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Former home secretary rebuffs charges of enjoying Pakistan hospitality when 26/11 took place

Former home secretary Madhukar Gupta, who had led a delegation of Home Ministry officers to Islamabad for talks a day before the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, has rejected the charges of enjoying Pakistan’s hospitality in Murree, a hill station close to Islamabad.Gupta told ANI he had no idea why some reports were suggesting that the delegation was holidaying in Murree.”It is inaccurate that there was no signal in Murree. I got a call from India, who informed me about the attacks and told me to switch on the television,” said Gupta.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gupta said when he came to know about the attacks in Mumbai, the delegation contacted the senior leadership in India.”As soon as we saw the terror strike, we spoke to all concerned persons, who were supposed to be spoken. Nobody knew that 26/11 would happen,” he added.The former home secretary further said the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai clearly depicted duplicitous role of Pakistan, adding it was not for the first time that such incidents had happened.He reiterated that he was in constant touch with people back in India when the attacks took place.”I was in touch with everyone when the disaster struck; what are we trying to prove going into speculation eight years later? I don’t know what purpose it will serve to ask eight years later if we were deliberately sent to Murree,” he asked.He further asked as to how the things could have changed by his physical presence.”All kind of things were said, like NSG’s late arrival but how would that have changed with my physical presence,” he added.

Amid row over attacks on Africans, Goa CM says ‘Goans not happy with behaviour & attitude of Nigerians’

At a time when reports of African nationals being attacked in the nation have stirred a row, Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar on Wednesday courted controversy saying that people of the state are specifically not happy with the behaviour of Nigerians.Pareskar told ANI that, “People of Goa are not happy with Nigerians. Goans, in general, are complaining about these foreigners, we get people from all other countries, but in general, people of Goa are really annoyed with their behaviour, attitude.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the recent past, incidents of African nationals being attacked in various parts of the nation have been reported and have instigated a huge debate over security issues.
ALSO READ Attacks on Africans have racial overtones, PM Modi must break silence: CongressExternal Affair Minister Sushma Swaraj yesterday met a delegation of African students to address their grievances where she condemned the killing of a Congo student (Oliver) as ?heinous? and ?unacceptable?, but denied the charges of racial attack.Over a dozen African nationals were attacked in Rajpkhurd village of Chhatarpur, South Delhi on Wednesday night.
ALSO READ Unfortunate if Indians dilute their friendship with Africans: Pranab MukherjeeIt is learnt locals objected to the “free lifestyle” of these men and women who stayed in the area.There were four attacks within a span of an hour, sources said, which hint the attacks may have been organised and pre-planned.
ALSO READ Death of Congo student was not a racial attack, people at the spot tried to save him: Sushma SwarajFour men and two women have been injured in the attacks and are admitted in hospital. The Delhi Police on Friday registered four FIRs in the case.All four complainants, in their 30s, have been residing in Delhi for past few years, police said.

Unfortunate if Indians dilute their friendship with Africans: Pranab Mukherjee

President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday expressed concern over a string of alleged attacks on Africans in the country, saying it would be most unfortunate if the people of India were to ‘dilute our long tradition of friendship with the people of Africa’.Addressing the delegates of 7th Annual Heads of Mission Conference who called on him, the President said,”It would be most unfortunate if the people of India were to dilute our long tradition of friendship with the people of Africa and the welcome we have always extended to them in our country.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>African students in India should have no reason to fear for their safety and security.”
ALSO READ Africans call of stir after assurance from Indian govtHe said no impression which is not in line with our ethos or core values of our ancient civilization should be created.”We shall have to create appropriate awareness in the minds of our youngsters who may not know the history, age old relations (between India and Africa)…India has had trading relations with African countries for centuries and everyone of the 54 countries of Africa has a thriving Indian community doing business, industry etc.
ALSO READ Attacks are racist but we have belief in Indian govt: African envoy”We cannot allow these to be jeopardised in anyway and create a bad precedent which is not the ethos, which is not part of the core values of our civilisation,” a Rashtrapati Bhavan statement quoted Mukherjee as having told the delegation.The President said he was happy that Ministry of External Affairs in consultation with Ministry of Home Affairs is proactively following up on the few isolated incidents that have occurred and working closely with authorities to ensure the safety of African students in India.
ALSO READ Attacks on Africans: Minor scuffle blown up by media, says VK SinghMukherjee said the bonds between the people of India and the people of Africa have been forged since time immemorial.”As a political activist, as a member of parliament, I have noticed how close we (India and Africa) are with each other. Almost a century ago Rabindranath Tagore wrote a beautiful poem titled Africa expressing his anguish, pathos, sense of pain on apartheid,” he said.Mukherjee said leaders like Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana stood shoulder to shoulder with Jawaharlal Nehru at the Afro-Asian Conference in Bandung in 1955 and in founding the Non-aligned Movement in 1961.”Nelson Mandela was an embodiment of Gandhian principles. India led the long international struggle for the end of colonialism and apartheid in Africa,” the President said.The President said in 1946 Government of India decided to stop any trade relationship with South Africa till apartheid was not lifted.”At that time decision was a bold decision because South Africa accounted for five per cent of total international trade with India,” he said.Mukherjee said it was only in 1994, after the end of apartheid, that he as Commerce Minister restored normal trade relations with that country.”Whole of India stood in support of African leaders like Jomo Kenyatta, Julius Nyerere and Kenneth Kaunda during this freedom struggle,” he said.Earlier, the President termed terrorism as a menace which needs to be collectively tackled by the world community with determination.”There is no good terrorist or bad terrorist. Comprehensive cooperation by all countries of the world is essential to tackle this global menace,” he said.He called upon the Heads of Mission to do their best to expand contacts between higher education institutions of India and foreign countries.

MEA official meets deceased Congolese national’s family

India on Monday assured the family of the Congolese national, who was killed in a brawl here on May 20, of a speedy trial in the case and prosecution of all those responsible for the crime as per law.This was conveyed by a senior official of External Affairs Ministry (MEA) who met the family members of Masonda Ketada Oliver at the airport on their arrival here.He also informed them that the government of India will bear all expenses related to dispatch of mortal remains of Oliver, MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said that the family members thanked the Indian government for its assistance.They were told that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has instructed speedy trial in the case.
ALSO READ Attacks on Africans: TV editors body slams VK Singh over his remarks23-year-old Congolese national Oliver, who was a French teacher at a private institute, was beaten to death in Vasant Kunj area of South Delhi following a brawl over hiring of an autorickshaw.Envoys of African countries had expressed shock and outrage over the killing following which India assured them of safety of African nationals.

Attacks on Africans: Two arrested, three detained as police intensifies investigation

Two persons were arrested and three others detained on Sunday in connection with the attack on a number of African nationals in South Delhi’s Mehrauli area as police intensified its investigation into the case.”We have arrested two persons from South Delhi and three others have been detained,” DCP (South) Ishwar Singh said.Three separate cases have already been registered by police in connection with the incident which took place at Mehrauli area on Thursday night.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At least six African nationals had sustained injuries in the incidents. Police attributed two of the incidents to a dispute over African nationals playing loud music and other to a scuffle over public drinking.These incidents happened close on the heels of murder of 23-year-old Congolese national M K Oliver in South Delhi’s Vasant Kunj area last week.
ALSO READ Attacks on Africans: 3 assault cases lodged; Rajnath Singh instructs Delhi police to take strict actionEnvoys of African countries on Thursday had expressed shock over the killing of Oliver, following which India assured them of safety and security of all African nationals.The victims in Thursday’s cases include two women — one from Uganda and the other from South Africa — and at least two Nigerian men who alleged they were abused on racial lines.While two of the cases have been registered under the charge of criminal intimidation, the other has been registered under charges of causing hurt and wrongful confinement, police had said.The police officials had also claimed no African National was seriously injured.”No African National was seriously injured. A Nigerian national, identified as Leuchy, sustained minor injuries on his nose and he was taken to AIIMS Trauma Centre,” police had said.

959 dead, 1561 injured in healthcare attacks over two years: WHO report

Be it executions of health care workers and patients in Libya by terrorist fronts, targeted bombing of hospitals in Iraq and Syria or armed robberies in healthcare facilities in Africa, providing or seeking medical aid in conflict-ridden areas has turned into a death sentence. The latest numbers released by World Health Organization on Thursday in a report — Attacks on healthcare — Prevent. Protect. Provide, damning to say the least.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The report states that over the two-year period of 2014 and 2015, with 594 attacks in 19 countries, 959 people died and 1561 were injured. Of all the attacks on hospitals, clinics, health posts, physicians, nurses, midwives, vaccinators, lab workers, health care security, maintenance,cleaning staff, ambulances, patients and visitors, 62% were reported to be intentional.Majority of the attacks, up to 38% (228) attacks were reported in Syrian Arab Republic. Close on it’s heels follow regions of West Bank and Gaza Strip (53), Iraq (43), Pakistan (43) and Libya (33). Ukraine, Central African Republic, Yemen, Sudan and Afghanistan have also borne major brunt of attacks.Attacks on healthcare facilities are multi-faceted and include violent search of facilities, abduction of health workers, military takeover, bombings, chemical or cyber attacks, harassment and sexual violence to name a few.Regarding deaths and injuries, in some countries a single attack resulted in mass casualty leading to significant proportion of the total deaths and injuries for that year.In 2015, of 39 deaths, 34 occurred on August 14 when 12 healthcare providers and 22 patients were beheaded and crucified with impunity by Islamic State (ISIS) in Libya. In Iraq, of the 71 reported deaths in 2014, 18 occurred when the obstetrics section of the Hawija Hospital was bombed on 6 September; and of the 43 deaths in Iraq in 2015, 31 occurred during a bombing on Fallujah’s maternity hospital on August 13.International medical aid organization Medecins Sans Frontiers is one of the many such healthcare providers that has faced a huge set back in terms of lives lost to attacks in conflict zones such as Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and Sudan amongst others.”In 2015, 75 hospitals and clinics supported by MSF were hit by bombing and shelling in Syria more than 94 times – that’s on average more than once a week. In total, 23 MSF medical staff were killed, and 58 staff were wounded,”said a spokesperson from MSF. “In Yemen, MSF medical activities were attacked four times in just three months between October 2015 and January 2016.”Dr Joanne Liu, President, MSF International, in her sharp address at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) pointed out, “Four of the five permanent members of UNSC have to worrying degrees been associated with coalition responsible for attacks on the health structures over the last year. These are the NATO-led coalition, Saudi-led coalition attacking Yemen and Russia-backed coalition in Syria.”She further said, “Our calls for independent investigation into these attacks have gone unheeded. Perpetrators cannot be investigators, judges or jury. Medicine should not be a deadly occupation and patients should not be attacked or slaughtered in bed.”2014 – 338 attacks in 19 countries2015 – 256 attacks in 16 countriesTotal – 594 attacksTen countries that reported most attacks on healthcare -Syrian Arab Republic – 228West bank and Gaza Strip – 53Iraq – 43Pakistan – 43Libya – 33Ukraine – 32Central African Republic – 30Yemen – 22Sudan – 20Afghanistan – 10

After Monday’s twin attacks, is Srinagar back on the radar of militants?

The security grid in Kashmir was caught on the back-foot after a series of daredevil attacks by militants in less than 12 hours on Monday in the heart of the summer capital, Srinagar. The attacks, largely seen as a failure of intelligence agencies, have brought this city back on the radars of militant groups, having witnessed a temporary calm for the past few years.

The attacks came days after inspector-general of police, Kashmir division, Syed Javid Mujtaba Gilliani, said the poster boy of Kashmir’s militancy, Burhan Wani, was on his own as most of his accomplices have been eliminated in the anti-militancy operations in recent months. Gilliani said different security agencies have maintained pressure on militants and have been cornering them, while also minimising the civilian causalities and damage to public property.

“It’s because of this pressure that militants have resorted to such cowardly acts,” he said, after Monday’s twin attacks.

Senior Police officials inspect the spot where militants attacked police personnel in Srinagar on Monday. PTI

Senior Police officials inspect the spot where militants attacked police personnel in Srinagar on Monday. PTI

Intelligence agencies say the attacks were carried out to show the reach and striking capability of militant groups, whose total strength has reached an all-time low due to large scale anti-militancy operations carried out by different security agencies. “These attacks were carried out to dare security agencies and it is a worrying development considering the importance of capital Srinagar,” an intelligence officer in the Kashmir Police told Firstpost.

A senior police official also confirmed to Firstpost that intelligence agencies had no whiff about the movement of militants in Srinagar, where a huge presence of human intelligence and a technology-driven surveillance grid had been laid to monitor people.

“There was no specific intel about the presence of militants in Srinagar and their plan of hit-and-run attacks,” the official, who wished anonymity, said.

“Otherwise full security measures would have been taken to prevent such fatal attacks which claimed the lives of three cops,” he added.

In Monday’s twin hit-and-run attacks by two motorcycle-borne militants in Srinagar, three cops were killed at point-blank range — much to the discomfort and surprise of the security establishment in the capital.

The first attack took place in old city’s Zadibal area which resulted in the death of two cops — Assistant Sub-Inspector Ghulam Muhammad Bhat and Head Constable Nazir Ahmad. Within hours of the first fatal attack, the second strike took place in the Tengpora area of Srinagar city, resulting in the death of Constable Sadiq Sheikh of the Jammu and Kashmir Armed Police.

Militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen claimed the twin attacks on the cops in Srinagar and has warned of intensifying such attacks.

“The operation field commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen has directed the squad to continue and intensify the attacks,” Hizb spokesperson Burhan-ud-din was quoted by a local news agency as saying.

In the third attack, Jammu and Kashmir Police claimed to have killed two militants believed to be non-locals in a brief shootout in the Saraibala area in the vicinity of Srinagar’s commercial hub, Lal Chowk.

Late on Monday evening, the Kashmir Police launched house-to-house searches in the Saraibala locality when two militants hiding in a residential building fired on the cops resulting in a gunfight. One of the militants killed was identified as Saifullah of Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen, while the identity of the other has yet to be ascertained.

The police said the group had come all the way from north Kashmir’s Sopore town. No additional details were provided by the police about the motorcycle-borne militants — who carried out the twin lethal attacks earlier in the day — or whether it was the same duo that carried out attacks through the day.

Last year, social media was abuzz when two young militants belonging to the Hizbul Mujahideen outfit posted photos on Facebook wearing branded clothes and aviators carrying out recon missions in Srinagar. Jammu and Kashmir Police’s director-general K Rajendra Kumar said the attacks were desperate acts by militants and that the cops are investigating the facts.

“This is their (militants) desperation to show their presence. We have managed to eliminate their leadership and other infiltrating groups,” Kumar told reporters after the wreath-laying ceremony for the slain cops yesterday.

While the northern part of Kashmir like Sopore, frontier district of Kupwara and southern militant hotbeds of Pulwama and Tral witnessed increased militant activities over the past three years, Srinagar city remained largely calm with small gunfights in the outskirts of Zakura and Ahmad Nagar.

Three years ago on 24 June, 2013, eight armymen were killed in one of the deadliest attacks on an army convoy on the National Highway in the Hyderpora area of Srinagar. Two days prior to this attack, two cops were killed in one of the busiest markets of Srinagar, Hari Singh High Street.

Security experts have raised apprehensions about the lack of coordination among security agencies to contain such attacks in the future. They said only time will tell if these attacks can be seen as the return of militancy in Srinagar, where a temporary lull was broken yesterday.