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JeM chief Masood Azhar, 3 others behind Pathankot airbase attack: NIA files chargesheet

New Delhi: Wrapping up investigations in the Pathankot airbase attack case, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday filed a chargesheet against Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar, his brother and two others for hatching the conspiracy of the January two audacious terror strike that left seven personnel dead and 37 others injured.

The chargesheet was filed in the NIA court at Panchkula in which all the four have been slapped with charges under Indian Penal Code, Explosive Substances Act, Arms Act and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Besides Azhar, his brother Mufti Abdul Rauf Asghar and two handlers — Shahid Latif and Kashif Jan — have been named in the exhaustive charge sheet. While Interpol Red Corner Notice against three has been issued, the same was pending against Jan, the NIA said.

The chargesheet will also put to rest speculation about the number of terrorists involved in the attack as the agency gave details of only four militants. There was confusion about the number of terrorists as Defence Minister Manohar Parikar and Home Minister Rajnath Singh had informed that the number was six.

The charge sheet also hinted of lax security at the strategic IAF base in Pathankot and said that the four terrorists — Nasir Hussain, Hafiz Abu Bakar, Umar Farooq and Abdul Qayoom — who were Pakistani nationals belonging to Jaish, had entered the premises at 0840 hours of January one and entrenched themselves in a drain and adjacent shed belonging to Military Engineering Services.

Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar. Reuters

Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar. Reuters

The terrorists were engaged in a gunfight only at 0320 hours of January two, 19 hours after they had entered the IAF base.

The charge sheet is likely to be used by India in advocating its case for imposing sanctions against Azhar, released in 1999 in exchange of IC-814 hijacked Indian Airlines Plane, under the United Nations anti-terror law, officials said.

The terror case saw an unusual move from India and Pakistan as Islamabad had sent its probe team to Pathankot. They were handed over all the documents and allowed to question everyone except security personnel involved in foiling the attempts of the terrorists.

However, the Pakistani team, upon their return, claimed that India neither shared much of evidence nor allowed it to interrogate the security personnel involved in dealing with the attack.

Giving details about the infiltration and activities of the four terrorists, the NIA said in its charge sheet that all the four terrorists underwent extensive motivational, physical, military and tactical training and were radicalized to carry out terror strikes in India.

The four terrorists armed with ammunition and other logistical items illegally crossed the Indo-Pak international border through the forest area near the Simbal Border Outpost on 30 December. Empty food packets manufactured in Pakistan and other food articles from the neighbouring country were recovered from the forest area near the Simbal Border Outpost, during investigation.

After infiltrating into the Indian side, these terrorists reached the road from Bhagwal village to Janial. On 31 December, at around 2130 hours, they hijacked a taxi bearing registration number PB06-G-0061, along with the driver, Ikagar Singh, who was going from village Bhagwal to Janial.

The terrorists snatched the mobile phone of Ikagar Singh and used the same to communicate with their handler, Kashif Jan and senior leaders and operatives of the Jaish-e-Mohammad in Pakistan, on three Pakistan mobile numbers 923453030479, 923213132786 and 923017775253. Their vehicle met with an accident at the Dhusi turn near the Ravi River Bridge after which the terrorists brutally killed Ikagar Singh and dumped his dead body in the nearby bushes.

Thereafter, the terrorists drove the damaged vehicle and abandoned it at a service station at Kolian Morh in Pathankot. During investigation, the DNA profiles recovered from the dagger, seized from the possession of one of the dead terrorists (Nisar), matched with that of Ikagar Singh, thereby conclusively establishing that he had killed Ikagar Singh.

Similarly, DNA profile of two terrorists was found on an energy drink can, recovered from the vehicle of Ikagar Singh. After abandoning the damaged vehicle of Ikagar Singh at Kolian Morh, the terrorists hid in the nearby sugarcane fields and waited for a vehicle to come.

They hijacked a Mahindra XUV bearing registration number PB02-BW-0313 of Salvinder Singh, Superintendent of Punjab Police, and moved towards the Air Force Station, Pathankot after taking control of the vehicle. They snatched the mobile phones of the victims and used them to communicate with their handler, Kashif Jan and senior leaders and operatives of the JeM in Pakistan on the four Pakistan numbers — 923453030479, 923466746667, 923000957212 and 923024880619.

Pathankot air base. AFPPathankot air base. AFP

Pathankot air base. AFP

After some time, the terrorists tied, blindfolded and dumped Salvinder Singh and his cook Madan Gopal at an abandoned place in a forest area near village Gulpur Simli on way to the Air Force Station, Pathankot. However, they took the third occupant, Rajesh Verma, a jeweller, along with them.

Singh and his cook managed to untie themselves and rushed to the nearby Gulpur Simli village on foot for help, the charge sheet said, adding the terrorists, on learning later from Verma that Singh was a police officer, informed their handler who directed them to go back and look for him.

Since the duo had already left the spot, the terrorists resumed their journey to the Air Force Station. At around 0400 hrs on January one, the terrorists reached village Akalgarh near the Air Force Station in Pathankot and tied Rajesh Verma.

They slit his throat with an intention to kill him and abandoned him and the vehicle in the sugarcane fields at around 0400 hrs. Thereafter, they moved towards the IAF Station on foot.

Meanwhile, Rajesh Verma managed to untie himself and rushed to the Akalgarh village for help, the NIA said, adding as per the forensic report collected during investigation, the DNA profile of the genetic material lifted from the energy drink can, recovered from the Mahindra XUV vehicle, matched with that of a deceased terrorist.

The DNA profile of the genetic material lifted from the dagger recovered from the possession of another terrorist matched with that of the victims Verma and Ikagar Singh. Similarly, the profile of the trace DNA lifted from the handle of the dagger, matched with that of another terrorist. The seat belt of the Mahindra XUV was cut and used to tie one of the victims.

As per the forensic report, the seat belt pieces recovered from the forest area, where the terrorists had dumped Singh and his cook, matched with the remaining seat belt pieces of the Mahindra XUV vehicle.

One walkie-talkie set belonging to the terrorists and one slip written in English were recovered from the Mahindra vehicle. The terrorists had left the slip in which it was written, “Jaish E Muhamad Zindabad Tanghdar se le kar Samba Kathua Rajbagh Aur Delhi tak Afzal Guru Shadeed Kay Jan nisar Tum ko meltay rahege. Insha Allah. A.G.S. 25-12-15″.

The iPhone of Rajesh Verma, which was snatched by the terrorists, was recovered from the ‘nallah’ near the perimeter wall inside the IAF station where the terrorists had hidden before carrying out the attack.

Investigation showed that after abandoning the Mahindra XUV vehicle, the terrorists moved to the western side of the IAF station on foot and forced their entry after cutting the wire fencing over the western side of the perimeter wall before getting inside the airbase in the wee hours of January one.

As per the forensic analysis report, the marks of the cutting tool recovered from the terrorists, matched with the marks on the cut portion of the fencing wire. Also the climbing rope used by them and recovered from the perimeter wall matched with the rope recovered from the Mahindra XUV vehicle.

A glove and a woollen cap, similar to those recovered from the terrorists, were recovered entangled with the wire fencing over the perimeter wall. Further there were marks of climbing over the eucalyptus tree, just outside the perimeter wall panel and also on the other side of the perimeter wall.

After getting inside the IAF Station, the terrorists hid themselves inside the ‘nallah’ and the dilapidated MES Store sheds till the time they launched the assault.

As per the forensic report, the shoe imprints lifted from the ‘nallah’ matched with the shoes of a terrorist.

One of the four terrorists identified as Nasir made attempts to call a Pakistan telephone number 923466746667, belonging to one Khayam Bhatti who runs a merchandise shop in Sailkot, using the snatched Indian mobile number but could not converse.

He again made a call to a different Pakistani number 923000957212 and during this conversation, he disclosed the names of his other three associates as Major, Abu Bakar and Umar.

During the day, as they were hiding, he again called and expressed his desire to the person on the other side to talk to a woman whom he addressed as his mother and the call lasted for 18 minutes.

Nasir told the woman that they had infiltrated into the Indian territory at ‘do baje (0200 hours)’ on Wednesday (which was 30 December) and also told her that he had killed two persons referring to Ikagar Singh and the injured victim Rajesh Verma, whose throat was slit by the terrorist but he happened to survive.

He also spoke to his brother and cousin, who is referred to by the name Babar, and to another person whom he called Munna.

While speaking to the woman addressed as his mother, Nasir asked her to record his conversation on the mobile set. During his conversation with her, Nasir mentioned about one “Ustad” who was supposed to come to her with his “Wasihat” (will) after his death.

He also disclosed that they were hiding inside the IAF station (referred to as Camp in conversation) and waiting to carry out the terror attack.

The terrorists launched the attack early in the morning on 2 January and the gunfight between the Garud commandos and the terrorists started in the MES yard at about 0320 hrs.

The terrorists fired and lobbed grenades indiscriminately towards the Garud Commandos, while moving out of the yard, the NIA said, adding during the gunfight one Garud Commando was killed and two others were injured.

The terrorists also specifically targeted fuel tanks of the vehicles parked in the section setting them on fire, causing severe damage to the vehicles and the buildings, so as to cause panic.

The four terrorists then moved southwards firing indiscriminately and lobbing grenades in which an IAF personnel
lost his life.

Thereafter they crossed the billets near the Peer Baba Mazar and kept on firing indiscriminately injuring one personnel, on the first floor verandah of the billet.

They then entered the mess area where they killed Hon Capt Fateh Singh and later two more IAF personnel, the NIA said, adding one of the terrorists was killed in the retaliatory fire by then.

The remaining terrorists hid in the thick dry vegetation near the DSC lawns and the NSG and Army units then cordoned off this area and, subsequently, neutralized these three terrorists on January two.

During the operation, seven persons were martyred and 37 persons were injured inside the IAF Station.

NIA investigators collected sufficient evidence in terms of statements of the witnesses to establish that the terrorists had been trained, motivated and radicalised by Maulana Masood Azhar and Mufti Abdul Rauf.

It has also been established through legal intercepts and statements of witnesses, that Kashif Jan and Shahid Latif had guided, equipped and launched the four terrorists, who carried out the terrorist attack at the IAF Station.

The recoveries from the scene of crime, material and documentary evidence, forensic reports and extensive call data analysis, conclusively establish the complicity of the terrorists of JeM, in the attack at the Airbase, the agency said.

First Published On : Dec 20, 2016 12:05 IST

Why have terror strikes increased after November 8, asks Shiv Sena

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Hitting out at the Centre over killing of Indian soldiers on the border, the ruling BJP’s ally Shiv Sena on Friday sought to know why there was a ‘spurt’ in such attacks after the November 8 announcement of demonetization.”While scrapping Rs 500 and 1,000 notes, the government had said the move will break the backbone of terrorists as they are heavily dependent on high value notes for funding and carrying out terror activities. If this is true, why have terror strikes increased after November 8?” an editorial in Sena’s mouthpiece Saamana said.The Sena demanded that the Defence Ministry clarify the number of soldiers martyred since November 8. “While the national anthem will be respected in cinema halls, the question is whether there is any respect left for the lives of our soldiers. Our jawans at the border are dying everyday. If this does not stop, a question mark will emerge on the country’s defence preparedness,” the Sena said.Taking on Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar over his remarks that his ministry got a call from Pakistan “pleading” with India to stop firing, the Sena said the minister had created an impression that the neighbouring country had bowed down and there would be no more terror threats from its side. “But, even before Parrikar completed his words, Pakistan attacked Indian camps and all peace had been lost. How do we stop the losses being suffered by our Army? First, it was Pathankot, then Uri and now Nagrota. Terrorists are blatantly spilling the blood of our soldiers,” the Sena said. It said that there were several Army posts in the country which do not even have CCTV cameras, let alone sophisticated machinery.On Tuesday, Jammu and Kashmir was rocked by two terror attacks in which seven Army personnel, including two Major-rank officers were killed. Eight security men including a BSF DIG, were injured before six heavily-armed terrorists were eliminated in a fierce encounter at Samba sector in the state.

Nagrota attack: Army clears two complexes, combing operations continue

Jammu: Two main complexes at the army unit in Nagrota, which witnessed a fierce gunbattle and hostage-like situation, have been cleared by the army as combing operation continued for the second day at the camp targeted by terrorists.

“Combing and sanitisation operation have resumed to clear the entire area of the unit. It will take some more time. No one has been allowed inside so far”, a senior army officer said.

Jammu: Security personnel stand guard during the search operations following the militant attack on Nagrota Army camp, near Jammu on Wednesday. PTI Photo(PTI11_30_2016_000067B)

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

The officer said two main building complexes where the gun-battle and hostage-like situation took place have been cleared and they are totally free from blinds (unexploded shells). Most of the blinds blast on the spot and the area is being cleared inch by inch so it will take some time before the unit area is opened for normal operation and activity, he said.

“Operation is on to see whether there is presence of any other militant in the area. We cannot take chances”, he said. “Blinds were destroyed today at the site of the deadly terror attack on an army base in Nagrota by a bomb disposal team during combing operations that are still underway,” said a Defence spokesman.

Huge number of blinds of various types have been found in and around the two complexes and other areas of the unit, which were left behind by slain terrorists.

The army launched combing, search and sanitisation operation using sniffer dogs, bomb disposal squads with technical teams armed with equipment after conclusion of the day-long gun-battle between troops and three heavily armed militants, who stormed at 166 artillery unit of Army at Nagrota on Tuesday.

Jammu was rocked by two terror attacks 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 separate fierce encounters.

First Published On : Dec 1, 2016 16:44 IST

DNA Morning Must Reads: 7 jawans killed in Nagrota terror attack; latest on demonetization & Sheena Bora murder

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jammu and Kashmir: Terrorists kill 7 Army men in Nagrota, 16 hostages rescuedOn a day General Qamar Javed Bajwa took over as Pakistan Army Chief from General Raheel Sharif, who sent out a warning to India over its “aggressive stance”, terrorists attacked security forces in two separate strikes in Nagrota and Chamliyal in the Ramgarh sector of the Samba district in Jammu. The attack killed seven Army personnel and left eight security men wounded. In retaliation, the Forces killed six terrorists. Read detailsDemonetization: For Modi, probity begins at home, asks BJP lawmakers to submit bank a/c detailsPrime Minister Narendra Modi took his battle against black money to his own party on Tuesday by asking BJP MPs, including ministers, to submit their bank account details from November 8 to December 31 to party president Amit Shah. The details have to be submitted by January 1. Read moreNote ban sees 30 lakh new bank accounts, SBI alone opened 11.8 lakh accountsDemonetization is forcing banks to open savings accounts at a breakneck speed. It is estimated that banks have opened about 30 lakh (and still counting) new accounts since the demonetization drive began on November 8. Read more Nevada man pleads guilty to conspiring to carry out attacks in IndiaA Nevada man who prosecutors say conspired to provide materials and support to co-conspirators to carry out terrorist attacks in India aimed at creating an independent Sikh state pleaded guilty on Tuesday to federal charges. Read moreCBI’s ‘secret witness’ blows lid off Mukerjeas’ dealingsA Nevada man who prosecutors say conspired to provide materials and support to co-conspirators to carry out terrorist attacks in India aimed at creating an independent Sikh state pleaded guilty on Tuesday to federal charges. Read details

Nagrota terror attack: When the bravery of two Army wives thwarted terrorists

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Bravery of the wives of two army officers who were staying in the family quarters helped in averting a major hostage crisis during the encounter that took place in Nagrota area of Jammu today.Soon after the heavily armed terrorists disguised in police uniform entered an army unit located within three kms from the headquarters of the 16 Corps, they wanted to enter the family quarters where they could take the families of the soldiers and officers hostage.However, due to the bravery of these two women, who were staying in the family quarters along with their newborns, the plans of the terrorists could not materialise.”The wives of the two army officers, who were on night duty when the encounter broke out, displayed exemplary courage as they blocked the entry of their quarters with all the household items, making it difficult for the terrorists to break into the houses,” an army officer privy to the encounter told PTI.Had the women not shown this alertness, the terrorists would have been able to take them hostage and would have succeeded in causing huge damage to the army and the families, he said.”The terrorists entered two buildings which were occupied by officers, families and men. This led to a hostage-like situation. The situation was very quickly contained and thereafter, in a deliberate operation all were successfully rescued, which included 12 soldiers, two women and two babies,” Defence spokesman Lt Col Manish Mehta said.The two babies rescued are 18 months and two months old, the officer said.However, in the rescue attempt one more officer and two jawans sacrificed their lives, the spokesman said.He said the bodies of three terrorists have been recovered and operations were in progress to sanitise the complete area.”The terrorists forced their entry into the Officers Mess complex by throwing grenades and firing at the sentries. In the initial counter action, one officer and three soldiers of the Army were martyred,” he said.The Army has not called off the operation but suspended it as they want to be fully sure that the area has been completely sanitised.”The operation is going on, we have suspended it for the night, but the area has been placed under tight cordon, the Army does not want to take any risk and we will resume the operations with the first light of the morning,” the spokesman said.

MoS Home puts an end to speculation, clarifies four militants had entered Pathakot airbase

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Putting to end speculation about the number of terrorists involved in Pathankot attack, the government made it clear on Tuesday that only four militants had entered the airforce station to carry out the strike that left eight people dead. Minister of State for Home Hansraj Gangaram Ahir said “four Pakistan-based terrorists” had carried out the January 2 attack.”Four Pakistan-based terrorists entered Punjab via Janial road, Dhusi turn, near Ravi river bridge, Gulpur Simli village – Akalgarh and attacked airforce station in Pathankot,” he said in a written reply to a question by Congress MP Ravneet Singh, grandson of slain Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh.The Congress MP had asked about the number of terrorists who entered Punjab for Pathankot attack and the route used by them as well as the details of terrorists killed and arrested along with the weapons recovered from them. Ahir said all these terrorists were neutralised by the security forces. The security forces recovered 4 AK rifles, 32 AK magazines, 3 pistols, 7 pistol magazines, one under barrel grenade launcher, 40 hand grenades and one dagger from them, he said.The answer is contrary to a statement made by Home Minister Rajnath Singh on March 4 when he had said that charred remains, apart from four bodies of terrorists, were found at the debris after security forces searched the Pathankot airforce station when the operation ended. “Charred remains were found and sent for forensic examination. We are awaiting for reports,” had said.There was speculation that the Home Minister had made this statement on a presentation made by the elite NSG, which was not corroborated either by defence personnel or central security agencies. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar too had said that six terrorists were involved in the attack.The National Investigation Agency, which was probing the case, has been maintaining that the investigators had found only four bodies. The Home Ministry has recently given NIA the sanction to file a charge sheet against Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar and three others in the Pathankot terror attack.The Home Ministry has in the past been left red faced over answers to Parliament questions including another Pakistan related controversy where it informed the House that they do not know about whereabouts of most wanted terrorist Dawood Ibrahim, forcing the government to retract and clarify that Dawood is in Pakistan.

Parliament attack: Terrorists’ grave diggers acquitted due to lack of evidence

New Delhi: Two persons, accused of trying to dig out from the grave bodies of terrorists of the 2001 Parliament attack for “exposing them to vultures”, have been acquitted by a Delhi court which said prosecution has failed to prove its case against them.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Metropolitan Magistrate Abhilash Malhotra gave benefit of doubt to Raghu and Vijay Sharma saying it was clear that prosecution witnesses have given contradictory statements in the court. “… It is clear that the prosecution witnesses have given contradictory statement in the court. The independent witness of the prosecution… is hostile on the point of identity of the accused. The testimony of police officials is inconsistent and contradictory.

“The prosecution has failed to prove its case against both the accused, accordingly benefit of doubt is given to both the accused,” the court said, adding the authenticity of some documents allegedly recovered from the two accused remained unestablished and questionable. The court freed Raghu and Vijay of the charge under sections 297 (trespassing on burial places) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC.

A case was registered by Delhi Police at IP Estate Police Station against 10 people but charges were framed against Raghu and Vijay only. Police received information that some unknown persons, associated with a political party, were planning to exhume the bodies of December 13, 2001 Parliament attack terrorists from the graveyard at ITO here.

Prosecution said when police reached the spot on 13 January, 2002, they caught Raghu and Vijay along with spade and stick as they were trying to dig out the corpses of the terrorists for exposing them to vultures. Both the accused had denied the allegations against them.

First Published On : Nov 27, 2016 11:08 IST

Attacks of 26/11: Eight years on, government fails to fulfil promises, compensate victims’ kin

It has been eight years since 10 terrorists, trained in Pakistan, entered Mumbai and caused havoc across South Mumbai. The terrorists had entered into the heart of the financial capital of India marching unafraid with only one aim — to cause mayhem and death. At least 164 people were killed and 308 were injured. And they did so for three days, launching coordinated attacks that included hotels, a train station, a hospital and a Jewish community centre.

How it happened:

According to revelations made by Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley who turned approver in the case, 10 terrorists made two unsuccessful attempts to attack Mumbai before they landed on Mumbai shores on 26 November in 2008.

A file image of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel during the 26/11 attacks. Courtesy: IBN

A file image of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel during the 26/11 attacks. Courtesy: IBN

An India TV report offers a detailed account of how they reached Mumbai. According to the report, the terrorists set sail towards India on 23 November on a hijacked Indian trawler named the Kuber. Seven kilometres off Mumbai shores, the terrorists got on inflatable speedboats. Disguised as students, six of them got off at Macchimar Nagar, in Mumbai’s Cuffe Parade neighbourhood, while the rest four came ashore at Badhwar Park.

CST Station: The terrorists than headed to their respective targets, attacking anything that came their way. According to The Indian Express, four militants (one of them being Ajmal Kasab, the lone terrorist who was captured alive) started firing inside the CST station on the night of 26 November. “The attack had left 52 dead and injured over a 100 others. The firing ended at about 10:45 pm,” the report said.

Nariman House: Meanwhile, terrorists managed to enter Chabad House (a Jewish community centre) in Colaba. The militants exchanged fire for the next two days torturing the residents of the building. According to The Indian Express, which visited the site after the terrorists were killed, “the site resembled much like a global conflict zone. More than 30 grenades had been hurled. Small craters were all over the floor and bullet marks all across the walls. The stench of decomposed bodies was unbearable. The bodies of the two terrorists lay on the fourth floor.”

The Oberoi-Trident: The first victim to fall at the Oberoi-Trident attack was the gatekeeper of the Trident Hotel. According to reports, foreign nationals were the main target of the attack. By the end of the 40-hour seize, 143 hostages were rescued alive and 24 bodies were recovered.

Taj Mahal Palace Hotel: The burning dome of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel with dark smoke emanating from it has become one of the iconic images of the 26/11 attacks. The attack on the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel made it clear that the terrorist knew about the place. This was further proven during the depositions by Headley, where he said that the terrorists had a mock of the hotel as well as GPS locations of their targets that he had provided. The terrorists were killed after 60 hours of fire exchange between them and the NSG commandos. Around 30 people died in the attack.

Leopold Cafe: On the evening of 26 November, two gunmen opened fire at Leopold Cafe, killing around 10 people and injuring many others.

Timed bombs: According to an India TV report, two taxis were also targeted in the city using time bombs — one at Vile Parle that killed a driver and a passenger and another at Wadi Bunder that killed three including the driver and injured 15.

Who was behind the attack:

Several investigations and statements given by Headley, have revealed that Hafiz Saeed, leader of Jama’at-ud-Da’wah (JuD) was the mastermind behind the attacks. Headley also revealed the involvement of Pakistan’s Army and ISI. India has requested to name Saeed as a terrorist, a move which has been often blocked by China. Ajmal Kasab, the lone terrorist, caught alive was hanged after a special court found him guilty in November 2012. His hanging was carried out secretly by the Maharashtra government. According to reports, the government spent Rs 1.47 crore on Kasab when he was lodged at the Arthur Road jail for four years. Out of the total amount, Rs 1.46 crore was spent on security, Rs 39,000 on his medical expenses, Rs 42,000 on food and Rs 1,878 on clothes.

RPF continues to be ignored: The attacks highlighted how ill-prepared and ill-equipped Indian security forces were when it came to dealing with trained infiltrators like those who attacked Mumbai eight years ago. While frisking and metal detectors have become mandatory in all public places including railway and malls, and India now has its own elite force of commandos called Force One, the wait for a specialised commando training centre for the Railway Protection Force continues to be trapped in the files, reported DNA.

“The need for a commando training facility was felt after the nation was subjected to painful images of helplessness of RPF personnel during the 26/11 terror raid on Mumbai in 2008,” the report said, adding, “RPF constables, armed with British-vintage .303 rifles, first tried to ward off the two terrorists at CST that day. But when most of the British-vintage .303 rifles jammed, these personnel had little choice but to duck for cover from the assault rifle fire from the terrorists.”

According to the report, around Rs 26.70 crore was sanctioned and railway construction firm Ircon was appointed to construct a commando training facility for the RPF at Canning in the South Parganas district in West Bengal. But the plan was dropped in 2013 due to hassles in land acquisition.

Security remains a concern: However, security remains a major concern for India. This year alone we saw two attacks, one on an airport base and another in an army camp, both carried out by foreign militants.

Compensation not offered to the dead and their families: What is more saddening is that even after eight years, the Maharashtra state government has compensated only 102 families (of the 166 that died) with the Rs 3 lakh compensation that the government had promised, India Today reported.

That’s not all, though. The state government even failed to seek reports on victims who were not from the state of Maharashtra if they received the due compensation. The state has also not bothered to check whether or not kin of the officials from the police/NSG Commandos/Home Guard (it has no information on 15 officials) who died during the attacks received the promised compensation of Rs 25 lakhs.

According to Indian Express, the government has further stated that it is yet to receive information from embassies for disbursement of compensation to legal heirs of 26 foreigners who died in the attacks.

(With inputs from IANS)

First Published On : Nov 26, 2016 09:06 IST

Demonetisation: Drive must have hit terrorism hard but we shouldn’t ignore roots of corruption

The demonetisation drive has hit terrorist organisations with large money caches lying waste, even though some may be laundered white money through the illegal money exchange racket, some glimpses of which are on electronic media. But there would plenty frustration, which may be vented through sabotage and terrorist acts. So, more violence should be expected. It would also be good if capacity building in local police is examined to provide succor during disasters like what has happened to the Patna-Indore train. In the instant case, visuals of local police standing around awaiting arrival of NDRF teams and the Army is not reassuring. This could well be part of training and equipping for civil defence-cum-disaster relief incorporating the public and NGOs. Delhi police is ready with its team of ‘plain clothes officers’ consisting farmers, homemakers, self-employed individuals, jhuggi dwellers, social workers, retired officials, students, advocates and army veterans (total 264 people including 49 women) – enrolled under the ‘police mitra’ scheme for prevention of crime, maintenance of law and order, and communal harmony. Good initiative, but why not pan-India when we needed the ‘billion-eyes-on-the-ground’ concept a decade back, being sixth on the global terrorist index?

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Demonetisation has brought relative peace to Jammu and Kashmir, for whatever period of time, because the separatists are unable to pay daily stone-pelting wages to their ‘street gangs’. Yet the number of schools burnt or ransacked keep going up – 34th school targeted yesterday over past 100 days, even as ceasefire violations by Pakistan continue unabated. The police in Jammu and Kashmir have recovered not only fake Rs 100 notes but also machines owned by local criminal gangs for printing fake currency. But if Rs 100 notes too are being faked, then these could also be used for stone pelting, even if the number of ‘employees’ reduces. Besides, payments received via hawala are generally never traced, as per police officials. Significantly, production of fake Indian currency in Pakistan is in government mints. No matter which paper or ink is used in the new Re 2000 and 500 notes, these being faked by Pakistan at a future date can hardly be ruled out. Chinese assistance to Pakistan in faking our new currency notes can also be taken for granted, being within ambit of the Chinese concept of ‘unrestricted warfare’. As for the Maoists, they will regain wealth though extortion, looting and poppy cultivation in due course of time.

NIA reports of 2013 revealed that Kashmiri terrorist groups had received US$ 100 million for terror operations in past two years, over the past 10 years, some Rs 600 crores were diverted to J&K terrorism from within India, Rs 98 crores were diverted in one single year from the Jammu and Kashmir Affectees Fund, and that the Jammu and Kashmir Affectees Relief Trust (JKART) has been facilitating Pakistani infiltration into Jammu and Kashmir. Besides, goods sent through trucks to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) were intentionally overpriced two-three times in the vouchers and additional money received was diverted for terrorist operations. It is unthinkable that Jammu and Kashmir politicians did not get share from the pie. Under the NIA Act, the NIA can take over any case related to terror suo motu except in Jammu and Kashmir where it needs the state government’s permission before it can start any investigation. Last year, Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra had suggested that the Ranbir Penal Code be brought under the NIA Act, but whether this has been implemented is not known. So, terrorist funding in Jammu and Kashmir apparently is easier than balance India, even though transactions of some Rs 38 crores from 17 accounts in four banks of South Kashmir were under NIA scanner in August this year for suspected terror links.

Demonetisation has hit political parties too, though the general belief is that big fish will remain untouched beyond some financial penalties, not targeting them personally through early prosecution and exemplary message to the rank and file. Then, it is not only the low-level politicians who are dependent on Maoists and radical support but there are also politicians of various hues that have links with inimical organisations. According to veteran RAW officers, politicians of various hues are under ISI blackmail having used hawala which is handled by ‘D’ company – franchisee of ISI. Some actions by these individuals have been obvious but they continue to flourish because of political clout and vote bank politics. As in the case of terrorist organisations, demonetisation having hit black money stocks of political parties too may result in venting anger through violence. India has been witness to criminalisation of politics, as also the perpetrators getting away completely or lightly.

Finally is the question of foreign funding of political parties that have been ‘legalised’, which cannot be without adverse fallouts, coming with a price tag. What portion of this comes from our adversaries via third party is also difficult to establish. Such funding would aim for a certain type of government in India, depending on the individual / group / national interests of those providing the finances. Some may want a strong India, but most may not. When the string of IEDs blew up at the pre-general election rally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Patna (IED under the dais he was speaking from luckily did not fire), can you really pinpoint who wanted him assassinated – Maoists, radicals, another political party or those furnishing election funds from abroad? For that matter, a cross-section is wondering whether the chaotic manner in which the demonetisation scheme is being executed (no matter perception building through media) is by design to show the prime minister in poor light.

The bottom-line is that while euphoria over terrorist funding being hit by demonetisation is justified, we need to go into the roots within the country – for black money, terrorist funding and endemic corruption. Modi has the best of intentions but the system needs a major ‘top-down’ overhaul, not to forget we have the worst bureaucracy in Asia past 20 years. When the equivalent of Lok Ayukta was established in Singapore (then high on corruption), overnight 150 politicians, officials and mafia dons were jailed. Can there be similar action in India?

The author is veteran Lt Gen of Indian Army.

First Published On : Nov 20, 2016 16:29 IST

Pathankot attack: I&B Ministry recommends Hindi news channel to be taken off air for a day

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An Inter-ministerial committee of the I and B ministry has recommended that a leading Hindi news channel be taken off air for a day after it concluded that the broadcaster had revealed “strategically-sensitive” details while covering the Pathankot terrorist attack.The ministry may now ask the channel NDTV India to be taken off air for a day on November 9, according to sources, in what would be the first order against a broadcaster over its coverage of terrorist attacks.Efforts to reach the channel for its comments could not fructify.The matter pertains to the coverage of the Pathankot terror attack by the channel where the committee felt that “such crucial information” could have been readily picked by terrorist handlers and had the potential to “cause massive harm not only to the national security, but also to lives of civilians and defence personnel.”When the operation was on in January this year, it allegedly revealed information on the ammunition stockpiled in the airbase, MIGs, fighter-planes, rocket-launchers, mortars, helicopters, fuel-tanks etc. “which was likely to be used by the terrorists or their handlers to cause massive harm, the sources said. Official sources said that as the content appeared to be violative of the programming norms, a show cause notice was issued to the channel.In its reply, the channel replied that it was a case of “subjective interpretation” and the most of the information they had put out was already in public domain in print, electronic and social media. The committee, in its order, however observed that the channel “appeared to give out the exact location of the remaining terrorists with regard to the sensitive assets in their vicinity” when they telecast in real time.The panel expressed “grave concern” that this was a matter of national security and that the channel had revealed sensitive details like location of ammunition depot viz-a-viz the space where the terrorists were holed up, location of school and residential areas. “Such crucial information could have been readily picked by their handlers, which had the potential to cause massive harm not only to the national security, but also to lives of civilians and defence personnel,” the committee said disagreeing with the channel’s contention that similar content was carried by newspapers.

Uri attack: Terrorists scaled Line of Control fence using ladder, say Army officials

Uri/New Delhi: The four Pakistani terrorists, who killed 19 soldiers in one of the the bloodiest attacks on an army camp in Uri last month, had used a ladder to scale the electrified fence at the LoC.

Investigation carried out by the army to identify the infiltration route of the four terrorists led it to conclude that a ladder was used near Salamabad nallah, official sources said.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The army officials said that one of the four, who mounted the brazen attack in Uri, about 102 km from Srinagar, had infiltrated using the gaps along the fence near Salamabad nallah and erected a ladder on the Indian side of the fence, while the other three had a ladder on their side. The two ladders were connected like a pedestrian bridge.

The sources said it was difficult for all the four to infiltrate through the gap used by the first terrorist as each one of them was carrying heavy rucksacks filled with ammunition, weapons and eatables. It would have taken them a lot of time to cross the fence at grave risk to their lives as army teams, which routinely patrol the area, could have spotted them.

After the four infiltrated into India, the ladder, carried by the first terrorist, was handed over back to the two guides — Mohd Kabir Awan and Basharat — who accompanied them up to the LoC, sources said, adding it was done to ensure there were no tell-tale signs.

The army is conducting an enquiry at Gohallan and adjoining village Jablah as they suspect the terrorists might have taken shelter there for a day before launching the deadly attack on 18 September which left 19 army personnel dead and a large quantity of arms and ammunition destroyed.

The first incident of terrorists using ladders to cross the fence was reported in Machil sector of North Kashmir earlier this year.

The army has launched an internal inquiry into the incident and removed Uri Brigade commander K Soma Shanker. Preliminary investigations suggested the terrorists had entered the area at least a day before mounting the brazen assault.

The inquiry, which will be completed in a time-bound manner, will also suggest measures to prevent such attacks in future. Pakistan-based groups were now indulging more in “shallow infiltration” during which the terrorists, after crossing the LoC, target the first available army camp or security establishment.

During the investigation it was found that the terrorists had sneaked into the army camp by cutting the perimeter fencing of the highly-guarded installation at one place.

In an indication that the terrorists were well aware of the layout of the base close to the LoC, the assailants had locked the kitchen and store from outside to prevent the soldiers present inside from leaving before setting the structures on fire, they said.

The investigators also said the four terrorists might have sneaked in from PoK on the intervening night of 16/17 September and stayed put at village Sukhdar, overlooking the brigade headquarter.

Sukhdar village is located at a vantage point allowing an unhindered view of the army base and movement of personnel inside it.

3-day Pampore encounter ends, 2 terrorists killed

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The 57-hour-long gun battle between two terrorists and the army ended on Wednesday after the security forces gunned down the second militant holed up in a government building on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway.The army had killed one of the two terrorists on Tuesday evening after unleashing a barrage of grenades, rockets and explosives to flush them out of the seven-storey J&K Entrepreneur Development Institute (EDI) hostel building.The operation started on Monday morning when the terrorists cruised through Jhelum and occupied the hostel building to engage the security forces in a gunfight. Eyewitnesses said that the group entered through the rear side and broke open the window panes to gain access to the hostel building.The terrorists had resorted to indiscriminate firing on day one, besides setting some of the rooms on fire. An army jawan was injured in the encounter, police said.The army operation was meticulously planned to avoid collateral damage and special para-commandos were brought in to take on the highly-entrenched terrorists. The forces pounded the building to create a percussion effect, by breaking all glasses and expose the terrorists before pinning them down.”These terrorists most likely belong to Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT),” said Major General Ashok Narula, general officer commanding (GOC) Victor Force of the Indian Army adding, “It was a tricky operation as the building was huge and we did not want any collateral damage.”The GOC said the army started the operation on Monday morning and on Tuesday kept working on it before clearing up the whole premises on Wednesday morning.”It is very sad that militants for the second time have occupied the EDI, which is a pride of Kashmir and centre of excellence where youth get employment. We have taken time because the building has ground floor plus six others floors and one attic. All 60 rooms are bath-attached, the one reason it took time to clear the building,” he said.Police said the bodies of the terrorists have been recovered from the encounter site and their identity is being ascertained. Two AK rifles, nine magazines, grenades and other ammunition have been recovered from the site.”They chose this building to draw the media attention. After the encounter in Baramulla we had information that there might be people who try to sneak in to the city and carry out such attacks on the highways,” said SJM Gillani, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir Zone.

Jammu and Kashmir: Two terrorists neutralised, siege continues on EDI building in Pampore

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The massive siege on the Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) building in Pampore, Jammu and Kashmir continued for the third day on Wednesday as security forces neutralised two terrorists and continued operations to flush out the remaining holed up terrorists.Around three terrorists have been holed up inside the EDI building and counter operations have been underway for over 48 hours now to neutralise them.The government building now lies in an almost destroyed form as it is peppered with bullets and heavy gunfire. Several floors in the multi-storeyed building now lie damaged following several explosions.The terrorists who had entered the EDI complexes in the wee hours on Monday had fired upon the security forces triggering an encounter.According to reports, the terrorists arrived at the EDI complex from the rear using a boat on the Jhelum.An army jawan and a policeman were injured in the operation. Security forces used mortar shells, light machine guns and other small arms to flush out the terrorists but so far have only neutralised one.This is the second time this year that the EDI complex has come under fire, as in February, terrorists had taken shelter in the main building after attacking a CRPF convoy on the highway at Pampore.

Pulwama: Suspected militants snatch two rifles from cops

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In another infiltration attempt in the Kashmir valley, two terrorists have reportedly snatched weapons from policemen manning the Pulwama’s Tumlahal village. The gun battle between the police and terrorists is currently underway.From the past one-week, the valley has seen spurt in infiltration bids with majority of the terrorists emanating from across the Line of Control (LoC). On Friday, a police constable Nazir Ahmad was killed in a militant attack in Shopian district. He was killed when militants fired at cops, who tried to repulse their rifle-snatching bid at a police post in Reshnagri area. Another cop and a civilian were injured too. The attack came amid heightened tension between India and Pakistan and repeated ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the border.

J&K: Grenades, explosives recovered from terrorists confirms Pak connection in Naugam attack: Army

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two days after the four militants were killed while trying to infiltrate from Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK), Indian Army on Saturday said that the grenades, explosives and other materials recovered from terrorists killed in Naugam operation confirmed Pakistan’s connection.The army, during the intervening night of October five and six foiled three infiltration bids along the LoC — two in Naugam sector and one in Rampur — of North Kashmir, killing four terrorists.”Four terrorists were eliminated by Army on the LoC in Naugam sector on 06 Oct 16. Pakistan Ordinance factory markings on the hand grenades and the UBGL grenades recovered from the terrorists, confirms Pakistan complicity in abetting and equipping terrorism,” said Northern Command in the release posted on its official Twitter account.”The hand grenades recovered are ARGES 84 which are manufactured by Pakistan Ordinance Factory. Pakistan origin markings are also seen on the medicines and eatable items recovered,” the release said.”A large number of highly inflammable material, like six plastic explosive slabs, bottles of petroleum jelly, six bottles of inflammable liquid and six lighters were also recovered. Similarinflammable material was recovered at Poonch Incident of 11 September and Uri Incident of 18 September,” it added.Stating that this showed the sinister design of Pakistan to aid terrorists in causing maximum destruction, the Northern Command also listed other items recovered from the terrorists including- 1) AK 47 Rifles – 04 (2) Magazine AK 47- 16 (3) AMN -349 Rds (4) Radio set- 1 (5) GPS- 1 (6) Binocular- 1 (7) Wire cutter -2 (8) Samsung mobile – 1 (9) Rain Ponchos & Haversack- 4(each) (10) First Aid kit (11) Clothing and eatable items.The infiltration bids came barely a day after National Security Advisor Ajit Doval reportedly briefed the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) that the Pakistani army had mobilised about 100 terrorists across the LoC to push them into India to carry out attacks in Jammu and Kashmir.The Indian army had carried out surgical strikes on September 29, crossing over the LoC in Kupwara sector in the Kashmir Valley and Poonch in Jammu region, destroying launch pads meant for terrorists. It was believed that nearly a dozen terrorists were killed in Kel, Lipa and Bhimber Gali and given a quiet burial.

Pakistan trying to create war-like situation in sub-continent: Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after countless ceasefire violations were reported in the Poonch area and the BSF and army camps being attacked in Baramulla, the Congress Party on Tuesday accused Pakistan of creating a war-like situation in the Indian sub-continent.”Pakistan is trying to create a war-like situation. It is not good for both the countries and for the international community. They should control their terrorists and if they think that they can in win, by sending militants into our borders then I would say that they are dreaming,” Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge told ANI.”If they think that they can intimidate us or our soldiers by sending terrorists then they are definitely wrong,” he added.Extending his gratitude to the slain BSF soldier who lost his life in Baramulla, Kharge said, “Soldiers play important role in ensuring security not only in the borders but here as well. I am extremely thankful to them.”The terrorists attacked near a camp of the 46 Rashtriya Rifles in Baramulla late on Sunday night.The terrorists, whose numbers are still unknown, tried to enter the camp through a public park near it, but failed to breach the security.Earlier, Pakistan targeted Indian posts along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir’s Akhnoor tehsil late Sunday evening.Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh is on a two-day visit to Leh and Ladakh to take stock of the situation. He said that he would make all efforts to try and resolve the issues of the region.

Baramulla attack: Ajit Doval briefs PM Modi; SSP says terrorists used civilians as shield to escape

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asserting that the terrorists responsible for the attack on army and the Border Security Force (BSF) camps in Baramulla fled the spot using the dark and heavy civilian population as a shield, the police on Monday claimed that the security forces could not retaliate in a heavy manner fearing civilian casualties.Briefing the media, District Senior Superintendent of Police Imtiaz Hussain said that an investigation is underway to ascertain which outfit the terrorists belonged to.”There were around three-four terrorists. They attacked a BSF sentry post and then both the army and the BSF responded in kind, which is why the terrorists were not able to enter the army camp next. But one BSF jawan was killed and another injured during the operation,” he said.However, he admitted a heavy response could not be given as the area surrounding the camps were heavily populated by civilians, and they could not risk any casualties.”There is a lot of civilian population around the camps, which is why the security forces were not able to respond in a heavy manner. Otherwise there would have been a lot of civilian casualties. Taking advantage of the dark and using civilians as shield, the terrorists ran off,” Hussain said.IG BSF, Punjab Frontier Anil Paliwal has said today that an alert has been sounded on the border in the wake of the Baramulla attack and the following ceasefire violation in Poonch, assuring that the situation is under control.Meanwhile, National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the current situation at the Line of Control (LoC).Doval also reportedly briefed the Prime Minister about the preparedness of the security forces and the army troops.Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju has assured that Indian security forces are capable of dealing with the situation, while Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh asserted that he had faith in the army to give a befitting reply.Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar chaired a high-level meeting to discuss the next course of action with the three service chiefs.Also, Pakistan violated ceasefire in Shahpur along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch, Jammu and Kashmir today.Heavy mortar shelling and firing was reported from the Pakistani side in Poonch.The fresh attack comes just after terrorists attacked in defence camps in Baramulla, Jammu and Kashmir, in which a BSF personnel was killed.The terrorists attacked near a camp of the 46 Rashtriya Rifles in Baramulla late on Sunday night.The terrorists, whose numbers are still unknown, tried to enter the camp through a public park near it, but failed to breach the security.Earlier, Pakistan targeted Indian posts along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir’s Akhnoor tehsil late Sunday evening.Pakistan has stepped up cross-border firing after the Indian Army conducted surgical strikes on terror launch pads in Pakistan occupied Kashmir

J & K: Pakistan violates ceasefire in Shahpur along LoC in Poonch, heavy shelling underway

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan on Monday violated ceasefire in Shahpur along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch, Jammu and Kashmir.Heavy mortar shelling and firing was reported from the Pakistani side in Poonch.The fresh attack comes after terrorists attacked the Indian Army and BSF camps in Baramulla, Jammu and Kashmir, in which a BSF personnel was killed.The terrorists attacked near a camp of the 46 Rashtriya Rifles in Baramulla late on Sunday night.The terrorists, whose numbers are still unknown, tried to enter the camp through a public park near it, but failed to breach the security.Earlier, Pakistan targeted Indian posts along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir’s Akhnoor tehsil late Sunday evening.Pakistan has stepped up cross-border firing after the Indian Army conducted surgical strikes on terror launch pads in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).

If my neighbour’s garbage comes in my house, how is it right: Adnan Sami slams Pak for cross-border terrorism

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Pakistani-origin singer Adnan Sami, who is now an Indian citizen, said Pakistan should understand that Indian Army’s surgical strike was not aimed at it, but was against the terrorists, who have even attacked the neighbouring country in the past. Sami invited a lot of flak on social media by Pakistani users for hailing the surgical strike”The tweet came out of my heart and I pardon those who criticised me. We need to look at why the strike happened and not against whom. This was not a territorial strike aimed at acquisition of land but a response to an unwarranted attack.The strike was aimed at a terrorist camp. “Terrorism doesn’t have a border. Terrorists attack Mumbai, Peshawar and also Paris,” said the singer at the India Today Safaigiri Awards here.The 43-year-old musician said everyone from artistes to common people in both the nations want peace between both the nations.”People say that artists always want peace, they call them the messengers of peace and so on and so forth. Although it is true, I don’t think artistes are the only ones who should get this ‘beautiful credit’. I think all our citizens want peace, not just artists.”Drawing an analogy regarding the current India-Pak situation, he said, “The way I look at it, if my neighbour’s house, for any reason, is producing garbage and that garbage is coming to my house then how is it right? What am I supposed to do? I will go to him and tell him to keep clean.” Sami appealed to Pakistan that it should join hands with India to eliminate terrorism and not take the surgical strike “personally”.”Eliminate it. If you won’t do it alone, let us do it together so that we and our children can live in this world in peace. That is it. There is nothing more to it. It is as simple as that. “Why are you taking this personally? You yourself know there are suicide bombers who blast themselves in Mosques, so if someone is helping you eliminate it, you should be thankful.”

‘Not just kadi ninda’: Twitter hails Indian Army and Modi govt after surgical strike

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the first such action, India carried out surgical strikes on seven terror launch pads across the LoC with the Army saying its special forces inflicted “significant casualties” on terrorists preparing to infiltrate from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir(PoK). Defence sources said seven terror launch pads across the Line of Control(LoC) were destroyed by special forces of the Indian Army on the intervening night of September 28 and 29 in a nearly five-hour-long operation during which heliborne and ground forces were deployed. The sources said the launch pads in PoK were in the range of 2 to 3km from the LoC and were under surveillance for over one week while Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu said the strikes targeted 5-6 places across the LoC along Kupwara and Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir. Naidu said there was no casualty on the Indian side.Here’s how Twitter reacted to the incident: “Based on very credible and specific information which we received yesterday that some terrorist teams had positioned themselves at launch pads along the Line of Control with an aim to carry out infiltration and terrorist strikes in Jammu & Kashmir and in various other metros in our country, the Indian army conducted surgical strikes last night at these launch pads,” Gen Singh told a news conference during which External affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup was also present.Pakistan, however, dismissed as “fabrication of truth” India’s claim that it has conducted a military operation across the LoC to target terrorist launching pads, terming it as a “quest” by India to create media hype by rebranding cross-border fire as surgical strike.”There has been no surgical strike by India, instead there had been cross border fire initiated and conducted by India which is existential phenomenon,” Pakistan army said in a statement in Islamabad.The announcement of the strikes by the Indian army was made soon after Prime Minister Modi chaired a meeting of Cabinet Committee on Security(CCS).Prime Minister Modi informed President Pranab Mukherjee, J and K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and former Premier Mahmohan Singh among others on the surgical strikes.Sharing details, Gen Singh said the operations were basically focused to ensure that the terrorists do not succeed in their design of infiltration and carrying out destruction and endangering the lives of citizens of our country.”During these counter terrorist operations, significant casualties have been caused to the terrorists and those who are trying to support them.”The operations aimed at neutralizing the terrorists have since ceased. We do not have any plans for continuation of further operations. However the Indian armed forces are fully prepared for any contingency that may arise,” he said.The DGMO said he had spoken to the Pakistani Director General of Military Operations and explained India’s concerns and also shared with him details of the operation.”It is India’s intention to maintain peace and tranquility in the region, but we can certainly not allow the terrorists to operate across the Line of Control with impunity and attack the citizens of our country.”In line with Pakistan’s commitment made in January 2004 not to allow its soil or territory under its control for any terrorist activities against India, we expect the Pakistani army to cooperate with us with a view to erase this menace of terrorism from our region.”

PM Modi violating UN norms on non-interference in internal affairs of countries: Pakistan diplomat

Islamabad: Terming Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s recent speech attacking Pakistan as a violation of the UN norms on non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, Pakistan’s top diplomat said such “irresponsible” behaviour at the highest level was regrettable.

File image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.PTI

File image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.PTI

Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry said that Modi’s statement shows India’s nervousness over the situation in Kashmir. Chaudhry said that it was unfortunate that the Indian leadership “continues to indulge in a vilification campaign against Pakistan by making provocative statements and hurling baseless accusations”.

He said that such “display of irresponsible behaviour at the highest political level was regrettable”, Dawn reported. “It is evident that, as an act of desperation”, India is trying to distract the world attention from the “atrocities perpetrated by its forces against innocent and defenceless Kashmiris, including women and children”, Chaudhry said.

Indian Prime Minister’s recent statement violates all United Nations and international charters on non-interference in internal affairs of other countries, he said. The Foreign Secretary noted that “Indian atrocities had intensified since the extrajudicial killing of Kashmiri youth leader Burhan Muzaffar Wani in July”.

“Over the last 75 days, Indian occupation forces have martyred more than 100 Kashmiris, blinded hundreds and injured thousands.” The foreign secretary said that while casting aspersions on Pakistan, India continued to “sponsor terrorism in Pakistan directly through its state apparatus”.

The arrest and confessional statement of a serving Indian navy officer and intelligence operative, Kulbhushan Jadhav, had proved India’s involvement, he claimed. There are increasing demands for independent investigations and fact-finding missions to be sent to Kashmir, he said.

Prime Minister Modi launched a blistering attack on Pakistan on Saturday in his first public address after last Sunday’s deadly Uri terror attack. Modi said the sacrifice of 18 soldiers will not go in vain while all our efforts will be made to isolate Pakistan globally.

“Terrorists should hear out clearly that India will never forget the Uri attack…I want to tell the leadership of Pakistan that the sacrifice of our 18 jawans will not go in vain,” Modi told a public meeting on the Kozhikode beach held on the sidelines of the BJP national council meet.

‘Will you fight elections in Pakistan?’: Congress says Modi ‘playing politics’ with national security

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Congress attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “playing politics” with national security and said he was offering “platitudes” to Pakistan as if he is going to fight elections in that country instead of understanding the anger of people in India. Congress leader Manish Tewari said, “Prime Minister has suddenly started lecturing the people of Pakistan about its new developmental imperatives. It seems Narendra Modi would be fighting the next elections in Pakistan rather than understanding the depth of anger which is there in the people of India.” “…He has tried to change the goalpost by talking about malnutrition and other development indices like poverty and unemployement. These are battles India won far back.” Addressing a massive gathering at a BJP meet yesterday in Kozhikode, Modi challenged Pakistan to go to war against poverty and unemployment. He said, “I want to say that India is ready for a war India is a ready for a war on poverty. Let both countries fight to see who would eradicate poverty first…I want to tell the youth of Pakistan, let s have a war on ending unemployment. “…I want to call out to the children in Pakistan, let s declare war on illiteracy. Let s see who wins. Let s declare war on infant mortality and maternal deaths.” PM Modi’s olive branch to Pakistanis In a blunt warning to Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the Uri attack will not be forgotten as he accused it of conspiring to spill blood across Asia by exporting terror.Launching a blistering attack on Pakistan in his first public address after last Sunday’s deadly terror attack, he said the sacrifice of 18 soldiers will not go in vain while all out efforts will be made to isolate that country globally.”Terrorists should hear out clearly that India will never forget the Uri attack… I want to tell the leadership of Pakistan that the sacrifice of our 18 jawans will not go in vain,” Modi told a largely-attended public meeting on the Kozhikode beach held on the sidelines of the BJP national council meet.He said while countries in Asia are working to make the 21st century Asia’s, Pakistan is engaged in a conspiracy of causing bloodshed across the continent by sponsoring terrorism and killing innocents.Asserting that Pakistan was behind terror incidents in Afghanistan, Bangladesh besides India, he said, “Across the world wherever a terrorist incident happens you will find that either terrorists had gone from there (Pakistan) or come to live there like Osama-bin Laden.”Modi also asked Pakistan’s people to question leaders of their country as to why India exports software and Pakistan exports terrorism despite getting Independence together. He indicated that India’s efforts will be directed at isolating Pakistan diplomatically, saying it has already succeeded in this regard and will speed up measures in this regard.The Prime Minister, who has been having meetings with top ministers, BJP leaders and service chiefs in the last few days, however, did not spell out the nature of what India’s response would be.Modi said India had never bowed to terror and will never do so in future and will strive to defeat it. “India has never bowed to terrorism, nor will it ever. It will pause only after defeating it,” he said.

Relief to hear PM speak like a statesman: Twitter lauds Modi for restrained aggression

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Launching a blistering attack on Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday warned its leadership that the Uri terror attack will not be forgotten and the sacrifice of 18 jawans will not go in vain.In his first public address after last Sunday’s deadly attack by terrorists from across the border, he said India will mount an all out offensive to isolate Pakistan diplomatically to expose its activities in exporting terror, killing of innocent people and spilling blood. “Terrorists should hear out clearly that India will never forget the Uri attack…. I want to tell the leadership of Pakistan that the sacrifice of our 18 jawans will not go in vain,” Modi told a largely-attended public meeting on the Kozhikode beach held on the sidelines of the BJP national council meet.Modi held Pakistan directly responsible for the Uri attack saying the country exported terrorists there due to which 18 soldiers sacrificed their lives. The Prime Minister said there is one nation in Asia whose aim is to spread terrorism and is working towards ensuring that the 21st century does not belong to Asia.”Every nation is holding only one country responsible for terrorism. Only one country in Asia is safe haven for terrorists. This is the only country engaged in exporting terror across the world. “Be it Afghanistan, Bangladesh or other nations, we have seen whenever the news of terror incidents comes, terrorists have either gone from this country (Pakistan) or have settled there after committing the crime,” he said. The Prime Minister said India had never bowed to terror and will never do so in future and will strive to defeat it.His speech had mostly positive reactions on Twitter. Even Modi’s ardent critics praised his restrained aggression. People praising ‘statesman’ like speechLeft both supporters and detractors with lot to ponder upon Some are not happy though

India exports software, Pakistan exports terror: PM Modi’s top quotes from BJP National Meet

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Speaking at the BJP National Meet in Kozhikode, PM Modi held nothing back as he ripped into the Pakistani state and its export of terrorism, even as he extended an olive branch to the Pakistani public. Directly addressing the people of Pakistan, he asked them to beat bigger demons like illiteracy, employment, maternal and children’s deaths and poverty. Speaking for the first time since the Uri attack, the PM started off by praising BJP workers in Kerala and the people in Kerala in general, he switched speaking about how the 21st Century will be Asia’s Century. And then he pointedly spoke about the one nation that didn’t want to be part of this success story.Top Moment 1: Every country in Asia wants to be successful except oneHe said: “All countries in Asia is working forward to make sure that 21st century becomes Asia’s 21st century except one country. There is one nation in Asia whose aim is this century does not become Asia’s and is associated with terrorism. Question is not only about India, everywhere this is one country which is exporting terrorism everywhere.”Top Moment 2: Nailing the Pakistan’s connection to global terrorism Mocking Pakistan’s global link to terrorism: “Wherever terrorism is happening across Asia, the affected nations are blaming only 1 nation. Whenever news about terrorism comes, news also comes either the terrorist came from there or like Osama Bin Laden went there after the act.”Top Moment 3: Hindustan won’t bow to terrorismHe added: “Terrorism is the enemy of humanity. We need to join our hands to defeat terrorism. Hindustan na kabhi aatankwaad ke saamne jhuka hai, aur na kabhi jhukega. Ek desh Asia mein aisa hai jo, pura Asia rakt ranajit ho, pura Asia antakwadi ki chapet mein aa jaye. Khoon kharaba ho, nirdosh log maut ke ghat utaar diye jaye, uske sharyantra mei laga hua hai.” (India has never bowed before terrorists, and it never will. Because of once country, the entire continent of Asia is beleaguered with terrorism. The country wants blood, wants to kill innocents and is stuck to doing that.”Top Moment 4: Remembering the jawansHe said: “Our 18 soldiers had to sacrifice their lives because of terrorists exported by our neighbouring country. There’s anger in entire country post Uri attack. 18 of our soldiers sacrificed their life after our neighbour exported terrorists there. Aatankwaadi kaan kholke sunle, ye desh iss baat ko kabhi bhoolne wala nahin hai. (Terrorists listen to me, this nation will never forget this sacrifice). We are very proud of our Armed forces.”Top moment 5: ‘You read speeches written by terrorists’Directly targeting his counterpart, the PM ripped into leaders who read speeches prepared by terrorists and added that no one expected anything from him. He said: “I want talk to the leaders across the border in Pakistan who read speeches prepared by terrorists. The world has no expectations from them.”Top Moment 6: Addressing the people of PakistanDirectly addressing the people of Pakistan, PM Modi said: “Leaders of neighbouring country used to say that they will fight for 1000 years, but where are they lost now. I want to talk to the people of Pakistan from here today. In the last few months, our neighbour tried to destroy our country by exporting terrorists more than 17 times but our army defeated them.” More than 110 terrorists killed in the past few months by Indian army as they were trying to infiltrate. I want to inform Pakistan that before 1947 even your leaders used to salute this land.”Top Moment 7: Can’t handle Gilgit, but you want to interfere in KashmirPointing that Pakistan as a nation had trouble handling regions in its control, the talk about Kashmir was to foment mischief. He said: “PoK aapke paas hai usko aap sambhaal nahi paate aur aapko (to Pak people) Kashmir ki baatein karke gumrah kar rahe hain. (You have PoK but you can’t handle that, and they are distracting You can imagine, our neighbour was successful in one incident and our 18 soldiers had to sacrifice their lives. if they would have succeeded in the other 17 times, what would have happened? Pakistan is aiming for Kashmir, they should first look at the land they have already captured ie PoK, Gilgit and Balochistan. Ask them (to Pak people) you can’t handle Gilgit, PoK, Balochistan which is with you, then why mislead people by talking of Kashmir?”Top Moment 8: Software v/s terrorDrawing another analogy, PM Modi asked why the two nations had such different export products. He said: “We are exporting software all over the world, whereas Pakistan is exporting terrorists in entire world.”Top Moment 9: Let’s fight for things that matterPerhaps the most important bit of the speech, PM Modi looked to urge Pakistanis to battle things that matter. Issues like unemployment, illiteracy which have plagued both nations since their employment. He said: “I want to tell Pak people; India is ready to fight you. If you have strength, come forward to fight against poverty. Let’s see who wins? who is able to defeat poverty and illiteracy first, Pakistan or India?”Top Moment 10: A day will come… And perhaps the most intriguing part of his speech came at the very end when the PM Modi said that soon Pakistanis will be fighting the Pakistani state. He said: “A day will come when people of Pakistan will go against its own government to fight terrorism. India has been successful in isolating Pakistan, and will intensify that so that you are completely isolated. People of Pak should ask their leaders. India & Pak got freedom in same year but India exports software & your leaders export terrorists.”

Uri attack: India will not extend Pathankot-like offer to Pakistan this time

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Unlike in the case of Pathankot terror attack, India’s offer to Pakistan to verify involvement of its nationals in the Uri terror strike will be “limited” to providing finger prints and DNA samples of terrorists killed in the incident. Briefing reporters a day after Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar summoned Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit and issued a demarche over the Uri attack, MEA Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said “irrefutable evidence” was shown to the envoy that points to the involvement of Pak-based groups and individuals or territory under Pakistan control.Noting that the Foreign Secretary conveyed details of the various items that had been recovered from the terrorists, he said, Jaishankar “showed the Pakistan High Commissioner the GPS tracking devices, pictures of Pakistan made grenades and the finger prints of one of the terrorists.”Foreign Secretary offered that in case the Government of Pakistan wishes to investigate these cross-border attacks, we are ready to provide finger prints and DNA samples of terrorists killed in the Uri and Poonch incidents. I would like to underline that our offer is limited to providing finger prints and DNA evidence to Pakistan so that Pakistan can verify it against their national database (NADRA) and confirm that the terrorists who attacked the Indian facilities were indeed Pakistani nationals,” implying thereby, that no Pakistan team will be allowed in Uri unlike the Pathankot strike when a probe team from there had visited the attack site.Foreign Secretary had also underlined that this terrorist attack was the most recent in a series launched from across the border that has steadily escalated in recent weeks. Jaishankar also listed some of the incidents including a foiled infiltration bid in Nowgam sector on July 30 that resulted in the death of two terrorists and two Indian soldiers, one along LoC in Macchil sector on August 8 resulting in the death of three BSF personnel and one terrorist, and an encounter in Srinagar on August 15 in which a CRPF commandant was killed and 11 CRPF personnel were injured.The nature and frequency of this infiltration across the LoC of heavily-armed terrorists charged with attacking Indian targets bely the claim of the Pakistani DGMO that the border has ‘water-tight arrangements’ from the Pakistani side, the Foreign Secretary conveyed to Basit.”On the contrary, such bids cannot be continuously mounted without the active and collaborative support of Pakistani security forces,” he told the Pakistan envoy.Swarup said, “It is, of course, widely known that the training and arming of terrorists is freely taking place in Pakistan and Indian territory under its control. Acknowledged leaders of terrorist organisations have also been given free rein and parade around even in Islamabad. Such terrorism is not only directed against India but is now increasingly recognised as a larger regional concern.”The Foreign Secretary also reminded Basit of the capture of Pakistani terrorist Bahadur Ali “to whom we had even offered consular access to Pakistan”.

Uri attack: Terrorists sneaked in by cutting fence, ‘insider help’ not ruled out

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The four terrorists who stormed an army base in Uri sector on Sunday killing 18 soldiers belonged to Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and managed to sneak in by cutting the perimeter fencing of the highly-guarded army installation at two places, investigations have shown. In an indication that the terrorists were well-versed of the layout of the army base close to the Line of Control(LoC), the assailants locked the cooking room and store from outside to prevent the soldiers from leaving before setting them afire, sources privy to the probe said on Wednesday.The investigators are not ruling out “insider help” to the terrorists in view of the precise nature of the actions undertaken by the intruders once inside the army base, the sources said, adding the attackers first cut the perimeter fencing at two places.After locking the cooking room and store, two of the terrorists started moving towards the officers quarters within the base but they were gunned down before they could inflict any further damage, they said. The two Global Positioning System (GPS) sets recovered from the slain militants were damaged during the attack and have been handed over to the NIA, which is probing the case. The four intruders, who had crossed in from Pakistan- occupied Kashmir (Pok) a day earlier, were affiliated to LeT as the terrorist module bore striking resemblance to the group from the same Pakistan-based terror outfit eliminated in Poonch on September 11, the sources said.Director General Military Operations (DGMO) Lt Gen Ranbir Singh had told reporters hours after the attack that as per initial reports the slain terrorists belonged to Jaish-e-Mohammad(JeM), also a Pakistan-based terror outfit.”All four killed were foreign terrorists and had carried with them items which had Pakistani markings. Initial reports indicate that the slain terrorists belong to Jaish-E-Mohammed tanzeem,” Lt Gen Singh had said.The terrorists both at Uri and Poonch were carrying small plastic bottles containing a concoction of petroleum jelly and gelatin which was used to set the soldiers’ tents on fire, the sources said.Various intelligence agencies probing the bloodiest attack on army in Kashmir in 27 years believe that the attack could be handiwork of LeT, which has been induging in shallow infiltration — a strategy to target the first available security installation by the infiltrators after crossing the LoC.The NIA on Tuesday registered a case to probe the terror attack at the Army installation in Uri. The NIA took over the investigation from the Jammu and Kashmir Police, which had registered a case on Sunday, and began probe by collecting evidence available with the Army formation at Uri.The NIA team led by Inspector General G P Singh has been camping in Uri since its arrival on Tuesday. The team will collect the DNA samples of the four unidentified terrorists and their pictures would be shown to militants lodged in various jails of the state as well as other parts of the country.The NIA team would prepare a dossier and may make a formal request to Pakistan once the identity of the four was ascertained. Army has also instituted an inquiry into the attack with preliminary investigation suggesting the terrorists had entered the area at least a day before mounting the brazen assault.The inquiry besides ascertaining lapses, if any, would also suggest measures to prevent such attacks in the future as Pakistani-based groups were indulging more in “shallow infiltration”, which means that terrorists strike the first available installation after crossing the Line of Control.

Indian Army’s 2016 death toll of 64 is highest in six years; 31 terrorists killed this year

By Abhishek Waghmare

With 18 soldiers dying in a pre-dawn terrorist attack in North Kashmir’s Uri area on 18 September, 2016, the army’s combat death toll in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) is 64 this year (until 18 September), the highest since 2010, when 69 soldiers died, according to the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP).

In contrast, civilian casualties along the line of control (LoC)—the de facto border between India and Pakistan in J&K—in 2016 were the lowest in three decades, SATP data reveal. About 800 civilians died every year, on average, between 1990 and 2007.

Over the last three decades, the 20-year period between 1990 and 2010 was the most violent, while the period after 2011 relatively more peaceful, according to the SATP data.

The year 2012, when 16 civilians and 17 soldiers died, was the most peaceful. After that, the death toll rose.

graph2-desktop1 825graph2-desktop1 825

Source: South Asia Terrorism Portal *Note: Up to 18 September, 2016

A series of infiltration attempts along the LoC were stopped this year, which has seen a “marked increase” over the previous three years, according to an army statement.

As many as 31 terrorists were killed along the line of control this year in the course of 17 infiltration attempts stopped by the army, the statement said.

Ceasefire violations along the LoC and the international border—which runs south of the LoC beyond J&K—peaked in 2014 and 2015, IndiaSpend reported in August 2015 and April 2016.

Indians—while content with India’s foreign policy with regard to US, Russia and China—are unhappy with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policy on Pakistan, according to a 2016 research released on 19 September, 2016, by Pew Global Research, a USA-based global research organisation.

IndiaSpend-Logo11IndiaSpend-Logo11

With regard to security and road infrastructure along the international border in Jammu & Kashmir, 97 percent of a floodlit fence and 63 percent of planned roads have been completed, according to this August 2016 Rajya Sabha reply.

Indiaspend.org is a data-driven, public-interest journalism non-profit

Uri attack carried out by Jaish-e-Mohammad militants, confirms Indian Army

Hours after Sunday’s deadly attack on one of its base in north Kashmir’s Uri town — that left 18 soldiers dead — the Army said four militants who carried out of the attack belonged to the Jaish-e-Mohammad militant outfit based in Pakistan.

“All four killed were foreign terrorists and had carried with them items which had Pakistani markings. Initial reports indicate that the slain terrorists belong to Jaish-e-Mohammad tanzeem (outfit),” Lieutenant-General Ranbir Singh said in South Block in New Delhi after the attacks.

Investigators probing the Uri suicide attacks are working overtime to identify the four fedayeen who stormed into 12 Infantry Brigade in Uri, and all the initial indications are leading towards Jaish outfit. The NIA, which overtook the investigation of the Uri attack from Army, is looking into the case from different angles, which also include studying the previous successful infiltration attempts made by the outfit and the attacks carried out by the group along the LoC.

Soldiers stand outside the army base in Uri. PTISoldiers stand outside the army base in Uri. PTI

Soldiers stand outside the army base in Uri. PTI

A majority of the attacks carried out by Jaish in recent years have been suicide attacks, in fact, the outfit introduced the concept of the suicide bombing in Kashmir insurgency when it carried out its first suicide attack in April 2000. An 18-year-old Srinagar boy detonated a car-bomb outside the Army’s 15 Corps headquarters in Srinagar. It was also for the first time that a militant laced with explosives blew himself up in the conflict-ridden state.

What is alarming for the security agencies is the increasing number of attacks carried out by the group in recent years, particularly along the LoC. The majority of these attacks have taken place along the LoC and all of them were suicide attacks. The outfit has fast replaced Lashkar-e-Taiba in launching suicide missions on military and other security formations in the state.

“The life of a Jaish militant once he leaves Pakistan to carry out attack is very short, most of them have been killed along the LoC. In recent years all the attack carried out by the group almost mirror each other. They attack the first Army installation they encounter after crossing the LoC,” an intelligence officer told Firstpost.

So when Baramulla police early this year in February arrested Mohammad Sadiq, a member of the outfit, alive from Kanispora area, everyone was shocked. On 25 November, Jaish militants attacked a Gorkha Rifles Camp along Kalsuri Ridge in Tangdhar area near the LoC in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, leaving a military contractor dead before three attackers were gunned down. What rattled the forces was the recovery of bags inscribed with Afzal Guru Squad from the three slain militants. All the four militants infiltrated through Tangdar area and struck the camp but Sadiq managed to flee from the spot. He was one among the four tasked to carry out suicide attacks in Kashmir.

Earlier Colonel Santosh Mahadik, the Commanding officer of 41 Rashtriya Rifles, was killed during an encounter in Haji Naka forest area of Kupwara. The outfit took the responsibility of the attack saying three militants, who attacked the camp in Tangdhar, were its members.

Jaish was founded by Maulana Masood Azhar, a fiery orator, in January 2000 after his release in Taliban-governed Kandahar, Afghanistan, from Jammu’s Kot Balwal jail in exchange for passengers of hijacked IC-814 Indian Airlines plane. Azhar was arrested in Srinagar in 1994 on terrorism charges.

“Revenge has begun and it will reach where you cannot even imagine,” Azhar said in January 2014 in a rally organized by the outfit in Muzaffarabad in PoK.

Since then, the signature of Jaish-e-Mohammad was found in attacks on army bases at Mohra and Tangdhar in north Kashmir, at Kathua and Samba in Jammu region, and at Pathankot airbase in Punjab. The comeback was lethal.

The outfit was once considered to be the most infiltrated group by Kashmir police, which led to its decline in valley and by mid 2013 it was on the verge of extinction when two of its last three surviving commanders were killed in that year, leaving the outfit with a total cadre capacity of eight militants in Kashmir, the lowest since it was formed 13 years ago, according to the Jammu and Kashmir Police.

Earlier it was considered the deadliest group only second to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). But after the killing of Gazi Baba, a top brass of the outfit and the mastermind of the Parliament attack, the outfit was never able to regroup in Kashmir. Jaish has been accused for the 13 December, 2001 terrorist attack on Parliament in New Delhi. The outfit was banned by the Indian government under provisions of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) on 25 October, 2001.

However in recent years it has carried out a sustained trail of attacks on Army installations along the LoC, one in which Colonel Mahadik was killed.

Army on Tuesday dealt a major blow to militants who tried to sneak into Uri region in Kashmir, killing ten militants. It is not clear who carried out the infiltration but don’t be surprised if the fingers are pointed at Jaish as it fast replaces Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in Kashmir again.

Handwara: Intense fight between terrorists and security forces, 1 jawan killed

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an encounter in Jammu and Kashmir’s Handwara district between security forces and terrorists, one jawan was martyred. At least 5 terrorists are reported to be holed up in Handwara’s Naugam area.Indian Army foiled the infiltration bid in Naugam on Tuesday while one soldier lost his life.On Monday night, a police checkpost was attacked by terrorists in Handwara. Terrorists reportedly opened fire at the checkpost.The Handwara incident comes on a day when the Indian Army neutralised 10 terrorists in Uri sector’s Lachipura area after foiling infiltration bid. On Sunday, 18 jawans were killed and 19 injured in the terror strike a battalion headquarters of the Army, in which four ultras were neutralised.On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly has given the green signal to diplomatically isolate Pakistan at every international grouping.

dna Morning Must Reads: Weapons with Pakistani markings seized in Uri attack probe; clamour grows to hit back at Pak; 2016 Emmy Awards winners; and…

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. J&K: JeM strikes at Uri army camp kill 17 soldiers; weapons with Pakistani markings seized17 soldiers killed, 20 injured; Four terrorists killed; Terrorists attack when troops were changing shifts; Gunfight lasts for three hours; Weapons with Pakistani markings seized. Read more.2. #UriAttack: Clamour grows to hit back at Pakistan; experts say we must have our military option openFollowing the deadly terror attack on military camp in Uri, analysts debate how to tackle the recurrent menace of a terrorist state. Read more.3. Emmy Awards 2016: ‘Game of Thrones’, ‘Veep’, ‘The People vs OJ Simpson’ dominate the nightCheck out our live coverage of the Emmy Awards. Read more.4. Gujarat ATS arrests 1993 RDX landing case accused from MumbaiBased on a tip-off, the Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad arrested Abdulsattar Batliwala in suburban Khar in Mumbai. Read more.5. Anurag Thakur has his way, invites tender for IPL media rights despite SC ordersIn 2008, World Sports Group bagged the IPL television rights for a 10-year period for $918 million. It signed a deal with Multi Screen Media Pvt Ltd (MSM), making Sony the official broadcaster. Read more.

J&K: JeM strike at Uri army camp kill 17 soldiers; weapons with Pakistani markings seized

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A group of four heavily armed Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) fidayeen (suicide) attackers, who stormed into the 10 Infantry Brigade headquarters and unleashed mayhem, killing 17 army soldiers and injuring over 20 others here on Sunday. All the four terrorists were later killed in a fierce gunfight that lasted for more than three hours.The Indian Army assured the nation that it was prepared to thwart any nefarious designs and any evil design would be given a befitting reply.The army said that of the 17 fatalities, 13-14 soldiers died due to the fire that engulfed the tents and shelters after militants lobbed grenades and fired indiscriminately on the troops.The gunfight started around 5.30 am when troops were changing shifts. Militants barged from the rear side of the camp housing one of the administrative units.”Gunfight between the terrorists and army continued till 8.30 am and four terrorists were killed. All four were foreign nationals and had some items with Pakistani markings. Initial reports indicate that the slain terrorists belong to the Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit”, said Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh, director-general of military operations (DGMO).”Since the terrorists had some items with Pakistani markings, I have spoken to Pakistan’s DGMO and conveyed our serious concerns. I would also like to mention that all intelligence agencies are working in close synergy with the security forces and regular intelligence inputs are received and action is being taken accordingly,” said Lt Gen Singh.Four AK-47 rifles and four Under Barrel Grenade Launchers and a large number of war-like stores were recovered from the militants. “The terrorists fired incendiary ammunition, along with automatic fire of small arms that led to the tents / temporary shelters catching fire,” said Lt Gen Singh.Former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted: “If reports are correct that 13 of the 17 fatalities are because of burns, it is a crying shame that fire-retardant tents aren’t the norm! While we work out who is to be blamed for Uri and what an appropriate response will be, do we not owe our troops fire-retardant tents and huts?”.Sources said that the Dogra regiment unit, which was guarding the LoC for two-and-a half years ago was to be replaced by the Bihar regiment unit when the fidayeens barged in and lobbed grenades and fired indiscriminately on the troops.Chief of Army Staff General Dalbir Singh flew to the site of operation in the afternoon and took stock of the ground situation. Defence minister Manohar Parrikar, too, visited Srinagar and met the injured in the 92 base hospital.Embattled Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, who is facing flak for not being able to control the unrest, said that the attack seems to be aimed at triggering fresh violence and creating a war-like situation in the region.”The heightened tension in the wake of Uri attack is set to further vitiate the atmosphere in and around Jammu and Kashmir amid increasing Indo-Pak hostility. Unfortunately, people in Jammu and Kashmir, who are already mired in an agonising situation shall have to bear the maximum brunt,” she said.Mehbooba said that the perpetrators of violence must understand that violent methods have yielded nothing in the past nor will they yield anything in future.

#UriAttack | Show us proof: Pakistan goes into denial mode

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan refuted as “unfounded and premature” India’s charge that it was behind the terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Uri that killed 17 soldiers, with its army demanding “actionable intelligence” to support New Delhi’s accusation. Following the dawn attack, India blamed Pakistan for the latest attack on the Indian Army. Home Minister Rajnath Singh directly attacked Pakistan saying it was a “terrorist state” and should be isolated. Pakistan army spokesman Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa said that following the attack Director General of Military Operation (DGMO) of the two countries discussed the situation along the Line of Control through hotline. “Refuting the unfounded and pre-mature Indian allegation, Pakistani DGMO asked his counterpart to share any actionable intelligence,” Radio Pakistan reported citing an ISPR release. Bajwa reiterated that no infiltration was allowed from the Pakistani soil because of “water-tight arrangements” in place on both sides of LoC and the Working Boundary. Heavily armed militants stormed a battalion headquarters of the Army in North Kashmir’s Uri town in the wee hours, killing 17 jawans and injuring 19 other personnel in the strike in which four ultras were neutralised.Earlier, the army hinted at Jaish-e-Mohammad’s role behind the Uri terror attack. ‘The killed terrorists were all foreign terrorists and as per the initial reports, they belong to Jaish-e-Mohammad. Along with the terrorists, we recovered four AK-47 rifles, four under barrel grenade launchers, a large number of grenades and other war-like stores,’ Lt. Gen. Singh said.Divulging details of the terror attack, he said, ‘A group of heavily armed terrorists opened fire on an administrative base of one of the units of the Indian Army located at Uri in Kashmir at 5:30 early this morning. The firefight between the terrorists and Indian Army continued till approximately 8:30 in the morning. During this firefight, all four terrorists have been killed by the Indian Army.’Lt. Gen. Singh said the terrorists opened fire with incendiary ammunition along with the automatic fire of small arms which led to the tents and some temporary shelters located inside the army camp catching fire.‘There were additional troops located in the administrative base at Uri which was because of the routine turnover of units as a part of the normal relief programme. There have been a total of 17 army fatal casualties. However of these 13 to 14 casualties have been primarily because of the tents and the temporary shelters having caught fire,’ he added.Lt. Gen. Singh said the operation for the clearance of the entire complex is still in progress, adding the Indian Army is carrying out a very deliberate and a methodical search of the entire area in and around the military complex at Uri.With inputs from PTI and ANI

‘We did it. No, we did it’: Army and CRPF squabble over who killed Pampore terrorists

New Delhi: Hardly had the guns fallen silent after fierce fighting during Saturday’s ambush of a CRPF contingent by militants in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pampore when a row erupted between the paramilitary force and the Army over whose personnel killed the terrorists.

While the Army claimed to have killed the two militants in retaliatory fire, the CRPF lodged a protest against it for “wrongly claiming credit”.

The CRPF, which has been involved in counter-militancy operations in the Kashmir Valley, alleged some Army troopers arrived at the scene after the encounter was over and started clicking selfies with the bodies of the slain militants.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Within no time, the Army’s Northern Command tweeted,” Army kills two terrorists who fired upon CRPF convoy at Pampore, Kashmir Ops in prog. Injured CRPF personnel being attended to”.

Fuming, the CRPF men and officers took up the matter with the Army’s top brass.

Soon thereafter, the official twitter account of Northern Command posted a revised message, saying “Update on Pampore ops. Injured CRPF personnel evacuated to hospital. Two terrorists killed in joint op by security forces.”

Unrelenting CRPF officers informed their top brass as well as that of the Army that there was no joint operation. They said the Army personnel arrived on the scene after the encounter was over and walked away with weapons and dates carried by the militants, besides clicking selfies with their bodies.

“They were wrongly claiming credit for an operation of which they had no clue,” said an officer who was associated with the developments on Saturday when two militants attacked a CRPF bus at Pampore, on the outskirts of Srinagar, killing eight personnel and wounding 21 before being felled in the counteroffensive by the paramilitary force.

The Army was shown videos of its men busy clicking selfies after which an embarrassed Northern Command tweeted: “Update on Pampore Ops. Two terrorists killed by CRPF in retaliatory action. Earlier tweet stands corrected.”

Director General of CRPF K Durga Prasad, who was today asked at a press conference about whether the Army had played any role in the encounter, said “Army’s 51 RR (Rashtriya Rifles) unit reached the spot after the incident got over.”

When contacted spokesperson for Srinagar-based 15 Corps Col N N Joshi refused to comment.

Pampore Attack: CRPF chief contradicts Defence Minister Parrikar

Vir Singh, 48-year-old head constable of CRPF, who died in ambush attack in Pampore while traveling in a bus, didn’t take the bullets lying down. Despite being hit by seven bullets, the valiant soldier fired back 39 rounds, his empty magazine showed.Similarly, Kailash Yadav, 38, from Unnao and 39-year-old Satish Chand from Meerut joined in firing back. All three took several bullets in the process. By the time they succumbed, they had fired 100 rounds in all.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>And so fought many others, who were literally sitting ducks inside the bus, before succumbing to bullets, insisted the CRPF.The CRPF jawans fired back 493 rounds against 216 rounds fired by the two terrorists.”That is why the terrorists who had way laid the bus couldn’t enter it. The martyred jawans saved many lives,” said a senior CRPF officer adding that the engagement gave the ROP travelling in Vajra to reach the spot engage the terrorists and kill them.Defending his force, director general, K Durga Prasad refuted all allegations that are being hurled at CRPF for not following the standard operating procedures (SOPs) resulting in the grave loss of eight soldiers.”The convoy was following instructions. We will look into any improvements that are needed,” he said contradicting Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar who had indicated failure of SOPs as the reason of attack.The DG, however, agreed that the SOPs need some tweaking because of change in tactic by the terrorists who are targeting moving convoys.”The bus was not bulletproof so there were casualties. We have to see how to make the bus more secure to travel in. We have been studying the attacks including this one, and from now on instead of big convoys of over 20 vehicles we will break them up to smaller ones of three to four,” added Durga Prasad.The DG, however, raised the spectre of LeT getting help from surrendered militants.”Our information suggests that surrendered militants had dropped them at Pampore in car minutes before the attack. The vehicle sped back towards Srinagar after dropping them. We have asked the investigators to pay particular attention to this,” he said.A home ministry team is investigating possible lapses that may have helped the attackers inflict greater damage.The bus was travelling with armed escorts and a road opening party (ROP), which sanitises important roads for troop movement. It failed to detect the attackers who were waiting in a car.Sources conceded that the security seemed highly inadequate, given that there was specific intel input about an attack at Pampore.Durga Prasad admitted that there aren’t enough bullet proof vests with the force. “The number of light bullet proof vests is very limited and they are deployed for the ROP or escort duties. We are reviewing whether all soldiers need to wear these jackets,” he said.

Terrorists hiding near Pathankot airbase, can launch attack: Parliamentary Committee

Terrorists are hiding in villages close to the “vulnerable” Pathankot airbase, which can come under fresh attack from them, the Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) on Home Affairs said on Tuesday. It said the government has been informed about it and security of the strategically important facility beefed up. The committee was in Jammu to review the security arrangements along the international border and had earlier gone to Pathankot. “After going back from Pathankot, we made our suggestions to the government and said that there can be further attack on Pathankot… We were told by the villagers that some terrorists were still hiding in the villages there,” Chairman of the committee P Bhattacharya told reporters on Tuesday. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After the recommendation of the committee, the government has alerted the CRPF, BSF and the army and handed over the security of the airbase to them, he said. “Do you know that a few days ago, government asked the CRPF, BSF and the Army to guard the air force station because some terrorists are hiding there. How they are hiding there, it is not my business to find out but as we got the information from the villagers, it was very clear to us that they are hiding somewhere. We have informed the Government of India about it,” Bhattacharya said.When asked to comment on the permission granted by the Indian government to the Pakistani investigation team to visit Pathankot airbase to probe the January 2 attack, he said he was not in favour of allowing Pakistani intelligence officers to visit the strategic facility. “The committee does not support the idea of the Government of India of bringing this intelligence branch of Pakistan here. What for? But for any foreign policy of the Government of India, we are not the proper fora, we cannot take the decision to do this and not to do this”, he said.A five-member Joint Investigation Team (JIT) from Pakistan had visited India between March 27 and 31 to collect evidence with regard to the attack. Bhattacharya said the policy guidelines have to be framed by the Indian government. “The committee conducted intensive tours of Indo-Bangla border and India-Pakistan border and now we are heading towards Srinagar. “We went to Pathankot which is the most vulnerable area”, he said.The committee said it was satisfied with the measures being taken by the BSF to check infiltration, but advocated providing fully modern equipment to the force.”As of now, they have explained to us the way they are trying to prevent infiltration. You cannot say what is happening today or tomorrow but up till now, it is all right,” Bhattacharya said.

No evidence to suggest Pakistan helped JEM in Pathankot attack: NIA Director General

Director General of NIA Sharad Kumar has claimed that there is no evidence so far to indicate that the Pakistan government or other Pakistani agencies were directly complicit in the Pathankot attack.In an interview to News 18, Kumar said: “No evidence to show that Pakistan government or Pakistani government agency was helping Jaish–e–Mohammed or Masood Azhar or his aides carry out Pathankot attack.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He also added that so far the investigation hadn’t suggested that the terrorists had any inside help. Kumar added that a chargesheet would be filed in the terror attack even if Pak didn’t give the NIA access and at the same time maintained: “We have sufficient and stringent evidence against Masood Azhar and his brother Rauf Azhar and we will include those in our chargesheet.”A Pakistan JIT had visited India in March in connection with the probe. Seven security personnel and four terrorists were killed in what has been termed the Pathankot encounter.

Probing Pathankot, NIA to examine Jaish’s role in other terror attacks too

Expanding its ambit of probe in the Pathankot terror attack, NIA has decided to examine other terror cases involving Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) to gather more evidence against the outfit. NIA sources said the agency’s probe was not event-specific and it would like to look at the role of the terror group in other cases as well.There were striking similarities between the attacks undertaken by Jaish in Tandgdhar in North Kashmir, Kathua and Samba in Jammu region and Dina Nagar (in Punjab) that took place last year. NIA teams have been sent to all these places to examine the evidence collected by the local police and quiz those arrested after securing permission from the court, the sources said. They said the agency could spot glaring similarities in the modus operandi of the terrorists, who staged attacks in Kathua, Samba and those involved in the assault on Pathankot IAF base on the intervening night of January 1-2 this year in which seven people were killed.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The sources said the group which attacked the Samba army camp was also carrying enough eatables and supplies for a long haul fight with security forces and the arms and ammunition used by them were also the same. The attack in Samba on the Jammu-Pathankot highway took place on March 21 and two terrorists were involved. The team also visited Kathua where Rajbagh police station was attacked by a group of terrorists on March 20 last year.In the Samba attack both the terrorists were killed, while in Kathua two militants were gunned down in a fierce exchange of gunfire which also claimed the lives of three security personnel and a civilian. In the Tangdhar area, three heavily-armed militants of JeM carried a terror strike at army camp near the Line of Control, triggering a fierce gunfight in which all the attackers and a civilian were killed and a soldier was injured.

UP governor supports Bajrang Dal’s private army

UP Governor Ram Naik has stirred up a major controversy by voicing his all-out backing for the Bajrang Dal’s private army “Hindu Sena” which is being trained to wield lathis, swords and guns, ostensibly in self-defence against “non-brothers” (read: Muslims).TV channels have aired videos of the sena’s mock drills in which the Bajrang Dal’s youth cadres are shown putting down terrorists wearing skull caps which clearly identify them as from the minority community. The exercise was part of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) annual camp held at ‘Karsewakpuram’ in Ayodhya recently.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There is nothing wrong in conducting such camps. They are only giving training in self-defence,” Governor Ram Naik told reporters in Aligarh on Tuesday, adding “it should be continued at all costs”.”There is no harm in self-defence camps, what’s important is to understand the intention behind them. All kinds of education teaching self-defence is important and it should be continued at all costs. How can those who can’t defend themselves, defend the society? Self defence must be taught in schools and other institutions,” Naik asserted.Bajrang Dal, the VHP’s youth wing, has faced allegations of rioting and violence against religious minorities in the past.Predictably, there has been a strong reaction. The Congress has condemned the entire idea and accused the BJP of communal polarization with an eye on the state polls next year.”There is no use of creating such an atmosphere in the nation. The people in BJP will now do these kinds of activities everyday to polarise the situation as the elections are round the corner in UP,” Congress leader Meem Afzal said.However, BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP and Bajrang Dal founder Vinay Katiyar is at pains to explain that there’s nothing communal about the whole exercise. “Terrorists are terrorists. They are neither Hindu nor Muslims,” he told reporters on Tuesday. “Our cadres are simply learning to fight terrorists. We have not portrayed them as Muslims. All this is false propaganda,” he added.But, the fact remains that no one can hold training in armed combat without proper clearances. “Prior permission is needed from district authorities for conducting any camp where training in arms and ammunition is imparted.The trainers also need to be qualified people,” says former UP DGP KL Gupta.In the annual self-defence camp, Bajrang Dal cadres of the Bajrang Dal, the VHP’s youth wing, are trained to use rifles, swords and sticks so that they can “protect Hindus” in an emergency situation, according to Manoj Verma who organised the camp.”We prepare them to boost their self-esteem. This training is of self-defence. They are taught to tackle different situations. This is about self-confidence,” Verma said.Similar camps will be held till June 5 in Sultanpur, Gorakhpur, Pilibhit, Noida and Fatehpur cities in the state.

It is time for a giant leap in Indo-Pak relations: Husain Haqqani

Former Pakistan ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani’s just released book, ‘India Vs Pakistan: Why Can’t We Just Be Friends?’ (Juggernaut Books), has landed him in the eye of a media storm for its revelation that Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, then ISI chief, had told him soon after 26/11, that the terrorists in Mumbai were “hamaray loag” (our people). Haqqani, however, is non-plussed by the to-do. It’s hardly a new revelation, says the former journalist, who’s also served as advisor to four Pakistani prime ministers, including Benazir Bhutto, in this telephonic interview from Washington, where he is director at the Hudson Institute. Edited excerpts:
What led you to reveal the conversation with Shuja Pasha now?It’s not a revelation. It has been mentioned by secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, and CIA director Michael Hayden. It is important in that now you have a Pakistani saying it, but it is not as much of a revelation as is being perceived. The attention it has received in India shows that Indians are only looking for some kind of admission from Pakistan about Pakistan’s role in 26/11. And that basically is a microcosm of the difficulty in the relationship. Which is that Pakistan usually denies and India tends to emphasise terrorism.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Also my understanding is that when Gen Pasha said that these were our people, he did not mean that they were serving ISI. What he meant was they are Pakistanis.Your book essentially traces the history of India-Pakistan disaffection over the past 69 years. What led you to write it now?I was struck by the statistics that 95% of Indians and 96% of Pakistanis alive today are people who were not present at the time of Partition. This is a generation that did not see the bitterness that saw our two countries to become independent. These young people, their memories of each other are only transmitted memories — what they have been told. I am trying to tell a different story.You speak of the shrinking space in India for Indo-Pak friendship because of saffronisation. What effect has the presence of an elected government in Pakistan since 2013 had on the issue?I see no change from the Pakistani side. Pakistan has unfortunately based its identity on anti-Indianness. The Pakistan leaders have not been able to change the national mindset about India and say that, maybe, India is not the enemy, poverty is the enemy, 42% of our children not going to school is the enemy; that, maybe, radical Islam is the enemy.What baby steps, according to you, need to be taken on both sides to mend relations?Pakistan and India have taken baby steps for 69 years. It is not time for baby steps, it is time for a giant leap. That can only happen when terrorism is over. In the presence of terrorism no great leap will be possible. Once terrorism is shut down, then there is hope to understand the bigger picture, to look beyond the day to day quarrels. And the big picture is that even the founder of Pakistan, MA Jinnah, had said India and Pakistan should be next to each other like US and Canada.Pakistan has taken steps towards checking terrorism of late. Do you think these are adequate?I think Pakistan has started taking hesitant steps to check terrorism on its soil. Gen Raheel Sharif is very different from his predecessors and has definitely proceeded against extreme jihadis within. But the definition of terrorists in Pakistan does not seem to apply to acts inside India. So the terrorists they have arrested after Peshawar were those who acted against Pakistan. They have still not acted against the terrorists who have acted against India. Groups such as the Lashkar-e-Tayaba, Jaish-e-Mohammed the Haqqani network — they are still exempt.What has been the reaction in Pakistan to your book?I have not seen the feedback but if history is any guide, a lot of hardliners in Pakistan will abuse me.

12 suspected Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists arrested during raids in Delhi, bomb making materials recovered

At least 12 suspected Jaish-e-Mohammed ​(JeM) terrorists were on Wednesday morning arrested during a raid by the Intelligence Bureau and Delhi police special cell.The police have detained suspects from Delhi, NCR region and Deoband in Uttar Pradesh.According to reports, eight people have been arrested from Delhi, while four of them were picked up from Deoband.”Bomb making materials were seized from the 12 suspected JeM Terrorists, they are presently being questioned by police,” reported ANI quoting sources.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”While a team of the force’s anti-terror unit Special Cell zeroed in on two of the youths, while they were allegedly in the process of making improvised explosive device, from east Delhi’s Gokulpuri area, names of the others emerged during their questioning and they were tracked down one after another in the wee hours today, a senior official told PTI.All of them are suspected to be members of a sleeper unit of a terror outfit, planning an attack in the national capital and other cities, the official said.According to TOI, the special cell has registered an FIR against the suspects for being members of an unlawful group (Unlawful Activities and Prevention Act, UAPA) and under the Explosives Act and for criminal conspiracy.”On interrogation it was found that they had been in touch with JeM leader Yousuf Al Hindi, and also claimed to be the terror outfit’s activists themselves,” said news18.com.Special Cell teams are conducting raids in Delhi and UP, and several arrests are likely in the next 24 hours.​

Pathankot attack: Parliament panel damns security establishment

A parliamentary standing committee has damned union home ministry and security establishment for their “ill preparedness” to anticipate attack on Pathankot airbase despite having “credible intelligence inputs” and failing to counter terrorists “swiftly and decisively”.Coming down heavily, it noted that something is seriously wrong with our counter security establishment as despite fencing, floodlighting and patrolling by BSF personnel, Pakistani terrorists managed to sneak from across the border.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The committee is unable to understand that in spite of terror alert sounded well in advance, how terrorists managed to breach the high security airbase and subsequently carried attack,” the committee said.The panel said it is constrained to note that despite concrete and credible intelligence inputs received from abducted and released Pathankot’s SP and his friend and through interception of communication between terrorists and their handlers disclosing impending attack on a defence establishment, the security agencies were so ill prepared to anticipate threats in time and counter them swiftly and decisively.The committee raised serious question marks on the role of Punjab Police for taking long time in arriving at the conclusion that the abduction of the SP was not just a criminal robbery but a serious national security threat.Wondering why the terrorists let the SP and his friend off, the committee has asked the NIA to examine it thoroughly.Besides, the committee said, “the role of narco-syndicate active in border areas of Punjab should be also be investigated as the terrorists might have taken help of channels or networks used by smugglers to infiltrate the border, shelter and carry out terror attack.”The committee rued that even after the attack they found airbase’s security cover was not robust and it had poorly guarded perimeter wall.”The wall did not have patrolling around it. The growth of shrubs and trees in the premises was still there which might have helped terrorists in hiding and making it difficult for the security forces to comb them out,”the committee said.While recommending Pathankot airbase to be declared high security zone and made out of bounds for general public residing near, the committee noted that beefing up security establishment and putting infrastructure in place alone will not do and there is need to have proper intelligence gathering, real time sharing of inputs between various security agencies.High security zoneWhile recommending Pathankot airbase to be declared high security zone and made out of bounds for general public residing near, the committee noted that beefing up security establishment and putting infrastructure in place alone will not do and there is need to have proper intelligence gathering, real time sharing of inputs between various security agencies.

Security alert issued: 3 Pakistani terrorists travelling in J&K could be planning attack on Delhi, Mumbai or Goa

On Wednesday, Punjab police issued an alert saying that three Pakistani terrorists could be planning an attack in Delhi, Mumbai and Goa.

A grey Swift Dzire with license plate JK-01 AB-2654 which is expected to pass through the Banihal Tunnel in Jammu and Kashmir later on Wednesday, packed with explosives, is carrying three Pakistani terrorists and ‘a local’, reported NDTV.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

“You are directed to take all the necessary steps in this regard and specially focus on strict checking of vehicles, security of all vital installation including police buildings and defence establishments, religious places, crowded places such as market areas, malls, railway stations, railway tracks, and educational institutions,” an alert issued by the police said.

According to International Business Times, Punjab has witnessed two terror attacks in recent months. The Pathankot airbase attack happened in January and the attack on Gurdaspur police station happened in July last year.

Seven security personnel and four attackers were killed in the Pathankot attacks and the Pakistani Joint Investigative Team (JIT), who probed the attack, claimed that the Indian authorities had staged the attack to malign Pakistan.

According to the report by NDTV, last month, Pakistani National Security Advisor Naseer Khan Janjua warned India that 10 terrorists had crossed the border into India and planned to attack on the festival of Maha Shivratri. The Home Ministry claimed that the terrorists were neutralised but no evidence or details were ever provided.

Decks cleared for Indian probe team’s visit to Pakistan

It is official now. A team of national investigation agency (NIA) officials will soon go to Pakistan to carry out probe into Pathankot terror attack on the basis of agreement of reciprocity reached between the two countries.Pakistani authorities have given green signal to the request made by India. However, it is still not clear if the NIA team will be able to examine Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar, his brother Mohammed Rauf Asghar and others whom India has blamed for planning and executing Pathankot attack.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”NIA presented the JIT with concrete evidence against the office bearers of JeM who conspired in the attack and the handlers of the terrorists who facilitated and guided them,” said NIA director general, Sharad Kumar briefing the media after JIT left for Pakistan on Friday.”The Pakistani joint investigation team (JIT) assured us of their full cooperation and promised to execute the LR (letter rogatory) which has been received by them,” said.In a first-of-its-kind move, India virtually gave unhindered access to the Pakistani joint investigation team (JIT) during its five days of stay.Not only was it provided all the material evidence linking the attack to the Jaish, the JIT was also taken to the highly secure Pathankot airbase to show the area of engagement and allowed to examine as many as 16 witnesses, including four police officials.Besides, the JIT was also shown locations where the terrorists infiltrated and subsequently hid, as well as the spot where Ikagar Singh’s vehicle was snatched, where he was murdered, and where the terrorists hijacked the SUV Mahindra of SP Salwinder Singh. The route taken by the terrorists was also shown to the JIT.”The JIT informed us that they were collecting admissible evidence outside Pakistan under the provision of Section 188 of the Cr PC of Pakistan, that will legally enable them to be used in prosecution,” added Kumar.NIA has sought from JIT the voice samples of top JeM functionaries, and DNA sample of the mother of slain terrorist Nasir Hussain.JIT was also requested to verify the various articles seized from the terrorists, including arms and ammunition, as mentioned in the Letter Rogatory sent earlier to Pakistan. The NIA has also shared with JIT the identity and the address of the 4 terrorists and requested the JIT confirm the same.

Ahead of PM Modi’s visit, Saudi Arabia to announce disruption of LeT, Al Qaeda, Taliban funding

In an unprecedented move, Saudi Arabia has joined hands with the US to disrupt the fundraising and support networks of LeT, al-Qaeda and the Taliban by imposing sanctions on four individuals and two organisations.Department of Treasury has designated James Alexander McLintock, Al-Rahmah Welfare Organization, Abdul Aziz Nuristani, the Jamia Asariya Madrassa, Naveed Qamar, and Muhammad Ijaz Safarash, as “Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs)”.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As a result of yesterday’s action, any property or interest in the name of these designated individuals and entities subject to US jurisdiction is frozen.Simultaneously, Saudi Arabia also slapped sanctions against these individuals and entities. “From terrorising local populations to exploiting charities and religious institutions, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) have a long history of inflicting violence on Americans and our allies throughout South Asia and the Middle East,” said Adam J Szubin, Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.”Today’s action marks yet another step in Treasury’s efforts to financially cripple terrorist financiers and demonstrates the United States’ and Saudi Arabia’s shared resolve to target those who support terrorism,” he said. Saudi Arabia-based LeT member Muhammad Ijaz Safarash has funded and provided logistical support to LeT. Safarash has been an LeT operative for several years, acquiring travel documents and facilitating financial transfers in Saudi Arabia, the Treasury said.

Modi in US: Drop the notion that terrorism is someone else’s problem, says PM

Continuing his trend of taking a hard stand on terrorism in the international arena, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted that there could be no deterrence against nuclear terrorism without prevention and prosecution of acts of terrorism. Intervening on nuclear terrorism threat at the Nuclear Security Summit dinner at the White House hosted by US President Barack Obama, the Prime Minister called to focus on three contemporary features of terrorism. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”First, today’s terrorism uses extreme violence as theatre. Second, we are no longer looking for a man in a cave, but we are hunting for a terrorist in a city with a computer or a smart phone. Third, State actors working with nuclear traffickers and terrorists present the greatest risk,” Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) official spokesperson Vikas Swarup quoted the Prime Minister as saying.Lauding President Obama for putting the spotlight on Nuclear Security and for his service to the global community, Prime Minister Modi said that the deadly Brussels attack was the prime example of how real and immediate is the threat to nuclear security from terrorism.”Terror has evolved. Terrorists are using 21st century technology. But our responses are rooted in the past. Drop the notion that terrorism is someone else’s problem and that “his” terrorist is not “my” terrorist. Nuclear security must remain an abiding national priority,” he said. The Prime Minister added that the reach and supply chains of terrorism are global but the genuine cooperation between nation states is not.A memorandum of understanding on setting up LIGO facility in India was also signed between India and the United States on the occasion. The Prime Minister prior to beginning his official engagements earlier greeted members from the Indian community who came to see him.

Pathankot attack: Why probe by Pakistan’s JIT is more optics than substance

New Delhi: In an ideal world, there would be hardly anything amiss about two countries with a hostile past to share intelligence on terrorism and crime. Perhaps it would also augur well for the possible détente and peace between nuclear neighbours India and Pakistan that are often locked in brinkmanship of the worst order.

In this context, the visit by Pakistan’s investigative team, comprising sleuths and counter-terror operatives, gives an illusion that India-Pakistan relations are on even keel. This raises pertinent queries — has Pakistan given up promoting cross-border terrorism? Is the Inter-Service-Intelligence (ISI), the dreaded Pakistani outfit, willing to give up its doctrine of inflicting “thousand cuts” to bleed India? Has the Pakistani army finally become subservient to its political masters?

The Pakistan investigative team that has come to India fo probing the Pathankot attack. IbnliveThe Pakistan investigative team that has come to India fo probing the Pathankot attack. Ibnlive

The Pakistan investigative team that has come to India fo probing the Pathankot attack. Ibnlive

Despite the overt bonhomie generated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s unscheduled Lahore visit to Nawaz Sharif’s palace in December last year, there are hardly any signs of the existence of such an ideal situation between the two countries. At the ground level, Pakistan has not demonstrated any willingness to change its tack on terrorism, or of collaborating with India.

There are clear indications that Pakistan treated evidence of the involvement of Pakistani terrorists in the Pathankot airbase attack with its usual cavalier attitude. The arrest of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar was at best an eye-wash to ward off international criticism. On all accounts, it would be too naïve for India to consider the charade of the joint investigation in Pathankot as a mark of substantive policy shift in Pakistan.

In fact, the Pathankot attack and India’s response have exposed many chinks in the country’s internal security. For instance, despite exhaustive investigations by the National Investigative Agency (NIA), the agency is hardly in a position to draw up a coherent chargesheet to plug the holes in the story. The exact point of entry of the terrorists remains a mystery and footprints picked up near the border could not be matched with those killed in the encounter.

Though the NIA now claims that six terrorists were killed at the Pathankot airbase, the recovery from the debris at the billet where two terrorists were holed up yielded nothing concrete, not even guns. It was only after forensic examination that the NIA was able to confirm the existence of mortal remains of the two terrorists mixed up in the blast material.

A senior officer of the Border Security Force (BSF) pointed out that despite the best efforts of the BSF and the NIA, the infiltration point could not be determined. An investigation by the CBI’s own intelligence unit, however, points to a disturbing trend of infiltration of terrorists with tacit support of the ISI.

BSF officials feel that most of the terrorists involved had either infiltrated through the Jammu border or arrived in India using fake passports, following which they disappeared in Punjab. “We suspect that they get arms and ammunition from ISI sleeper-cells within Punjab,” BSF officials said.

Obviously, the BSF is reluctant to admit that terrorists were bribing their way into India through the international border between Punjab and Pakistan. In the Pathankot investigation so far, neither the NIA nor the BSF has come across any evidence to confirm this fear.

Sustained interrogation of Superintendent of Police Salwinder Singh, whose car was hijacked by terrorists to carry out the attack, has also drawn a blank.

In such a scenario, there appear to be clear signs that the Indian investigative and intelligence agencies are falling woefully short of creating a credible story to prove Pakistani involvement in the Pathankot attack.

Thus, the visit by the five-member Joint Investigative Team from Pakistan is unlikely to yield anything more than optics that signify nothing. On the other hand, it may just give Pakistan an excuse to recalibrate its strategy with its sinister objectives.

Sushma Swaraj to raise Pathankot issue with Pak counterpart Sartaj Aziz

Pokhara: India is set to raise the issue of the Pathankot terror attack with Pakistan and seek information about action taken by it as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj meets with her Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz in this resort town of Nepal on Thursday.

The two are expected to meet around 2.30 pm (local time), which would be the first time they come face-to-face formally after the January 2 attack on the key Indian Air Force base. Incidentally, both Aziz and Swaraj met this morning over breakfast at the Fishtail hotel on Fewa river here ahead of the 37th Saarc Council of Ministers Meeting.

The two, who were again seated together like at the dinner last night, even went to the side and had nearly five minutes of a one-on-one conversation after the breakfast.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj AFPExternal Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj AFP

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj AFP

Thursday’s formal meeting was sought by the Pakistani side to extend an invitation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend the Saarc Summit which is being hosted by Pakistan in November. Aziz had yesterday said he is ready to talk about all issues that will be raised by Swaraj.

Highly-placed government sources said that India will seek to gain “knowledge” about the action taken by Pakistan against the perpetrators of the deadly attack on the IAF base in Pathankot.

Asked what more steps India expects than the ones taken by Pakistan, including taking Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar into “protective custody”, the officials said they have not been told anything directly and all information is coming from the media and other channels.

Thursday’s meeting could eventually pave the way for a meeting between Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in the US later this month. Pakistan is keen that the formal talks between the two sides begin at the earliest.

The Pakistani side is looking at fixing dates for the Foreign Secretary-level talks between the two sides, which were put off after the Pathankot attack. Both the Ministers and their Foreign Secretaries have met informally at least five times.

PTI

Security forces kill three of 10 terrorists based on Pakistan NSA’s inputs

Three out of 10 terrorists who reportedly crossed into India allegedly from Pakistan via Gujarat earlier this month have now been killed, sources told CNN IBN. The terrorists allegedly planned to attack Somnath temple in Gujarat.

Somnath Temple. ReutersSomnath Temple. Reuters

Somnath Temple. Reuters

NDTV reported that security forces are aware of the location of the other terrorists but are not revealing it in order to safeguard their anti-terrorism operations. The terrorists are suspected to belong either to Lashkar-e-Taiba or to Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist organisations. But a top home ministry official told The Hindu that it is possible that the terrorists belonged to another country.

On 6 March, an alert was sounded in Gujarat and metro cities after Pakistan’s National Security Advisor Naseer Janjua informed India’s NSA Ajit Doval of the possible infiltration by 10 terrorists who had plans to carry out attacks against high-value targets. Security was intensified across Gujarat, which cancelled leave of all police personnel. Two NSG teams comprising nearly 200 personnel were sent to Ahmedabad from Delhi as officials suspected that the terrorists would attack religious places on 7 March as it was also Maha Shivratri.

In view of the terror threat across Gujarat, the Gir-Somnath district administration even postponed a cultural event scheduled at the Somnath temple premises on 6 and 7 March. Gir-Somnath’s superintendent of police AM Muniya confirmed to PTI that more than 250 police personnel were deployed at the Somnath temple and different teams were formed “to check all kinds of movements near the temple.”

It was also later reported that the terrorists had managed to reach Delhi. The National Capital was put on high alert with security being enhanced at several public places.

With inputs from PTI

Beyond ‘collective conscience’: SC had deliberated on Afzal Guru’s guilt in detail

Afzal Guru, executed in 2013 for his role in the terror attack on Parliament, is at the centre of a political storm after protests in universities across the country. Those opposed to the death sentence handed out to him have termed it as a ‘judicial killing’ and said that it was carried out merely to satisfy a questionable ‘collective conscience.’

However, the Supreme Court, in its judgment, had analysed the evidence threadbare before arriving its conclusion over Afzal Guru’s conviction as well as the sentence given to him. Afzal Guru’s lawyers had argued that the recovery of incriminating evidence (mobile phones, laptops) which came as a result of Afzal Guru’s own disclosure statement could not be used as evidence against him. The court, however, held that the prosecution had successfully proved the facts which had been stated in the confessional statement, and that it was a ground to presume that the confession was voluntary. The court held that the confessions ‘have not only been validly proved but also been validly recorded.’

Afzal Guru. File photo. AFPAfzal Guru. File photo. AFP

Afzal Guru. File photo. AFP

Another claim made on several occasions has been that Afzal Guru did not get proper legal representation in court. The apex court, however, noted that Afzal Guru ‘did not object to Neeraj Bansal representing him as the counsel.’ The court did note that he had mentioned four names of lawyers who could represent him, but that they had declined to appear in his case.  However, the court noted that ‘it is not a case of constructive denial of counsel to (Afzal Guru)’.

Afzal Guru’s lawyer had also argued that the police allowed Afzal Guru to be interviewed by media channels, which could have influenced the judges hearing his case. The bench of P Nandrajog and U Mehra noted, “We may only add that judges are trained, skilled and have sufficient experience to shut their minds from receiving hearsay evidence or being influenced by the media.”

As reported by The Indian Express, the main evidence against Afzal Guru was telephone conversations, various purchases made by him of material which was used in the attack and a laptop which was found in his custody.

While pronouncing the guilty verdict, the court said, “From the facts and circumstances, it therefore, stands established that accused (Afzal Guru) was a part to the conspiracy to attack Parliament when it was in session. He procured hideouts for the terrorists, was instrumental in the smuggling of arms and ammunitions used by the terrorists. He had actively purchased the chemicals used for making the explosives. Had been involved in the purchase of a motorcycle used for  a recee by the terrorists and had been involved in the purchase of the white Ambassador Car used by the terrorists.”

3-day-long siege of Jammu and Kashmir building ends as Army kills all 3 militants

The three-day-long gun battle between three holed-up militants and the Indian Army ended on Monday evening after the unidentified militants were neutralised in the multi-storey building of the Jammu and Kashmir Entrepreneur Development Institute (EDI) here in Pulwama district.”It was a very successful operation.We have eliminated three hard-core terrorists and recovered war-like stores. They were terrorists from across the border. We had no specific intelligence information about the three coming to attack this specific place,” said Major General Arvind Dutta, general officer commanding (GOC), Victor Force of the Indian Army.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The encounter started late on Saturday afternoon when militants attacked a CRPF convoy, killing two jawans and injuring 13 others before taking shelter in the building.More than 120 trainees and employees were rescued by security forces. A gardener of EDI was killed when people were being evacuated.The Indian Army lost three commandos, including two captains of the elite Para (Special Forces) units, when they came under heavy gunfire while they were securing rooms inside building during the last three days.The operation was one of the fiercest in the recent past in Kashmir Valley. During the last three days, security forces made three attempts to storm the building and gun down the militants, who were hiding at vantage positions from where they were able to see troop movement.”Initially, the CRPF tried to get inside the building from the ground floor. The moment they attempted that, the terrorists threw grenades and fired on them. This party had to withdraw,” said Maj Gen Dutta.Thereafter, the army worked out a plan to localise the terrorists and neutralise them. However, the troops did not have the exact location of the terrorists as the latter had occupied a large space.On Saturday night, the army threw a tight cordon and lit up the area to launch a crack operation to gun down the militants. A 10 Para Special Forces commando team was given the task to storm the building and neutralise the terrorists.”Their first task was to occupy the top of the building. They did a marvellous job. Captain Pawan was part of this team. They successfully manoeuvred through the ground, first and second floors. As they were entering the third floor from where they wanted to enter the roof, a brief contact was established with the terrorists. In the ensuing fight, Pawan was martyred,” said the GOC.On Sunday morning, the army decided to storm the building with a large force to secure each floor gradually and eliminate the terrorists.”We launched the 9 Para commandos on Sunday morning and they successfully cleared various floors. In that process two brave commandos — Capt Tushar Mahajan and Lance Naik Om Prakash – got martyred,” Maj Gen Dutta said.Security forces were able to corner the militants in the upper storey of the building. Since Monday morning, forces used rockets, rifle-propelled grenades, mortar bombs and other ammunition to pulverise the positions of the militants.Late on Monday afternoon, there was a brief lull in firing, indicating that the militants might not be alive anymore. Crack teams of the forces immediately went inside and found the three bodies lying on the floor of the upper storey.”In every operation, we have to see what the challenges are. This building had so many rooms and corners and places to hide. Time was not a problem for us. Our aim was to proceed stage by state and neutralise them in the end,” said Maj Gen Dutta.

Pampore encounter ends after 48 hours, three suspected LeT terrorists killed

The fierce gunbattle on the outskirts of Srinagar ended on Monday with Army’s elite Special Forces killing all the three terrorists, suspected to be Pakistanis belonging to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), in a 48-hour operation that also left six securitymen and a civilian dead.The heavily-armed terrorists, apparently a “suicide squad”, were holed up in a multi-storey government building of Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) in Pampore, along the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, since Saturday afternoon. “The encounter has ended and three militants who had taken refuge inside the building have been killed,” a police official said. “We have killed three militants of whom we had the information,” Major General Arvind Dutta, General Officer Commanding of Victor Force, told reporters.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said the identity of the slain terrorists is being ascertained but added they appeared to be foreigners. To a question, he said by saying “foreigners”, he meant they had come from “across the border”, hinting at Pakistan. In Delhi, CRPF Director General Prakash Mishra said the attack “appears to be” the handiwork of Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) terror outfit. Maj Gen Dutta said ‘war-like’ stores, including large quantity of arms and ammunition were recovered from the site.
ALSO READ A Jat and a JNU degree holder, this 23-year-old soldier gave up his life in the Pampore encounterA combing operation was underway to sanitise the building which has 44 rooms plus lobbies, washrooms and a restaurant on the top floor, he said. The operation, which began on Saturday evening, saw five security force personnel including two Captains of elite commando units laying down their lives while battling the terrorists, suspected to be of foreign origin.A civilian was killed in the crossfire between the two sides while 120 civilians were evacuated safely.
ALSO READ Proud of son’s sacrifice: Father of Captain Pawan Kumar killed in PamporeAs the operation entered the third day today, the Special Forces of the army maximised the force, using mortar shells to flush out the terrorists, the officials said. Maj Gen Dutta said the building appeared to be a pre-determined target where they rushed into after attacking a CRPF convoy on the highway. “They were carrying a large quantity of arms and ammunition… They were seen running into the building with big bagpacks,” the army officer said. “Inputs as of now suggest they were foreign terrorists,” Maj Gen Dutta said, adding it needs to be verified. “The way the attack happened, it seems that they belonged to a suicide squad,” he said. He said it was possible that the militants may have conducted a recce of the campus before the attack.(Indian Army carrying the mortal remains of Lance Naik Om Prakash, who was killed while fighting the terrorists at Pampore in Jammu and Kashmir, at Chikhar village in Shimla on Monday- PTI)”It cannot be said as yet, but it is possible that they might have conducted a recce. Mostly, the foreign terrorists do not conduct such type of recces. But we cannot rule out the possibility,” he said. The army officer, however, admitted that there was no specific intelligence about the attack. Responding to questions over the operation taking so long, he said the security forces took time to neutralize the terrorists as there were many challenges because of many hiding places in the campus.”We have to conduct every operation after keeping in kind various challenges. This building had many rooms and many corners and it had many hiding places. “We did not have the paucity of time. We wanted to clear the building stage-wise and neutralize the terrorists in the end,” he said.As the security forces mounted an assault on the building yesterday, they met with stiff resistance from the ultras who are holding vantage points inside the building. “The terrorists had a huge opportunity to hide inside the big complex….They had an advantage. They could see our movements,” the GOC said.He said the CRPF initially made an attempt to enter the building immediately after their convoy was targeted but the terrorists threw grenades and fired at them, forcing them to withdraw. It is then that the Army stepped in, Gen Dutta said. Two CRPF jawans and a civilian were killed and nine other jawans injured when militants opened fire on CRPF convoy on Saturday afternoon. During the intense gunfight, the top floor of the building caught fire which forced the ultras to shift towards one side of the complex where they were nuetralised, the police official said.”It was a successful operation as three hardcore terrorists have been killed,” Maj Gen Dutta said. “Their identity is being checked with the help of the police,” he said, adding “Rest, no further information is available as of now… it was not immediately known whether they had infiltrated recently or not.”The GOC said after the terrorists attacked CRPF convoy and went inside the EDI building, they wanted to provoke security forces to fire upon them in an area where civilians were present in large numbers. “If the forces had not exercised restraint, then there was a possibility of collateral damage. Everyone carried the operation meticulously… I salute the martyrs. The bravery they exhibited, I salute that. They gave a sacrifice for the army, nation and for peace and prosperity of the state,” he said.Even as the gunbattle was underway, hundreds of residents from nearby Pampore town and adjoining areas tried to march towards the encounter site but were asked by security forces to disperse. However, they started raising slogans and indulged in stone-pelting, a police official said, adding police fired teargas shells and pellets to disperse the protestors.At least three persons sustained minor injuries in the clashes, the official added. Army lost three elite commandos — two Captains and a Lance Naik — in the gunfight. Captain Pawan Kumar was killed in a pre-dawn exchange of fire with terrorists yesterday while he was leading a team of special forces in clearing the third floor of the building after sanitising first and second floor, Maj Gen Dutta said.Captain Tushar Mahajan and Lance Naik Om Prakash also sustained fatal injuries in the afternoon yesterday. The army paid a befitting tribute with full military honours to its martyrs — Captain Tushar Mahajan and Lance Naik Om Parkash — who attained martyrdom yesterday during an operation in Pampore, a defence spokesman said.”Homage was paid to the valour and sacrifice of the martyrs in a solemn ceremony held at Badami Bagh Cantonment. Late Captain Tushar Mahajan and Lance Naik Om Prakash were members of the team that had launched an operation on Feb 21 against the terrorists who ambushed CRPF personnel and took refuge in the EDI Building and were instrumental in clearing major portion of the multi storeyed building where the terrorists had hidden.”In this process, they engaged the terrorists at close quarters and in the ensuing firefight, suffered grievous injuries to which they later succumbed,” the spokesman added.

Pathankot attack: There were 6 terrorists inside IAF base, says NSG

NSG on Thursday said there were two heavily armed terrorists hiding inside the Pathankot IAF base, apart from the four killed, even as it refuted reports about confusion in command, saying it takes “complete control” of the situation when deployed for counter-terror operations anywhere in the country.”According to us, there were four plus two (terrorists). But, it is for the investigating agency…it is for the NIA to investigate and come up with factual details,” NSG Director General R C Tayal told reporters on the sidelines of an international seminar on the menace of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) being held in New Delhi.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Stating that terrorists “came over” from Pakistan, the National Security Guard chief asserted that his strike teams had been fired upon from inside an airmen barrack which they were about to enter.The January 2 attack on the forward air force base, which houses fighter jet planes and attack helicopters, had left seven security personnel dead. Security forces had recovered four bodies of terrorists and there has been speculation since about the possibility of some others getting killed and ‘melting up’ in a building which was blown up by NSG using heavy explosives.Tayal said he had “basis” for this assertion.”NSG teams reached the airmen barrack. The commandos knocked but the door was closed from inside…We put some wall radar and got indication that someone is inside. A grenade was lobbed from inside in which five commandos got injuries and one got serious injuries. According to us, weapons were with them (two terrorists) as we were getting firing from inside. Besides weapons, they were carrying large quantity of explosives too,” he said when asked about the forces’ logic to arrive at a definite number of two more terrorists being holed up.The DG, however, said none of his ‘black cat’ commandos saw the hiding terrorists as continuous firing was taking place.”Only thing we got to know was when we went to place the ‘wall through radar’ we heard a voice inside saying that NSG has come. The radar gives indication if there is any movement inside. It does not indicate exactly if there is a human being, but it indicates movement,” he said.Tayal also refuted allegations of lack of coordination among agencies like Indian Air Force, Army, Punjab police and the NSG which were on ground to combat the attack, asserting the elite force was in full command.”Let me clarify, the NSG standard operating procedure is very clear. It is that if NSG is deployed at a place where terrorist incident takes place, it is NSG that controls the situation. There is no confusion about it. There was absolutely no confusion about the chain of command. All the agencies were working with a good synergy. The central government can deploy NSG suo motu or on request of the state government but the fact remains that once NSG is deployed to control a situation, the NSG is given complete control over that situation and not the whole area,” he said.The NSG DG said they received pistol fire from inside the airmen barrack and as they were wanting to clear the building after evacuating some IAF security men present there, they found there was something “suspicious” on the ground floor.Officials supervising the operation said there were as many as 57 explosions in that building and that indicates there was heavy ammunition present in the complex which is just meant for housing IAF personnel. The radar showed, an official said, that people present inside had stacked up ‘charpoys’ and almirahs against the gate in order to prevent any entry. Tayal said while they were “not sure” on the exact number of terrorists who had sneaked into the IAF base, there were some indications that showed that they entered the campus by cutting concertina wires placed for periphery security.”But, whether four or six entered or two came separately, that is for the investigators to find,” he said.Tayal said the aim of the terrorists was to blow up IAF aircraft, radars and other vital assets.”In this case, I am more or less certain that the target was not to kill people but the aim was to destroy assets (of IAF). Had they (terrorists) intended to kill people, then the whole day was with them and more than 10,000 people stay in the base. So, the target was very clear. Go to the assets and destroy the assets,” he said.These, he said, were not very far off from the place where they were hiding.”I will call it an excellent operation. Why? Because terrorists came out at 0245 hours (on January 2) from their hideout (inside the IAF base) and they were encountered at 0250 hours…the entire surprise was on our side. So, it was an excellent decision to pre-deploy NSG at the IAF base. It was a timely and excellent decision and it saved the day. Fact remains that this is perhaps the first terrorist incident where NSG was sent in advance. NSG is best suited for these kind of operations as it was an area inhabited by people and was built-up. NSG is trained for these type of operations only. NSG was best suited for Pathankot operation and it was excellent decision on the part of the government to deploy NSG even before they (terrorists) could strike,” he said.

Show cause notice to news channel on Pathankot attack coverage

The Information and Broadcasting ministry is sending a show cause notice to Hindi news channel NDTV India over its coverage of the terrorist attack on Pathankot airbase which “prima facie” violated norms.Sources told PTI that the ministry has decided to issue a show cause notice to the prominent news channel after it observed that sensitive information was broadcast by it even when the operation was still on and two of the terrorists were known to be alive.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It has come to the ministry’s notice that when the operation was on, the correspondent of the channel gave details and locations of sensitive spots in the airbase.Telecast of such strategically sensitive information could affect the operations and could even cause damage,” a source said.It is learnt that during the telecast, the channel mentioned facilities like the fuel tank etc, which should have in any case been avoided when the operation was still on, officials said.The I&B ministry has repeatedly asked for restraint by TV channels in their reporting of terror attacks especially when the operation is still on, they added.”The ministry has decided to issue a show cause notice to NDTV India,” an official said.Officials said that under the Programming Code, which has to be followed by channels as per the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act, live coverage of anti terrorist operations is not allowed.Media coverage in such cases should be restricted to periodic briefing by an officer designated by the government, officials said.Since the channel “prima facie” did not stick to the norms, its explanation has been sought, they added.The January 2 attack on the air base left seven security personnel dead while four terrorists were also killed. Two other terrorists were believed to have died in a fire at a building.

NSG most ‘suited’ for Pathankot-like operations: NSG Director General

With questions being raised over the Centre’s decision to send NSG commandos instead of Army troopers to the IAF base in Pathankot, the chief of the elite force today said the ‘black cats’ are the only special force “suited” for undertaking such operations. “I can say it with full authority that the NSG is a force that is meant for and suited for such operations as the situation in Pathankot warranted. We specialise in counter- terror operations in built-up areas with people around and that was the task given to us. I think we accomplished our task with the least collateral damage. This is also the first time that our crack teams were sent in advance to counter a terrorist assault.Almost every time else in the past, we have been sent after the terrorists had made the first assault,” NSG Director General R C Tayal told PTI in an interview.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The DG said the terrorists’ “aim” was to destroy the IAF’s flying assets and that they were determined to stage a surprise attack in the wee hours after they managed to sneak into the air base. The January 2 attack on the base, which houses fighter jets and attack helicopters, left 7 security personnel dead. Six militants were also killed. Tayal added that the commandos of its counter-terror wing had no constraints of weapons or equipment required to operate in such conditions. “We got what we wanted then and there. As soon as my commander asked for troop carriers, the Army sent them in from their nearby cantonment. The troops had with themselves night vision devices, see-through gadgets and corner-shot weapons. It was decided by on-ground commanders to locate the terrorists, box them and hit them, which they successfully did,” he said.The DG said NSG was divided into three teams inside the air base. “One took guard where the aircraft hangar is located, one was made to secure the residential units of the IAF personnel and the third took charge to engage the terrorists who had sneaked in,” he said. The NSG chief accepted that his commandos were up against a “well trained and equipped” enemy and the force had a single “unfortunate” casualty of its bomb disposal commanding officer Lt Col Niranjan E K and injuries to nine other commandos. Tayal, who himself camped at the forward air base begining January 3, said NSG Inspector General (Operations) was the overall coordinating authority between the multiple agencies– the IAF, Army, Punjab police and the NSG. “Our IG operations was coordinating with everyone. He was independent. I wouldn’t like to go into who was the commander or something like that but I can tell you that there was not a single point of confusion or an attempt to undermine anyone’s authority. There was excellent coordination between all the forces who were tackling the terrorists in Pathankot,” he said while refusing to go into the details of the operation.Tayal said it took a long time for the agencies to call off the operation as commandos were tasked to sanitise numerous buildings “floor-by-floor and room-by-room” to check against hidden improvised bombs and booby-traps and that no one is hiding inside. The NSG had named the operation ‘Dhangu Surakasha’ borrowing the first name from the village where the Indian Air Force base is located and the latter word from their motto– ‘Sarvatra Sarvottam Suraksha’ (Best security everywhere).About 300 commandos, in three batches, were part of the operation and they were first flown to Pathankot on a RAW plane on the evening of January 1. Among the injured commandos, one has lost his left eye due to the impact of a blast, while the other received shrapnel injuries to his head.

J Dey murder case: Chhota Rajan produced before MCOCA court via video-link

Rajan, a former key aide and lieutenant of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, was arrested at Bali airport in Indonesia on October 25 after he arrived from Australia, and was later deported to India. He is facing around 70 cases in Maharashtra, which includes the J Dey murder case. Maharashtra government has handed over all the cases against him to CBI.

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Gajendra Chauhan takes charge as FTII chairman; 40 protesters held

Meanwhile, the FSA said that though they had withdrawn their prolonged strike on October 28 despite lack of response from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to their demand for removal of Chauhan, the students were determined to carry on their resistance to his political appointment in a peaceful manner.

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Sabarimala: First temple town in India to get a telemedicine centre

The report adds that the preliminary work for the telemedicine centre at Sabarimala has begun at Pampa.

dna Web Team

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It will be pleasure to shoot or hand culprits in crimes against women if Constitution permits: Delhi top cop BS Bassi

The top cop also said that choppers will be used for round-the-year aerial surveillance in the national capital mostly to monitor and regulate traffic during peak hours.

PTI
Info

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