kupwara district on Tuesday.Army spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia told DNA that three soldiers were killed in the action on the LoC in Machhal. “Body of one of the soldiers has been mutilated,” he said. “Retribution will be heavy for this cowardly act,” tweeted Northern Command of Indian Army.It is for the second time in less than a month that the body of an Indian soldier has been badly mutilated on the LoC in the Machhal sector. On October 28, militants badly mutilated the body of Rifleman Mandeep Singh of Sikh regiment. One militant was killed then while another fled back to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK).The toll of jawans killed by Pakistan forces on the LoC and International Border (IB)—since the surgical strikes on the terror launch pads in POK on September 29—now stands at 18. Twelve civilians lost their lives and more than 50 others were injured in Pakistani firing and shelling during this period.Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar was briefed by Vice Chief of Army Lt Gen Bipin Rawat on the killings of soldiers – identified as Gunner Manoj Kumar of Uttar Pradesh, Riffleman Prabhu Singh of Rajasthan and Riffleman Shashank K Singh of Uttar Pradesh. All belong to 57 Rashtriya Riffles.Army has vowed to avenge the killings by Pakistani BAT, which is a mix of special forces and jihadis and are used as force-multipliers by Pakistan army.The incident occurred on Tuesday afternoon when the Indian Army’s counter infiltration team was on a routine patrol between the fence and the LoC near Kumkari area. “The attackers who were hiding in the area first ambushed the patrol killing three soldiers. Later they badly mutilated the body of one of the soldiers before fleeing back to POK,” said an officer.Condemning the killings, Jammu and Kashmir deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh demanded that Pakistan should be declared a terrorist state. “Pakistan is a doing the acts which are the trademark of terrorists. They should be declared as terrorist state. Post surgical strikes, Pakistan is facing isolation and they are desperate,” said Singh.The BAT, on January 8, 2013, had breached the LoC in Mendhar sector and beheaded Lance Naik Hemraj and badly mutilated the body of Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh of 13 Rajputana Rifles. Head of Lance Naik Hemraj is still missing and the Army sources say Pakistani soldiers had taken it along after committing the heinous crime.Official figures reveal that Pakistan has carried out 367 violations along the LoC and International Border till November this year. Last year, around 405 incidents of cross-border firing have taken place along the Indo-Pak border in J&K that claimed 26 lives including 16 civilians, six Army men and four BSF men.

Lost vision to pellets, J&K students still appear for exams

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A whiff of fresh air amid the unrest. For the record, the students, who suffered damage to their eye by pellet guns, sent a powerful message across when they wrote their Class X exams despite staring at a bleak future.Class X student Suhaib Nazir suffered vision impairment in one of his eyes when security forces fired pellets after clashes broke out in his area of Pulwama district in south Kashmir in July this year. Despite being operated once, the 16-year-old is unable to regain his eyesight.Suhaib decided to postpone his second surgery, and appear for his examination. “Doctors have recommended a second surgery. I told them that I will first sit for exams and later go for the operation,” said Suhaib.For Suhaib, education is the only means to achieve big in life and that is why he decided to give it a chance, despite not been able to concentrate fully. Such was his conviction that he did not opt for a writing assistant and wrote his papers on his own.“I did not opt for the assistant and wrote my papers myself. There was 50 per cent relaxation in the syllabus, which prompted me to write my papers before going for second surgery,” he said.More than 90 people have been killed and over 13,000 people injured in four-month unrest that started after the killing of Hizbul Mujahedeen poster boy Burhan Wani on July 7. Over 1,100 people, mostly teenagers, have suffered injuries in their eyes when security forces fired pellets to quell the violent mobs across Kashmir.Athar Hussain, 16, had undergone three surgeries to regain eyesight after he was hit by the pellets. So far doctors have little success in restoring his vision. He has been asked to remain ready for the fourth surgery so that he could regain his vision. When the exams were announced, Athar decided to give it a shot before going for the surgery. “It was difficult but I managed somehow. Education is the key and we have to pursue it,” he said.

Demonetization adds to people’s woes in Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Braving the bone-chilling cold, thousands of people made a beeline for the banks early in the morning on Thursday to exchange the old notes amid crippling shutdowns called by the Joint Resistance Leadership of the separatists.Bashir Ahmad boarded a Tata Sumo cab from Anantnag to reach Srinagar not realizing that his Rs 500 notes are no longer legal tender. “I had few Rs 500 notes in my pocket. My fare from Anantnag is Rs 80. When I offered a Rs 500 note to the driver, he refused saying they are not valid anymore. I later rushed to this bank to get it exchanged but the authorities asked me to deposit it in the account. I am stuck,” said Ahmad, waiting at the J&K Bank branch on Residency Road.What has complicated the whole process is the four-month-old unrest, and the shutdowns called by the separatists. For the last four months, the markets have remained shut because of the unrest. Separatists are giving relaxation for few hours during evenings on specific days to buy and store essentials. By that time the banks are closed.“I came from Nishat early morning to buy something. But the shopkeeper refused to take Rs 500 note. I rushed to this branch to get it exchanged. They asked be to fill the form and give Xerox copy of Adhar card or election card. All these documents are at home and there is a shutdown. It is really a pain,” said Mohammad Yaqoob.Those hit hardest by the demonetization process is the tribal community of Gujjar and Bakerwal. They live in higher reaches, and far flung areas which are cut off from mainland for almost six months during winter.“90 per cent of tribals do not have bank accounts. They are nomads who go from place to place. Tribals live in mountains and far flung areas which remain cut for six months. The government should have at least taken this chunk of population into consideration,” Dr Javaid Rahi, Chairperson of Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation, told DNA.According to Rahi, the tribal population in Jammu and Kashmir is around 15 lakh which comprise of 11.9 per cent of the total populace. “The deadline for changing notes is December 30 but most of the areas inhabited by tribals remain cut off. When they come to know about the demonetization it would be too late,” he saidKashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) said the circulation of money has further stopped by this decision. “We have been hit. We are worried now. There is no trade right now (given the unrest). Our day-to-day needs have been hit,” said Mushtaq Ahmad Wani, KCCI President.Commissioner-Secretary of Finance, Jammu and Kashmir, Navin Kumar Choudhary said there is no dearth of currency notes of Rs 100 denomination in the banks across the state, and transactions were taking place smoothly.

Teenage girl makes Kashmir proud

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the valley of death, a teenager has brought smiles back on the sullen faces. An 18 -year -old Kashmiri girl has earned a rare honour by winning the prestigious Dr APJ Abdul Kalam IGNITE award for inventing the first of its kind `Namda Rolling Machine’.A popular Kashmiri woollen rug with embroidery works—Namda— has a huge demand in and outside the Kashmir valley. Along with the carpet, Namda is also exported to different countries as these exquisite woollen rugs are used as decoration pieces as well.A class XII student of Presentation Convent School Srinagar, Zufa Iqbal was one among 30 people shortlisted out of the 55,000 applicants from 458 districts of the country. The award was presented to her by President Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi on Monday. With the new machine on the block, Namda weaving will be less time consuming, which could help in cost effectiveness and capacity-building besides push the overall sales of this Kashmir artcraft.“There was no machine for Namda weaving. I gave this machine which will reduce time considerably. I am using the mechanism of variable tension which creates firmness. Plus in 15 minutes the embroidery and drawing will be incorporating in the same thing,” she said.“When you get ideas you do not know whether it is a hobby or an interest. I call it an interest because I like what I do. Since childhood, I was much aligned to all this stuff. And today, I have innovated this machine. I made three to four models before trying this successful one,” she shared. Daughter of a businessman dealing in exquisite Pashmina shawls, Zufa wants to be pursue either medicine or engineering. “My parents want me to become a doctor. I am also interested in becoming a doctor. But engineering is also a good option. I do not mind becoming an engineer,” she said. Since Namada rolling machine is the first of its kind, Zufa has formally filed for the patent of this innovation. “Kashmir University is my mentor. I did not apply for the award. They recommended me for IGNITE. I have filed an applictaion to get it patented,” she said.In demandA popular Kashmiri woollen rug with embroidery works—Namda— has a huge demand in and outside the Kashmir valley. Namda is exported to different countries as these exquisite woollen rugs are used as decoration pieces as well.With the new machine on the block, Namda weaving will be less time consuming, which will make it cost effective.

Army loses another jawan, 11th since surgical strikes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the border security with military chiefs on Tuesday, another Indian soldier was martyred in Naushera on the Line of Control (LoC) in Rajouri district of Jammu division.With this the number of Indian soldiers killed in Pakistani firing and shelling on LoC and International Border (IB) since the September 29 surgical strikes on terror launch pads in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) has touched 11. Around 12 civilians also succumbed to Pakistan shelling during this period.The unprovoked ceasefire violation by Pakistan army in Naushera sector started in the morning when they used 82 mm mortars and automatics to target Indian positions. Defence spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Manish Mehta in Jammu said heavy damage has been caused to Pakistan army posts. Pak army is using long range weapons including 82 mm mortars, with a range of 4.5 kms, and 120 mm mortars, which have a range of 7 kms, to target deep into the civilian areas along the LoC.Figures reveal Pakistan has carried out more than 105 ceasefire violations with Indian troops foiling 61 Pakistan-abetted infiltration bids. They also confirm 405 incidents of cross-border firing along the Indo-Pak border in J&K in 2015, killing 16 civilians. Of this 253 incidents of cross-border firing have taken place along the IB and 152 along the LoC.

Maharashtra soldier among 2 killed in Pakistan shelling

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Line of Control (LoC) has literally become the Line of Conflict in Jammu and Kashmir. On Sunday, the Pakistan Army resorted to heavy shelling on the Indian forward posts and civilian areas, leaving two soldiers dead and five others, including two women, injured in Poonch and Krishna Ghati sectors of Jammu division.For the second time in the last eight days, a soldier from Maharashtra laid down his life in the line of duty on the LoC. Naik Tukpare Rajendra Narayan of Karve village in Chandbad tehsil of Kolhapur was killed in the Pakistan shelling in Poonch sector. Earlier on October 29, Border Security Force (BSF) constable Koli Nitin Subhash of Sangli, Maharashtra, had died on the LoC in Machil.The second deceased soldier was identified as Sepoy Gursewak Singh of 22-Sikh regiment. Singh hailed from Taran Tarn in Punjab, and was killed while foiling the Pakistan Army-backed infiltration bids in the Krishna Ghati sector.Now, the number of soldiers killed in Pakistan firing and shelling on LoC and International Border (IB) since September 29, when the Indian Army had carried out surgical strikes on terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), has crossed 10. Nearly 12 civilians have also been killed in Pakistani action since the surgical strikes.The latest provocation started on Saturday night, when the Pakistan Army tried to push in a group of militants into the Indian side from the Krishna Ghati sector. “The alert and vigilant troops observed suspicious movement and challenged the infiltrators. The infiltrators opened fire while trying to sneak back towards PoK,” said Lieutenant Colonel Manish Mehta, defence spokesman in Jammu.

J&K Police crack school burning cases; 10 arrested

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jammu and Kashmir Police achieved a first major breakthrough when they arrested 10 people allegedly involved in the torching of two schools in the Kulgam district of south Kashmir.Superintendent of Police, Kulgam, Shridhar Patil told DNA they have arrested 10 people for torching Government High School Mirhama and Jawahar Navodhaya Vidyalaya in the district.“During investigations it has been revealed that the school burning incidents was a mischief by miscreants. The arrested people are also involved in the stone pelting incidents during the unrest,” he said. Police have also zeroed in on some more people involved in the torching of other schools in south Kashmir. However, the accused have escaped outside the Kashmir valley. “Many of them have fled outside the valley. I do not have the exact figures. But we do not know where they have gone. What we know is that they are not at their homes,” said Patil.Sources said police is investigating the links of the accused with the separatists in Kashmir. So far separatists have denied any role in the torching of schools and in fact cried conspiracy to defame the ongoing agitation in the valley.The arrest comes days after Jammu and Kashmir high court took a suo moto notice of the “unfortunate and horrendous episodes” and called for collective efforts to save the school buildings from ”mysterious enemies of education”.“All concerned at their respective levels and the authorities of the government in particular shall immediately take all necessary measures so as to protect these school buildings,” the court said.The court had also directed the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, and Director School Education Kashmir to devise modes and methods in collaboration with higher authorities and lower officials which shall be effective in protecting school institutions.More than 26 schools have been set ablaze by unknown arsonists in Kashmir since the unrest began after the killing of Hizbul Mujahedeen poster boy Burhan Wani.

Pak firing kills 8 civilians, injures 24 in J&K

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistani forces have unleashed bloodbath on the borders in Jammu and Kashmir. Eight civilians, including two children, were killed and 24 others injured in Pakistani shelling on civilian areas and forward posts along the International Border (IB) and the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu division on Tuesday.Hundreds of civilians are trapped in villages as authorities are unable to evacuate them due to the heavy cross-border shelling. The Border Security Force (BSF) launched a calibrated retaliation and destroyed more than 14 Pakistani posts on the IB, opposite the Ramgarh and the Arnia sectors in the Jammu division.”They (Pakistan Rangers) are targeting civilians. What does that mean? Obviously they are frustrated. We are retaliating beyond their expectations. We are responding in those sectors where they fire on us”, said DK Upadhayay, Inspector-General of BSF, Jammu Frontier.Panic gripped the entire border belt in Jammu, prompting the government to close down schools. “Around 350 schools will remain closed,” said Pawan Kotwal, Divisional Commissioner, Jammu. According to Jammu Deputy Commissioner Sheetal Nanda, 45 border schools were closed down in the Samba sector. Poonch Deputy Commissioner Haroon Malik said that 84 border schools were closed in the Balakot zone in his district.The Ramgarh sector in Samba district was hit the worst by the Pakistani shelling, which started at 6.30 am on Tuesday. Pakistani Rangers targeted villages, using 82 mm and 120 mm mortars, leaving six people dead and injuring 10 others. The slain included seven-year-old Rishab and five-year-old Abhi.”Five died due to the shelling and one died of the shock. We are verifying whether the man who died of shock also lost his life because of shelling. Ramgarh was quiet for some days and people were reluctant to move out as their crops were ready and there were cattle as well. This shelling started all of sudden at 6.30 am and has been continuing since then,” Sheetal Nanda, District Development Commissioner, Samba, said.Later, the Pakistan Army took charge and resorted to heavy shelling on civilian areas and forward posts in the Rajouri sector, killing two women. “There are two casualties in the Manjokote area. The two women were in their homes when a shell hit them. Three others were injured,” Shabir Ahmad Bhat, District Development Commissioner, Rajouri, said.Police said three porters were injured when Pakistani troops resorted to heavy shelling in the Naushera area of Rajouri district. “One mortar shell landed very close to the Mendhar police station,” said Johnny Williams, Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Rajouri-Poonch range.Lieutenant Colonel Manish Mehta, Defence Spokesman at Jammu, said that there was unprovoked ceasefire violation by Pakistan in the Naushera sector since 5.30 am using 82 mm and 120 mm mortars, which is being befittingly and appropriately responded to.”Unprovoked ceasefire violation was carried out by by the Pakistan Army in the Balakote sector from 9 am using automatic weapons and 120 mm mortars,” he said.Expressing deep anguish over the loss of human lives, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti made a fervent appeal for dialogue between India and Pakistan. “The escalation of violence along the border and LoC should remind India and Pakistan about the inevitability of sitting across the table to find a peaceful, just and pragmatic solution to all contentious issues. World over, we see how wars have completely destroyed prosperous countries and annihilated cultures. It is the responsibility of the Indo-Pak political leadership to save the region from such a devastating scenario,” she said.

"Mysterious enemies of education" rise after death of headmaster’s son

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pained by the torching of schools, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court (HC) took suo moto notice of the “unfortunate and horrendous episodes” and called for collective efforts to save school buildings from “mysterious enemies of education”.More than 26 schools have been set ablaze in Kashmir after the killing of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani at Bambdoora village on July 8. Wani was the son of a respected school headmaster, Muzaffar Ahmad Wani, of Tral area in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.On Monday, an abandoned school building was set afire in Srinagar. There was no major damage as the fire was doused immediately. On Sunday, two schools – the Central Government-run Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya in Aishmuqam and the Government Higher Secondary School in Kabamarg — were torched in Anantnag.A Division Bench of the HC, comprising Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir and Justice Ali Muhammad Magrey, said that investment in education is an investment for future generations. The Court observed that setting school buildings on fire is in effect destroying knowledge centres of future generations.”The authorities shall immediately take all necessary measures to protect school buildings,” the Bench said. It directed the Divisional Commissioner, Inspector General of Police, and Director, School Education, to devise methods in collaboration with higher authorities and lower officials which shall be effective in protecting schools.The Court directed the Chief Secretary, the Director-General of Police, and the School Education Director to instruct Deputy Commissioners, Senior Superintendents of Police and Chief Education Officers of all districts to take preventive action.Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Education Minister Naeem Akhtar said it is the same people who are looting banks, torching shops and vehicles, stoning innocents and intimidating people, who are responsible for burning the educational institutes.”One doesn’t have to research for the source of this huge conspiracy against the people of Kashmir. It is those people who have created this tirade against education because they see it as a threat to their vested interests,” he said. No inquiry is needed to find out who is behind all this, he said.

Heavy-artillery Diwali catches Pak napping

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After September 29, when the Indian Army took the Pakistan army by surprise through the surgical strikes on terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), they went into the assault mode again on Saturday.The Indian Army decimated four outposts of the Pakistan army, along the Line of Control (LoC), opposite the Keran sector in north Kashmir. “Four Pakistani posts were destroyed in a massive fire assault in the Keran sector. Heavy casualties inflicted,” tweeted the Army’s Northern Command.Officers privy to the action describe the assault as a coup de maître as the Pakistan army was given no time to respond to the barrage of firepower using heavy-weapon systems. “These four posts were tactically placed and used to facilitate infiltration by the militants,” said an Army officer.Decimating the posts was not an action taken overnight or in a hurry, they said. But the decapitation of the soldier in the Machil sector on Friday proved to be the trigger and the action, which was in the planning stage, was fast-tracked. Earlier on Saturday, a BSF soldier and a woman were injured when the Pakistan army violated ceasefire in Keran sector.“It was a carefully-planned operation. From gathering information to keeping a close vigil on Pakistani posts and watch towers, preparing for the assault and using heavy-weapon systems, everything was carefully planned beforehand,” said an officer.Seven Pakistani posts were chosen for the assault and four were completely destroyed. Under a comprehensive plan, Indian Army troops in strategically located posts launched a multi-pronged offensive to pin down the posts.“Indian troops changed the projectile and trajectory of the mortars in a manner that they directly hit the posts. At the same time, troops opened fire with light, medium and heavy machine guns. It created confusion among the Pakistani troops,” said an officer.After pulverising the posts, the Indian Army used rocket launchers to pin down the posts on the ground. “Rockets were fired from different angles, so that the posts were brought down in quick succession. Later, flat-projectile weapon systems were used to ensure that the enemy suffers heavy casualty and none of the troops guarding the posts flee,” said an officer.The difference in the surgical strikes and the destruction of posts was that the Indian Army did not cross the LoC in the Keran sector on Saturday, while it went deep into PoK for the surgical strike on (September 29.)“On Saturday, we maintained an element of surprise. After beheading our soldier, Pakistan might have been preparing for surgical strikes from our side. But we carried out the action in such a manner that their posts were destroyed and inflicted huge casualties by using fire power without crossing the LoC,” said another officer.Figures reveal that Pakistanis have carried out 57 ceasefire violations on the borders since the surgical strike. Around 405 incidents of cross-border firing have taken place along the border in Jammu and Kashmir in 2015, resulting in the death of 16 civilians. Of these, 253 incidents of cross-border firing have taken place along the International Border and 152 along the LoC.

Sound of silence descends in Valley

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BSF rifleman Mandeep Singh of the Sikh regiment and constable Koli Nitin Subhash lived and died for the country. Exactly one month after surgical strikes, the brave sons of India have made a supreme sacrifice on the Line of Control (LoC) in Machil, Kupwara, North Kashmir.Constable Koli Nitin Subhash of Sangli, Maharashtra is the second soldier to have died on the LoC in a span of 12 hours. Mandeep Singh was earlier killed and his body badly mutilated by Pakistan backed militants on Friday evening.Son of a truck driver, 26-year-old Mandeep Singh from Kurukshetra, Haryana had joined the army in 2009. Comrades in his unit remember him as a patriot who always preferred country over self.Nationalism runs in the blood of the family of the rifleman. Singh’s maternal brother serves the same unit, which has been deployed to guard the LoC. Singh’s wife Prerna is working with the Haryana police.Patriotism filled the air as troops remembered the fallen hero on Saturday. “Sepoy Mandeep Singh lived by the teaching of the Holy Guru Granth Sahab and embraced martyrdom by it too,” said anarmy spokesman.Constable Koli Nitin Subhash had joined the BSF in 2008 and was respected for his bravery by his colleagues in the unit. Posted in particular Forward Defence Location (FDL) on the Line of Control (LoC) at Machil since August, he came to prominence when he and his team foiled Pakistan’s Border Action Team (BAT) strike and successfully killed a militant some months ago.On Friday he was to retaliate to the ceasefire violations from Pakistan. While firing a long range weapon, one of the rounds blasted in the chamber causing him severe injury. He was given first aid but developed complications by late evening and succumbed. A BSF soldier and woman were also injured after the Pakistan army violated ceasefire along the Line of Control in Keran sector of Kupwara District. SP Kupwara Shamsheer Hussain said the situation is under control. Army late Saturday claimed that four Pak posts were destroyed in massive fire assault in Keran Sector. ” Heavy casualties inflicted,” tweeted army northern command.

Indian jawan’s body mutilated again by Pak terrorists; Army promises ‘appropriate response’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking barbarism to a new level, Pakistan-backed militants on Friday mutilated the body of an Indian Army soldier close to the Line of Control (LoC) in the Machhal sector. One militant was killed and another, who was possibly involved in the despicable act, fled back to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).“Barbarism is a true reflection which pervades official and non-official organisations across the border. In a despicable act, the terrorist mutilated the body of an Indian Army soldier before fleeing into PoK, supported by covering fire from Pakistan army posts,” a Defence spokesman said. Indian Army has promised a response to this barbaric action. “This act will invite an appropriate response,” he said. The move comes after Pakistan’s Border Action Team breached the LoC and beheaded Lance Naik Hemraj and badly mutilated the body of Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh on Jan 8, 2013.Meanwhile, Border Security Force (BSF) has hit Pakistan Rangers where it hurts the most. More than 15 Pakistan Rangers soldiers have been killed by the BSF in retaliatory action in the last one week along the International Border (IB).Pakistan, however, extended the shelling to the Line of Control (LoC), killing two more civilians in the Mendhar and Chamb sectors of Jammu division on Friday.“What our people have seen and what we have assessed is that at least 15 Rangers and armymen have been killed on the other side in the last one week,” Additional Director-General of BSF, Arun Kumar, said. Two civilians, a woman and a boy, were killed when Pakistani army resorted to unprovoked shelling on Indian forward posts and civilian areas in Mendhar and Chamb sectors on Friday. Fifty-year-old Isma Begum was killed in Mendhar while Ajay Kumar was killed in Gigiryal village of the Chamb sector. Three civilians were injured when Pakistan Rangers resorted to heavy shelling on the border outposts and civilian areas on the IB in Hiranagar sector of Jammu on Friday.The death toll of civilians in Pakistan shelling has now touched three in the Jammu division in the last five days. Three BSF troopers, too, have lost their lives in cross-border shelling since Sunday. More than 35 people have been injured in the cross-border firing and shelling in the last five days.Official figures show that two Army jawans and three BSF men too have been killed since the Indian Army’s surgical strikes on terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) on September 29.During the last 24 hours, Pakistan has intensified shelling and carried out 12 ceasefire violations on the IB and Line of Control (LoC). “We are giving a befitting reply to the ceasefire violations in the RS Pura and Samba sectors, and, particularly, in Jammu. We have never taken any initiative to intensify firing at any point of time. There has been intense firing from across the border, which was strongly retaliated by the BSF and the Army,” said Kumar.Colonel NN Joshi, defence spokesman at Northern Command, said there has been unprovoked ceasefire violation by Pakistan in the Balakote sector from 11.30 am. “They are using small arms, automatics, 82 mm and 120 mm mortars. Our troops responded appropriately and befittingly. There are no casualties on our side till reports came in last,” he said.Fear has gripped the villages along the Zero Line of IB. Thousands of villagers have fled their homes. The police said 90 per cent of population, living around 12 villages in RS Pura and Arnia, have shifted to safer areas.Breaking her silence, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said that war is no solution and Pakistan should initiate dialogue. “Ultimately we have to form a friendly relationship. India and Pakistan need to sit together like civilised nations and talk. I think there is a need for Pakistan to take the initiative,” she said.Meanwhile, the Pakistan army on Friday claimed that none of its soldiers had died at the border, contradicting the BSF’s assertion that it had killed 15 Pakistan Rangers personnel. However, Pakistan accused India of killing three civilians and wounding five others in cross-border fire in the Nakyal sector.

Heavy firing along IB, BSF kills 15 Pakistan Rangers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Border Security Force (BSF) has hit Pakistan Rangers where it hurts the most. More than 15 Pakistan Rangers soldiers have been killed by the BSF in retaliatory action in the last one week along the International Border (IB).Pakistan, however, extended the shelling to the Line of Control (LoC), killing two more civilians in the Mendhar and Chamb sectors of Jammu division on Friday.”What our people have seen and what we have assessed is that at least 15 Rangers and armymen have been killed on the other side in the last one week,” Additional Director-General of BSF, Arun Kumar, said.Two civilians, a woman and a boy, were killed when Pakistani army resorted to unprovoked shelling on Indian forward posts and civilian areas in Mendhar and Chamb sectors on Friday. Fifty-year-old Isma Begum was killed in Mendhar while Ajay Kumar was killed in Gigiryal village of the Chamb sector.Three civilians – two girls and a man – were injured when Pakistan Rangers resorted to heavy shelling on the border outposts and civilian areas on the IB in Hiranagar sector of Jammu division on Friday morning.The death toll of civilians in Pakistan shelling has now touched three in the Jammu division in the last five days. Three BSF troopers, too, have lost their lives in cross-border shelling since Sunday. More than 35 people have been injured in the cross-border firing and shelling in the last five days.Official figures show that two Army jawans and three BSF men too have been killed since the Indian Army’s surgical strikes on terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) on September 29.During the last 24 hours, Pakistan has intensified shelling and carried out 12 ceasefire violations on the IB and Line of Control (LoC). “We are giving a befitting reply to the ceasefire violations in the RS Pura and Samba sectors, and, particularly, in Jammu. We have never taken any initiative to intensify firing at any point of time. There has been intense firing from across the border, which was strongly retaliated by the BSF and the Army,” said Kumar.Colonel NN Joshi, defence spokesman at Northern Command, said there has been unprovoked ceasefire violation by Pakistan in the Balakote sector from 11.30 am. “They are using small arms, automatics, 82 mm and 120 mm mortars. Our troops responded appropriately and befittingly. There are no casualties on our side till reports came in last,” he said.Fear has gripped the villages along the Zero Line of IB. Thousands of villagers have fled their homes. The police said 90 per cent of population, living around 12 villages in RS Pura and Arnia, have shifted to safer areas.Breaking her silence, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said that war is no solution and Pakistan should initiate dialogue.”Ultimately we have to form a friendly relationship. India and Pakistan need to sit together like civilised nations and talk. I think there is a need for Pakistan to take the initiative,” she said.Meanwhile, the Pakistan army on Friday claimed that none of its soldiers had died at the border, contradicting the BSF’s assertion that it had killed 15 Pakistan Rangers personnel. However, Pakistan accused India of killing three civilians and wounding five others in cross-border fire in the Nakyal sector.

BSF jawan, Army soldier fall to cross-border bullets in J&K

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It is a battle like situation on the International Border (IB) in Jammu division. Pakistan Rangers killed another Border Security Force (BSF) soldier, the third in the last five days, injuring seven civilians including three women when they resorted to heavy gunfire along the IB in the RS Pora and Arnia sectors of Jammu division on Wednesday night.In a separate incident, an Army jawan was killed and another injured when troops foiled an infiltration bid on the Line of Control (LoC) in North Kashmir’s Tangdhar sector.Border Security Force later hit back and killed one Pakistan Ranger grievously injuring another in retaliation to the cross-border firing and shelling along the IB in the Jammu division.BSF head constable Jitender Kumar, Bihar was killed when he received shrapnel wounds in shelling at Abdulian area of RS Pora sector. He was rushed to hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. “Salutes to martyr Jitender Kumar for standing tall to frontiers, defending borders till his last breath. True to motto,” tweeted BSF.Pakistan Rangers resorted to unprovoked shelling at 8.30 pm on Wednesday targeting 15 Border Outposts (BOPs) and more than 18 villages. Seven civilians including three women were injured when a shell exploded in Gopar Basti area of RS Pora sector.Pakistan Rangers have been using long range weapons including 82 mm, having a range of 4.5 kilometers and 120 mm mortars, with a range of seven kilometers, to hit deep into the civilian areas along the IB. Pakistan fired around 200 shells during the night to target BSF and civilian areas.Inspector General of BSF, Jammu Frontier, DK Upadhyaya told DNA that BSF is retaliating heavily and in the retaliatory fire one Pakistani Ranger has been shot dead and another has been grievously injured.”Two Rangers were shot by the BSF at two different places. They (Pakistan Rangers) somehow managed to evacuate one of them. Another has been shot dead and he is lying there only. They are targeting almost every post. It is happening in RS Pora, Arnia and Ramgarh sectors,” he said.Upadhyaya noted Pakistan Rangers are making desperate attempts to push in militants to Indian side (under the cover of shelling). “They have been making desperate attempts to send the militants in. That is always there.And that is their prime motive,” he said.In another incident, Indian Army foiled a major infiltration bid when they intercepted a group of militants trying to sneak in from the Line of Control in Tangdhar sector. “In the ensuing encounter one soldier has been martyred and another injured,” said Colonel Rajesh Kalia, defence spokesman at Srinagar.Pakistan shelling has also forced thousands of villagers living close to the IB to flee from their homes. Police said 90 per cent of population living around 12 villages have shifted to safer areas to escape the shelling. “Since Wednesday around 18 people are injured in Pakistan shelling. Only 10 per cent people are currently living in 10 to 12 shelling prone villages. Ninety per cent of people have already shifted,” Surinder Chaudhary, sub divisional police officer, RS Pora, told DNA.Police said most of the villagers of shelling prone areas are putting up with their relatives in the safer areas.”We have set up camps for the people of the shelling-prone villages. Most of the people have gone to their relatives places. Last night, around 250 people were putting up in shelter camps,” said Chaudhary. Pakistan army, meanwhile, has violated the ceasefire in Sunderbani sector which is being strongly retaliated by the Indian Army.

Pakistan creates mayhem on borders; BSF soldier, 6-year-old boy dies in shelling

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan Rangers on Sunday night resorted to heavy and unprovoked shelling on the border outposts (BOPs) and the civilian areas leaving a Border Security Force (BSF) soldier and a six-year-old boy dead, and nine others injured along the International Border (IB) in Jammu division. Around 50 cattle were killed and 180 others injured while 10 structures were damaged when Pakistan Rangers pounded more than 15 villages from RS Pora to Akhnoor sectors using heavy calibre weapons including 82 mm mortars and 120 mm mortars. More than 25 BOPs were targeted by Pakistan Rangers overnight. A BSF spokesman said Head Constable Sushil Kumar sustained bullet injury on his chest when Pakistan violated ceasefire in RS Pora sector on Sunday night.”He was immediately evacuated to Government Medical College Hospital Jammu where doctor declared him brought dead at 1.30am. Two more BSF personnel – assistant sub inspector RD Puri and constable Ayyappa Babu — sustained minor injuries and are recovering in the hospital,” he said. Before making the supreme sacrifice, Sushil Kumar gave a befitting reply to the Pakistani shelling from his post and was instrumental in suppressing the cross-border firing. “His sacrifice shall be remembered forever. As a peaceful country, we never initiated fire from our side but will never hesitate to give a befitting reply if we are compelled. BSF has the history of bravery and this brave act has once again proved that bordermen are always ready to sacrifice their livee for the nation,” said KK Sharma, Director General of BSF.Head Constable Sushil Kumar has become the second BSF soldier to have died while defending the borders during Pakistan’s shelling. Earlier, Constable Gurnam Singh had made supreme sacrifice in the line of duty on Saturday night. “I was told on other side there has been loss of life and property as well. My officers told me that ambulances were seen on Pakistan post Tariq which is opposite to our BOP Chenab. I believe Pakistan rangers suffered damage in our action”, said Sharma.A six year old boy was also killed and his aunt injured when a Pakistani shell landed in Lalyal vallage of Kanachak sector in Akhnoor. Identified as Vicky of Bihar, he was playing in the field when the shell exploded at 8.30 am. His aunt has been admitted in the hospital for treatment. Fear has gripped the border villagers with people in hoards leaving their homes for safer places on Sunday night. “People moved to safer areas on their own last night. People did not report to government shelters but were putting up with their relatives,” said Simrandeep Singh, district development commissioner, Jammu. People in different villages took shelter in the newly constructed bunkers to escape from Pakistani shelling. “Particularly the migrant laborers who do not have house of their own use underground bunkers to escape shelling,” said Singh.39 truce violationsFigures reveal that Pakistan has carried out 39 ceasefire violations along the borders since Indian army launched surgical strikes on terror camps in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir on September 29. There have been seven ceasefire violations in the last five days and twice during the last 24 hours.

Gurnam Singh’s body brought home, father proud of ‘supreme sacrifice’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Constable Gurnam Singh won the battle against Pakistan-backed infiltrators but lost the war with his life. The 26-year-old Border Security Force (BSF) soldier valiantly repulsed a major Pakistan-abetted infiltration on the International Border (IB) in Hiranagar sector of Kathua district on Wednesday night.Seemingly angry by his bravery, Pakistan Rangers sniped at him on Friday morning causing him serious head injuries. Seven Pakistan Rangers and a militant were killed when BSF launched an aggressive offensive after the sniper attack. Son of soil, Constable Gurnam Singh of RS Pora Jammu was rushed to the Government Medical College hospital Jammu where he breathed his last on Saturday night.”Constable Gurnam Singh was instrumental in repulsing forced infiltration by terrorists on intervening night of October 19 and 20. He was targeted by Pakistan on October 21. The soldier struggled hard but could not win over the war of life and attained highest sacrifice in the line of duty for the nation,” said a BSF spokesman.
ALSO READ BSF pays tribute to Gurnam Singh; says he was ‘instrumental’ in foiling infiltrationPride and pain galore his village when the mortal remains of the martyr reached the area for last rites on Sunday. Patriotic slogans rent the air as people paid their last respect to the soldier.”I am proud of the supreme sacrifice of my son for the motherland. I feel happy that my son bravely defended the border and gave befitting reply to Pakistan rangers and terrorists. He killed one of them and pushed back five others,” said Kulbir Singh, father of the slain constable Gurnam Singh.The sacrifice of Gurnam has only strengthened the aim of the family who want a hospital to be constructed for the injured soldiers where they could be treated by the specialist doctors. “As a child Gurnam used to salute BSF vehicles passing by. Since childhood, he wanted to join the BSF. All boys who attain martyrdom are like my sons,” he saidAdditional director general of BSF, Arun Kumar said that Gurnam Singh’s sacrifice shall be remembered forever and a case will be sent to the government recommending gallantry award for him.”Some days ago Pakistan tried to push some infiltrators into our side. Gurnam Singh bravely fought the infiltrators and thwarted their plans to cross the border. One terrorist was even killed. On the next day Pakistan launched a sniper attack in which he received head wounds. He was shifted to GMS hospital and we were about to shift him to Delhi but we lost him in the night,” said Kumar.The ADG of BSF noted that the history of bravery and this valiant act of Gurnam Singh has once again proved that BSF soldiers are always ready to sacrifice their life for the nation.

Militants loot Indian weapons to arm new recruits in Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Facing acute shortage of weapons to operate and arm the new recruits, militants have embarked on a dangerous journey to loot guns from policemen.Post Hizbul Mujhadeen poster boy Burhan Wani’s killing; more than 70 rifles have been either looted or snatched by militants and mobsters in the restive valley.”Obviously weapons are being snatched because they (militants) do not have guns,” K Rajendra Kumar, Director General of Police, Jammu and Kashmir, told DNA.On Sunday night a group of heavily armed militants disarmed the cops posted to guard the television transmission tower in Dooru area of Anantnag district before decamping with their five weapons including three Self-Loading Rifles, one Carbine and one INSAS Rifle.Another bid to snatch rifles from policemen guarding minority community was foiled when guards opened fire at militants forcing them to take a hasty retreat in Sirnoo village of Pulwama district in south Kashmir on Sunday night.Ten days ago a cop was killed and two others injured when militants attacked the cops guarding the minority members with an intention to loot weapons at Jamnageri village of Shopian district in south Kashmir.Figures reveal that around 70 rifles have been looted since the unrest that began after the killing of Burhan Wani on July 8. Of these while 39 have been recovered and rest are still missing. All the weapons have been looted from four districts of south Kashmir.Around 41 weapons including AK-47 rifles, INSAS rifles, one light machine gun and dozens of magazines and ammunition were looted by mobsters after setting ablaze police station Damhal Hanjipora in Kulgam, on July 9.Police later recovered 35 weapons but most of those were burnt in the fire.Intelligence inputs reveal that over 50 youth from south Kashmir have gone missing after the killing of Burhan Wani. Security agencies suspect that they may have joined the militant ranks.However the militant commanders are falling short of guns to arm new recruits, which has prompted them to loot and snatch weapons from the police and other security men.Cops posted in isolated villages to guard the minority community and non-descriptive politician house are the soft targets for the militants to loot weapons.”We are trying to beef up the security at these isolated spots so that militants are unable to snatch or loot the weapons. All the forces have been asked to remain alert to foil any attempts of gun snatching”, said an officer.Targeted at isolated spotsCops posted in isolated villages to guard the minority community and non-descriptive politician house are the soft targets for the militants to loot weapons.”We are trying to beef up the security at these isolated spots so that militants are unable to snatch or loot the weapons. All the forces have been asked to remain alert to foil any attempts of gun snatching”, said an officer.

Jammu and Kashmir: Indian Army to go full throttle against militants

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After 100 days of unrest, security forces have decided to go full throttle against the militants in Jammu and Kashmir.The decision to resume the counter terrorist operations in the hinterland comes in the backdrop of growing number of militant attacks and intelligence inputs that the ultras are regrouping to take advantage of the current unrest in the valley.A high level security meeting was held on Friday under the chairmanship of J&K Governor NN Vohra to review the security situation consequent to the terror attack at Pampore. Top army officers including Northern Army Commander Lt Gen DS Hooda, Director General of Police J&K K Rajendra Kumar, General officer Commanding 15 Corps Lt Gen SK Dua besides Intelligence Bureau head in J&K and senior paramilitary officers attended the meeting.”It was agreed that surveillance should be enhanced not only along the International Border and Line of Control (LoC) but also in the entire hinterland. Counter-terrorist operations should be resumed and steps should be taken to safeguard all civil and military vital establishments in J&K,” said an official spokesperson.For the last 100 days, the counter-terrorism operations have been severely hit with security forces concentrating on maintaining law and order and controlling the street violence.Figures reveal that 39 militants have been killed since the unrest began on July 8 after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen leader Burhan Wani in an encounter at Bamdoora village in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district. Among the 39, only eight ultras were killed in the hinterland. Thirty one militants were killed near the LoC, mostly during anti-infiltration operations.Security forces suffered huge casualties in the militant attacks during the unrest. More than 37 security men were killed by the militants since the unrest began. Of the 15 gun fights that broke out, 11 took place near the LoC and only four in the hinterland. Most of the encounters ensued after militants attacked the forces.Besides fidayeen attacks, the militants have launched shoot and scoot attacks to inflict casualties on the forces. Militants have been targeting the security forces deployed on the law and order duties in a bid to up the ante.On Friday evening a Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) jawan was killed and eight others were injured when their convoy was attacked by ultras near Zakoora in the outskirts of Srinagar.”Three companies were coming back in six vehicles. There were 130 to 138 people travelling in a convoy. Had they not fired back there could have been more casualties,” said Archana Ramasundaram, Director General of SSB.

Are spy pigeons on the loose in Jammu & Kashmir?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Are pigeons being used for espionage? This is the mystery that intelligence agencies are trying to unravel after 153 pigeons were found smuggled from the Punjab border to the sensitive area of south Kashmir. What made things suspicious was that the pigeons — found with pink markings and suspicious rings — were seized after police found them stuffed in cartons at Jammu a few days ago.Authorities have asked intelligence agencies to conduct a probe before releasing the birds.”Some NGO (who did not want to be named) mailed us that the pigeons could have been used for transmitting message across the border. They said some chip had been fitted in their feet, Simrandeep Singh, district development commissioner of Jammu, told DNA.”After seizing the pigeons, who had been packed in cruel conditions, we filed a case under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. Later on, the court released the pigeons and the man (who brought the pigeons) also deposited the fine,” he addedSensing trouble, the authorities immediately asked intelligence agencies to investigate the matter before the pigeons were formally released. “We asked the intelligence agencies to come and study them before we release the birds. We have asked the SSP CID (CI) to probe the matter,” said SinghSingh said the appearance of the pigeons was distinct from the normal birds.”These pigeons have special colours and we are wondering whether this is a colour code. We are trying to clear doubts so that tomorrow it should not happen that someone told us and we did not take action,” he said.Rumpy Madaan, animal welfare officer at the Animal Welfare Board of India, Ministry of Environment, who also heads the NGO Save Animals Value Environment (SAVE) has now been given custody of the birds. She also told DNA that there was something strange in the manner in which the birds had been smuggled.”Some of the pigeons have different colored rings,which immediately raised suspicions. If it was a normal thing then all of them would have rings but only some of them have. Two to three of them even had different and special magnetic kind of rings, and we must investigate why,” said Madaan.She added that the birds would remain in her custody till further investigation.

3-day Pampore encounter ends, 2 terrorists killed

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The 57-hour-long gun battle between two terrorists and the army ended on Wednesday after the security forces gunned down the second militant holed up in a government building on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway.The army had killed one of the two terrorists on Tuesday evening after unleashing a barrage of grenades, rockets and explosives to flush them out of the seven-storey J&K Entrepreneur Development Institute (EDI) hostel building.The operation started on Monday morning when the terrorists cruised through Jhelum and occupied the hostel building to engage the security forces in a gunfight. Eyewitnesses said that the group entered through the rear side and broke open the window panes to gain access to the hostel building.The terrorists had resorted to indiscriminate firing on day one, besides setting some of the rooms on fire. An army jawan was injured in the encounter, police said.The army operation was meticulously planned to avoid collateral damage and special para-commandos were brought in to take on the highly-entrenched terrorists. The forces pounded the building to create a percussion effect, by breaking all glasses and expose the terrorists before pinning them down.”These terrorists most likely belong to Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT),” said Major General Ashok Narula, general officer commanding (GOC) Victor Force of the Indian Army adding, “It was a tricky operation as the building was huge and we did not want any collateral damage.”The GOC said the army started the operation on Monday morning and on Tuesday kept working on it before clearing up the whole premises on Wednesday morning.”It is very sad that militants for the second time have occupied the EDI, which is a pride of Kashmir and centre of excellence where youth get employment. We have taken time because the building has ground floor plus six others floors and one attic. All 60 rooms are bath-attached, the one reason it took time to clear the building,” he said.Police said the bodies of the terrorists have been recovered from the encounter site and their identity is being ascertained. Two AK rifles, nine magazines, grenades and other ammunition have been recovered from the site.”They chose this building to draw the media attention. After the encounter in Baramulla we had information that there might be people who try to sneak in to the city and carry out such attacks on the highways,” said SJM Gillani, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir Zone.

Kashmir: Despite heavy bombardment, terrorists stand their ground in Pampore

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Heavy bombardment was done on the seven-storey Jammu and Kashmir Entrepreneur Development Institute (EDI) hostel building on Tuesday, to smoke-out the terrorists holed up in the concrete structure for more than 36 hours. One of them is believed to have been gunned down by the security forces.From rockets to rocket-propelled grenades to Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), the army used everything to drive out the militants. The bombardments led to deafening noise and shook nearby villages, but militants remained inside, literally using the building as a concrete bunker.The army had brought in the Special Forces of 9-Para. The unit was one of the detachments that carried out the surgical strikes on militant launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).The militants, meanwhile, remained silent the entire Monday night, spurring speculations about their fate. On Tuesday evening, however, as the bombardment intensified, they fired indiscriminately on the troops, signaling that they were still alive. The security forces immediately engaged them in a gun battle, in which one of them is believed to have been killed.”Operation is still on. We will share the details as and when we get them,” said Colonel Rajesh Kalia, defence spokesman at Srinagar.The operation started on Monday morning, when the militants cruised through Jhelum and occupied the hostel building. Eyewitnesses said a group of two to three militants came from the rear side and broke open the window to get inside the building.”The watchman said there were two to three men. Since the main door was locked, they broke the window. Nobody knew at the time that someone has entered the building. The first thing they did was to set ablaze the roof of the building,” Ishfaq Ahmad Mir, in-charge of EDI publicity, told DNA.Seeing the smoke billowing, the watchman rushed to call the fire brigade. “As they (fire brigade) tried to enter into the building, militants opened fire. It is a seven-floor building and all have 10 rooms each, except the ground floor. There are two training halls and a cafeteria on the ground floor. CCTVs have been installed on the first three floors,” Mir said.He added, “A few days ago, we had floated tenders to establish security bunkers around the campus.” Security sources said, “It is not easy for a person to withstand such heavy bombardment. The entire area shook but the militants managed to stay on, which proves they are battle-hardened.”Meanwhile, around 10 people, including two CRPF men, were injured when unknown militants hurled a grenade on police and security force deployment at Bona Bazar area of Shopian district in south Kashmir.

Terrorists mouse-trapped in J&K; second attack on EDI in nine months

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A group of heavily armed fidayeens cruised through Jhelum in a boat on Monday, before occupying the seven-storey Jammu and Kashmir Entrepreneur Development Institute (EDI) hostel building to use it as concrete bunker and engage the security forces in a fierce gun battle.An army soldier was injured in the gunfight, which had been continuing since morning. The fidayeens entrenched themselves at vantage points, and used furniture and other goods to block the staircases and corridors.This is the second time in nine months that fidayeens have been holed up in the EDI complex. On February 22, a 48-hour gun battle between militants and the Indian army had ended after three foreign ultras were neutralised in the EDI building. Three elite para-commandos including two captains, two CRPF men and an EDI gardener, were killed and 13 personnel were injured in the three-day operation.Colonel Rajesh Kalia, defence spokesman at Srinagar, told dna, “The operation is still on. An army soldier has been injured. His condition is stable.”Sources said the group of two to three fidayeens crossed the Jhelum in a boat and barged into the EDI complex from the rear side. Situated on a plateau along the banks of Jhelum, the EDI complex comprises the main office building and hostel. The seven-storey hostel complex is being used as a makeshift office for EDI since February, when the main building suffered extensive damage in a fidayeen strike.Militants tried to set the hostel building on fire to confuse the security forces. When the smoke started billowing out, fire tenders were immediately rushed to the spot. The lurking militants, however, opened fire that blew their cover. “Militants entered the building at 6am and tried to set it on fire,” EDI director Mohammad Ismail Parrey told dna.”We are using the first three floors as a makeshift office. Other floors still serve as hostel. Only a cook and a waiter were present at the time of the attack, who escaped unhurt,” Parrey said.Security forces cordoned off the building from all sides while militants kept firing intermittently. The security personnel fired rockets, grenades and used IEDs to neutralise the militants.”Para commandos of the Special Forces have been called in to eliminate the fidayeens. The personnel are working slowly deliberately in a bid to exhaust the fidayeens and prevent any troop fatality,” said an officer.Security forces have been on maximum alert since the army carried out surgical strikes in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). Sources suspect fidayeens holed up in the EDI complex might have been planning to enter Srinagar but could not do so due to heightened security on the Srinagar-Jammu highway.”Every day, it’s either militants snatching guns or militants staging attacks. How can the Centre be so blasé about where J&K is headed? All the EDI ever did was train young Kashmiri boys and girls to stand on their own feet and not seek government jobs. Militants don’t like that!” tweeted former chief minister Omar Abdullah.Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti-led People’s Democratic Party (PDP) said attacking schools and EDI was a thought-out strategy to deprive Kashmiri youth of opportunities for education and work.

Locals risk lives to save army men in Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When Kashmir is up in arms against New Delhi, a group of local Kashmiris risked their lives to rescue the army men who met with a fatal road accident at Pantha Chowk-Lasjan in the Srinagar outskirts on Sunday morning.An army vehicle with at least 12 soldiers on board skidded off the road and hit a gigantic tree causing injuries to some jawans. Some of the soldiers were stuck inside the truck. What complicated the matter was the low lying high tension wire overhead.As the soldiers were struggling to come out of the mangled truck, a group of locals rushed towards the site and started the rescue operation. Locals disconnected the high tension wire, pulled out the soldiers and shifted them to the hospital in a civilian truck.Indian Army was quick to acknowledge the gesture and thank the locals for their timely help in rescuing the soldiers in distress. “Army thanks the local youth for rescue of soldiers stuck in accident vehicle near Pantha Chowk Srinagar,” tweeted northern command of Indian Army.Colonel Rajesh Kalia, defence spokesman at Srinagar, told dna that the army is thankful to the locals for this great humanitarian and heartwarming gesture. “It will further strengthen the bond of friendship between the awam (people) and the jawan (soldier),” he said.An amateur video shot apparently from the cell phones also went viral on the social networking sites despite the mobile internet blockade in Kashmir. The video has caught the rescue efforts of the locals live with civilian truck being used to help the injured soldiers.Main opposition party National Conference said the gesture by locals is an ideal example of the Kashmiryat (pluralistic culture). “Kashmiris always valued the Kashmiryat. And this gesture proves it once again. Kashmiris have always upheld human values,” said Nasir Aslam Wani, NC provincial president and former J&K minister of state of home.Wani said perception being created about Kashmiris is completely wrong and mistaken. “Kashmir has always maintained high human values. Even during partition Kashmir upheld this motive of humanity. However in the current unrest the government has waged war against its own people,” he said. This is however not the first time when locals have risked their lives to save others in the current unrest which has claimed over 87 lives so far.Amarnath yatris saved in pastOn July 13 a group of local Muslims defied curfew to rescue a group of Amarnath yatris, who met with a fatal road accident at Sangam on Srinagar-Jammu highway in the volatile Anantnag district. Two people including a Kashmiri driver and pilgrim died while 22 others sustained wounds when their bus had a head-on collision with a trawler on the highway in the dead of night.

Army repulses Uri type fidayeen attack, kills three Pakistani attackers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sepoy Ajoy Sarkar did not wait even for a second to retaliate when he saw a suspicious movement outside the perimeter fencing of 30 Rashtriya Riffles (RR) at Langate in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.Posted in one of three bunkers guarding the facility, Sarkar and his five men were one of the first groups of soldiers who took on the three fidayeens when they appeared near the camp from one of the sides in the wee hours of Thursday.Sarkar and his colleagues immediately alerted the officers and within seconds Quick Reaction Teams (QRT) got activated and killed three fidyeens before they could attempt to barge into the camp.”We were six men in our bunker. I saw three militants and we opened fire. We informed our officers and they immediately rushed in. QRT also came and we opened fire,” said Sarkar.Sarkar and his colleagues have become heroes of the Indian Army for repulsing Uri type fidayeen attack when troops killed three militants who were trying to storm the 30 RR camp in early Thursday morning.The subtext of the attack was that Pakistan stood exposed again after army recovered made-in-Pakistan medicines and food items besides huge cache of arms, three GPS sets, four wireless sets, maps, matrix sheets and cutters et al from the three slain militants.”At around five in the morning our sentries spotted three terrorists close to our perimeter fencing. On being challenged three terrorists opened indiscriminate fire on our sentry post and also on our lodging shelters where jawans were resting. Our sentries who were on high alert carried out a retaliatory fire,” said Colonel Rajiv Saharan, Commanding officer 30 RR.Colonel Saharan noted that the QRT was activated and they localised the area where terrorists were spotted. “They carried out sanitization during which Pakistani terrorists were eliminated”, he said. The identity of the militants could not be established.The army officer said militants were carrying huge quantity of arms, ammunition and other war like stores. “It includes three AK 47 riffles, two UBGL. Launchers, large quantity of small arms ammunition and grenades. Besides GPS for navigation, radio sets for communications, maps, matrix sheets and other food items,” he said.Col Saharan said the medicines recovered from terrorists have Pakistani markings. “This ascertains that all of them were Pakistanis. The maps and matrix sheets are being analysed,” he said.The fidayeen attack was foiled at a time when alert troops thwarted three back-to-back infiltration bids along the Line of Control leaving four militants dead in north Kashmir.Three infiltration bids were foiled when troops guarding the LoC saw suspicious movement in Naugam and Rampur sectors. Immediately operation was launched in both the sectors Four militants were later killed in Naugam sector where two back to back infiltration bids were thwarted early this morning.”Four militants were killed in Naugam sector. Search operation is still on. Three ultras were killed in Langate,” said Colonel Rajesh Kalia defence spokesman at Srinagar said.

Pak shelling leaves trail of destruction on LoC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Stepping up their offensive, Pakistan Army shelled a strategic fuel depot of the security forces, leaving a trail of destruction along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Saujian sector of Poonch district in Jammu division.More than 20 shops were razed to ground after massive fire engulfed the Saujian village when Pakistan shells landed in the fuel depot, which is used for supplying oil to the forward posts of the security forces stationed on the Line of Control.”Almost 20 shops and two bikes were gutted in the fire. A car has also suffered some damages in the firing. It is a place where the fuel barrels are kept for their onward movement to the forward posts. The incident happened 48 hours ago when cross border shelling took place in Saujiyan and Shahpur sectors,” Mohammad Harun Malik, district development commissioner of Poonch, told dna.Malik said they are currently assessing the losses caused to the property due to the cross border shelling. “Loss statement has not been made. I had personally gone for the inspection of the affected area of Saujian today.Wooden works and roofs of the shops have been gutted completely but the walls are intact,” he said.Pakistani army has opened few more fronts and extended shelling to newer areas in Mendhar and Sunderbani sectors of the LoC. “Ceasefire violations in Sunderbani and Mendhar sectors are being strongly retaliated by our forces,” said an army officer.Lieutenant Colonel Manish Mehta, defence spokesman at Jammu, said Pakistan started to unprovoked cease fire violations in Krishna Ghati sector from 5 pm on Tuesday using arms, automatics and mortars.”Firing stopped at Krishna Ghati sector 8 pm but intermittently continues in Naushera sector. Firing is being appropriately responded by own troops,” he said.Deputy inspector general of police, Rajouri-Poonch range, Johnny Williams told dna that the authorities have evacuated few civilians from some areas in Naushera sector of LoC following the shelling.”We had to do evacuation in the wake of shelling. Around 50 to 60 people were evacuated. Basically the shelling is from post to post,” he said.Pakistan has also opened another front in Macchal sector by resorting to heavy shelling on Indian forward posts on Wednesday. “Ceasefire Violation in Machhal Sector by Pakistan is being strongly retaliated,” tweeted Northern Command of the Indian army.Hundreds of families have shifted to safer places after Pakistani army intensified the shelling since the Indian army carried out surgical strikes on terror launch pads in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir last week.Meanwhile, police in its continuous and sustained drive against the trouble mongers arrested 76 people involved in various offences of disturbing public order in different parts of the valley

J &K: 2 militants neutralised in attack on Rashtriya Rifles camp in Baramulla; 1 jawan martyred

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Three days after the Indian Army’s surgical strike on terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), militants launched a major attack on an Army camp at Baramulla town on late Sunday evening. Late night reports said two terrorists and a Border Security Force (BSF) jawan were killed. One jawan was wounded.The gunfight started at 10.30 pm when unknown militants attacked the 46 Rashtriya Rifles camp at Janbazpora area.Taking advantage of the darkness, militants first lobbed grenades and then opened heavy fire on the camp, sources said. The Army immediately retaliated on the militants. The exchange of heavy firing between the militants and the Army was on till reports came in.“Terrorists opened fire on the Army camp. The exchange of fire is still going on”, Colonel Rajesh Kalia, defence spokesman at Srinagar, told dna.Panic has gripped the area, which has been witnessing massive protests and stone-pelting for the last few months. The entire area has been rattled by gun roars as the locals apprehend another major standoff between the troops and the militants in the area.“Colleagues in Baramulla town are phoning with reports of massive gunfire in their vicinity. Prayers for all in the area”, tweeted Omar Abdullah, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister.It was not immediately known whether it was a fidayeen strike or a standalone militant attack on the Army camp. There was no confirmation of any casualty immediately.Locals said that the entire area has been sealed and heavy volume of gunfire has broken the eerie calm in the area. “We were retiring to bed when we heard the gunshots. We do not know what is happening in the vicinity. It seems heavy gunfight is on,” said a local of the old town.The attack has come four days after Indian Army launched surgical strikes on the terror launch pads on the other side of Line of Control in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The attack comes 15 days after four Jaish-e-Mohammad fidayeens barged into the Army’s 12 brigade headquarters at Uri and unleashed mayhem, killing 19 soldiers and injuring 20 others.

An eerie calm descends on Uri which is at the heart of the Indo-Pak escalation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On a breezy evening, Sulaiman Shah, 90, is frantically looking at Haji Pir pass from his small compound here. A man who has seen three wars has never been so anxious than today. For Shah, who has witnessed death and destruction very closely, mere a mention of war sends shivers down his spine.”War is not a good thing to happen. It brings death and destruction. I have seen three wars closely and I know what it means. So my advice is to avoid war and try to give peace a chance”, said Shah.From 1947 to 1972 to 2003, the nonagenarian vividly remembers the wars and the destruction it caused to the people living near the line of control (LoC). “In 1947 people were at least able to stroll on the streets. But 1965 was a different ball game. There was massive shelling from across the LoC,” he recalled.Ask him about the situation before the 2003 ceasefire, Shah bites his lips while pointing at the Haji Pir pass. “The shells used to come from this side (points to Haji Pir pass). So many people have died in this village. Houses and other property have been damaged. We were living in constant fear,” he said.Enter 2016 escalation, Shah fears the worst given that the two countries are nuclear armed with state of art weaponry that could sound death knell for the people in case the war breaks out.”If there is shelling again we have nowhere to go. We pray that the situation does not take a turn for worse. Let there be peace,” he said.Welcome to Uri, a border area which is at the heart of the recent escalation between India and Pakistan. Nineteen soldiers were killed and 20 others injured when four Jaish-e-Mohommad fidayeens stormed into 12 brigade headquarters and unleashed mayhem on September 18.The attack sparked an outrage across the nation prompting the Indian army to launch the surgical strikes on the militant launch pads across the Line of Control in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. Two Pakistani soldiers and several militants have been killed in the strikes which was first of its kind in the recent past.An eerie calm has descended on the garrison town of Uri with people whispering about the fallout of the escalation. Fear is palpable among the local population which is on the edge since the escalation started between the two countries.”There is fear among the population. This village is in the direct range of shelling (from Pakistan given its proximity to Haji Pir pass). We have no safety mechanism. The underground bunkers, which were constructed for to shelter people during shelling, were damaged in the 2005 earthquake”, said Aftab Ahmad, a local resident here.Situated at the altitude of 2637 meters, the strategic Haji Pir pass, which connects Poonch with Uri along the LoC, was returned to Pakistan by India under Tashkent agreement.What has added to the fear factor is the congestion in the village given the population explosion in the last two decades. “The families and population have grown manifold since 2003. One family has mutated into four. If shelling happens again this village will be the worst hit”, said Aftab.Jammu and Kashmir government however is playing down the fear factor saying there is no need to panic given that the situation is under control.”There is no need to panic. Situation is under control. Our contingency plan is already in place. But so far everything is normal”, said Dr Nasir Ahmad Naqash, district development commissioner, Baramulla.

Fear grips Uri residents amid high alert

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Fear has gripped the people living in the border areas of Jammu and Kashmir after Indian army carried out surgical strikes in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir on Wednesday night.Jammu and Kashmir has put the administration in border districts on high alert to meet any exigency in case Pakistan resorts to any misadventure.”We have been alert for so many days now. We have chalked out a plan which we can implement at any point of time,” Mohammad Harun Malik, district development commissioner of Poonch, told dna.The administration has identified several safe places including schools and government buildings where they can lodge displaced people in case of evacuation.”We did not want to create any panic at this point of time. People are well aware of the situation. There was firing in Sabzian last night too,” said MalikPoonch area often witnesses shelling and firing from across the LoC. In fact, Pakistani forces breached the Line of Control few years ago and beheaded Lance Naik Hemraj and mutilated the body of another army soldier. The head of the soldier was later taken away by fleeing Pakistani soldier.Pakistan has been violating the border ceasefire at will for the last few years. Several villagers have been killed and property worth crores destroyed in the shelling.Inside a well laid room Abdul Rashid, 68, is frantically flipping television news channels. Everytime news about border escalation flashes on the screeen, Rashid rubs his hands in panic. Flashback of 1998 cross LoC shelling plays in his mind. Rashid’s two houses were raised to ground and his family had a narrow escape.”How can I forget that fateful day. It was Friday I had gone for Namaz when someone told me shells have landed in the village. And one of the shells hit my home,” Rashid, a retired government employee told dna.Cut to September 2016, Rashid’s worries have magnified. Neither are there any underground bunkers nor are any safety valves.”The bunkers have been damaged in 2005 earthquake. People have constructed new houses. Families have grown manifold. If shelling resumes this village is bound to suffer given the fact that we are in direct firing range of across the LoC,” he said.Like other border areas Uri has suffered in silence before 2003 ceasefire when guns were ogling fire from both sides of Line of Control. Hundreds of people have died umpteen suffered permanently disabilities. Hundreds of houses were damaged and property worth crores destroyed.”No one can feel the pain than us. We know the effects of war because we are the sufferers. How can a person living in cozy air condition rooms know what war is? War is devastating. We have suffered its effects”, said Jameel Ahmad, a shopkeeper of Uri.

Did army vehicle mow down 13 Bakerwal horses?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Thirteen Bakerwal horses were mercilessly mowed down allegedly by a security force vehicle at Frisal village in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district on Sunday sending shock waves across the valley.The horses were part of the herd of animals including sheep and goat, that was on its way to Rajouri from Pahalgam as a part of their bi annual migration.”We were on way to Rajouri from Pahalgam when our horses were mowed down at Frisal,” said Mohammad Aslam, one of the herdsmen.Police have registered a case and massive hunt has been launched to identify the vehicle and its driver for killing the pack of horses in the most brutal manner.Police said a speedy truck like vehicle hit the horses so hard that they were thrown several feet away from the spot causing their instant death.”Complainant who was on the spot said he was not able to recognise the vehicle because it was pitch dark and he could see only two lights. However he said it was big truck like vehicle,” Shridhar Patil, superintendent of police, Kulgam, told dna.Villagers have alleged that security force vehicle was patrolling during the night when it mowed down the horses before fleeing away taking advantage of the darkness.”We are looking at all aspects. We are taking details of all those vehicles that crossed the particular point at that particular time. If villagers cooperate we will be able to catch hold of whoever he is,” said Patil.The nomadic Bakerwal (shepherds) community migrates along with their herds twice in the year to graze their cattle at greener pastures. “They have told us that they were returning to Rajouri from Pahalgam via Reasi when their horses were hit,” said Patil.The issue has taken political overtones with main opposition National Conference (NC) hitting out at the security forces for what they said deliberately mowing down about a dozen horses for no rhyme or reason.”After losing the trust and confidence of the people security forces have now gone berserk. Having satiated themselves over the years with human blood they are now giving vent to their anger and frustration on domestic animals of these nomads. In such a situation no one is safe in J&K considering the fact that state is packed beyond capacity with the security forces and more being pushed in,” said Dr Mustafa Kamal, additional general secretary of NC and uncle of former chief minister Omar Abdullah.

Unrest over, Kashmir comes alive on Sunday

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Srinagar came alive with unusual hustle and bustle after 79 days of shutdowns and curfew on Sunday.For the first time since the unrest began, markets opened in the Valley during daytime on Sunday. Traffic snarls were back and streets were filled with shoppers. However, public transport was missing as transporters decided to stay back since the relaxation in curfew was only for half a day.The group which calls itself the Joint Resistance Leadership, headed by Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani, incarcerated moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Umar Farooq and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Mohommad Yasin Malik, has asked people to resume shutdowns during day from Monday and asked shopkeepers to open their shops from 6pm only.Ajaz Ahmad, 45, a small-time wholesaler dealing with bakery items, in the sensitive old city could not believe that he is opening his shop after 79 days. With a turnover of Rs 50 lakh per month, Ahmad has suffered a loss of Rs 3 lakh so far. “I suffered a net loss of Rs 1 lakh per month. Besides losing business, I have to pay idle wages to my employees, which cost me another Rs 25,000,” he said.Figures released by Kashmir business chambers show that the Valley has suffered financial losses worth more than Rs 10,000 crore since the unrest began after Indian security forces killed Hizb-ul-Mujahideen leader Burhan Wani on July 8. The tourism sector alone suffered a loss of around Rs 3,000 crore due to the unrest. The fruit industry, the mainstay of Kashmir’s economy, suffered a loss of Rs 1,000 crore.”We incur a loss of Rs 120-135 crore each day. The government has to see why it is happening. Kashmir is a political issue and it should be solved politically. Unconditional talks should be held with those spearheading this movement. But unfortunately, the government is acting as a silent spectator,” said Mohammad Yasin Khan, chairman, Kashmir Economic Alliance, an apex body of trade, transport, tourism and allied sectors.Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said: “The government will provide succor in the revival of economy but those who are out to damage the state’s interests and keep the pot boiling will have to change their mindset and methods so that the people do not suffer”.In the last 24 hours, the police have arrested 39 more miscreants who were wanted for harassing shopkeepers, disrupting traffic movement and damaging public/private property.”Trouble-makers will not be allowed to take law into their hands and they would be dealt with firmly,” said Dr SP Vaid, director-general of police (law and order). The only way to make the population survive is to make sure that the city stays open and the people can go about their business.

LeT man spills beans on Pakistan terror factory; gives details of his training at Lashkar camp in PoK

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan-backed terror syndicate was exposed again after Border Security Force (BSF) arrested a top Lashkar-e-Tioba commander when he was trying to infiltrate into the Indian side of International Border ((IB) at Pragwal sector of Akhnoor area in Jammu division.Abdul Qayum, 32, of Pul Bajuan village in Sialkot, Pakistan, was arrested on Friday when he was trying to negotiate Border Fence to infiltrate into Indian Territory. Initially Qayum went round in circles to mislead the interrogators claiming that he was a ghost-buster who could ‘control the spirits’.However, after sustained interrogation, Qayum gave up and disclosed the whole terror game being played in Pakistan. “On questioning, he revealed that in 2004, he underwent training in Daura e- Aam camp of LeT at Mansera, Muzaffarabad, Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir. Thereafter, he actively worked for LeT and remained associated with distribution of Jihadi literature and magazine such as Gazwa and Jarar as well as collection of funds for LeT,” said Dharmendra Pareek, deputy inspector general of BSF, Jammu frontier.Qayum has collected Rs 50 lakh in Pakistani currency and handed it over to LeT Amir (chief) Mujahid Bhatt for Sialkote area. “He further revealed that ultimately he realised that Jamat –u- Dawa and Falah-e- Insaniyat, the so-called charitable organisations of LeT are actually accumulating money for jihadi activities,” Pareek said.Qayum further confessed that he realised it late that no kin of any terrorist leader such as Hafiz Mohommad Saeed and Syed Salahudin have participated in jihad.”Poor children of Pakistan are being brain washed to carry out militant activities on the false pretext of atrocities on Kashmiri Muslims by India,” Qayum told interrogators.Qayum is the seventh Pakistani ultra to have been apprehended alive since the Udhampur terror attack in August last year. In fact, Qayum is the second Pakistani militant to have been arrested in last two months in Jammu and Kashmir.On July 26, Indian army arrested 22-year-old Bahadur Ali alias Saifullah of Lahore on the line of control in Nougam sector of Kupwara district. He was part of a five-member infiltrating group which was intercepted by the Indian army on the Line of Control. Four of his associates were gunned down while Ali was captured alive.On June 21, Abu Ukasha alias Hanzullah of Bhawalpur in Pakistan was arrested by the police during a routine patrol in Sogam market in Lolaab area. The 19-year-old LeT terrorist was buying groceries when a police party got suspicious about him.On May 14, Jammu and Kashmir Police caught a top Pakistani Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) suicide bomber alive from Baramulla.Earlier in February, the police arrested 17-year-old Pakistani JeM terrorist Sidiq Gujjar alias Shahid of Sialkot in Pakistan, along with three local militants from Baramulla.LeT militant Mohammed Naveed alias Usman of Faisalabad, Pakistan, was captured alive when he, along with his associate Noman, attacked a BSF convoy near Narsoo Nallah in Udhampur on August 5, 2015.On August 27, 2015, Sajad Ahmad aka Javid Ahmad alias Abu Ubadullah, a 22-year-old LeT operative of Muzaffargarh in south-west Pakistan, was captured alive after all his four associates were gunned down during a fierce gunfight at two different locations in Bijhama to Panzala forests of Baramulla district.

Indus Water Treaty will survive, says Omar Abdullah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid ticking water bomb, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah maintained that the 1960 Indus Water Treaty would survive despite the war cry.”Will stick my neck out & say that nothing will happen to the Indus Water Treaty. It survived 4 wars & a J&K assembly unanimous resolution”, Omar tweeted.Omar noted that the Jammu and Kashmir has suffered but the government is not going to scrap the treaty. “It was an abomination & should never have gone through. J&K has suffered long on its account but this government isn’t going to scrap it”, he said.It was Omar who as chief minister in 2102 had decided to engage a consultant to assess the losses suffered by the state on account of the 1960 Indus Water Treaty (IWT) between India with Pakistan.The consultant was to prepare the report about the exact quantum of losses suffered by J&K since 1960 which would be then submitted to the centre seeking compensation for the state.Under the 1960 Treaty, India has forfeited the claim to use and store the waters of three rivers- Jhelum, Chenab and Indus –flowing from Jammu and Kashmir into Pakistan in exchange of three rivers – Satluj, Beas and Ravi.The treaty prevents the storage of the water of Jhelum, Chenab and Indus rivers otherwise owned by the state Mainstream political parties cutting across the party lines have been calling the IWT discriminatory to Jammu and Kashmir.and demanding compensation for the losses since the state cannot store and use its own waters because it would be treated as violation of the treaty by Pakistan.”I was the first to move a resolution in the Legislative Assembly seeking compensation for the losses suffered due to the IWT. I did not want scarpping IWT but I wanted two things — adequate compensation for the losses and participatory status in the Northern Grid for Jammu and Kashmir”, Mohommad Yousuf Tarigami, state secretary of CPIM and MLA of Kulgam, told dna.Taj Mohidin, former J&K Minister for Irrigation and Public Health Engineering, said calls for scrapping the IWT is “absurd” given the complexities of the international treaties.”The international treaties between two sovereign countries cannot be scrapped. What can we do to these rivers? If we stop the water then Kashmir will become Satisar. We do not have dams. If we will divert the water to Wullar, it will get filled in eight days. Chenab is the only river which can be divert. If we divert its water, it will cost us Rs one lakh crore and take 20 years”, he told dna.Pakistan had objected to 450 megawatt Baghilar power project on Chenab river which went to World bank arbitration. World back later appointed Raymond Lafatte as arbitrator to resolve the differences.Lafatte cleared the project after recommending some minor adjustments to address the Pakistan’s concern. Pakistan later objected to 330 megawatt Kishanganga power project in Gurez area of Bandipora district in north Kashmir calling it violation of the IWT.

Indian Army steps up vigil on LoC following spurt in infiltration bids

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Indian Army has stepped up vigil on the Line of Control (LoC) after two more infiltration bids were foiled in the Naugam sector of north Kashmir.The infiltration bids were foiled even as the operations against infiltrators along the LoC in Uri and Naugam sectors entered into the third day on Thursday.Indian Army said two infiltration bids were successfully foiled by the army at two different places in the Naugam sector on Wednesday night.Troops guarding the LoC noticed suspicious movement on the LoC and challenged the militants. A brief exchange of gun fire ensued forcing the militants to take a hasty retreat into Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK).”Wednesday night there were two infiltration bids in the same area of Naugam sector. There was a brief fire fight and they (militants) retreated back,” Colonel Rajesh Kalia, defence spokesman at Srinagar, told dna.Sources said the army has conducting the operation in the area of 10 to 15 kilometer stretch along the LoC in Naugam sector to hunt down the militants if any in the sector. Naugam operation apart, the Uri operation, which started on September 20, entered into the third day with troops still busy in combing of the area.Sources said Pakistan is trying to push in as many as militants into Kashmir valley post fidayeen attack on 12 brigade headquarters at Uri in which 18 soldiers were killed and 20 others. Four fidayeens were also killed in the retaliatory action.Since September 20, four infiltration bids have been foiled in Uri and Naugam sectors. A soldier has already lost his life while foiling one of the infiltration bids in Naugam sector.”Army has enhanced its vigil in view of the increased Pakistan abetted infiltration attempts along the LoC. On the intervening night of September 21 and 22 two separate groups trying to sneak in were intercepted and forced to flee back,” said an army spokesman.Official figures reveal around 17 infiltration bids have been foiled by the army along the LoC this year. Of the 110 terrorists killed in Jammu and Kashmir, 31 have been slain while they were trying to infiltrate into Indian side from across the LoC.Meanwhile, Indian Army launched a major operation against militants in the Bandipora area and killed an unidentified ultra.Police said following specific information about the presence of militants in Chapran village of Bandipora, security forces cordoned off the area and launched search operation.”The cordon and search operation turned into an encounter when the search party was fired at. In the retaliatory fire one militant was killed whose identity is being ascertained,” a police spokesman said.Violent protest rocked the area after the killing of the militant. Protestors pelted stones on the forces which used force to disperse the mob.Police soon after the encounter around 150 miscreants assembled in the area and pelted stones on the police and security forces. “To chase them away the security forces used some force which caused injuries to a few miscreants,” he said.

Kashmir youth line up for army recruitment

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Yasir Ahmad Chahuan, 18, looks frail and frightened. Puffing and wheezing in a corner at the High Grounds here, Yasir took a big risk by masquerading as a labourer to crisscross the vulnerable areas of South Kashmir to reach the venue of the Indian army’s recruitment rally here with a hope to become the proud soldier of this country.”I started at 2am from my village on foot. After covering 15 kilometres, I saw a vehicle coming from the opposite direction. The driver stopped and asked me where I was heading. I said I am going for the recruitment rally. He said don’t go ahead as stone-pelting was going on there,” Yasir told dna.Son of a poor shepherd, Yasir, who had fallen in love with olive greens ever since he was a child, did not give up and returned home to hire a bike for Rs 500 and set off his journey to reach the venue.”I wanted to take this risk. We are poor people. My father is a shepherd who grazes the cattle of other farmers to eke out his living. I am mentally prepared to become a soldier to serve this country,” he said.Welcome to South Kashmir, the epicentre of the current unrest in the Valley. More than 84 people have died and over 10,000 have suffered injuries since the unrest began after the killing of Hizbul Mujahedeen leader Burhan Wani on July 8. Anantnag district, being the worst hit, has topped the list of casualties in this unrest.Yet the Indian army is the biggest attraction for the restive youth of south Kashmir who are often being stereotyped as stone throwers and anti nationals.More than 12000 youth had registered online for the job of soldiers in the valley. Six thousand candidates had registered online for the five districts of South Kashmir alone. On the first day of four day recruitment rally held here, over 425 candidates turned up for necessary tests for the job of soldiers.”Initially, we had planned the rally for July but because of the situation prevailing that time we had to postpone it. We brought it down to September. I think with the present response it was a good decision under the prevailing situation,” said Brigadier JS Samyal, deputy director general, recruitment, Indian army.Given the prevailing situation and lack of transport due to the shutdowns and curfew, all the registered candidates could not make it to the venue on Wednesday.”None the less 425 candidates have made it. It was definitely a challenge to organize and conduct the rally. But because of the civil government and the army’s involvement we have been able to conduct this rally very well”, said Brigadier Samyal.Passion and enthusiasm was running high among the youth who braved azadi protests to reach the venue for the rally. Such was the zeal that youth who could not make it in the running test struggled and pleaded before the instructors to allow them entry for the second round.Even one of the youth had to be whisked away when he missed the finishing line by a fraction of second. However instructors did not allow him given the tough rules and regulations.”I want to become the soldier not only to serve my country but to feed my family as well. I have traveled a long distance to reach here with a hope that I will make it inshallah (God willing)”, said Mohammad Iqbal, another aspirant.

Shoving off Lashkar, Jaish becomes the face of terror

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Forget Lashkar-e-Taiba, Moulana Masood Azhar led Jaish-e-Mohammad is fast becoming the face of terror in Jammu and Kashmir.After lying low for some years, Jaish is emerging a formidable force on the terror map of the state. From Tangdhar attack to Pathankot attack to Uri fidayeen attack, Jaish militants are trying to leave Lashkar-e-Taiba behind in launching suicidal mission on military and other security formations in the state.Four Jaish militants, in the age group of 18 to 22 years, stormed the headquarters of 12 infantry brigade in Uri killing 18 soldiers and injuring 20 others. All the four fidayeens, who were foreigners, were later killed. Sources said the attack again proved that Jaish is the new darling of Pakistani security and intelligence agencies who want to prop up its cadres to trim down its dependence on Lashkar-e-Taiba.Jaish’s revival process started when Indian army repulsed a major fidayeen (suicidal) attack on its Gorkha Riffles (GR) camp near the Line of Control (LoC) in Tangdhar on November 25 last year. What rattled the forces was the recovery of bags inscribed with Afzal Guru Squad from the three slain Jaish-e-Mohammad militants.Even before the security agencies could pick up the leads, Jaish militants struck again when they launched a fidayeen attack on the Pathankot airbase killing eight people including NSG officer and injuring 20 others on January 2. The operation continued till January 5 when the base was cleared by the forces.Founded by Moulana Masood Azhar, one of the three militants released in exchange of passengers of the Indian Airlines flight IC 814 in 1999, Jaish-e-Mohammad has been the deadliest group only second to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). But after 2001, security forces had managed to break the back of Jaish by eliminating its top brass including Gazi Baba, the mastermind of the Parliament attack which prompted New Delhi to mobilize Indian army and launch Operation Parakaram.Intelligence agencies pointed out that the Jaish is making all efforts to push in small group of highly trained militants into Kashmir to raise the cadre base from the local youth. Since January this year, the security forces have arrested two Pakistani Jaish militants who were tasked to establish local modules for fidayeen attacks in Baramulla.After the arrest of Sadiq Gujjar (Pakistani Jaish commander) in February, Pakistani handlers had pushed in Abdul Rehman along with four other militants from Machil sector to recruit people for Jaish in Baramulla. But Rehman too was arrested which blew the lid off the conspiracy to revive Jaish in the north Kashmir.Jaish’ revival was again visible when security forces killed two Pakistani Jaish-e-Mohammad commanders in Saria Bala locality, which is half a kilometre away from Civil Secretariat and Legislative Assembly in Lal Chowk area of Srinagar in May this year.Police said the duo had taken a room on rent and were masquerading as engineering students in the area. Acting on specific information police raided a four storey residential building and shot dead both alleged Pakistani militants. Police identified one of them as Saifullah, a top Jaish commander who was operating in the central Kashmir for the last four years.On October 4, 2015, two top Pakistani Jaish commanders Adil Pathan and Chota Burmi were killed in a surgical operation at Hariparigam Tral in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district. Operating in the valley since 2010, the duo was involved in number of attacks on the security forces and civilians particularly in south Kashmir.Revival processJaish’s revival process started when Indian army repulsed a major fidayeen (suicidal) attack on its Gorkha Riffles (GR) camp near the Line of Control (LoC) in Tangdhar on November 25 last year. What rattled the forces was the recovery of bags inscribed with Afzal Guru Squad from the three slain Jaish-e-Mohammad militants.Even before the security agencies could pick up the leads, Jaish militants struck again when they launched a fidayeen attack on the Pathankot airbase killing eight people including NSG officer and injuring 20 others on January 2. The operation continued till January 5 when the base was cleared by the forces.

Army kills 10 infiltrators on LoC, jawan martyred

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Indian army killed at least 10 infiltrators on Tuesday when they foiled two major infiltration bids on the LoC in Uri and Naugam sectors of North Kashmir, even as the Pakistani army violated the ceasefire by indiscriminately firing on the Indian posts in Uri sector. An army soldier was also killed in the gunfight with infiltrators in Naugam sector.Colonel SD Goswami, defence spokesman at Northern Command Headquarters, said Indian troops intercepted a group of terrorists near the LoC and foiled an infiltration bid in the Uri sector. “Another infiltration bid was foiled in Naugam sector. Operations are in progress,” he said.The infiltration bid was foiled just hours after Pakistan violated ceasefire and fired at the Indian posts using small and automatic weapons for around 20 minutes.”Ten to 12 militants terrorists attempted to infiltrate in Uri sector. They were intercepted and the infiltration bid was foiled and operations are on,” Colonel Rajesh Kalia, defence spokesman at Srinagar told dna.Later in the evening, the troops noticed suspicious movement of militants along the LoC in Naugam sector. Army immediately swung into action and launched the operation. Militants opened fire on the troops in which one soldier was killed. “Infiltration bid has been foiled in Naugam sector. One soldier has been martyred. Operations are continuing,” said Col Kalia.

Security lapse led to Uri terror attack? Serious questions emerged during initial investigation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as the investigators piece together the leads in the Uri fidayeen attack, questions are being raised about the possible security lapses that might have led to the terror strike which left 18 soldiers dead and 20 others injured.Jammu and Kashmir police have formally registered a case under different sections of Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) while the National Investigation Agency (NIA) team inspected the encounter site at Uri on Monday. Indian Army too is instituting a court of enquiry to probe the fidayeen attack that killed 18 soldiers of six Bihar and 10 Dogra units.Highly placed sources said intelligence inputs about the possible terror attacks were picked up some days ago and accordingly shared with the forces on ground. Yet the Jaish-e-Mohommad fidayeens carried out the brazen attack on the highly fortified 12 infantry brigade headquarters on the wee hours of Sunday.What has baffled the investigators is the manner in which the fidayeens could breach the LoC and three tier counter infiltration security system to storm into the camp from the rare side which was least protected.Serious questions of security lapses have emerged during the initial investigation into the fidayeen attack case.”How was confidential information about the change of guard leaked? The 10 Dogra unit, which had served in the area for two and half years, was leaving for Pathankot for new posting and six Bihar unit was replacing them in Uri. Second, how come militants knew that they are camping in the tents on the rare side of the headquarters? Third, how did militants manage to storm the camp from the rare side?” said a source.Investigators suspect that the militants might have crossed the Mike Post on the LoC in Uri sector and maneuvered though ravines, gorges and dense forests to attack the camp. Nestled in the mighty Pir Panjal range, Uri is surrounded by the LoC from three sides and the nearest stretch is just four to five kilometers from the brigade headquarters.Sources said security forces failed to pick up the leads from the foiled fidayeen attack in Poonch on September 11. Four militants and a policeman were killed and six others including three army men were injured while two hostages were rescued when security forces took on the heavily armed militants holed up in two buildings close to Indian Army’s 93 brigade headquarters in Poonch town of Jammu division on September 11.Sources said the militants in Poonch were part of the fidayeen squad and they were possibly doing the reconnaissance for the attack when security forces spotted them in the area before engaging them in the gunfight.Uri and Poonch is connected through the Haji Pir pass on the LoC and the trekking distance between the two areas is far less. Security forces suspect that the two groups might have been launched from the same or neighboring launch pads by Pakistan to infiltrate into Indian side.”Investigators are trying to connect the dots”, said a source.Failed to pick leadsSources said security forces failed to pick up the leads from the foiled fidayeen attack in Poonch on September 11. Four militants and a policeman were killed and six others including three army men were injured while two hostages were rescued when security forces took on the heavily armed militants holed up in two buildings close to Indian Army’s 93 brigade headquarters in Poonch town of Jammu division on September 11.

J&K: JeM strike at Uri army camp kill 17 soldiers; weapons with Pakistani markings seized

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A group of four heavily armed Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) fidayeen (suicide) attackers, who stormed into the 10 Infantry Brigade headquarters and unleashed mayhem, killing 17 army soldiers and injuring over 20 others here on Sunday. All the four terrorists were later killed in a fierce gunfight that lasted for more than three hours.The Indian Army assured the nation that it was prepared to thwart any nefarious designs and any evil design would be given a befitting reply.The army said that of the 17 fatalities, 13-14 soldiers died due to the fire that engulfed the tents and shelters after militants lobbed grenades and fired indiscriminately on the troops.The gunfight started around 5.30 am when troops were changing shifts. Militants barged from the rear side of the camp housing one of the administrative units.”Gunfight between the terrorists and army continued till 8.30 am and four terrorists were killed. All four were foreign nationals and had some items with Pakistani markings. Initial reports indicate that the slain terrorists belong to the Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit”, said Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh, director-general of military operations (DGMO).”Since the terrorists had some items with Pakistani markings, I have spoken to Pakistan’s DGMO and conveyed our serious concerns. I would also like to mention that all intelligence agencies are working in close synergy with the security forces and regular intelligence inputs are received and action is being taken accordingly,” said Lt Gen Singh.Four AK-47 rifles and four Under Barrel Grenade Launchers and a large number of war-like stores were recovered from the militants. “The terrorists fired incendiary ammunition, along with automatic fire of small arms that led to the tents / temporary shelters catching fire,” said Lt Gen Singh.Former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted: “If reports are correct that 13 of the 17 fatalities are because of burns, it is a crying shame that fire-retardant tents aren’t the norm! While we work out who is to be blamed for Uri and what an appropriate response will be, do we not owe our troops fire-retardant tents and huts?”.Sources said that the Dogra regiment unit, which was guarding the LoC for two-and-a half years ago was to be replaced by the Bihar regiment unit when the fidayeens barged in and lobbed grenades and fired indiscriminately on the troops.Chief of Army Staff General Dalbir Singh flew to the site of operation in the afternoon and took stock of the ground situation. Defence minister Manohar Parrikar, too, visited Srinagar and met the injured in the 92 base hospital.Embattled Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, who is facing flak for not being able to control the unrest, said that the attack seems to be aimed at triggering fresh violence and creating a war-like situation in the region.”The heightened tension in the wake of Uri attack is set to further vitiate the atmosphere in and around Jammu and Kashmir amid increasing Indo-Pak hostility. Unfortunately, people in Jammu and Kashmir, who are already mired in an agonising situation shall have to bear the maximum brunt,” she said.Mehbooba said that the perpetrators of violence must understand that violent methods have yielded nothing in the past nor will they yield anything in future.

‘Uri is seeing this after two years’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A huge hoarding flashing Khushamdeed (welcome) greets you at the gates of the 10 Infantry Brigade headquarters, known as Kala Pahar (Black Mountain) Brigade here. Usually bustling with activities, it is desolated since Sunday morning, with soldiers withdrawing into the fortified bunkers.A stream of local people, however, gathered outside the camp to listen to the latest about the fidayeen (suicide) attack that left 17 soldiers dead and over 20 injured. Over the clear sky, helicopters make frequent sorties – perhaps to evacuate injured soldiers to Srinagar.”When firing started, my fear-stricken mother came to my room, saying shelling (which was a norm before 2002 border ceasefire) has again started. I ventured out and saw huge flames billowing out from a distance. Gunshots were getting severe by the minute. After namaz (prayer), I switched on the television and learned it was a fidayeen attack,” said Sadiq Ali, a shopkeeper.” This attack has happened after two years. The last one was on the Mohra camp in December 2014″, said Shabir Ahmad, a local.Nestled in the huge mountain and situated 18 km from the last post, Kaman Post or Aman Sethu, on the Indian side of the Line of Control, this picturesque camp houses several battalions, lush green golf courses, a helipad, a plush officers’ mess and other administrative units.However, one weak spot around the tents was exposed by the militants on Sunday. They breached from the rear side, which is the least protected. It houses administrative units, guarded by minimum soldiers. They targeted the camps and huts where soldiers who were readying to move into new shifts were stationed. “During this time, there is a little bit of laxity as one set of troops make way for another to hold positions,” said an officer.The tents located in the complex were to house additional troops inducted due to routine turnover of units. Sources said the Dogra regiment unit was to be replaced by a Bihar regiment unit when the fidayeen militants barged in and lobbed grenades and fired indiscriminately on the troops. The explosion caused fire to the tents, charring 14 out of 17 soldiers. The fire engulfed two nearby buildings, causing extensive damage.In the last few years, Pakistan has adopted a new strategy of sending militants directly from the launch pads along the Line of Control and International Border to carry out sensational attacks. “The new strategy serves a dual purpose for the Pakistani military and intelligence establishment: One, security forces are bound to suffer casualties, and, second, such attacks raise the morale of the militants in Jammu and Kashmir,” said an officer.Uri is surrounded by the LoC from three sides. The LoC is just 4 km from the camp. There are dense forests, deep gorges and ravines en route. Sukhdar village is the only habitation near the LoC, connecting the camp. Housing around 100 families, the hamlet is divided by the border fence and the villagers have to cross the fence gates to reach the town.”Troops suspect that the militants might have crossed the Mike Post on the LoC before trekking though these ravines and forests to the camp,” said an official, well-versed with the topography of the area.What gave credence to reports of fresh infiltration and a clear Pakistan hand was the recovery of some items with Pakistani markings.The only place which was active in Uri was a small tea stall outside the camp. This tea stall, usually hosts people going to Muzaffarabad in the Karawan-e-Aman bus. It was doing brisk business on Sunday, serving onlookers.

Boycott threat looms large over pro-India politicians in Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The spectre of a ‘social boycott’ looms large over the pro-India politicians after separatists formally issued a public warning to ministers, MLAs and MLCs to quit their seats or be ready to face ostracisation in the restive Kashmir Valley.The warning was issued on the day when joint opposition called on President Pranab Mukherjee, urging him to impress upon the Central government to initiate a credible, meaningful dialogue with no further delay and involving all stakeholders to address the political issue in the state.Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), an amalgam of Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani, moderate leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik, who are jointly supervising the current unrest, issued a poster letter asking pro-India leaders to join “public movement for azadi” before it is too late.”During electioneering you bypassed azadi movement and sought votes from people on the issues of power, water and roads. Some gullible people even voted for you. In fact, you have been using it as mask to support the tyrannical occupation and to hoodwink the international community,” said JRL in the poster letter, which was released through media.JRL has asked people to put up this poster letter on every wall, post and pole around the residence of MLAs, MLCs and ministers to pressurise them to quit forthwith from their posts.”Before your anti-people activities force the masses to socially boycott you, it is better and advisable to shun your treachery and resign, and join the people who are giving umpteen sacrifices for the sacred cause,” said the JRL.The JRL cautioned that the resignation is the only way out for the pro-India politicians to redeem themselves in the society. “When the voices of freedom are clearly being heard in every household, the signs of victory are looking brighter. Without wasting any time you should resign to prove your conscience is alive. Any delay in resignation from assembly will slam all doors of honorable return for you,” said the JRL.The JRL warning comes a day after lieutenant general DS Hooda, general officer commanding in chief (GoC-in-C) of Northern Command, appealed for peace and asked everyone including separatists to sit together to find a way out of the current situation.”Cycle of conflict and violence has been going on for more than 40 days now and no one is going to get away from it unhurt… We need to find a way forward from this. It is not one person or one organisation which can do this,” he said.

Major terror attack averted as security force kill LeT fidayeen

Security forces averted a major terror attack when they killed a top Pakistani Lashkar-e-Taiba fidayeen along with his Kashmiri counterpart in a fierce gun battle at Malwari village of Newa in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.Abu Ayan was part of four to five member Pakistani fidayeen group of Lashkar-e-Taiba which infiltrated some weeks ago and carried out Pampore terror attack on Saturday. Eight CRPF men were killed and 22 others injured in the attack.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two members of the fidayeen group were later eliminated by the CRPF in the retaliatory action. One or two fidayeens are still on loose. Intelligence sources said Abu Ayan was planning another sensational attack in the south Kashmir area.Intelligence sources said before Ayan could execute his plans, security forces got a tip off about his presence in a house along with Kashmiri militant Manzoor Ahmad. After a brief encounter both the militants were eliminated.”The killed foreign terrorist is believed to be part of same fidayeen group which infiltrated some weeks back and moved from north Kashmir to south. They were believed to be four to five in number. Of them two carried out the Pampore attack and others were planning another spectacular attack,” said an intelligence officer.Police is investigating whether Abu Ayan was part of the group that attacked the CRPF bus on the Srinagar-Jammu highway at Frestbal Pampore on Saturday in which eight soldiers were killed and 22 others injured five of them critically.Sources said there were four fidayeens at the site of attack of which two escaped in a Maruti car. “We are investigating whether Abu Ayan was one of the two militants who escaped from the scene,” said an officer.Superintendent of police, Pulwama, Rayees Mohammad Bhat told dna that the operation was launched after specific inputs about the presence of militants in the village.”We cordoned off the village and when we started search operation we came under fire from the militants. An encounter ensued in which two militants of Lashkar-e-Taiba were killed. One of them is a foreign national code named Abu Ayan. Another is a local militant Manzoor Ahmad of Kakpora,” he saidSuperintendent of Police Pulwama said Manzoor had become active just 10 to 12 days back. “Manzoor was earlier a facilitator and over ground worker of LeT. He recently became active and joined Lashkar-e-Taiba 10 to 12 days back”, he said.Official figures reveal that 74 militants have been killed in the first six months of 2016. Plus 31 security force personnel –11 army men, 10 CRPF personnel, seven policemen and three BSF personnel—have also lost their lives in different incidents since January 1. Eleven civilians too have been killed in the last six months.June has been the bloodiest with 41 casualties recording in this month. They included 24 militants and a civilian. Among the slain are three BSF personnel, three Jammu Kashmir Policemen, two army men and eight Central Reserve Police Force personnel.Meanwhile, violent protests broke out in the area after the killing of two militants. Protestors clashed with security forces and pelted stones on their formations in the area.

History in making: 5000 people to join Kashmir’s largest iftar

Come Thursday, paradise will come alive with the record-breaking largest iftar.Thanks to loudbettle.in, more than 5000 people will join Kashmir’s largest iftar.This will be second time when the history will be created in Jammu and Kashmir. Last year, Kashmir valley created history by hosting Asia’s longest iftar on the banks of world famous Dal lake. Spread over 1.6 kilometres, the iftar dastarkhawan (dining spread) surpassed the earlier Asia’s longest iftar table measuring 1.03 kilometres laid out near Al Noor Mosque in Sharjah in 2013.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The organisers are creating another record by hosting Kashmir’s largest iftar, this year. “There is no guest list. Anybody can walk in and join the iftar on Thursday. Everything is free. We are serving meals to the 5,000 expected guests,” Ahmer Khan, chief executive officer (CEO) of loudbettle.in told dna.Sponsored by the local traders and companies, the idea behind the event is to foster brotherhood in the holy month of Ramzan. “It is community get together. Holy month of Ramzan is known for the festivals. So we are trying to send across a message of brotherhood by hosting Kashmir’s largest iftar”, said Khan.From juice, to biscuits to dates to ferni (dessert), the menu has carefully chosen to suit the taste buds of the people in the fasting month. “In fact we are encouraged by success of Asia’s longest iftar hosted last year. So this time we have taken the menu forward,” said Khan.The event will start with the talk of Ulema (Islamic preachers) and followed by iftar. Guests will be sitting on the dastarkhawan (dining spread) that will be laid on the ground. The volunteers will be serving the refreshments to the guests who would be joining the iftar.Local companies have chipped in with their contributions to make this Kashmir’s largest iftar a grand success. “This time we are not here to create or break records. It is a non-profit event. Local sponsors have pitched in with their help. Some have donated cash, some have donated potable water, some have given juices. Everyone has contributed in their own way. Everyone, be it rich or poor, is welcome to join the iftar,” said Khan.

Pampore terror attack aftermath: Three-tier security for Amarnath yatra

Focus has now shifted to the security of the Amarnath yatra which takes off in Jammu and Kashmir on July 2.Spurt in terror attacks particularly on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway has prompted the security forces to rejig the entire security network for the annual pilgrimage.”We will secure entire stretch (of the highway) for the yatra. That is going to be done. And that is where we are going to sit down and do brainstorming,” said K Durga Prasad, director general of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sources said three-tier security arrangements have been made to ensure secure and hassle-free yatra. CCTV surveillance, area domination, specialised road opening techniques and round the clock monitoring is all planned for the 48-day yatra.More than 125 additional companies of paramilitary forces will be deployed en route to cave shrine. Several National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) teams will also be deployed to meet exigency, if any, during the yatra period.The central forces are in addition of the existing manpower available in the state. Indian army has been entrusted the job of area domination and securing the upper reaches around the cave shrine. ITBP men will also be deployed on the important axis en route to holy cave.Paramilitary forces and army troops would also be deployed on the highway to ensure security of the pilgrim buses. Laced with state of the art equipments the forces would be conducting anti IED drive round-the-clock to keep militants at bay and ensure smooth convoy movement.Pilgrim convoy will be escorted by the paramilitary forces from Jammu base camp right up to the Pahalgam and Baltal base camps. Jammu and Kashmir police will be entrusted the job of securing the areas from Pahalgam and Baltal base camps up to the cave shrine.Situated in a narrow gorge at the altitude of 3,888 metres, the holy Amarnath cave is accessible from two routes in Kashmir valley. The 46 kilometer Pahalgam – Holy cave trek is an ancient pilgrimage route which is covered in five days. And there lie the ice lingam of Lord Shiva formed naturally that waxes and wanes with the moon. The new 14 kilometer Baltal-Holy cave route is now preferred by the pilgrims since it is shorter though steep and journey can be completed in a day.Authorities are also deploying X ray machines to check the baggage of the people before proceeding to the cave shrine. Cops will also be gathering intelligence to preempt any untoward incident and keep militants at bay.All busy places including langars (free community kitchens) are being brought under security cover CCTV cameras are being utilised to get footage of busiest places. Round the clock functioning of joint control rooms and supervision of arrangements by the senior officers is also planned.Chairing a high-level review meeting, director general of police K Rajendra Kumar asked the officers to identify the sensitive places and strengthen the security grid after making joint efforts.”Joint patrolling should be carried out round the clock in these areas and also on National Highway should be kept under continuous surveillance to foil any attempt of disruption by the miscreants,” he said.Central team to visit stateSecurity establishment has sent a special team under secretary (border management) in the Uunion home ministry Susheel Kumar to review the security preparedness in Kashmir for Amarnath Yatra which begins on July 7and is expected to attract about 10 lakh pilgrims and tourists.”The team will hold talks with top commanders of army, paramilitary forces and J&K Police to beef up the security arrangements and tweak them wherever needed,” a highly placed home ministry official said.The team will also take a decision on reinforcing buses that carry paramilitary forces from one place to another.”We are thinking of putting special steel plates developed by the DRDO on the sides of the buses. These plates can withstand bullets of AK 47 easily,” added the source.

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