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Property Act: Opposition to SC ruling ‘misplaced’, says J&K finance minister Drabu

<!– /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.

China blocks India’s request for U.N. to blacklist Masood Azhar | Reuters

NEW DELHI China has blocked India’s request to add the head of the Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad to a U.N. Security Council blacklist of groups linked to al Qaeda, India said on Friday.India has accused Jaish-e-Mohammad and its top leader, Maulana Masood Azhar, of masterminding several attacks, including a deadly assault on an Indian air base in January.Pakistani security officials interrogated Azhar and his associates after the attack, and said they found no evidence linking him to it.Jaish-e-Mohammad has already been blacklisted by the 15-nation Security Council, but not Azhar, an Islamist hardliner and long-time foe of India.Foreign ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said that India had requested that Azhar be added to the list nine months ago and had received strong backing from all other members of the council.But China, which put a hold on the move in April, had now blocked it, he said.

“We had expected China would have been more understanding of the danger posed to all by terrorism,” he said in a statement.Swarup added that the inability of the international community to take the step showed the “prevalence of double standards in the fight against terrorism”.China’s foreign ministry said there were different views about the case, so China had put forward a “technical shelving” to give more time for consultation, but that regretfully no consensus had been reached.

China’s aim is to maintain the authority and effectiveness of name listing by the committee discussing the case, which accords with Security Council resolutions and is the responsible thing to do, it said in a statement sent to Reuters.China will continue to maintain communication with all parties, it added.

India has long accused its neighbour and rival Pakistan of using Jaish-e-Mohammad as a proxy to mount attacks on Indian soil, including in the disputed Kashmir region, and earlier gave what it called “actionable intelligence” to Pakistan, including telephone intercepts.Pakistan denies giving any aid to Kashmir-based militants.If Azhar was blacklisted by the U.N. Security Council, he would face a global travel ban and asset freeze. (Reporting by Paritosh Bansal in NEW DELHI and Ben Blanchard in BEIJING; editing by Mike Collett-White and Jason Neely)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

First Published On : Dec 30, 2016 19:02 IST

China blocks proposal at UN to list Masood Azhar as terrorist; India dismayed at ‘double standards’

New Delhi: China on Friday finally blocked India’s proposal to list Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief and Pathankot mastermind Masood Azhar as a designated terrorist by the UN, triggering a sharp reaction from New Delhi which termed it as “unfortunate blow” and a step that confirms prevalence of double standards in the fight against terrorism.

With China blocking India’s proposal, which was submitted in February to the 1267 Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council, New Delhi has to make a fresh listing request for Azhar to be banned by the global body, officials said.

After its submission, China twice imposed “technical” hold on the Indian proposal.

File photo of Azhar Masood. Reuters

File photo of Masood Azhar. Reuters

However, India said it will continue to push forward with resolute determination “through the use of all options available with us to bring perpetrators of terrorist violence to justice”.

Asserting that its submission received the strong backing of all other members of the 15-member Sanctions Committee, External Affairs Ministry said, “We note with concern China’s decision to block the proposal to list Masood Azhar…”

The international community is aware that the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed which is proscribed by the United Nations, has been responsible for innumerable terrorist attacks on India including the Pathankot Air Base attack.

“The inability of the international community to list its leader Masood Azhar is an unfortunate blow to the concerted efforts to effectively counter all forms of terrorism, and confirms prevalence of double standards in the fight against terrorism.”

MEA Spokesperson Vikas Swarup also said the decision by Beijing is surprising as China itself has been affected by the scourge of terrorism and has declared opposition to all forms of terrorism.

“As a consequence of this decision, the UN Security Council has again been prevented from acting against the leader of a listed terrorist organisation. We had expected China would have been more understanding of the danger posed to all by terrorism and would join India and others in fighting the common challenge of terrorism,” he added.

First Published On : Dec 30, 2016 18:10 IST

Air Chief Marshal Raha takes swipe at China, rejects concerns about Agni-V

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Brushing aside Chinese reaction on the test firing of long-range nuclear capable missile Agni-V, IAF chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha on Wednesday said India should carry on with its task of building deterrence capability.In an apparent swipe at China, he said one should not talk about someone else doing something unless it is prohibited like nuclear proliferation and went on to add that it is “common knowledge” as to what is happening in this region “in terms of collusion, transfer of technology which is forbidden”. Underlining that India is only building up its deterrence capability, Raha, who is also the Chairman Chief of Staff Committee, said the country will have to build its capability “in order to strike deep into adversary’s heartland” which will act as a deterrent.The Agni V missile, with an over 5000 km range, covers the entire China. Reacting to the missile test-firing, Chinese Foreign Ministry had yesterday hoped that it complied with UN Security Council rules and safeguarded South Asia’s strategic balance. “I think in international diplomacy, normal diplomacy or military diplomacy, these posturing and signalling will always be there. “So we should just go about with our task, meet our own requirements, security challenges,” Raha said addressing a press conference here days before he demotes office on December 31.Not mincing words, Raha said he will not like to comment on what somebody else is doing unless it is prohibited. “Like nuclear proliferation, which is common knowledge to everyone, what is happening in this region, in terms of collusion, transfer of technology which is forbidden. This is all common knowledge. I am not saying something new,” he said, without naming any country. The IAF chief stated that India is legitimately developing its capability indigenously and he does not think anyone should complain about it.Raha said India is “obviously building up” capability not to actually fight a conflict as it believes in peace and tranquillity. “But we also know we have been drawn into conflicts several times in the past. So going by historical experience, we have to build our capability. Capability to deter. How do we deter an adversary who is strong? We have to build up capability in order to strike deep into adversary’s heartland, take on targets effectively which will hurt the adversary,” he said.

Suspicious movement in Valley, forces open fire at 2 places

Wed, 28 Dec 2016-12:20am , Srinagar , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Security forces on Tuesday opened fire at two places in south Kashmir after noticing suspicious movement of people, police said.Security force personnel fired several rounds in the air at Jablipora in Bijbehara area of Anantnag district after noticing some suspicious movement of people in an orchard, a police official said. However, no casualty was reported in the incident, he said.In another incident, security forces fired a few rounds after a three-wheeler ignored a signal to stop during checking at a mobile checkpoint in Lassipora of Pulwama district, the official said. He said while the three-wheeler sped away, security forces have cordoned off the area and launched search operations.

Agni V test firing: India’s nuke capabilities not targeted against any nation, says MEA

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Maintaining that its strategic capabilities were not targeted against any particular country, India on Tuesday said it abides by all applicable international obligations and expects others do the same, while responding to Chinese reaction to its test-firing of Agni V missile.”India’s strategic capabilities are not targeted against any particular country. India abides by all the applicable international obligations and hopes that all other do the same. “India’s strategic autonomy and growing engagement contributes to strategic stability,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.The Spokesperson’s remarks came after Chinese Foreign Ministry hoped that India’s test-firing of the nuclear-capable Agni-V intercontinental ballistic missile that could cover all of China complied with UN Security Council rules and safeguarded South Asia’s strategic balance. Even as Beijing maintained that the two nations are “not rivals for competition but partners for cooperation”, it took exception to media reports that the successful test of Agni-V was meant to target China.Foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying in Beijing said,” We have noted reports on India’s test fire of Agni-5 ballistic missile. The UN Security Council has explicit regulations on whether India can develop ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons”. “China always maintains that preserving the strategic balance and stability in South Asia is conducive to peace and prosperity of regional countries and beyond.” India had yesterday successfully test-fired Agni-V, the country’s most lethal nuclear-capable inter-continental ballistic missile with a range of over 5,000 kms that covers entire China which may also pave the way for user trial of the weapons system and its eventual induction into the Strategic Forces Command (SFC).

Gujarat government extends a helping hand, takes 220 fishermen released from Pakistan in custody

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The officials of the fisheries department of Gujarat Government took custody of 220 fishermen who were handed over by Pakistan to Indian agency, late on Monday night, a senior official said. “These fishermen were released from the Landhi jail in Karachi on December 25 as a goodwill gesture and were handed over to the Border Security Force (BSF) at the Wagah Border on Monday,” Ashok Patel, superintendent of the fisheries department of the Gujarat government said. “The team (of fisheries department) has been camping in Amritsar to make arrangements for bringing these fishermen back to Gujarat,” he said.Talking from Amritsar, Ramesh Makwana, one of the released fisherman, who hails from Tad village in Una taluka of Gir Somnath district, said, “We never expected release of 439 fishermen by Pakistan at one go and it came as a surprise for all of us. Another batch of 219 fishermen will be released on January 5, 2017.” “The Edhi Foundation a Karachi based non government organisation made arrangements for bringing us to Lahore from Karachi by a special train,” said the released fisherman.He thanked Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani among others for taking up the issue for their release with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who in turn took up the matter with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif.Makwana, while describing the harsh conditions in which they stayed in Pakistani jail, said, “They had to face lot of hardships as about 100 fishermen were kept in a single room in the prison and had to face mosquito menace.” He said they realised that they had entered into enemy territorial waters only after Pakistani Marine Security Agency (PMSA) nabbed them. “Most of us are sole bread earners of our family,” said Makwana.

91% pickpockets in Delhi metro are women

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Continuing the trend witnessed over the past few years, women constitute over 91% of pickpockets apprehended by the CISF in the Delhi Metro network in the national capital region. The force, that is tasked to provide armed security to Delhi Metro operations, apprehended a total of 479 pickpockets, out of which an overwhelming 438 were women, according to official data.The full-year data, updated till the middle of December, states that the security force undertook a little over 100 operations to check pick pocketing in the rapid rail lifeline of Delhi and its adjoining areas, that carries an estimated 26 lakh commuters every day. The overwhelming number of women indulging in these crimes has shown a constant trend over the last few years and the Central Industrial Security Force, after apprehending these women, hands them over to the Delhi Police for legal action under law.Recently, the CISF had unearthed a notorious gang of such women who had robbed a US-based Indian lady of her jewels and valuables while she was travelling in the Delhi Metro with her husband. “The figures state that women constitute over 91%(of the total pickpockets) in pick pocketing crimes in the Delhi Metro. “It has been found that the modus operandi of these women is to either carry a child or travel in a group to con and pick a purse or other valuables of a traveller, be it a man or a woman,” a senior official said.In order to check these crimes, the force regularly undertakes special operations and deploys women and men personnel in plain-clothes to keep an eye on trouble makers. Last year, 93%of the total number of pickpockets apprehended by the CISF in the Delhi Metro were women.In 2014, over 300 women were intercepted for these crimes making them about 94% of those held, while in 2013, of the total 466 pickpockets held across various stations of the Delhi Metro, 421 were women and the rest were men. This year, during the same time period till mid-December, the force also found 106 missing children and handed them over to their guardians or the station controlling authorities.

NDMC schools’ records to be digitised soon

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Soon, records of all schools registered under the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) will be available online.The Council is all set to launch the School Automation Software, digitalising records for admission, classrooms, timetable, and attendance of both teachers and students. “The project is in the final stage. The groundwork has been done and now the vendor has to be selected. The plan will come in to effect from the next session,” a senior NDMC official said. He further said it was becoming difficult to review schools’ performance due to shortage of manpower. “Records are maintained manually and registers are used to mark attendance, exam schedule, and so on for students. So, we came up with this idea as a part of Smart Classes,” he added. NDMC has set up 444 Smart Classes in its 30 schools, with e-learning facilities in Class VI-XII, to raise the standard of education.Computers, short throw projectors, white boards and CCTV cameras have been installed in several schools. Soon, students would also be given laptops to reduce the weight of school bags. The NDMC has roped in digital learning solutions provider Extra Marks Education for the initiative.Meanwhile, the Council is working to rope in retired education officers, who can adopt a school and mentor it in order to improve the quality of education. The Council had also organised a three-day School Science Fair with an aim to inculcate scientific temperament among schoolchildren.Over 500 students from 52 NDMC schools participated in the exhibition, where more than 155 models from four streams — science, work experience, mathematics and nursery exhibition — were displayed. Models were displayed on the theme of Food Security and Production, Disease Prevention and Cure, Research and Development in Industry, Sustainable Practices in Industry, Transportation and Communication, and Sustainable Environment and Green Energy.

DNA Morning Must Reads: Cong alleges Jung made to resign; Interview with Ex-NSA Shivshankar Menon; and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Jung made to resign as he wanted to release Shunglu Committee report: CongressDelhi Congress chief Ajay Maken has claimed Najeeb Jung made to resign as he wanted to release Shunglu Committee report. The Congress leader also alleged that there was a ‘deal’ between BJP and AAP on the matter. Read more.2. Malta hijack ends peacefully as Muammar Gaddafi loyalists surrenderLibyan plane hijackers surrender, weapons used in plane hijack appear to be replicas. Read more.3. You can’t make foreign policy based on domestic political issues: Shivshankar MenonFormer National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon shares some of the insights from his first book “Choices-Inside the Making of India’s Foreign Policy”. Read more.4. Defying pressure, US lets UN denounce Israeli settlementsUN Security Council denounces Israeli settlements, US abstains. Read more.5. Michael Clarke, Piers Morgan question Virat Kohli’s omissionIndia Test captain omitted from ICC 2016 Test team despite scoring over 1,200 runs in Test cricket. Read more.

Delhi: Rs 53 lakh in new notes seized from foreign national at IGI Airport

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In yet another cash haul from the national capital post demonetization, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) seized almost Rs. 54 lakhs in new currency at the Indira Gandhi International Airport. The money was seized from a foreign national, from whom Rs 4.29 lakh in old currency was also recovered. Earlier, the Income Tax department and the Crime Branch, in a joint operation, seized Rs 3.25 crore in old notes from a hotel in Karol Bagh area in Delhi. Since demonetization, there has been a spike in seizure of unclaimed cash and gold by the CISF. A special drive has been started at the airport to detect surplus cash being carried by passengers.Senior customs and CISF have been directed to keep a strict vigil over incoming and outgoing passengers. Meanwhile, in Assam, over2 crore 40 lakh new high value notes have been recovered from two different places and two youths from Meghalaya have been detained in this connection.Additional DGP Pallab Bhattacharya said the Income Tax officials seized a total of 2 crore 30 lakh new 2000 denomination notes from a businessman in Nagaon.In another incident, police recovered 12 lakh rupees of new notes at Azara near Guwahati by police. The Enforcement Directorate has been carrying out searches and enquiry at various places in the wake of demonetization.

US Embassy of India warns citizens of increased threat from Islamic State

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a grimly worded message the US Embassy in India warned its citizens after media reports indicated Islamic State’s desire to carry out terrorist attacks in India. They have been asked to be aware of an ‘increased threat to places in India frequented by Westerners.The US Embassy wrote on their website: “As we head into holiday season, please be reminded that recent Indian media reports indicate ISIL’s desire to attack targets in India. The U.S. Embassy warns of an increased threat to places in India frequented by Westerners, such as religious sites, markets, and festival venues. All U.S. citizens are reminded to maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness as detailed in the State Department’s Worldwide Caution of September 9, 2016.”

Amidst cashless drive, Deputy NSA worried about cyber attacks on banks

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With government pushing for cash-less economy, Deputy National Security Advisor Arvind Gupta asked banks on Tuesday to adopt a robust infrastructure so that digital transactions are secured. In the recent past, he said, several high profile attacks have taken place on the banks, “this is a worrying trend”. “Cyber security issues are now top of the national security agenda and such issues are given more importance than even the nuclear issues that used to top the international security agenda,” Gupta said.He also asked the banking industry to be more forthcoming in sharing the incidents of financial security frauds and helping in chalking out timely response. “Now, with India going towards less cash economy, major thrust for the government is to promote digital transactions, banking industry must make a robust infrastructure so that digital transactions are secured,” the Deputy NSA said.Terming cyber threats as a major challenge to both national and global security and economies, he said there was a need for clear legal framework to fix the responsibility in case of an attack that cripples networks and affects consumers. “Also, unlike the nuclear issue, the concept of deterrence in cyber space is somewhat restricted. Offence is easier than defence in cyber space. To attack is cheaper than to defend,” Gupta said.The Deputy NSA said cyber space knows no boundaries and cyber criminals and attackers cannot be tracked easily. The problem in jurisdiction in cyber space is difficult to resolve, he said. “It is difficult to attribute the source of attack in the cyber space, and non-attributability encourages the cyber criminals and attackers to undertake more such attacks,” Gupta said addressing a seminar on Cyber Security organised here by CII in partnership with Israel’s Tel Aviv University.With cyber space growing too rapidly and new products and services coming online everyday, the Deputy NSA said “It is difficult to keep track of the vulnerabilities that comes with these technologies. We are witnessing a rapid advances in technologies, both offensive and defensive, in cyber warfare.” Stressing that the governments have been entrusted with the leading role in cyber security matters related to national security, he said, “They cannot work alone, they need cooperation. Cooperation between government and industry is critical to any cyber defence strategy.” He said there was a need for regular and meaningful dialogue between various stakeholders particularly, the government, private sector and academia in creating an ecosystem for a robust cyber defence strategy.Addressing the seminar, Israel’s Ambassador to India Daniel Carmon said India and Israel have been cooperating in a number of fields including agriculture. “We will do the same in cyber security field,” he said.Carmon said there was a need for creating awareness sharing knowledge and getting prepared for such attacks.Expressing his country’s desire to share its expertise in the field of cyber security, he said, “We know how defend ourselves from physical as well as cyber attacks.” “Cyber diplomacy needs cyber protagonists and partners. We are sure that we have good kind of partner (as India). Cyber security is no longer a luxury but a necessity. Let’s imagine the unimaginable and get prepared,” the Israeli envoy said.Former Rajya Sabha MP Tarun Vijay stressed on the need to make the lawmakers aware about the issue and strengthen our own cyber instruments. He also stressed on the need to add cyber security in the school curriculum and proper faculty to train the trainers.

Four RSS men in poll-bound Punjab get VIP security cover from Centre

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Four RSS functionaries in poll- bound Punjab have been accorded a VIP security cover of paramilitary commandos by the Union government.Officials said the decision to accord an ‘X’ category security cover of CISF personnel was taken after central security agencies assessed that there was a threat to these leaders in view of an attack on Jalandhar-based Sangh leader Jagdish Gagneja early this year.The four Rashtriya Sawayamsevak Sangh leaders are Rameshwar Dass (Ludhiana), Pramod Ji (Amritsar), Ramgopal Ji (Jalandhar) and Kuldeep Ji Bhagat (Jalandhar).Sources said four separate Central Industrial Security Force teams will soon take over the task and a squad will be dispatched to Punjab.Under the ‘X’ category, about 5-6 armed commandos are deployed with each VIP, they said.A similar cover was recently accorded to a senior journalist of a TV news channel.The CISF has over 70 VIPs, including the new protectees, under it.RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval are among prominent VIPs protected by the CISF, tasked primarily to secure major civil airports and vital installations in the country.Elections to Punjab assembly are expected to be held in February-March next year along with four other states of Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Uttarakhand and Manipur.

Ajit Doval, Trump’s NSA-designate discuss Indo-US strategic ties

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>National Security Advisor Ajit Doval has met US president-elect Donald Trump’s NSA-designate Gen (rtd) Michael Flynn here and is believed to have discussed a wide range of regional and global strategic issues and explore ways to further Indo-US ties.During the conversation, Flynn is believed to have expressed his “high respect” for India’s growth in modern times and for its leadership, Indian embassy sources here said.Doval arrived in the US on Monday.It is understood that Flynn spoke to Doval over phone a few days ago, during which he invited Doval to come to the US for a meeting.The first meeting between the two, which is believed to have lasted for over an hour, was an opportunity for them to exchange notes and views on global issues, and how to further strengthen India-US “co operation and engagement in the months and years to come,” embassy sources said.Flynn also expressed his “optimism” about India-US engagement as the two leaders reviewed the entire relationship including strategic and economic aspects.

Supreme Court says indiscipline in armed forced to be viewed seriously

New Delhi: Indiscipline on part of security force personnel must be “viewed seriously” and deserting work by disobeying orders of superior officers is an act of “gross misconduct”, the Supreme Court has ruled. A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur also said that past conduct of a delinquent employee can be taken into consideration while imposing a penalty on him.

The court’s remarks came as it dealt with a plea filed by Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) against the Delhi High Court’s August 2014 judgement directing reinstatement of a constable, Abrar Ali, who was dismissed from service due to his alleged acts of indiscipline and misconduct.

In its verdict, the apex court held that though Ali was found guilty of deserting the force for a period of five days and not improving his conduct in spite of penalties imposed on him on three earlier occasions, the penalty of dismissal from service is “excessive and harsh” and “in our view, the penalty of compulsory retirement would meet the ends of justice”.

Supreme Court of India. Reuters

Supreme Court of India. Reuters

The bench, which also comprised Justices D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao, said “indiscipline on the part of a member of an armed force has to be viewed seriously. It is clear that the respondent (Ali) had intentionally disobeyed the orders of his superiors and deserted the force for a period of 5 days. Such desertion is an act of gross misconduct and the respondent deserves to be punished suitably.”

The bench directed that Ali shall be entitled for notional continuity of service till the date of completion of minimum service required to make him eligible for pension but he will not be entitled for payment of salary and allowances for that period.

Ali was appointed as a constable in CISF in September 1990 and in October 1999, an inquiry was proposed against him under the CISF Rules for allegations of misconduct and misbehavior. According to the charges, he was posted at CISF unit in Dhanbad when he had disobeyed the orders of his seniors and was habitual of committing indiscipline.

In November 2000, Commandant of CISF unit in Dhanbad held him guilty of all the charges levelled against him and he was ordered to be dismissed from service.

Ali then filed an appeal to the Deputy Inspector General of CISF. While he was exonerated of the charges of maligning the image of the force, his appeal was rejected in 2001.

After his revision plea against the order was dismissed by the Inspector General of CISF, Ali had approached the Delhi High Court which allowed his plea and asked CISF to reinstate him as constable with notional seniority in his rank.

First Published On : Dec 19, 2016 14:11 IST

India and Tajikistan faced by growing threat of terrorism, oppose the menance: Pranab Mukherjee

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>President Pranab Mukherjee has said that both India and Tajikistan are opposed to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. “As neighbours with a shared vision of peace and stability in our region, we both desire to strengthen our defence and security co-operation in order to effectively address our concerns. The world and particularly our region, is, today, faced by the growing threat of terrorism. Both India and Tajikistan are opposed to this menace in all its forms and manifestations,” President Mukherjee said on Saturday in his banquet speech hosted in honour of Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon.Asserting that development and progress of India’s utmost importance, President Mukherjee said the people of the nation as secular and pluralistic societies, desire to live in peace. “For us, development and progress of our nations is of utmost importance. We are also committed to assist our mutual friend and neighbour, Afghanistan, to realise the goals and aspirations of its people – through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process,” he added.Welcoming the President of Tajikistan to India, the President said his visit to the nation is on the eve of the 25th anniversary of India-Tajikistan diplomatic relations. “It bears testimony to the abiding friendship between the two nations and the value that we attach to our bilateral relations. India was among first countries to recognise emergence of Tajikistan on dissolution of the former Soviet Union. Over the last 24 years, we have had a fruitful co-operation,” he added.
ALSO READ PM Modi, Tajikistan President Rahmon hold bilateral talks, agree to work together on trade through Iran’s Chabahar PortPresident Mukherjee said India recognises the Tajikitan President’s role in ensuring peace and stability in Tajikistan which has a similar salutary effect in the region. Subsequently, in his banquet speech, President Mukherjee said India appreciates the close co-operation that we have in the United Nations and other international organizations. “India is grateful for Tajikistan’s support for her rightful claim to a permanent seat in the UN Security Council and its membership of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation,” he added.

Govt toughens guidelines for social media use in CAPFs, stipulates legal action on violations

New Delhi: With smart phones making huge proliferation in ranks of security forces, the government has issued fresh guidelines for regulating sharing of secret operational and service data on such platforms involving troops and officers of central paramilitary forces, violation of which will invite “strict legal action”.

The three-page guidelines, issued by the Home Ministry recently and notified to Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) headquarters in New Delhi, speak specifically of instances where force personnel have used personal cell phones to click pictures of an ongoing or concluded ambush or operation which later finds it way on media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram and others.

The directives state that these are a reiteration and enhancement of the existing directives in this regard, but address some specific issues.

Representational image. Reuters.Representational image. Reuters.

Representational image. Reuters.

The latest order by the Union Home Ministry said there was a “strong need” to issue the do’s and dont’s afresh as it “has come to the notice of government that there have been instances where mobile phones and cameras of force personnel have been used for operational coverage and sensitive material was uploaded on social media without official permission.”

The fresh directives stipulate legal action against defaulting personnel.

“Any such photo, video, among others are meant strictly for official use only and any unauthorised disclosure of confidential operations related information by uploading operational material onto social media sites is a serious breach of rules and may lead to charges being laid against offending force employees,” the guidelines, accessed by PTI, said.

However, senior officials in these forces pointed out a loophole in this directive, saying in a number of operations multiple agencies like state police and army are involved and as these guidelines are not applicable on them, there could still be chances and instances of an information breach and subsequent sharing of multimedia on Internet-based social media platforms.

The guidelines add that “divulging” of such information on social media without permission of competent authority is “against National Information Security Policy and guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs and government”.

The brief guidelines do not make it amply clear what is to be released and what is to be held back during operations and even what construes to be an operational activity, officials said, citing an instance mentioned in the new directives which state that videos of training drills of these men and women “discloses methodology” of forces which “directly compromise safety of officers and men in operations.”

The guidelines have also mandated that the respective chiefs (Directors General) of these forces like the Central Reserve Police Force, Border Security Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Central Industrial Security Force, Sashastra Seema Bal and the National Security Guard (NSG) will be the authorities mandated to clear release of pictures, videos, text and other information on “operations and other service matters” on social media either via the official handles of these forces or directly to the media (journalists).

The guidelines, framed after a number of meetings were held between senior officials of these forces and the Union Home Ministry in the last few months, stipulate that only official force cameras and recorders should be used to capture any picture or video of a captured or neutralised terrorist/militant and seizures of arms and ammunition made by them.

It adds that in case when official cameras or recorders are not available at the encounter spot and private cameras or cellphones are used in the aftermath of an operation it”should immediately be surrendered to the appropriate authority for official use with clearances of appropriate levels and then thereafter ensured that the same has been deleted from the private camera/smartphone among others.”

The new guidelines conclude that any violations of these points or any other standing order in this regard will invite “strict action against defaulters under the existing laws and rules.”

All the CAPFs, except NSG, now have their Twitter and Facebook handles and they post general information about the activities in their respective domains after obtaining clearances from the top command.

Officials estimate that over 75 percent of troops in these forces now have smartphones which can capture pictures and videos with good clarity.

First Published On : Dec 18, 2016 16:17 IST

Three soldiers killed in militant attack on Army convoy in J&K

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Militants sent a chilling reminder to the Mehbooba Mufti-led government on Saturday when they attacked an Army convoy on the strategic Srinagar-Jammu National Highway at Kadlabal, Pampore, in south Kashmir, leaving at least three army men dead.The attack follows the killing of the north and south chiefs of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) 10 days ago.The incident occurred at Kadlabal-Pampore between 3 and 3.15 pm when the convoy was on its way from Jammu to Srinagar. Militants fired indiscriminately on the convoy before escaping through the maze of lanes and by-lanes in the area.Three soldiers were injured in the incident. They succumbed to the injuries later. Security forces immediately retaliated and tried to chase the militants away, but to no avail. However, they recovered a magazine of a gun from a nearby lane. The entire area was cordoned off and massive search operations have been launched to track down the militants.Army and security forces retaliated and the terrorists were forced to runaway. “The area was crowded, so we could not fire openly. We always remain alert on the National Highway,” said Zulfikar Hassan, Inspector-General of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), operations.Panic gripped the area after the firing, with people running helter-skelter.”I was parking my vehicle when I heard the gunshots. When I came out, I saw people running helter-skelter. Later on, the Army came in and started search operations,” said a local resident of Kadlabal.Police said the militants came in a minibus to attack the convoy on the highway. “Militants came in a minibus and fled in the same vehicle after attacking the convoy”, said Dr SP Vaid, Special Director General of Police (law and order).Sources said an internal report prepared by another security agency suggested that two militants on a bike started chasing the army bus in the general area Pampore. Near Kadlabal Chowk the bus slowed down a little and the bike rider applied break to stop but the bike skidded. Then the pillion rider got down and ran towards the bus. He was carrying two weapons. He fired both on the bus from the side purposely keeping fire above glass level. With the result three soldiers died, sources said.This is the second major attack after the November 29 Nagrota terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir. On November 29, a group of heavily armed fidayeens (suicide bombers) donning police uniforms stormed into in the highly fortified camp of 166 field regiment and killed seven soldiers, including two majors, at Nagrota on the Jammu-Srinagar highway,Three militants were later neutralised in the day-long gunfight. Sixteen hostages, including two soldiers, two women and two children, were rescued.

SC sets aside Jammu and Kashmir High Court order, rules state has no vestige outside the Constitution

New Delhi: 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.

Supreme Court Of India. AFP

Supreme Court Of India. AFP

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 The Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 (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.

First Published On : Dec 17, 2016 18:46 IST

FTII to deploy two armed guards on `special occasions’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Film & Television Institute of India has roped in a state-run security agency to replace a private security agency for guarding its sprawling campus here. In a fleet of 42 security men, two would carry arms on special occasions, it said. “There were instructions from the police department to upgrade the security and carry out a security audit for the last many years. After a letter bomb was received by my office in April this year, we thought of upgrading the security, and to safeguard the students and the staff, we decided to rope in Maharashtra State Security Corporation, a state government undertaking,” said Bhupendra Kainthola, director of FTII.There would be two armed security guards in the team. “Though the two security guards are equipped with .303 rifles, instructions have been given that they will be deployed only on specific occasions such as Republic Day, Independence Day or if there are security alerts in the city,” he said.FTII being a national institute, it was the responsibility of management to safeguard the students and staff, he said.However, a member of students association took exception to provision of armed guards. “Security guards with arms and camouflage attire on education campus is an intimidating image. It seems the government is trying to convert the education institutes into jail or army camp,” he said.FTII had witnessed a 139-day-long strike by the students last year against the appointment of TV actor Gajendra Chauhan as its chairman. Police had booked some of the students for `illegal confinement’ of the then director Prashant Pathrabe.

CCS to take final decision on Chief of Defence Staff post

New Delhi: The Cabinet Committee on Security headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take the final decision on creating the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and Permanent Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee, the defence ministry has told a parliamentary panel.

The ministry told the Committee on Government Assurances that no major political party has responded to the
consultation process initiated by it to obtain their views on creation of the post of CDS.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. AFPPrime Minister Narendra Modi. AFP

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. AFP

In its response to the Assurances Committee, a report of which was tabled in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, the defence ministry said a Group of Ministers was set up in April 2000 to review the national security system in entirety and in particular, to consider the recommendations of the Kargil Review Committee and to formulate specific proposals for its implementations.

The GoM in its report submitted to the government in February 2001, recommended the creation of the institution of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).

The government approved the recommendations related to CDS after consultation with political parties as it required a “detailed examination of pros and cons of the proposal”.

The process of consultation was initiated by then defence minister Pranab Mukherjee.

“It is an extremely important and sensitive decision. It was decided that there should be consultations with all
political parties. We had initiated the process in March 2006,” Defence Secretary G Mohan Kumar told the panel.

So far, the opinion of 24 major political parties have been sought.

“We got response from only 10 political parties. Major political parties have not responded. Considering the fact
that this being a national issue, it is necessary that major political parties also give their opinion. But we do not have the fortune or good luck of getting their opinion,” he said.

The ministry also told the panel that the government had set up the Naresh Chandra Task Force on National Security in May 2011 to review the national security management system.

The task force recommended the creation of Permanent Post of Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (CoSC).

“Considering that there (are) two proposals for the establishment of the post of CDS and Permanent Chairman, CoSC, it is expected that at the time of a final decision the CCS on the recommendations of the NCTF, both proposals will be taken note of and the final decision, as and when would be taken to settle both the proposals,” the ministry said in its response to the committee.

First Published On : Dec 15, 2016 22:41 IST

Pathankot: Abandoned car found near Indo-Pak border raises alert

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.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

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

Hand baggage tags not necessary in airports; CISF does away with security feature

Mumbai: It has been announced that hand baggage will not need tags at seven airports — four metro cities, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad — from Thursday as part of trials to scrap security stamping procedure.

The move follows a decision by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which handles the security at airports, to do away with stamping of cabin baggage tags. “We have taken a conscious decision of doing away with the process of stamping handbag tags from Thursday. We have this system of stamping boarding pass and hand baggages (since 1992). This is an unique system only in India,” director general of CISF OP Singh told reporters.

The security stamping indicates that the baggage was thoroughly checked and is safe to be carried into the aircraft cabin.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

“Aviation sector is expanding and we are set to become the third largest in aviation by 2020 and may be the largest in 2030. So in order to make it more hassle free and convenient for passengers and without compromising on security, we will have a trial run for a week or ten days, at six metro airports and Ahmedabad,” Singh said.

Besides Ahmedabad, the other airports where the trial will be conducted are Chennai, New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bengaluru.

Singh, who was in the city for the first time after becoming CISF DG, said, “If the experiment is successful, we will go in for the second phase and do away with the system of stamping boarding pass as well.” “We are protecting vital installations whether it is shipping sector or coal sector or aviation. Only yesterday the government has sanctioned 35,000 more personnel for the agency,” he said, adding, two new battalions have also been sanctioned by the government.

The official said CISF is undertaking various steps to make airport security fool-proof and one such step is installation of full body scanner at Delhi airport. “We have installed a full body scanner at Delhi airport. However, since there can be questions related to privacy we are doing it on a voluntary basis. Over 3,000 people have been subjected to the full body scan as of now,” he said. “You don’t have to go through exhaustive check. It just takes four seconds to scan the body. This is a parameter of international security standards,” the DG added.

“One issue that we have deliberated upon, but haven’t come to conclusion is implementation of one person, one hand baggage rule. I am not committing, but in due course of time we may have to go for that, looking at the volume of traffic that airport handles,” he explained.

Singh said CISF also provides services to eight establishments in private sector and have received over Rs 132 crore in this regard. “Right now, we are giving security to eight private sector undertakings, including Reliance and Infosys. We have got over Rs 132 crore for services provided to them,” he said.

First Published On : Dec 15, 2016 11:14 IST

Major airports across the country to go ‘tag free’ for hand baggage from tomorrow

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>If you happen to be flying from any of the major airports on Wednesday, the hand baggage you are carrying will not be stamped after security check and you can just pick it up and move towards the boarding area in quicker time or spend some extra time on shopping or eating around.The reason being that Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) which is mandated with securing the civil aviation airports in the country is carrying out a pilot project at Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Bengaluru for a week starting Thursday wherein passenger need not have to take security check stamp on their hand baggage tag. The decision has been taken after various stakeholders including airlines, passengers associations, airport operators have been requesting the Ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) for the same since years. If successful, the new initiative will be made permanent and extended to other airports. “ This measure is expected to de-congest the pre-embarkation security check area and to make entire security check process convenient for the passengers ” said OP Singh, DG, CISF.The officials said that this will also free some of the CISF personnel who can then be used for closer monitoring of passengers for profiling at the security areas. The present system of stamping is made for fixing the accountability of screeners in case of any lapse and also for an authentication of being security checked. However, with a robust CCTV setup the accountability could be fixed electronically and that is the reason why the stamping system has been done away by airports across the world years back.The development seems significant that India is poised to become a third largest aviation market by 2026 displacing UK, as per a forecast prepared by airline trade body IATA. At present India is 9th largest aviation market in the world.Commenting on further plans Singh, said that there are plans to do away with stamping on boarding passes carried by the passengers in the second phase. Further, also a compulsion will be made in future whereby a passenger will not be able to carry more than one hand baggage. “ At one airport, I saw a passenger carrying 22 items. Carrying more number of hand baggages not only causes inconvenience to the passenger herself/himself but also to others. It also increasing the time taken for security checks.” Singh continued.Similarly, a full body scanner which is being tested at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) on trial basis will also be extended to the other airports if it gains acceptance. At present passengers can voluntarily go through it. “It will take just 4 seconds per passenger for screening through full body scanners” further added Singh.

SIMI jailbreak: CISF submits report, to audit three more prisons in Madhya Pradesh

New Delhi: A security audit report by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) on Bhopal Central Jail, from where eight SIMI operatives pulled off a daring jailbreak, has been submitted to the Madhya Pradesh government with suggestions to bolster manpower and technical surveillance at the high-security facility.

An exhaustive report has been prepared by the CISF experts for the jail in the state capital recommending “augmentation of human resource, and infusion of latest gadgetry and technology was suggested for making the jail security foolproof”, a senior official said.

Police investigate the encounter site in Bhopal. File photo. PTI

Police investigate the encounter site in Bhopal. File photo. PTI

The proposed security features include enhancing perimeter security, deployment of more CCTV cameras and strict monitoring of entry and exit in the prison premises.

The eight SIMI undertrials had escaped from the high security central jail on the intervening night of 30-31 October after killing a guard, before they were gunned down in an alleged encounter by police on the outskirts of the city on 31 October morning.

The state government, the force said, has further asked the central paramilitary to similarly conduct a security and fire safety audit report of three other jails in the state in Indore, Jabalpur and Gwalior.

“Appreciating the consultancy services rendered by our experts to the Bhopal jail, the state government has now requested us to further provide the same expertise to three other jails located in Madhya Pradesh. Our teams will soon conduct the audit of these jails too,” CISF director general OP Singh said.

The force has a special consultancy wing within its establishment that conducts audit of critical installations and establishments, in government and public domain, by way of suggesting them the required access-control, deployment of watch towers and sentry posts, usage of gadgets and positioning of security personnel and surveillance gadgets to enhance protection.

The force does this job on a government-approved fee and has provided consultancy to a total of 134 organisations till now.

Some of the important clients of CISF security consultancy services are TISCO Limited, Bangalore Metro, the National Security Guard (NSG) headquarters here, Allahabad High Court, Tirumala Tirupati and Devsthanam in Tirupati, British High Commission in the national capital and assemblies of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 22:03 IST

Respect: Army jawans helping staff of Bank Note Press print notes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Army jawans are now assisting the Bank Note Press employees at Dewas in Madhya Pradesh who are tackling the huge demand for currency notes in the wake of demonetization.”Arrival of Army jawans at BNP has not only boosted the morale of employees but it would also help ramp up the production,” said Kamal Chouhan, president of BNP Employees Welfare Committee, speaking to PTI.BNP, which comes under the Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India (SPMCIL), had earlier called up the retired employees to help in the production. It has the capacity to produce two crore pieces of notes a day.”About 200 Army jawans have arrived from Gwalior and Mhow in the past two days,” said a senior official.As many as 1,300 employees of BNP, alongwith 30 retired employees who have been called up, are involved in the production of 15 million currency notes a day. “Now the production may go up to the full capacity of 20 million,” the officer said. BNP is at present printing notes of Rs 500 denomination.Army jawans would be helping with non-technical work, mainly the loading and transportation of currency notes to the nearest airport at Indore.Praveen Garg, CMD, SPMCIL, has visited the BNP twice after the demonetization announcement. He was informed about shortage of staff and subsequently the retired employees were summoned but the problem persisted, a source said.”CMD then wrote to the Centre urging it to make the Army jawans available,” the source added.

Demonetisation effect: Army to help officials print notes in Madhya Pradesh

Dewas, Madhya Pradesh: The Army has pitched in to help out the Bank Note Press in Dewas, which is working round the clock to deal with the cash crunch across the country following demonetisation, officials said on Monday.

The Army’s help will also be taken for distribution of the notes around the country, said Bank Note Press (BNP) sources.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

According to the sources, 200 men of the Grenadier Regiment arrived here from Gwalior on Sunday to help out at the press.

The press, which has a daily capacity of two crore notes, is at this time solely engaged in printing the new Rs 500 notes, with all other denominations stopped.

According to the sources, even retired personnel have been asked to help out at the press which is working around the clock, and the Army’s help was sought due to shortage of personnel to man the press round the clock.

The press at Dewas is among the four in the country where bank notes and currency notes are printed. The others are at Nashik (Maharashtra), Salboni (West Bengal) and Mysuru (Karnataka).

The presses at Dewas and at Nashik are owned by the central government through the Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Ltd, and their yearly currency printing capacity is around 40 per cent of the total in the country.

First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 17:28 IST

J&K: Encounter between militants and security forces in Anantnag enters 2nd day

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An encounter between militants and security forces in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district entered the second day on Friday as a search operation to trace the ultras continued in the area. “The operation at Arwani in Bijbehara is on. Security forces are conducting searches,” a police official said. He said the area has been cordoned off, but there was no firing in the morning. The operation started on Thursday morning in which one militant is believed to have been killed. However, a confirmation on militant casualty can only be made after the operation is over and the body is retrieved, the official said. An army jawan was injured in the firing last night, the official said.On Thursday, a 24-year-old youth was killed allegedly after being hit by a “stray bullet” near the site of encounter. Arif Shah, a resident of Sangam area of Anantnag district, was hit by the “stray bullet” when security forces were dealing with a group which was indulging in stone-pelting near the encounter site, the official said. However, locals alleged that Shah was killed in security forces action against protesters.

Security forces battle top Lashkar militants

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Security forces are engaged in a fierce gunfight with a group of suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba militants at Hassanpora village of Arwani in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district. United Jihad Council, an umbrella group of over a dozen militant outfits based in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) said three budding militants have been killed in the encounter.Police however did not officially confirm the death or the identity of the militants as the operation is still underway in the area. Police only confirmed the killing of a civilian allegedly by a stray bullet near the encounter site. “At some distance from the encounter site, a stray bullet hit a person identified as Arif Ahmad Shah. He later succumbed to his injuries,” said a police spokesman.This gunfight is touted to be to be the biggest anti-terror operation after Burhan Wani’s killing in the Valley on July 8. As a precautionary measure the authorities had suspended mobile internet and phone network services in some areas of south Kashmir.

AAP MP Bhagwant Mann held guilty, suspended for rest of Parliament session

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Holding him guilty of putting the security of Parliament House and its occupants at risk, a parliamentary committee probing the videography issue has recommended suspension of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Lok Sabha MP Bhagwant Mann for the rest of the winter session. The committee in its report has held that the conduct of 43-year-old Mann, who had landed in a controversy in July after live-streaming from Parliament House on social media, was “highly objectionable” which shows him “bereft of basic knowledge, etiquettes and responsibilities of the office he holds”.BJP member Kirit Somaiya, who heads the 9-member panel constituted in July, tabled the report in the Lok Sabha on Thursday. It rejected Mann’s apology saying his statements to the panel were contradictory with the MP from Sangrur denying the charge that he had breached the Parliament’s security arrangements.The committee, however, left the security implications of the episode for a thorough review by a Joint Parliamentary Committee on Security and the Ministry of Home Affairs. It also said there are some serious issues about Parliament’s security, which need to be addressed on priority.
ALSO READ Lok Sabha panel probing AAP MP Bhagwant Mann’s video case to submit report in a weekAmong these issues, it said, are “poor quality” images captured by the CCTV. “The committee, therefore, after due deliberations, recommends that Bhagwant Mann, MP, may be suspended for the remaining period of the current session i.e. the tenth session of the 16th Lok Sabha,” it said. The session is scheduled to end on December 16.The parliamentary panel said Mann did not take a coherent and consistent stand and it was only after being granted repeated opportunities to explain the “inherent contradictions” in his replies that he chose to correct himself. However, despite tendering unconditional apology he reiterated his earlier claims in which he denied that he breached security arrangements of Parliament House.
ALSO READ Term of Parliament panel on Bhagwant Mann’s photography controversy extended”The committee feels that the same contradictions are repeatedly surfacing again and again in Mann’s communications and therefore the tendering his apology to it cannot be treated as unconditional apology,” it said. Asking him to refrain from such misdemeanour, the committee in its recommendations impressed upon him the “utmost need for strict adherence to norms and standards of etiquette, due compliance of the rules of procedure and well settled rich traditions of Parliament….” Speaker Sumitra Mahajan had constituted the committee on July 25.In a nearly 12-minute video, apparently shot on July 21, Mann gives a running commentary as his vehicle crosses security barricades and enters Parliament. Mann then enters a room where questions to be taken up inside Parliament were being sorted and describes the process.
ALSO READ Days after attacking journalists, Bhagwant Mann says he ‘respects’ mediaActing tough, Mahajan had said Mann’s videography of the complex had put its security “in peril” and asked him not to attend the House till a decision is taken on the matter. Anandrao Adsul, Meenakshi Lekhi, Bhartruhari Mahtab, Rata De, Thota Narasimham, Satya Pal Singh, KC Venugopal and P Venugopal were the other members of the committee which held 13 sittings to finalise its report.

J-K: Encounter in Arwani area of Anantnag

Thu, 8 Dec 2016-11:30am , Srinagar , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An encounter broke out between security forces and militants in south Kashmir’s Arwani in Anantnag district on Thursday, police said.A search operation was launched in Hassanpora village in Bijbehara area of Anantnag this morning following specific intelligence inputs about the presence of militants in the village, a police official said.He said as the security forces were conducting the search operation, the militants fired upon them triggering an encounter. Firing was going on till last reports came in, the official said, adding further details were awaited.

300% increase in terrorists deaths in Jammu and Kashmir compared to last year

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The number of terrorists killed in Jammu and Kashmir this year has seen a three-fold increase while casualty for security personnel has recorded a rise of over 80 per cent compared to last year, Lok Sabha was informed today.Minister of State for Home Hansraj Gangaram Ahir in response to a written question said the number of terrorists killed this year was 140, a figure which stood at 46 last year.The number of arrests and surrenders this year was 76, which was seven-fold increase from last year when the figures stood at 10.He said the number of army personnel killed this year stands at 71. This number had been showing a declining trend up till last year with 53 in 2013, 47 in 2014 and 39 in 2015. He said the number of terror incidents has increased to 305 till November 27 this year as compared to 208 for entire last year. Also the number of security forces injured has shown over 100 per cent increase and it stands at 208 this year compared to last year’s 103.Similarly, the number of civilians killed this year has seen a marginal decline so far and stands at 14 compared to 17 last year.

Afghan Prez gives Pak a $500mn-snub on terror

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It doesn’t get more direct than what Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani had to say in Amritsar on Sunday.”Pakistan,” he told representatives of nearly 50 countries or organisations attending the Heart of Asia conference, including Pakistan Foreign Affairs and Security Adviser Sartaj Aziz, “has pledged 500 million dollars for Afghanistan’s development. This amount, Mr Aziz, can be spent to fight terrorists and extremists in Pakistan.”TV cameras did not capture Aziz’s expression, but the sting in Ghani’s words was not lost on anyone.The Afghan President did not stop at that.”A key Taliban leader,” the Afghan President said, “has himself admitted to getting sanctuary in Pakistan. He said that without Pakistan support, we would had not lasted for more than a month.”As if on cue, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who co-chaired the conference with Ghani, called for action “against those who support, shelter, train and finance” terrorists.”Silence and inaction against terrorism in Afghanistan and our region will only embolden terrorists and their masters,” he continued in the same vein.This double-barrelled attack on Pakistan, by the Afghan and Indian leaders, was in keeping with India’s attempts of late to shame their common neighbour and further isolate it diplomatically.The bonhomie between Kabul and New Delhi extended to the bilateral talks between Ghani and Modi on the margins of the conference.Economic partnership via trade and connectivity, development assistance and security cooperation were among the bilateral, regional and global issues that came up for discussion in their meeting.Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said that Ghani and Modi agreed to strengthen counter-terrorism cooperation to combat especially the cross-border nature of the scourge which had caused immense suffering to the people of India and Afghanistan.Both countries decided to operationalise the additional one billion meant as Indian development assistance for infrastructure and connectivity projects. They also plan to introduce an air transport corridor between India and Afghanistan to give India and Afghan consumers and producers unimpeded access to each other’s products and services.Modi was to amplify it later by saying that “Afghanistan should be at the centre of our connectivity networks, not peripheral to them. On our part, we see Afghanistan as the hub for strengthening links of connectivity between South Asia and Central Asia.””We,” he said, “cannot deny that the more connected Afghanistan is with the regional arteries of trade, capital and markets, the more assured would be its economic growth and progress. President Ghani and I have converged on the priority of strengthening trade and transport linkages with other partners in the region.”For his part, Ghani said that all the countries in Afghanistan’s neighbourhood and beyond “need to identify cross-border terrorism and a fund to combat terrorism”. He lauded India’s development role in his war-torn country by saying that Indian assistance is transparent and came without any strings attached. “There are no hidden agreements or secret conditions… it is convergence of interests and values of two states inspired by the belief in cooperative advantage.”Aziz defended by saying in his intervention afterwards at the conference that “it is simplistic to blame only one country for the recent upsurge in violence” in Afghanistan. In an oblique reference to the continued India-Pakistan tensions, he said that peaceful resolution of outstanding disputes will further improve regional cooperation and connectivity in the region. (Pakistan does not allow India access through its territory for exporting goods to Afghanistan.)However, at a joint news conference with Afghanistan Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Karzai, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley (standing in for Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, who is indisposed) said that terrorism was at the very core of the deliberations and that the tone had been set by Ghani and Modi earlier in the day.Karzai, in turn, spoke about how Pakistan, without naming it, is nurturing and flirting with terrorism, which has consequences not only for Pakistan itself but also for the region.The participating countries, Jaitley added, recognised that terrorism was the biggest threat to peace and stability and the Amritsar Declaration adopted towards the end of the summit expressed concern over violence perpetrated by terrorist groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad.If there were fears that India-Pakistan tensions would hijack the conference agenda, it was not to be. In the end, Aziz’s engagements did not go beyond the customary handshake and photo-op with Modi. Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup maintained that there was no pull-aside or bilateral meeting between Aziz and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval either.

India cites security concerns behind not allowing Sartaj Aziz to visit Golden Temple

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan on Sunday claimed that its Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz was not allowed to visit the Golden Temple and speak to Pakistani mediapersons at the hotel where he was staying, even as India said it was done due to security considerations.Sources in the Pakistani High Commission said Aziz had planned to visit the Golden Temple but was not allowed citing security concerns. Aziz, who arrived here last evening, wanted to interact with Pakistani mediapersons who accompanied him at the Radisson Blue hotel, the venue of the Heart of Asia conference, but was not given permission by security personnel, the sources said. Indian government sources said the permission was not given considering his security.”Security was very tight. Permission was not given due to security reasons. Security of our guests is paramount. India ensured no untoward incident took place,” they said. There was a tiff between Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit and security personnel at the hotel after they denied Pakistani journalists entry to the venue. After security personnel denied permission for Aziz’s interaction with the Pakistani media at the conference venue, the Pakistani High Commission planned the interaction at another hotel but that too was not allowed, the Pakistani High Commission sources said. Later, Basit spoke to the Pakistani media. Aziz left for Pakistan by a special aircraft around 8 PM.Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had visited the Golden Temple yesterday, while Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif visited it today. Apparently, the parents of Hamid Ansari, who is at present lodged in a jail in Pakistan, were waiting for a meeting with Aziz at the Golden Temple.Mumbai-based Fauzia Ansari and her husband Nihal had come here, hoping to request Aziz to release their son from prison, who has already completed his jail term. Hamid, an IT engineer and MBA degree holder, had gone to Kabul on November 4, 2012 from where he reached Pakistan allegedly to meet a Pakistani girl he had been in touch with through e-mails.

3 airline employees held at IGIA for stealing liquor bottles

Sun, 4 Dec 2016-09:40pm , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Three airline ground handling staffers working at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) in New Delhi have been apprehended for allegedly stealing liquor bottles from the registered baggage of a flier.Officials said the incident was reported on Saturday noon when an on-duty CISF personnel detected suspicious activity of the three employees in the terminal area, on the CCTV surveillance system.Upon interception, they said two liquor bottles were recovered from their possession which the trio, identified as E Moses, J Jolly and C Mehroliya, had allegedly taken out from the baggage of a Bhubaneswar-bound traveller. They said the airport entry passes of the three had been cancelled and the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) has been informed for further action against them.

Nagrota attack as shameful as 26/11, proves that surgical strikes can’t end cross-border terrorism: Chidambaram

New Delhi: Former Home Minister P Chidambaram has said the recent Nagrota attack is as “shameful” as the 2008 Mumbai carnage and has “disproved” the belief that surgical strikes can end cross-border terrorism.

Speaking at the launch of former National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon’s book, titled “Choices:Inside the making of India’s foreign policy’, Chidambaram said there was no “unified command” at the level of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

“What happened at Nagrota is just as shameful as what happened in Mumbai. The cross-border, cross-LoC action will not prevent Pakistan-based terrorist groups from attacking Indian installations and camps,” he said last night.

“The strikes restore balance at the border. It sends a signal to Pakistan that if you can do it we can do it. But to imagine that surgical strike will put an end to cross-border action, that has been disproved by what has happened in Nagrota,” he said.

Former Union Home Minister P Chidambaram. PTI

Former Union Home Minister P Chidambaram. PTI

He claimed that there was “no coherence” at the level of MHA and attributed it to discontinuation of a “good practice”.

“I think the practice of having a Home Minister, home secretary, the special secretary, the DIB, the director RAW and NSA meet every day was a good practice. The practice has stopped. That is why there is no coherence, no coordination, no unified command at the level of home affairs,” he said.

Noting that engaging Pakistan is the “only answer” that India has, Chidambaram said the present government started at one extreme and has now swung to another extreme.

“The first extreme was over-enthusiasm and the second is their own making. Eventually you have to live with your neighbours. The only answer is to engage Pakistan through trade, cultural exchanges or people to people exchanges,” he said.

About surgical strikes, Chidambaram said the ownership should have been left to the army.

“First, the ownership should have been left to the army like we have in the past. Second, we should not make statements like ‘Pakistan called us yesterday and begged us to stop’ or make statements like ‘I will gouge their eyes’. These statements make us a laughing stock.

“Our cross-border strikes do not deter Pakistan sufficiently. There are other options that can be explored. Going public about surgical strikes limits your options,” he said at the launch which was also attended by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

He said though India’s response to 26/11 attacks was “extremely poor”, it gained “enormously” by choosing not to retaliate militarily.

“Our capacity to respond was extremely poor. It took us three to four days to clear three to four terrorists holed up in a hotel. Retaliation was not an option. Neither desirable nor feasible at that point of time.

“India gained enormously by not retaliating. By the time the UPA stepped down, Pakistan had been virtually isolated… What we now witness are daring attacks on Army camps… One must measure the efficacy of a policy by its outcomes. The ceasefire along the LoC did produce an outcome,” Chidambaram said.

About the deteriorating security situation in Kashmir, he said his government’s policies brought several years of “relative peace and tranquillity” in the Valley, but “all that lie shattered today”.

“Origin of this decline is the completely unethical, unacceptable coalition between two parties that were bitterly opposed to each other. That is the greatest provocation in the Valley. As long as that unethical combination remains, I can’t see any way forward in Kashmir,” he said.

First Published On : Dec 3, 2016 15:35 IST

J&K govt employee killed during counter-insurgency operation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A government employee was killed during an overnight counter-insurgency operation in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district, but the militants managed to give security forces the slip, officials said on Saturday.The security forces including army launched a counter-insurgency operation in Chancer area of Kulgam district last night, following information about presence of ultras in the area, police officials said.The officials said an employee of the Fisheries Department, Assadullah Kumar, was killed in the firing that broke out minutes after the security forces had cordoned off the area.An army official said the operation was called off this morning after the security forces did not find any militant.The militants might have escaped taking advantage of darkness, the official said.However, the official was tight-lipped about the death of the civilian.Meanwhile, local residents staged a protest against the killing of Kumar and blocked Srinagar-Jammu National Highway at Vessu.

India gets set for unified cyber cell

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Centre plans to revive a plan to set up a common cyber command that will bring together the Army, Navy and Air Force to deal with cyber threats.Currently, each service has its own mechanism and coordination between them is a challenge.”The proposed command will work closely with civilian agencies. Securing communications and information from an external security point of view is needed,” said an official. Officials say the plan is part of a comprehensive policy to counter cyber espionage. According to government figures, defacing of websites and cyber security breaches have been on the rise for some time now.Many other countries already have a unified cyber command. The US cyber command cell, for instance, is headed by a four-star officer, who works in synchronisation with other security agencies. This became operational in 2010.In India, this is not the first time that the idea is being mooted. The blueprint for such a body had been there since 2010. On Friday, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba said that the setting up of a tri-services cyber agency is in the pipeline and would be acted upon soon.To set up an umbrella cyber cell, changes have to be made in legislation, sources said. They feel that the National Cyber Security Policy, formulated in 2013, needs to be revised in view of the changing dynamics of cyber threats and warfare.While the Centre is keen on the cell, officials who have been part of cyber security initiatives are sceptical.”An overarching body has been in the pipeline for many years, but not much has happened. We can only hope that a unified cyber command sees the light of the day without further delay,” said a former army officer, who did not wish to be named.Several officials have undergone courses on cyber warfare, but there is no clarity whether they will be part of the proposed umbrella cell, he said.Experts say an umbrella body should also be able to carry out offensive operations and should not restrict itself to defensive operations like now. Deputy National Security Advisor Arvind Gupta, who spoke at the recent Asian Cyber Security Conference, had underlined the need for better cyber security in his speech.”With nearly 400 million internet users, India cannot remain oblivious to cyber threats. The country’s future progress and growth is linked with the expansion of digital networks, overcoming digital divides, and ensuring that robust cyber security policies are adopted right from the beginning,” he said.The government had also come up with a plan to set up a 24×7 internet monitoring system under the aegis of the Union home ministry, but there has been little progress.

Banks rise to the occasion on salary day

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and commercial banks are making all efforts to increase the supply of cash to meet the payday rush. Banks said they are rationing cash so that it can be equitably distributed to locations where there is an increased demand.State Bank of India (SBI), which controls 15 per cent of the banking sector, said it did 95 lakh transactions, disbursing about Rs 4,600 crore all over the country, till 5 pm on Thursday.Manju Agarwal, Deputy Managing Director, SBI, said: “We are using analytics to determine which areas have greater demand and are diverting money to those centres.” Some bankers said that they received increased supply from the RBI to meet the month-end needs of the salaried class and the pensioners. But still in many locations, it fell short of demand.”We are ensuring equitable distribution of cash received from RBI across our branches and ATMs so that customers face minimal inconvenience,” Kotak Mahindra Bank spokesperson said.Surinder Chawla, the bank’s head (branches and business banking), said: “We are geared up with extra staff to deal with the enhanced rush. We have arranged for cash from all sources and made it available to all branches sufficiently. Our m-ATMs are reaching out to as many areas as possible, allowing withdrawals in societies and offices. We are also stocking ATMs in key areas (of high salary withdrawals).”According to rating agency Crisil, “The problem gets compounded because of a preponderance of cash transactions in the humongous informal sector, which cannot be accurately measured or monitored. Infusing replacement notes has been very sluggish and the ensuing cash choke has pulled back the business cycle, which was beginning to accelerate on the back of a good monsoon, the seventh pay commission, pay hike and One Rank, One Pension Scheme.”More than 1.25 lakh employees of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had their salaries directly transferred into their bank accounts. No cash transactions are done by the civic administration with their employees – either permanent or on a contractual basis.”We do not give any component in cash. The entire salary is deposited in the bank account of employees. In fact, we do not even pay our contractors in cash. They are given cheques and they then disburse the amount to the labourers. We expect that even contractors pay wages to labourers through banks,” said Sudhir Naik, Deputy Municipal Commissioner (General Administration Department).There are four currency presses — Nashik (Maharashtra), Dewas (Madhya Pradesh), Salboni (West Bengal) and Mysuru (Karnataka). The first two are owned by the Central government through the Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Ltd. According to the Finance ministry’s latest annual report, the yearly currency printing capacity of these two presses is around 40 per cent of the total in the country. The other two are part of the Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Pvt. Ltd (BRBNMPL), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).These two presses can print 16 billion notes in two shifts per year, according to the BRBNMP website. This means that the total capacity in the country would be 26.66 billion notes in two shifts. The government says that the presses are running in three shifts to meet the increased demand.

Nagrota attack: Indian Army Chief visits site; similarities with Uri attack, say reports

To flush out any remaining militants, combing operations resumed at the army camp in Nagrota, where seven defence personnel were killed in a terror attack on Tuesday.

The army recovered a huge catchment of arms and ammunition from the site of the encounter, according to ANI.

The combing operations are yet to conclude and the intelligence agencies are yet to reconstruct the chain of events that led to the major security breach, however, media reports are citing evidence to suggest several similarities between the Nagrota attacks and Uri attacks, the worst in last 26 years on an Indian Army base.

Indian TV channels reported that various incriminating documents were also seized, along with huge cache of firearms, which prove Pakistan’s complicity in the attack . Times Now reported that some evidence recovered from the site points towards Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) links of the terrorists. JeM is the same organisation that has allegedly been responsible for a slew of untoward incidents in Jammu and Kashmir, including the 18 September Uri attacks, wherein 20 soldiers lost their lives.

Security personnel stand guard during the search operations following the militant attack on Nagrota Army camp, near Jammu. PTI

Security personnel stand guard during the search operations following the militant attack on Nagrota Army camp, near Jammu. PTI

CNN-News 18 states that one of the slain terrorists in the Nagrota attack was complicit in the Uri attacks as well. The TV channel, however, said the precise role that the terrorist played could not be ascertained.

The Economic Times reported another major security breach along the International Border, in the Samba (around 40 km away from Nagrota) attacks, which were staged around the same time as the attack in Nagrota.

The report quotes the Border Security Force (BSF) as saying that a cross-border tunnel along the International Border (IB) in Samba was found, which was probably used by the terrorists to infiltrate into India. The BSF, however, in a prompt response, cornered the three infiltrators and gunned them down after a brief gunbattle. The BSF director general stated, according to the report, that the tunnel was approximately 80 metres long, stating that there is no equipment to detect such tunnels.

Following the attacks, Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag visited the Nagrota Corps headquarter on Wednesday to review the situation.

Jammu was rocked by two terror attacks on Tuesday in which seven army personnel, including two major-rank officers, were killed and eight other security men, including a BSF DIG, were injured, before six heavily-armed terrorists were eliminated in the separate fierce encounters.

In one incident, a group of heavily-armed terrorists in police uniform stormed an army unit in Nagrota, about three kms from the corps headquarters on the outskirts of Jammu city, triggering an intense gunbattle that lasted for hours.

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

In another incident, three terrorists were gunned down by BSF in Ramgarh area of Samba near the IB after an encounter that lasted several hours and was followed by intense cross-border firing by Pakistani troops. Four security personnel, including BSF DIG, were injured in this incident.

The two terror incidents in Jammu came on a day General Qamar Javed Bajwa took over as Chief of Pakistan Army from General Raheel Shareef.

(With inputs from agencies)

First Published On : Nov 30, 2016 18:05 IST

Nagrota attack: Terrorists infiltrated through small tunnel near border, unexploded shells destroyed

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Keeping in mind the recent terror attack on an Army base in Nagrota, Jammu and Kashmir, the Ministry of Home Ministry (MHA) on Wednesday deployed a five-member team to visit the Indo-Bangladesh border in Bangaon to inspect the security arrangements.A meeting was also conducted with the Border Security Force (BSF) troops deployed at the border, asking them to increase surveillance to halt any infiltration bids from across the border.Briefing the media here, BSF DG KK Sharma said that concerted efforts have been made to modernise the nation’s border fences.”A part of Bangladesh border is unfenced including water bodies so humanly not possible for me to put manpower in such areas. We are making efforts to fill the unfenced gaps using technology,” he said.Talking about the recent Samba encounter, Sharma informed that the terrorists has infiltrated through a small tunnel in border area, adding that as of now no technology exists with the BSF to detect tunnels.”Since surgical strikes, more than 15 Pakistan Rangers have been killed and more than 10 militants neutralised. Also many Pakistan border outposts have been destroyed. Post surgical strikes, we started an operation called ‘Operation Rustom’ as we anticipated that problems won’t be confined to LoC and will affect the IB too,” Sharma said.Meanwhile, blinds (unexploded shells) were destroyed today at the site of the deadly terror attack on an army base in Nagrota, Jammu and Kashmir, by a bomb disposal team during the combing operations that are still underway.Extensive combing operations resumed today morning in Nagrota, where terrorists attacked an army base in which seven defence personnel lost their lives.

Nagrota attack LIVE: Civilians are safe, says Manohar Parrikar; Modi briefed

Nov 29, 2016


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Jammu: Militants attacked an army camp in Nagrota in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday morning, officials said. The attack reportedly started around 5.30 am with militants firing at a field regiment camp located in the garrison town of Nagrota near the headquarter’s of Indian Army’s 16 Corps in the state.

At least, two-three suicide attackers are believed to be holed up in the area as a heavy exchange of fire is going on between the militants and security forces. However, their exact number is still not confirmed.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The ongoing firing has killed two jawans and injured two others, one of them being a junior commissioned officer.

CNN-News18 reported that the Indian security forces killed one terrorist later in the morning. According to the TV news channel, the militants entered the area dressed in army clothes.

“A group of heavily armed militants, believed to be four-to-five in number, attacked the 166 field army regiment camp in Nagrota area of Jammu today (Tuesday) morning,” a police officer told IANS.

“After entering the camp, the militants fired at the Officers Mess inside the camp. Two militants were killed and three soldiers injured. Other militants are still firing inside the camp,” the officer added.

According to CNN-News18, the militants are currently holed up inside the officer’s mess near the camp.

The camp is situated close to the headquarters of the Indian Army’s 16 Corps — a massive military formation that acts as a nerve centre to fight militancy and defend the borders in the Jammu region.

This is the seventh terror attack in the last seven days. “The encounter is currently in progress, however, the number of militants is still not confirmed. We will able to give more details only once the operation is over,” Defence PRO, Manish Mehta told the news channel.

The security forces have cordoned off the area and ordered to shut down all schools Nagrota tehsil as a precautionary measure.  “We have ordered the closure of all schools and education institutions in Nagrota tehsil in view of the terror attack”, Deputy Commissioner, Jammu, Simrandeep Singh said.

“We have ordered the closure of all schools and education institutions in Nagrota tehsil in view of the terror attack”, Deputy Commissioner, Jammu, Simrandeep Singh said.

In view of the attack, the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway has been closed for traffic in the area, PTI said.

An alert has been sounded in Jammu city as well.

The attack came around the same time when an infiltration bid was undergoing near the Chambliyal Border Outpost in Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir.

(With agency inputs)

First Published On : Nov 29, 2016 12:45 IST

BSF foils border infiltration bid in Samba district of Jammu; two militants killed

Security forces killed two militants early Tuesday morning when a group of militants tried to sneak in from Pakistan through the International Border near a border outpost in Samba district Jammu.

According to ANI, the firing is over and the area is being sanitised.

According to reports, the two militants were killed following a “heavy firing exchange” with the Border Security Force (BSF).

The BSF noticed some suspicious movement in the general area of Border Out Post Chamliyal in Samba, Jammu and Kashmir. The area was immediately cordoned off. When challenged, BSF patrol was fired upon by miscreants holed up in a tube well pumphouse, reported ANI.

According to PTI, a BSF jawan was injured in the gunbattle with the infiltrating group of militants.

The infiltration bid on the border in Jammu came amid a fierce gunbattle between security forces and heavily armed militants who opened fire on an army camp in the garrison town of Nagrota near Jammu.

— With agency inputs

First Published On : Nov 29, 2016 09:45 IST

Punjab jailbreak: Mastermind Parminder sent to 14-day judicial custody

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Parminder Singh, mastermind of the Nabha jailbreak in which Khalistani terrorist Harminder Singh alias Mintoo and four others escaped, was send to 14-day judicial remand. The Shamli Police has filed a case under Section 353,420,467,468,471 of IPC. And 25/27 Arms Act also.Parminder Singh, one of 10 Nabha jail attackers, was arrested from Shamli district of Uttar Pradesh on Sunday and a huge cache of arms and ammunition was recovered from his possession. Earlier on Monday, the 49-year old Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) chief Harminder Singh who escaped from the Nabha high security prison on Sunday, was caught by the Delhi police on a tip-off by the Punjab police at New Delhi railway station.Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal also spoke to the National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and apprised him of the details of the incident. He updated the NSA on steps being taken to apprehend the culprits. The Punjab Government has suspended the Director General (Jails) and dismissed the Nabha Jail superintendent and deputy jail superintendent and set up a special task force to look into the Nabha jailbreak incident.

Nabha jailbreak not an exception: It’s high time Indian prisons took security seriously

Whether it’s a terror attack, a train accident or a jailbreak, we never learn our lessons. No matter how serious security lapses can get, incidents continue to happen, people lose their lives and life moves on, waiting for another incident to occur.

The felicity with which the Nabha jailbreak in Punjab was executed on Sunday — about 10 gunmen disguised as policemen tricked their way into the high-security prison and escaped with a Khalistani militant group commander Harminder Singh Mintoo and five others — seems laughable. It’s no laughing matter, though.

Coming close on the heels of Bhopal jailbreak, where eight SIMI (Students’ Islamic Movement of India) operatives allegedly escaped from the high-security ISO-certified central jail and were killed in an encounter on 31 October, it’s actually pretty serious.

According to the latest Prison Statistics India (PSI) report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) 2015, 200 inmates, including militants, terrorists, dreaded gangsters and petty criminals managed to escape from high-security jails from six states in the calendar year.

Security personnel and media outside Nabha Central Jail, which was stormed by armed men. PTI

Security personnel and media outside Nabha Central Jail, which was stormed by armed men. PTI

“In wake of the recent jailbreak in Bhopal, this one at Nabha speaks of the pathetic security system in Indian jails. There’s a general air of complacency and callousness in every prison in India, including the high-security ones where terrorists and underworld operatives have been kept. Each and every movement should be monitored, but that’s missing. Prison officials are mollycoddling with the inmates, giving a safe passage to the latter in escaping from jails,” quipped former director general of police (UP), Prakash Singh.

The PSI report further highlights that there had been 83 jailbreak incidents in the country between 2011 and 2015, with the highest 28 jailbreaks in 2011, followed by 26 in 2015. In this five-year period, Rajasthan accounted for 41 out of the 83 jailbreaks, followed by 14 in Uttar Pradesh and 5 in Madhya Pradesh. Out of 836 incidents of clashes in jails, close to 60 percent or 501 of these incidents were reported from jails in Delhi alone.

A performance audit report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in 2013 stated that there were 91 incidents of prisoners escaping from jails during 2007-2012. The CAG had indicted the prison administration for its lackadaisical approach towards securing its jails. The audit report also pointed out the malfunctioning of wireless sets and CCTVs — meant for maintaining security in jails.

The recent Bhopal jailbreak revealed that CCTV cameras were not functioning when the SIMI operatives allegedly scaled the 28-ft perimeter wall and escaped. Prior to this, adopting an identical modus operandi in October 2013, six SIMI operatives, accused of murder, dacoity and communal violence, broke open the ventilator of their barrack in the high-security Khandwa jail in Madhya Pradesh, scaled the wall and escaped.

“For the last two decades, I have been advocating for police reforms in India, including prison reform. I have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, bringing it to his notice that it was he who in 2014 had enunciated the concept of SMART police, but two years down the line, there is a sense of disappointment because the change has not happened. I’m not trying to find fault with the central government, because police is a state subject. The decline in quality policing and deteriorating conditions of prisons has essentially been due to state political leadership,” added Singh, also former DGP, Border Security Force.

It was on 30 November 2014, while addressing DGP conference in Guwahati, that the prime minister came up with the concept of SMART police — police which would be strict and sensitive, modern and mobile, alert and accountable, reliable and responsible, and, tech-savvy and trained.

The political opponents in Punjab have launched a scathing attack on the state government after the jailbreak in Nabha.

“Law and order situation in the state has deteriorated to unprecedented levels under Badal regime, especially in the run-up to the Assembly polls. The jailbreak has triggered fears of revival of terrorism ahead of the polls in Punjab. The shocking brazenness with which the armed gangsters freed the dreaded Khalistani terrorist along with other convicts by walking into the high security jail, clearly shows the complicity at the highest levels,” said former chief minister and Punjab Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh.

However, not ruling out the possibility of revival of Pakistan-backed Khalistan movement in Punjab, the security experts are more concerned about the lack of security in prisons that is paving the way for militants and hardened criminals to escape.

“Why blame Pakistan? It’s doing what it’s expected of them. Pathankot and Gurdaspur attacks revealed Pakistan’s desperation to create disturbances in Punjab after Jammu and Kashmir. Though it isn’t easy at present to revive pro-Khalistan movement in the state, Pakistan will try to exploit the situation during Punjab election. But the immediate concern is the series of jailbreaks taking place in the country. It speaks of the lack of manpower, deteriorating infrastructure, not following standard operating procedures (SOPs) by jail staff and absolute apathy towards having a foolproof security in prisons. When will we learn a lesson?” questioned security analyst Anil Kamboj.

Here are the major jail breaks in two decades:

1995: 43 LTTE cadres escaped from Tipu Mahal inside Vellore Fort after digging a 153-ft long tunnel.
1998: 78 prisoners escaped from the Nizamabad jail, taking advantage of mob strength and official laxity.
2000: 15 prisoners escaped from the Mahendragarh district jail in Haryana.
2001: 270 inmates, including hardened criminals, escaped from Bhuj jail in Gujarat, taking advantage of the earthquake that had rocked the state.
2002: 8 prisoners, two of them serving life sentences, escaped from Betiah divisional jail in Bihar’s West Champaran district after scaling the prison wall.
2005: 137 inmates escaped from Jehanabad jail in Bihar after a Maoist attack on the town.
2013: 6 SIMI operatives, accused of murder, dacoity and communal violence lodged in Khandwa jail in MP and scaled the wall to escape.
2015: 2 under-trials in one of the most high security prisons of India — Tihar jail scaled the wall, dug a tunnel through the boundary wall and escaped.

2016: 8 SIMI operatives allegedly escaped from the high-security Bhopal Central jail and were later killed in an alleged encounter with police on the outskirts of the city.

First Published On : Nov 28, 2016 07:55 IST

Nabha jailbreak: Pakistan could be behind the incident, says Punjab Deputy CM

Chandigarh: Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Sunday voiced apprehension that Pakistan could be behind the sensational Nabha jailbreak, saying the neighbouring country was “desperate to revive terrorism” after Indian army conducted the surgical strike across the LoC.

Rapid Action Force men at Nabha Central Jail, which was stormed by armed men. PTI

Rapid Action Force men at Nabha Central Jail, which was stormed by armed men. PTI

“Pak desperate to revive terror post surgical strike. Could be behind jail break,” Sukhbir, who also spoke to the National Security Advisor Ajit Doval after the incident, tweeted.

The Deputy CM, who also holds Home portfolio, however said that the state government would uncover the conspiracy behind the jail break incident at all cost.

“We will uncover the conspiracy behind terrorist – gangster Nabha jail break at all cost.”

“State police is investigating conspiracy between terrorists and gangsters to disturb peace in Punjab before elections,” Sukhbir tweeted.

Officials said Sukhbir apprised Doval of the details of the incident and updated him on the steps being taken to apprehend six culprits.

In a sensational jailbreak, a group of armed men in police uniform today attacked the high-security Nabha Jail and fled with six prisoners, including Khalistan Liberation Front chief Harminder Mintoo.

First Published On : Nov 27, 2016 16:46 IST

PM Modi pays tribute to martyrs column at Vallabhbhai Patel Police Academy in Hyderabad

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to the Martyrs column at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy in Hyderabad on Saturday. The Prime Minister arrived in the city on Friday to participate in the annual conference of top police officers of the country that would focus on cross- border terrorism, infiltration and radicalisation of youth.Modi stayed overnight at the Police Academy and took part in the ‘Yoga session’ for an hour from 6 am, as part of the conference of Directors General of Police (DGPs) of all states.Home Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated the three-day conference at SVPNPA on Friday afternoon. Union Ministers of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju and Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, besides National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval are among those who attended the event.Rajnath Singh inaugurated the three-day conference at SVPNPA on Friday afternoon. Union Ministers of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju and Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, besides National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval are among those who attended the event.Telangana and Andhra Pradesh Governor ESL Narasimhan, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, his Cabinet colleagues and state BJP president K Lakshman were among those who welcomed Modi at the airport on Friday evening.Modi at the airport on Friday evening.”After the ‘Yoga session’, the Prime Minister would participate in deliberations with the top police officers from 8 am till 5 pm on Saturday,” a top police official told PTI.Issues like cross-border terrorism, radicalisation of youth and attempts to lure Indians into Middle East terrorist groups, like ISIS, will be discussed threadbare at the meeting.Filling up of vacant posts in various police forces, reforms in police forces, menace of narcotics smuggling and human trafficking will also be discussed extensively during the conference.The Prime Minister and Home Minister will interact with the top police officers and get their feedback about the internal security situation and various aspects of police personnel, official sources said.This is for the third time since Independence that the conference is being held outside Delhi. It was held in Guwahati in 2014 and Kutch in Gujarat last year. The idea of holding the meeting of DGPs and IGPs outside Delhi was mooted by Modi after he assumed power in 2014.The conference is being attended by around 100 DGPs of states, Director Generals of Central paramilitary forces and their Inspectors General. Rajnath Singh will also take part in the valedictory function on Sunday.

Securing the seas: Eight years after 26/11 much remains to be done to prevent another attack

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It has been eight years since Ajmal Kasab and nine other Pakistani gunmen landed at Budhwar Park and walked calmly into this teeming megapolis to unleash one of the most horrific terror attacks the country has seen. The 26/11 Mumbai attack prompted a massive overhaul of the country’s coastal security apparatus. Under Phase-II of the Coastal Security Scheme, formulated in the context of the fast changing coastal security scenario in the wake of the attack, a vulnerability or gap analysis exercise was carried out by coastal states and Union Territories. On the basis of this, additional requirements for strengthening the coastal security infrastructure were projected. Under Phase-II of the scheme, coastal states and UTs were sanctioned provision of 131 coastal police stations, 60 jetties, 131 four-wheelers, 242 two-wheelers, 225 boats, besides financial assistance to each coastal police station for equipment.There is currently a three tier coastal security ring to protect the country’s 7,516.6 km coastline, spread across nine states and four Union Territories, provided by the marine police, Indian Coast Guard and the Indian Navy. The jurisdiction of the coastal police extends up to 12 nautical miles in the sea or territorial waters, that of the Coast Guard extends from the baseline to the limits of the Exclusive Economic Zone (from 0-200 nautical miles in the sea). The area beyond 200 nautical miles falls under the jurisdiction of the Indian Navy.The National Committee on Strengthening Maritime and Coastal Security (NCSMCS) and the Steering Committee for review of Coastal Security in the Union Home Ministry are meant to meet and review the implementation of the coastal security scheme.Devil in the detail?While India’s coastal security apparatus has been beefed up considerably since the 26/11 attacks, there remain gaps in the implementation of the scheme. Installation of transponders on fishing vessels, distress alert transmitters and radio beacons on all fishing vessels are yet to be completed in Maharashtra, while unregistered vessels indulging in illegal sand dredging in Palghar, around 90kms to the north of Mumbai, pose a threat to the Tarapur atomic installation, and a large number of fishermen in Mumbai are yet to receive biometric cards from the government.Apart from regular patrolling of the seas, coastal surveillance equipment has been installed along the coastline. This includes a chain of 74 Automatic Identification System (AIS) receivers, for gapless cover along the entire coast. This is complemented by a chain of 46 overlapping coastal radars in the coastal areas of our mainland and islands.It is now mandatory for fishermen to carry a Distress Alert Transmitter DAT) and Radio Beaconwhile sailing. However, about 2 lakh fishing vessels are yet to get these. Non-mechanised fishing vessels are of particular worry because they are not equipped with basic wireless radio.Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard ships like the Fast Attack Craft (FAC), patrol vessels and Fast Interceptor Craft are deployed in a layered shield to interdict terrorists attempting to land on our shores using the sea route.Palghar: chink in armour? An attack through this district could cost as little as Rs 100. Between Uttan and Vasai, more than 100 boats transport sand illegally, often passing close to a railway bridge over the Vasai creek, while pleasure rides that pass close to the Bhayander railway bridge offer another opening to would-be terrorists.Party cruise boats often halt at the Bhayander bridge for passengers to click photographs.“If measures are not taken, terrorists can enter the creek and place explosives to destroy the bridge,” said Sanjay Meher, a local fisherman. “There is inadequate patrolling along the coast and the creek, and parties are organised on the boats for Rs 4,000-5,000 an hour,” he said. Jayram Pathak, who manages cruise boat operations, said they make sure no one can touch the pillars of the bridge; however, they don’t ask for identity papers from passengers, either. Meanwhile, the local Vasai police station says permissions for the boats comes from the Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB), limiting its own role to patrols. Jayshree Kamble, Port Inspector, said the annually-renewable permissions follow MMB guidelines. “If they are found flouting norms we will take adequate action,” said Kamble. As for the Railway Police, AK Shukla,Commissioner RPF (Western Region), told DNA he would “enquire with our officials regarding the issue and stern action will be taken against offenders if they are found compromising the safety of the bridge.” Elsewhere, the focus on development seems to have blinkered security agencies. An upcoming infrastructure port in Nandgaon in Palghar district could also be a potential threat to the Tarapore Atomic Power Plant located along the coastline. The captive jetty will attract dozens of vessels, increasing sea traffic close to the power plant, claims Ram Krishna Tandel, secretary of Maharashtra Machhimar Kruti Samitee.“This was the route that was taken by Lashkar terrorists during 26/11 terror attack. We have raised this matter at several of our meetings with the authorities but they have not taken any note of our concerns,” says Tandel. More critically, sand dredging — almost all of it illegal — continues to be a security threat to the Palghar coast with Bangladeshi migrants without identity papers employed as khalasis (dock workers) on unregistered vessels.The local fishing community claims it has raised the issue with the government, but to no avail. Dileep Mathak, founder of Koli Yuva Shakti, comprising members of the fishermen community from Vasai, said “The local fishing boats from our area have been registered, but the vessels which indulge in sand dredging do not have any registrations and most of the khalasis are illegal immigrants.”Damodar Tandel, president of Akhil Maharashtra Machimar Kriti Samiti, slammed the government, alleging no action has been taken against sand dredging boats and “trawlers without permissions and registrations.However, Prashant Burde, Inspector General, Konkan Region, said, “We are taking adequate measures on the coast and patrolling has been conducted on regular basis in the region.”(Additional reporting by Ateeq Shaikh, Pranali Lotlikar, and Mustafa Plumber)Badhwar Park: Badhwar Park, which was the entry point for the 26/11 gunmen now has a two-guard police watch tower, a chowki with three female constables, and a CCTV camera. The watch tower has two guards, while the chowki has three female constables posted.However, a constable manning the tower admits that it is tedious to constantly keep staring at the sea. “Now, there is no possibility of any boat being able to enter from this spot. Fishing boats are allowed in waters only after Coastal Police and Navy’s approval,” he said. “These fishermen have seen 26/11 closely and hence they are very co-operative and alert. If they find any suspicious activity, they immediately contact the toll free number of 1093 given to them. The fishermen have ID proofs, smart-card documents to prove their nationality. Besides, each boat has a license registration number. Also, boats from each area have a specific coloured-flag, for Badhwar Park area it is yellow,” said another constable. The Badhwar Park fishing village has about 220 boats.The fishermen, though, tell a a different story. Krishna Kumar Meher, Vice-Chairman, Machimaar Sarvodaya Society Limited, said “It has been over a year since the biometric cards haven’t been given to us by the Fisheries Department. The earlier 100 people at least had receipts as a proof, the others didn’t even have those receipts.”At least two fishermen said the Coastal Police guards were never at their stations at night. “When we cast our nets during the night, no checking of our documents is done. However, when we come back, we are harassed for documents. This takes up a lot of our time and rots the catch.” Bandra Worli Sea LinkTwo boats have been assigned to the police chowki at BWSL However, both were firmly docked when DNA decided to visit the location. There was only one CCTV camera, and that at a distance from the water. KK Rastrakar, API, Sagri Police, Bandra Worli Sea Link, said the prime focus is on illegal boats or any suspicious activity on the water.Sassoon DocksSassoon Docks is supposed to have guards from the Colaba Police, Coastal Police and Bombay Port Trust. However, on the day that DNA was there, there was only one constable at the Coastal Police chowki, one at the Colaba chowki and three at the BPT booth (unarmed). “This is a free port, it is crowded 24/7. It isn’t possible for us to keep a tab on all those who enter the port. There are four entry points and coast guards, customs guards, navy guards and the Mumbai police check the boats in this area,” said a constable there.Gateway of IndiaA spot visit at Gateway of India revealed that crowd management at the jetties is negligible. The metal detector doesn’t work, while manual bag checking leads to queues and crowds outside Gateway. There were five male constables but only one lady constable. Besides, there was an unprotected entry point from where one didn’t have to pass through the metal detectors. An officer posted at the security check said, “With lesser recruits and long working hours, physical checking becomes tedious and unsafe. During weekends crowd management and performing security checks is difficult. Sometimes the metal detector does not work either. Handheld detectors should be given to improve security parameters. Beside, more recruitments are needed.” ​

Nagaland: Man flies Rs 3.5 cr in old notes in chopper from Haryana; nabbed in Dimapur

Dimapur :: A Bihar-based businessman, travelling alone in a chartered jet, was apprehended today at the airport here for allegedly carrying Rs 3.5 crore in demonetised currency.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Officials said sleuths of central security agencies and CISF questioned the man, identified as A Singh from Bihar’s Munger district, soon after his jet landed in Dimapur.

The case was later handed over to local Income Tax authorities. They said the man had come in Dimapur on a jet that had taken off from Sirsa in Haryana early on Tuesday.

“CISF sleuths acted on some prior inputs and intercepted the passenger as soon as he landed in Dimapur. Initially, the amount detected was said to be Rs 5.5 crore but later I-T authorities reported the final amount with him to be Rs 3.5 crore. The taxman is investigating the source of the currency,” they said.

A special vigil has been deployed by security agencies and the airport guarding Central Industrial Security Force in the wake of the demonetisation of the two large currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 by the government.

First Published On : Nov 22, 2016 14:37 IST

Jammu: Pak intruder killed in RS Pura sector

Tue, 22 Nov 2016-10:00am , Jammu , ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A suspicious Pakistani national was gunned down by the Border Security Force (BSF) troops in RS Pura sector in Jammu and Kashmir, after he crossed the International Border early on Tuesday morning. After crossing the border, the man took advantage of the cover of fog and reached very close to the Indian fence.He was immediately challenged by the alert troops and once he did not pay heed to the repeated warning, he was shot down. A search operation is being carried out and the body has been sent for identification.Meanwhile, security forces neutralised two terrorists in an encounter today in Bandipora, Jammu and Kashmir.
ALSO READ J-K: Two terrorists gunned down by Army in Bandipora, combing operation underwayThe Army and the police in a joint operation had cordoned off the area to smoke out the two terrorists who were holed up and had opened fire, thus engaging in a heavy gunbattle early in the morning.

Hackers target ATMs across Europe as cyber threat grows | Reuters

By Jim Finkle

Cyber criminals have remotely attacked cash machines in more than a dozen countries across Europe this year, using malicious software that forces machines to spit out cash, according to Russian cyber security firm Group IB. Diebold Nixdorf and NCR Corp, the world’s two largest ATM makers, said they were aware of the attacks and have been working with customers to mitigate the threat. The newly disclosed heists across Europe follow the hacking of ATMs in Taiwan and Thailand that were widely reported over the summer. Although cyber criminals have been attacking cash machines for at least five years, the early campaigns mostly involved small numbers of ATMs because hackers needed to have physical access to cash out machines. The recent heists in Europe and Asia were run from central, remote command centres, enabling criminals to target large numbers of machines in “smash and grab” operations that seek to drain large amounts of cash before banks uncover the hacks.“They are taking this to the next level in being able to attack a large number of machines at once,” said Nicholas Billett, Diebold Nixdorf’s senior director of core software and ATM Security. “They know they will be caught fairly quickly, so they stage it in such a way that they can get cash from as many ATMs as they can before they get shut down.”Group IB declined to name banks that were “jackpotted,” a term used to describe forcing ATMs to spit out cash, but said the victims were located in Armenia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Estonia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Spain, Britain and Malaysia.Indeed, Dmitry Volkov, head of threat intelligence with Group IB, told Reuters he expects more heists on ATMs.MORE HEISTS EXPECTED
Hackers have moved from stealing payment card numbers and online banking credentials to more lucrative hacks on bank networks, giving them access not only to ATM machines, but also to electronic payment networks.

A February attack on servers at Bangladesh’s central bank that controlled access to the SWIFT messaging system yielded more than $81 million in one of the biggest digital heists on record. Russian banks lost over $28 million in a series of wire-fraud cases that were identified earlier this year.”What we are seeing demonstrated is the new model of organised crime,” said Shane Shook, an independent security consultant who helps banks and governments investigate cyber attacks and reviewed Group IB’s findings. Diebold Nixdorf and NCR both said they had provided banks with information on how to thwart the new types of attacks. “We have been working actively with customers, including those who have been impacted, as well as developing proactive security solutions and strategies to help prevent and minimize the impact of these attacks,” said Owen Wild, NCR’s global marketing director for enterprise fraud and security.Disclosure of the campaign follows two ATM hacks in July: $2.5 million was stolen from Taiwan’s First Bank and $350,000 from Thailand’s state-run Government Savings Bank.

Hackers remotely infected ATMs at both banks, forcing them to spit out cash that was collected by teams of “money mules,” who authorities say travelled to Asia from Eastern Europe. ONE CRIMINAL GROUP?
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation earlier this month sent a private alert to American banks, warning them to be on the lookout for attacks on ATMs following the heists in Taiwan and Thailand, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. An FBI spokesman declined to comment on the attacks in Europe.

Group IB said it believed the attacks across Europe were conducted by a single criminal group, which it dubbed Cobalt. It named them after a security-testing tool known as Cobalt Strike, which the perpetrators used in the heists to help them move from computers in the bank network that were infected with tainted emails to specialised servers that control ATMs. Group IB believes that Cobalt is linked to a well-known cyber crime gang dubbed Buhtrap, which stole 1.8 billion rubles ($28 million) from Russian banks from August 2015 to January 2016, because the two groups use similar tools and techniques.Buhtrap stole money through fraudulent wire transfers, not ATM jackpotting.The ATM Security Association declined to comment on Group IB’s findings. Members of the group, which works to improve ATM security, include ATM maker Diebold Nixdorf (DBD.N) as well as banks ABN Amro (ABNd.AS), Bank of America Corp (BAC.N), Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS.L) and Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC.N).Representatives of Europol, which coordinates investigations of cyber crimes across Europe, had no immediate comment. (Reporting by Jim Finkle in Boston; Additional reporting by Anthony Deutsch in The Hague; Editing by Dan Grebler and Bernadette Baum)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

First Published On : Nov 22, 2016 00:38 IST

Pakistan arrests 43 Indian fishermen for allegedly entering its territorial waters

Islamabad: At least 43 Indian fishermen were on Sunday arrested by Pakistan for allegedly entering its territorial waters in the Arabian Sea, officials in Islamabad said.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The fishermen were nabbed by Pakistan Maritime Security Agency off the coast of Sindh province and taken to provincial capital Karachi.

“The fishermen were handed over Dock Police Station for registration of case against them,” an official of the PSMA said.

A police official said that a case has been registered against them under the Foreigner’s Act and the Fisheries Act.

“The arrested fishermen will be presented in the court tomorrow for further legal action,” he said.

Edhi Foundation has been providing food to the arrested fishermen, a spokesperson of the foundation told reporters.

Both Pakistan and India often arrest fishermen from the other country for violation of their territorial waters in the Arabian Sea.

These poor fishermen spent months and sometimes years in jails before released and repatriated back to their countries.

First Published On : Nov 21, 2016 09:12 IST

Terror financiers feel the heat in Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Intelligence sleuths and counter-terrorism cops are working overtime to gauge the effect of demonetization on the financing of terror and unrest in the militancy-hit Jammu and Kashmir. Security forces are signalling that the finances to terror and civil unrest are showing signs of drying up.”I have nothing to say, only financial experts can say on this…Common sense says it should benefit (in curbing the financing of anti-national activities). Time only will tell,” SP Vaid, special director general of police, law and order, Jammu and Kashmir told DNA.Terror financing has been a problem area for the security forces given the underhand dealings using different hawala and cross-border channels. Most of the money used to fund terror activities is being funneled through hawala channels.Modus oprandi adopted by the militants include roping in the conduits who carry out legitimate transactions overseas. Terror financiers are paying these conduits in cash overseas. Later the conduit uses his contacts in Jammu and Kashmir to pay the militants’ point-man in cash.The conduit is paid a hefty commission by the terror financiers for helping in funneling money to militants operating on ground. The conduit, who has legitimate bank accounts, passes off the money paid by militants as genuine earnings overseas to avoid detection.The militants’ pointsman then distributes the money in cash to over-ground workers of the militants for arranging logistics. The over-ground workers not only help in arranging hideouts but also give militants cash for daily expenses. Even during Eid special Eidi is being given to militants on ground to meet their expenses.”Everything is done in cash. And the over-ground workers dump huge amount of currency because they have to pay the militants. The demonetizing has hit them hard because they are the worst hit. The money they might be having will go waste because they deal in high denomination notes,” said an intelligence officer.Figures reveal that the security forces, last year, seized Rs 6,75,684 in Indian currency from the militants during different counter-terror operations. The cash is tip of the iceberg because most of the money is handled by over-ground workers and the currency seized was from the terrorists.”Another group affected by the demonetization are the terrorists who are waiting to infiltrate from across the border. Most of these infiltrators are paid cash by Pakistani handlers. And all of the money is given in high-denomination notes so that they could sustain after crossing in till they met their contacts in Jammu and Kashmir. Since demonetization sprang a surprise it has hit the Pakistani terror handlers hard,” said another officer.

Demonetisation: Rs 5 cr cash, gold seized at major airports by agencies

New Delhi: Over Rs 5 crore of cash and gold have been intercepted by agencies at country’s few major civil airports post the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes by the government last week.

Officials said a special surveillance was launched by the CISF and the air intelligence units of the Income Tax department and the interceptions have been made at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Guwahati airports from 10 November.

Representational imageRepresentational image

Representational image

“The total cash and gold intercepted since November 10 is about Rs 5 crore. While the currency is all in the scrapped denomination of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000, the gold detected as suspicious is about 15.62 kilogramme,” they said.

They added that while the interceptions were largely made by the officials of the Central Industrial Security Force, the cases were later handed over to the I-T department for further investigations.

“These figures and instances are under investigation and we are looking if there is a tax evasion angle to it,” a senior tax department official said.

The Finance Ministry had recently written to police and paramilitary forces to check the movement of huge cash, particularly of the demonetised 500 and 1,000 rupee notes at civil airports, Delhi Metro, railway stations and bus stations and hence the special vigil has been launched.

The CISF, tasked with security of 59 civil airports and Delhi Metro, has also enhanced vigil after the Finance Ministry directive.

First Published On : Nov 16, 2016 21:27 IST

HC dismisses PIL for ban on burqa, other face veils in Delhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi High Court on Tuesday refused to entertain a PIL seeking a ban on burqas and other face veils in public places due to security threat to the capital, saying it is not a public interest matter.A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangeeta Dhingra Sehgal dismissed the plea saying, “If it is a policy decision, the government will take care of it. How can we entertain it (PIL) under Article 226 (power of High Courts to issue certain writs).”We cannot interfere in this writ petition. The same is dismissed. It is not an issue which deserves consideration by this court under the Article. It is not a matter of public interest.”The plea sought a ban on wearing face veils including burqas, helmets, hoods etc at public places like transport, government buildings and heritage sites in the capital on the ground of threat from terror activities.The plea, filed by Sardar Ravi Ranjan Singh, alleged, “the use of face coverings and wearing of full body cover like the burqa is a serious security issue and citizens are put to constant risk and fear in the capital which is in violation of Article 21(protection of life and personal liberty) of the Constitution of India.”It said, “There is a rapid growth in terrorist activities and that the perpetrators of these criminal acts show no respect to burqa and ruthlessly use it as an instrument to carry out ‘fidayeen’ attacks.” The petitioner also referred to the recent attacks in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir and said public safety and the government offices in the capital are at constant risk.”Face veils, burqas can be used to prevent identification at border check-posts etc. Further, criminals and extremists can use burqas to skip checking at police posts and barricades,” the PIL which made Centre, Delhi government and National Security Council as parties, said.

Demonetisation: How much unaccounted cash have the Maoists hidden in the forests?

Narendra Modi‘s stated objective behind the demonetisation exercise is to flush out black money and bring it into the system. But it would seem his police force in Chhattisgarh does not agree. And it has strong reasons to defy the order.

The police in this Maoist-hit state believe that a substantial sum of money, mostly in denominations of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 is kept at safe dumps, buried under the soil in forest areas of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha. Now with the currency declared illegal tender, the security forces believe the Maoists will try to reach some of the safe hideouts where they have buried the money to take it out. The cops want to ensure they cannot do so. So entry points into the forest areas are under the radar.

Usually, the exact location of the dumps are known only to the top committee leaders of the Maoists. The Chhattisgarh police feel a desperate Maoist leadership may pass on the word to some of their trusted tribals to take out the money since their movement into the jungle would be fraught with risk.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The police believe much of this money is gained through extortion from contractors of tendu patta (used to manufacture beedis), infrastructure firms and levy from businessmen. They also accuse Maoists of extorting from illegal mining mafia groups. Another avenue of extortion is to collect what in local parlance is called Maoist tax from vehicles passing through ‘liberated zones’.

But how much money would really be inside the forest? No one quite has a clear idea since none of those who give money under duress speak out. Any guesstimate about the amount is usually pieced together based on the literature that is confiscated after an encounter.

The Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) in a report in 2013 had pegged the money extorted at Rs 140 crore per year. But police officers on the ground consider this a conservative estimate.

The Chhattisgarh police has maintained that the outlaws who practically control the southern part of the state, collect up to Rs 2,000 crore through extortion every year. As a result of collections over the years, they believe that close to Rs 7,500 crore would be buried in Chhattisgarh at this point in time.

That this parallel economy thrives in the world of terrorism was clear when in 2007, Misir Besra, a central committee member of CPI (Maoist) was arrested. Besra reportedly revealed that the Maoists had earmarked that year Rs 42 crore for arms, ammunition and explosives, Rs 2 crore for intelligence gathering and Rs 16 crore for propaganda, computer training, documentation and transport. Besra was subsequently freed in 2009 during a daring attack on a police in the court premises in Bihar.

The Maoist extortion machine in Jharkhand also is believed to collect, according to the Union Home Ministry, close to Rs 320 crore every year. But whether it stays safe is a crucial question. In August this year, a bag containing Rs 29 lakh consisting of Rs 1,000 notes was eaten up by termites in the Chakri-Bakrakocha jungles of Jharkhand. It is believed that the bag was extortion money buried by Kanhu Ram Munda, who is one of the CPI (Maoist) leaders in Jharkhand.

Odisha and Maharashtra are other areas which yield a rich harvest though Maoist influence in these parts has been on the wane. The recent encounter last month in Malkangiri in Odisha in which 30 Maoists were killed is a pointer to the ability of the security forces to push them on the back foot and hit their leadership.

But given the expenditure incurred by the Maoists on intelligence gathering, weapons and ammunition and medical emergencies, it is not clear how much they would be putting for safekeeping in the forests. Police sources say Maoists are also reported to pay a monthly remuneration to their cadre in the range of Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000 depending on their rank and tenure in the outlawed organisation.

Since 10 November, the police are also keeping an eye on banks in Maoist-affected areas for anyone coming with a large amount of money, which he cannot account for. But it is quite possible that forests are not the only hideout, given the risk of a Jharkhand-like termite attack. The overground Maoist sympathisers in villages, towns and cities could also be safekeepers of such unaccounted for cash. That will make the task of tracking down the cash trail tougher.

But if the Maoists are in possession of even a fraction of the amount estimated by the security agencies, they will be hit badly. It will cripple their operations more severely than any encounter has in the recent past as they would not be in a position to run the outfit. It is also likely to make them more reckless, going on an extortion overdrive to line their pockets with new cash.

The Prime Minister’s intention was also to track fake currency and cut off the supply to terror funding. The hit on the Maoists has been an unintended financial strike, which will bring the security forces much cheer.

First Published On : Nov 14, 2016 10:26 IST

Manohar Parrikar on NFU: Brouhaha over remarks is reminder of India’s inability to think strategically

Manohar Parrikar often finds himself in the news for the wrong reasons. A seemingly harmless book launch presented the latest opportunity for the Indian defence minister to enjoy some limelight yet again. However, at least this time, the brouhaha was entirely manufactured with little reason in sight.

In what appears to be a response to a question at the launch of The New Arthashastra: A Security Strategy for India, Parrikar expressed the view that the logic of a well-defined and written security doctrine eluded him.

Why would one, he pondered out loud, not only restrict oneself to a set of responses but also open up the playbook to one’s enemy? Parrikar gave the example of nuclear policy – why would India tie itself down to a nuclear no-first-use (NFU) position? In his view, India’s leaders should merely state that India is a responsible nuclear weapons state and any potential use would be after careful deliberation.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. File photo. PTI

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. File photo. PTI

The defence minister was vehement in declaring these views to be his private thoughts and that the country’s nuclear policy had not changed. In fact, he went as far as predicting, half jokingly, that it would be splayed all across newspapers the next day that a change in doctrine had been made. He was not wrong – within minutes of his comments hitting Twitter, policy wonks were condemning his casual attitude towards nuclear deterrence and even the thought of straying from a nuclear NFU.

Parrikar’s most egregious sin appears to have simply been that his views were not popular among those who would don the hat of experts; nothing the defence minister said was actually either surprising or extraordinary. Given the situation, the criticism levelled against Parrikar comes off as petty and motivated.

First, the accusation that the minister should not have aired his personal opinion on so sensitive a subject – it should be noted that even as he answered the question asked of him, Parrikar categorically stated that there was no doctrinal shift and he was only expressing his views as an individual. It was not a later clarification by his office to put the minister in the clear.

More to the point, is it surprising that not just the defence minister but even several other senior officials in the present regime may have private views that differ from the stated government policy? After all, this administration saw it fit to include the country’s nuclear doctrine in its election manifesto – surely there would be a few who question the wisdom of the present strategy? And if so, what delicate balance has been upset if these doubts are expressed right alongside a disclaimer that no strategic shift has been envisaged in the short term?

Second, Parrikar has been skewered for doubting the value of a nuclear NFU and his preference for ambiguity has been derided as confusion. The nuclear NFU has become almost an article of faith among Western think tankers, though the United States has refused to adopt such a posture itself despite an overwhelming conventional superiority over most of its rivals. British and French nuclear postures are also more ambiguous on the matter than Chinese or Indian nuclear doctrines.

It is commonly acknowledged that India needs to revise its doctrine that has lain virtually unchanged since its formulation soon after the Pokhran II nuclear tests. The opposition, however, is to abandoning the NFU. Indian planners cannot take such objections seriously for the only posture that will satisfy some corners is unilateral and unconditional nuclear disarmament. Instead, Delhi must look to the peculiarities of its threat matrix and decide upon a strategy that suits the subcontinent best.

For example, Parrikar has a valid point when he says that an unequivocal NFU restricts his options in case of war; it would be like showing the enemy your playbook. Instead, a defensive-use-only posture might offer the desired flexibility and ambiguity while retaining some degree of responsibility. Some of these decisions will need to take into account other factors, such as the extent of Indian conventional superiority over its likely foes, its ability to manufacture reliable and accurate tactical nuclear weapons, and a clear understanding of its objectives in various scenarios.

Admittedly, these are conversations to be had in private but there is little stability to lose before a country that has on umpteen occasions nonchalantly expressed its willingness to use nuclear weapons as a first resort. The sort of stability international scholars advocate is laudable but can only be achieved with mature states. A nuclear NFU and a clearly articulated military doctrine are indeed excellent confidence building measures but they must be deserved, not exploited.

The real tragedy of this little non-incident is that it is a reminder of India’s inability to think and act strategically towards long-term objectives, the aversion of the state’s holy cows to expert scrutiny, and a bureaucratic opacity that would make Brussels proud. Though the Indian defence minister raised some pertinent questions on India’s nuclear doctrine, it is unlikely that much comes of it.

First Published On : Nov 14, 2016 08:35 IST

India, UK need to cooperate more on counter-terrorism: President Pranab Mukherjee

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India and the United Kingdom need to cooperate more on countering terrorism which is the “biggest menace” to world peace and tranquillity, President Pranab Mukherjee has said. Talking to British Prime Minister Theresa May, who called on him last evening, the President said India sees the UK as a key partner in its growth and economy.”India would encourage more companies from the UK to partner in its national programmes like Make in India, Skill India, Digital India etc,” the President was quoted as saying by the Rashtrapati Bhawan spokesman in a statement today. “Terrorism is the biggest menace to world peace and tranquillity. It is a scourge that knows no territorial or ideological boundaries. “India and UK need to cooperate more on counter-terrorism. The international community must show determination in fighting against terrorism,” he said.The President also stressed that there was an immense scope to further enhance trade exchanges both in goods and services between the two countries. Bilateral trade between India and the UK in goods stood at $14 billion in 2015-16.Welcoming the UK Prime Minister, Mukherjee expressed happiness that she has chosen India for her first bilateral visit outside the European Union and said both the countries share common prospective on many international issues. “There is strong economic and financial engagement, growing defence and international security partnership and close people to people linkages. India appreciates the UK s support for its candidature for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council,” he said.May warmly reciprocated the President’s sentiments and said that her visit reflects the strength of the relationship as well as UK’s keenness to build for the future. There were many existing opportunities in terms of mutual investment and trade. The UK is looking to forge a key bilateral partnership with India which would be to the advantage of both sides, the spokesman said quoting the British Prime Minister.

India hits out at UNSC for delay in putting sanctions on JeM chief Masood Azhar

United Nations: India has strongly criticised the Security Council for taking months to consider sanctioning leaders of groups it has itself designated as terror entities, in an obvious reference to the “technical hold” on India’s bid to get JeM chief Masood Azhar banned by the UN.

Asserting that the Security Council is stuck in its own “time warp and politics”, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin on Monday slammed the Council’s inability to sanction the leaders of terrorist organisations.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

“While our collective conscience is ravaged everyday by terrorists in some region or another, the Security Council gives itself 9 months to consider whether to sanction leaders of organisations it has itself designated as terrorist entities,” Akbaruddin said at a session on equitable representation and increase in the membership of the Security Council.

Earlier this year, China had extended the “technical hold” on India’s move to get Azhar designated as a terrorist by the UN. The six-month validity of the technical hold lapsed in late September and China sought another three-month extension on India’s bid.

He lamented that the snail-paced and “never-ending carousel of discussions” on United Nations Security Council (UNSC) reforms, saying “it is time to break the impasse” to urgently reform the body that is “unresponsive” to the current global situation.

The inability to respond to humanitarian situations, terrorist threats and peacekeeping vulnerabilities during this year itself are part of the price that is being paid for the international community’s lack of progress on the critical matter, he noted.

“On issues pivotal to international security such as Syria, there is inaction, and on other situations like dealing with the peacekeeping crisis in South Sudan we see fragmented action which is not implemented even months after being agreed upon,” Akbaruddin said.

“The Security Council, stuck in its own time warp and politics, can only be described as working randomly on the basis of a mix of ad-hocism, scrambling and political
paralysis. Need one say more about the urgency of the need for reform of this relic which has long been unresponsive to the needs of our time,” he said.

Akbaruddin said the never-ending carousel of discussions on UNSC reforms leaves many in the international community perplexed as the crucial reform of the Security Council has been delayed despite both its importance and its urgency.

He pointed out that the Council’s global governance structure does not cease to surprise the international community with its persistent inability to even effectively
engage with the tasks at hand.

“The lack of representativeness of its membership, especially in the permanent category, which was decided upon 70 years ago adds to its lack of legitimacy and credibility,” he added.

The ambassador expressed hope that under the current UN General Assembly President Peter Thomson, a process on furthering the reform will be put in place that can help move from discussions to negotiations.

“It is time to break the impasse. It is time to reflect the different hues in a text so that everyone can discern the trend lines and trajectory of thinking of Member States,” he said.