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Hyderabad blasts: ‘Rarest of the rare’ case says judge, gives death sentence to 5 IM operatives

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Five key operatives of Indian Mujahideen, including the banned terror outfit’s co-founder Yasin Bhatkal and a Pakistani national, were awarded death penalty on Sunday by a Special NIA Court here in the February 2013 Hyderabad bomb blasts which claimed 18 lives.Pronouncing the sentence, Judge T Srinivasa Rao described the case as the “rarest of the rare”. This is the first case where operatives of the home-grown group have been convicted in a terror case.NIA Special Public Prosecutor K Surender said the court, after going through their evidence, found that the case is based on facts. “As per investigation…evidence that is placed on record clearly reflects that the five IM members planned and executed the bomb blasts. We sought capital punishment (for the convicts) and accordingly the court gave death penalty to them,” he said.The prosecutor described the verdict as a “victory” for NIA’s investigation and the witnesses.The court, after hearing the arguments of prosecution and defence counsels on sentencing, awarded death penalty to the convicts and also varying jail terms on different counts including, waging war against the Government of India and commission of terrorist act. On December 13, the court had convicted the five operatives — IM co-founder Mohd Ahmed Sidibapa alias Yasin Bhatkal, Pakistani national Zia-ur-Rahman alias Waqas, Asadullah Akhtar alias Haddi, Tahaseen Akhtar alias Monu and Ajaz Shaikh — who are at present in judicial custody and lodged in the Cherlapally Central Prison here.The IM convicts said they will go for an appeal, according to the NIA counsel.All relevant records will be submitted in the high court for confirmation of the death sentence, Surender said.Eighteen people were killed and 131 injured in two deadly explosions in Dilsukhnagar, a crowded shopping area in the city, on February 21, 2013. On November 7, the final arguments had concluded in the case before the special court. Since IM founder Riyaz Bhatkal, the prime accused in the case, is absconding, the trial was split up against him.The court convicted Yasin Bhatkal and others under various sections of Indian Penal Code, Arms Act, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).According to NIA, Riyaz Bhatkal arranged for explosive substances and directed Asadullah Akhtar and Zia-ur-Rahman at Mangalore to receive the same. After receiving the explosive materials and the money sent by Riyaz through hawala (illegal channels) and other money transfer modes, Asadullah Akhtar and Waqas reached Hyderabad and joined Tahseen Akhtar, who was already hiding there, NIA had said.Together they prepared two IEDs after procuring the other required material as well as two cycles for mounting the home-made bombs from Hyderabad, the anti-terror agency had said.After preparation of the IEDs on February 21, 2013, the accused mounted two bombs on the bicycles. They had planted them at separate places in Dilsukhnagar which resulted in powerful explosions, it had said. In its charge sheet, the NIA had claimed that Indian Mujahideen had hatched a conspiracy to wage a war against India and decided to carry out bomb blasts in Hyderabad to create terror in the mind of people and further the activities of the outfit. The main feature of the conspiracy was that the accused were communicating through the Internet, chatting with each other throughout the planning, finding suitable hideouts, purchasing material for the bombs, until the final escape, it said.They were also found to have used proxy servers to hide their identity, it said. The role of Yasin Bhatkal in the planning, procurement of explosives and harbouring of Asadullah Akhthar after the incident, was also unearthed by the NIA, the agency said. During investigation, a total of 440 witnesses were examined and 251 documents and 300 material objects seized. Extensive cyber forensic evidence was gathered and placed on record, according to the agency.Meanwhile, the counsel for the IM operatives said he will file an appeal before the high court against the conviction of his clients after obtaining a certified copy of the judgement. “I have received instruction to file (an appeal) from them (the convicts) and their relatives,” defence counsel Mahadevan said.

Dilkhusnagar blasts: NIA court gives death penalty to IM founder Yasin Bhatkal and four others

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Five Indian Mujahideen operatives have been sentenced to death for February 2013 Hyderabad blasts case by special NIA court in Hyderabad. IM co-founder Yasin Bhatkal, Pakistani national Zia-ur-Rahman and 3 others have been given the maximum penalty. On Tuesday last week, in the first ever conviction of banned Indian Mujahideen cadres in a terror case, a special NIA court in Hyderabad convicted Mohammed Ahmed Siddibappa alias Yasin Bhatkal and four others for being involved in 2013 twin blasts at Dilsukhnagar which had claimed 18 lives.The NIA special court convicted Bhatkal and others under various sections of Indian Penal Code, Arms Act, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). Besides Bhatkal, the others convicted were Asadullah Akthar of Uttar Pradesh, Zia-ur-Rahman alias Waqas of Pakistan, Tahseen Akhthar of Bihar and Aizaz Shaik of Maharashtra. All of them are in judicial custody. The alleged key conspirator Riyaz Bhatkal, believed to be operating from Karachi, is still at large.The final arguments in the case concerning the attack, carried out on February 21, 2013 in which 18 people were killed and 131 injured others, concluded last month during which 157 witnesses were examined. Trial in the case had begun on August 24 last year.In its charge sheet, the NIA had claimed that Indian Mujahideen had hatched a conspiracy to wage a war against India and decided to carry out bomb blasts in Hyderabad to create terror in the minds of people and further the activities of the outfit. The main operative of the module, Riyaz Bhatkal, who is named as the first accused in the case, had allegedly directed his associates Asadullah Akhtar and Waqas to find a place in Mangalore to be used as a hide-out for explosive materials sent by him, it had allaged.After receiving the materials sent by Riyaz through an unknown person, and the money sent by him by way of hawala and other channels, Asadullah Akhtar and Waqas reached Hyderabad and started working with Tahseen Akhthar alias Monu, who had already reached there and was living in a hideout in Abdullapurmet area, the NIA probe report claimed. The three of them prepared two IEDs while staying there. The other materials needed to make the bomb, including a pressure cooker and timers, were arranged in Hyderabad. After the bomb was made, on February 21, they mounted two IEDs on two bicycles (purchased by them for that purpose), and planted them in two separate places in Dilsukhnagar, it alleged.The NIA investigation has brought to evidence all the financial help received by the accused from abroad. The NIA also said it learnt that the miscreants, after procuring the explosive materials to Hyderabad, had conducted a test blast in a hillock near Abdullapurmet in Hyderabad.The main feature of the conspiracy was that the accused were communicating through the Internet, chatting with each other throughout the planning, finding suitable hideouts, purchasing materials for the bombs, until the final escape. They were also found to have used proxy servers to hide their identity.The role of Yasin Bhatkal in the planning, procurement of explosives and harbouring of Asadullah Akhthar after the incident, was also unearthed by the NIA, the agency said. During investigation, a total of 440 witnesses were examined and 251 documents and 300 material objects seized. Extensive cyber forensic evidence was gathered and placed on record as evidence. With PTI inputs

Gaya: Unaccounted cash worth Rs11 crore traced, may have Naxal link

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a crackdown on black money hoarders in the state, a joint team of police and income tax officials have conducted raids and traced Rs 11 crore deposited in five bank accounts in Bihar’s Gaya district till Thursday evening.The action was taken on the basis of two FIRs lodged at Civil Lines police station in Gaya in which people complained of large sum of money being deposited into their accounts without their knowledge, SHO Jamil Akhtar said.The raids commenced on Tuesday and preliminary investigations pointed to the involvement of one Moti Lal, a cotton mill owner residing in Patwatoli locality of Gaya, a police source said.“Till now, Rs 11 crore has been traced in five accounts but we expect the sum may go beyond Rs 100 crore deposited in about 50 bank accounts once we finish the raids. We are browsing through bank account statements and other documents as well as interrogating Lal and his employees to get more information in the matter,” an income tax official said.He added, “Prima facie he appears to be the kingpin of a racket that converted black money into white. We are investigating whether all money belonged to him or others are also involved in it. Indications are there that part of the corpus may belong to Naxailes in Bihar and Jharkhand.” Gaya is one of the LWE affected districts in Bihar.Police officials said all accounts are of Bank of India, GB road branch, and police is also probing the involvement of bank officials in this matter. “In some cases, apart from depositing old notes, new currency notes have even been withdrawn from the accounts without the information of the account holder. Such transactions may have been performed in nexus with bankers,” they added. CCTV camera footage of the bank is also under investigation.The Enforcement Directorate officials said they are also likely to lodge an Enforcement Case Investigation Report (ECIR) in this matter.

India’s NSG entry: Pakistan wary of exemptions in admission process

Islamabad: Pakistan is encouraged by growing support in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) for establishing criteria for membership of non-NPT countries, but are wary of “big powers” pressurising smaller countries into granting exemptions for India in the admission process, media reported on Wednesday.

“There are a lot of countries that now recognise the need for a criteria-based approach rather than granting exemptions, but pressures are still being exerted on smaller countries,” Dawn quoted Kamran Akhtar, Director General of Disarmament at the Foreign Office, as saying.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

“We are pretty confident that NSG countries would not go down the exemption way, but if they ultimately do so and give exemption to India, there would be serious repercussions not just for Pakistan, but also for other non-nuclear weapon states that may feel being unjustly denied their right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy,” Akhtar said.

He said it was now up to NSG countries to decide if they wanted the group to be seen as being driven by political and commercial interests or else they would want non-proliferation goals to be strengthened.

The official warned that strategic stability in South Asia would be undermined if Pakistani application was not treated equally with the Indian case.

“Pakistan wants to deny India space for war and create a space for peace. Its (Pakistan’s) weapons are for maintaining peace in the region and for deterrence,” said Khalid Banuri, Director General of Arms Control and Disarmament Affairs.

Additional Secretary to Foreign Office Tasneem Aslam said the issue of membership of non-NPT countries was deeply linked to strategic stability in South Asia.

“… the NSG stands at crossroads, once again, as it considers membership for non-NPT states. An even-handed and non-discriminatory approach by the NSG at this juncture would be of far-reaching significance for strategic stability in South Asia and global non-proliferation efforts,” she said and recalled, the NSG had missed in 2008 the opportunity to promote adherence to non-proliferation regime by granting waiver to India.

First Published On : Dec 14, 2016 13:54 IST

Kashmir: One lakh students to take secondary school exams despite burning of schools

Srinagar: Over one lakh students are scheduled to take secondary school exams beginning in Kashmir on Monday following adequate security arrangements in the valley, education officials said.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

“One lakh five hundred students are taking these exams,” Zahoor Ahmad Chatt, chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Board of School Education (BOSE) told IANS.

“Over 45,000 students are appearing for class 12 exams beginning at 11 am at 484 centres.”

“While over 55,000 students are appearing for class 10 exams which begins in here tomorrow (Tuesday),” the chairman added.

He said 98 percent students have taken their admit cards.

Since all educational institutions including schools have remained closed since 9 July, BOSE has decided to allow a 50 percent cut in the syllabus for those students willing to take the secondary exams.

Elaborate arrangements of security have been made for the smooth conduct of these exams.

Dozens of schools have been burnt by miscreants during the last two months.

State Education Minister Naeem Akhtar has attracted a lot of criticism from the separatist leaders and also a threat from the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) for trying to re-open the schools.

First Published On : Nov 14, 2016 09:44 IST

Accused of being spies, 2 more Indian High Commission officials leave Pakistan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two more Indian High Commission officials, out of the eight accused by Pakistan of being members of Indian intelligence agencies, today left for India. “Balbir Singh and Jayabalan Senthil left via Dubai-bound Emirates flight EK 615,” sources said.Both the staffers were named as undercover agents of Indian intelligence agencies. With this the number of Indian High Commission officials leaving Pakistan has reached five.Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria last week had alleged that several Indian diplomats and staffers were involved in “coordinating terrorist and subversive activities in Pakistan under the garb of diplomatic assignments”.Last month, Pakistan had declared Indian High Commission official Surjeet Singh ‘persona non-grata’ after India’s action against Pakistan High Commission official Mehmood Akhtar following Indian police’s busting of an ISI-run spy ring.On November 2, Pakistan had pulled out six of its officials in the wake of the spy scandal.

Diplomatic spat: Pakistan, India may temporarily recall their envoys, says report

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Signalling a fresh slide in ties, Pakistan and India may temporarily recall their high commissioners and scale down the size of diplomatic staff in each other’s missions in the wake of the latest diplomatic spat over the spying episode, a media report said.The latest spat started last week after a staff member of Pakistan’s High Commission in New Delhi was detained by police for questioning over espionage charges, the Express Tribune reported.The fresh slide in ties may also lead to a ‘scaling down’ of the strength of diplomatic staff by the two neighbours, the paper said.
ALSO READ Pakistan risking lives of Indian diplomats by putting their details in public domain: IndiaThe tension intensified after tit-fit-tat naming of diplomatic staff for alleged spy work by both sides.Mahmood Akhtar, who was working as a visa officer at the Pakistani High Commission, was later expelled from India.
ALSO READ Cotton farmers suffer as India-Pakistan tensions rise”However, India, using a statement Delhi police extracted from Akhtar through coercive means, implicated other Pakistani staffers. The identities of at least six such officials were leaked to the media, jeopardising their security. The move prompted Pakistan to withdraw them from New Delhi,” it said.In what appeared to be a tit-for-tat move, Pakistan yesterday claimed that eight officials posted in India’s High Commission in Islamabad were agents of RAW and IB. The disclosure left New Delhi with no other options but to withdraw the named officials, the paper said.
ALSO READ Amid rising tensions, Pakistani media names 8 Indian mission staffers for anti-Pak activitiesAn official with knowledge of latest developments said that India had breached an ‘understanding’ by revealing the identities of certain Pakistani officials posted in New Delhi, the paper said.The official said both sides knew that certain officials worked under cover and they did so with the full official knowledge, it said.”What India did was unthinkable,” the official added, saying the Indian move would have serious implications for the two countries.He said the immediate fallout of this controversy could be the recalling of high commissioners by the two countries for the time being, the paper said.The official said another implication might be ‘cutting down’ the size of diplomatic staff posted in each other s countries till the situation normalised, it added.

Tit for tat diplomacy: Pak recalls 6 from its Delhi mission, India likely to pull out 8 from Islamabad

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan on Wednesday pulled out six of its officials in the wake of a spy scandal involving staffers of its High Commission here even as India was mulling withdrawal of eight of its diplomats from Islamabad as their security has been “completely compromised”.The six Pakistani officials, including four senior diplomats, named for spying for a High Commission staffer, who was arrested and expelled last week for espionage, left India for home as bilateral ties continued to slide.India was also planning to “eventually” withdraw eight of its diplomats from Pakistan after their names and photographs were published and broadcast in the media there, sources in the External Affairs Ministry said.Pakistan pulled out the six officials days after a mission staffer Mehmood Akhtar was expelled by India over alleged espionage.Though there was no official announcement here about Pakistan withdrawing its diplomats, according to Pakistani sources, six mission officials have returned home.The officials, who left India, included commercial counsellor Syed Furrukh Habib and first secretaries Khadim Hussain, Mudassir Cheema and Shahid Iqbal whose names were referred to by Akhtar during his interrogation in connection with the spying scandal, according to sources in the Pakistan High Commission.”The decision has been taken after it became impossible for the officials to work in this vitiated atmosphere.”Indian government is threatening and blackmailing our diplomats. So, in this condition, it is impossible for us to stay in this country and work,” sources alleged.The development comes days after India declared Pakistani official Akhtar persona non-grata for espionage activities, triggering a tit for tat action by Islamabad, which also expelled an Indian High Commission official posted there.Earlier, media reports emerging from Islamabad said Pakistan may ask at least two officials of the Indian High Commission to leave the country for their alleged involvement in subversive activities.The two officials were identified and their photographs were being flashed by different TV news channels in Pakistan. Geo TV reported that commercial counsellor Rajesh Agnihotri and press counsellor Balbir Singh may be expelled. Indian officials said because of such media reports the security of these diplomats has been “hugely compromised”.Citing sources, the channel claimed that Agnihotri was directly linked with RAW, while Singh was working for Intelligence Bureau (IB). The duo, it was alleged, were using their positions in Pakistan as cover to hide their real identities. It claimed Singh was also running a network of militants in Pakistan and expelled High Commission official Surjeet Singh was also part of his network.

Guess who headed the Pak spy ring?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The reverberations of the Pakistani spy ring saga continue to impact New Delhi and Islamabad. What has baffled intelligence agencies in India is that the person in-charge of India-Pakistan trade relations has turned out to be a top Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) officer and chief of intelligence operations in India.This came to light after the interrogation of Mehmood Akhtar last week. Akhtar, an ISI officer and Pakistani High Commission staffer, was part of the spy ring.Intelligence officers said that the top ISI officer, Syed Furrukh Habib, was posted as Commercial Counsellor in the Pakistani High Commission. This is a big worry for India’s intelligence officials as it shows that Pakistan has even made trade as a means to gather intelligence.Intelligence agencies say that the other ISI officers in the spy ring are Khadim Huss­ain, Mudassir Cheema and Shahid Iqbal. They are all working in the Pakistani High Commission.New Delhi is now mounting pressure on Islamabad, demanding the immediate removal of these four ISI officers from the Pakistani High Commission. Top intelligence officers said that these officers were running an espionage network under the guise of doing other jobs.As per a diplomatic arrangement between two countries, only one intelligence sleuth can be posted in their respective missions.Akhtar had been caught along with Indian agents but could not be arrested as he enjoyed diplomatic immunity. He was declared persona non grata and was sent back to Pakistan. The Delhi Police had also arrested four Indians who were part of the spy network.Sources say that as a bait to extract information from Akhtar, he was told that he would neither be arrested nor anything would be disclosed to the Pakistan High Commission.”He was made to sit at ease, and he was promised that his confession would not be shared and his arrest will be kept secret. Upon this, he disclosed almost all the underhand dealings of the mission and their agents around,” said an intelligence official.Sources say that Pakistani officials were irked at Akhtar for spilling the beans and he was even roughed up when handed over to the Pakistani High Commission. In Pakistan, he has become a target for blowing the cover of other officials. Akhtar has told Pakistani newspapers that he had given the statement under duress.Indian officials counter his claims. They said that his interrogation was video-graphed when he spilled the beans. Officials also claim that Akhtar had named 16 other “staffers” who were in the espionage ring. Crime Branch teams are raiding various places in Rajasthan to apprehend locals who were providing confidential documents and information to Akhtar.Two teams of the Crime Branch are currently in Rajasthan along with the Indian nationals who have been arrested— Maulana Ramzan, Subhash Jangir and Shoaib—to seek details of the paramilitary personnel who might have leaked information, sources said. Two other persons have also been detained in Rajasthan and are currently being questioned, said the officer.Reacting to the Pakistani spy ring, senior BJP leader Shrikant Sharma said: “The reality is that the High Commission here has become an ISI den. It is breaking all rules and laws…Its work is no longer diplomatic. It has become a centre of smuggling information from here to there (Pakistan).”

Pak govt may pull out 4 of its officers posted at its HC after Mehmood Akhtar’s confession

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Pakistan government is considering to pull out from India four of its officers posted at the country’s High Commission in Delhi after one of its staff was declared persona non grata, says the Pakistan media. According to Dawn news, the Pakistan HC had taken the decision after the confession of the Mehmood Akhtar was made public by India.The Pakistan High Commission’s officials who are likely to be pulled out are – commercial counsellor Syed Furrukh Habib and first secretaries Khadim Huss­ain, Mudassir Cheema and Shahid Iqbal.Akhtar, the Pakistan HC staffer who was recalled, told Dawn that the confession was taken by him by coercion. “They took me to a police station after detaining me where I was forced to read out a written statement provided by them in which the names of the four officers were given and was told to state that they belonged to Pakistan’s intelligence services,” he said to the newspaper. “I was forced to read out a written statement provided by them in which the names of the four officers were given and was told to state that they belonged to Pakistan’s intelligence services,” he added.Akhtar said that he was “forced to read out a written statement provided by them in which the names of the four officers were given and was told to state that they belonged to Pakistan’s intelligence services.”He added that he was picked from a zoo while he was coming back from Nizamuddin shrine and was manhandled by security forces.Pakistani officials find the entire episode a a serious breach of diplomatic norms and a way to heighten tensions. Calling it a “deliberate and provocative action”, an officer said, “the Indian move has complicated the already tense situation and threatened the lives of our diplomatic staff.”The officer also recalled how a son of one of the officers was ridiculed by his classmates after the revelation and had to be taken back from school.

DNA Morning Must Reads: Govt & cops’ versions differ on Bhopal encounter; Pak violates ceasefire again; and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Bhopal jailbreak: Were the 8 SIMI undertrials armed? Govt & cops’ versions differGuns or vessels? The eight undertrials were killed eight hours after escaping from the Bhopal Central Jail. Govt, cops differ on whether they were armed or not. Read more.2. J&K: Pakistan violates ceasefire again; 2 civilians injured in Arnia sectorAn encounter between security forces and terrorists is underway in Ajar village. Read more.3. Leaked emails suggest DNC chairwoman Donna Brazile gave Clinton debate questions in advanceInterim DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile had come under fire earlier this month for possibly having tipped off Clinton’s campaign about a CNN town-hall debate question. Read more.4. Ahead of NSA talks, India-China discuss NSG membershipChina has been vetoing India’s bid citing rules that no country outside the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) can be given membership of the nuclear supplier club. Read more.5. Don’t want to provide more fodder: Farhan Akhtar…says Farhan Akhtar about his alleged affair with his Rock On!! 2 co-star Shraddha Kapoor. Read more.

Schools go up in flames in a tug of war between govt, separatists

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two schools, including a Jawahar Navodya Vidyalaya (JNV), were damaged since Saturday in mysterious fire incidents in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, police said on Sunday.More than 26 schools have been set ablaze by unknown people in Kashmir since the unrest began after the killing of Hizbul Mujahedeen poster boy Burhan Wani in an encounter at Bambdoora village on July 8.Latest being the Central Government-run Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya in Aishmuqam and Government Higher Secondary School in Kabamarg. More than 12 lakh students are sitting home since schools and educational institutions are shut across the Kashmir Valley following the unrest.The frequency in torching the schools has increased after the Mehboba Mufti government decided to conduct the class X and class X11 board exams in November.Separatists have accused the government of trying to portray normalcy by conducting the exams at a time when hundreds of students have been blinded and thousands of students have been arrested.Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti however hit back, accusing some people of using school-going children for their vested interests by keeping them away from schools in order to raise the arm”Since common people have realised the futility of the gun, forces averse to peace are now instigating youngsters to violence with stones… Certain people have utilised school-going children for their vested interests by keeping them away from schools,” said Mehbooba while addressing the cadets at the attestation-cum passing out parade at the Sher-e-Kashmir Police Academy.Mehbooba noted that some people are instigating poor children and misguiding them to violence. “Their only aim is that any reaction, if, leading to injuries or fatalities would become a fodder to prolong the turmoil, which has over a period of time only brought miseries to the people,” she said.Hurriyat Hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who is one of the three leaders of Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) leading the current unrest, has set five conditions for restoring education in the Valley. Those include releasing all people including students, withdrawing the cases against them, stopping police vigil, putting an end to the barbarism, night raids and allowing peaceful demonstrations.”It will help in creating a conducive and peaceful atmosphere”, Geelani said.Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Chairman Mohommad Yasin Malik, an important member of JRL who was released on Friday evening, however blamed Mehbooba and her education minister Naeem Akhtar for torching the schools,”For their politics of normalcy these people have waged a war against students and have irked them severely. Mehbooba and Nayeem Akhtar are hell bent upon taking revenge from these innocent students and are pushing them to the wall. People who burned down temples in 1986 for removing Ghulam Muhammad Shah from chief minister-ship can do same to school buildings for their dirty politics,” he saidExpressing disappointment and grief over incidents of schools being burnt in various parts of the valley, National Conference working president and former chief minister Omar Abdullah on said this was an abhorrent ploy to destroy the future of children.In “Our schools hold the key to the self-reliance, dignity and empowerment of our future generation. These are clear, unambiguous attempts to rob our children of education and intellectual growth and there can be no doubt that these elements who attack our schools are the enemies of our children and the enemies of enlightenment. Hurriyat leadership should realize the costs of its reluctance and delay to condemn such behavior unequivocally,” said Omar

Pak espionage case: Samajwadi Party MP denies any role, says will commit suicide if any evidence found

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Samajwadi Party’s Rajya Sabha MP Munawwar Saleem has said that he would extend support to the probe against his PA arrested for allegedly being involved in the Pakistan espionage case unearthed earlier this week. However, denying any role in the racket, he said that if any evidence was found linking him to the espionage, he would commit suicide along with his family.Pakistan High Commission staffer Mehmood Akhtar, expelled by India for spying, had named Saleem’s personal assistant Farhat as one of his “close associates” in the crime following which he was arrested.According to a TOI report, Saleem said that he had sent communication to the Parliament and government for Farhat’s verification. “Though I am not yet sure of his involvement in the spying syndicate, I would like to say that the police and other agencies which gave him a clean chit for appointment should also be held accountable,” he is quoted as saying.Farhat was picked up from Saleem’s residence last night and detained. He was arrested this afternoon after prolonged questioning. “During Mehmood’s questioning, Farhat Khan’s name surfaced as one of his close associates in the espionage racket he was running along with names of some other Pakistan High Commission staffers,” said a senior police officer.TV channels also aired a confessional video of Mehmood Akhtar in which he purportedly named Farhat besides others including Syed Farruq, Khadim Hussain, Shahid Iqbal and Iqbal Cheema, claiming that they were also “staffers”. In the video, he also said he used to meet Farhat at Mandi House Metro Station.A crime branch officer said Farhat’s preliminary questioning has led to “certain revelations” that need to be further investigated. Names of several other people allegedly involved in the racket have cropped up.Delhi Police is also trying to apprehend other members of the espionage ring who, it believes, were in close contact with Pakistan Mehmood Akhtar. The Pakistan High Commission staffer was caught receiving secret documents here on October 26.Two others, Maulana Ramzan and Subhash Jangir, residents of Nagaur, Rajasthan, were held along with Akhtar. Another accused Shoaib was detained in Jodhpur and brought to Delhi by the police where he was arrested.(With PTI Inputs)

Espionage case: Appointed PA after Parl checks; will support probe, says SP MP Munawwar Saleem

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After his Personal Assistant Farhat was arrested for being involved in an espionage racket, Samajwadi Party MP Munnawar Saleem on Saturday has said that he was not aware of his aide’s activities. “I had appointed the PA a year back after due parliamentary checks, I am ready to extend all support during probe,” Saleem said. He also said that the police had given clearance to Farhat when he was appointed as his PA. Farhat was detained last night by the Delhi Crime Branch officer in connection with the espionage racket in which a Pakistan High Commission staffer was expelled from the country and three persons were arrested. He is currently being interrogated by the officials.Delhi Police is also trying to nab other members of the racket who, it believes, were in close contact with Pakistan High Commission staffer Mehmood Akhtar who was caught receiving secret documents here on October 26.Two others, Maulana Ramzan and Subhash Jangir, residents of Nagaur, Rajasthan, were held along with Akhtar. Another accused Shoaib was detained in Jodhpur and brought to Delhi by the police where he was arrested.

Espionage case: Close aide of SP leader Munawwar Saleem arrested

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After the Pakistan spy-ring was busted a few days ago, one more person, Fahat, who is a close aide of Samajwadi Party leader Munawwar Saleem was detained by Delhi Crime Branch.The details of his involvement are yet to disclosed.Delhi Police had announced on Thursday about the spy-ring that a Pakistani spy Mehmood Akhtar has confessed that there was a spy ring being run in India to obtain top defence secrets. Akhtar, who was an Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) official, working in the Pakistan High Commission, named 14 others who were working as spies there. Investigators said Akhtar’s confession has been videotaped. In the video, he talks about obtaining top secret files relating to the deployment of the Indian Army and paramilitary forces on the border.Since Akhtar enjoyed diplomatic immunity, he was let off but has been asked to leave the country by October 29. Two Indians, Maulana Ramzan Khan and Subash Jangir, who worked for him have also been arrested. They will be grilled over the next 12 days.Police officials have also revealed the role of women in the racket. “These women were used as honeytraps to extract information from officers and other groups,” said a senior police officer.Police has recovered coded maps of army intelligence from Ramzan and Jangir, revealing force movements. Officials say that the spies were planning to set up a stronghold in north-western India, along the border areas, so that they would be better informed about the location of the various forces guarding the borders.

Indian mission staffer’s expulsion: MEA slams Pakistan, says it’s in denial of its anti-India activities

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Ministry of External Affairs on Friday condemned expulsion of Indian High Commission staffer in Islamabad, saying Pakistan’s action confirmed that it continued to be in denial of its anti-India activities.India on Thursday declared a Pakistan High Commission staffer in New Delhi as persona non grata for espionage activities after he was caught by Delhi Police with sensitive defence documents, including deployment details of BSF along the Indo-Pak border. Following that, in a tit-for-tat action, Pakistan declared Surjeet Singh, an Indian High Commission official, as persona non-grata and asked him to leave the country within 48 hours.The government said that Pakistan gave no justification for expelling Surjeet Singh. “Government notes with regret the Government of Pakistan’s decision to declare Shri Surjeet Singh, Assistant Personnel and Welfare Officer in the High Commission of India in Islamabad, persona non grata and expel him and his family members. No justification has been provided by the Government of Pakistan except for the completely baseless and unsubstantiated allegation that his activities were not in keeping with diplomatic norms,” the MEA said in a statement.Stating that the government condemned Pakistan’s step, the statement read, “It is obvious that the step is an afterthought following yesterday’s apprehension of Pakistan High Commission staffer Mehmood Akhtar in Delhi while indulging in anti-India activities. Pakistan’s action further confirms that it continues to be in denial of its anti-India activities, including cross-border terrorism.”Mehmood Akhtar, who worked in the visa section of the High Commission and had diplomatic immunity, was procuring critical details from two other accomplices who were arrested in Delhi, police said.

Espionage case: India, Pakistan seek recall of expelled High commission staffers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid growing strain in relations, India and Pakistan on Thursday declared a staffer each at their High Commissions in New Delhi and Islamabad ‘persona non-grata’ and sought their recall in tit-for-tat action after Indian police busted an ISI-run spy ring involving an employee of the Pakistani mission.Mehmood Akhtar, who worked in the visa section of the High Commission and had diplomatic immunity, was procuring critical details including those about deployment of BSF personnel along the Indo-Pak border from two other accomplices who were arrested in Delhi, police said.Described as the kingpin of the spy ring, 35-year-old Akhtar belongs to the Baloch regiment of Pakistani Army and was on deputation to spy agency ISI since 2013, investigators said, adding they also probing possible involvement of more people from the Pakistani mission.Akhtar and two others — identified as Subhash Jangir and Maulana Ramzan– were picked up from Delhi Zoo yesterday at around 10 AM. Akhtar was released after around three hours of interrogation as he enjoys diplomatic immunity. A fourth person Shoaib, who is a Jodhpur-based passport and visa agent, was detained by Rajasthan police this evening and was being brought to Delhi.India asked Akhtar to leave the country within 48 hours.”Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar summoned the Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit and informed him that India had intercepted an official of the Pakistan High Commission in the pursuit of espionage and that he was being declared persona non-grata,” Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.”The Pakistan High Commission has been informed that Mehmood Akhtar and his family must return to Pakistan by October 29. The Foreign Secretary also strongly conveyed to the Pak High Commissioner that the Pak High Commission must ensure that none of its members indulge in activities inimical to India, or behave in a manner that is incompatible with their diplomatic status,” Swarup said.In swift tit-for-tat action, Pakistan also declared an Indian High Commission official as persona non-grata and asked him to leave the country within 48 hours.A Pakistan Foreign Office statement said the decision was conveyed to Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale who was summoned to Foreign Ministry in Islamabad.”The Foreign Secretary (Aizaz Chaudhry) summoned the Indian High Commissioner and conveyed the decision of the Government of Pakistan to declare Surjeet Singh, an official of the Indian High Commission, as persona non-grata,” the statement said.The Foreign Secretary expressed deep concern over the activities of the Indian official that were in violation of the Vienna Convention and the established diplomatic norms, it said.The Indian High Commission has been asked to make urgent necessary arrangements for Singh and his family to leave Pakistan by October 29.

Top Pak Army officer handpicked Mehmood Akhtar for India spy mission

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mehmood Akhtar, a Havildar in the Pakistani Army, was handpicked for the espionage mission by a top army officer who was once in the race to be the Pakistan Army Chief. Intelligence officials told DNA that Akhtar was part of the 40 Baloch Regiment after joining the Pakistan Army in 1997 before being sent to the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) on deputation on the recommendation of a Lieutenant-General, who also happened to be the Colonel Commandant of the regiment.Sources said Akhtar was deputed to the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi in January 2014 after undergoing a three-month special training in espionage.Soon after recommending him for the ‘special assignment’, the Lieutenant-General retired six months later. This officer was in the race to be Pakistan Army chief but lost out narrowly, as he retired months before then chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani’s scheduled retirement in 2013.”Mehmood Akhtar was just a Havildar, one of the lowest ranks in the army but he had the backing of the Pakistan Baloch Regiment Colonel Commandant,” said an intelligence official.Akhtar was not alone. A senior who he reported to was also sent for the assignment along with him on the recommendation of the same officer, sources said. The Delhi Police also confirmed that Akhtar got his deputation to ISI in January 2013.”His interrogation disclosed that he was posted in Pakistan High Commission, New Delhi, for about two-and-a-half years and was working in the visa section,” said Joint Commissioner (Crime Branch) Ravinder Yadav.”He also disclosed that he is on deputation to ISI since January 2013 and is a serving Havildar of the 40 Baloch Regiment of Pakistan Army,” he added. Akhtar’s name was disclosed while officials were tracking other spies. “He was on special assignment and came under the crosshairs of intelligence sleuths recently, though other local spies were under the scanner since January,” sources said.

Delhi cops bust major Pakistani spy ring

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistani spy Mehmood Akhtar has confessed that there was a spy ring being run in India to obtain top defence secrets. Akhtar, who was an Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) official, working in the Pakistan High Commission, named 14 others who were working as spies there. The Delhi Police announced the busting of the network on Thursday.Investigators said Akhtar’s confession has been videotaped. In the video, he talks about obtaining top secret files relating to the deployment of the Indian Army and paramilitary forces on the border.Since Akhtar enjoyed diplomatic immunity, he was let off but has been asked to leave the country by October 29. Two Indians, Maulana Ramzan Khan and Subash Jangir, who worked for him have also been arrested. They will be grilled over the next 12 days.Police officials have also revealed the role of women in the racket. “These women were used as honeytraps to extract information from officers and other groups,” said a senior police officer.Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar summoned Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit and informed him that India had intercepted an official from the Pakistan High Commission, who was involved in espionage and that he was being declared persona non grata.Intelligence sleuths have also seized coded army intelligence maps, details of deployment and military movement. “Documents in his possession have revealed the deployment of the army and paramilitary forces in Rajasthan and Gujarat,” said Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Ravindra Yadav.Akhtar worked in the visa section at the Pakistan High Commission. He was in touch with another person, identified as Shoaib, who, along with his father, worked for Akhtar. Shoaib, who worked as a visa agent, was detained by the Rajasthan Police in Jodhpur late on Thursday evening. Officials say that he recruited spies for Akhtar. In fact, both Maulana Ramzan Khan alias Hazrat and Subhash Jangir were both recruited by Shoaib.Acting on specific intelligence, the cops nabbed Akhtar, Ramzan and Jangir, just outside Delhi Zoo. The duo was to pass on sensitive documents to Akhtar. When they were apprehended, Akhtar used a fake name and showed a fake Aadhaar card in the name of Mehboob Rajput.Ramzan (50) is a school dropout and came to Nagaur, Rajasthan, around 25 years back. He ran a clothes shop and also started working as an Islamic preacher in a local mosque ‘Qureshiyon ki Masjid’ in Jodhpur. In 2015, he came into contact with Shoaib, who asked him to join him in collecting confidential information about the army and paramilitary forces in Gujarat and Rajasthan. He was a resident of the border area and familiar with the topography.Jangir (35) ran a grocery shop and their shops were close. Jangir was in heavy debt and Ramzan recommended him to Shoaib and recruited him.Police recovered coded maps of army intelligence from Ramzan and Jangir, revealing force movements. Officials say that the spies were planning to set up a stronghold in north-western India, along the border areas, so that they would be better informed about the location of the various forces guarding the borders.Akhtar was a Pakistan Intelligence Operative (PIO). Ramzan and Jangir had been working for him for a year and a half. They met at least once a month at tourist locations and exchanged sensitive documents. Each time, they received an undisclosed amount of money.In a statement in Islamabad, the Pakistan Foreign Office said that the Indian action was accompanied by an extremely negative and orchestrated media campaign. “We reject the Indian allegations and deplore the Indian action, which is indeed a violation of the Vienna Convention as well,” it said.

India busts Pakistan spy racket: Man arrested in Jodhpur for involvement

New Delhi: Shoaib, the Jodhpur-based passport and visa agent allegedly involved in espionage racket, was detained near his home town this evening, police said.

A Pakistan High Commission official, identified as Mehmood Akhtar, was detained for his alleged involvement in an espionage racket involving sharing of sensitive defence documents and deployment details of BSF along the Indo-Pak border with Pakistani spy agency ISI.

Two people, identified as Maulana Ramzan and Subhash Jangir were also arrested for sharing sensitive information and defence documents and deployment details of BSF along the Indo-Pak border with Pakistani spy agency ISI.

Representational image. Image courtesy: IBNLive

Representational image. Image courtesy: IBNLive

“He (Shoaib) was responsible for recruiting Subhash and Maulana in the module. He was detained near Jodhpur today evening,” said Ravindra Yadav, joint commissioner of police(Crime).

Shoaib had come in contact with Maulana around one-and-a-half year back, who lured the latter to join him in collecting vital information about the installations of army and para-military forces in Gujarat and Rajasthan, the officer said.

Yesterday, after getting a tip-off about the presence of Akhtar along with Shoaib, Ramzan and Jangir at Delhi Zoo, the police had nabbed Akhtar along with Ramzan and Jangir but Shoaib had managed to escape, said the officer.

“We had sent a request to Jodhpur Police about detaining Shoaib and today evening he was detained. He will be brought to Delhi soon,” said the officer.

Shoaib’s questioning is likely to reveal about the network of other spies who were recruited in the module.

Police has also got to know Nagaur-based Ramzan used to recruit locals which included army and para-military forces personnel to pass on information/documents, said Yadav.

He had introduced Subhash as a para-military officer to Mehmood for getting high money for sharing of important documents, police said.

Espionage case: Pak envoy Abdul Basit protests detention of staffer; denies accusations, say sources

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit on Thursday strongly protested the detention of the mission’s staffer for procurement of documents relating to defence deployment.The staffer Mehmood Akhtar, who worked in the visa section of the Pakistan High Commission, was procuring critical details from two other accomplices who have been arrested in Delhi. Akhtar was released as he enjoys diplomatic immunity, but after prolonged questioning by the police .”Basit strongly protested with Indian Foreign Secretary at the detention and manhandling of Pakistan High Commission staffer yesterday in violation of 1961 Vienna Convention,” sources in Pakistan High Commission said.Sources said that the High Commissioner asked the Indian Government to ensure that such harassment does not happen in future.Strongly rejected and denying the accusations, Basit claimed that Pakistan High Commission never engaged in any activity that was incompatible with its diplomatic status.Meanwhile, India has declared Akhtar as persona non grata for espionage activities. This was conveyed by Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar who had summoned Basit on Thursday.”The accused were involved in espionage activities for over a year-and-a-half. We were watching their activities for past six months. On a specific input, they were held yesterday. Akhtar is a kingpin of the spy ring,” Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) RS Yadav told a press conference.

Delhi Police says Pakistan High Commission staffer Mehmood Akhtar worked for ISI

The Delhi police, on Thursday, said that after working for about six months, they were able to apprehend Mehmood Akhtar, a Pakistan High Commission staffer, and two others, who were allegedly working as spies in India for over one-and-half years.

Mehmood Akhtar, who was arrested on espionage charges. CNN-News18

Mehmood Akhtar, who was arrested on espionage charges. CNN-News18

Akhtar was working in close association with two men, identified as Maulana Ramzan and Subhash Jangir, from Rajasthan.

The police got a tip off that they will be meeting on 25 October at the national zoological park in New Delhi. After the cops apprehended them, Akhtar identified himself as Mehmood Rajput from Chandni Chowk.

However, during interrogation, he invoked diplomatic immunity. This confounded the police as Akhtar had identified himself as an Indian national.

Officials from the Ministry of External Affairs were called and after checking the records, it was ascertained that Akhtar was allegedly working for the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi. According to the Delhi police, he was deliberately put in the visa department to identify and get in touch with potential recruits, possibly from a poor economic background, and convince them to work as a spy.

He was arrested on espionage charges on Thursday morning but released soon after he invoked diplomatic immunity and was asked to leave India within next 48 hours.

Akhtar was recruited in Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI about three years ago and posted in the commission around two and a half years ago, said the Delhi police.

The Delhi police also clarified on the role of the other two men. Jangir was recruited by Maulana after his business suffered a major loss, while Maulana was recruited by someone called Shoaib, who allegedly works as a visa agent in Jodhpur, police said.

Defence deployment and border deployment papers were found in their possession. The police said that the three men also had a list of BSF officials who were posted at the border. They used to meet at least once a month at a tourist spot and exchange documents, the Delhi police said.

The Delhi police is on the look out of more people, who are involved in this spy ring, and hope to arrest them soon.

Kashmir unrest: 100 days after Burhan Wani, lies and mismanagement run rampant

A hundred days after Kashmiri militant commander Burhan Wani was killed, lies and mismanagement have seamlessly turned a mass uprising into large-scale cross-border militancy.

The lies are so blasé that they have even got the century mark wrong. Kashmir was awash with talk on Sunday that it was the 100th day of curfew. Of course, twisting facts is more or less normal in this ‘conflict zone,’ but this particular twist is bizarre. For, it is precisely because the government did not impose curfew on those fateful days, 8 and 9 July, that South Asia is now set on a terrible course.

Since the news of Burhan’s death only spread after 7 pm on the evening of 8 July, and there certainly was no night curfew, the first possibility of curfew would have been on 9 July, the day of Burhan’s funeral.
Especially those who have reported the many back-to-back funerals (eyewitnesses say half-a-dozen, interspersed with long rounds of speeches) should know how strict the curfew was imposed on that day. In fact, hysterical mobs attacked police stations and paramilitary camps across the valley. Some posts were set on fire. One police station was burned to the ground. Its armoury was looted.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Even after 9 July, curfew was not imposed on most of the last 100 days in significant parts of the Kashmir Valley. In Tral, from where Burhan hailed, there was no sign of police, army or paramilitary until a month ago – i.e., most of the first 70 days. That was excellent strategy. For, there was no death or injury there either.

Of course, the phase of repression and depraved police brutality that has followed will only cause more alienation, and insurgency.

But the ‘narrative’ is oblivious to these variations. It says in its blithe two-dimensional imbecility that the entire place has been locked down for hundred days.

Migrant work ethic

On the morning of 11 July, the Monday after Burhan was killed, I drove through large parts of Srinagar. In many places, I saw large numbers of migrant workers standing or squatting on the roadside — waiting for contractors who would hand out work for that day. No contractors were to be seen. Most of those whom the Indian taxpayer pays salaries were absent from work. A few shops were open, though their owners looked uneasy.

The government was invisible. It remained paralysed for several weeks, as those in power waited in vain hope for things to ‘settle down’ without their having to lose popularity. A very vain (pun intended) hope on both counts, as it predictably turned out. Things didn’t settle down. Their popularity plummeted.
But nobody apparently had the intelligence to figure out that the common pattern of attacks on security establishments across the valley could not have been a gigantic coincidence. A long war would unfold.

Restrictions versus narrative

During the first few weeks, the then divisional commissioner had said that ‘restrictions’ were in place. It was a suitable term. For, in fact, there have been only restrictions, at least in most parts of Srinagar through these 100 days. Security men have allowed one past their barricades, even in the often turbulent Downtown on a Friday afternoon in late July, so long as one was not agitating.

And yet, nobody in government challenged the ‘narrative’ of a total lockdown curfew in those crucial early weeks. I would love to be corrected here. Really, I would!

It is only over the last week or so that they have got a couple of news channels to portray what the stone-pelters have been doing. Coming so late, these bold reports risk being perceived as a less-credible counter-narrative. Nationwide, many viewers complain of being confused. Naturally!

Earlier this month, Education Minister Naeem Akhtar addressed a poignant open letter to the high profile secessionist leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, highlighting the priority Islam gives to ensuring education. (Most educational institutions have been shut for three months.) The heart-touching letter would surely have moved Geelani.

The sad fact is that, by and large, the boys on the streets don’t acknowledge the Hurriyat leaders. And in any case, control over what is happening had passed across the Line of Control several weeks before.

In those crucial weeks of July, when the government was paralysed, some of its putative managers were actually trying to cozy up to ‘narrative’ walas on Facebook. It was the same old ‘we are with you, against them’ narratives that have been whispered in Delhi and Jammu and Srinagar far too often — ‘us’ and ‘them’ being as variable as convictions, morality and concern for the people. It happened from 1950-52, 1977, 1982 and 1987, but even those who should know better don’t seem to learn.

More recently, those managers have been trying to buy over  the ‘narrative’ walas. That’s another familiar story — raise the price and then squeeze. Such absolutely intolerable cynicism pervades this ‘conflict zone’ that some of those who kill militants have been known to do much the same with regard to the price on militants’ heads.

The problem with all this is not so much that the world at large is confused or misinformed as a result; the problem is the two-fold anger dividend on the ground. One, the ‘narrative’ raises the anger of the agitating youth, as it is calculated to do. In the bargain, it demoralises and frustrates those of the forces that have exercised restraint. Sooner or later, the resulting anger among soldiers will wreak havoc.

No wonder we are skidding headlong into the quagmire of a war-like situation.

With dreams in their eyes, Kashmiri students head to Jammu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Seventeen-year-old Suraya Gulzar, a resident of South Kashmir’s Anantnag district, wants to join civil services while Khursheed (name changed) from Pulwama dreams of becoming a cardiologist. “But how will we compete in the world if we cannot study,” says Khursheed, a Class XII student who like several other children from Kashmir had no option but to shift to a Jammu school from the Valley, where educational institutions have been shut for 100 days now due to unrest. Gulzar, who too has migrated to a school here, says she wants to follow the footsteps of Shah Faesal, the 2009-2010 topper of civil services examination from Kashmir. “You cannot join IAS or become a doctor or an engineer when the schools are forced to close. We waited for few days for the schools to open, but when months passed by, my parents decided to shift to Jammu and admit me in a school here where I can continue my studies,” she says. Scores of students from Kashmir Valley have moved to Jammu and other places in the country to continue their education in view of unrest in the Kashmir Valley following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces on July 8. But Khursheed says there were thousands of students who wanted to study, but were not financially sound enough to move out of the Valley to continue their education. “My friends also want to study. I am lucky that my parents were able to shift me to Jammu, but for my friends their parents don’t have the financial means to shift them out of Kashmir so as to continue their studies,” he said. Gulzar and 30 other students from Kashmir Valley have taken regular admission at the Government Higher secondary School in Sunjawan area of Jammu where special classes are being held to make up for the time they have lost. “So far 30 students from Kashmir have taken regular admission in our school and the number is increasing with every passing day,” its principal Prem Singh said. He said that he has regularly been getting phone calls from parents from Kashmir who want to shift their children to the school. “Apart from the students who have taken regular admission, there are some students who come here to take classes. For such students we have exempted the morning assembly. They can come at their will to attend the class and leave whenever they want to,” Singh said. Khursheed rues that the future of the Kashmiri students was being put in jeopardy by the separatists. “The education of the students should be kept out of the ambit of the protest. Why are we being made to suffer. “To succeed in life one has to compete and we cannot compete with the world with illiteracy,” says Khursheed. The students in Kashmir are also worried as the government has refused to postpone the class 10th and 12th examination in the Valley. State Education Minister Naeem Akhtar said there were no plans to defer the examinations. “There is no plan to postpone 10th and 12th exams any further. I have been receiving countless calls from worried parents and children since yesterday after a baseless report was circulated by a news gathering agency and unfortunately picked up by many newspapers,” Akhtar wrote on social networking site Facebook.Asserting that some parents and students insisted that examinations must go on in accordance with the published date sheet, he said let the students remain focused on studies. “All the students and parents who called me insisted that exams must go on in accordance with the published date sheet. That is the decision of the government as well. Let the students remain focused on studies and prepare vigorously for exams on the due date,” he said. Following the closure of schools in the Kashmir, several private schools in Jammu too have witnessed a huge rush of students who are migrating from the Valley. In the past three months we have admitted over 100 students from Kashmir Valley and the number keeps on increasing,” said Kuldeep Singh in charge admission of a private school in Jammu.The parents who have admitted their children in Jammu say that they don t want to compromise with the future of their children. “Back home in Kashmir we have not told anybody that we are shifting our children to Jammu otherwise we will be targeted by protestors. We just want to give our children a bright future that is why we admitted them in Jammu,” Khursheed’s father said.

Pakistan’s inaction against terrorists stems from its ‘India phobia’: Afghanistan

New York: Pakistan’s lack of will in dealing with insurgents stems from its “India phobia”, its military and civilian tensions and its trust deficit with neighbours, Afghanistan’s foreign minister has said while demanding the dismantling of “safe havens” in Pakistan to defeat terrorism.

“The way Pakistan behaves is because they have India phobia, there are military and civilian tensions and there is trust deficit between Afghanistan and Pakistan,” Salahuddin Rabbani said in New York when asked what motivates Pakistan in dealing with insurgent groups and its “lack of will” to help deal with Taliban and other terror groups.

Afghanistan's Minister for Foreign Affairs Salahuddin Rabbani. ReutersAfghanistan's Minister for Foreign Affairs Salahuddin Rabbani. Reuters

Afghanistan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Salahuddin Rabbani. Reuters

In a talk at the Council on Foreign Relations on Tuesday, Rabbani said out of these three reasons, Afghanistan and Pakistan can work on the issue of the trust deficit. “After the formation of the national unity government, we did our best to go and work with Pakistan and we tried to open a new chapter of relations. On India phobia and the military and civilian tensions of the Pakistani leaders, this is something that they (Pakistan) have to sort it out,” he said.

He said Afghanistan does not expect the violence and terror to subside anytime soon “as the Taliban and affiliate groups are sustained with logistical, financial and material support from elements in Pakistan.” Kabul has repeatedly underscored that terrorism will not be defeated in Afghanistan or elsewhere “as long as the distinction between good and bad terrorist continues” coupled with the lingering problem of terrorists’ safe havens and sanctuaries which remain unaddressed.

“As our fight against terrorism continues, we have not closed the widow of opportunity for peace and reconciliation with the elements of armed opposition ready to give up violence. Yet we know that any prospect for the success is strictly contingent on the extent to which the government of Pakistan is ready and willing to clamp down on extremist groups,” he said.

On the safe havens provided to terror groups in Pakistan, he said the spike in violence in Afghanistan shows that terror groups have continuous support “from somewhere” otherwise they would not have been able to fight in several provinces at the same time.

“We saw where their leader (Mullah Akhtar Mohammad) Mansour got killed,” he said referring to the Taliban leader killed in an airstrike in Pakistan in May this year. “Their sanctuaries, bases are somewhere in Pakistan. The Pakistani leadership should take this seriously and should make sure that these groups don’t operate in those areas,” Rabbani said.

Arrested Al-Qaeda leader reveals militant group’s modus operandi to Delhi Police

New Delhi: Al-Qaeda’s South Asian wing Al-Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS ) trains its recruits not only to carry out terror attacks but also to radicalise vulnerable Muslim youth in the name of jihad, Delhi Police sources said.

Representational image. APRepresentational image. AP

Representational image. AP

“Askari” and “Deeni” are major training provided to new members of the outfit by AQIS handlers based in Pakistan, the sources said.

“Askari is over month-long rigorous training in weapons and battle modes to carry out terror strikes while Deeni is 45-day religious training provided to AQIS members to motivate and radicalise youth,” said an official on the condition of anonymity.

Mohammad Asif, 41, the suspected “Indian incharge” of AQIS who was arrested by Delhi Police’s special cell in December last year, had informed investigators about these training modules in his testimony.

Asif’s revelation is part of the chargesheet filed on  10 June by the special cell in Delhi’s Patiala House court against 17 accused, 12 of whom are absconding. They have been charged with allegedly conspiring and recruiting Indian youth and seeking to establish a base of AQIS in the country.

AQIS was established by Al Qaeda in 2014 to spread its wings in South Asia.

The chargesheet reveals that Asif, a resident of Sambhal in Uttar Pradesh, took “religious training” in Waziristan in Pakistan in 2014. However, due to “his old age”, he was not sent for “rigorous Askari training”. It also states that Asif stayed near the training camp where chief of Tehreek-e-Taliban, Pakistan, Hakimullah Mehsood, was killed in a US drone attack.

The chargesheet states that Asif was made “in-charge” of AQIS in India after completion of training in Waziristan by an AQIS member Sayed Akhtar, who also hails from Sambhal and is learnt to be staying near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

It states that Asif, who reached Pakistan in June 2013, managed to return to India in October 2014. He was arrested in Delhi on 14 December, 2015, following a tip-off.

Asif informed police that he along with Serjil, another resident of Sambhal, stayed in Miranshah in Pakistan where Akhtar delivered lectures for them on jihad.

Akhtar told Asif and others about formation of “Tanzeem AQIS” for carrying out terrorist activities in India.

The chargesheet states that Asif was among a group of 10 people who were provided Deeni training on the instruction of AQIS’s Amir Maulana Asim Umar alias Sanaul Haq– who was appointed to the position by AQIS’s overall chief Ayman al-Zawahiri in 2014.

Investigators said that Serjil, Rehan and five other boys were selected for Askari. “One Pakistan national Ustad Sohail taught these new recruits about handling of explosives and IED’s (Improvised Explosive Devices), they said.

Another suspected terrorist Jafar Masood, who was arrested by special cell of Delhi Police in December 2015, told the interrogators that he along with other youth was trained in using assault weapons including guns and grenades during Askari training.

Babri demolition, Godhra riots led Indian youths to join al Qaeda: Police

Indians joining al Qaeda were moved by the 1992 Babri mosque demolition and 2002 Godhra riots and were committed to establish base of terror outfit al Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) in India, Delhi Police has told a court here.In its chargesheet filed against 17 accused, Special Cell of Delhi Police said for the purpose of jihad, some of them had gone to Pakistan and had met Jamat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and several other dreaded terrorists.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”While delivering jihadi speeches in various mosques, he (arrested accused Syed Anzar Shah) met Mohd Umar (one of the absconding accused) and they discussed atrocities on Muslims in India, especially Godhra and Babri Masjid issues.
ALSO READ Recruitment war heats up between IS and al Qaeda in the sub-continent”Umar got impressed with his jihadi ideology and speeches and committed himself to the cause of jihad and expressed the desire to receive arms/ammunition training from Pakistan,” the chargesheet filed before Additional Sessions Judge Reetesh Singh said. It said that Umar was operating from Pakistan.Police said arrested accused Abdul Rehman had provided safe hideouts in India to Pakistani militants Salim, Mansoor and Sajjad, all members of Jaish-e-Mohammed, who were later killed in a shootout in Uttar Pradesh in 2001.
ALSO READ Delhi Police files charge sheet against 17 alleged members of AQISThese three Pakistani militants had come to India to take revenge of Babri Masjid demolition and had planned to attack Ram Mandir in Ayodhya but got killed, the charge sheet claimed.The police named in its chargesheet 17 accused, 12 of whom are absconding, for allegedly conspiring, recruiting Indian youths and establishing a base of AQIS here.In its final report, the agency has charged five arrested accused — Mohd Asif, Zafar Masood, Mohd Abdul Rehman, Syed Anzar Shah and Abdul Sami — for alleged offences under the provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).All the 17 accused were listed in the chargesheet for alleged offences under sections 18 (punishment for conspiracy), 18-B (punishment for recruiting of any person for terror act) and 20 (punishment for being member of terror organisation) of the UAPA.The accused were arrested between December 2015 and January 2016 from different parts of the country.The probe agency has alleged that al Qaeda was trying to set up its base in India under the banner of AQIS and some youths from districts of western Uttar Pradesh had already left India and joined its cadre in Pakistan.It said that one of the modules of the outfit was active in Sambhal district in Uttar Pradesh. It also alleged that the accused were in touch with terrorists from Pakistan, Iran and Turkey via social media and mobile phones, and they had visited these countries and had also financed AQIS and motivated the youths for jihad.Besides the five arrested accused, the agency also named in its chargesheet 12 others who are at large and the court had earlier issued non-bailable warrant against them.The absconding accused are Syed Akhtar, Sanaul Haq, Mohd Sharjeel Akhtar, Usman, Mohd Rehan, Abu Sufiyan, Syed Mohd Arshiyan, Syed Mohd Zishan Ali, Sabeel Ahmed, Mohd Shahid Faisal, Farhatullah Ghori and Mohd Umar.The FIR in the present case was registered after arrest of Asif on December 14 last year.

Delhi Police files charge sheet against 17 alleged members of AQIS

Six months after Mohammed Asif was arrested by Delhi’s Special Cell unit, Delhi Police submitted its chargesheet accusing 17, 12 of whom are absconding, for allegedly conspiring, recruiting Indian youths and establishing a base of terror outfit Al Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS).In the more than a thousand-page charge sheet filed before Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Reetesh Singh at Patiala Court, Delhi Police charged the five arrested accused — Mohd Asif, Zafar Masood, Mohd Abdul Rehman, Syed Anzar Shah and Abdul Sami — for alleged offences under the provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). The five accused were arrested between between December 2015 and January 2016 from various parts of the country.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Besides these five, the police have also charged 12 others who are absconding and have a non-bailable warrant (NBW) issued against them by the court. The absconding accused are AQIS chief Sanaul Haq, Syed Akhtar and Usman, who are believed to be working directly for Haq and others that include Mohd Sharjeel Akhtar, Mohd Rehan, Abu Sufiyan, Syed Mohd Arshiyan, Syed Mohd Zishan Ali, Sabeel Ahmed, Mohd Shahid Faisal, Farhatullah Ghori and Mohd Umar.In the charge sheet, Delhi police have outlined Asif’s journey from working in a building materials supply shop in Western Uttar Pradesh’s Sambhal district to becoming the head of the Indian Chapter of AQIS. Based on Asif’s interrogation and testimony, authorities apprehended Masood, Rehman and Shah from various parts of the country.Through its investigation in the past six months, the probe agency alleged that AQIS through its chief Haq was trying to set up base in India. Asif, also from Sambhal like Haq, was one the main propagators. In order to set up a module in India, in the first decade of the 21st century, Asif traveled to Waziristan, Pakistan, through Iran and Turkey where he received “Deeni (religious training),” though, he was exempt from rigorous “Askari (battle and weapons training)” due to his advanced stage.There he met leaders of various other banned terror outfits including leaders from Indian Mujideen, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Lashkar-e-Toiba and others.It has been alleged that the accused were in touch with each other through email, Skype and various other social media platforms. During the investigation, experts from the Cyber Forensic Division, CERT-In (Indian Computer Emergency Response Team) and Department of Electronics & Information Technology were called to verify the data – the report of which would be found in the supplementary charge sheet.Asif’s account of his travels and his communication have been verified through airline tickets, emails and a note by the Ministry of External affairs that confirms Asif had applied for an emergency passport at the Indian Mission in Istanbul, Turkey claiming he was a tourist and had lost his passport.Of the 17 accused, six hail from Sambhal and are known to be either childhood friends or neighbours. This development may bring Sambhal under the radar after Bhatkal, Karnataka and Azamgarh, UP.

DNA test confirms Mullah Akhtar Mansour’s death in US drone attack: Pakistan

A DNA test has confirmed Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour’s death in a US drone strike in the restive Pakistani province of Balochistan on May 21, the government here has said.”The second man killed in the drone attack has been identified. It has been confirmed that the man killed in the attack was former Taliban chief Mullah Mansour. The exact identity was known through the DNA test which matched with a relative of Mansour who had come from Afghanistan to take the dead body,” the Interior Ministry said in a statement.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mansour, who was in his early 50s, and Muhammad Azam, a Pakistani driver, were killed on May 21 when US special forces targeted their vehicle in a drone strike in Noshki district of Balochistan while they were allegedly returning from Iran by road.
ALSO READ Afghan Taliban confirm death of Mullah Akhtar Mansour; names new leaderThe US had announced soon after the attack that it had successfully targeted Mansour but Pakistan had said that DNA test would be performed to identify the victims.The Interior Ministry said yesterday that the tests proved that Mansour was killed in the drone attack.Pakistan Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz had said on Thursday that all indicators confirmed that the person killed in the drone strike was Mansour.However, he had said that the final announcement in this regard will made after the DNA tests.Pakistan government has described the US drone strike as a violation of its sovereignty.Meanwhile, the family of the driver killed in the drone attack registered a police case yesterday against the US government, demanding justice.

Take that, Anupam! Naseeruddin Shah slams Kher on Kashmiri Pandits issue

New Delhi: Taking a dig at Anupam Kher’s attempt to speak for Kashmiri Pandits, actor Naseeruddin Shah pointed out on Friday that those who have never lived in Kashmir are now fighting for Kashmiris.

They have suddenly become ‘displaced persons’, he said, while in Delhi for the promotion of his film Waiting.

Anupam Kher was quick to respond to Shah’s comment and termed his remarks ‘insensitive’, News18 reported. Kher took to social media as well in his usual candid style

He also re-tweeted several of his supporters taking a dig at Shah’s comments.

Shah also commented on two years of the Narendra Modi government and said that people should ‘give the government more time before forming perceptions’. He expressed concerns over how textbooks are being tinkered with under the BJP-led government. “Changes made in a few textbook worry me,” he said.

However, the actor maintained that he remains hopeful that the NDA government is ‘not stupid enough’ to take India back to the ‘dark ages’, while supporting lyricist and former Rajya Sabha MP Javed Akhtar on his statement that nobody has the right to question a citizen’s love for his or her motherland.

With inputs from PTI

Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assembly asks Barack Obama to apologise for US drone attack

Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assembly on Friday unanimously adopted a resolution against the US drone strike that killed Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour, seeking an apology from President Barack Obama for the attack deep inside the country’s territory.The resolution was tabled by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) lawmaker Fakhr Alam Wazir and unanimously passed by the House.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The resolution termed the US drone strike deep inside Pakistan in the restive Balochistan province an attack on the country’s integrity and called on Obama to tender an apology, The News International reported. It also asked the federal government to lodge strong protest at diplomatic level.A US drone attack killed Mullah Mansour, chief of Afghan Taliban, deep insde Pakistan last Saturday. Pakistan has lodged a protest with the US and termed the drone strike an attack on country’s sovereignty.

Haji Ali row: Women not allowed in mazhar to prevent harassment, say clerics

Leading the campaign to allow women entry into places of worship that don’t permit them, Bhumata Brigade founder Trupti Desai is protesting to gain entry into Haji Ali’s mazhar (tomb of the saint). Earlier this month, the Bombay High Court disposed a PIL challenging the Haji Ali Trust’s decision to ban the entry of women into the sanctum of the shrine and directed the Maharashtra government to ensure compliance of law and prevent discrimination of women at places of worship.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Iamin spoke to a few clerics from different sects of Islam for their opinion on the issue.The Deobandi sect says women have not been allowed in graveyards or in the mazhar since the time of Prophet Mohammed. The prohibition is in apparently in place to save women from harassment and from being teased by miscreants. Mohammed Ashfaq, a cleric at Govandi’s mosque, said that women were not allowed at places where many men are present and activities like Qawwali are held because it leads to harassment. “When it comes to visiting the graveyard or mazhar, women are not allowed there. (It’s) not because they are deprived of praying there, but to save them from harassment and teasing.”Ashfaq said that there was no partiality involved in not allowing women to do certain things and that Islam accorded women dignity. “We keep our important and more valuable things very safe and carefully. Women are more valuable and possess more dignity in Islam (and) that is why Islam has certain norms to save them,” he added.”People also give the example of Mecca, where men and women both pray in congregation but they don’t realise that Makkah Mukarramah is the place where people don’t even think of any sin. But other places cannot be like Meccah mosque,” Ashfaq said.According to the PIL filed by Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan in the Bombay High Court, entry to Haji Ali’s dargah had been open to women till June 2012 after which it was restricted. Ashfaq says that the dargah came into existence in 1947. He said that prior to this there was no dargah. According to him, there is a minor difference between the dargah and the grave. The dargah is a concrete or solid grave while the actual grave is made of soil. “This is not sudden prohibition, but it was not implemented. It is something like a wrong thing happening (because) there was no one to stop it,” added Ashfaq.Shafique Mohammed, a cleric of the Ahle Hadith sect and a researcher of Islam at Islamic Information Centre in Kurla, said that there was no concept of mazhar and dargah in Islam and that it was baseless to fight against the prohibition of women from entering into Haji Ali dargah or any other mazhar. “When it comes to equality, Islam talks about justice, not equality. Justice for men and women could be different. In Islam, women have more dignity,” said Shafique, adding, “Women are allowed to pray in mosque if there is a separate place available for them.”Imam Haji Akhtar Mehmood of the Kinara Masjid at Haji Ali said that the mazhar concept is very old. “There was a time when women were allowed to pray inside mosques, but years ago, a companion of Mohammed, named Umar Farooque, asked all women to pray namaz at home instead of the mosque because there was a tendency among men and women to start misbehaving (which is) against Islamic way,” said Haji Akhtar.He further said that the same thing happened at Haji Ali. “Every type of women wearing non-islamic dress can lead to harassment and teasing of women. So the prohibition is fine. Women are allowed to enter into the dargah but they are not in the mazhar,” he added.Members of the Haji Ali Trust refused to comment on the matter.

J&K govt welcomes resumption of Indo-Pak talks

Jammu and Kashmir government on Wednesday welcomed the resumption of Foreign Secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan saying the peace process is quite significant for the state.The State cabinet met under the chairperson-ship of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti in Jammu.”The State cabinet welcomes the resumption of foreign secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan and the lead role played by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in carrying forward the peace process, which has significance for the whole region specifically for Jammu and Kashmir, which has been the main victim of hostilities”, Education Minister and state government spokesperson Naeem Akhtar told reporters here.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We look forward to sustained effort to bring peace in the region and J&K in particular,” he said.Replying to a question whether Pakistan should investigate the Pathankot terror attack and cooperate with India, Akhtar said, “Who denies that?… we do not deny that.. Both countries have to do it.”

Kollam tragedy: Kerala fireworks won’t stop, but what about explosives for IM bombs?

Everybody is talking about how Kerala will continue to allow temples and churches to burst crackers but without competitions. But there is not a word about how Indian Mujahideen (IM) gets its kalungii — Mujahideen’s code word for explosives — from Kerala.

On Friday, Kerala’s political parties went through the motions of “discussing” the matter of banning fireworks at festivals. And as expected, the all-party meeting bowed to the sentiments of religion and compulsions of elections, and said “fireworks displays” could go on under regulations but “fireworks competitions” would be banned.

With Kerala’s police chief having already gone on record saying that it will be difficult to enforce regulations, it’s clear that cracker shows will go on as usual. There are others who argue that it will be tough to distinguish between a “display” and a “competition”, and the latter can always be easily masqueraded as the former, especially if the officers look the other way.

But during the entire, elaborate exercise of hair-pulling over whether to ban the firecrackers or not, not a single precious word was uttered by anyone in power on the flourishing illegal trade in explosive substances that goes on in Kerala. And no one has even thought it fit to mention that some of these explosive substances, used in the making of bombs, have been falling into the hands of Mujahideen terrorists.

There is nothing to suggest that the 10 April disaster at the Puttingal Devi temple near Kollam in Kerala, that killed 116 people, was the handiwork of terrorists. Everything, on the other hand, points to the clumsy handling of the lethal firecrackers. But it is common knowledge in the intelligence community that terrorists, especially those of the IM brand, have little difficulty procuring explosive substances from within the country. Those who investigated terror blasts in the past across India suspect that Kerala is a prime source for Mujahideen for its kalungii.

The site of the fire at Puttingal Devi Temple in Kerala's Kollam. AFP

The site of the fire at Puttingal Devi Temple in Kerala’s Kollam. AFP

There are many explosive substances that are used in the making of firecrackers, fertilisers, explosives for quarrying—and bombs for killing people. Potassium nitrate, for instance, is used in fertilisers and fireworks. But it is also one of the major ingredients in gunpowder or blackpowder. And the blasting gelatin or jelly, invented by Alfred Nobel, is made of, among other things, saltpetre (sodium nitrate or potassium nitrate).

Ammonium nitrate, used predominantly as a fertiliser, is also used in mining and the making of bombs or Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Investigators say this chemical is a favourite among Mujahideen terrorists.

Prodded by the National Security Agency (NSA), Kerala’s director-general of police sent a circular to his officers on 13 September, 2011. It said: “It is recommended that a certain level of control on explosives need to be put in place. In addition, there must be measures to prevent the easy availability of explosives to undesirable elements who may misuse them. A special cell is therefore constituted at Police Headquarters to monitor matters relating to the use or misuse of the explosives.”

And not a word was heard from—or about—this “special cell” ever since, even in the aftermath of the Kollam temple tragedy.

On the other hand, investigations into the blasts in Hyderabad on 21 February, 2013 that killed 17 people and injured 119, said that the ammonium nitrate that was used in the bombs may have come from Kerala.

A close look at the past blasts clearly shows that the terrorists spent more time on reconnaissance and planning than on getting their explosives, which was easy. The charge sheet filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the Hyderabad blasts case shows that Mujahideen operatives discuss the procurement of explosives with the same ease as housewives talk about buying tomatoes. Some excerpts from the charge sheet:

“In January 2013, Riyaz Bhatkal (A-1) informed Asadullah Akhtar (A-2) through an internet chat that in a few days explosive material would be delivered in Mangalore and Asadullah Akhtar (A-2) was directed to carry out blasts in Hyderabad along with Waqas (A-3) and Tahseen Akhtar (A-4). As planned earlier, Asadullah Akhtar (A-2) received the explosive material from an unknown person in a golden colour trolley bag.

“The material was delivered near Unity Health Centre, Mangalore. Investigation has further established that, after receiving the explosives, Asadullah Akhtar (A-2) took the explosive material to their rented flat in Zephyr Heights Apartments. They checked the trolley bag and found to be containing 300 tubes of semi-solid pinkish coloured ANFO (ammonium nitrate oil fuel) of 100 grams each, and 50 numbers of detonators.”

“During an internet chat with Riyaz on December 30, 2012, Yasin asked him about the stage of preparation of the blasts to be conducted, to which Riyaz replied that the explosives were expected in a week’s time . . . Riyaz further mentioned that the explosives were to be collected from the supplier of Mumbai Blasts of July 13, 2011, and that there was a different supplier for the Pune 1st Aug, 2012 blast. Yasin said that white gelatin was good for explosion, and that red was not good.”

Since explosive substances have legitimate uses as well, there are 1) those who make them under license 2) dealers who sell them and 3) users who buy them. Terrorists can lay their hands on the chemicals they want from any one of these three illegally. Often, huge amounts of substances have been reported stolen.

The authorities no doubt need to keep an eye on the temples and churches in Kerala that use or misuse firecrackers. What demands a closer scrutiny is India’s—Kerala’s in particular—flourishing explosives trade that has become a source of raw material for deadly terror bombs.

NIT Srinagar issue: Smriti Irani says ‘will not let injustice happen to students’, sends 2-member team from HRD ministry

With tension prevailing at the NIT here, a two-member team from the Union HRD ministry on Wednesday held consultation with officials of the engineering institute even as outstation students put forth five demands including action against staff involved in “anti-national” activities. Smriti Irani has also spoken to Jammu and Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti over NIT Srinagar issue. The two member HRD team to be there in Srinagar till April 11.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We will not let injustice happen to students,” HRD Minister Smriti Irani on NIT Srinagar issue.”HRD Ministry has deputed a team of officials to Srinagar, who are here and talking to students,” said Naeem Akhtar. “Students have issues regarding academics & administration. Basically an internal matter of institution,” said Naeem Akhtar, Jammu and Kashmir Education Minister.A senior official said the HRD team which included Sanjeev Sharma, Director (Technical Education) in the HRD ministry and Deputy Director Finance Fazal Mehmood will also interact with the students of the institute to take stock of the situation. “The mandate is to build confidence amongst students and assure them about their safety,” the official said. “The two-member team from the HRD ministry has arrived and is holding consultations with NIT officials,” an official of the NIT said. As the HRD team arrived here, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said the matter needs “tactful handling” and the state government should look into it “without back seat drivers”. “Rushing in a team from HRD ministry coupled with the CRPF replacing Jammu and Kashmir police speaks volumes about Delhi’s confidence in Mehbooba Mufti,” Omar wrote on Twitter On Friday last, the campus had witnessed clashes between local and outstation students over India’s defeat in the semi-final match in the World T20 tournament.After the clashes, the NIT authorities had shut down the institute which was reopened yesterday. Unrest was witnessed again yesterday at the campus, with outstation students expressing a sense of insecurity and attempting to leave the campus, leading to a confrontation with police which resorted to lathicharge in which some were injured.In a letter to the management of NIT Srinagar dated April 4, the outstation students have listed five demands that, they feel, would enable them to peacefully reside at the campus and concentrate on their studies. “Due to the anti-national activities rising in campus premises, students not local to Srinagar have faced serious problems as well as life threats. Due to the cold situation here, students are eager to reach their homes,” the letter said.”National Flag should be hoisted at main gate/fountain (The state flag may be hoisted as well),” the students demanded.The students alleged that the Jammu and Kashmir Police has not been able to provide security to them. “(It) rather has lathicharged the students and shot tear gas shells at them. Therefore, central forces should be engaged for the security of the students of NIT Srinagar,” the students demanded. They also demanded “equality and transparency” during all examinations, events and activities held at the institute and said “There should be no academic harassment by the faculty”.The students said action should be taken “against faculty and administration members who are involved in anti-national activities and violence”.A police official had said the students had heated arguments with the police personnel yesterday and they also allegedly shoved an officer, leading to lathicharge by the cops. Several students were injured in police action, prompting deployment of two columns of CRPF at the campus to prevent the situation from deteriorating. HRD team at NIT Srinagar; outstation students seek security With agency inputs.

BJP never forced anyone to say ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’, says Paresh Rawal

Amid controversy surrounding chanting of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’, BJP MP and actor Paresh Rawal on Sunday said his party never coerced anyone to raise the slogan and it is “inappropriate” to compel people to do so.LIVE England vs West Indies final T20, ICC World T20Reacting to the fatwa issued by Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband asking Muslims to refrain from chanting the slogan, Rawal said, saying ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ is about expressing the feeling of patriotism.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said people should follow lyricist Javed Akhtar, who retired as Rajya Sabha MP last month, on the issue. “This is all about how much you love your motherland. Those who want to issue fatwa can do so. Otherwise, people should follow Javed Akhtar, who said in the Parliament that ‘it is my right to say Bharat Mata Ki Jai’,” Rawal told reporters here during a brief interaction.”BJP never forced anyone to chant the slogan and it is also not appropriate to force someone to do so. It is all about expressing the feeling of patriotism,” the Ahmedabad (East) MP said. Commenting on China’s role in blocking India’s move in the UN to ban Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief and Pathankot terror attack mastermind Masood Azhar, Rawal said the action was expected of the neighbouring country. “Everyone knows that China and Pakistan are very close.Thus, it was very much expected from China. However, countries like the US, France, Russia and Britain are still with India in our fight against terrorism,” he said.

Shiv Sena hits back at Darul Uloom, says not chanting ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ is new terrorism

BJP on Friday accused Darul Uloom of “communalising” nationalism after the Islamic seminary asked Muslims to refrain from raising ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ slogan while its ally Shiv Sena termed it as a “new terrorism”. BJP said moderate and liberal Muslims take pride in raising nationalist slogans like this but hardliners with medieval beliefs raise such issues for their own sectarian interests. “There is a clear attempt by some sections to communalise nationalism. There is a large section of moderate Muslims, including likes of Javed Akhtar and A R Rahman, and liberal Muslims who take pride in raising nationalist slogans.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There are hardliners with medieval beliefs who are raising such issues for their own sectarians interests,” party spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said.Taking a tough stand, Sena leader and MP Sanjay Raut said not chanting ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ is not freedom of expression but a new terrorism and the government should nip it in the bud. “If you are not hailing the motherland, then whom are they going to hail? They should tell us. The central government should act tough. Such things are never allowed in any other country. Not to chant ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ is not freedom of expression but a new terrorism,” he said.Attacking the Deoband-based seminary, Rao said it had earlier issued fatwa against photography, claiming it is unIslamic. “People reject such medieval ideas,” he said.Another BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said raising of the slogan is not worship, as contended by the seminary, but a show of patriotism. “In patriotic passion, people raise such slogans. It is not worship but an expression of love for the country. Crores of Muslims do it. It was raised during the freedom struggle as well,” he said, adding there could be difference in the language of various nationalist slogans but not in sentiments.

Decks cleared for Mehbooba to head new J&K govt

Srinagar: Mehbooba Mufti was on Thursday unanimously elected as the leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmakers, paving the way for her to become the first woman chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir and head a government in India’s only Muslim majority state after months of tension with the ruling partner, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Mehbooba Mufti becomes the first woman Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir. AFPMehbooba Mufti becomes the first woman Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir. AFP

Mehbooba Mufti becomes the first woman Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir. AFP

“Mehbooba Mufti has been nominated as the chief ministerial candidate of the PDP,” party spokesman and former minister Naeem Akhtar told reporters outside the Fairview residence of the Muftis on the high security Gupkar Road in Srinagar.

PDP lawmakers had gathered at the Muftis to discuss government formation with the BJP. Akhtar said the decision was unanimous and every legislator and senior PDP leader was on board.

Mehbooba is meeting Governor N.N. Vohra on Friday and is most likely to stake claim to power. BJP state president Sat Pal Sharma is also meeting the governor on the same day at the state Raj Bhawan in winter capital Jammu.

Senior BJP leaders, Jitendra Singh, minister of state in PMO, and Ram Madhav, party national general secretary, are expected to be Jammu on Friday to hold a meeting with the state BJP legislators and senior leaders to discuss the government formation with the PDP.

The swearing-in date is also expected to be announced after Mehbooba and Sharma meet Vohra, separately though. Top sources told IANS that the oath taking ceremony of the Mehbooba-led new government would take place in Jammu early next month.

Mehbooba, 56, will now succeed her father, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who died on January 7, as the chief minister. Jammu and Kashmir has been without an elected government since.

Mehbooba was tipped to take over the reins but she dragged her feet on continuing to ally with the BJP and wanted it to redraw the alliance terms that her father had authored. However, the BJP refused any fresh concessions and said it will only give assurances on the agenda, finalized last year when the two parties came together to form the state government.

After remaining entrenched in their respective positions for more than two months, the two sides warmed up to each other following Mehbooba’s meeting with Prime Minister Modi on Tuesday in Delhi.

Senior PDP leader and Lok Sabha member Muzaffar Hussain Beigh denied that there has been any give and take with the BJP. “There is no addition or subtraction from the agenda of alliance agreed upon by the two parties. The agenda will be implemented in letter and spirit.”

PDP leader and Lok Sabha member Tariq Hameed Karra, a vocal opponent of his party’s continuation of alliance with the BJP, was also present in Thursday’s meeting.

Before chairing the PDP meeting, Mehbooba went to her father’s grave in south Kashmir Bijbehara town along with one of her daughters to pray there and apparently seek blessings for the governance innings she would be playing for the first time in her political career.

She presently represents south Kashmir’s Anantnag constituency in the Lok Sabha. She will now have to get elected to either house of the state’s bicameral legislature and also resign her Lok Sabha seat.

IANS

dna Evening must reads: From latest on Brussels attack to Shoaib Akhtar’s view on Pakistan’s chances at World T20

1. Brussels attack: Federal prosecutor confirms 2 suicide bombers were brothers Click Here For LIVE SCORE: India vs Bangladesh, ICC World T20Read the latest on Brussels attack here.2. Chhattisgarh: Scribe arrested for posting ‘objectionable remarks’ on Whatsapp<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress has alleged that state govt is trying to suppress voice of journalists. Full story here.3. Watch: Kanhaiya Kumar compares Rohith Vemula to Bhagat SinghWatch how Kumar compared the deceased scholar to the freedom fighter. 4. Rishi Kapoor has the last word on rumours of Shashi Kapoor’s deathHere’s what Rishi Kapoor had to say about the incident.5. World T20: Shoaib Akhtar says he warned of Pakistan’s decline long ago but no one listened Here us what Akhtar had to say about Pakistan team here.

Maharashtra: AIMIM MLA Waris Pathan suspended from Assembly for not saying Bharat Mata ki Jai

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) MLA Imtiaz Jaleel and Waris Pathan faced heat over Bharat Mata ki Jai in Maharashtra assembly on Tuesday. Waris Pathan has been suspended from the Assembly for the entire session for not uttering Bharat Mata ki Jai. Both lambasted by all party legislators for refusing to say Bharat Mata ki Jai after BJP’s Ram Kadam asked them to do so and the assembly was adjourned twice following uproar over legislator’s stance. Waris Pathan was later suspended. AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi had created controversy couple of days ago saying he won’t say Bharat Mata ki Jai even if anyone put a knife to his throat. He had pointed the Constitution didn’t insist anyone to say Bharat Mata ki Jai.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>AIMIM legislator from Mumbai Waris Pathan suspended for the remainder of the session in relation to this row.
ALSO READ Stand by my comments on not saying ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’, says Asaduddin OwaisiVeteran Bollywood actor Anupam Kher has backed noted lyricist Javed Akhtar’s passionate call for saying Bharat Mata Ki Jai, saying that the slogan should be the only definition of nationalism for Indians.Pathan clarified his stance saying that they will say Jai Hind and Hindustan Zindabad. He also criticised Javed Akhtar.
ALSO READ Chanting ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ should be the only definition of nationalism, says Anupam Kher”The only definition of NATIONALISM for Bharatwasis should be “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”. Rest all are escape routes.:),” Kher tweeted earlier on Wednesday.Akhtar had on Wednesday slammed All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi in the Rajya Sabha over his remark that he would not chant Bharat mata ki jai because the Constitution does not ask him to do so. “The Constitution even does not ask him to wear sherwani and topi (cap). I don’t care to know whether saying Bharat mata ki jai is my duty or not, it is my right.” Akhar said after which he proceeded to chant Bharat mata ki jai several times.Condemning right-wing extremists also who say that ‘Muslims should go to Pakistan’, he added that these days ‘fringe’ elements are rising and emphasised the need to protect secularism to save democracy and the Constitution. Meanwhile, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed against Owaisi in Allahabad High Court over his speech in which he said that he will not chant Bharat Mata ki Jai.”I don’t chant that slogan. What are you going to do Bhagwat sahab?” Owaisi said at a public rally in Latur. “I won’t utter that (slogan) even if you put a knife on my throat. Nowhere has it been mentioned in the Constitution that one should say Bharat Mata ki Jai,” he added.The RSS chief had earlier said the new generation needs to be taught to chant slogans hailing mother India.With agency inputs

‘People confuse reel chemistry with real life’: Farhan Akhtar on link-ups with co-stars

New Delhi: Ever since the news of his separation from his wife of 15 years emerged, Farhan Akhtar’s personal life has been surrounded by rumours of link-ups with his co-actors. The actor-singer-filmmaker only laughs at it and says people sometimes confuse onscreen chemistry of actors with their real life.

Farhan Akhtar. ReutersFarhan Akhtar. Reuters

Farhan Akhtar. Reuters

Farhan, who announced in January his separation from his celebrity hairstylist wife Adhuna Bhabani, with whom he shares two daughters — Shakya and Akira — has been linked to his “Wazir” co-star Aditi Rao Hydari, his “Rock On!! 2” actress Shraddha Kapoor and even with Kalki Koechlin, with whom he worked in the 2011 film “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara”.

Asked why actors end up in the midst of such link-up rumours in the first place, Farhan told IANS: “Well, I really don’t know why the rumours spread like fire and why the rumours have started. I guess people enjoy what they watch on screen and feel the chemistry that is happening on screen… maybe (they) confuse it with what is happening in real life.”

Farhan and Adhuna had issued a joint statement to declare their mutual and amicable decision of ending their marriage and had stated that their priority remains to be their children.

Farhan has since been busy with his new projects — whether it is filming “Rock On!! 2” or his music journey. In fact, for International Women’s Day, he came up with a new song dedicated to the ladies, and said that it was inspired by a painting by his younger daughter.

Talking about the increasing existence of Bollywood songs on girls, parties and alcohol, the 42-year-old son of veteran writer and lyricist Javed Akhtar, said: “I don’t agree that (Bollywood) music is only about that (girls, alcohol and parties). There is a lot of music that is not about those things.

“There is a lot of music that talks about other aspects of human emotions and eventually it is up to the listener on what they want to listen to.”

The actor strongly feels that “each listener and viewer have to decide for themselves as to what they would like to hear”, and he is especially happy that filmmakers are bringing out projects “that are content-driven…”.

“We are relatively at a place in the movie world, where a film like ‘Aligarh’ talks about a serious issue. It talks about things that are important to discuss. So, for audiences like us who want to see something beyond the popcorn entertainment, I think it is important to talk about these films,” said Farhan, who has helmed films like “Dil Chahata Hai”, “Lakshya” and the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer “Don”.

While the Hindi film industry is at its experimental best, one still wonders why there’s preference towards actioners or mostly films which fall in the romantic zone, instead of delving on an art form like music or dance.

To that, Farhan said: “The producers, actors and directors have their own choices. It is very difficult to comment on why someone makes an action or romantic movie.”

IANS

Alleged IM operatives Tehseen Akhtar, Zia-ur-Rehman discharged by Delhi court

Two alleged operatives of Indian Mujahideen (IM), Tehseen Akhtar and Zia-ur-Rehman, were on Friday discharged by a Delhi court in a case relating to the terror group’s conspiracy to carry out strikes in the national capital.Akhtar, who was alleged to be the IM India chief after the arrest of IM co-founder Yasin Bhatkal, and Pakistani national Zia-ur-Rehman alias Waqas were discharged by the court due to lack of evidence against them. The court, however, framed charges against five accused under the provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the Explosive Substances Act and under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The five accused — Syed Maqbool, Imran Khan, Asad Khan, Syed Feroz and Irfan Mustafa — were put on trial after they pleaded not guilty to the charges framed against them and the court has now fixed the matter for recording of evidence on March 28.The Special Cell of Delhi Police had chargesheeted these accused alleging that they had conspired to carry out terror strikes in the national capital. It had alleged that a conspiracy was hatched by the Pune module of the banned terror outfit. Akhtar, Waqas, Maqbool and Imran are also accused in other terror related cases.During the arguments on framing of charges, advocate M S Khan, who had represented Akhtar and Waqas, had countered the allegations levelled by police and had said that there was no evidence against his clients and they were falsely implicated in the case. The other accused had also denied the allegations levelled against them.Akhtar was arrested on March 25, 2014 from near Kakarvitta Indo-Nepal border in Darjeeling district of West Bengal while Waqas was arrested outside Ajmer Railway Station on March 22, 2014. The other accused were arrested during the investigation of the case.

Your poetry will always be alive, Nida Fazli: Legendary poet and lyricist, 78, passes away

Kabhi kisi ko muqammal jahan nahin milta, poet Nida Fazli famously wrote for the film Ahista Ahista.

The poet-philosopher, who passed away on Monday at the age of 77, was a living embodiment of the immortal song rendered poignantly by Asha Bhonsle and Bhupendra.

Life’s vagaries, trials and tribulations never ceased to interest Nida Fazli. The wonder that is life, duniya, was both his pet muse and peeve.

Duniya jise kehte hain, jadoo ka khilona hai; Mil jaaye to mitti hai, kho jaaye to sona hai,” he mused in a couplet that went on to become the signature ghazal of the Jagjit-Chitra era of music.

Like all poets, artists, Nida Fazli’s was influenced by early his life and the childhood trauma of Partition. Fazli, real name Muqtida Hasan, was from a family of Kashmiri Muslims that had later shifted to Delhi.
During the Partition, his family decided to migrate to Pakistan. Fazli, who was just nine then, decided to stay back in India. But all his life the pain of separation and loneliness found expression in his poetry.

Nida_ibnlive_380 (1)Nida_ibnlive_380 (1)

Nida Fazli. Image from IBN Live.

And he never agreed with the Partition, remaining its lifelong critic and opponent of communal, divisive politics.

It was to reflect later in his musings that were poignant insights into the heart of man who had lost a lot and come to terms with it with the sang-froid of a philosopher, without complaining. “Jise bhi dekhiye woh apne, aap mein gum hai, zubaan mili hai magar hamzubaan nahin milta; Bujha saka hai kaun bhala waqkt ke sholay, ye aise aag hai jisme dhuaan nahin milta.

Bhopal-based journalist Shams ur Rehman met Nida Fazli several times during the past few years. He says the poet was so well read that he could quote Kabir, Meera, Ghalib, Amir Khusroe, Russian writers and Latin poets with equal ease. All of them influenced his oeuvre.

Fazli was born in an age when shayars were the biggest celebrities in India. Saahir Ludhianvi, Kaifi Aazmi and Jan Nisaar Akhtar attracted big crowds at mushairas and had a huge following among men and women. (Yash Chopra’s Kabhie, Kabhi, loosely inspired by Ludhianvi’s poetry and life, captures the defining mood of the era).

So, after struggling in wilderness in Gwalior and Bhopal, Fazli shifted to Mumbai in the 60s to try his luck in cinema and popular culture. His early life in Mumbai was to teach him valuable lessons about being in a city where success depends not just on your ability and talent.

So, he wrote:

Baat kam kije jahanat ko chhipate rahiye
Ajnabi shehar hai ye, dost banate rahiye;
Dushmani lakh sahi, khatam na kije rishta
Dil mile na mile, haath milate rahiye.

His big break in Bollywood came in the 80s when lyricist Jan Nisaar Akhtar died midway during the production of Razia Sultan. The film’s producer signed Nida Fazli to write two songs — Tera Hijr Mera Naseeb Hai and Hariyala Banna Aaya — for the period film after Akhtar’s death.

Around the same time, his songs for two more films went on to become chart-toppers, primarily because of their poignant poetry and silken, lyrical grace. These were Ahista, Ahista and Aap To Aise Na The, whose song Tu Is Tarah Se Meri Zindagi Mein Shaamil Hai, is a cult classic.

In later years, Fazli’s songs for Sarfarosh, Hosh Walon Ko Khabar Kya, and Is Raat Ki Subah Nahin received critical appreciation and success.

Nazakat and Nafast, two words that have no parallel in any other language, were the hall mark of his lyrics. If you listen to his songs, full of erudition, philosophy, finesse, and literary refinement, you would feel somebody is running a feather through your hair, while you lie close to a silent river on a quiet night.

Like the great Khayyam’s music, Nida Fazli’s poetry always transports to you a calm, peaceful world where you just ruminate about life and its intricacies.

But, the poet would perhaps be remembered as the heart of Jagjit Singh’s ghazals. Singh’s repertoire is full of couplets penned by Nida Fazli. Tum Nahin, Gham Nahin, Sharab Nahin and Apni Marzi Se Kahan Apne Safar Ke Ham Hain.

Long live, Nida Fazli, you will always be around till there is poetry, Bollywood, ghazals and music in this world.

To quote your famous lines: Tu Is Tarah Se Meri Zindagi Mein Shaamil Hai, Jahan Bhi Jaaun Ye Lagta Hai Teri Mehfil Hai.

PDP hints at ties with BJP, but Mehbooba Mufti in no hurry to be CM

Meeting nine days after Jammu and Kashmir was brought under Governor’s rule, the PDP’s core group met today and indicated it was veering to the idea of forming a coalition government with BJP, but its president Mehbooba Mufti told the meeting she was in no hurry to take over as chief minister.The meeting also authorised Mehbooba to take a final call on government formation. “The core group has authorised party president Mehbooba to take whatever decision on it (government formation),” PDP leader Naeem Akhtar said after the marathon 5-hour meeting of the party’s core group.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Akhtar said the PDP has not set any conditions for government formation with the BJP, but refused to set any deadline for it, too. “No conditions on part of the PDP,” he said. Asked how soon will the government be formed, he said “no timeline.” “The most important point in the vision of Mufti Sahib was reconciliation between India and Pakistan,” he said.Akhtar, a trusted aide of the late chief minister, said the party welcomed the Prime Minister’s Lahore visit last month and the maturity shown by the Centre in the wake of the Pathankot attack. “It was his (Sayeed’s) belief that India-Pakistan friendship is necessary for Kashmir as it has been a victim of hostilities between the two countries,” he said. A senior leader, who was present in the meeting, however, said Mehbooba told the party leaders she was in no hurry and would take over as chief minister only after she is convinced that she can translate into reality her father’s vision for the state.”Mehbooba made it clear at the meeting of the party’s Core Group that she is not in a hurry to form the government or become the chief minister of the state. “She said no one can force the decision on her,” he told PTI speaking on the condition of anonymity. “The PDP president told the party meeting that she did not doubt the wisdom of her late father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in joining hands with the BJP to form a government last year.”She said she wanted to be convinced that she can implement her father’s mission and vision for Jammu and Kashmir before taking a call on government formation,” the leader said.He said the tone of Mehbooba’s speech indicated that government formation in the state might be delayed till the Centre reaches out to the PDP president, who was reportedly unhappy about the way Sayeed was treated in his last days. The PDP chief was reportedly unhappy over Prime Minister Narendra Modi not having visited Sayeed when he was admitted to AIIMS in Delhi before his death though he had paid tributes to the leader at the airport when his mortal remains were being shifted to the state. Congress president Sonia Gandhi had visited Sayeed in the hospital and also called on Mehbooba in Srinagar after his death.”Contrary to perception that a new government will be in place very soon, it might take longer than just few days,” he added. Governor’s Rule was imposed in the state with effect from January 8, a day after Sayeed’s death, as the PDP and BJP, alliance partners in state government since March 1, 2015, failed to stake claim for formation of a new dispensation.

No sign of any moves towards govt formation in Jammu and Kashmir

There was no sign of any moves today towards government formation in Jammu and Kashmir with the BJP saying that it was waiting for the first move by its coalition partner PDP which, however, maintained a mysterious silence.BJP was of the view that since the seven-day official mourning period was ending today, there will be forward movement on the government formation in the state which is under Governor’s rule since last Friday following the demise of Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. “We had received a letter from the Governor asking us about our views on the government formation. I said that the coalition partner PDP needs to take the call,” BJP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh told reporters after meeting Vohra.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Insisting that there should not be “any doubts” over the future of the coalition, he said, “The way the situation is. They need time and we are giving them. We feel the positive results will come very soon in next few days.” He said, “Since there is a coalition government, it is up to PDP to decide after the demise of Mufti Sahab and we will move forward accordingly.” PDP leader Naeem Akhtar, on the other hand, said, “We have not yet begun the formal process of consultations on government formation in the state. A decision on the issue can only be taken after the consultations get underway.” He refused to comment whether the PDP will continue its alliance with the BJP or look at other alternatives as well.Late tonight, Akhtar made a cryptic comment that PDP had begun assessing the coalition government’s work of last 10 months and reviewing whether the Narendra Modi government had taken any decisions for fulfilling the vision of late Sayeed. “Mufti Sahib had a vision for making Jammu and Kashmir a modern state. Due to his death, his vision is yet to be realised. The party under the leadership of Mehbooba Mufti will need to review how much we have succeeded in fulfilling Mufti Sahib’s vision,” he said.Akhtar said being a political issue, Mufti had envisioned to make Jammu and Kashmir paradise of peace and “The party will assess whether our Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has a massive mandate of the country, has taken any decisions on it.” The delay in government formation has led to speculation about a possible renegotiation on the terms and conditions for the alliance to continue between the PDP and the BJP.

Odd-even initiative has become ‘a movement’: Arvind Kejriwal

Tourism Minister Kapil Mishra reached the Secretariat on his two-wheeler at around 9 AM and tweeted, “Wow Delhi Thank you for making #OddEvenFormula a success…just reached office on bike.. no traffic.. Delhi is following it voluntarily.” Two-wheelers are included in the list of 25 categories that have been kept out of the ambit of the scheme.

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