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J&K: Pakistan violates ceasefire in Poonch, one civilian killed

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>One civilian was killed as Pakistani Army indulged in heavy cross border firing targeting Indian positions and civilian areas along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir, prompting the Indian side to retaliate.”Pakistani troops targeted the Indian Army posts and civilian areas along the LoC in Poonch sector with small arms, automatic and mortars at 1655 hours,” an army officer said.He said the army was retaliating strongly and effectively to the ceasefire violation.One civilian has been killed in the ongoing firing, a senior police officer said.On December 16, Pakistan had violated ceasefire by targeting Indian positions along the LoC in Balakote sector of the same district.The ceasefire violation had come after a lull of over three weeks after the Indian troops had launched a counter- offensive against Pakistan on November 23 against the killing of three soldiers in the Machhil sector of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.In the cross-LoC attack by suspected Pakistani terrorists, three Indian soldiers were killed on November 22, with body of one of them being mutilated. Following the incident, Indian Army had vowed a heavy “retribution”.The 2003 India-Pakistan ceasefire agreement has virtually become redundant with over 300 incidents of firing and shelling along the LoC and IB in Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistani troops.Over 26 people, including 14 security personnel, have been killed in ceasefire violations since the surgical strike on terrorist launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

India’s Agni-5 test: China hopes for strategic balance in South Asia

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> China today hoped that India’s testing of the nuclear-capable Agni-5 intercontinental ballistic missile complied with UN Security Council rules and safeguarded South Asia’s strategic balance even as Beijing maintained that the two nations are “not rivals but partners”.Taking exception to reports that the successful test of Agni-V was meant to target China, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said, “On your question on India test firing the Agni-5 ballistic missile, we have noted relevant reports,” to a question at a media briefing here. “On whether India can develop this ballistic missile that can carry nuclear weapons, I think relevant resolutions of the UNSC have clear rules,” she said without elaborating.We have always believed that safeguarding strategic balance and stability in South Asia is conducive for the peace and prosperity of countries in the region,” she said. The strategic balance in South Asia apparently referred to the military balance between India and Pakistan. Agni-5, a 5,000-km range intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) is widely regarded as a strategic missile targeted at China as it can reach almost all parts of the Chinese mainland. Hua also criticised media reports in India and outside referring to the Agni-5 as targeted at China and aimed at correcting India’s strategic balance with Beijing.”On the test firing by India, we have also noted that some media, including Indian media and also some Japanese media, have speculated on whether this act of India is targeted at China,” she said. “I think, as to India’s intentions, you have to ask the Indian side,” she said adding that India and China are not rivals but partners. As for us, we think that the leaders of China and India have an important consensus which is that China and India are both important developing countries and emerging economies,” she said.”China and India are not rivals but partners. The Chinese side is willing to work with countries in the region including India to jointly safeguard lasting peace, prosperity and stability of the region,” she said and asked media to report more objectively. “We also hope that relevant media outlets do not indulge in arbitrary speculations and make objective reports and do more things conducive to developing mutual trust between China and India and peace and stability in the region,” she said.Experts say that proven ICBM capability currently exists only with the five major powers – the US, Russia, France, the UK and China.Russia’s land-based Satan missile can reach 16,000 kms, while China has ICBMs that can hit targets up to 13,000 kms.While India is part of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), China is not.

Domestic carriers not operating from T3 has hit airport Metro

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Domestic low-cost carriers not operating from Terminal 3 has been a “setback” for the Airport Express Line of Delhi Metro, DMRC chief Mangu Singh has said.Although the premium corridor has scripted a turnaround of sorts with daily ridership touching a high of 50,000 in August this year, Singh suggested that the numbers could have been more had things panned out as per plan.When the 23-km-long corridor was being contemplated, it was planned that complete flight operations, including domestic, will be from T3, he said, but “we do not know” why authorities decided to continue with Terminal 1. “This is really a setback because we believe that passengers of domestic carriers use public transport. T3 people mostly travel in their own vehicles. However, we are running a feeder service between the two terminals and that has helped to some extent,” Singh said.At the planning stage, it was also envisaged that property development would be a major source of revenue for the corridor but low ridership was coming in its way, which prompted metro to slash fares, he said. The idea was that when footfall increases property development will follow, Singh said.Fares were cut by up to 50% in September last year to popularise the relatively expensive line that connects New Delhi Railway Station to T3. The maximum fare has been reduced to Rs 60 from Rs 180 while the minimum is Rs 10 against Rs 50 in 2013.As metro already had a robust system in place, operating the Airport corridor was not much of a challenge when it took over the operations from a private concessionaire in July 2013. “We had one big advantage because we were already operating a system. There were many things that we could simply absorb. Control centre was shifted here, similarly maintenance staff was shared. We could bring in a lot of efficiency as per operational and maintenance cost is concerned,” he said.As per official data, the average daily ridership figure of July, 2013, was 10,069. It subsequently rose to around 12,000 in March 2014 and further to 19,466 a year later.On August 28, 2015, more than 32,000 people had taken the corridor, also known as Orange Line and a year later it recorded the highest-ever ridership of 50,000.

Infantry combat vehicles to be fitted with sensors to detect nuclear, biological, chemical attacks

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a first, the infantry combat vehicles of the Indian army used for carrying troops into battle zones providing direct fire support will be fitted with automated sensors to detect a nuclear, biological or a chemical attack (NBC).The army plans to procure 1500 indigenously designed modern systems that can be installed on these vehicles. The decision has been taken in view of rising NBC warfare threats. The estimated cost of the project is Rs 1,265 crore.“It will be an automatic mechanism that can detect a threat and act accordingly, controlling air temperature, sealing the vehicle completely and shutting down the systems in the vehicle,” said an army officer.Currently, there is a manual system in case of a threat which is not very effective.Infantry fighting vehicles are armour installed and also allow personnel to fire from within making them distinct from armoured personnel carriers (APCs), which are transport vehicles armed only for self-defense and not specifically engineered to fight on their own.The decision to develop and design a system to combat such threats was taken by the Ministry of Defence on Friday as the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar gave the go ahead.Other than this, the DAC cleared the procurement of 55 low-level light weight radars at an estimated cost of Rs. 419 crore for the army and the Air Force that will give 3D images also to be designed indigenously by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).The government also gave clearance to the IAF to purchase one more C17 heavy transport aircraft and also gave the nod to the Coast Guard’s proposal to acquire six multi-mission maritime aircraft for Rs 5,500 crore.Two “classified” proposals for the acquisition of arms and ammunition for the Special Forces and another related to the Airborne Warning And Control System (AWACS) is also understood to have been cleared.The aircraft likely to be shortlisted for the Coast Guard is the C295, which is already been negotiated as a replacement for the Avro transport fleet of the air force.

Govt caps prices of 50 essential drugs including those used for treatment of HIV and angina

Prices of over 50 essential drugs including those used for treatment of HIV infection, diabetes, anxiety disorders, bacterial infections, angina and acid reflux have been capped by the government, leading to a price cut in the range of 5 per cent to 44 per cent. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prices of over 50 essential drugs including those used for treatment of HIV infection, diabetes, anxiety disorders, bacterial infections, angina and acid reflux have been capped by the government, leading to a price cut in the range of 5 per cent to 44 per cent. The National Drug Pricing Regulator has also fixed the retail prices of 29 formulations.”NPPA has fixed/revised ceiling prices of 55 scheduled formulations of Schedule-I under Drugs (Price Control) Amendment Order,2016 and retail price of 29 formulations under DPCO, 2013 in related Notification /order dated 23.12.2016,” National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) said in a statement.On being contacted about the price reduction, NPPA Chairman Bhupendra Singh told PTI: “The prices have been reduced in the range of 5 to 44 per cent, with the average being about 25 per cent”.As stipulated under the Drugs (Prices Control) Order (DPCO) 2013, NPPA fixes ceiling price of essential medicines of Schedule I.In respect of medicines not under price control, manufacturers are allowed to increase the maximum retail price by 10 per cent annually. The calculation for essential drugs is based on the simple average of all medicines in a particular therapeutic segment with sales of more than 1 per cent. The government had notified the DPCO 2013, which covers 680 formulations, with effect from May 15, 2014, replacing the 1995 order that regulated prices of only 74 bulk drugs. Set up in 1997, NPPA has been entrusted with the task of fixation/revision of prices of pharma products, enforcement of provisions of DPCO and monitoring of prices of controlled and decontrolled drugs.

UN Chief Ban Ki-moon asks India, Pakistan to resolve differences through dialogue

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Outgoing UN chief Ban Ki-moon has asked India and Pakistan to resolve their differences through dialogue and exercise restraint as he maintained his concern over the increase in tensions between the two neighbours along the Line of Control in recent months.The Secretary-General, whose 10-year tenure at the world organisation’s helm will end this month, has had a “very consistent position” on the situation in Kashmir, his deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq told reporters on Wednesday in response to a question on tensions between India and Pakistan.”All I can say is the Secretary-General has had a very consistent position. One fact we expressed even just last month, which is to say that he is following with concern the increase in tensions along the Line of Control and that he urges the Governments of India and Pakistan to exercise restraint and encourages them to continue their efforts to resolve their differences peacefully and through dialogue,” Haq said.When asked by a Pakistani reporter that the Secretary- General has been “very reluctant” throughout his term to talk about the Indian-Pakistan conflict, Haq said he disagrees with such assessment. “I would disagree with you on that. We’ve had statements, including on the situations between India and Pakistan and on specifically on Kashmir. There have been statements and notes to correspondents. The last one was just a few weeks back, so I would just refer you back to those,” Haq said.In a statement issued last month, Ban had expressed deep concern about the “deterioration” of the situation along the Line of Control in Kashmir and called on all involved to prioritise the restoration of calm and stability in order to prevent any further escalation and loss of life.Ban has said that his good offices are available to India and Pakistan if “accepted by both sides”.Throughout the year, Pakistan brought up the Kashmir issue at various UN fora but its attempts to internationalise the Kashmir issue did not find resonance among the rest of the 191 member states of the UN.

Leopard trapped in wire fence at LoC rescued

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

Army a public institution, nation needs answers on ‘supersession’: Congress on new Chief of Staff

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the Centre announcing the name of Lieutenant General Bipin Rawat as the new Chief of the Army Staff superseding two seniors for the coveted post, the Congress on Sunday demanded an answer from the government over the decision, while asserting that the Army is a public institution and the nation deserves an answer.Lieutenant General Rawat, who took over as the Army vice-chief in September 2016, bypassed Eastern Command chief Lieutenant General Praveen Bakshi (armoured corps) and Southern Army Command chief Lieutenant General PM Hariz (mechanised infantry).After taking to Twitter to voice his annoyance with the decision, Congress leader Manish Tewari assured that this was not a personal attack on the new Chief of Staff but a legitimate question.
ALSO READ Lt Gen Bipin Rawat is next Army chief, Air Marshal Birender Dhanoa to head Air Force”With all due respect to General Rawat’s professionalism and brilliance as a soldier and no personal animosity to anybody, there is a legitimate question as to why has this supersession taken place. After all, Lt. Gen Praveen Bakshi who commands the Eastern Command, the Southern Army Commander Lt. Gen Mohammed Ali and the Central Army Commander are all senior to the gentleman who is being designated,” Tewari said.Reiterating his demand for an answer to the legitimate question as to why this supersession has taken place, the Congress leader added that the government?s defence saying the grand old party superseded in the 80s and therefore the ruling dispensation has the right to do so is complete ‘non sequitur’. Expressing disappointment over the controversy surrounding all high-level appointments during the NDA regime, the Communist Party of India (CPI) said that transparency should go along with integrity in the appointment of new Army Chief Lt. General. Bipin Rawat, adding the decision is not in the interest of democracy.Rawat was found the best suited among current batch of candidates of Lt. Generals, to deal with emerging challenges, including a reorganised and restructured military force in the north, continuing terrorism and proxy war from the west, and the situation in the North-East.According to Ministry of Defence (MoD) sources, Lt. Gen Rawat has tremendous hands on experience of serving in combat areas, and at various functional levels in the Indian Army over the last three decades. This is very unfortunate that the appointments in Army have become controversial. All the top-level appointments are becoming controversial. Transparency should go along with integrity and nobody should raise question. Now, questions are being raised and it is not new,” said CPI leader D. Raja.The CPI leader demanded a justification from the Centre and Defence Ministry over the new appointment of new Army Chief.”It is very unfortunate. This is not in the interest of our democracy, our country and of course there should be transparency. It is a question about the Army and not about any political party. Army belongs to the whole country and the nation should be convinced,” he said.Lieutenant General Rawat has remarkable experience of serving in combat areas and at various functional levels in the Indian Army over the last three decades.He has handled various operational responsibilities in many areas, including along the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan, the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China and in the North-East.He is known for his balanced approach towards soldiering, compassion, and his connect with the civil society.

Ensure cash crunch ends by Jan 15, UP BJP MPs tell Amit Shah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After yet another day of uproar in Parliament stalled over demonetization, around 30 BJP parliamentarians from eastern Uttar Pradesh gathered in the heart of the city on Wednesday evening for a meeting with party president Amit Shah.The aftermath of demonetization was the predominant concern of the MPs at the two-hour meeting, which Shah had convened to get feedback on the issue, besides the impact of surgical strikes and the party”s parivartan yatra in the poll-bound state.A majority of MPs told Shah that if the inconvenience caused to people because of demonetization was not mitigated by January 15, it could hurt the party’s prospects in the assembly elections in the state due early next year, according to sources. The MPs said steps should be taken to address the cash crunch and ensure normalcy in transactions.The MPs also said that after the surgical strikes across the Line of Control on September 28 midnight there was a positive mood for the party, but demonetization has overshadowed it and dominated the narrative. Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the announcement to recall notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 on November 8.With elections drawing near, there has been a growing concern in the state party with about the opposition capitalising on the lack of cash in banks and long queues at ATMs causing inconvenience to people.This was the first meeting Shah had with his party MPs after demonetization. Some MPs are of the view that the feedback should have been taken earlier, sources said.Shah, who heard their concerns, asked them to go to villages in their constituencies before the candidates were announced.The meeting was held over dinner hosted by home minister Rajnath Singh, an MP from Lucknow.Around the same time, at another meeting convened by the RSS-affiliated Laghu Udyog Bharti, representatives of small and medium industries expressed concern about going cashless overnight and the situation leading to retrenchment. The meeting was attended by minister of state for finance Arjun Meghwal.Shah, who met another group of party MPs from UP on Thursday night, held deliberations with BJP office bearers earlier in the day. According to sources, the office bearers told him that despite the problems, there was support for demonetization.Shah said that the Modi regime was different from the previous Manmohan Singh and Narasimha Rao governments and had got the mandate to take tough decisions.According to sources, Shah described demonetization as a visionary decision of political will aimed at curbing black money and said the government will not confine itself to small reforms but will bring “fundamental changes” in the economy.

Food and Beverage Alliance policy guidelines are a good step, but India’s public health framework is a worry

In July, 2016, the Food and Beverage Alliance of India (FBAI) published a pledge by all its member companies, under the patronage of a global self-regulatory alliance of foods and beverage companies on ‘India’s Policy on Marketing Communications to Children’. Keeping in line with this pledge, several top food and beverage corporate brands such as Kellogg, Pepsi-Co, Mondelez India, Nestle and Coca-Cola, are preparing for the 31 December deadline for halting all advertisements of products directed at children below 12 years of age. This policy could, in many ways, completely change the ways in which the largest foods brands in the country are promoted. Moreover, it could also mean enormous changes in the public health landscape of the country.

Fatty foods must be discouraged and a national health policy framework should be in place. AFPFatty foods must be discouraged and a national health policy framework should be in place. AFP

Fatty foods must be discouraged and a national health policy framework should be in place. AFP

The FBAI policy states that all its members will either commit to “only advertise products to children under the age of 12 years that meet common FBAI pledge nutrition criteria” or not to advertise their products at all to children below the age of 12. The former commitment would require member companies to adhere to World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for the establishment of nutrient profiles, which is used for various applications, including marketing of foods to children, health and nutrition claims, product labelling logos or symbols, information and education, provision of food to public institutions, and the use of economic tools to orient food consumption.. The policy will apply to marketing communications in a range of media — television, radio, print, cinema, online (including company-owned websites), DVD/CD-ROM, direct marketing, product placement, interactive games, outdoor marketing mobile and SMS marketing. The FBAI, the policy states, will also publish periodic reports to demonstrate compliance with this policy.

A number of countries have already established legislations and policy guidelines on food advertising for children and youth, understanding the implications of advertisements on the dietary practices of these age groups.

South Korea passed the Special Act on Safety Control of Children’s Dietary Life in 2009. The objective of the law is to contribute to the promotion of children’s health by regulating necessary matters for providing safe and well-balanced nutritional foods to help children develop good eating habits. To promote this objective, the act banned television advertisements on specific food categories during children’s prime time viewing, and also proscribed against gratuitous incentives when advertising children’s foods on TV, radio, and internet (such as offering free toys or gifts with the purchase of nutritionally inadequate foods). In the United Kingdom, the Committee on Advertising Practice (CAP) has prohibited advertising foods high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) on children’s television, stating the media has a responsibility to help curb the rise in childhood obesity and levels of diabetes.

The EU Health Coalition has also come up with a campaign called ‘AVMSD: What about our kids?’, describing it as “a key opportunity to free Europe’s young people from health-harmful marketing”. It targets the current Audio Visual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) by restricting the hours in which advertising for harmful and unhealthy foods and beverages would be aired. The three key measures in this campaign is that no television advertisements for alcohol or HFSS would run between 6 am to 11 pm, there would be effective marketing techniques in place against product placement, and it would be ensured that these rules would apply to foreign broadcasts as well.

Responsible advertising and marketing of food and drinks directed towards children and the youth is a World Health Organisation (WHO) prerogative, and it’s a key policy action within the WHO Global Action Plan 2013–2020 for the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs), which was endorsed by the World Health Assembly in May 2013. A recommendation from WHO is that governments play a leading role in reducing children’s overall exposure to food marketing and setting rules on the persuasive techniques companies can use, with a view to protect children from the adverse effects of unhealthy foods. Other key recommendations included that private sector markets understand that marketing of foods and drinks to children is an “international issue” and that there is a need for the corporate sector to be equally accountable for the outcome “…to promote responsible marketing including the development of a set of recommendations on the marketing of foods and non-alcoholic beverages to children, in order to reduce the impact of foods high in saturated fats, transfatty acids, free sugars, or salt, in dialogue with all relevant stakeholders, including private-sector parties, while ensuring avoidance of potential conflict of interest”.

At this point, India lacks a framework of public health, legal and economic policies for effective implementation of the WHO recommendations that provide for a comprehensive reduction of marketing of foods high in saturated fats, trans-fatty acids, free sugars and salt to children. However, the FBAI policy guidelines seem like a good first step towards tackling this issue. That being said there needs to be regulations in place within the National Health Policy to cater to this issue, and it must be driven by the Ministry of Health, rather than being anchored by an alliance of private sector companies.

First Published On : Dec 15, 2016 08:47 IST

Pakistan paying one crore per terrorist to cross LoC, reveals PoK leader

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as Pakistan keeps pleading its innocence at international fora regarding it not being involved in terror-related activities, particularly when it comes to India, Sardar Raees Inqlabi, a leader of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir-based Jammu and Kashmir Aman Forum, has rubbished that claim by saying that Islamabad is paying hefty sums of cash to send terrorists across the Line of Control (LoC).”You (Pakistan) are hiring killers and murderers; you pay them one crore rupees and turn them into a bomb and make them cross LoC, which is the main reason of tension. We condemn this terrorism. If you are so fond of firing, you must fight army to army,” says Inqlabi.Further exposing Pakistan’s state-support to terror outfits and questioning Islamabad’s ulterior motives, he asks, “Those terror outfits which are banned in Pakistan in accordance with the National Action Plan, why are they being allowed to operate from ‘Azad’ Kashmir (PoK), and why are the banned groups been given a free hand in PoK.”
ALSO READ Pakistan will splinter into 10 pieces if it doesn’t stop conspiring against India: Rajnath Singh”Those organisations which are banned by Pakistan have been given free hand here and along the LoC, and thus, we demand that Islamabad must impose a blanket ban on such outfits akin to the National Action Plan in Pakistan,” adds Inqlabi.
ALSO READ Pak Army has licence to kill us, rape us, still UN is silent, accuses Baloch activist Naela BalochAccording an official estimate, the Pakistan Army has violated the ceasefire arrangement agreed upon with India in November 2003 along the LoC and International Border (IB) more than 440 times this year.The Pakistan Army is facilitating and aiding infiltration by providing either cover fire or shelter to terrorists attempting to sneak into Indian territory by crossing over the LoC.
ALSO READ 300% increase in terrorists deaths in Jammu and Kashmir compared to last year Last month, Indian security forces released a video clearly showing infiltration bids by Pakistan-backed terrorists.According to the report, more than 100 militants owing allegiance to the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen have been staying in terror training camps located in PoK and waiting to sneak across the LoC into Indian Territory.Also slamming Pakistan for practicing discrimination in awarding compensation, Inqlabi said, “If someone dies in a bomb blast in Pakistan, his family is compensated with Rs. 50 lakh, but what we get in PoK is just Rs. 1-2 lakh.”Meanwhile, to mark International Human Rights Day on December 10 (Saturday), Baloch political activists across world, including the UK, Canada, Australia, South Korea, Germany and many other European nations, held protests against the atrocities committed by the Pakistani establishment on their people back home.

India should deal with PoK, just like Indira Gandhi handled Bangladesh Liberation: Shiv Sena

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Shiv Sena on Saturday called on the Centre to abandon all endeavours for international help in dealing with the Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) issue and said that the matter should be handled in the way former prime minister Indira Gandhi dealt with the Bangladesh Liberation War- by going to war against Pakistan. Indira Gandhi had concluded that instead of taking in millions of refugees, it was economical to go to war against Pakistan and charged head on into the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said that India must handle the situation themselves and refrain from dragging the international community in the matter, as the same solution could be used by separatists over Kashmir. “We are not going to get any international help on this matter. If we talk about brining help from the global arena, then the separatists sitting in India and the Pakistan High Commissioner in Delhi will do the same for our Kashmir. India should interfere directly in PoK, the way Indira Gandhi did with Bangladesh,” Raut said.Asserting that the responsibility was solely on the Indian government in the matter, the Shiv Sena leader added that the Centre has shown the nation the dream of a unified India and must come through in it.Under Indira Gandhi’s India provided aid to about 10 million people who fled their homes to the neighbouring West Bengal, Tripura, Meghalaya and Assam, to escape the Pakistani army in 1971 India sent its troops to fight against Pakistani and at the end of a nine month-long war, Bangladesh was put on the world map.Meanwhile, anti-Pakistan protests erupted as Kashmiris complained of human rights violations by Islamabad on the people living along the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). Pakistan police and paramilitary forces brutally assaulted leaders and activists of the Peace Committee, a coalition of progressive and nationalist organisations in PoK.The Peace Committee was protesting against the activities of Jihadi groups in the area and when they refused to stop their sloganeering and March, they were thrashed by the security personnel.Several people participating were severely injured after they were baton charged and hit by tear gas shells.The police and the paramilitary personnel also stopped the demonstrators from approaching the Line of Control (LoC).

Pakistan raises ‘Indian hostility, belligerence’ with US senators

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan said that Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi briefed the leadership of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on “negative implications” for peace in South Asia because of “Indian hostility and belligerence”.Fatemi met committee chairman and senator Bob Corker and Ranking Member Senator Ben Cardin at Capitol Hill in Washington. “Highlighting the massive human rights violations in Indian-occupied Kashmir as well as the continued tension across the Line of Control, Fatemi briefed the senators on the increasing negative implications for prospects of peace in South Asia because of Indian hostility and belligerence,” the Foreign Office here said in a statement.Fatemi informed the senators on how Pakistan had turned the page by focusing on improving economy and security in the country during the last three years, it said.The leadership of the committee acknowledged Pakistan’s role in promoting peace and security in the region and expressed the US desire to strengthen bilateral ties with Pakistan, which was a longstanding and important partner of the US, the statement said.Separately, Fatemi also met with the chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee and senator John McCain.He informed senator McCain about the overall security situation in the region and significant gains made by Pakistani forces following the successful military operations in North Waziristan which were aimed at eliminating all terrorists, without any discrimination, from Pakistani soil.The regional situation including Pakistan’s relations with Afghanistan and the growing tension across the Line of Control and the Working Boundary were also discussed.McCain congratulated Pakistan on successful transition in the military command and reiterated the US commitment to remain engaged with Pakistan in promoting lasting peace and stability in the region. Fatemi is visiting the US as an envoy to build frayed ties with the new Republican leaders and the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump who will assume office on January 20.

Manohar Parrikar says he is ‘not a coward’, but insists India is all for peace

New Delhi: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday said India is all for peace, adding that peace can be ensured only by a strong country. He also said that he had never used the Army for political gains.

File image of Manohar Parrikar. PTIFile image of Manohar Parrikar. PTI

File image of Manohar Parrikar. PTI

Speaking at the ‘Agenda Aaj Tak 2016’ conclave, the minister said bilateral relations with China are improving, and that ceasefire violations along the border areas have come down.

“Peace is the best thing; war is not the preferred option. We are for peace,” Parrikar said, adding that India had never initiated a war in the past.

On China, he said, “Our relations with China are improving. Those who compromise due to fear of war are called cowards. I don’t intend to call myself a coward. Peace is established by a strong country. You should be able to decide when to use power,” he said. “In order to have peace, you will have to increase your power and show it sometimes.”

Commenting on the situation along the India-Pakistan border, Parrikar said, “There is peace right now. At this moment, cross-border firing is not that much.”

He said he had never tried to use the Indian Army for political benefits. “We are not politicising the army. West Bengal chief minister (Mamata Banerjee) did it. I felt it was wrong, so I spoke in Parliament,” Parrikar said. “Let the army do its work; they are not part of politics.”

Claiming that the concept of surgical strike had become a brand, Parrikar said the success of the September strikes had made others jealous. “I never used the army on a political platform. All I have said is that we took a decision. You can call it good or bad. Surgical strike took place, the status quo of not crossing the LoC (Line of Control) was rejected. Only the forces can cross the border, not political leadership. But this decision, whether good or bad, the marks should be given to political leadership,” Parrikar said.

“Had something gone wrong, I don’t think anyone would have said anything but that it was an ill-managed operation, political leadership was not prepared, there was a shortage of bulletproof helmets or jackets,” he said.

“There are many fathers of success and few of failure. There was success, so everyone was jealous that the government would get credit,” the minister said.

Parrikar said during the surgical strikes — across the LoC in September, and one earlier along the Myanmar border — he could not sleep all night. “I didn’t sleep the whole night when the eastern operation was underway. The pressure of decision-making was definitely on me,” he said.

The minister said the government “introduced unpredictability on the Kashmir border for the first time”.

First Published On : Dec 7, 2016 22:12 IST

Kashmir issue: Pakistan asks UN to help in de-escalating tensions with India

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Blaming India for closing the doors on any bilateral engagement with it, Pakistan told top UN officials that the world body has a “moral responsibility” to play its role in resolution of the Kashmir issue and help in de-escalating tensions.Special Assistant to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi, during his day-long visit to the city, met UN Secretary General-designate Antonio Guterres, Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson and Under Secretary General for Political Affairs Jeffery Feltman.According to press release issued yesterday from the Pakistan s mission to the UN, Fatemi told the top UN leaders that Indian forces had stepped up ceasefire violations on the Line of Control and the Working Boundary in order to divert international attention from the alleged human rights atrocities, particularly the targetting of civilians, in Kashmir.”India had also closed the doors on any bilateral engagement. In this situation, the UN had a moral responsibility to call for ending human rights violations” in Kashmir, “play its role in resolution of this long festering dispute and help in immediately de-escalating tensions”, he said, according to the release.Fatemi, accompanied by Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN Maleeha Lodhi, said, Islamabad expected the UN to play its role in ensuring peace and stability in the South Asian region, especially in the resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.He said while Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had reached out to India and made efforts to develop a mutually beneficial relationship, the efforts were not being reciprocated by New Delhi.Fatemi also briefed the UN officials about alleged human rights violations by Indian forces on the Kashmiri people, saying efforts to quash a popular and indigenous uprising in Kashmir had led to the killing of over a hundred people and injuries to thousands.The release said that the UN leadership called for resumption of dialogue and de-escalation of tensions between India and Pakistan adding that Eliasson expressed concern at the regional situation and called for the lowering of tensions.On Afghanistan, Fatemi said Pakistan was ready to play its part for peace and stability in the country.

Will instal laser walls at Indo-Pak border to check infiltration: Kiren Rijiju

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government will instal laser walls and other technologically advanced systems at the India-Pakistan border to thwart any infiltration attempt from across the border, Union minister Kiren Rijiju said in Gurdaspur on Sunday. He said that the work in this regard will be completed in a year.The minister of state for home affairs paid tributes to Saheed Ram Parkash on his 25th martyrdom anniversary, organised at Qadian town in the district. The “laser walls” or fence are being monitored by Border Security Force (BSF) which guards the Indo-Pak IB in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat.A dozen “laser walls” have been already made operational along the Indo-Pak International Border in Punjab to plug the porous riverine and treacherous terrain and keep an effective vigil against intruders and terrorists exploiting the frontier areas to cross over.The decision to instal these laser walls was taken by BSF two years ago keeping in mind the vulnerability of the border in these areas as barbed wire fencing could not be installed in many infiltration prone areas due to treacherous terrain or marshy riverine topography.After the Pathankot terror attack in January, where it was suspected that terrorists crossed over from Pakistan by breaching the IB from Bamiyal area in Punjab, Union Home Ministry and BSF have sped up the deployment and activation of these walls along the long and winding border. Use of scientific technology and heightened vigil on riverine frontiers while guarding the Indo-Pak border were among the suggestions given by the Home Ministry-appointed committee which also flagged gaps and vulnerability in border fencing.The committee, headed by former Union Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta, was set up following the terror attack on Pathankot air base and it submitted its report to Home Minister Rajnath Singh in August last. Of the 3,323 km long Indo-Pak border, 1,225 kms falls in Jammu and Kashmir (including Line of Control), 553 kms in Punjab, 1,037 kms in Rajasthan and 508 kms in Gujarat.

Heart of Asia Summit: ‘Simplistic’ to blame one country for terrorism, says Sartaj Aziz

Amritsar: Under severe attack over terrorism emanating from its soil, Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Advisor
Sartaj Aziz on Sunday hit back saying it is “simplistic” to blame one country even as he raked up the issue of strain in Indo-Pak ties at the Heart of Asia (HoA) conference on Afghanistan.

Aziz asserted his attending the meet despite “escalation” along the LoC was testimony to Pakistan’s “unflinching” commitment for lasting peace in Afghanistan and expressed unhappiness over cancellation of Saarc Summit in Islamabad in November, terming it as a setback to regional cooperation. He did not mention the issue of Jammu and Kashmir.

Noting that Pakistan was aware about serious challenges being faced by Afghanistan, Aziz said, “The first and foremost in our view is continuing violence and acts of terrorism claiming scores of human lives. This needs to be addressed urgently and effectively through collective efforts.

Sartaj Aziz. File photo. Reuters

Sartaj Aziz. File photo. Reuters

“The security situation in Afghanistan is very complex. It is simplistic to blame only one country for the recent upsurge in violence. We need to have an objective and holistic view.”

His strong response came after India and Afghanistan hit out at Pakistan for sponsoring and supporting terrorism and called for “resolute action” against terrorists as well as their masters.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who jointly inaugurated the annual ministerial conference along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, directly hit out at Pakistan for “launching an undeclared war” against his country and demanded an Asian or international regime to verify Pakistan-sponsor terror operations.

In his address at the HoA conference, a platform for Afghanistan’s transition, Aziz said,” My participation in the event, despite escalation on the Line of Control and the Working Boundary with India, is testimony to Pakistan’s unflinching commitment for lasting peace in Afghanistan and the region.

“I look forward to meaningful deliberations today towards this objective,” he said and pressed for a politically negotiated settlement of the Afghan issue.

Observing that regional cooperation plays an important role in ensuring political stability and promoting economic cooperation, he said postponement of the Saarc Summit scheduled in Islamabad in November was a setback to these efforts and “undermined the spirit of regional cooperation”.

“Saarc is an important forum, not only for promoting regional cooperation but also for the improvement of
relations,” he said.

India had pulled out of SAARC Summit, citing cross-border terror strikes emanating from Pakistan. Afghanistan and other Saarc countries had also sought cancellation of the eight-nation meet on the grounds that there was incitement of terrorism in the region.

Aziz arrived last night amid heightened tension between India and Pakistan over a series of cross-border terror attacks on India by Pakistan-based terror outfits and India’s surgical strike across the LoC two months back.

Aziz said the peace process for talks between Afghan Government and Taliban has not yet produced positive results and Pakistan has been making “serious efforts for facilitating the peace talks”.

“In our view, there is no military solution to the Afghan conflict and all our efforts should be to achieve a
politically negotiated settlement through an Afghan-led Afghan-owned process,” he said. He said Pakistan deeply values the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process in promote Afghanistan’s connectivity with neighbouring and regional countries for durable stability in Afghanistan.

“Afghan security forces have firmly and bravely stood their ground in repulsing militant and terrorist attacks.
The international community has reiterated its commitment of support to Afghanistan in the areas of security and economic development upto 2020.

“The government and people of Pakistan stand in complete solidarity with the elected government and people of Afghanistan in furthering the objective of peace, stability and development in Afghanistan. We would do whatever we can to help achieve this objective,” he said.

The conference is being attended by over 30 countries including Russia, China, the US. “The Afghan government has also signed peace agreement with Hizb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA). The implementation of this peace deal can serve as a model for talks with other insurgent groups in future,” he said.

Calling for enhanced regional connectivity to stimulate economic development, he said Pakistan was building its national rail, road and energy transmission network to meet with the growing regional transport needs.

“The focus is on modern, state of the art infrastructure including through the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). “There is immense potential for connecting our transportation and energy infrastructure with Afghanistan, and other countries of West and Central Asia,” he said.

He said Pakistan was committed to enhancing facilitation for transit of Afghan goods through Pakistan.
“We believe the two sides need to work together for extension of and improvements in the Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA),” he said.

The postponement of the Saarc Summit scheduled in Islamabad in November 2016 was a setback to these efforts and undermined the spirit of regional cooperation. He voiced hope that the deliberations would be
constructive and focused on the efforts for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan, which is our shared objective.

Pakistan also welcomes the invitation of Azerbaijan to host the 7th Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia process in 2017 and looks forward to its active participation in this Conference, he said.

First Published On : Dec 4, 2016 17:52 IST

Pakistan’s new army chief Gen Bajwa rakes up Kashmir issue, asks troops to respond with ‘full force’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan’s newly-appointed army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Friday raked up the Kashmir issue for the first time in his address to soldiers and asked them to respond with “full force” to each ceasefire violation by India.”Each violation of any kind must be responded to with full force in the most effective manner,” he said during a visit to the 10 Corps Rawalpindi and troops at forward locations along the Line of Control (LoC).Bajwa, who visited troops at their forward positions on the LoC for the first time since taking over the command of army this week, was briefed on the security situation along the LoC “in view of recent violations and escalation by Indian troops and Pakistan’s own response,” the army’s media wing Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement.He said India’s “aggressive posture” aims solely to divert the world’s attention away from “atrocities being committed by Indian troops” in Kashmir, the statement said.The Kashmir issue will have to be resolved in line with United Nations resolutions keeping in view the aspirations of the Kashmiri people in order to achieve lasting regional peace, Bajwa said in his first public comments on the Kashmir issue after taking over as the Chief of Army Staff this week.He appreciated the “befitting response” given to “unprovoked Indian firing” across the LoC and asked troops to keep the highest level of vigil at all times, the statement said.Bajwa’s statement came at a time when India-Pakistan relations are strained following the terror attack on an Army base camp in Uri and India’s surgical strikes on terror launchpads in the PoK.

Supreme Court approves a Pollution Code for Delhi-NCR

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Friday accorded its nod to the Centre’s graded response action plan to tackle different levels of pollution and asked the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to upgrade its existing infrastructure and set up additional monitoring stations in Delhi-NCR within six months.Terming as “severe” levels of pollution when particulate matter (PM) 2.5 levels are above 250 to 430 micrograms per cubic metre in the ambient air, the Centre told a bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur that when air pollution reaches such alarming proportion, immediate steps are needed to be taken including ban on construction activities and implementation of odd-even scheme.The sanction came after environmentalist Sunita Narain from the Centre for Science and Environment told the bench that the Centre’s graded response action plan to tackle different levels of pollution was “acceptable” and can be put into operation. “Enforcement of graded response action plan shall be under the orders of Environment Pollution (Control and Prevention) Authority (EPCA) and all other authorities should act in aid of such direction,” the bench said.The court directed the apex pollution monitoring body to file a status report on setting up additional monitoring stations in Delhi-NCR within six months. It also directed the Centre to examine within four weeks about harmful effects of petroleum coke and furnace oil used in industries and power generation plants in NCR and issue appropriate directions in this regard.Solicitor General (SG) Ranjit Kumar told the bench that CPCB proposed to upgrade its centralised control room with modern equipment’s at an estimated cost of Rs 57 lakhs on hardware, internet and optical fibre. CPCB also plans to set up 12 real time air monitoring stations in Uttar Pradesh, nine in Haryana, two in Rajasthan besides 20 new stations in Delhi apart from 28 existing ones, he said.The Solicitor General also filed a compilation before the bench stating details about the system of issuing pollution under control certificates to vehicle owners and the mechanism of licensing such centres where pollution checks are carried out and certificates issued in the form of stickers.At the outset, senior advocate Harish Salve, who is the amicus curiae in a 1985 PIL filed by environmentalist M C Mehta, told the bench also comprising Justices A K Sikri and S A Bobde that the Centre has classified three levels of pollution based on different levels of PM namely — moderate to poor, very poor and severe.Salve said that the Centre has recommended that whenever air pollution reaches “severe” levels, immediate action including ban on power plants and construction activities should be imposed in the national capital. He also highlighted the ill-effects of petroleum coke and furnace oil used in industries on ambient air and told the court that the emissions from such units were highly toxic as these release high sulphur. “Delhi has already banned use of pet coke and furnace oil in industries. But, the problem has only been transferred to the neighbouring states, where these industries still use these fuel to operate which release high sulphur which greatly contributes to pollution in the region,” Salve said while referring to EPCA report.The Centre’s Graded Response Action Plan for reducing air pollution has enumerated a number of measures which include closing brick kilns, hot mix plants, stone crushers, intensifying public transport services besides increase in frequency of mechanised cleaning of road and sprinkling of water on roads.The matter would now come up for hearing in third week of January. The court had earlier slammed CPCB for not having an action plan ready to deal with the “emergency” smog situation and asked the Centre to come out with time-bound measures to tackle the graded level of worsening air quality.

Samba terrorists could have crawled through a tunnel to infiltrate India: BSF

New Delhi: The three militants killed in Samba in Jammu might have crawled through an 80-metre-long tunnel under farm lands to cross the International Border (IB), the BSF chief said on Wednesday.

Addressing journalists on the eve of the Border Security Force’s 51st Raising Dayin Delhi, its chief KK Sharma said the paramilitary force had “strong inputs” about possible infiltration bids by terrorists from across the IB following the Indian Army’s surgical strikes on terror launch pads, and hence it was “in a position” to detect and neutralise the heavily-armed militants.

Security personnel after an encounter with millitants at Army camp in Nagrota. PTISecurity personnel after an encounter with millitants at Army camp in Nagrota. PTI

Representational image. PTI

“After the operation got over at the Chamliyal BoP (border outpost), we checked the fence and there was no breach. Then on Wednesday morning, we detected a small tunnel of the size of 2×2 metres… We had deployed ‘depth nakas’ across the fence and hence we could detect and neutralise the three militants. The tunnel was found in a field where farming is done and has soft soil.

“The tunnel is about 75-80 metres from the IB and about 35-40 metres from the fence,” he said.

The DG said the border guarding force would take up the matter with its counterparts — Pakistan Rangers, but added that due to increased hostilities, the other side is not “getting in touch” for quite sometime now.

BSF officials said there is “ample proof” and indication to say that the militants crawled through the tunnel to reach this side of the border. Sharma said the Nagrota attack that took place on Tuesday at an army camp was “separate” and it was part of the investigation to find out if it had any connection with the Samba terror bid.

He said that since the increase of hostilities between the two sides, especially post the surgical strikes conducted by the army across the Line of Control, BSF has killed 15 Pakistani Rangers and 10 militants while it lost five troops.

“For the last 15 days there has been no shelling along the IB. Post the surgical strikes we knew that infiltration attempts and attacks would increase along the IB which we exclusively guard and hence anticipating trouble we have been prepared against such attempts,” he said, adding it was pitch dark last night hence picking up movements along the IB was difficult through naked eye.

Sharma said BSF had “strong inputs that infiltration can be attempted from around the IB area and that is why we were in a position to effectively neutralise the three” on Tuesday.

The DG said the three terrorists were carrying huge arms and ammunition like three AK-47s, 20 full magazines, 517 bullets, an 8mm pistol, 20 grenades and a GPS set along with other items on them.

The BSF chief said there are inputs of a “grave threat” to security establishments and hence the forces have beefed up and reviewed camp and perimeter security.

First Published On : Nov 30, 2016 19:22 IST

Lesson from Nagrota attack: Military, financial ‘surgical strikes’ haven’t deterred Pakistani militants

The Nagrota attack by Pakistani infiltrators on 29 November — heavily-armed terrorists stormed the premises of the highly-protected 166 medium artillery regiment and held Indians hostage — has belied the claims of our government that we have broken the back of the cross-border militancy with our ‘surgical strike’ across the Line of Control. This is not the statement of an Opposition leader who wants to take potshots at the Narendra Modi government. This was an argument advanced by Yashwant Sinha, a senior BJP leader and former minister for external affairs (in the Chandra Shekhar and Atal Bihari Vajpayee governments).

Sinha made this statement on Tuesday night while delivering his presidential address in a lecture organised in the memory of Digvijay Singh, who had served as the junior minister to Sinha in the external affairs ministry in both Chandra Shekhar and Vajpayee governments.

Clearly, Sinha is not a run-of-the-mill politician who shoots from the hip. He knows his stuff when he makes a point.

Army personnel take position during encounter after militants attacked an Army camp in Nagrota on the outskirts of Jammu on Tuesday morning. PTI

Army personnel take position during encounter after militants attacked an Army camp in Nagrota on the outskirts of Jammu on Tuesday morning. PTI

Sinha made another devastating argument to puncture the claim being made by the relatively uninformed intelligentsia that India has succeeded in isolating Pakistan on the world stage with its astute diplomacy. On the contrary, Pakistani diplomacy has mostly outwitted Indian diplomacy in drawing international support, he said.

The former external affairs minister cited the example of the $46 billion support extended to Pakistan by China, in order to build the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. In fact, it is China’s biggest investment in the economic development of another country, he said. Chinese support will keep Pakistan at the centre-stage of South Asian politics, instead of marginalising it, Sinha said.

Pakistan has even succeeded in winning over Russia — a traditional supporter of India — to hold joint military exercises in September this year for the first time in the past seven decades of its existence. It only goes to show that Pakistan, instead of being isolated, is being courted by the major powers of the world, Sinha asserted.

This assertion must not be taken at the face value.

Those who were gloating that the demonetisation of high-denomination notes has virtually driven the Pakistani infiltrators out of work must have been squirming after the fidayeen attack at Nagrota took place. It is indeed alarming that Pakistani militants are repeatedly and successfully taking on the hardest of the targets — the military establishment — considering they have not taken the soft option of targeting civilian settlements. After the daring attacks in Patnankot and Uri, Nagrota has exposed the vulnerability of the Indian defence forces.

That a group of heavily armed militants succeeded in infiltrating the local unit of the 16 Corps headquarters — the largest corps in the Indian Army — and managing to kill two officers and five jawans before being killed, highlights a stark fact: Even after being on the receiving end of militant attacks for years, we have not been able to devise fool-proof measures to check Pakistani infiltration and safeguard our soldiers, let alone the civilians.

In Pathankot, Pakistani terrorists infiltrated into an Indian Air Force base and unleashed mayhem at the start of this year. Six Pakistani militants again launched a daring attack on an army brigade headquarters in Uri in September this year and killed 19 of our soldiers.

The fact that we have been repeatedly failing in making our core military establishment attack-proof from stray militants speaks poorly of our professionalism. In the face of it, when we make tall and loud claims about our military and strategic accomplishments, we tend to become a laughing stock.

When we launched the ‘surgical strike’ in October that supposedly paralysed the military muscle of Pakistan militants and, moreover, when we unleashed the demonetisation drive that purportedly sucked out their financial muscle, Pakistani authorities did not scream from the rooftops that they would take ‘revenge’ against India. They took revenge in action, as evident in Nagrota yesterday.

It is an age-old lesson of diplomacy, military or otherwise, that it must be conducted away from the limelight.

Strong actions must speak for themselves. They need not, nay, must not, be bandied about or be gloated over. This is because every action invites a reaction. And in today’s world, no country, howsoever powerful it may be, can claim unilateral victory over another. That is more so, when two countries, as is the case with India and Pakistan, hold nuclear deterrents.

Will the Indian leadership take the lesson and reflect quietly and take decisive action without whipping up jingoism and hyper-nationalism?

That is the only way to protect our borders, our brave soldiers and our distraught citizens.

First Published On : Nov 30, 2016 13:55 IST

Nagrota attack: A look at pervious attacks on military units shows lack of security measures

It was a dark day for India on Tuesday when a group of heavily-armed terrorists in police uniform stormed an army unit in Nagrota, about three kilometres from the 16 Corps headquarters on the outskirts of Jammu city on Tuesday morning, triggering an intense gunbattle that lasted for several hours.

Seven army personnel, including two officers, were killed in the attack before three terrorists were eliminated in an armed face-off which also involved a hostage-like situation with 12 soldiers, two women and as many children being held captive. All were later rescued, army spokesman said.

Security personnel take positions during a gun battle with suspected militants at the Army camp in Nagrota in Jammu. PTI

Security personnel take positions during a gun battle with suspected militants at the Army camp in Nagrota in Jammu. PTI

The attack has not only raised doubts about whether the surgical strikes conducted by the Indian army against terror launch pads across the Line of Control were actually effective or not but has also raised several questions about the security at military camps and units.

According to The Indian Express, intelligence services had been monitoring a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) cell in Kashmir which had been plotting an attack on the 16 Corps headquarters in Nagrota for at least two weeks. Despite intelligence services warning of such an attack, the fact that attackers were still successful in infiltrating through the route to Nagrota says a lot about the security there.

Another report in The Times of India said that defence sources informed the newspaper that “very little follow-up action” had been taken after the recommendations of the tri-Service committee, led by former Army chief Lt Gen (retd) Philip Campose and constituted after the Pathankot terror attack. “Since the report was submitted to defence minister Manohar Parrikar in mid-May, few concrete steps have been taken. There were some general discussions with the three Service headquarters, which in turn have carried out some security audits of their bases,” the report quoted a source as saying.

Even if we ignore the major terror attacks on military installations which have taken place outside Jammu and Kashmir in India (like the Pathankot attack), and instead focus only on the attacks in Jammu and Kashmir (where tension has increased at the borders due to the deteriorating ties with Pakistan), the frequency of attacks on the army since 2015 points out how the security for our security personnel seems to have been ignored.

Here are the major attacks on military and paramilitary installations and units which took place in Jammu and Kashmir since 2015:

Attack on army installation in Samba (March 2015): Two terrorists opened fire at the camp of the 81 Armoured Regiment of the Army on the Jammu-Pathankot National Highway in Samba near Jammu. The two terrorists were killed but two security personnel and a civilian were also injured.

Attack on brigade headquarters in Kupwara (May 2015): Three terrorists were killed after they attacked the brigade headquarters of the army in Tanghdar sector of Kupwara near the Line of Control.

Terrorists kill army colonel in Kupwara (November 2015): A Colonel of the Army’s elite Para Commando force was killed and a policeman injured by militants during an operation near the LoC in Kupwara. The Commanding Officer of 41 Rashtriya Rifles Colonel Santosh, who was leading a search party, was critically injured when militants hiding in a dense forest area of Haji Naka opened fire.

Assault on army camp in Kupwara (November 2015): Three terrorists and a civilian were killed after the terrorists infiltrated a camp of Gorkha Rifles in Tanghdar. Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) had claimed responsiblity for the attack.

Attack on CRPF convoy in Anantnag (December 2015): Six CRPF jawans were injured when terrorist opened fired on their convoy on Srinagar-Jammu national highway in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.

Pampore terror attack (June 2016): Eight CRPF personnel were killed and 21 others critically wounded when terrorists rained bullets on a bus carrying them at Pampore, near Srinagar, in what was a fidayeen attack carried out by LeT.

Attack on army convoy near Khawaja Bagh in Baramulla (August 2016): Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists attacked an army convoy on the Srinagar-Baramulla highway near Khawaja Bagh in Baramulla, killing eight people and injuring 22 others.

Assault on BSF camp in Kupwara (August 2016): An attack by terrorists on a BSF camp in Kupwara left three BSF personnel injured.

Uri attack (September 2016): In a terrible attack on the Army in many years, heavily armed militants suspected to be from Pakistan-based JeM stormed an army base in Uri in Kashmir killing 17 jawans. Located barely a few kilometres from the LoC and some 70 km from Srinagar, the base was subjected to the brazen attack by four terrorists at around 5.30 am, causing heavy casualties in the Dogra regiment which lost 17 of its men.

Attack on army, BSF camps in Baramulla (October 2016): Two terrorists and a soldier were killed and another soldier was injured after terrorists attacked army and BSF camps in Baramulla four days after India conducted the surgical strikes.

Attack on army camp in Handwara (October 2016): Terrorists attemped to storm a Rashtriya Rifles camp in the Langate area of Handwara. No security personnel were killed and all the three terrorists were killed.

With inputs from agnecies

First Published On : Nov 30, 2016 13:50 IST

Pak complicity in Indian soldier’s mutilation exposed

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan’s complicity in the mutilation of Indian soldier’s body and killing of two others on the Line of Control (LoC) in Machhil sector last week, was exposed on Monday when Indian army recovered surgical gauze exclusively used by Pakistani defence forces and other items from the site of incident. “Refer Machhil operation of November 22 where body of one soldier was mutilated. Search leads to recoveries that indicate Pakistan complicity,” tweeted Northern Command of the Indian army.The cache includes Gauze Surgical– Loose Wove with a marking of Pakistan Defence Forces. Other recoveries include Made in Pakistan Sooper Biscuit packs and empty bottles. Indian army also recovered Night Vision Sight which is a US government property. Shock, anger and outrage gripped the security and political establishment after the suspected Border Action Team (BAT) of Pakistan badly mutilated the body of an Indian Army soldier and killed two others when they ambushed counter-infiltration patrol on the Line of Control (LoC) at Machhil sector of Kupwara district on Tuesday last.The slain soldiers were identified as Gunner Manoj Kumar Kushwa of Uttar Pradesh, Riffleman Prabhu Singh of Rajasthan and Riffleman Shashank K Singh of Uttar Pradesh, all belonging to 57 Rashtriya Riffles unit. It was for the second time in less than a month that the body of an Indian soldier was badly mutilated on the LoC in the Machhil sector. On October 28, militants badly mutilated the body of Rifleman Mandeep Singh of Sikh regiment. One militant was killed then while another fled back to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). The BAT, on January 8, 2013, had breached the LoC in Mendhar sector and beheaded Lance Naik Hemraj and badly mutilated the body of Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh of 13 Rajputana Rifles. Head of Lance Naik Hemraj is still missing.

Pakistan had a ‘direct role’ in mutilation of jawan’s body in Machhil: Indian Army

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Army said on Monday said Pakistan had a “direct role” in the mutilation of a soldier’s body along the Line of Control in Machhil sector of Kupwara district on November 22. “Refer to Machhil operation of November 22, where body of one soldier was mutilated, search leads to recoveries that indicate Pakistan’s complicity,” an army officer at the Udhampur-based Northern Command said in a statement.Three soldiers were killed and the body of one of them was mutilated when infiltrators had ambushed an army patrol in the Machhil sector on November 22. The eatables and other items recovered from the area show the marking of “Pakistan Defense Force”, “Pakistan standard” and the night vision that bears the seal of “Government Property”, which is made by the US and used by the Pakistan army, the officer said. “Three soldiers were killed in action on the LoC in Machhil. Body of one soldier mutilated, retribution will be heavy for this cowardly act,” Army had said after the killing.It was second incident of mutilation of soldier’s body in less than a month, triggering outrage. On October 28, aided by the cover fire by Pakistani Army, terrorists had crossed the LoC and killed an army jawan and mutilated his body in Machhil sector. One attacker was killed in that incident. In June 2008, a soldier of the 2/8 Gorkha Rifles lost his way and was captured by a Pakistani Border Action Team (BAT) in Kel sector. His body was found beheaded few days later.

Important bills to be tabled in both Houses of Parliament today

Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Bill, Employee’s Compensation (Amendment) Bill, Employee’s Compensation Act and HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill are set to be tabled in the Houses. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Bill is scheduled to come up for consideration and passage in the Lok Sabha on Sunday.The Bill will consolidate the existing laws relating to admiralty jurisdiction, legal proceedings in connection with vessels, their arrest, detention, sale and other matters connected. The Mental Healthcare Bill is also scheduled to be tabled in the Lok Sabha. In the Rajya Sabha, the Employee’s Compensation (Amendment) Bill will come up for consideration and passage.The Bill, seeking to amend the Employee’s Compensation Act, 1923, has been passed by the Lok Sabha.The HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2014 is also scheduled to be tabled in the Rajya Sabha. Union Health Minister JP Nadda will move the Bill to provide for the prevention and control of the spread of HIV and AIDS. It will also protect the human rights of persons affected by the virus.

Kashmir conflict: Let’s wean back local militants, says Northern Army commander-in-chief

The outgoing commander-in-chief of the Jammu and Kashmir-based Northern Command, Lieutenant-General DS Hooda, has emphasised the need to improve processes for drawing back into society Kashmiris who had taken to arms.

“Can we do something to get the boys back? That is the concern,” he says, highlighting an aspect of counterinsurgency that most tough-talking militaristic minds tend to neglect, while focussing instead on ‘kills’ and ‘catches’. Hooda, who retires at the end of the month, is keenly aware of the importance of this concern. He and the officers and men under his command have had their hands full as a new militancy has rapidly gained ground over the past year-and-a-half, and large-scale protests and unrest have kept the Kashmir Valley on the boil through the summer and autumn.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Those with a less nuanced perspective might have expected him to talk of the need for battle preparations, fortifications and reinforcements. But it is a measure of how much the army brass has evolved since the ‘proxy-war’-oriented phase of the second half of the 1990s that Hooda emphasises the need to win back those Kashmiris who have at some point taken up arms.

To be sure, he has quietly gone about the core tasks of the army too; extraordinary steps have been taken since mid-September in terms of war preparedness. But Hooda has not lost sight of other priorities in what must be a multi-pronged strategy.

Local sentiment is one of the most important priorities. Each death of a local boy can have a multiplying effect. “The more (a) local is killed, (the more) you will have a reaction,” as Hooda says. For more than a year now, the funerals of young militants killed in action have been highly emotional events, drawing large crowds — and inspiring fresh teenagers to become militants.

These young recruits are sometimes jolted by the less-romantic reality they confront when they leave their homes. So surrender must be made easier — and the rehabilitation of former militants into society made smooth.

The rules only allow militants to surrender at four specified points — two trade and crossing points on the Line of Control, the Wagah border, and Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport. Hooda points out that each of those points is hazardous for those who might want to surrender. For, Pakistani officials keep a hawk-eye on those who want to cross at Wagah and the specified trade and transit points. In fact, it takes several weeks to get through the red tape of permissions that are required to use those crossing points.

The result is that many of those who actually want to surrender try and get to Nepal and then cross the border into India — or find their way surreptitiously across the Line of Control or border. But using either of those methods puts them on the wrong side of the rules. Since they cannot technically surrender thus, they can be treated as terrorists, and of course the laws for that category are daunting.

The trouble for an army commander such as Hooda is that this causes many of those who may changed their minds after getting to Pakistan to remain in the ranks of militants. And, any smart strategist knows that, even if a local militant is often less lethal than a foreigner, a local draws in the wider support of the community — and that can be a far greater challenge in a situation like Kashmir.

The general also refers critically to the post-surrender dimension of policy. “There is no rehabilitation dimension, as far as the surrender policy is concerned.”

Indeed, the message that goes out from those who have surrendered in the past is that it leads to a life of social, economic and political marginalisation, shame and harassment. In many cases, special cells of the local police demand that a surrendered militant report to them regularly, and then force them to do what those cells require.

If militants felt assured that they would be protected by law-enforcers, and be able to fruitfully resume their places as respectable members of society, it might attract more militants to surrender.

For, there are many who realie that the life of a militant is not actually as wonderfully as it is romanticised to be.

First Published On : Nov 28, 2016 07:45 IST

Punjab jailbreak: Khalistani terrorist escapes, high alert in Northern states

Sun, 27 Nov 2016-11:27pm , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>High alert has been sounded in Northern states after a top Khalistani terrorist along with five others escaped from a Punjab jail, arousing suspicion that the militant might have pre-decided his hideouts. Central security agencies have told the governments of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi Police to remain on high alert as chief of Khalistan Liberation Front Harminder Mintoo could be hiding in their territory to escape from Punjab Police dragnet.Sources said Mintoo is unlikely to escape to Pakistan as there has been heightened security along the border in the last few months due to tension between India and Pakistan and continuing cross-border firing along International Border and Line of Control.Suspicion has arisen that the Khalistani terrorist might have been hiding in pre-decided locations as per the conspiracy hatched to free him from the high-security Nabha prison. In a sensational jailbreak, Mintoo along with five other prisoners escaped on Sunday after armed men in police uniform stormed the high-security Nabha prison in Punjab.

Neither India nor Pak can take Kashmir from each other: Farooq Abdullah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah on Sunday said neither India could take back Pak-occupied-Kashmir nor Pakistan has the power to take this part of Kashmir by going to war, so the solution to the problem lies in dialogue between the two countries.”We cannot take what is with them with war…what is with them neither can we take it nor they have the power to take this Kashmir from us, so what other way is left?” Abdullah told reporters on the sidelines of a function here today. He said people who call him “anti-national” and making “hue and cry” over his recent statement on PoK are those who once appreciated him for “defending the nation in the United Nations” and if they have guts, (they should) go and fight on the borders.”They will keep on saying Farooq Abdullah as anti- national, it is upto them what they call, when I defended my nation in the United Nations that time was I not anti- national, even (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee lauded me,” he said.Stressing for resumption of dialogue between India and Pakistan, the National Conference chief said resident of Jammu and Kashmir on both sides of the divided line (Line of Control) were suffering due to the cross-border firing.”They should come and see the problems of the people living on the borders. The people of Jammu and Kashmir are dying. On both sides, it is our people who are dying. What is the solution? There is no solution except dialogue,” he said.Senior Abdullah also took a swipe on India’s failure to bring back Masood Azhar or Dawood Ibrahim, saying we could not bring Masood Azhar or the Don who lives in Karachi what resolutions are you talking of.

Neither India nor Pakistan can have Kashmir in its entirety: Farooq Abdullah

Jammu: Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah on Sunday said neither India could take back Pak-occupied-Kashmir nor Pakistan has the power to take this part of Kashmir by going to war, so the solution to the problem lies in dialogue between the two countries.

“We cannot take what is with them with war…what is with them neither can we take it nor they have the power to take this Kashmir from us, so what other way is left?” Abdullah told reporters on the sidelines of a function in Jammu on Sunday.

He said people who call him “anti-national” and making “hue and cry” over his recent statement on PoK are those who once appreciated him for “defending the nation in the United Nations” and if they have guts, (they should) go and fight on the borders.

“They will keep on saying Farooq Abdullah as anti-national, it is upto them what they call, when I defended my nation in the United Nations that time was I not anti-national, even (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee lauded me,” he said.

File image of Farooq Abdullah. ReutersFile image of Farooq Abdullah. Reuters

File image of Farooq Abdullah. Reuters

Stressing for resumption of dialogue between India and Pakistan, the National Conference chief said resident of Jammu and Kashmir on both sides of the divided line (Line of Control) were suffering due to the cross-borderfiring.

“They should come and see the problems of the people living on the borders. The people of Jammu and Kashmir are dying. On both sides, it is our people who are dying. What is the solution? There is no solution except dialogue,” he said.

Senior Abdullah also took a swipe on India’s failure to bring back Masoor Azhar or Dawood Ibrahim, saying we could not bring Masood Azhar or the Don who lives in Karachi what resolutions are you talking of.

Earlier, Abdullah paid tributes to veteran leader Girdhari Lal Dogra and described him as a legendary politician who worked tirelessly for uplift of poor and progress of Jammu and Kashmir.

“Dogra Sahib has left an indelible mark of public service and he continues to be remembered as a towering leader for his tremendous connect with the masses,” he said while offering tributes to Dogra on his 29th death anniversary.

He said Dogra was among the few leaders of the state whose contribution towards its development is remembered even now. “As a true democrat, he had earned a niche for himself and endeared so much among the people that he never lost any election,” the former Chief Minister said.

“Such people are rare, who keep aside politics and treat everyone equal, irrespective of caste, creed, colour or regional affiliation,” the NC President said, adding that he will always remain an inspiration for younger generation of political activists, who really want to serve the people and the state by giving their best.

He said Dogra had unflinching faith in secularism and all his life he worked for strengthening the bonds of amity and brotherhood between various segments of society.

First Published On : Nov 27, 2016 21:19 IST

Here’s why Pak’s 1st census in 17 years has been postponed

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Non-availability of army personnel due to Indo-Pak tensions has forced authorities to indefinitely postpone Pakistan’s census, the first in 17 years, according to a media report on Sunday. The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) has not been able to come up with a concrete time frame for conducting the long- awaited sixth population and housing census in the country, Dawn reported. A meeting was convened by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to review PBS preparations for the census yesterday. Several such meetings have been held since the Council of Common Interests (CCI) decided to postpone the census in March 2016.But given the non-availability of army personnel due to escalating tensions along the Line of Control with India, it looks like the census will remain in limbo until the CCI revises its decision, the report said. The last census was held in Pakistan 17 years ago.”We are ready to hold the census,” a senior PBS official said, but maintained that the decision to conduct census with support from the army was taken in the CCI meeting held in March 2016. The bureau has completed its preparations, he said, adding that it was now up to the CCI to decide and give the bureau a roadmap moving forward. Following the decision to involve the army in the census exercise, the PBS estimated it would need around 167,000 army personnel to go door-to-door. In addition, the bureau estimated it would need an additional 20-30,000 personnel to supervise the census operation.A PBS official said that the army had estimated the total manpower for the census at around 300,000, but given the prevailing conditions on the LoC, it would be next to impossible to spare such a large chunk of human resource from the armed forces. Asked about the fate of the census, the official said it was up to the CCI to decide whether to go ahead without the army or not. But he was of the opinion that the involvement of army personnel would make the census results more acceptable and transparent. However, the government would decide the mode of the census, the official said.An official statement issued after the meeting said PBS Chief Statistician Asif Bajwa gave an overview of the preparations, apprising the meeting that the necessary preparations on the civilian side had been completed. The first census in Pakistan was conducted in 1951, the second in 1961 and the third in 1972 instead of 1971, due to political turmoil. The fourth census was held in March 1981 and the fifth, which was due in 1991, was conducted in March 1998 with the help of the army. Under the Constitution, the government is bound to conduct the population census every 10 years.

Environment not conducive for talks with Pakistan: VK Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Government on Friday said there have been a series of cross border terror attacks from Pakistan controlled territories across the LoC recently which has created an environment not conducive for holding a meaningful dialogue.Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh while replying to a written question in the Rajya Sabha also said that Pathankot Air Base terror attack mounted from Pakistan and the subsequent intensification of anti-India cross-border terrorism including Poonch and Uri strikes have “eroded” the necessary environment free from terror and violence. He was asked whether it is a fact that India’s relationship with its immediate neighbours in the recent past is not so smooth and if so, the reasons thereof and the steps proposed to be taken to improve it? While he termed the ties with Afghanistan, Bhutan, the Maldives, Myanmar, Sri Lanka as smooth, in case of Nepal, Singh described the ties as “unique and special”.He also said India attaches importance to developing good relations with China and both sides, during their meetings in past, have agreed to make efforts for further strengthening of Closer Developmental Partnership on the basis of mutual sensitivity to each other’s concerns, interests and aspirations. On Pakistan, he said, “Yes. India intends to have normal and peaceful relations with all its neighbouring countries including Pakistan. However, Pakistan has supported armed insurgency and terrorism in the State of J&K. Cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan endangers security and stability not only of India but of the entire region.”Pakistan covets territory of J&K which is an integral part of India. Recently there have been a series of cross border terrorism attacks from Pakistan controlled territories across the Line of Control which has created an environment not conducive for holding a meaningful dialogue.” He further added that as a result of Pakistan’s assurances to take steps for expediting Mumbai terrorist attack trial undergoing in Pakistan, the two sides agreed on Composite Bilateral Dialogue (CBD) to resolve all outstanding issues as well as humanitarian issues.”Pathankot Air Base terrorist attack mounted from Pakistan and the subsequent intensification of anti-India cross border terrorism including Poonch terrorism attack on 11 September 2016 and Uri terrorism attack on 18 September 2016, have eroded the necessary environment free from terror and violence,” Singh asserted. India is non-committal about holding bilateral talks with Pakistan Prime Minister’s foreign affairs adviser Sartaj Aziz, who will be travelling to Amritsar next week to attend the Heart of Asia Conference.

Supreme Court bans sale of fire crackers in Delhi-NCR to curb rising air pollution

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Friday banned the sale of fire crackers in Delhi and NCR region until further notice in wake of the alarming air pollution in the region.The top court has asked the Central Pollution Control Board to file a reply within three months regarding harmful effects of fire crackers.Environmentalists were seeking courts intervention in passing orders for ban on sale of firecrackers due to considerable increase in level of pollution in the national capital.The sale of fire crackers will be enforce from today onwards till further order or any hearing by the apex court.The three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India, Tirath Singh Thakur passed this verdict.Earlier, the bench had asked Arjun Gopal, one of the petitioners of the case to put all the materials on record with respect to extent of damage caused by the pollutants on health.In the wake of rising air pollution in the national capital earlier Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung also decided to ban use of firecrackers, except at religion functions.

NGT orders ban on noise, solid waste pollution in Sundarbans

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Green Tribunal has ordered a ban on noise and solid waste pollution in the Sundarbans area in a bid to protect the wildlife during the coming tourist season.The Kolkata bench of NGT, comprising Justice (retd) SP Wangdi and Dr PC Mishra, taking up the matter suo motu, prohibited the use of mikes or loudspeakers blaring music, fancy decorative lights, release of solid waste and other material in river water. The bench, in an order passed this week, directed the principal secretaries of four departments, Tourism, Environment, Home and Panchayat to ensure compliance of the order to maintain the ecology of the forests.”Hundreds of motor launch, steamers and cruises take tourists to the Sundarbans during the winter for excursions and picnics leading to a lot of sound, air and solid waste pollution in the rivers and canals crisscrossing the largest mangrove forest in the world,” environmentalist Subhas Dutta, who has been appointed amicus curiae in the matter by the NGT bench said.Home of the Royal Bengal Tiger, apart from a large number of other wildlife including alligators, dolphins, deer, wild boars, etc, the Sundarbans on the Ganga delta is already facing a threat to its ecological balance owing to deforestation and increasing human habitats and population.Air and sound pollution are also on the rise in the Sundarban National Park and Tiger Reserve and its fringe areas owing to modern facilities being extended to these areas, which are not so remote now as compared to a decade ago, with better road communication and other modern facilities being available. “The NGT has also directed the Pollution Control Board (PCB) to visit all 174 hotels, resorts, lodges and homestays operating in the Sundarbans area and review their pollution control systems and whether these are conforming to rules and guidelines,” Dutta said.The state PCB officials would check the year of establishment of these places, whether these have consent to establish and consent to operate by the PCB as also the Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) permission, he said.

Deeply concerned about situation at Kashmir LoC: UN chief Ban Ki-moon

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Deeply concerned over the “deterioration” in situation along the Line of Control in Kashmir, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for restoration of stability in the region, saying the world body supports “all efforts” to reach “durable” peace and security.”The secretary-general is deeply concerned about the deterioration of the situation along the Line of Control in Kashmir in recent days,” a United Nations statement attributed to his spokesman said.”He calls on all involved to prioritise the restoration of calm and stability in order to prevent any further escalation and loss of life,” the statement said, adding that Ban “trusts India and Pakistan can find common ground and work towards a sustainable peace.””The UN stands by the people of the region and supports all efforts to reach durable peace and security,” said the statement.Tension between India and Pakistan have increased after the attack on an Indian Army base in Uri on September 18 and the resultant “surgical strike” on terrorist launchpads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir by the army 10 days later. Since then, cross-border firings have increased killing soldiers and civilians on both sides. This week, 12 people, including three Pakistani soldiers, were killed in alleged Indian cross-border firings. The Indian response came after the Indian Army warned of “heavy retribution” following the killing of three of its soldiers, with the body of one of them mutilated in a cross-LoC attack.Pakistan has denied as “false” and “baseless” its troops were responsible for the mutilation and deaths of Indian soldiers.

Army foils two infiltration bids, pushes back terrorists

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hours after Pakistani Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) called up his Indian counterpart, alert troops forced a group of Pakistan-backed to take a hasty retreat after they tried to sneak-in from two sectors of the Line of Control (LoC) in North Kashmir.“Two infiltration attempts foiled in last 18 hours. Alert troops pushed back intruders in Gulmarg and Nowgam sectors after heavy exchange of fire”, tweeted Northern Command of the Indian army.The first infiltration bid was foiled in Gulmarg sector on Wednesday when alert troops deployed on the LoC noticed suspicious movement. Troops challenged the intruders, who opened heavy volume of fire. Indian army retaliated and the exchange of fire continued for few hours before the terrorists took a retreat back to Pakistan occupied Kashmir.Hours later in the morning, Indian troops noticed the suspicious movement in Nowgam sector of Kupwara district. “There was an attempted infiltration. This was intercepted. It was fired upon. Exchange of fire took place at both the places and they were forced to flee back”, said an army spokesman. The infiltration bids were foiled a day after Indian army launched a punitive fire assault on Pakistani posts in different sectors of Line of Control in a bid to avenge the killing of three soldiers in the Machhal sector on Tuesday.

India has zero conviction on money laundering: US reports

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India may have launched a strike on black money hoarders, criminals counterfeiting high value notes and financiers of terrorist groups with its demonetization move, but weak law enforcement and deficiencies in the system have meant zero conviction rate when it comes to nabbing these frauds, say recent reports by the US State Department.The country report on terrorism (2015) and the 2016 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) released this year have pointed out India’s problem areas in effective legislation for criminal convictions involving anti money laundering (AML) and counter financing of terrorism (CFT).While India has taken steps and widened the definition of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), “deficiencies remain…and the government has not changed its enforcement model”, states the INSCR on ‘Money Laundering and Financial Crime’.The PMLA was introduced in 2002 and was amended in 2012 to align with international laws related to AML/CFT. The country report on terrorism adds that while these amendments were enacted, “the government has yet to implement the legislation effectively, especially with regard to criminal convictions”.Last year, the Ministry of Finance signed an MoU with the US department of Treasury to enhance co-operation against money laundering and terrorism financing. Accordingly, the two countries conducted a joint-dialogue on AML/CFT. Based on the information submitted by Indian authorities to the US as part of this cooperation, the INSCR states, “…the government has not won any court cases involving money laundering or confiscations.”There were 174 prosecution cases filed until May 2015 involving money laundering or confiscations in the judicial courts. During the same period, legal action was taken against properties worth Rs528 crore ($769 million).According to the latest information given by Minister of State for Finance Santosh Kumar Gangwar in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha last week, 283 prosecution complaints have been filed and properties worth Rs18,866 crore have been attached as of October 31, 2016.Black money or dirty money — obtained illegally and not declared to evade taxes — is largely generated by rich businessmen, corporates, real estate developers, politicians, criminals, smugglers, drug dealers, and film stars. These funds are laundered to foreign shores or invested in real estates under fictitious identities but often through legal banking channels.While agencies, like the Enforcement Directorate (ED), track and identify these frauds and file criminal cases in courts, both US reports say that the main reasons why no one faces any harsh punishment or prison term are reluctance by enforcement agencies to conduct deep investigation and proactive analysis of the cases once the seizure is made and a case filed. They “seldom initiate proactive analysis and long-term investigations”.”Money laundering investigations without a predicate offense are rarely successfully prosecuted in the Indian judicial system and even if they are, the resulting punishment is often minimal,” the INSCR report says.Even in the case of hawala operators arrested by the authorities for illicit transactions, the 2015 country report on terrorism adds that the prosecution has primarily focused on “the non-financial businesses that conduct hawala transactions on the side”, as against the main financial businesses.To ensure that enforcement agencies build a strong case for prosecution and prove the charges in the court of law, US authorities have trained more than 300 officials from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on financial investigation, money laundering, foreign exchange contraventions, effective prosecutions, and cyber crimes. But US authorities rue that lack of follow up on investigation leads by their Indian counterparts has resulted in limited success in coordinating action on illicit financial cases.MOU WITH US DEPARTMENT OF TREASURYLast year, the Ministry of Finance signed an MoU with the US department of Treasury to enhance co-operation against money laundering and terrorism financing. Accordingly, the two countries conducted a joint-dialogue on AML/CFT. Based on the information submitted by Indian authorities to the US as part of this cooperation, the International Narcotics Control Strategy Report states, “…the government has not won any court cases involving money laundering or confiscations.” It also said “money laundering investigations without a predicate offense are rarely successfully prosecuted in the Indian judicial system and even if they are, the resulting punishment is often minimal,” the INSCR report says.

UK’s Boris Johnson asks India, Pakistan to find ‘lasting solution’ to Kashmir issue

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Britain on Thursday asked India and Pakistan to find a “lasting” solution to the Kashmir issue amid an escalation in tension, but made it clear that it was not for the UK to “prescribe a solution or act as a mediator”.”The longstanding position of the UK is that is it for India and Pakistan to find a lasting solution to the situation in Kashmir taking into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people,” Johnson told reporters at a joint press conference with Adviser to Pakistan Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz.But, he added, it was not for Britain to “prescribe a solution or act as a mediator” over the “disputed” region.Johnson said “we are concerned about recent incidents on both sides of the Line of Control” and called for a solution, taking into account the aspirations of the Kashmiri people.Tension between India and Pakistan have increased after the attack on an Indian Army base in Uri on September 18 and the resultant “surgical strike” on terrorist launchpads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir by the army 10 days later. Since then, cross-border firings have increased killing soldiers and civilians on both sides.Yesterday, 12 people, including three Pakistani soldiers, were killed in alleged Indian cross-border firings. India’s response came after the Indian Army warned of “heavy retribution” following the killing of three of its soldiers, with the body of one of them mutilated in a cross-LoC attack.Pakistan denied as “false” and “baseless” its troops were responsible for the mutilation and deaths of Indian soldiers.However, Aziz today said Pakistan has briefed the British delegation about increase in tension on the LoC as he stressed the need for dialogue with India “otherwise these issues would become more serious.”Talking about the “incredible” human and economic potential of the region, Johnson said “imagine what the future could be like if this was sorted out.” He said the “mutual sequestration” of the India-Pakistan economies was holding back the region from becoming a “boomzone”.Aziz said Pakistan and the UK have been cooperating under the framework of enhanced strategic dialogue since 2011. “The two sides had already agreed to three new road-maps on trade and investment, culture and education and security,” he said.Johnson said it was important for the UK and Pakistan to work together for security and stability of the entire region. He said there was a “vast potential” to increase the bilateral trade to the mutual benefit of the two countries.Aziz said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has extended an invitation to his British counterpart to visit Pakistan next year.Johnson is on a two-day visit to Pakistan.

Pakistan is well capable of replying to Indian agression: Air force chief

Islamabad: Pakistan is not worried at all about any threat from India and its “battle hardened” military is capable of responding to aggression, air force chief Marshal Sohail Aman said on Wednesday.

“We are not worried about India at all,” the Air Chief said, speaking at the ninth International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS).

Pakistan's Air Force Chief Marshal Sohail Aman. ReutersPakistan's Air Force Chief Marshal Sohail Aman. Reuters

Pakistan’s Air Force Chief Marshal Sohail Aman. Reuters

He said it is better if India showed restraint and solved the Kashmir issue to prevent escalation of tension. “India should show restraint and instead solve the issue of Kashmir as that would be better for them,” he was quoted as saying by the Express Tribune.

Aman said that Pakistan does not want war but cannot ignore this kind of pressure. “We are well capable of responding in the face of any aggression,” he asserted.

He said Pakistan had “readied all of its (battle) plans following threats from India” after the terror attack in Uri sector.

The Air chief asserted that Pakistan, engaged in Operation Zarb-e-Azab, has a “battle hardened military” to respond to threats.

The air chief’s remarks came a day after Pakistan claimed that Indian forces targeted a passenger bus in PoK killing at least nine people and wounding another nine.It also claimed that seven Indian troops were killed in retaliatory fire when India opened fire on the Line of Control (LoC) and killed three Pakistani soldiers.

Indian Army on Thursday launched a counter offensive against Pakistan along the LoC after three Indian soldiers were killed, with body of one of them mutilated in a cross-LoC attack, even as Pakistani troops continued to shell Indian positions, injuring six jawans.

Earlier on Thursday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan will not tolerate “deliberate targeting” of innocent civilians particularly children and women, ambulances and civilian transport.

“Pakistan has exercised maximum restraint despite continuing ceasefire violations from Indian security forces along LoC,” he added.

First Published On : Nov 24, 2016 16:37 IST

Pak reaches out to UN over LoC tension with India, says act before ‘full-fledged crisis’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Alarmed by the escalation of tension with India along the LoC, Pakistan on Thursday asked the UN to act before the situation snowballs into a “full-fledged crisis”.Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN Maleeha Lodhi met the Deputy UN Secretary General Jan Eliasson and the Chef de Cabinet of the Secretary General Edmond Mulet during which she alleged that the situation along the Line of Control (LoC) posed a “grave threat to international peace and security”.Lodhi, according to a statement issued by the Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the UN, in her meeting with UN officials alleged that escalating tensions on the LoC “was a deliberate attempt” by India to “divert the attention of the international community from the gross human right violations being committed” by it in Kashmir.Alleging that the attack on an ambulance trying to evacuate the injured was a particularly “abhorrent act” that was a breach of the most fundamental legal and humanitarian laws, Lodhi urged the UN to act before the escalating tensions snowball into a full-fledged crisis.The UN Department of Peace Keeping Operations was separately asked to mobilise United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) to effectively monitor the LoC and the Working Boundary as a step to help deescalate tensions between India and Pakistan, a statement said.Pakistan Army yesterday said seven persons, including three of its soldiers, were killed in an exchange of fire with Indian troops on the LoC.The clash occurred a day after India warned of retribution after losing three soldiers in Pakistan firing and after Pakistan yesterday rejected as “false” and “baseless” the charges that the body of an Indian soldier was mutilated by Pakistani soldiers in a cross LoC-attack.

NGT asks govt buildings to undergo green audit

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a bid to check the environmental compliance and their impact on pollution and public health , the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday directed that all government establishments including colleges, hospitals, and courts should undergo an environmental audit. The Tribunal’s principal bench, headed by justice Swatanter Kumar, has ordered the union environment, Forest and Climate Change Ministry, and Central Pollution Control Board to issue guidelines in this regard under section 5 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986, article 31 of Air Act and article 33 of the Water Act within two weeks. The environment ministry’s notification will specify the exact scope of the audit. “Being aware of the seriousness of environment problem in Delhi, particularly air pollution, we direct all government buildings, including offices, hospitals, schools, and colleges, to be subjected to minimum environment audit. This will include collection and dispensation of solid waste, indoor air quality system and sewage system,” the four-member bench said. It added, “The purpose is that every government building should take necessary precautions to control pollution so that no hazardous result follows in relation to public health.” The bench clarified that it was not asking for these buildings to be converted into green buildings. It also added that wherever rainwater harvesting is not carried out, it should be done, though, old buildings may be exempted. NGT’s order for an environmental audit of government buildings comes in the wake of several orders it has passed on air pollution. In the past year, it has passed orders to curb pollution from burning of waste and leaves, construction and demolition, and transporting of construction material. After Delhi’s air quality plunged to alarming levels, the NGT had also ordered a temporary prohibition on construction activity in the Capital. In fact, in an order passed on November 10, the NGT put in place an ‘emergency’ response system wherein authorities in the Capital will have to halt construction activities if the PM 10 and PM 2.5 levels cross 431 and 251 respectively.

Control your troops, refrain from ‘nefarious activities’: Indian DGMO to Pakistan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the aftermath of Indian army’s “punitive fire assaults”, DGMOs of India and Pakistan spoke at the latter’s request for an “unscheduled hotline interaction” during which the “unethical” act of mutilation of bodies of Indian soldiers by “terrorists” was raised. “He (Pakistani Director General of Military Operations) was categorically informed that if any ceasefire violations were initiated by Pak troops or any infiltration attempt was made by terrorists from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir or territory under its control, it would invite an appropriate response by Indian army,” a statement issued by the Indian DGMO’s office said.Indian DGMO Lt Gen Ranbir Singh raised the issue of infiltration attempts by terrorists from Pakistan into Jammu and Kashmir and “unethical act of mutilation of the body of Indian soldiers close to the Line of Control by terrorists infiltrating from Pakistan”. Pakistan’s DGMO was exhorted to exercise strict control on their troops to refrain from any “nefarious activities”, it said.”This would lead to return of normalcy along the Line of Control,” the statement headlined “Aftermath of Indian Army’s punitive fire assault: Pak DGMO requests for unscheduled talks on hotline”, added.Pakistan’s DGMO informed about civilian casualties on his side caused by Indian firing at the Line of Control.Lt Gen Singh expressed grief at civilian casualties but “emphatically stated that retaliatory firing by Indian troops has only been carried out targeting locations from where Pakistan has initiated ceasefire violations on Indian Posts”.Lt Gen Singh expressed his concern to Pakistani DGMO about casualties caused to Indian civilians and soldiers due to “unprovoked” Pakistani firing.Pakistan Army had earlier in the day said seven persons, including three of its soldiers, were killed in an exchange of fire with Indian troops at the LoC, taking the death toll in such incidents on their side to 14 since last week.Those killed were identified as Captain Taimoor Ali Khan, Havaldar Mushtaq Hussain and Lance Naik Ghulam Hussain. The development came a day after three Indian soldiers were killed, with body of one of them being mutilated in a cross-LoC attack. Today’s offensive by the Indian army came hours after the it vowed “heavy retribution” to the killing of its soldiers.

200 terrorists active in Jammu and Kashmir, 105 entered this year: Govt in Rajya Sabha

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> There are about 200 terrorists active in Jammu and Kashmir with 105 of them successfully entered during this year, till September, Rajya Sabha was informed on Wednesday. In a written reply, Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Gangaram Ahir said 105 terrorists have infiltrated into the Indian side of the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir during the year 2016 (upto September 2016).”As per available inputs, nearly 200 terrorists are active in the state of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said. Ahir said the government in tandem with the state government have adopted a multi-pronged approach to contain cross-border infiltration which, interalia, include strengthening of border management and multi-tiered deployment along the international border/Line of Control, and near the ever changing infiltration routers, construction/maintenance of border fencing.The Minister said the steps include construction of bunkers and culverts/bridges on nullahs, improved technology, weapons and equipment for security forces, improved intelligence and operations coordination, installation of border floodlight on the International Border and synerzising intelligence flow to check infiltration and proactive action against terrorists within the state. Replying to a separate question, Kiren Rijiju, also Minister of State for Home Affairs, said the government has decided to install a modern anti-infiltration mechanisms on borders for which Rs 10 crore has been allocated for one of the projects.He said sufficient funds are available for other pilot projects for implementation of CIBMS. “In this regard, pilot projects of technological solutions in the form of Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS) have approved for Indo-Pakistan and Indo-Bangladesh borders,” Rijiju said. He said it is basically an integration of manpower, sensor networks, intelligence and command and control solutions and includes inter alia Electro-Optic Sensors (high resolution day and night cameras), Radars and other devices.

Indian Army launches counter-offensive after soldier’s beheading

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Army launched a counter offensive against Pakistan along the LoC on Wednesday, a day after three Indian soldiers were killed, with body of one of them being mutilated in a cross-LoC attack. The offensive comes hours after the Indian Army vowed “heavy retribution” to the attack on its soldiers. The firing is underway at the entire Line of Control including areas at Poonch, Rajouri, Kel and Machil, as per NDTV. Heavy mortars and machine guns are being used by the Indian army for this operation.Brigadier, Northern Command, S Gotra said India Army launched a counter offensive along the LoC in retaliation to yesterday’s offensive in Machhil sector of Kashmir. Indian Army posts are responding strongly and giving a befitting reply, Defence PRO Manish Mehta said. After the gruesome attack, the Pakistani Army in Wednesday morning initiated indiscriminate ceasefire violation on Indian Army posts along the Line of Control (LOC ) in Bhimber Gali, Krishna Ghati and Naoshera sector in Jammu and Kashmir. The firing began around 9.00 am to which the Indian Army posts are responding strongly to the attack. Firing is presently underway. India lodged a strong protest with Pakistan against the killing and mutilation when the foreign office in Islamabad summoned deputy high commissioner JP Singh to condemn ‘unprovoked ceasefire violations’. This was the second such incident in two months of an Indian soldier’s body being mutilated. Since the surgical strikes by India on terrorist launch pads along the Line of Control on September 29, there have been over 280 incidents of firing and shelling in Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistani troops, in which 26 people, including 14 security personnel, have been killed. With agency inputs.

Kashmir attack: India vows ‘retribution’ after soldier killings

The Indian army vows “heavy retribution” against the killing of its three soldiers in the disputed region of Kashmir on Tuesday.

DNA Evening Must Reads: Three Indian soldiers killed, one mutilated by Pak troops, updates on demonetization, and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Kashmir: Army vows ‘retribution’ after three Indian soldiers killed, body of one mutilated on LoCThree Indian soldiers were killed and body of one of them was mutilated by Pakistan troops on the Line of Control in Machhal sector of Kashmir, the army said. Read more here.Demonetization just a ‘beginning’ in fight against black money, says PM Modi in emotional appeal to BJP lawmakersMaking an emotional address to Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) lawmakers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday asserted that the demonetization of high value currency is just a beginning of his government’s deep and continuous struggle against black money. Read more here.BJP wins in MP, TMC in West Bengal, AIADMK sweeps TN & CPM wins in TripuraThe BJP on Tuesday retained Shahdol Lok Sabha and Nepanagar Assembly seats in the by-elections in Madhya Pradesh, defeating the Congress which had brought to the campaign the demonetization issue alongwith local themes against the ruling party. Read more here.Don’t need ‘Daddy’, small children can answer their questions: Babul Supriyo on PM Modi’s absenceOpposition parties on Tuesday joined hands to stall proceedings in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha demanding Rs 10 lakh compensation to the kin of each of the 70 persons who lost their lives post demonetization and the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the debate on the issue. Follow live updates here. Legendary Carnatic musician and Padma Vibushan awardee Dr M Balamuralikrishna passes awayMusic legend Dr Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna passed away in his residence in Chennai on Tuesday. Read more here.Virat Kohli shoots up to career-high 4th in ICC Test Player RankingsIndia captain Virat Kohli reached a career-high fourth position in the ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen after producing a man of the match performance in the second Test against England which India won by 246 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series. Read more here.

Kashmir: Three Indian soldiers killed in Machhal, one jawan mutilated along LoC

Three Indian soldiers were killed “in action” along the Line of Control (LoC) in Machhal, Jammu and Kashmir, while the body of one soldier was mutilated, the Indian Army said on Tuesday.

The Northern Command also vowed “heavy retribution for the cowardly act”.

“Three soldiers killed in action on LC in Machhal. Body of one soldier mutilated, retribution will be heavy for this cowardly act,” the Northern Command said.

This is the second such incident of mutilation of an Indian soldier by Pakistan in a month’s time.

The last time the body of an Indian soldier mutilated was in October, when terrorists aided by the cover fire by Pakistani Army, crossed the Line of Control and killed an Indian Army jawan and mutilated his body in Macchal sector of Kupwara district of Kashmir on 28 October.

One attacker was killed in the incident.

A day after the Indian soldier’s body was mutilated by terrorists, who escaped back into Pakistani side under covering fire from Pakistani troops, the Indian army hit back, destroying four Pakistani posts and inflicting “heavy casualties”.

The posts were destroyed in a massive fire assault in Keran sector of Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara, said the army’s Northern Command.

This is not the first time Pakistan has mutilated the bodies of Indian soldiers.

During the Kargil war in 1999, Captain Saurabh Kalia, Sepoys Arjunram Baswana, Mula Ram Bidiasar, Naresh Singh Sinsinwar, Bhanwar Lal Bagaria and Bhika Ram Mudh of four Jat Regiment were captured by Pakistani troops and brutally tortured.

The soldiers had their ear drums pierced with hot iron rods, eyes punctured and genitals cut off. The autopsy of the bodies also revealed that they were burned with cigarettes butts. Their limbs were also chopped off, teeth broken and skull fractured during the torture. Even their nose and lips were sliced off.

In another incident, on 8 January, 2013, Pakistani soldiers entered Indian territory in Krishna Ghati sector of the border and killed two Indian soldiers — Lance Naik Hemraj and Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh. Indian officials said both the bodies were mutilated, and Hemraj’s body was decapitated.

With inputs from agencies

First Published On : Nov 22, 2016 17:02 IST

Another BSF soldier killed on LoC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan army killed another Border Security Force (BSF) peronnel and injured three others when they resorted to heavy firing and shelling in three sectors along the Line of Control (LoC) in Rajouri and Poonch districts of the Pirpanjal valley in Jammu division on Sunday night.Fifteen soldiers have been killed by Pakistan army and Rangers on the LoC and International Border (IB) since Indian Army carried out surgical strikes on the terror launch pads in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir on September 29.Around 12 civilians have also been killed and more than 50 others injured in Pakistani firing and shelling on the civilian areas along the twin borders across the restive Jammu and Kashmir.Pakistan army resorted to heavy firing and shelling in Rajouri sector on Sunday night using high calibre weapons, including 120 mm mortars. One of the shell landed near the Forward Defence Location (FDL) of the BSF injuring four soldiers. Head Constable Rai Singh later succumbed to his wounds.“Last night in ceasefire violation from Pakistan in Rajouri area of LoC, four BSF men were injured in shelling. Head Ct Rai Singh attained martyrdom,” tweeted BSF. Indian Army responded quickly to silence the Pakistani guns which were using heavy calibre weapons to target the Indian forward posts. “Heavy Pakistani firing in the Rajöuri Sector. Four soldiers were injured. Being responded and will be responded to appropriately”, tweeted Northern Command headquarters. On Monday morning Pakistan army shifted the gears and opened another front in Krishna Ghati and Naushera sectors of the twin districts. “Pakistan army initiatied cease fire violation from 8.30 am today morning on Indian army posts along the LoC in Krishna Ghati sector. The Indian army posts responded strongly,” said Lieutenant Colonel Manish Mehta, Defence Spokesman at Jammu.

Why can’t you shift tanneries outside Kanpur, NGT asks UP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday pulled up the Uttar Pradesh government for their lax attitude towards the health and environment hazards posed by the tannery hub at Jajmau, Kanpur, that grossly pollutes river Ganga. The tannery hub in Kanpur is perhaps the biggest in the country and accounts for nearly 40 per cent of the country’s leather exports. The NGT pulled up the authorities after they informed the bench that it will be difficult to shift the tanneries outside Kanpur, even as the industrial cluster discharges high amounts of carcinogenic chromium into the environment. The NGT’s principal bench is currently hearing a matter on industrial pollution in river Ganga, especially the highly polluted stretch between Haridwar and Kanpur. “Why can the industrial cluster not be shifted out of Kanpur? Should the industrial cluster take precedence over the fundamental right to environment and health?,”said NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar. The counsel for industries informed NGT that there are a total of 400 tanneries in Kanpur of which 211 units use chromium for tanning while 189 use vegetable tanning. Of the 211, 141 units have their own chromium recovery systems while 61 discharge their chromium into the common effluent treatment plant. Upon hearing that high concentration of chromium is discharged in spite of chromium recovery plants, the bench questioned both UP government and the industry counsel, “How is the chromium level high at discharge points. Either you are not operating chromium recovery plants or the units are not sending it to the CETP,” the bench said. The bench was informed that while mixing of sewage with wastewater from tanneries is one issue, the sub-optimal functioning of chromium recovery and treatment was another reason for high concentration of chromium. Chromium is used as a tanning agent to harden animal hides. It is carcinogenic and even as tanneries have their own chromium recovery or recycling systems, it is discharged into Ganga everyday. According to the Central Pollution Control Board, 9 million litres per day of industrial effluent is discharged into Ganga at Kanpur from the tanneries.

Pakistan gives dossier to UNMOGIP on India’s alleged ceasefire violations

Islamabad: Pakistan has said it handed over a dossier to the UN military observer group on alleged ceasefire violations by India along the Line of Control (LoC).

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Representatives of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) on Sunday met Pakistani officials at the General Headquarters Rawalpindi, where they were handed over a dossier on repeated “violations of the ceasefire agreement” by India, Pakistan Foreign Office said.

The detailed dossier was given to UNMOGIP representatives in view of the death of four people, including three children, in firing by Indian forces in Khuiratta Sector of the LoC, Foreign Office Spokesman Nafees Zakaria said on twitter.

Pakistan has asked the UNMOGIP to investigate the incident, he said.

Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN Maleeha Lodhi had earlier also reportedly written to the UNSC President and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon alleging that Indian troops in Kashmir had launched artillery barrages.

India has maintained that UNMOGIP has outlived its utility and is irrelevant after the Simla Agreement and the consequent establishment of the Line of Control (LoC). India has always stated that it has “no role to play whatsoever”.

First Published On : Nov 21, 2016 12:59 IST

Pakistan’s ceasefire violation in Rajouri, Kashmir injures four army men

Jammu: Four army jawans were injured as Pakistani army resorted to heavy cross-border firing in Rajouri sector of Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday night, in third ceasefire violation since Saturday.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

“Pakistani army resorted to heavy cross-border firing in the Rajouri sector, in which four of our soldiers have been injured,” an army officer said.

He said the army was giving befitting response to the Pakistani fire and the exchange of fire was going on till last reports came in.

Sunday’s violation of the ceasefire came a day after a BSF jawan and a woman were injured and two houses damaged when Pakistani troops targeted Indian posts and civilian areas along the Line of Control (LoC) in Nowshera and Sunderbani sectors of Rajouri with mortar attacks and small arms fire.

On Saturday morning, Pakistani army resorted to violation of the ceasefire in the Nowshera sector and in the afternoon, they started firing in the Sunderbani sector targeting Indian posts and civilian areas.

On Thursday, Pakistani army had targeted Indian posts and civilian villages along the LoC in the Pallanwala sector of Jammu district.

Pakistani troops on Tuesday targeted Indian posts with heavy firing and shelling for four hours along the LoC in Rajouri in Jammu and Kashmir, forcing Indian troops to retaliate.

There have been a whopping 286 incidents of firing and shelling along the LoC and the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistani troops that have resulted in the death of 26 people, including 14 security personnel, since the surgical strike on terrorist launch pads in PoK on 29 September.

First Published On : Nov 21, 2016 07:52 IST

Jammu and Kashmir: 1 jawan killed, 3 injured as Pak violates ceasefire in Rajouri

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>One army jawan was killed and three others were injured as Pakistani army resorted to heavy cross-border firing in Rajouri sector of Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday night, in third ceasefire violation since Saturday.”Pakistani army resorted to heavy cross-border firing in the Rajouri sector, in which four of our soldiers have been injured,” an army officer said.He said the army was giving befitting response to the Pakistani fire and the exchange of fire was going on till last reports came in.Today’s violation of the ceasefire came a day after a BSF jawan and a woman were injured and two houses damaged when Pakistani troops targeted Indian posts and civilian areas along the Line of Control (LoC) in Nowshera and Sunderbani sectors of Rajouri with mortar attacks and small arms fire.on Saturday morning, Pakistani army resorted to violation of the ceasefire in the Nowshera sector and in the afternoon, they started firing in the Sunderbani sector targeting Indian posts and civilian areas.On Thursday, Pakistani army had targeted Indian posts and civilian villages along the LoC in the Pallanwala sector of Jammu district.Pakistani troops on Tuesday targeted Indian posts with heavy firing and shelling for four hours along the LoC in Rajouri in Jammu and Kashmir, forcing Indian troops to retaliate.There have been a whopping 286 incidents of firing and shelling along the LoC and the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistani troops that have resulted in the death of 26 people, including 14 security personnel, since the surgical strike on terrorist launch pads in PoK on September 29.

J&K: Cross-border firing in Rajouri injures four army men

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Four army jawans were injured as Pakistani army resorted to heavy cross-border firing in Rajouri sector of Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday night, in third ceasefire violation since Saturday. “Pakistani army resorted to heavy cross-border firing in the Rajouri sector, in which four of our soldiers have been injured,” an army officer said.He said the army was giving befitting response to the Pakistani fire and the exchange of fire was going on till last reports came in. Sunday’s violation of the ceasefire came a day after a BSF jawan and a woman were injured and two houses damaged when Pakistani troops targeted Indian posts and civilian areas along the Line of Control (LoC) in Nowshera and Sunderbani sectors of Rajouri with mortar attacks and small arms fire.On Saturday morning, Pakistani army resorted to violation of the ceasefire in the Nowshera sector and in the afternoon, they started firing in the Sunderbani sector targeting Indian posts and civilian areas. On Thursday, Pakistani army had targeted Indian posts and civilian villages along the LoC in the Pallanwala sector of Jammu district.
ALSO READ Pakistan shells LoC areas in Rajouri, woman injuredPakistani troops on Tuesday targeted Indian posts with heavy firing and shelling for four hours along the LoC in Rajouri in Jammu and Kashmir, forcing Indian troops to retaliate. There have been a whopping 286 incidents of firing and shelling along the LoC and the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistani troops that have resulted in the death of 26 people, including 14 security personnel, since the surgical strike on terrorist launch pads in PoK on September 29.

Demonetization | Opposition climbing same tree like rats to escape flood: Amit Shah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP chief Amit Shah on Sunday launched a shrill attack on opposition parties, saying they were climbing “the same tree like rats, cats and snakes” to escape the demonetization “flood” and appealed to people to give 15 years to Prime Minister Narendra Modi “from panchayat to parliament” to change the country.Addressing BJP’s booth workers in Chandigarh, Shah especially targeted Rahul Gandhi for opposing demonetization, saying he is not surprised by the reaction of the Congress Vice President as his party’s rule during UPA I and II was “synonymous with scams”. The scourge of black money in the country had become a cancer which needed a surgery, Shah said on demonetization, adding “after the operation, one has to tolerate some pain, but rest of the life will be healthy.”Tearing into the opposition, the BJP chief said the parties who were questioning the government as to what steps it had taken against black money, were “crying hoarse” after the November 8 demonetization decision. Despite having differences, they were putting up a united front to oppose the decision taken by the Narendra Modi dispensation, he said. “And look what the situation has become like. It is like when floods occur and a big tree is there in the middle and everyone wants to climb that tree to save themselves from the raging waters. Rats, cats, snakes, mongoose all climb that tree. But when all climb the tree, neither cat eats the rat nor is he scared of the animal. The mongoose does not attack the snake…all keep staring at the raging waters down below waiting for the floods to recede”.
ALSO READ Rahul ‘baba’ wearing Italian glasses, can’t see India develop, says Amit Shah”After demonetization was done by Modiji, Congress, Samajwadi Party, BSP, (Arvind) Kejriwal (AAP), Mamata (Banerjee), all of them have climbed that tree. Down below demonetization flood is passing and all are scared. I want to tell them that people of this country have understood your game, you have exposed yourself,” he said during his 30-minute address.The BJP President appealed to the people of Chandigarh to vote for BJP in the next month’s civic polls. “I want to appeal to people of Chandigarh that we need to give 15 years to Narendra Modi, from Panchayat to Parliament, then this country can change…,” Shah said.Earlier, Congress workers holding black flags staged protest against Shah. Their attempt to take out a procession from Sector 19 to Sector 27 – venue of the BJP meeting – was foiled by the Chandigarh police.Taking a dig at Rahul Gandhi, Shah said, “Rahul Baba asks a lot of questions and wants to know answers of several things from Prime Minister Modi. “PM Modi will answer you later, but today I am in Chandigarh, I will answer you first. First thing, which we (BJP) did is to have a Prime Minister who speaks. You had made such a person as Prime Minister whose voice was heard only by you (Rahul) and your mother (Sonia Gandhi) and not by anyone else. The country’s economy had suffered due to cancer (of black money). Its surgery has been done by Narendra Modi. And in coming times, the poor and the middle class will reap benefits (of demonetization decision). Because black money had become a scourge which was destroying our economy we have got rid of it in one go. And Rahul Baba is opposing this. I am not surprised at Rahul Baba’s reaction, but I spare a thought about his advisors, at least they are experienced,” Shah said.He said it appears that the opposition “too has lost something” as now they are crying hoarse saying why demonetization has been done. “I want to tell you one thing, because of this one step, terror groups, drug mafia, naxal groups are not left with a single penny. The fake currency which used to be pushed from Pakistan, that has stopped. And lakhs of crores of ruppes in black money which some people had hid, that is finished now with a single stroke,” he said.Shah said the BJP has given a clean and transparent government in the two-and-a-half years of its tenure on us. “We have run a transparent government. No one has been able to point fingers at us,” he said and attacked the previous Congress led regime on corruption issue.”What did you do during your time. You are seeking answers from us, but Rahul Baba you need to answer first, what you did during UPA-I and UPA-II. For ten years, your rule was synonymous with scams. During previous Congress rule, scams worth Rs 12 lakh crore took place–from land scams, submarine, railway scam, coal scam..you did not leave anything. And Rahul asks what have we done,” he said, adding mockingly that the Congress leader cannot see what this government has done because he was wearing “Italian spectacles”.Shah spoke on the issue of surgical strike on terror launch pads across the Line of Control, stressing that it “showed strong political will of the present dispensation”.

Indian army’s toll double as compared to ours: Pakistan army commander

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A top Pakistani military commander claimed on Saturday that Indian army’s casualties were double as compared to Pakistan in the ongoing clashes at the Line of Control. “Only 20 of our soldiers were killed while they lost more than 40 soldiers,” Commander of 10 Corps Lt-Gen Malik Zafar Iqbal told a selected gathering of parliamentarians and journalists in Gilgit yesterday. Lt Gen Iqbal was on a visit to the strategic Gilgit-Baltistan region in the north wherein he addressed a gathering of civil and military officials, the Express Tribune reported. Iqbal claimed that rising army casualties were making the cost of ceasefire violations unbearable for the adversary. “If they violate the ceasefire during the day, we manage to settle the score before evening, but if it the violation occurs during night, we respond in kind before dawn,” he said.His remarks came days after Army chief Gen Raheel Sharif claimed that Indian army suffered at least 40 causalities in the recent border clashes. He also accused that Indian army was hiding its losses due to fear of public backlash. Earlier, the Corps commander visited the Khunjerab Top the entry point of the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor where he inaugurated an ATM machine. He claimed that India had set up a special section within its intelligence apparatus for obstructing the CPEC. “But we are ready to foil the enemy’s nefarious designs,” he added.

Tanneries in Unnao violating pollution norms, UP tells green tribunal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Industrial effluents, containing high concentration of chromium, from tanneries in Unnao is polluting the Ganga, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) informed the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday. The NGT’s principal bench is currently hearing the case regarding industrial pollution in the Ganga on a daily basis.The five-member bench, headed by justice Swatanter Kumar, was examining the deficiencies in the functioning of effluent treatment plants, especially those in tannery clusters. The counsel for UPPCB informed the bench that there are 400 tanneries in Kanpur that discharged their effluents into the Jajmau drain, one of the most polluted drains along the Ganga. When the bench asked the counsel for tanning industries about the functioning of the Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP), he replied that it is largely functioning well.However, UPPCB informed the bench that a joint inspection of the CETP done with the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, had revealed that the effluents discharged contained pollutants above permissible limits. “Learned counsel for UPPCB said that special committee that included IIT-Kanpur and CPCB analyzed trade effluents from CETP’s (in Unnao). They violated BOD, COD, total chromium and TDS norms. Both CETP’s are not performing to desirable levels, and are a major source of passing pollutants into drains,” the bench said.BOD (biochemical oxygen demand) levels indicated the health of water. Lower levels are indications of a healthy water body while higher levels indicate that the water body is polluted.

Pakistan Army resorts to firing along LoC in Pallanwala sector, India retaliates

Jammu: Pakistani troops resorted to firing along the Line of Control (LOC) in the Pallanwala sector of the Jammu district, on Thursday evening prompting the army to give a “befitting response”.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

“Pakistan army resorted to unprovoked ceasefire violation in the Pallanwala sector at 1915 hours today, using automatic weapons and mortars.

“The same is being responded to befittingly by own troops”, a defence spokesman said.

Pakistani troops on Tuesday had targeted Indian posts with heavy firing and shelling for four hours along the LoC
in Rajouri in Jammu and Kashmir, forcing Indian troops to retaliate.

On Monday, Pakistani troops resorted to shelling and firing on Indian posts in four sectors along the LoC in
Pallanwala sector of Jammu, Sunderbani and Naushera sectors of Rajouri and Khadi sector of Poonch district, in which two persons including a jawan were injured.

Pakistan on Monday said seven of its soldiers were killed in firing by Indian troops across the LoC.

The 2003 India-Pakistan ceasefire agreement has virtually become redundant with a whopping 286 incidents of firing and shelling along LoC and IB in Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistani troops that resulted in death of 26 people, including 14 security personnel, since the surgical strike on terrorist launch pads in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

First Published On : Nov 17, 2016 22:34 IST

DNA Evening Must Reads: Latest uproar over demonetization, India issues demarche to Pakistan; and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Demonetization move will not be rolled back, some CMs are spreading panic: FM JaitleyLok Sabha and Rajya Sabha witnessed a huge uproar on the issue of demonetization. Follow live updates here. 2. Azad compares alleged death due to demonetization to those who died in Uri, govt dubs comment ‘anti-national’Heated exchanges broke out between treasury and opposition benches when Leader of Opposition and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad’s said that more people died due to government’s decision on demonetization than those killed in Pakistani terrorist firing in Uri. Read more here.3. India issues demarche to Pakistan over continued ceasefire violationsThe Ministry of External Affairs called in a senior official of the Pakistan High Commission on Wednesday and issued a demarche on the continued violation of ceasefire along the Line of Control. Read more here.4. Wanted to curl up and never leave the house, says Clinton in post-election speech”We have work to do, and for the sake of our children and our families and our country, I ask you to stay engaged, stay engaged on every level,” said Hillary Clinton in her first public appearance after being defeated by Donald Trump in the high-voltage race for the White House. Read more here.5. Mallika Sherawat tear gassed and beaten up by masked thugs inside her Paris flatThe attack has happened just about a month after a similar incident happened with Kim Kardashian, who was robbed at gunpoint in a neighbouring flat. Read more here.

India issues demarche to Pakistan over continued ceasefire violations

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India has issued a demarche to Pakistan on continued violation of ceasefire along the LoC and strongly condemned increased concentration of terrorists observed across the border in the vicinity of Pakistani forward posts.The Ministry of External Affairs called in a senior official of the Pakistan High Commission on Wednesday and made a demarche on the continued violation of ceasefire along the Line of Control, the ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said on Thursday.This is the third such demarche this month. “We conveyed that despite calls for restraint, Pakistan forces have committed twelve ceasefire violations between 9 and 15 November, 2016 during which Pakistan Army deliberately resorted to calibre escalation by employing artillery and 120 millimetre heavy mortars against Indian posts. “These violent acts constitute a clear violation of the Ceasefire Agreement of 2003,” Sawrup said. A counsellor rank officer from the Pakistan High Commission was called in.
ALSO READ Ceasefire violation: Jawan dies, 4 others injured in Pakistan shelling in NowsheraIndia has also conveyed its strong condemnation of the “increase in concentration of terrorists observed across the Line of Control in the vicinity of Pakistani forward posts. During the last week alone, there have been 18 instances when terrorists attempted to infiltrate into the Indian side from the vicinity of Pakistani posts and also targeted Indian posts and patrols,” the spokesperson said.Government has also protested the “deliberate” targeting by the Pakistan Army of 14 villages along the LoC during nine to 15 November, 2016 which has resulted in four fatal and 25 non-fatal casualties, besides extensive damage to public and private property and displacement of civilian population, he said.
ALSO READ J&K: 9 civilians, including 2 children, killed in ceasefire violation by PakistanIndia also reiterated the concerns of the government about the safety and well-being of Sepoy Chandu Babulal Chavan, who inadvertently crossed the LoC over six weeks back, and sought his early and safe repatriation.

Indian Army rejects Pakistan’s claim of killing 11 soldiers along LoC

New Delhi: Indian Army on Thursday denied Pakistan’s claim of killing its soldiers after Pakistani Army Chief Raheel Sharif said 11 Indian soldiers were killed in cross border firing on 14 November.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

“No fatal casualties due to Pak firing on 14, 15 or 16 Nov. Pak Army Chief claim of killing Indian soldiers on 14 Nov false,” Northern Command of Indian Army said in a tweet.

According to a report in Dawn newspaper, General Sharif on Wednesday said 11 Indian soldiers were killed on 14 November after Pakistan Army “responded to unprovoked firing”.

On 14 November, Pakistan had said seven of its soldiers were killed in firing by Indian troops along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.

Also on the same day, one terrorist was killed by Indian soldiers while attempting infiltration amid Pakistan Army’s shelling and firing at one of three Indian positions on the LoC in Rajouri and Jammu districts.

First Published On : Nov 17, 2016 10:18 IST

DNA Morning Must Reads: SBI’s loan write-off, quake in Delhi & more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Write-off: Will SBI’s play on words help recover loans?At a recent internal meeting of the SBI, it was decided to drop the term “write-off” and instead use the phrase Advance Under Collection Account (AUCA) for all toxic loans pending with industrial houses. But the question here is whether the mere changing of the term will amount to the recovery of the hefty outstanding loans owed to the bank. Read more4.4 magnitude earthquake hits Delhi, Haryana; no loss of life, property reportedA medium intensity earthquake measuring 4.4 on the Richter scale shook the national capital and neighbouring Haryana in the wee hours of Thursday. According to the National Center for Seismology, a unit of Ministry of Earth Sciences, the mild tremor hit Delhi at around 4.30 am and was epicentred near Delhi-Haryana border. Read details DNA Exclusive: CBI probes Mauritius co’s MCX exitThe Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has initiated a probe into Multi Commodity Exchange’s IPO held in 2012 that provided an exit to one of the foreign investors — Alexandra Mauritius Ltd — without the requisite approval by Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). Read full storyWill TCS move to oust Cyrus Mistry from its board today?As the Tata-Mistry battle rages on, two key board meetings will be held on Thursday, including one to seek removal of the ousted group chairman from the board of crown-jewel Tata Consultancy Services. Read more Indian Army rejects Pakistan claim of killing 11 Indian soldiers at LoCIndian Army on Thursday rejected Pakistan Army Chief General Raheel Sharif’s claim of killing at least 11 Indian soldiers at Line of Control (LoC). On Wednesday, Sharif had claimed that his troops killed at least 11 Indian jawans the day seven Pakistani soldiers were killed in firing by Indian troops across the Line of Control (LoC). Read more

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