<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Terming the opposition to SC ruling on the SARFAESI Act with respect to Jammu and Kashmir as “completely misplaced”, state Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu on Saturday said the apex court has only reaffirmed that the state laws prevail.”I think we will have a lot of occasion to discuss this in the Assembly, but I think it (opposition to the SC ruling) is completely misplaced… the Opposition has been doing this for very very long.”While speaking at a Jammu and Kashmir Bank event here, Drabu told reporters that “there is nothing in the Act (to be opposed). In fact, it reaffirms quite a few things, one of which is that the Transfer of Property Act actually prevails over SARFAESI (the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act)”.According to him, banks cannot sell any immovable mortgaged property to non-state subjects.”In the event of a bank taking recourse to property, they cannot sell it to a non-state subject and in the last budget, I had already made a provision for an asset recovery company with the J-K Bank which can buy these impaired assets,” he said.”So, I think the Opposition is completely clueless in what they are saying and bears no relation to what the Act has and it is not today, this has been going on since 2003,” he claimed.Referring to his stint in the bank as its chairman, he recalled making some pertinent proposals.”But I think what eventually has happened is we have got clarity on it that the Transfer of Property Act of J-K will actually prevail over this (SARFAESI) and you cannot sell any immovable mortgage property to non-state subjects.” It can be a huge business opportunity for J-K bank, he felt.Asked if the state would bring any other law on the issue, he said the law department will have to discuss the same.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Three persons were injured on Friday in security forces’ action against a group of stone-pelting protesters in Pampore area of south Kashmir Pulwama district.Security forces conducted search operations in Naristan and Samboora areas of the district in the morning following information about movement of suspicious persons there, a police official said.As the security forces were withdrawing after concluding the operations, some youth started pelting stones at them, he said.Three persons were injured as security personnel fired a few rounds to disperse the mob, the official said adding the injured have been admitted to a hospital here for treatment.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Pakistan Foreign Office (FO) has said that Indian cannot abolish the Indus Waters Treaty, 1960, (IWT) unilaterally.Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria told media on Thursday, “Pakistan was closely monitoring the situation and would duly respond when any such situation arose. However, Pakistan was actively pursuing the issue at all appropriate fora, asking for neutral arbitration of the issue.”The News further quoted him, as saying, “We will assess India’s activities within the framework of the Indus Waters Treaty. The Indus Basin Treaty cannot be altered or suspended unilaterally. No country can abrogate the treaty.”He pointed out, “There is an arbitration mechanism to resolve the dispute regarding implementation of the treaty. We resolved many IWT disputes amicably in the past.”He also made a mention of the Kashmir issue, and said that “Pakistan wants to amicably resolve all the outstanding issues, including Kashmir, with India.”
New Delhi: Pakistan-sponsored terrorism and the Islamic State trying to weave its terror network in India kept the National Investigation Agency (NIA) busy throughout 2016.
The year began with one of the most audacious terror attacks on India when four Pakistani terrorists stormed the India Air Force (IAF) base in Pathankot on 2 January and killed seven soldiers.
The NIA, formed in the aftermath of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, quickly sprang into action and traced links of the attack to Pakistan, blaming Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar for masterminding the strike that brought the improving New Delhi-Islamabad ties back to square-one.
Within months, the anti-terror probe agency filed a detailed charge sheet nailing Azhar and three of his accomplices for their detailed and meticulous planning of the attack.
But the agency drew flak when the government allowed a Joint Investigation Team (JIT), which included an ISI officer, from Pakistan to visit the sensitive Pathankot military base to probe the incident.
Days after it took over the Pathankot probe, the NIA laid its hands on evidence of the Islamic State trying to expand its presence in India by radicalising youth as potential terrorists.
On 22 and 23 January, over two dozen raids were conducted across the country. Eighteen Islamic State suspects were arrested. Nine more, including a foreigner, were later held in separate raids in Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
The agency filed a charge sheet in June alleging that Islamic State sympathisers were seeking to establish an Islamist caliphate in India — Junoodul-Khilafa-Fil-Hind — and recruit Muslim youth to terrorism at the behest of Syria-based Shafi Armar alias Yusuf-Al-Hindi.
According to the NIA, Armar, a resident of Karnataka’s Bhatkal district and a senior Islamic State leader managing India recruitment, was in touch with the accused through social media networks.
He trained them how to prepare IEDs, identify training venues and provide logistics support for terror strikes.
However, the agency found itself in the midst of a controversy for going soft on alleged right-wing Hindu terror. On 13 May, it submitted the second and final report in the 29 September 2008, Malegaon bomb blast that killed six persons. The bombing was earlier blamed on the Abhinav Bharat group led by Sadhvi Pragya Thakur and Lt. Col. Srikant Purohit.
The Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad, which was earlier probing the bombing, had filed charges against the two main accused in the attack. The NIA took over the case in 2011. And its chargesheet this year gave a clean chit to Thakur and watered down the case against Purohit.
The agency got one of its major successes when a Bengaluru court convicted 13 Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists in a 2012 conspiracy to kill prominent leaders, journalists and police officers in Karnataka and Maharashtra.
Another success came when a special court awarded the death sentence to five Indian Mujahideen operatives for their role in the 21 February 21 2013, Dilsukhnagar, Hyderabad, twin-blast case that claimed 18 lives.
In all, the NIA registered 33 cases in 2016. Twelve of them were related to Islamic State sympathisers, three against JeM, two of regarding counterfeit currency notes, two of Maoists and two more on terror incidents in northeastern India.
The agency also registered a case against controversial preacher and Islamic Research Foundation founder Zakir Naik on charges of misusing donations to radicalise youth.
The year also witnessed an unprecedented second extension given to NIA chief Sharad Kumar, making him the first Director General of the agency to be re-employed twice after his superannuation in 2015.
First Published On : Dec 29, 2016 09:21 IST
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Vice President Hamid Ansari on Wednesday emphasised that there is a “crying need” to address ‘human security and human wrong’ in the region to ensure that perception and capacity can be developed for correctives. Ansari was in the city to release the book, ‘August Voices: What they said on 14-15 August 1947’ authored by Sudheendra Kulkarni, who heads Observer Research Foundation (ORF) Ansari also spoke of better respect of rights and dignity of citizens in Jammu and Kashmir and encouraging movement of people and trade including that of films for better relations in the region even as SAARC was failing. The function was held at the Fort Campus of Mumbai University after the venue was shifted from Anjuman-e-Islam in CST due to security reasons. It was attended by Vinod Tawde, education minister, Subhash Deshmukh, vice chancellor of Mumbai Univeristy, Dr. Zahir Kazi, president of Anjuman-E-Islam among others. The book pitches for rapproachment of India-Pakistan, and in Kulkarni’s words looks to “end the poisonous two-nation theory into three peace promoting nations” and bring “reconciliation and reunion” among them. For it, the book has speeches of eight eminent personalities from the freedom struggle and what they said. This, Kulkarni said, can be core for better relations and bigger union of the entirety of South Asia. “The thought did persist with some decision-makers that the impending happening was somewhat unreal, not altogether desirable, and hopefully transitory. The latter aspect, however, was not investigated or spelt out… The theme of the book before us is to project a scenario of the possibility of South Asian Union with the India-Pakistan-Bangladesh confederation at the core,” said Ansari. Backing solutions to ease relations between people that Kulkarni advocates, Ansari said, “Our author seeks a solution of plunging headlong into the core differences. He suggests a ‘cultural and spiritual confederation’ that would subdue and overcome extremist perceptions.” Such solutions, said Ansari come from common actions that are easier in times of convergence by moving beyond the “traditional paradigm of conventional security into those of human security and human wrong.”Ansari advocated this by better human security, movement of people, and trade without reasonable restrictions, and “conscious promotion” rather than “studied prevention of cultural exchanges, films and other cultural activities”. “The experience of SAARC has not been encouraging and therefore alternate strategies need to be explored. The proposed new structure would have to be voluntary and devoid of overt or covert coercion… Political commitment and modalities have to surface to resolve outstanding areas of disagreement. Foremost amongst these is what the Simla Agreement of 1972 called ‘a final settlement of Jammu and Kashmir’. Its domestic dimensions as well as trans-LOC incursions have been in the news of late. The state is doing all that is necessary to confront and repel terrorism. The state also has a duty to ensure that rights and dignity of our citizens in the state are respected and ensured and shortcomings effectively addressed.”
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jammu and Kashmir government will be updating data base of those affected by violence over last three decades to ensure their rehabilitation, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said today, asserting her dispensation’s “moral responsibility” to reach out to every victim of violence, irrespective of its source.Mehbooba stated this here, days after her government cleared ex-gratia for kin of 17 people, including brother of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, killed in militancy- related incidents.”We heve asked for updating the data base of people affected by the violence of past almost three decades in the state so that some concrete steps for their complete integration into the social set-up are facilitated,” she said.She pitched for proper rehabilitation, social integration of violence victims in J&K and said special programmes should be thought of for the rehabilitation and integration of these poor victims into the social mainstream of the state.Chairing the 7th Governing Council meeting of J&K Rehabilitation Council here, the Chief Minister said concrete interventions are needed for the proper and complete rehabilitation of women and children, particularly in education, health and psychological spheres. Mehbooba said the government has the moral responsibility of reaching out to every single victim of violence in the state, no matter the source of it.She asked the officers to factor in the needs and requirements of these victims while framing policies and schemes for the general public. The meeting decided to further finetune the number of widows, orphans and parents of killed persons in the state so that an actual and updated number of such victims is available for their rehabilitation.It also decided that the Action plan for the Council would henceforth be finalised in March every year so that the assistance could be disbursed from April onwards.The meeting also decided to enhance the one-time marriage assistance to young widows and grown-up daughters to Rs 40,000 per case. The meeting also asked the Council to pursue the various funding patterns available in the central government for the benefit of victims of violence in the State.
Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir High Court has ordered release of senior hardline Hurriyat Conference leader Masrat Alam Bhat, who has been in preventive custody under the Public Safety Act since April 2015.
Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar, while allowing Masarat’s plea challenging the latest of the detention orders under Public Safety Act, held his detention illegal on several grounds.
“By issuance of writ of certiorari, order of detention bearing No. 85/DMB/PSA/2016 dated 1.9.2016, passed by the (deputy commissioner Baramulla) is quashed with a further direction to the (government) to release Alam forthwith from preventive custody,” the court said in its order on Wednesday.
Bhat has been booked under PSA several times since April 2015 and the latest order in the series was issued by District Magistrate Baramulla. According to the order, Masarat was accused of making the ongoing agitation “successful” while in custody of the state authorities.
The order was passed on the basis of Masarat’s meeting on 11 August this year with four persons who visited him at District Jail, Baramulla. The persons had requested authorities to allow them meet one Assadullah Parray, who is allegedly affiliated with Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Geelani.
The authorities claimed that instead of meeting Parray, they met Masarat, who allegedly advised them to activate the workers for a more visible and prominent role in the turmoil. A case was registered against Masarat at police station Baramulla on 30 August, two days before the detention order under PSA against Alam was passed by the deputy commissioner.
“Even otherwise, record would show statements of four police personnel, who were posted at Sub Jail Baramulla, have been recorded.Their statements would show that Assadullah Parray was lodged in Barrack No.7, whereas (Masarst) was lodged in Barrac No.8.
“The allegation in the FIR and statements of all these police personnel would, prima facie, show that all the police authorities, posted at Sub Jail Baramulla, have failed to discharge their duties in accordance with law because it was within the competence and authority of these police personnel to ensure that the visitors would meet Parray, for meeting with whom they had sought permission and not (Alam),” the court observed.
The court also rendered the detention order illegal for the reason that the bail application of Masarat had been rejected by a court and he continued to languish in state custody.
The detaining authority, in this situation, could not assume that there is every likelihood of (Masarat) being released on bail.
The Court said, “democratic society not only swears but lives by democratic values and principles. Even in the face of extreme provocations, the laws of the land are to be implemented. Laws possess unique quality, in as much as, they, even at times, protect those who break them. Thus, they prove to be better than many human beings”.
Masarat was released after four-and-half years of detention soon after the PDP-BJP government took charge in March last year.
However, he was re-arrested on 17 April, 2015 and detained under the PSA for alleged anti-national activities during a rally to welcome Geelani home from Delhi.
First Published On : Dec 28, 2016 17:07 IST
Demonetisation and “cashless” are currently the hot topics for discussions at the shopfronts in Kashmiri villages, where people gather every evening and morning to discuss and debate all sundry things.
The Kashmir Valley along with rest of India is still reeling from the aftereffects of demonetisation which Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on 8 November. Now, there are reports emerging from the region that some of the villages in the valley have gone completely cashless.
Manzigam is one such village which has been recently declared cashless in Kashmir. It is around 25 kilometres from the main town of Anantnag.
On 20 December, the village of Manzigam received a team of state government officials from the Common Service Centers (CSC) e-governance division. As part of central government’s “Digital India” campaign, CSC provides various services, mostly electronic, to the general public along with training them on how to use those services. The CSC team trained about 20 villagers for cashless transactions and provided information on various digital payment systems.
But going cashless is a slow process, more so, because some habits are hard to change.
A week since the training, most people in the Manzigam village are yet to understand the idea of cashless payments. They are still carrying cash in their pockets and it is evident that there is no implementation of cashless transactions on ground.
In one of the morning gatherings at a shopfront, few of the villagers described their experience when the government team visited.
Most of the villagers still look confused when they hear about their village becoming cashless. Many have heard the term cashless, but they have no idea about what exactly it is. Yet, they are quick to point out its effects. “Now we have to carry ATM cards like we used to carry our identity cards in the early 1990s to prove our identity to the security forces,” said one of the villagers who got in the middle of the discussion to offer prayers in a nearby mosque. However, another man in the early 30s said, “It would be beneficial.” Many nodded.
Some have no idea what payment swipe machines are or what was taught in the training. While talking to Firstpost, a villager named Arif Ahmad said, “Shopkeepers have to submit some forms (not knowing what exactly) to get the machines. I was busy and couldn’t attend the training class.”
He said that only around 30 people among the 300 families in the village attended the CSC camp.
Shopkeepers are the key enablers for implementation of the cashless monetary system in any village. Manzigam has around 10 shops which are yet to install payment swipe machines. They have been told to open Current Accounts so that they can accept payments through the machines. But many are reluctant, so they are still insisting on cash payments.
These problems aside, there are other logistical challenges too.
Manzigam has few smartphone users, poor internet connectivity, fluctuating electricity and the only broadband internet connection is at the only Khidmat centre.
Hamid, a 20-year-old shopkeeper from Manzigam doesn’t have a 4G-enabled smartphone which is the foremost priority for using mobile wallets in Kashmir these days as prepaid 3G mobile internet services are yet to resume after the 8 July killing of militant commander Burhaan Wani.
“I don’t have the internet on my phone yet, as I have a 3G phone. I somehow connect to Wi-Fi hotspots of my friends’ phones to access the internet.”
Hamid is, however, optimistic of having his own internet as he is expecting that Reliance Jio, a 4G service provider, may introduce internet services on 3G phones in near future. When asked about the internet speed in his village, he is quick to answer: “There is a cellular network in our neighbouring village. We go in the fields for faster internet speed, otherwise, it is frustrating.”
It’s a similar story with Lanura village in Central Kashmir’s Budgam district, which was the first village in Kashmir to go cashless. Various media reports say that the village has only got the tag of cashless, but on the ground, its implementation is zero.
The story repeats in other such villages of Kashmir which were declared and tagged as cashless villages. There seems to be no solid sign of practical adoption of cashless payment mechanisms by the villagers so far.
Talking to Firstpost, district manager of the CSC, Rayees Ahmad admitted that it is not easy to make villages go cashless. “It’s really hard to say how much time it will take to go cashless. No one can say,” he said.
Ahmad also pointed out the problem of poor internet connectivity and ban on prepaid mobile internet services. “Mobile network is not that good. Reliance Jio has brought some relief. But everybody cannot afford a 4G smartphone. It is necessary to lift the ban on prepaid mobile internet for going digital,” he added.
Many Kashmiris are of the opinion that it is not easy to implement and promote cashless transactions in the Valley as long as internet access remains susceptible to the law and order situation in Kashmir.
Mohammad Ishaq who hails from Anantnag while talking to Firstpost said, “In Kashmir, where prepaid internet is banned for more than five months, how can the government claim to have cashless villages.”
“If it is possible to go cashless amid these prevailing circumstances, then it will take no time for the whole Kashmir to go cashless,” he remarked sarcastically.
The author is a freelance journalist based in Srinagar. He focuses on the socio-political issues of the Kashmir Valley.
(Firstpost is from the same stable as Reliance Jio)
First Published On : Dec 28, 2016 13:10 IST
Wed, 28 Dec 2016-12:52pm , Jammu and Kashmir , ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Wednesday directed Mehbooba Mufti-led government to immediately release separatist leader Masarat Alam from preventive custody.A bench of Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar quashed Alam’s detention after hearing his counsel Mian Abdul Qayoom and the state counsel.Alam, who has been languishing in jail for the past six years on charges of fomenting trouble and posing a threat to public safety in the Valley, was booked under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) following the 2010 violent unrest.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Local English daily Kashmir Reader hit the stands on Wednesday after it was banned by the Jammu and Kashmir government for nearly three months on the charges that its publication was a threat to peace in the valley.The newspaper started its publication and distribution for the first time after it was banned through an order passed by District Magistrate, Srinagar on October 2.The District Magistrate’s order had alleged that the publication of Kashmir Reader posed a threat to peace in the valley which had been going through a period of turmoil since July following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.The revocation of the ban on the newspaper is seen as the first success for the newly-formed Kashmir Editors’ Guild, a body of all major dailies and weeklies published from the Valley.
Tue, 27 Dec 2016-10:58pm , Srinagar , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Militants shot at and injured a Congress worker in Bandipora district of Kashmir on Tuesday night, police said.The ultras shot Baahir Ahmad Shiekh (40) inside his residence at Ashtengoo at around 7.30 PM, a police official said. He said Shiekh was rushed to a local hospital where the doctors referred him to a hospital in Srinagar for specialised treatment.
Srinagar: The core group on security in Kashmir on Tuesday reviewed the overall situation in the valley and chalked out security strategy for the winter months.
“The core group met on Tuesday at Badami Bagh Cantonment to review the overall situation and to draw the security strategy for the winters,” an army official said.
He said the meeting was co-chaired by Lt General J S Sandhu, GOC Chinar Corps, and Director General of Police K Rajender Kumar.
Top officials of all the constituents of the core group, including civil administration and security agencies, attended the meeting.
Addressing the meeting, Lt General Sandhu complimented the members and officials of the core group for the high-level of synergy among all the agencies in addressing the security concerns of Kashmir.
The DGP expressed similar sentiments and elaborated on the key security initiatives that have been put into place to manage the law and order situation in the valley.
“The members deliberated upon various issues to evolve a comprehensive strategy to respond to the various external and internal security challenges. Plans for maintaining a robust counter-infiltration and counter-terrorism grid were discussed,” the official said.
First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 18:13 IST
Tue, 27 Dec 2016-03:06pm , Srinagar , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief and the 2008 Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed has asked the Pakistan government to refrain from forging friendship with India claiming that its forces are committing atrocities in Kashmir.He also alleged that the BJP government is trying to change the demographic status in Kashmir.”We are standing with Kashmiris and completely support freedom movement of Kashmir,” he said and criticised the Indian army for committing atrocities in Kashmir. He has urged the Pakistani government to solve problems of Kashmiris.”The Pakistani government should not look towards India’s friendship. Blood is being shed in Kashmir. Therefore, it is Pakistani government’s responsibility to solve their problems,” he said.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India is constructing underground bunkers in the border villages of Jammu as a life saving measure for the civilians to duck the Pakistani shelling.The move comes amid Pakistani forces’ new tactics of shelling in the civilian areas to instill fear among the local population. More than 12 civilians have been killed and over 80 others have been injured in Pakistani firing and shelling on the border villages in the Jammu division since the Indian army carried out surgical strikes on the terror launch pads in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir on September 29. Around 18 soldiers have also been killed by Pakistan army and Rangers along the Line of Control (LoC) and the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir since surgical strikes.More than 87 critical villages have been identified along the LoC and the IB in Jammu district where the government has put the construction of the shelling-proof underground bunkers on fast track.”All the 87 critical villages have been given at least one bunker. We need at least five bunkers in one critical village. In the second round two more bunkers will be given to each critical village”, Simrandeep Singh, district development commissioner, Jammu, told DNA.Constructed at the cost of Rs 4.5 crore under two different government projects, the underground bunkers are being built in such a manner that those could withstand the shells and mortars fired by Pakistani forces.”These are shelling proof bunkers constructed inside the villages. They have double RCC slab which is covered with lot of earth. Each bunker can accommodate 20 people. During the recent cross border shelling 80 people had taken shelter in one bunker,” said Singh.Jammu and Kashmir government has set January 20 deadline for the completion of the bunkers in the first phase. “Around 97 bunkers are to be constructed under two projects, of which 80 have been completed so far. Rest of the 17 bunkers will be completed by January 20”, said Singh.Figures reveal that there are 35,000 to 40,000 people living in the villages which are the worst affected by the shelling from Pakistan. “During shelling, some of the villagers flee their homes for safety. However, some stay back to look after their cattle and other property. Those who stay back can use these bunkers. It is a safety measure because their houses may not be shelling proof”, he said.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Alleged terrorist Mohd Mosiuddin was plotting ISIS-style chilling execution of foreigners, especially those from the US, Russia and the UK, visiting the Mother House in Kolkata as it would be a “heart pleasing” experience for him, the NIA has claimed. The NIA, in a charge sheet filed before a special court in Kolkata recently, claimed that Mosiuddin alias Musa was planning to stab and kill foreigners, a style frequently chosen by the ISIS to eliminate its targets. The Mother House in West Bengal capital is the headquarters of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity.In its charge sheet, the anti-terror probe agency has said Musa termed the militants operating in Kashmir as “Mujahids (holy warriors) with impure ideologies” who were fighting for Kashmiri land when they should have fought in support of Sharia, the Islamic canonical law based on the teachings of the Koran and the traditions of the Prophet (Hadith and Sunna).The agency has provided Musa’s photographs in Kashmir to buttress its claim that the terrorist had visited the Valley.NIA alleged it had proof of his having bought a big knife to commit the terror crimes before fleeing away.He also allegedly procured pepper spray from Snapdeal, an online marketplace to facilitate his proposed criminal acts as the intended target would be rendered temporarily blinded by it.The charge sheet alleged that Musa discussed plans for conducting such attacks at the Mother House, which is frequented by foreigners from the US, Russia and the UK. Armed forces of these countries are locked in fierce battles with the ISIS in many nations.Musa had discussed with some others the exact location of the Mother House and was claimed to have told them that foreigners, particularly Russians, Britishers and Americans often visited the place. He wanted them killed as the governments of their countries had bombarded the ISIS in Syria and Libya, the charge sheet alleged.The NIA had taken over investigation in the case from Howrah police on July 22. During Musa’ arrest, a .38 bore six-chamber revolver, three rounds of ammunition, a knife, a Samsung mobile phone and other incriminating articles were seized. Subsequently, one Apple Macbook and a sword were seized from his residence at Tiruppur, Tamil Nadu.
New Delhi: Alleged terrorist Mohd Mosiuddin was plotting Islamic State-style chilling execution of foreigners, especially those from the US, Russia and the UK, visiting the Mother House in Kolkata as it would be a “heart pleasing” experience for him, the NIA has claimed.
The NIA, in a charge sheet filed before a special court in Kolkata recently, claimed that Mosiuddin alias Musa was planning to stab and kill foreigners, a style frequently chosen by the IS to eliminate its targets.
The Mother House in West Bengal capital is the headquarters of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity. In its charge sheet, the anti-terror probe agency has said Musa termed the militants operating in Kashmir as “Mujahids (holy warriors) with impure ideologies” who were fighting for Kashmiri land when they should have fought in support of Sharia, the Islamic canonical law based on the teachings of the Quran and the traditions of the Prophet
(Hadith and Sunna).
The agency has provided Musa’s photographs in Kashmir to buttress its claim that the terrorist had visited the Valley.
NIA alleged it had proof of his having bought a big knife to commit the terror crimes before fleeing away. He also allegedly procured pepper spray from Snapdeal, an online marketplace to facilitate his proposed criminal acts as the intended target would be rendered temporarily blinded by it.
The charge sheet alleged that Musa discussed plans for conducting such attacks at the Mother House, which is frequented by foreigners from the US, Russia and the UK. Armed forces of these countries are locked in fierce battles with the IS in many nations.
Musa had discussed with some others the exact location of the Mother House and was claimed to have told them that foreigners, particularly Russians, Britishers and Americans often visited the place. He wanted them killed as the governments of their countries had bombarded the IS in Syria and Libya, the charge sheet alleged.
The NIA had taken over investigation in the case from Howrah police on 22 July.
During Musa’ arrest, a .38 bore six-chamber revolver, three rounds of ammunition, a knife, a Samsung mobile phone and other incriminating articles were seized. Subsequently, one Apple Macbook and a sword were seized from his residence at Tiruppur, Tamilnadu.
During investigation, two more accused, namely Saddam Hossain alias Kalu and Abbasudin Sk alias Amin were arrested by West Bengal CID.
“Mosiuddin was found involved in furthering the illegal activities of the IS in India and Bangladesh and had been in touch with Shafi Armar…and was also linked to the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) operatives in Bangladesh,” NIA had said in a statement.
Armar is a former Indian Mujahideen operative who was later claimed to have joined the IS. It was Armar who had radicalised him by sending the links of jihadi sites like Jihadology.net, Al-Shabab media and Just-Paste-it links, etc.
Armar also allegedly sent him videos released by Ansar Ut Tawid (AuT) which included footages of the war between the IS and Iraqi forces. The videos and speeches of ‘Anwar ul Awlaki’, a jihadist ideologue and preacher who was killed in a US drone attack in Yemen, were also sent to him by Armar, a native of Bhatkal in Karnataka and one of the main recruiters for IS in India.
Abu Suleiman, a Bangladeshi IS/JMB operative, visited India to meet Musa twice in March, 2015, and May, 2016. He encouraged Musa to use encrypted chat applications like Telegram, Surespot, Threema, Chatsecure, to communicate with him and other IS operatives, NIA has alleged.
First Published On : Dec 26, 2016 21:14 IST
On Christmas 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave one of the biggest surprises in India’s diplomatic history, when he chose to have a stopover at Lahore to personally wish his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif on his 66th birthday and also attend his granddaughter’s wedding at his palatial house at Raiwind. Exactly a year later, all that Modi did to wish Sharif was a tweet:
The tweet may be an indicator of the deterioration in the bilateral ties between the two countries. Soon after the surprise visit last Christmas, the Pathankot Air Force station was attacked on 2 January. In a gunbattle with security forces, four militants, who allegedly entered the area in army fatigues, were gunned down. The Indian Air Force lost three of its personnel. United Jihad Council claimed responsibility for the attack.
India later nailed ISI’s hand in the attack, while Pakistan denied the accusations. However, after initially promising to allow a National Investigation Agency team to visit Pakistan to probe the attack, Islamabad backtracked. This was after an ISI probe team visited Pathankot, which was criticised by the Opposition.
While Pathankot probe was underway, Kulbhushan Yadav, an alleged Indian Navy officer, was arrested by Pakistani authorities on charges of spying. With this Balochistan came into the picture in the India-Pakistan bilateral ties. While India claimed he was a businessman, Pakistan alleged he was spying on the behalf of RAW in Balochistan and Karachi.
The decline in the bilateral ties hastened after Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter in Kashmir. His killing led to widespread unrest across the valley, with the security forces imposing curfew which remained enforced till October. It gave Pakistan a chance to raise the issue of India’s alleged human rights violations in the state.
On 10 August, Sharif held a cabinet meeting to discuss the Kashmir unrest, with the cabinet deciding to internationalise the issue. The meeting observed that “Kashmir remains an unfinished agenda of the United Nations and accordingly India must realise that Kashmir is not its internal matter, rather it is a matter of regional and international concern”.
With the unrest in Kashmir, Modi invoked the alleged human rights violations in Balochistan and Gilgit Baltistan during his Independence Day address to the nation. The reference made Pakistan to claim that this proved its contention that India has been allegedly “fomenting terrorism” in the province.
Sharif chose to hit back at India during his address to the United Nations General Assembly.
Sharif said, “Peace and normalisation between Pakistan and India cannot be achieved without a resolution of the Kashmir dispute. This is an objective evaluation, not a partisan position.”
“Our predictions have now been confirmed by events. A new generation of Kashmiris has risen spontaneously against India’s illegal occupation — demanding freedom from occupation. Burhan Wani, the young leader murdered by Indian forces, has emerged as the symbol of the latest Kashmiri Intifada, a popular and peaceful freedom movement, led by Kashmiris, young and old, men and women, armed only with an undying faith in the legitimacy of their cause, and a hunger for freedom in their hearts.”
Rebutting Sharif, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told the gathering at the UNGA that Pakistan had been ignoring the human rights violation in Balochistan. “In the last two years, in exchange of our friendship, we got Pathankot, Uri, Bahadur Ali. Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and it will remain so, she added.
India strongly condemned the reference to the slain militant and criticised Islamabad silence over the recent Uri attack. Speaking at the UN, India’s First Secretary Eenam Gambhir, called Pakistan a host to the “Ivy League of terrorism” and urged the world community to declare Pakistan a “terrorist state”.
Uri attack, which India referred to after Sharif’s speech at the UN, took place on 18 September. Heavily armed militants stormed a battalion headquarters of the Army in North Kashmir’s Uri town in the wee hours, killing 17 jawans and injuring 19 other personnel. Four militants were also neutralised. Fingers were pointed once again at Pakistan.
With the clamour for avenging Uri, India conducted “surgical strikes” over terror launchpads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The strikes — refuted by Pakistan, which even sent journalists to the area where the attack allegedly took place — escalated tensions on the border, with Pakistan even capturing an Indian soldier.
Three months after the attack by India’s special commandos, cross-border firing between the two countries is still going on.
Meanwhile, India decided to turn on the heat on the diplomatic front. Modi called Pakistan the “mothership’ of terrorism” during his address at the Brics Summit at Goa in October.
In the Goa Declaration, the five member countries of Brics asked all countries to prevent terrorist actions from their soil. It called for expeditious adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) by the UN to tackle the problem and step up practical cooperation against terrorism.
The member countries also condemned the recent attacks against some Brics countries, including that in India. “We agreed to strengthen cooperation in combating international terrorism both at the bilateral level and at international fora,” the Goa Declaration issued at the end of the summit said.
India also pulled out of the Saarc Summit, which was scheduled to be held in Islamabad. The refusal to participate, along with several other member-states, citing Pakistan’s sponsorship of terrorism, led to it being delayed indefinitely.
The Modi government took another step to rein in Pakistan, threatening to abrogate the World Bank- assisted Indus Waters Treaty. Modi is reported to have told a meeting convened on this issue, “Blood and water can’t flow together”. Pakistan reacted to this news sharply.
“India set to wage war against Pakistan,” screamed a headline of a Pakistani newspaper, The Nation.
Shireen Mazari, former journalist and leader of Pakistan-Tehreek-e-Insaf party, went to the extent of saying that India’s “suspension of the treaty” was the first step towards declaring (a real) war against Pakistan. Speaking in Pakistan’s National Assembly on Monday, she demanded an immediate response to India from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
The Indus Waters Treaty has now become a major bone of contention between the two countries now, with the World Bank urging both countries to sort out their issues through alternative means.
Clearly, it seems relations between the two nations have gone downhill in the last one year. With a new army chief in Rawalpindi and India acting tough on terrorism post the surgical strikes, relations might remain tense in 2017.
With inputs from agencies
First Published On : Dec 26, 2016 13:48 IST
The decision of the Jammu and Kashmir state government to issue identity certificates to thousands of refugees from Pakistan (who are settled in Jammu and Kashmir since Partition in 1947) to help them get jobs in Central government departments has divided the state on communal lines.
While the Hurriyat Conference in Kashmir has objected to the move, which is seen by it as a ploy to settle down non-state subjects in Jammu and Kashmir to tilt the vote in favour of India on the event of any referendum on Kashmir, the National Conference has accused the PDP-BJP government of undermining the state subject laws. However, even as the PDP has chosen to stay away from the controversy stating that identity certificates will not confer state subject rights on West Pakistani refugees, BJP has demanded that refugees need to be given the rights to enable them to get jobs in the state.
Both the PDP and NC are trying to protect their respective votebanks in Kashmir, which remains a predominantly Muslim area, while the BJP is seeking to secure the large Hindu vote from the Jammu region. As per government figures, there are around 5,764 families who migrated from the then West Pakistan and are now living mainly in the Jammu, Kathua and Rajouri districts of Jammu division. The West Pakistan Refugee Action Committee (WPRAC) has said that the number has now soared to 19,960 families comprising of near one lakh people, mostly Hindus and Sikhs. It was during the partition of Punjab in 1947 that Hindus and Sikhs fled Pakistan, and Muslims went from India to Pakistan.
The issue of granting any state subject rights to West Pakistani refugees has, however, not only divided the state on regional and religious lines, but has the potential to spur the ongoing unrest in Kashmir. Although the separatists have provided a relaxation to the shutdown for five days a week, they lodged protests against the government’s decision to issue identity certificates to refugees and a recent decision of the Supreme Court to extend the SARFESI Act to the state. Some legal experts have argued that the extension of the SARFESI Act to the state will enable external banks to take the ownership of the properties of local people in lieu of their due loans, which will violate the state subject laws.
On the move towards conferring state subject rights to West Pakistani refugees, separatists have termed it as against the interests of Kashmiri Muslims. “By settling refugees in Jammu and Kashmir, the historical and political reality of the Jammu and Kashmir will get jeopardised,” the statement said. The NC has toed a somewhat similar line stating that the PDP-BJP coalition “is working against the interest of majority Muslims”.
The National Panthers Party that corners a sizable amount of support in the Jammu region, has however accused the BJP of succumbing to the “pressure of separatist forces of Kashmir”. The Panther Party’s leader Harsh Dev Singh said that the “refugees of West Pakistan who had taken shelter in Jammu and Kashmir have been left in the lurch for the last 70 years or so”. He added, “The refugees are living in plight as they have not been granted PRCs, employment and other benefits.”
However, even as PDP leader and minister for education Naeem Akhtar has clarified that “an orchestrated and misleading campaign has been launched to create an impression that the government is changing the status of West Pakistani Refugees and they are being provided domicile certificates”, BJP leaders said that they are committed to providing the state subject rights to refugees. Senior BJP leader and party MLA from Samba, Devindar Manyal, in whose constituency a large number of West Pakistani Refugees live, said that the party was committed to safeguarding the rights of the people.
“We are in favour of granting refugees ownership rights. The BJP government both at the state and the Centre is committed to providing them the rights. We are in favour of giving them permanent resident certificates (PRCs),” said Manyal. Meanwhile, senior BJP leader and minister of state for relief and rehabilitation Ajay Nanda said that West Pakistani Refugees should have been granted state subject rights. “They have been settled in Jammu and Kashmir for a long time, but can’t get government jobs or vote in the Assembly elections, which is discriminatory,” he said.
President of the WPRAC, Labha Ram Gandhi, said that they had earlier brought to the notice of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh the fact that they are not getting state subject rights that deprive them of state government jobs. “An unnecessary controversy has been created over issuing identity certificates to us. These certificates only mention that we have come from Pakistan after 1947 and these have been issued for the past four months. These certificates are necessary for us to get government jobs,” said Gandhi.
However, even as the Ministry of Home Affairs had earlier directed that the voter ID cards that are used by the West Pakistani Refugees to cast the ballot in the parliamentary elections should be used as proof of identity for Central jobs, the state government has stoked a fresh controversy by issuing new identity cards to refugees for getting jobs in Central government departments, especially the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs).
First Published On : Dec 26, 2016 13:44 IST
Srinagar: The year 2016 saw Mehbooba Mufti taking over as the first woman chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir and Army for the first time carrying out surgical strikes on militant camps in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) while violent protests for months hit hard normal life and resulted in shutdown of schools and death of 86 people.
The government had also to grapple with the NIT unrest, mysterious school burning incidents and blinding due to pellet gun firing issues.
The only silver lining during all this mayhem was that the annual Amarnath yatra to south Kashmir Himalayas went on, though with some interruptions due to authorities’ stopping the pilgrims from travelling during day to avoid any casualties.
In fact, local residents of Bijbehara town defied curfew to help a group of Amarnath pilgrims to hospital after their vehicle met with an accident.
7 January – Mufti Mohammad Sayeed passes away
The year, however, started with Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who had cobbled up an unimaginable coalition government between his PDP and the BJP a year earlier, losing his battle against illness at AIIMS in Delhi on 7 January.
Following Saeed’s death, a smooth transition of power was expected to his daughter and political heir Mehbooba Mufti but the PDP president refused to take charge for over two and half months. As the days passed, it seemed increasingly difficult for the two parties to come together again with the PDP setting some conditions like initiation of the confidence building measures by the Centre.
4 April – Mehbooba sworn in as first woman CM of Jammu and Kashmir
Finally, Mehbooba was sworn in as the first woman chief minister of the state on 4 April.
No sooner had she assumed office, Mehbooba faced her first real test. An unrest began at NIT Srinagar where students from outside the Valley were accused of beating local students following a tiff over an India-Pakistan cricket match.
However, the outside students alleged they were tortured by police inside the campus, sparking off a massive crisis that hogged national headlines for several days. The authorities had to shut down the institute for some time to allow the frayed tempers to cool down.
The NIT dust was yet to settle down when Mehbooba’s government faced with two more controversies. The reported plans to set up Sainik colonies and exclusive colonies for migrant Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley drew severe criticism from mainstream Opposition parties as well as separatist groups, which threatened to launch an agitation over these issues.
The government on several occasions, including during the Budget Session of the assembly, stated that it had no such plans.
8 July – Burhan Wani encounter
As it appeared that the worst was over for the PDP-BJP government, Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani — who had become the poster boy of militancy in Kashmir — was killed in an encounter with security forces on 8 July.
As the news of his death spread, there was an unprecedented outpour of outrage on the streets of the Valley as rumours were abound that the 21-year-old militant was killed when he was unarmed. The security forces dismissed the allegations.
However, violent street protests and clashes between protestors and security forces across the Valley over the next several months left 86 people dead and hundreds — including 5000 security forces personnel — injured.
For the first time in the past 26 years of turmoil in Kashmir, over 300 people were blinded as security forces fired pellet guns to quell the protests, leading to calls from various quarters to ban its use.
Authorities imposed curfew across Kashmir valley, snapped mobile and Internet services, banned newspapers for three days and took several news channels off air in an attempt to end the street violence but protests continued unabated.
The separatists, sensing an opportunity, jumped in and started issuing weekly agitation calendars as they did in 2010.
Almost all separatist leaders including Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik were either arrested or put under house arrest. More than 8000 people were also arrested on the charges of stone-pelting or incitement to violence.
Curfew and shutdowns brought life in Kashmir valley to a standstill as schools remained closed, businesses shut and transport off the roads.
18 September – Surgical Strikes
The deadly attack at Uri, close to Line of Control, on 18 September prompted perhaps the strongest peacetime reaction from the armed forces against the militants.
As many as 19 soldiers were killed at Uri before the Army eliminated the four intruders, who had crossed the LoC just a day before launching the attack.
The special forces crossing the LoC into PoK and destroying several militant camps in which over 40 ultras and their sympathisers were killed was a departure from the traditional policy of exercising restraint after every ceasefire violation or an attack on security installation.
As the Valley was going through its worst unrest in 26 years, there was an increase in hostilities along the LoC between armies of India and Pakistan. Both sides accused each other of violating the ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir along the LoC and the international border.
The surgical strike led to more skirmishes and exchange or artillery fire between the two sides till November, leading to fears among people here of outbreak of full blown war between the two countries.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh visited the Valley several times to assess the situation. In the month of September, Singh led an all-party delegation of national parties in an attempt to reach out to all sections of the society to end the street protests.
A splinter group of delegation including Sitaram Yechury and Assadudin Owaisi tried to meet the separatist leaders including Geelani but they shut their doors on them saying the visitors did not have the mandate to resolve Kashmir issue.
Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha led a delegation of “concerned citizens of India” and met people from all sections of the society here. This time separatists met them and conveyed their viewpoint.
Curfew was lifted after the visit of the all-party delegation from many parts of Kashmir but the shutdown continued with no end in sight.
The shutdown not only affected the livelihood of the masses but also put a question mark on the future of the students.
The government announced that board examinations will be held in November but promised to make it easy for the students. The examinations were held in November with thousands of students appearing and the government keeping its word by giving 50 per cent relaxation in the syllabus.
While the unrest is dying out, the educational infrastructure suffered massive damage in the Valley as more than 32 schools were gutted in mysterious fire incidents.
The frequency of burning of schools prompted the Jammu and Kashmir High Court to take suo moto cognisance and initiate PIL proceedings, directing the state government to take steps for ensuring safety of the school buildings.
First Published On : Dec 26, 2016 11:22 IST
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Describing tourism as the best mean to promote people-to-people engagement, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said her government was making efforts to create a world-class tourist infrastructure.”Tourism promotes people-to-people contact and tourists become goodwill ambassadors of a place. Like the maxim ‘seeing is believing’, a tourist can testify the veracity of the claim about a place only after visiting it,” she said.She dismissed the notion that the state was unsafe for tourists in the aftermath of months-long unrest in the Valley. “Jammu and Kashmir is as safe for tourists, particularly women, as any other place in the country,” she said here at an meeting with a delegation of tour operators from across India.Mehbooba said her government plans to create a world-class tourism infrastructure in the state.”Road connectivity to tourist destinations, bed capacity at tourist spots, wayside facilities etc are being improved and upgraded to address the requirements of every segment of tourists. Theme-based parks and places are being added to provide variety of attraction to tourists.”Similarly, heritage lovers and trekkers would be having more spots and treks to visit by adding new heritage sites and routes to their check list,” the chief minister said.Every region in the state has a unique attraction for tourists and they should be promoted, she said.The state’s tourism department has organised a three-day familiarisation tour to the Valley for travel agents from Bangalore, Mumbai, Gujarat and Indore.The agents, who arrived here yesterday, pitched for point- to-point rail services from Mumbai, Gujarat and Kolkata to the Valley to facilitate the travel of tourists to Kashmir, and sought subsidy in aviation fuel charges to bring down air fares.
Sun, 25 Dec 2016-09:08pm , Islamabad , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan has asked the World Bank to “fulfil its obligations” regarding the Indus Water Treaty as it objected to the body pausing two concurrent processes related to Indo-Pak dispute over Kishenganga and Ratle project.Pakistan Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in a letter to World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said the Treaty does not provide for a situation wherein a party can “pause” performance of its obligations under the accord. Dar said the World Bank’s decision to pause the process of empanelment of the Court of Arbitration will seriously prejudice Pakistan’s interests and rights under the Indus Waters Treaty 1960. “It (the letter) strongly conveys that the matter of appointment of a Chairman of the Court of Arbitration has been inordinately delayed. It urged the World Bank to execute its obligations under the Indus Waters Treaty,” Radio Pakistan reported.Dar said the “pause” will merely prevent Pakistan from approaching a competent forum and having its grievances addressed. The letter is a response to Kim’s letter of December 12 in which he announced this pause to “protect the Indus Waters Treaty and to help India and Pakistan consider alternative approaches to resolving conflicting interests under the Treaty and its application to two hydroelectric power plants”.India had taken strong exception last month to the World Bank’s decision to set up a Court of Arbitration and appoint a Neutral Expert to go into Pakistan’s complaint against it over Kishenganga and Ratle hydroelectric projects in Jammu and Kashmir.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Slamming separatists and National Conference over their stand on West Pakistan refugees issue, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said on Saturday while separatists are doing politics of “convenience not conviction”, the mainstream parties too toe their line when out of power.Terming the opposition to the issuance of identity cards to West Pakistan refugees (WPRs) as a “needless controversy”, he said it is “inhuman” to resist any help to refugees who have been languishing without any livelihood for past 70 years. He said that refugees who chose J-K as their home cannot be held to ransom, “while some their counterparts in rest of the country have become Prime Ministers like Inder Kumar Gujral and Dr Manmohan Singh”.Accusing separatists and NC of “politicking” on the issue, he said, “Separatists lobby of Kashmir are separatists due to their convenience and not because of conviction.” “Similarly the so-called mainstream politicians tend totake the separatist line because the moment they take to power they swear that J&K is integral part of India and when they are shunted out of power, they overnight start questioning the status of Jammu and Kashmir,” Singh told reporters here. The Minister of State in PMO was replying to questions about opposition by the separatists and National Conference to issuance of identity certificates to WPRs.”This is politicking which is happening by some who are devoid of conviction and ideology.”It is the duplicity of these elements to hoodwink the innocent masses of Jammu and Kashmir but the saving grace is that youth of the state is wiser than before,” Union Minister said. Singh, while replying to other questions on the issue, said, “It is meaningless controversy. It is avoidable controversy”. “They (refugees) can not be held to ransom for the simple reason that they chose their residence in Jammu or Jammu and Kashmir after partition.”Therefore the nation owes a dignified livelihood to them. This politicking which has just started for past two days is primarily motivated by considerations of Kashmir- centric constituencies,” he said.Singh said it is time for all, regardless of political affiliations and ideologies, to take a holistic view regarding the issue. He said those raising their voice against the step include many who failed to address the issue despite being in power during the last seven decades. “This set of activists are unable to digest it,” he said. While separatists have alleged that the move is aimed at changing the demography of the state, the NC claimed that the step will dilute Article 370 on special status to Jammu and Kashmir. Decrying the “false and contrived” impression being created regarding the change of status of WPRs, Jammu and Kashmir Government had on Thursday made it clear that such reports are deliberately being circulated to destabilise the situation and hit the political and economic interests of the people. “It seems an orchestrated and misleading campaign has been launched to create an impression that the Government is changing the status of the WPR and they are being provided domicile certificates,” Minister for Education and state government spokesman Naeem Akhtar has said in a statement on Thursday.To facilitate them to get jobs in paramilitary forces and other central government establishments, the Government has issued them identity certificates which is in the same format as exists in the voter list for Parliamentary polls, Naeem said.”Issuance of Identity Certificates does in no way change the status of the West Pakistan Refugees and they continue to be non-state subjects,” he said. Several political organisation including BJP and Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party and refugee organisations have hit out at opposition parties and separatists for opposing identity certificates to West Pakistan refugees.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former minister and Udhampur Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) Pawan Gupta on Saturday accused Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of surrendering before Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on the issue of West Pakistan refugees to stay in power.”BJP’s lust of power led it to surrender before PDP to promote the agenda of separatists, while denying the citizenship rights to West Pakistan refugees despite their domicile in Jammu and Kashmir for the last seven decades,” Gupta claimed.Gupta, who was a minister in the Mufti Mohammed Sayeed- led coalition was dropped from the Cabinet when Mehbooba Mufti took over the reins of the state, alleged BJP has betrayed the people of Jammu region.Gupta also accused BJP of aligning with the separatists and PDP to scuttle the establishment of Kashmiri Pandits’ and Sainik colonies in Kashmir. Gupta said the fundamental right of the West Pakistan refugees has been infringed even after they were promised domicile certificates.”Now BJP has taken a U-turn despite its announcement of issuing domicile certificates to the refugees and ridiculously reducing the same to merely issuance of I-cards, thus depriving them any chance of livelihood,” he said.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The inter-ministerial task force, set up by Modi government to look into strategic aspects of Indus Water Treaty (IWT) with Pakistan, discussed ways to fast-track hydropower projects of 8500 MW-capacity in Jammu and Kashmir during its first meeting held here today.Chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s principal secretary Nripendra Mishra, the meet was attended by NSA Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa and Water Resources Secretary Shashi Shekhar as well chief secretaries of Punjab and J&K. “The issues of fast-tracking implementation of hydroelectricity projects in Jammu and Kashmir were discussed during the meeting. We discussed what will be the ways of financing and structuring of the projects,” top sources said.These projects including Tulbul Navigation, intended at developing India’s rights over both eastern and western rivers, will require consent of government of Jammu and Kashmir, which is expected to get back to the task force next month on the issues discussed, they said. “We will take it forward only when there is consent of the Jammu and Kashmir government. The state’s representative did not have mandate. So, the representative will speak to their Chief Minister (Mehbooba Mufti) and after that we can take the implementation forward,” they added.India has identified setting up hydroelectricity projects of a total of 18,000 MW capacity. Of these, 3000 MW have already been established. The Centre now intends at further development of 1800 MW capacity projects including Ratle (850 MW) in the first phase. In the second phase, 5500 MW capacity projects are expected to be developed.”These projects are on both the Eastern (Beas, Ravi and Sutlej) and Western rivers (Indus, Chenab and Jhelum). We will develop capacities in accordance with our rights under the water distribution pact,” the sources added.Meanwhile, on asked about the government’s meeting with World Bank expert to discuss Pakistan’s objection over Kishenganga (330 MW capacity) and Ratle projects being constructed in Jammu and Kashmir, the sources said a communique to this regard is “awaited”. Pakistan had in September approached World Bank, flagging concerns that the design of the Kishenganga project was not in line with the criteria laid down under IWT. It had then demanded the international lender to set up a Court of Arbitration to look into the matter. Refuting the claims made by Pakistan, India had asserted that the project design is “well within parameters” of the treaty and urged the World Bank to appoint a neutral expert as the issue is a “technical matter” as suggested in the treaty.The international lender had then set up two separate mechanisms of COA as well as the neutral expert, which India objected to. The mechanisms were then “paused” by the Bank in view of the objections. The inter-ministerial task force was formally formed last week, nearly three months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a review meeting on the 56-year-old water distribution pact with Pakistan in the aftermath of series of cross-border terror strikes including Uri attack.In that meeting, it was also decided that India would exploit to the maximum water of Pakistan-controlled rivers including Jhelum.Under the Indus Waters Treaty, signed between India and Pakistan in 1960 and to which the World Bank is also a party, the global body has a specified role in the process of resolution of differences and disputes.
Srinagar: Independent legislator Sheikh Abdul Rashid and his supporters were on Thursday detained as he tried to lead a protest march against Jammu and Kashmir government’s move to grant domicile certificates to West Pakistan Refugees.
Rashid attempted to lead the march from Sher-i-Kashmir Park here to Lal Chowk against the government decision. But as the protesters reached the GPO Srinagar, police swung into action and detained the independent legislator from north Kashmir’s Langate constituency, along with his supporters, a spokesman of his Awami Ittehad Party (AIP) said.
Talking to reporters before being detained, Rashid said the government decision to grant domicile certificates to West Pakistan Refugees (WPRs) was “totally unacceptable to us”.
He alleged that the state government was behaving as a “proxy” and “extension” of the Union government in Delhi.
“Time has come for Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to break this alliance (with BJP) and go to people once again (to seek votes),” he said. Rashid vowed to sit on a day-long “hunger strike” in front of chief minister’s residence at Gupkar here to protest the government decision.
The WPRs, settled in Jammu and Kashmir, are citizens of India and have the right to vote in parliamentary elections. However, they are not permanent residents of the state in terms of Jammu and Kashmir Constitution. They do not enjoy voting rights to the state assembly and local bodies.
First Published On : Dec 22, 2016 16:55 IST
United Nations: 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 here yesterday 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 (LoC) 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.
First Published On : Dec 22, 2016 11:27 IST
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Army and police on Thursday cordoned off Hajin village of Bandipora, Jammu and Kashmir early this morning.They suspect the presence of terrorists in the area.Two terrorists and an Army jawan were killed earlier on November 25 in the ongoing encounter between terrorists and security forces in Bandipora.Since the surgical strike on terrorist launch pads in PoK on September 29, there have been a staggering 286 incidents of firing and shelling along the LoC and the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistani troops, which have resulted in the death of 26 people, including 14 security personnel.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After clothes and ‘dupattas’, California almonds have emerged as the new product in cross- LoC trade in Jammu and Kashmir that are being used a mode of terror funding, according to the NIA.The NIA has registered a case in this connection and carried out searches on traders at trade facilitation centres at Salamabad in Kashmir region’s North Kashmir’s Baramulla district and Chakan-da-bagh in Poonch district of Jammu region.According to the cross-LoC trade agreement between India and Pakistan, products grown in both sides of Jammu and Kashmir will be exchanged under barter system. The products included ‘Badam giri’ that is grown in parts of Pakistan- occupied-Kashmir (PoK).During the searches, documents related to exchange of California almonds were seized by NIA and were being scrutinised, the NIA said.The traders from PoK were sending and receiving California almonds and it is alleged that the money was used for funding of terror groups in the state.The NIA said in a statement that a reliable information was received that a large scale transfer of funds from Pakistan to India has been taking place, through the import of California almonds (badam giri) via the cross-LoC trade mechanism through the trade facilitation centres located at Salamabad and Chakkan-da-Bagh.”This is in gross violation of the State policy of prohibition on trade in ‘third-party origin goods’ through this mechanism and information indicated that these funds are being used for fomenting terrorism and separatism in the state of Jammu and Kashmir,” the NIA said.A case has been registered by NIA against unknown persons under the relevant sections of IPC and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.Earlier clothes and ‘dupatta’ (stole) were being used to finance terror in the state.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Ministry of Defence on Wednesday described Lt General Praveen Bakshi’s meeting with defence minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday as a “courtesy call”, but sources in army headquarters claimed it was the minster who sought a meeting with the Eastern Army Commander. Following the seniority principle Bakshi should have been appointed army chief, but the government selected Lt Gen Bipin Rawat, currently the vice chief.It was not just Lt Gen Bakshi but Southern Army commander Lt Gen PM Hariz was also superseded.The contrary claims led to speculation about the fate of Lt Gen Bakshi. While there was talk of his offering in his resignation, there was also buzz about the possibility of the officer being accommodated.”A top rated army commander cannot be wasted like this,” said an army officer in South Block.Sources said one of the options was to appoint him as the Permanent Chairman of the Chief of Staff Committee. Currently, the senior most among the service chiefs holds the post and there is no provision for a permanent chairman.There is also talk of Lt Gen Bakshi being sent as Ambassador. The proposed Chief of Defence Staff is also an option, but sources say there is little time for creating the position.Lt Gen Bakshi was Lt Gen Rawat’s immediate boss until recently in the Eastern Command. The decision has triggered a controversy among officers, fearing this could set a new trend of politicising the forces.Justifying the decision, the government came out with an explanation that Rawat was chosen over the other two, keeping in mind his experience in operations in Jammu and Kashmir. Analysing the volatile situation in Kashmir after a series of terror strikes, a candidate with sound knowledge of operations there was thought to be the right choice, sources said.Lt General Bakshi has commanded the 9 Corps in Yol, Himachal Pradesh, commanded an armoured brigade in the Western sector, a division in the deserts, and a corps in the plains sector of Punjab, and Jammu and Kashmir.
Srinagar: A law meant to aid the recovery of debts but could result in the back-door acquisition of property by non-Kashmiris in Jammu and Kashmir. Little wonder then that it’s stirred a hot debate in the state, where only Kashmiris are permitted to acquire property.
The Jammu and Kashmir government contended in the high court that the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest (Sarfaesi) Act that the parliament passed in 2002 wasn’t applicable in the state due to its special status under Article 370 of the Constitution.
The ruling came in 2015 on a challenge to a State Bank of India decision to enforce the act to recover its dues from a defaulter. The Supreme Court overturned this last week.
What, then, is the contentious act all about?
Passed by Parliament in 2002, it states: “If borrower of financial assistance makes any default in repayment of loan or any installment and his account is classified as non-performing asset by secured creditor, then secured creditor may require before expiry of period of limitation by written notice to the borrower for repayment of due in full within 60 days by clearly stating amount due and intention for enforcement.”
“Where he does not discharge dues in full within 60 days, then without intervention of any court or tribunal secured creditor may take possession (including sale, lease and assignment) of secured asset, or take over management of business of borrower or appoint manager for secured asset or without taking any of these actions may also proceed against guarantor or sell the pledged asset, if any,” the act says.
State Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Abdul Haq Khan has previously clarified that in the case of distress sale of assets of defaulters by financial institutions, only permanent residents of the state would be permitted to bid for and own such assets.
In legal and public circles a hot debate has since been raging over the larger implications of the apex court’s decision.
“The state government should have legislated on this and passed its own act accommodating all the good things of the central act while safeguarding the special status of the state,” lawyer Abdul Samad told IANS.
“The apex court decision could open the floodgates for extension of acts passed by Parliament through the judicial route bypassing the legislative powers of the state,” he added.
The separatists have also criticised the apex court decision, saying that their assertion that the special status of the state existed only on paper had been proved right.
Confused over whether the larger implications of the apex court decision would benefit or harm his interests, the common man is ambiguous in his comments. “Big sharks have taken huge loans from banks and are now not paying these back,” bank employee Irfan Ahmad, told IANS.
“They would definitely be opposing the Supreme Court decision, but if the decision compromises the special status of the state, then it must be appealed against,” he added.
While delivering its verdict, a Supreme Court bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and Rohinton Nariman also rejected the high court’s view that the state’s Constitution was equal to the Constitution of India. The state’s residents are “first and foremost Indian citizens”, the apex court said.
“It is, therefore, wholly incorrect to describe it as being sovereign in the sense of its residents constituting a separate and distinct class in themselves. The residents of Jammu and Kashmir, we need to remind the high court, are first and foremost citizens of India, permanent residents of the state of Jammu and Kashmir are citizens of India, and that there is no dual citizenship as is contemplated by some other federal Constitutions in other parts of the world,” the court said.
It pointed out that it was constrained to observe that in at least three places, the high court, in its judgment, “has gone out of its way to refer to a sovereignty which does not exist”.
Referring to article 370 of the Constitution, the high court division bench said: “This provision clears the constitutional relationship between people of rest of the country with the people of Jammu and Kashmir.”
“The citizens of State of Jammu and Kashmir have their own constitution and their sovereign character which cannot be challenged, altered or abridged.
“The power of Parliament to make laws in respect of the state of Jammu and Kashmir is circumscribed and it can make laws for it only where permitted by State and not the other side, and that too in accordance with mechanism prescribed by Article 370 of Constitution of India.
“The sovereignty of the state of Jammu and Kashmir under the rule of Maharaja, even after signing of Instrument of Accession and in view of the framing of its own Constitution, thus legally and constitutionally remained intact and untampered,” the high court had contended.
As the public and legal circles are agog with confusing opinions, the controversy is unlikely to settle down anytime soon in Kashmir.
First Published On : Dec 21, 2016 16:36 IST
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India has joined the league of extraordinary nations by constructing the longest road tunnel in the country on the strategic Srinagar-Jammu national highway.Built at the cost of Rs 3720 crores, the nine kilometer long Nashri road tunnel is expected to be commissioned early next year. An engineering marvel, it will mark the country’s debut in adopting the integrated tunnel control system (ITCS).The state-of-the-art ITCS system, which is hallmark of selective few countries in the world, will ensure automatic control of tunnel lighting, ventilation, communication, fire control, vehicle monitoring et al. The tunnel will cut down the distance by around 30 kilometers and will save the motorists travel time by two hours.”There was no road tunnel with nine kilometer distance in the country till now. Nashri tunnel will be the longest road tunnel in the country. Civil works inside the tunnel is complete. Only some works on the north side is pending which will be completed in next eight to 10 days. Mechanical and electric works are currently on”, MT Attarde, project director of National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), told DNA.The tunnel and approach roads provide 11km alternative route for 41km of the existing national highway. In addition to the main tunnel, it will have a parallel escape tunnel for the evacuation of commuters in case of any eventuality.The two tubes of the tunnel will be internally connected through 29 cross-passages (each after a gap of 300 meters) and the escape tunnel will be used exclusively by pedestrians.”Everything is automatic. There are two ducts in the tunnel –one for fresh air and another for exhausting the polluted air. There are CCTVs, fight fighting equipment and communication systems installed all along the route. If anything goes wrong the people sitting in the control room will come to know instantly”, said AttardeThe Srinagar-Jammu national highway passes through steep mountains and hundreds of people have lost their lives in accidents and weather vagaries over the years. The authorities have taken several measures to make the journey safer and the tunnel is part of a four lane project on the national highway undertaken to give respite to the commuters.The NHAI is also constructing another major road tunnel – 8.45 km long Banihal Qazigund stretch – on Srinagar Jammu national highway, which will again cut down the distance between two towns by 16 kms.The Kashmir Valley is also being connected by a 292 km train link from Udhampur in Jammu to Baramulla in Kashmir. The Rs 11,000-crore rail link is divided into three sections — Udhampur-Katra, Katra-Qazigund and Qazigund-Baramulla.The first and third stretch of the rail link has been made operational. But the train to valley will become reality only when middle 148 km long section will be completed. This stretch will have the world’s tallest railway bridge – 359 metres tall – on Chenab river in district Reasi.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Minister Kiren Rijiju on Tuesday said some forces are trying to fulfill their “nefarious designs” of creating disturbance in Punjab and that the intelligence agencies are fully alert.”Our intelligence agencies are fully alert and keeping a close eye on activities of some anti-national forces. We would not allow the peace of the state to be disturbed,” he said.The Union Minister of State for Home Affairs was addressing media after laying foundation of the complex of the 7th Battalion of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) in Ludhiana.The Punjab government has provided 51 acres of land free of cost at the outskirts of the city at Ladhowal for the project. An amount of Rs 200 crore would be spent on the complex and its infrastructure, Rijiju said. He said that the NDRF was one of the best forces in the world.Commenting on the Centre’s demonetization move, Rijiju said that the policy had broken the backbone of terrorist fundings.Asked about terrorist attacks on the Army and paramilitary forces, he said the vigilance and security on the international borders has been made very tight. “The incidents of attack on the Army in Kashmir is a desperate attempt by insurgents,” he said.The border states of Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir have come under a series of terror attacks this year.On the NIA filing chargesheet in the Pathankot airbase attack, the MoS said the Centre would pressurise Pakistan to extradite the perpetrators of terror to India. “India will seek the help and support of other countries for the purpose because all the countries are facing heat of terrorism,” he said.Wrapping up investigations in the Pathankot airbase attack case, NIA had on Monday filed a charge sheet against Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar, his brother and two others for hatching the conspiracy of the January 2 audacious terror strike in the state that left seven personnel dead and 37 others injured.
Tue, 20 Dec 2016-07:12pm , Jammu , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A National Investigation Agency (NIA) team visited the border district of Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir and took the cross-LoC trade records from the Chakan- Da-Bagh Trade Facilitation Centre.”NIA has visited Poonch. They are looking into cross-LoC trade records”, Deputy Commissioner, Poonch, M H Malik said on Tuesday. They (NIA team) have taken records of Chakan-Da-Bagh Trade Facilitation Centre (TFC) and are going through it.The team is looking into any suspicious activity under the grab of cross LoC trade.The NIA team is headed by IG rank officer is camping in Poonch. They have talked to several businessmen and cross LoC traders besides officials and officers of TFC.
By Syed Raza Hassan
| KARACHI, Pakistan
KARACHI, Pakistan Pakistani movie theatres began screening Bollywood films again on Monday, ending an 11-week boycott in response to political and military tensions with India, theatre officials said.Some theatre owners said the restoration was because tension was easing, but others said it was because audiences had dropped so sharply since the boycott that began on Sept. 30.In Karachi, the Atrium Cinema started with a screening of the Indian sports romantic comedy “Freaky Ali”. Still, the screenings were kept low key, with no publicity posters and scant attendance in theatres visited by Reuters.Relations between the nuclear-armed neighbours and foes have been more fraught than usual since an crackdown by Indian security forces on dissent in Indian-controlled Kashmir began in July.The tension worsened in September after militants killed 18 soldiers in a raid on an Indian army base, an attack New Delhi blamed on Pakistan.After exchanges of fire across the Line of Control in Kashmir – claimed by both countries and occupied in part by each – cinema owners announced the boycott.
Pakistan’s state censor soon imposed a ban on Indian content and channels on cable television.However, the boycott has cost Pakistani cinemas dearly.”The absence of Bollywood content from theatres resulted in losing over 80 percent of customers,” estimated Khurram Gultasab, general manager at Super Cinemas, which runs 10 cinemas in cities across Pakistan’s Punjab province.
Indian films are popular both at the cinema and on bootlegged DVDs in Pakistan.”If Bollywood films are not resumed, cinemas will be forced to close down,” Gultasab said.Nadeem Mandviwalla, whose Mandviwalla Entertainment runs eight cinemas in Karachi and the capital, Islamabad, said the resumption of Bollywood films was a step towards warming relations.
“Someone has to take a step towards bringing normalcy back so we have initiated the process to bring back peace and harmony,” Mandviwalla said.”As for losses, everyone knows that the suspension (of the boycott) is going to curtail huge losses on both sides.”Pakistan’s domestic film industry has seen a revival in recent years, but is dwarfed by India’s Bollywood. Pakistani actors have increasingly been appearing in big budget Bollywood films in the past few years. (Editing by Kay Johnson and Alison Williams)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
First Published On : Dec 19, 2016 20:26 IST
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>About 24 hours before a convoy of Rashtriya Rifles was ambushed near the Kadlibal area in Pampore town on Saturday afternoon, intelligence agencies had dispatched information of a “possible terror attack” on the Srinagar-Jammu Highway.While intelligence agencies based in the Valley have, on multiple occasions, dispatched similar inputs, it is the brazenness of this particular ambush that has security forces, especially in areas close to National Highways, concerned.Officials told DNA on Sunday that not only has the highway crossing through Pampore area become increasingly vulnerable to such ambush, but the elaborate planning that takes place before such attacks is a growing concern.For instance, the intelligence input before the Pampore attack on Saturday, in which three Rashtriya Rifles personnel lost their lives, had stated that proscribed outfits were planning a major stand-off with the Indian armed forces on the highway. It even had specifics that there was a strong possibility that convoys would be targeted using Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).According to a senior security official in Kashmir, at 12.30 pm on Friday, a message based on human intelligence was dispatched. It warned security forces of the possible attack.”Credible input suggests that militants have planned IED blasts followed by firing on NHW or a major town today (Friday). Take all necessary precautions,” read the portion of the input.According to some senior officials of the Jammu and Kashmir police, all precautions were being taken but the race against time was lost when around 2 pm, three motorcycle-borne gunmen ambushed the convoy. The exchange of fire lasted around 10 minutes, following which the militants escaped.What has the security establishment now thinking is the elaborate ambush plans, starting from planting IEDs, surprise attacks on convoys and a well thought-out escape route.Sources say areas in city outskirts like Pampore in south Kashmir is considered more vulnerable to such attacks, especially since the Entrepreneur Development Institute (EDI) is located near Sempore. The EDI, too, has come under attack on more than one occasion and the area is one of the link roads that connects south Kashmir with Srinagar city.The area is strategic for militant activities as it is located between Tral, Pulwama areas like Kakapora, Ratnipora and Khrew. On the other side of the river are open vast fields, which provides a good escape route.”The presence of militants in Pulwama and in areas close to the banks of Jhelum river is the reason that the highway has witnessed so many attacks,”said a senior J&K police official.This year alone, seven major attacks on the Srinagar-Jammu highway, mainly in south Kashmir, have taken place, with Pampore being the fourth such attack in the Valley since August.What is more troublesome is the indication that emanates from ambush. They suggest the capability and network of groups like the Laskhar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HuM), which are suspected to behind the Saturday attack.IEDs are an added worry. Sources say the use if IEDs had decreased since the armed insurgency erupted in Kashmir in late 80s.One of the first IED blasts that announced the arrival of insurgency was in July 1988 in the Lal Chowk area of Srinagar. Over the years, convoys have witnessed the same tactics. However, the counter-insurgency witnessed in the Valley in the past three decades had rendered the usage of IEDs to a minimal, with militants resorting to attacks using grenades.A senior intelligence official told DNA that local youth who who joined HuM or LeT in the past few years did not get training in making IEDs, but now some of them are trained by “foreign militants, “referring to Pakistani nationals fighting under LeT. It is likely that local militants, who mostly make the Hizb ranks, might have received training in making IEDs as well.Last month, a bullet-proof ‘Rakshak’ jeep of the police came under attack in Awantipora of Pulwama district, which injured three police officials.
Srinagar: In the wake of terror attack on army convoy on Saturday, security of the forces during their movement on Srinagar-Jammu national highway was on Sunday reviewed at a high level meeting chaired by state police chief K Rajendra Kumar who pressed for devising foolproof mechanism.
The Director General of Police later held a meeting with Srinagar-based Corps Commander Lt Gen JS Sandhu and discussed implementation of different decisions with regard to strengthening and augmentation of security setup across Kashmir Valley.
At the meeting with officials of police, army and paramilitary forces, Kumar emphasised the need for greater coordination and cooperation among the various forces and agencies.
The meeting was held at District Police office in Awantipora in south Kashmir, some kms away from Pampore where terrorists struck at an army convoy on Saturday, killing three soldiers.
Addressing the meeting, the Director General of Police asked the officers to devise a foolproof plan for the national highway for safe and secure movement of the people and the security forces, a police spokesman said in Srinagar.
Kumar asked the army to strengthen the corridor protection and asked the CRPF to finetune the Road Opening Parties (RoPs) along the highway.
While highlighting the need of tackling the militancy effectively, the DGP said surgical operations with minimum collateral damages should be conducted.
In their respective briefs, the officers gave details of the security arrangements made by their organisations for the highway, the spokesman said.
Earlier, Kashmir Zone Inspector General of Police SJM Gillani briefed the meeting about the security situation of south Kashmir and also highlighted recent operations conducted against the militants, he said.
South Kashmir has recently witnessed a number of terror attacks, including two bank robberies. The DGP told the meeting about the measures taken by the police to investigate and solve the bank robberies.
First Published On : Dec 18, 2016 22:12 IST
New Delhi: Jharkhand cadre IPS officer Rajiv Jain was on Saturday appointed as the new chief of Intelligence Bureau (IB) while Anil Dhasmana will head external intelligence agency RAW.
Both the officers will have a tenure of two years.
Jain, who is at present serving as the Special Director in the IB, will take over on 1 January after the incumbent Dineshwar Sharma completes his two-year tenure on 31 December.
A recipient of President’s Police Medal, the 1980-batch officer has served in various departments of the IB including the sensitive Kashmir desk.
He was advisor to the previous NDA government’s interlocutor on Kashmir KC Pant when talks were held with
separatist leaders like Shabbir Shah.
In another appointment, Anil Dhasmana will take over the reins of the Research and Analysis Wing, an organisation which looks after the external intelligence of the country.
He succeeds Rajinder Khanna who completes his tenure this year end.
Dhasmana, a 1981-batch officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre, has been with RAW for the last 23 years during which he has served on important desks including Pakistan.
First Published On : Dec 17, 2016 22:35 IST
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government on Saturday appointed vice chief of army staff Lt Gen Bipin Rawat as the new Army chief superseding his two senior officers, while vice chief of air staff Air Marshal B S Dhanoa has been made the new chief of the Indian Air Force.”Government has decided to appoint Lt Gen Bipin Rawat, vice chief of army staff, as the next chief of army staff with effect from afternoon of December 31,” the Defence Ministry said in a tweet. It also tweeted that Air Marshal B S Dhanoa will take over as IAF chief with effect from afternoon of December 31.Lt Gen Rawat, an infantry soldier, superseded senior most army commander Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi, who headed the Eastern Command and was next in line to be the army chief, besides Southern Command Chief P M Hariz.Government sources said Lt Gen Rawat was found best suited among the Lt Generals to deal with emerging challenges, including a reorganized and restructured military force in the north, continuing terrorism and proxy war from the west, and the situation in the North-East.They said 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.He has handled various operational responsibilities in many areas, including along the LoC with Pakistan, the LAC with China and in the North-East.He is known for his balanced approach towards soldiering, compassion, and connect with civil society.His experience as GOC-in-C Southern Army Command in Mechanised Warfare has been focused towards the western borders, in coordination with the other two services, the sources said.Supersession in the army is not new though there has not been any such instances in the recent past. In 1983, the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had appointed Lt Gen A S Vaidya as army chief superseding Lt Gen S K Sinha, who resigned in protest.Earlier in 1972, the Gandhi government side-stepped the very popular Lt General P S Bhagat, one of the handful of Indian Victoria Cross awardees from World War II, who was in line to succeed General (later Field Marshal) Sam Manekshaw.This was done by giving his junior, General G G Bewoor a year’s extension, during which time Bhagat retired. Bewoor, thus, succeeded Manekshaw.Defence Ministry sources said the focus was on suitability and merit for the selection of the new Army chief.They said that Lt Gen Bakshi, an Armoured corps officer, spent most of his career in Jodhpur and had two postings in Kashmir but the positions he was in were not considered field posting.The sources added that Lt Gen Hariz had no experience in operational areas in terms of counter insurgency or seeing action along the LoC.With Lt Gen Rawat’s sudden promotion as the army chief, the line of succession in the force will get affected.The IAF, which has also seen supersession in the past, was set for a smooth transition with Dhanoa, the first in line for the post, named its new chief.He was commissioned into the fighter stream of the IAF in June 1978. He has served in various squadrons and in the Intelligence Directorate of Air Headquarters.Rawat was commissioned in the Fifth Battalion of the Eleven Gorkha Rifles in December 1978, from IMA, Dehradun, where he was awarded the Sword of Honour .The General Officer has vast experience in high altitude warfare and counter insurgency operations.He commanded an Infantry battalion along the Line of Actual Control in the Eastern sector, a Rashtriya Rifles sector and an Infantry Division in the Kashmir Valley. He has tenanted instructional appointments at Indian Military Academy, Dehradun and Army War College, Mhow.Lt Gen Rawat also held important staff appointments at Directorate General of Military Operations and Military Secretary s Branch at Army Headquarters.He has been Major General General Staff at HQ Eastern Command. The officer commanded a Multinational Brigade in a Chapter VII mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC).An alumni of Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, the Higher Command and National Defence College Courses, the General Officer, during the span of over 35 years of service in uniform, has been awarded for gallantry and distinguished service.Prior to taking over as the VCOAS, Lt Gen Rawat was holding the post of the GOC-in-C, Southern Command.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jharkhand cadre IPS officer Rajiv Jain was on Saturday appointed as the new chief of Intelligence Bureau (IB) while Anil Dhasmana will head external intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).Both the officers will have a tenure of two years. Jain, who is at present serving as the Special Director in the IB, will take over on January 1 after the incumbent Dineshwar Sharma completes his two-year tenure on December 31. A recipient of President’s Police Medal, the 1980-batch officer has served in various departments of the IB including the sensitive Kashmir desk.He was advisor to the previous NDA government’s interlocutor on Kashmir K C Pant when talks were held with separatist leaders like Shabbir Shah. In another appointment, Anil Dhasmana will take over the reins of the Research and Analysis Wing, an organisation which looks after the external intelligence of the country. He succeeds Rajinder Khanna who completes his tenure this year end. Dhasmana, a 1981-batch officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre, has been with RAW for the last 23 years during which he has served on important desks including Pakistan.
By Fayaz Bukhari
| SRINAGAR, India
SRINAGAR, India Militants attacked an Indian army convoy in Kashmir on Saturday, killing three soldiers, a defence spokesman said, in the latest in an uptick of violence in the disputed region at the heart of tensions with rival Pakistan.The men were ambushed on the outskirts of Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir state where Indian forces have been battling an armed revolt since 1989.This year, after years of decline, militant violence has increased in Kashmir, deepening a chill in ties with Pakistan whom India blames for stoking and keeping the revolt alive by sending fighters and materiel across the de factor border.
Pakistan denies the allegation and says New Delhi must agree to talks to resolve the future of Kashmir.
Soldiers have launched a search operation to hunt the militants behind Saturday’s attack, the defence spokesman said. Last month, militants stormed an army base near Jammu, killing seven soldiers.”A bad year in terms of security force casualties just got worse,” Omar Abdullah, the leader of the main opposition group in Jammu and Kashmir, said in a Twitter post following the latest attack.
(Writing by Sanjeev Miglani; editing by Jason Neely)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
First Published On : Dec 17, 2016 18:41 IST
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jammu and Kashmir has “no vestige” of sovereignty outside the Indian Constitution and its own, while the citizens of the state are “first and foremost” citizens of India, the Supreme Court has held.The apex court observed this while terming as “wholly incorrect” the conclusion arrived at by Jammu and Kashmir High Court which had held that the state has “absolute sovereign power” to legislate laws touching the rights of its permanent residents regarding their immovable properties.”The State of Jammu & Kashmir has no vestige of sovereignty outside the Constitution of India and its own Constitution, which is subordinate to the Constitution of India,” a bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and R F Nariman said.”It is therefore wholly incorrect to describe it as being sovereign in the sense of its residents constituting a separate and distinct class in themselves. The residents of Jammu & Kashmir, we need to remind the High Court, are first and foremost citizens of India,” it said.The apex court said this while holding that provisions of the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 (SARFAESI Act) are within the legislative competence of Parliament and can be enforced in Jammu and Kashmir.The bench set aside the verdict of Jammu and Kashmir High Court that had held that any law made by Parliament, which affects the laws made by state legislature, cannot be extended to Jammu and Kashmir.”The High Court judgment begins from the wrong end and therefore reaches the wrong conclusion. It states that in terms of Section 5 of the Constitution of Jammu & Kashmir, the State has absolute sovereign power to legislate in respect of laws touching the rights of its permanent residents qua their immovable properties,” the apex court said.It further said, “We may also add that permanent residents of Jammu & Kashmir are citizens of India, and there is no dual citizenship as is contemplated by some other federal Constitutions in other parts of the world”.The apex court judgement came on the appeal by State Bank of India (SBI) against the high court verdict which had held that the SARFAESI Act would collide with the Transfer of Property Act of Jammu & Kashmir, 1920.SARFAESI is an enactment which entitles banks to enforce their security interest outside the court process to take possession of secured assets of the borrower and sell them outside the court process.The apex court, in its 61-page verdict, also said it was “disturbing to note that various parts of High Court judgment speak of the absolute sovereign power of Jammu & Kashmir.” “It is necessary to reiterate that Section 3 of the Constitution of Jammu & Kashmir, which was framed by a Constituent Assembly elected on the basis of universal adult franchise, makes a ringing declaration that the State of Jammu & Kashmir is and shall be an integral part of the Union of India. And this provision is beyond the pale of amendment,” it said.The apex court, while setting aside the high court order, held that provisions of the SARFAESI Act can be applied to Jammu and Kashmir.”We therefore set aside the judgment of the High Court.As a result, notices issued by banks in terms of Section 13 (Enforcement of security interest) and other coercive methods taken under the said Section are valid and can be proceeded with further,” the bench said.The high court had held the Act was inapplicable for banks like the SBI which are Indian banks.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Friday rejected the Jammu and Kashmir High Court’s assertion that the state’s sovereignty cannot be challenged or altered, reports the Indian Express. The apex court said that the state has “no vestige of sovereignty outside the Constitution of India”.It has also declined the HC’s view that the state’s Constitution was equal to that of India’s Constitution. Citing the preamble of the Constitution of J&K, 1957, the top court said, “It is clear that the state of Jammu & Kashmir has no vestige of sovereignty outside the Constitution of India and its own Constitution, which is subordinate to the Constitution of India… they (residents of state) are governed first by the Constitution of India and also by the Constitution of Jammu & Kashmir.” In a landmark ruling last year in July, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court said that the sovereignty of the state remained “legally and constitutionally” intact and could be challenged, altered or abridged. “The sovereignty of the State of J&K under the rule of Maharaja, even after signing of Instrument of Accession and in view of framing of its own Constitution, thus ‘legally and constitutionally remained intact and untampered’,” a division bench of the court said.The SC bench said that it found several parts of HC judgment in the appeal, which spoke about the absolute sovereign power of the state, disturbing. The judges said, “It is necessary to reiterate that Section 3 of the Constitution of Jammu & Kashmir, which was framed by a Constituent Assembly elected on the basis of universal adult franchise, makes a ringing declaration that the State of Jammu & Kashmir is and shall be an integral part of the Union of India. And this provision is beyond the pale of amendment.” It also said that that HC needs to be reminded that the state subjects are “first and foremost” Indian citizens and it was completely incorrect to describe it as being sovereign and as a separate and distinct class itself. “The residents of Jammu & Kashmir, we need to remind the High Court, are first and foremost citizens of India… permanent residents of the state of J&K are citizens of India, and that there is no dual citizenship as is contemplated by some other federal Constitutions in other parts of the world,” it said.The SC ruling came during a decision on a legal question on whether the 2002 SARFAESI Act is applicable to the state or if it is beyond the legislative competence of Parliament as the provisions will clash with Section 140 of the Transfer of Property Act of J&K. The HC bench had said in its ruling last year that the SARFAESI Act is not applicable to Jammu and Kashmir owing to this unique constitutional position. “Provisions of the Act can be availed of by the banks, which originate from the State of J&K, for securing the monies which are due to them and which have been advanced to the borrowers, who are not State subjects and residents of the State of J&K and who are non State subjects/non citizens of the State of J&K and residents of any other State of India excepting the State of J&K,” it said. The State Bank of India appealed against this High Court order.The SC has rejected the arguments of the state government that SAFRESI Act was not applicable to permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir and that it encroached upon the property rights. The state also said that Parliamentary legislation would need to concur with the state government before it could apply to it under Article 370. ““Entries 45 and 95 of List I clothe Parliament with exclusive power to make laws with respect to banking… the Act as a whole would necessarily operate in the state,” the SC bench said. It added that there was a special provision for sale of properties in the state under SAFRESI Act.“It is clear that anything that comes in the way of SARFAESI by way of a Jammu & Kashmir law must necessarily give way to the said law,” said SC judgment, adding that it had no on effect on Article 35A which gives permanent residents of state special rights and privileges regarding acquisition of immovable property in the state.
Violence is immortal. Out of helplessness, it is predicted; out of fear, it is anticipated. It breaks into the warm walls of the psyche and freezes in one dark corner of it. Time and again, it sends chills down the spine. Since 2012, on each 16 December, a sharp coldness returns to stab Delhi in the back. This was the night that turned a 23-year-old paramedic, against her will, into a symbol of oppression against women. Raped, injured and left to die on a busy Delhi road, her own identity had an anonymous end. Jyoti Singh lives on as Nirbhaya, a reminder that violence lives next door.
Back then, debates on moral conditioning and legal action took off like missiles, turning public discourse into a battlefield of spontaneous opinions. But there was one more factor that needed some serious addressing, and it still does. Her rapists had a history of drug addiction.
For over 25,000 drug addicts in need of urgent relief in the capital, the government offers only five drug de-addiction centres, which too are jointly run by NGOs and are struggling for clearance of funds. Why doesn’t the 2013 Mental Health Care Bill feature a provision for rescue services, where the doctors have the right to pick up addicts from the street and cure them?
Drugs are about denial and quite rarely will an addict want to believe that he or she is in need of help; even families and friends don’t want to accept it as a problem. Hemant Kumar, a family counsellor at the Nasha Mukti Kendra in Amberhai in Dwarka, Delhi was an addict for nearly two decades. He says that there is great restlessness and a wave of nastiness that takes over an addict and at that point acts like robbery, inflicting harm on someone, to raping or abusing a woman, become vents for the rage erupting inside. Are women in Delhi, then, not vulnerable at the hands of those afflicted with drug problems, who roam around uncured?
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), a total of 3,37,922 cases of crime against women (both under various sections of IPC and SLL) were reported in the country during the year 2014, as compared to 3,09,546 in the year 2013; thus showing an increase of 9.2 percent during the year 2014.
Incidents of incest rape (rape by blood relatives like father, brother etc.) in the country have increased by 25.7 percent during 2014 over the previous year (from 536 cases in 2013 to 674 cases in 2014). Delhi (140 cases with 144 victims) has reported the highest number of such incidents followed by Maharashtra (94 cases with 102 victims) and Kerala (62 cases with 63 victims). There were 713 victims for 674 reported incest rape cases in the country during the year 2014.
Crimes have continuously increased during 2010-2014 with 2,13,585 cases reported in 2010, which increased to 2,28,649 cases in 2011, which further increased to 2,44,270 cases in 2012 and 3,09,546 cases in 2013. In 2014, a total of 3,37,922 such cases were reported.
The rate for crimes against women was reported as 56.3 in 2014. Delhi has reported the highest crime rate (169.1) compared to 56.3 at all India level during the year 2014, followed by Assam (123.4), Rajasthan (91.4), Tripura (88.0), West Bengal (85.4), Madhya Pradesh (79.0) and Telangana (78.3).
Rape cases in the capital are registered by the police, who give the statistics to the NCRB and are reported by the media. But what about women in conflict zones, where an overcast of political complications shadows the crimes against them?
“In Kashmir, women have directly and indirectly been victims of violence, I would say, survivors of violence. Whether it is a women being raped, beaten up or humiliated by the government forces or even often due to domestic violence. The indirect impact of violence on women has also been when their male family members are subjected to torture, killing or kidnappings by the forces. When a son is arrested, it is the mother who faces the impact of it or if her husband has been arrested or treated inhumanely,” said Fahad Shah , a journalist and writer from Kashmir.
Munaza Rashid, lawyer at the Kashmir High Court, said that Jyoti Singh’s rape wasn’t planned. In Kashmir, assaults against women in villages are planned. “During the recent agitation that has lasted five months, there were plenty of reports about pellets being fired at the men but no one talked about how the armed forces go and attack the homes of the protesters, where the wives and daughters of these men are. They know what will hurt these men the most. In some cases, in the name of a combing operation, they intrude into their private belongings – sanitary pads and undergarments – and perform an act of mental molestation,” Rashid said.
She explains that if this issue is raised, it will be perceived as an attempt to malign the forces. She says that women’s issues in Kashmir need to be raised by women’s voices that are independent and not bound by the Hurriyat or political agenda. Since three years, she informs, civil society activism has grown and women are finding a platform to open up in front of other women.
In 2014, 23 February was declared Kashmiri Women’s Resistance Day. On this day, in 1991, a Battalion of the 4th Rajputana Rifles of the 68th Brigade had conducted a cordon-and search operation in the adjacent Kunan- Poshpora villages in Kupwara.
The villagers allege that when the army cordoned off the village, the men were taken to a field for interrogation overnight and the women were gang-raped in their homes. “In North Kashmir, three to four years ago, a woman’s husband was in jail. Whenever she went to visit him, she’d be raped by the jailer. To protect her husband from his onslaught, she kept quiet,” informs Ifrah Butt of J&K Coalition of Civil Society, research and advocacy based in Srinagar.
At a sessions court during the hearing of the Kunan-Poshpora case, a senior Army counsel had said, recounts Butt, that it is like ”flogging a dead horse”, implying that the women should let go of it.
In the North East, another part of the country torn by violence, women are fighting another kind of battle. More than 15,000 women were raped in Assam in the last 15 years. On 12 December, to commemorate Nupi Lan or Women’s War that was fought in 1904 and 1939, the Representation of Women in Peace Negotiations Bill, 2016 was submitted to the Parliament.
“We have proposed the framework of a peace committee for women that will be their voice in governance,” said Kalyani Mathur, Project Officer at Control Arms Foundation of India. Sadly, only two women have participated in the 17 peace talks on the North East.
“The government only talks to men with guns. Women have been absent in every form of decision making. We want to change the power-dynamic,” said Binalakshmi Nepram, founder of the Manipur Gun Survivors Network, which has saved and help rebuild more than 20,000 lives displaced and damaged by violence.
In the capital, there is a concentration of five to seven lakh Indians from the North East and 66 percent come here for higher studies. In a place like Manipur, explains Nepram, a three year degree will take five years because of constant combing operations, bandhs and lockdowns. Once, a lock down had lasted for 100 days, she recounts.
When they migrate to Delhi, there’s a great chance that they will be perceived as ‘sexually available’, owing to differences that stem, quite naively and only, from culture. In 2014, the rape of girl by a Phd-IIT scholar was being portrayed as a case of stove-burning by the Police, till the girl’s sister demanded a second post-mortem and strangulation marks were detected.
Multiple cases of rape and murder of North Eastern girls have surfaced in Munirka, South Delhi, in the last three to four years. “After the Jyoti Singh incident, we submitted recommendations for special protection measures for rape in conflict areas. Justice Verma recorded it in his almost 600-page document, but when the Government of India drafted the Anti Rape Law, the whole section of rape in conflict areas had been taken out,” she said. The Delhi office of CAFI has counselled many rape victims from the North East and even packed their bodies and sent them back home.
‘Ache waqton ki tammana mein rahee umra rawaan’. It seems that women in the country will have to wait a long time to witness good times, where they can feel safe and free.
First Published On : Dec 17, 2016 09:35 IST
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After two days of normalcy, life was again affected in Kashmir Valley on Friday due to a strike called by separatists as part of their agitation programme to protest the killing of civilians during the unrest and in support of their other demands. Most of the shops, fuel stations and other business establishments in Srinagar, the summer capital of the state, were shut, while public transport was minimal, officials said.The effect of the strike was accentuated by a public holiday in Kashmir on Friday, they said. Reports of shutdown were also received from most of the other district headquarters of the Valley, the officials said.On Wednesday, the separatist groups — both factions of Hurriyat Conference and JKLF — had scaled down their strike call from five days a week to two days. They have extended the protest programme till the end of this month and have asked people to observe shutdown on Fridays and Saturdays.The separatists have been spearheading the agitation since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces in south Kashmir on July 8. The more than five-month unrest in the Valley has left 86 people dead and thousands others, including 5,000 security personnel, injured.
New Delhi: NIA is likely to file a comprehensive chargesheet in the Pathankot airbase terror attack next week, naming Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar, along with his brother Rauf Asghar, as accused.
The charge sheet is likely to highlight the role of Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group in spreading mayhem in India and refer to the nefarious plans of the outfit, sources said.
Immediately after the Pathankot incident, Rauf had hosted a video message claiming the responsibility for the terror strike and glorified the role of his brother Azhar, who was released in exchange for passengers of hijacked Indian Airlines plane IC-814 in 1999.
India will be using the charge sheet of NIA at various international fora to highlight the role of Masood Azhar in the case relating to the Pathankot terror strike carried out on 2 January this year.
Launch of a diplomatic offensive against the Jaish and its chief Masood Azhar became an imperative after China continued to spurn efforts of India in getting UN sanctions against the terrorist and his group.
The Home Ministry had given sanction to NIA to file the charge sheet against Azhar, his brother and two handlers of four terrorists — Qashif Jan and Shaid Latif, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
The four terrorists, after entering into India from Bamiyal area of Gurdaspur, had carried out the strike at the Pathankot IAF base killing eight people including seven personnel of IAF and NSG.
The charge sheet will name four terrorists involved in the attack as against six claimed by NSG.
According to NIA, the terrorists, who were killed after two days of gunfight, were identified as Nasir Hussain, Hafiz Abu Bakar, Umar Farooq and Abdul Qayum and they were residents of Vehari (Punjab), Gujranwala (Punjab), Sanghar (Sindh) and Sukkur (Sindh) of Pakistan respectively.
The charge sheet will also include evidence of linking the footprints of one of the terrorists obtained from Bamiyal besides matching of DNA sample found from a soft- drink can in the hijacked car of Punjab Superintendent of Police Salwinder Singh.
The Pathankot terror strike had seen a joint investigation team from Pakistan also arriving in India for carrying out a thorough probe.
However, the Pakistani team, upon their return, claimed that India neither shared much of evidence nor allowed it to interrogate the security personnel involved in dealing with the attack.
First Published On : Dec 16, 2016 18:06 IST
Poonch (J&K): After a lull of over three weeks, the ceasefire on the LoC was violated again with Pakistani army on Friday, resorting to heavy cross-border firing at Indian posts and civilians areas in Balakote sector of Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district.
“Pakistani army violated ceasefire, targeting Indian positions along the Line of Control in Balakote sector. The firing started at 0900 hours continued till 1000 hours. Our soldiers gave a befitting reply,” an army official said.
The ceasefire breach comes after a lull of over three weeks. Two BSF jawans were injured in shelling by Pakistani troops along the LoC on 23 November, a day after three Indian soldiers were killed and the body of one of them was mutilated in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.
A senior police officer said shells fired by the Pakistani troops landed in civilian areas in the sector. However, there was no report of loss of life or injury to anyone.
The Pakistani army said one civilian was killed and four school children were injured on their side in the exchange of fire.
First Published On : Dec 16, 2016 15:41 IST
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan has violated ceasefire in in Balakote sector of Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir.Indian forces are responding to the firing.The violation comes just two days after BSF and Pakistan rangers had held a flag meeting since heavy ceasefire violation last month post surgical strike and both committed to maintain peace and tranquility along International Border (IB) in Jammu frontier.Last month, there were over 190 ceasefire violations by Pakistan troops along IB in Jammu frontier in which 13 people including 4 BSF personnel were killed and several injured.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a move to curb the menace of drunken driving, the Supreme Court banned liquor shops along national and state highways on Thursday. Stressing the importance and the need to improve road safety, a bench led by Chief Justice of India T S Thakur further ordered that no liquor shops can operate or been seen within 500 metres of the highways.Liquor shops that are functional have been allowed to operate till April 1, 2017, however, licenses will be not be renewed or issued post March 31, 2017. The bench has ordered the chief secretaries of all the states to chalk out a plan to enforce the ban in consultation with excise and municipal officials.The SC gave this directive in response to a PIL filed by the NGO Arrive Safe. According to the NGO, around 1.42 lakh people were killed in road accidents, a majority of which were caused by drunk driving. The NGO claimed that the easy availability of liquor along highways was one of the main reasons for the road accidents.While reserving its order on December 7, the apex court had then expressed its concern over the fatalities reported every year in road mishaps, and indicated that it may direct the closure of liquor vends on national and state highways across the nation. The bench had also stated that it would direct the removal of the signages indicating their location. This move, the bench said was for the safety and security of the commuters on the highways who got “distracted” by seeing the shops and causing accidents.Expressed his unhappiness at the states’ inaction to curb the rising number of shops, Justice Thakur said, “We would not like any vends on national highways, state highways, advertisements, or signage about the availability of liquor shops. We will direct all highway authorities to remove all sign boards. It should be absolutely free from any distraction or attractions. It should not be visible. Visibility is the first temptation.”The bench pointed out that instead of curbing the number of shops, states had increased the number of licenses issued. Lashing out at the Central government for not doing anything concrete for the last 10 years, the court said it was forced to “step in.”The ban order came when the apex court was hearing petitions challenging various high court orders that disapproved the sale of liquor on highways. However, not all states were in the favour of the ban. Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab were in the forefront of voicing their opposition to the ban.The court heavily came down on the Punjab government for seeking relaxation and permitting liquor shops near highways if they are “elevated” ones and the vends are under or near it. “Look at the number of licences you (Punjab) have given. Because the liquor lobby is so powerful, everyone is happy. The excise department is happy, the excise minister is happy and the state government is also happy that they are making money. If a person dies due to this, you give Rs one or 1.5 lakh. That is it. You should take a stand which is helpful for the society,” the bench had said.The court also criticised Punjab for defending the interest of the liquor lobby saying, “You are acting like a mouthpiece for the liquor lobby by defending the policy.” The advocate representing Punjab appealed to the bench that also comprised of the CJI along with Justices D Y Chandrachud and L Nageshwar Rao, that the ban should be made effective from April 1, 2017 to avoid a loss of Rs. 1,000 crore to the exchequer.To the Jammu and Kashmir government, the apex court had said “You can start a door delivery of liquor,” in response to their argument that if the vends are away from the highway, people would have problems accessing them due to the terrains.Dry states (and union territories) in IndiaGujaratBiharNagalandLakhswadeepKerela (partial ban)State Actions against AlcoholRecently deceased Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha shut down 500 liquor stores on May 23, the first day of her fourth term as Chief Minister.In Bihar, the government issued a notification where those consuming alcohol could be jailed for up to seven years and fined by Rs 1 lakh to Rs 10 lakh, two days after the Patna High Court quashed its order on banning alcohol consumption.
It is slowly becoming a trend that may prove costly. Post the killing of Burhan Wani, militants are resorting to robbing banks in the Kashmir Valley, allegedly to deal with the cash crunch that has hit their ranks following demonetisation.
Within a month, at least two such incidents were reported, in which more than Rs 50 lakhs were robbed from different branches of the Jammu and Kashmir Bank. Cops are clueless, so are the bank officials.
The latest incident happened on Thursday when unidentified suspects targeted a J&K bank branch in Ratnipora of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
According to sources, the suspects rouged up the bank employees, including a physically challenged man, before escaping with Rs 11 lakhs cash.
“I tried to reason with a gunman that I was disabled and would do them no harm. But he twisted my arm and thrashed me, while the others rounded us up in a corner,” said Masoor Ahmad, a bank employee.
Although the J&K police was quick to cordon off the area in Ratnipora village, but the suspects managed to flee undetected and unharmed.
The incident took place exactly a week after unidentified suspects, again believed to be militants, decamped with more than Rs 8 lakhs from another branch of J&K Bank in south Kashmir’s Arihal on 8 December.
The suspects fired aerial shots to create panic before leaving the spot. No arrests have been made in the case. Police and other security agencies have linked the robbery to demonetisation.
This is the fourth such incident of bank robbery after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the scrapping of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.
In the 8 November surprise announcement, Modi had said that one of the key targets of the move was to stop militants from using counterfeit Indian currency. But it had little bearing on terror networks. In two instances, J&K police recovered new currency notes from militants killed in encounters after 8 November.
A senior officer of the J&K Bank, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they have posted guards from private security agencies outside banks and ATMs, cops are posted outside bank branches in sensitive areas.
“The private security guards are armed with an outdated gun which makes the bank even more vulnerable to attacks. These attacks are of course unfortunate but we are helpless. How can one security guard deal with four men armed with AK-47 rifles,” he said.
On 21 November, a group of suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba workers, robbed a central Kashmir branch of the J&K Bank in Malpora village from where they took at least Rs 14 lakh. They have been arrested by the police.
A senior police officer said that faces of the bank robbers of Ratnipora branch have been captured in CCTV footage. “This is the same group of people who have also carried out other bank robberies recently,” Superintendent of Police, Pulwama, Rayees Mohammad Bhat told Firstpost.
“There is no doubt in our minds about who are behind these robberies, we will arrest them soon,” he added.
First Published On : Dec 15, 2016 18:35 IST
Thu, 15 Dec 2016-03:23pm , Pulwama , ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> In yet another incident of robbery, the terrorists looted Rs 11 lakh from Jammu and Kashmir Bank’s Ratnipora branch here on Wednesday.A similar incident had taken place earlier on December 8 when unidentified men targeted the same bank’s branch in Pulwama, looting Rs 13.38 lakh.Several cases of bank loot have come to the fore in the state post the demonetization move announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8.
Chandigarh: Security agencies sounded an alert in the border belt of Pathankot in North Punjab on Thursday morning after an abandoned car was found there and villagers told the police that some suspicious people were spotted earlier.
The Punjab Police and other security agencies were carrying out searches in the area, police officers said.
Pathankot district police chief Rakesh Kaushal said that the car was found abandoned near Farwal village, close to the India-Pakistan international border. The vehicle was being searched.
It had a number plate of neighbouring troubled state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Bamiyal sector, where the car was found, is close to the border of Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir’s border with Pakistan.
Terrorists from Pakistan had infiltrated from this area earlier. The terror attack on Pathankot airbase on 2 January, was carried out by terrorists who had used the route from this sector to enter India.
First Published On : Dec 15, 2016 12:13 IST
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> There is no proposal to reduce the strength of Indian High Commission in Islamabad, the government said on Wednesday. Eight Indian officials have come back in the last two months after Pakistan levelled “baseless allegations” against them and endangered their safety and security by making their identity public. The “baseless allegation by Pakistan against these officials followed Pakistan’s decision to withdraw six Pakistani diplomats reportedly named by Mehmood Akhtar, who was apprehended by Indian law enforcement authorities on October 27, 2016 while indulging in anti-India activities,” Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh said in a written reply in Lok Sabha. “The positions falling vacant in the Indian High Commission, Islamabad consequent to the return of the aforementioned eight officials to India are to be filled through normal administrative process. There is no proposal with the government to reduce the strength of the High Commission,” Singh said.Singh also said while change in the leadership of Pakistan’s State institutions, including its army is an internal matter, there has been a sustained escalation this year of cross-border terrorism and infiltration of armed terrorists across IB and LoC tasked to carry out terror acts in Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere in India. He was asked whether heightened diplomatic and border tension between the two countries is a creation by ISI to dictate its terms in the matter of succession to its current chief.The minister further said the government has reminded Pakistan through military and diplomatic channels about its responsibility to stop all terrorism directed against India, emanating from territories under Pakistan’s control.
Srinagar: A militant was killed on Wednesday in an encounter with security forces in Anantnag district while another ultra was trapped in a cordon in Sopore area of north Kashmir, police said here.
Militants opened fire on a patrol party of army at Beewra in Srigufwara area of Anantnag district this morning, a police official said. He said the army personnel retaliated, triggering a gunbattle.
ANI reported that top Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Abu Bakr has been killed in Sopore district in Jammu and Kashmir by security forces.
One militant, identified as Basit Ahmad Dar, was killed in the encounter. Dar had recently joined Hizbul Mujahideen militant outfit.
In another counter-insurgency operation, a militant –believed to be a foreigner — was trapped in a house in Bomai area of Sopore in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, the official said.
He said further details of the incident were awaited.
First Published On : Dec 14, 2016 15:17 IST
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An encounter between the security forces and terrorists is underway on Wednesday in Bomai area of Sopore in Baramulla, Jammu and Kashmir, reports the Financial Express. The army and the police have cordoned off the area and have launched search operations where terrorists are believed to be hiding.Meanwhile in a separate incident, a terrorist has been killed in an encounter with security forces in Bijbehara, Anantnag in Jammu and Kashmir. In a heavy gunfire on December 8, three Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists were killed in an encounter in Arwani area of Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag.With ANI inputs.
Senior BJP leader and former external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha said on Tuesday that his civil society group was trying to convince New Delhi to invite separatist leaders from Kashmir for talks and to hold unconditional dialogue with them to resolve the long pending issue of insurgency in the Valley.
“After our first visit, we interacted with people in Delhi and we apprised them about the ground reality in Kashmir through our reports and interactions,” Sinha told Firstpost.
Sinha, who is leading a civil society delegation — comprising Kashmir observers like Wajahat Habibullah, Sushoba Bharve, and former air vice-marshal Kapil Kak — said that though his group doesn’t enjoy a mandate from the government of India, the two visits did yield a positive outcome.
“Building trust and acceptance on both sides is important to have a meaningful conversation and to search for solutions,” Sinha said. “If our previous visit would have been a non-starter, we wouldn’t have come back for a second time.”
The group is visiting the state at a time when the Valley is witnessing one of longest shutdowns in history. Nearly 100 people have been killed in retaliatory action against protesters by government forces, over 12,000 protesters have been wounded — many of them blinded for life, and around 7,000 are either behind bars or detained in their homes.
“We had to build trust with the people and then start work. It’s not easy because of the mistakes previously committed. And though we don’t have the government’s mandate, we can try to influence the policy makers,” Sinha said.
However, the group’s visit has been clouded by the unceremonious binning of the report prepared by the three-member Kashmir interlocutor group headed by Dilip Padgaonkar, which was sent by the UPA government to provide a roadmap following the civilian uprising in 2010. It also meant there wasn’t much hope from the new delegation, other than providing the members an opportunity to meet with society.
In a curt six-page report, the group has written to the central government that the people of Kashmir believe that “Indian politics has taken such a turn (today) that there is no willingness to listen to even demands for autonomy. In terms of the agenda of alliance (between PDP and BJP), a dialogue process must be initiated with all stakeholders so that peace can be restored,” the report says.
Sinha had said that it is true that such processes had failed in the past, but they have started the process once again with a hope that any positive outcome will be yielded, due to which they chose to visit the Valley a second time. “The dialogue we have had from three days with people from different shade of opinion was fruitful,” he said.
First Published On : Dec 13, 2016 21:45 IST
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An ex-army man from Pakistan was arrested by BSF while he was trying to sneak into the country from the International Border (IB) along Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir.The intruder, who was nabbed last evening, has been identified as Mohammed, 65, of village-Gandyal in Pasroor tehsil of Sialkot, which is in Pakistan’s Punjab province, a senior BSF officer said, adding that the man disclosed that he had retired from Pakistan army.”Late last evening, alert BSF troops noticed suspicious movement on Pakistani side near the fence in Ramgarh Sector and they fired a few rounds,” a senior BSF officer said.The officer said visibility was hindered due to fog and wild growth.”Later, at some distance at about 01:00 hours, a BSF jawan on duty again observed suspicious movement of a person in front of a fence on Indian side of IB,” he said.The intruder was forced to surrender and was arrested, the officer said.
Pakistani media has hailed the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project as a game changer. Pakistan is optimistic that China is about to transform their country with the $46 billion project. Interestingly, this corridor also runs through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), which is likely to make Prime Minister Narendra Modi uncomfortable.
There is, however, a new player in this game. Donald Trump — the President-elect of the United States — recently held talks with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. According to a report by Pakistani daily Dawn, Trump said, “Your country is amazing with tremendous opportunities. Pakistanis are one of the most intelligent people. I am ready and willing to play any role that you want me to play to address and find solutions to the outstanding problems.”
Trump’s remarks on Pakistan’s ‘outstanding problems’ has posed a serious question over US’ involvement in India-Pakistan ties and his stance on the CPEC project which makes China a dominant player in the South-Asian region. Many hailed Trump’s phone call and the upcoming CPEC project which will provide Pakistan the economic boost it requires.
Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, 43, who is under house arrest, told The Economic Times, “We had zero expectation from Trump, considering the discourse during his election campaign. However, Trump’s phone call to Pakistan, and the remarks of Vice-President-elect Mike Pence on Kashmir are very important. I guess South Asia is going to be the focus for the new dispensation in the US. If Trump administration gets involved in the region, it will be a huge diplomatic shift, which would help us.”
When asked how does he thinks CPEC will impact Jammu and Kashmir politics, he said that the project poses a good opportunity for J&K and allows them to be a part of the Silk Route once again. He said, “We can be part of the CPEC, even before the resolution of Kashmir issue and become a part of the Central Asian discourse rather than South Asian discourse. Kashmir can be gateway for India as well.” He was optimistic about India’s involvement in the project and noted 2017 will be an interesting year as economic and political equations are changing amid Trump’s victory and the engagement of many countries in CPEC.
However, it is a well-known fact that Pakistan has been feeling the pressure from global powers after India took a strong stance against Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in light of the 2016 Uri attack in which 18 Indian soldiers were killed. The dip in relations with America was reflected in the US bill introduced on 20 September which sought to officially designate Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism.
Pakistan in turn has taken the route to gaining grace in China and treating it as a new source of weapons and economic growth. The CPEC reflects the growing friendship between China and Pakistan. As an emerging superpower, China has proven to be a thorn in America’s side. The US has been monitoring the Pakistan-China relations, but has not directly intervened.
India, on the other hand, is trying to balance the scales with Pakistan by trying to make its own inroads in China through the development of a road spanning Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar (BCIM) which is a 2,800 km-long corridor that starts from Kolkata and passes through Bangladesh and Myanmar before ending at Kunming in China.
China’s growing favour towards the success of CPEC has made Modi uneasy which was reflected during the bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit in September where Modi raised India’s concerns over the CPEC being laid through PoK.
Besides a host of energy-related projects, the CPEC consists of rail, road and pipelines to ferry oil and gas from Gwadar port on Arabian Sea to Kashghar in China’s Muslim-dominated Xinjiang province through PoK.
Maybe Trump’s victory will play a significant role in the growing tension between India-Pakistan, but the official stance as of now is that the US will be a ‘peaceful mediator’. Only time will tell if that is the case.
With input from agencies
First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 20:14 IST
Islamabad: India’s dream of splitting Pakistan into several geographical entities is “nothing but a fallacy”, Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan said on Monday, a day after Home Minister Rajnath Singh warned that Pakistan would get “splintered” into 10 pieces if it failed to quell terrorism.
“BJP’s dream of splitting Pakistan is nothing but a fallacy,” Nisar said, describing Rajnath’s remarks as just a “shallow claim”.
“India is being divided not by any other country, but its own policies,” Khan was quoted as saying by Radio Pakistan.
Addressing a Martyrs’ Day function in Kathua district in Jammu and Kashmir, Singh said on Sunday, “Pakistan came into existence after India got divided on religious lines but it could not keep itself united. In 1971, it got split into two and, if it does not mend its ways, it will get splintered into 10 pieces and India will have no role in it.”
Responding to Singh’s remarks, Khan claimed that life has become miserable for minorities in India and they are “facing risks and threats under the Modi government.”
“Indian government has erected a wall of hatred in the whole country. BJP government’s hands are stained with the blood of innocent Kashmiris,” he said.
Khan went on to accuse India of openly interfering in Balochistan and other parts of Pakistan.
“We wish peace in the region, however, will not accept Indian hegemony,” he asserted.
Khan claimed arrest of Kulbhushan Jadhav and other Indian agents in Pakistan is “clear proof of Indian meddling into Pakistan affairs.”
Jadhav, who was reportedly arrested in Balochistan after he entered from Iran, has been accused by Pakistan of planning “subversive activities” in the country.
First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 20:05 IST
<!– /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.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Launching a frontal attack on Pakistan, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said terrorism is the weapon of cowards and added that India would give a befitting reply to the unprovoked ceasefire violations from the other side of the border.Singh, who was addressing a rally during the ‘Shahidi Diwas’ programme in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua, said Pakistan needs to mend its ways.”Pakistan should understand that terrorism is not the weapon of brave, but of cowards,” he said.Speaking on issue of several youth joining the ISIS, Singh said, “They (ISIS) never got foothold in India because India doesn’t support terrorism.”Referring to the surgical strike by the Indian Army post the Uri terror attack, he said, “I want to assure that this government will never let India to bow its head before anyone and will always give befitting reply to Pakistan’s attack.”Earlier in the day, Singh along with Minister of State in PMO Dr Jitendra Singh paid homage to martyrs.The Home Minister is also likely to review the security situation of the state, particularly along the Line of Control and International Border.