Mon, 31 Oct 2016-04:51pm , Patna , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday announced Rs 11 lakh ex-gratia for the kin of soldier Rajiv Kumar Rai killed in Pakistan firing at Udhampur border in Jammu and Kashmir three days ago. Eariler in the day, Kumar also announced that the soldier’s last rites to be performed with full state honour, an official statement said in Patna.Rai, a Havaldar in 157 Lt AD Regiment (Comp), is a native of Mahua in Vaishali district of Bihar.Saluting the martyred soldier, the Chief Minister said the country would always remember his courageous deed and the entire state was with his family in this hour of grief.The soldier’s last rites were held during the day at his native village where his son lit his funeral pyre in the presence of locals.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Army Chief Dalbir Singh on Saturday visited the Northern and Western Commands to review India’s operational preparedness along the border with Pakistan in the wake of heightened tension between the two countries following the surgical strike at terror camps across the LoC.The Army Chief was briefed by top commanders in both the crucial commands about the prevailing situation and their overall preparedness and contingency plans. At the Udhampur headquarters of the Northern Command, which planned and executed the surgical strike, General Singh interacted with the special forces personnel who successfully carried out the operation. He was briefed by Lt Gen DS Hooda, GOC-in-C Northern Command on the overall security situation in the Command theatre.”The Army Chief interacted with the Corps Commanders and took a first hand assessment of the prevailing security situation and operational preparedness,” a top army official in the Northern Command said. He said General Singh also interacted with the troops who participated in the surgical strike operation and conveyed his appreciation for the successful operation. Singh personally complimented officers and men who “successfully” targeted seven terror launch pads located in Leepa, Tattapani, Kel and Bhimbar.”The Army Chief was briefed on the operational matters by GOC-in-C, Western Command, Lt Gen Surinder Singh,” a defence spokesman said in Chandigarh. “The Army Chief interacted with senior formation commanders and exhorted them to continue to maintain the highest vigil and alertness on the western borders,” he said. Sources had said the decision on the surgical strike was taken soon after the attack on the Uri army base on September 18. They said India was ready with contingency plans considering the possibilities that Pakistan may retaliate in the wake of the surgical strike.It has been estimated that the number of casualties was at least 40 on Pakistani side but there was no official confirmation. The Army has also trashed reports in Pakistan about Indian casualties during the operation, saying one member of the special forces received minor injury while returning but it was not due to any enemy or terrorist action.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian Army on Thursday crossed the Line of Control (LoC) and carried out surgical strikes on seven terrorist launch pads based in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK), inflicting heavy casualties. India’s response comes days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned that terrorist attack on Uri Army base would not go unpunished.India has carried out such cross-border surgical strikes before – the last one being in Myanmar in June 2015 – to flush out insurgents. This latest strike was carried out by Army’s elite Special Forces (SF) in the wee hours of Thursday and came after Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists had killed 18 Indian soldiers in Uri on September 18. The strike led to a growing clamour within India for retaliation.In a media briefing in the Capital, Indian Army’s Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh said, “Based on specific and credible inputs that some terrorist teams had positioned themselves at launch pads along the Line of Control to carry out infiltration and conduct terrorist strikes inside Jammu and Kashmir and in various metros in other states, the Indian Army conducted surgical strikes at several of these launch pads to pre-empt infiltration by terrorists.”“I have been in touch with the Pakistan Army DGMO and have informed him of our actions. It is India’s intention to maintain peace and tranquility in the region,” he added.Though Singh did not share more operation details, reliable Army sources, both at the headquarters in Delhi and in the Northern Command in Udhampur said that seven terrorist launch pads and camps were destroyed by the troops of 4 and 9 Para Special Forces, leading to around 40 militants being killed.Two Indian Army soldiers were also injured but have been brought back and are being treated at an army hospital.“The entire operation that went on from 12.30 am to 4:30am on Thursday was a combination of heliborne and ground forces and no Indian chopper crossed over the LoC even as paratroopers were air dropped at advanced pre-decided locations near the LoC,” sources said.Special Forces went up to 3kms inside PoK. Divided into three groups they carried out the attack in Lepa valley, Tatta Pani and Bimber areas, situated across the LoC in PoK, even as India fired heavy artillery guns to divert attention so SF troops could sneak in. Sources told dna that three service chiefs met defence minister Parrikar hours before the operation.The DGMO then monitored the operation from the war room at South Block, at tactical headquarters of Northern Command in Udhampur, where live UAV footage of the operation was being monitored.Govt reassures foreign envoys, Oppn over strikesHours after India struck terrorists’ launch pads across the Line of Control with Pakistan, senior members of the NDA government on Thursday reached out to domestic political parties as well as envoys of foreign states to convey its position and to assuage their fears of further escalation of tensions.Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lt. General Ranbir Singh briefed opposition leaders, including Ghulam Nabi Azad of the Congress, Sitaram Yechury (CPM), Sharad Yadav (JDU), Satish Chandra Mishra (BSP), Premchand Gupta (RJD), and Sharad Pawar (NCP), on the operation.Also present at the meeting were National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, BJP president Amit Shah, home minister Rajnath Singh, defence minister Manohar Parrikar, finance minister Arun Jaitley, and I&B minister Venkaiah Naidu,.Prime Minister Modi informed President Pranab Mukherjee, J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, and his predecessor Manmohan Singh of the strikes. Mufti struck a note of caution as she voiced concern over the escalation along the border and warned that the confrontation could lead to a “disaster of epic proportions” for the state.Meanwhile, the External Affairs ministry extended its diplomatic efforts to reassure envoys of various nations in Delhi that the Indian Army’s operation, conducted in the dead of night, was only targeted at terror camps across the LoC and that India had no intent to wage war with Pakistan.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan-backed terror syndicate was exposed again after Border Security Force (BSF) arrested a top Lashkar-e-Tioba commander when he was trying to infiltrate into the Indian side of International Border ((IB) at Pragwal sector of Akhnoor area in Jammu division.Abdul Qayum, 32, of Pul Bajuan village in Sialkot, Pakistan, was arrested on Friday when he was trying to negotiate Border Fence to infiltrate into Indian Territory. Initially Qayum went round in circles to mislead the interrogators claiming that he was a ghost-buster who could ‘control the spirits’.However, after sustained interrogation, Qayum gave up and disclosed the whole terror game being played in Pakistan. “On questioning, he revealed that in 2004, he underwent training in Daura e- Aam camp of LeT at Mansera, Muzaffarabad, Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir. Thereafter, he actively worked for LeT and remained associated with distribution of Jihadi literature and magazine such as Gazwa and Jarar as well as collection of funds for LeT,” said Dharmendra Pareek, deputy inspector general of BSF, Jammu frontier.Qayum has collected Rs 50 lakh in Pakistani currency and handed it over to LeT Amir (chief) Mujahid Bhatt for Sialkote area. “He further revealed that ultimately he realised that Jamat –u- Dawa and Falah-e- Insaniyat, the so-called charitable organisations of LeT are actually accumulating money for jihadi activities,” Pareek said.Qayum further confessed that he realised it late that no kin of any terrorist leader such as Hafiz Mohommad Saeed and Syed Salahudin have participated in jihad.”Poor children of Pakistan are being brain washed to carry out militant activities on the false pretext of atrocities on Kashmiri Muslims by India,” Qayum told interrogators.Qayum is the seventh Pakistani ultra to have been apprehended alive since the Udhampur terror attack in August last year. In fact, Qayum is the second Pakistani militant to have been arrested in last two months in Jammu and Kashmir.On July 26, Indian army arrested 22-year-old Bahadur Ali alias Saifullah of Lahore on the line of control in Nougam sector of Kupwara district. He was part of a five-member infiltrating group which was intercepted by the Indian army on the Line of Control. Four of his associates were gunned down while Ali was captured alive.On June 21, Abu Ukasha alias Hanzullah of Bhawalpur in Pakistan was arrested by the police during a routine patrol in Sogam market in Lolaab area. The 19-year-old LeT terrorist was buying groceries when a police party got suspicious about him.On May 14, Jammu and Kashmir Police caught a top Pakistani Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) suicide bomber alive from Baramulla.Earlier in February, the police arrested 17-year-old Pakistani JeM terrorist Sidiq Gujjar alias Shahid of Sialkot in Pakistan, along with three local militants from Baramulla.LeT militant Mohammed Naveed alias Usman of Faisalabad, Pakistan, was captured alive when he, along with his associate Noman, attacked a BSF convoy near Narsoo Nallah in Udhampur on August 5, 2015.On August 27, 2015, Sajad Ahmad aka Javid Ahmad alias Abu Ubadullah, a 22-year-old LeT operative of Muzaffargarh in south-west Pakistan, was captured alive after all his four associates were gunned down during a fierce gunfight at two different locations in Bijhama to Panzala forests of Baramulla district.
Jammu: Scores of candlelight marches were held in Jammu on Tuesday in remembrance of the 18 soldiers who were martyred in Uri terror attack even as people raised anti-Pakistan slogans and demanded stern action against “those sponsoring terrorism”.
On Sunday, heavily armed militants suspected to be from Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) had stormed the army base in Uri in Kashmir killing 18 jawans. Expressing their anguish over the attack, the protesters demanded strong action by India in retaliation to the attack in order “to teach Pakistan a lesson”.
Members of the civil society, trade associations and religious organisations came out in large numbers at several places in the city to pay their respects to the slain soldiers.
“Pakistan has been continuously stabbing India in the back, be it Samba, Kathua, Gurdaspur, Udhampur, Pathankot and now Uri and we are tolerating all this without doing anything,” a protestor Pardeep Gupta said.
“Every time we are attacked by Pakistan-sponsored, trained and funded terrorists we adopt a week-kneed approach, but this time the Indian government should show some guts and punish those responsible for the killing of our soldiers,” he added.
The protesters also set on fire an effigy of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. They said the entire country would stand behind Prime Minister Narendra Modi “if he decides to take strong step to teach Pakistan a lesson”. Taranjeet Singh, a resident of Vijaypur, said “India is fed up with the daily pin pricks by Pakistan and its threshold of patience has been breached”.
“If the killing of 18 soldiers does not wake us, nothing else ever will. The incubator of terrorism should be taught a lesson. India must target Pakistan diplomatically and strategically to avenge the killings of our 18 brave men,” said Singh.
Pakistan’s terror machinery was exposed again on Tuesday when Jammu and Kashmir Police caught a top Pakistani Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist alive in the Lolaab area of border district of Kupwara.Abu Ukasha alias Hanzullah of Bhawalpur Pakistan was arrested by the police during a routine patrol in Sogam market in Lolaab area on Tuesday evening. The 19-year -old Lashkar-e-Taiba was making some purchases when a police party got suspicious about him.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ukasha was immediately taken into custody and during questioning, he divulged that he was a Pakistani militant who had crossed from across the Line of Control (LOC) for subversion in this part of Kashmir.”On Tuesday evening when our patrol party was busy checking in the market they saw a suspected person. He was caught and brought to the police station where we came to know that he was a militant. Whether he is a commander or not will only be known after his sustained questioning,” said Ajaz Ahmad, senior superintendent of police, Kupwara.Police have launched a manhunt to nab his four associates who are on the run in the Lolaab valley. “We are questioning him about four of his associates. When investigation will be complete we will able to know when and where from he had come,” said Ajaz.Police have recovered a grenade from the possession of Ukasha at the time of his arrest. “He was not carrying any gun. However we recovered a grenade from him when he was taken into custody,” said the SSPSources said Ukasa’s associate and top Lashkar commander Abu Bakar was also hiding in the Lolaab valley. Security forces have intensified the operation in the jungles to nab his associates including Abu Bakar.This is the second time in the last one month that a Pakistan militant was caught alive by the security forces in north Kashmir. On May 14 Jammu and Kashmir police foiled a major fidayeen (suicide) attack after they caught a top Pakistani Jaish-e-Mohammad suicide bomber alive from the Baramulla town in North Kashmir.Twenty three year old Abdul Rehman alias Shabir Ahmad Khan of village Pollas of district Poonch in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) was arrested in a joint operation by the J&K police and 46 Rashtriya Riffles (RR) of the army.Earlier in February, police had arrested 17 year old Pakistani Jaish-e-Mohommad terrorist Mohommad Sidiq Gujjar alias Shahid of Sialkot Pakistan along with three local ultras from Baramulla.Ukasha is the fifth Pakistani militant to have been caught alive since Udhampur terror attack in August last year.Lashkar-e-Tioba militant Mohammed Naveed alias Usman of Faisalabad Pakistan was captured alive when he along with his associate Noman attacked the BSF convoy near Narsoo Nallah at Udhampur on August 5 2015.On August 27 2015 Sajad Ahmad aka Javid Ahmad alias Abu Ubadullah, a 22 year old Lashkar-e-Tioba operative of Muzaffargarh in South West Pakistan, was captured alive after all his four associates were gunned down during a fierce gun fight at two different locations in Bijhama to Panzala forests of Baramulla district.
In 2010, Inaam Hussain, a 19-year-old boy, was standing outside his father’s shop in Srinagar’s uptown when a police vehicle whizzed through the dusty road and abruptly stopped, while the cops jumped out to catch the boys who threw stones on the police during the months-long protests against the series of killings in Kashmir.
The stone pelters, who had assembled in the main market area, gave the slip. Enraged over missing the catch, the cops chased the other bystanders, including Inaam. In a hurry, Inaam entered the compound of a nearby mosque to save himself from possibly being thrashed and arrested by the angry cops, but failed as he tried to climb over a wall to the other side of the mosque. Inaam was caught and booked under the black law called Public Safety Act (PSA), within hours of his arrest. Inaam spent the next few months in Kot Balwal Jail in the Udhampur district of Jammu region.
It took his family months to get his PSA quashed and subsequently release him from jail. Since then, he attends court regularly in relation to the other charges he was booked for. Years later, Inaam was offered a job in compensation for the land taken by the Indian Railways, which required him to obtain an NOC from the police, before he could join the service. Since there was a case pending against him in the police station, he had to pay a hefty amount as bribe to get the clearance certificate from the police for his job. All thanks to the ‘draconian’ Public Safety Act.
Like Inaam, hundreds of boys in Kashmir share a similar story.
The Jammu and Kashmir government on Friday revealed that it had arrested a total of 133 people under the provisions of PSA in the last one year, out of which 53 people are still languishing in different jails in the state.
“A total of 133 persons were arrested under the provisions of PSA and other Acts in 2015. Out of these, 80 people have been released or deported while 53 are still in jails. Three of the PSA detainees have been taken to the jails outside the state,” the government said in the state Assembly, on Friday.
The figures reveal how the state deals with the dissenters — with an iron hand, according to a human rights activist. The government also said it has arrested around 800 people in Kashmir in 2015; Srinagar topped the list with 337 arrests.
“Since January 2015 and January 2016, a total of 799 people across Kashmir were arrested. All except one person have been released,” the government said.
The government said that 337 people were arrested in Srinagar, 122 in Shopian, 15 in Budgam, 22 in Ganderbal, 70 in Baramulla, 34 in Kupwara, 13 in Kulgam, 10 in Bandipora, and 86 in Pulwama, in the last one year. Earlier in the month, the government said 199 youngsters were arrested in north Kashmir’s Palhallan village in the last nine years. Jammu and Kashmir spends an amount of Rs 18.34 crore annually on prisoners in different jails.
It is pertinent to mention that Hurriyat leader Masarat Alam has been slapped with 32 PSAs over the years. Similarly, hundreds of youngsters have been arrested under PSA, since the mass uprising in Kashmir in 2008.
The human rights group, Amnesty International, has termed the Public Safety Act as a “lawless law” and has advocated for its scrapping. In a recent report, Amnesty said that an estimated 8,000-20,000 people have been detained under the PSA since 1991 in Kashmir.
Amnesty in its report said: “Research has showed that the implementation of the PSA is often arbitrary and abusive, with many of those being held having committed no recognisably criminal acts. The PSA’s vague and over-broad provisions facilitate a range of human rights violations in practice.”
The Vice-President Hamid Ansari has, in November 2014, said that the use of laws such as PSA to commit human rights violations, “reflect poorly on the state and its agents.”
The human rights organisations and civil society groups have been calling for the scrapping of this law under which a person can be detained for up to two years in jail without any trial. Despite facing harsh criticism, the Jammu and Kashmir government continues to put hundreds of people in jail under PSA.
Security forces on Monday gunned down a militant who targeted a CRPF camp on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway after a state road transport bus in which he was travelling was intercepted for checking at Kud.Three civilians — two women and a child — were injured in the incident in Udhampur district, which falls in Jammu region of the state, police said. One person later succumbed to injuries, as reported by ANI quoting DG, CRPF. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC) bus was on its way from Kashmir Valley to Jammu when it was stopped for checking at Kud, about 170 kms from here. “Police and CRPF were frisking all the Jammu-bound vehicles at Kral Nallah area in Kud when they stopped an SRTC bus and during its checking, an unidentified suspected militant opened fire at them this evening,” Director General of Police (DGP) K Rajendra Kumar told PTI.In the cross-fire, one militant was killed and one AK-47 rifle and one pistol were recovered from him. He said it seems only one militant was travelling in the bus. “It was just the random checking of the vehicles when the police and the CRPF team were attacked, while the militant was gunned down, three civilians including two women and a child were injured in the firing,” the DGP said.He said while it seems that the attack was carried out by one militant, the security forces cordoned off the area and launched a combing operation to ensure that no other suspected militant was involved in the attack.”The firing has stopped, CRPF and Police is on the spot and we are carrying a combing operation. Investigation is also on to ascertain the identity of the slain militant,” the state police chief said. Inspector General of Police (IGP) Jammu, Danish Rana said that one militant has been eliminated even though the search operation is on.
Security forced on Saturday busted a militant hideout and seized large quantity of arms and ammunition in the Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir. “Based on specific information, the Rashtriya Rifles Battalion at Samote along with troops of Territorial Army and police personnel recovered large cache of arms and ammunition from a natural hideout in general area Khangar Forest of Rajouri district,” Udhampur based Defence Spokesman Col SD Goswami said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said that the recovered cache included one AK- 56 Rifle, two Pistols, one UBGL, one 7.62 mm barrel, six magazines of AK-47, three rounds of RPG, two Anti Tank Rifle grenades, two UBGL grenades, two Chinese hand grenades, 120 rounds of AK-47, eight rounds of Pika, 30 rounds of Pistol, 166 rounds of 303 Rifle, one Pouch and one Solar Plate. “The timely recovery of the cache has prevented any untoward incident in the area, thereby thwarting the evil designs of the terrorists. The Army has been conducting relentless operations to ensure ensuing peace and stability in the region,” Col Goswami said.
Massive fire has engulfed the dense pine forests near the revered Shri Mata Vaishno Devi (SMVD) shrine in Katra town of Reasi district in the Jammu division.Spread over 10 kilometres, fire started from Banganga ridge on the Trikuta hills and spread quickly to other areas prompting the authorities to shut the helipad for sometime as a precautionary measure to avoid any mishap.SMVD shrine board authorities later requisitioned the Indian Air Force for help to douse the flames. Indian Air Force has pressed two choppers into service which are fetching water from the Salal dam in Reasi to sprinkle on the affected areas in a bid to douse the flames.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Fire fighting operations were conducted by the two Mi-17V5 helicopters of the 153 Helicopter Units, Udhampur. Till 2.30 pm the helicopters conducted five sorties using Bambi Bucket. Over 18,000 litres of water was dispensed (to douse the flames)”, Colonel SD Goswami, defence spokesman at Northern Command, told dna.Police said the yatra however, remained unaffected and pilgrims had dharshan at the holy cave shrine without any hassles as the fire was controlled to a large extent.”It was a natural fire which broke out yesterday in the 10 kilometer area. Yatra, Yatries and chopper services remained unaffected. Fire has been controlled at the areas near the public places. Smoke is billowing from few places on the upper ridges. IAF choppers are sprinkling water to control the fire,” Sujit Kumar, senior superintendent of police, Reasi, told dna.Experts said the reasons for the fire could be either man made or natural given the prevailing heat wave in the area.”When pine needles fall from the trees it creates a carpet like layer on the ground. A small spark by a cigarette bit can cause massive fires. Another reason could be that in the scorching heat, the stones start rolling down which sometimes create sparks. This too ignites the forest fire,” said Mohinder Singh, deputy director of Forest Protection Force (FPF).Located at the altitude of 5,200 feet in the Tirukta hills, the shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi is one of the holiest pilgrimage places in Indian sub continent. The pilgrims have to trek around 12 kilometres from the base camp to the Holy cave.Millions of devotees visit the shrine every year to perform puja at the sanctum sanctorum. Official data reveal 77.76 pilgrims visited the shrine in 2014 against 78.03 lakh in 2014. Around 93.24 lakh pilgrims visited the shrine in 2013.”We have controlled the fire to a large extent. There has been no damage to the life or property. The chopper operations at the helipad has also resumed,” said Jagdish Singh, sub divisional magistrate at SMVD.
Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti demand to modify the militant repatriation policy by increasing the entry points and ensure rehabilitation of all Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) based militants wanting to return back and join the mainstream has put the Centre in a bind.Sources in the union home ministry said as there are security implications to Mehbooba’s demand it has been referred by union home minister Rajnath Singh to the security agencies, especially the Intelligence Bureau, for a comprehensive review.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Though formally the government recognises IGI international airport, Wagah-Attari border, Uri and Muzaffarabad as the four valid entry points for POK based militants, there is hardly any movement from these places for obvious difficulties from Pakistan side and most surrendering militants have returned via informal Nepal route.However, lately the Nepal route has also come under the scrutiny of Pakistan’s and its espionage agency ISI is keeping a close watch on it. Moreover, return of militants has also come to a trickle because of raw deal handed over to many surrendered militants, sources said.Flagging the issue of increasing attacks on women, allegedly by the security troops as well as the militants in the Valley, Mehbooba proposed to raise two all women police battalions in the state with full funding support from the Centre.She also apprised Rajnath Singh about the first decision she took was after becoming chief minister was to raise four all women police stations in the state and creation of 208 posts for the same.Presently two women police stations are functional in the state at Srinagar and Jammu besides four women cells at Anantnag, Baramulla, Rajouri and Udhampur.Rajnath Singh understood to have appreciated the proposal and promised to look into her demand of funds for raising the woman battalion in the state where the incidents of kidnapping, rape, assault or murder are not unheard of.During her first visit to Delhi, Mehbooba also held key meeting with external affairs Sushma Swaraj in which she discussed measures required for broadening the scope of cross-LoC trade and travel in J&K. Cross LoC trade that was scheduled to be increased between POK and J&K has suffered because of the ongoing frigid relations.Mehbooba has proposed opening of new routes across the LoC for better connectivity, which she said will take people-to-people contact beyond the ritual of meetings between divided families.
Jammu: After a lull of nearly seven months, the ceasefire on the Line of Control was violated again on Sunday with Pakistan army resorting to mortar shelling and firing in Poonch sector, a development that comes amid a fresh chill in relations between the two countries.
“The Pakistan army resorted to unprovoked ceasefire violation along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Poonch sector of J and K,” Defence spokesman Lt Col Manish Mehta said here. He said the Pakistan army resorted to heavy mortar and automatic weapon fire in the Shahpur area of Poonch sector at 0430 hours.
“Our troops responded appropriately and no casualties or damage to our troops was reported,” the spokesman added. The ceasefire violation comes after nearly seven months as last such incident took place on 18 September 2015 in the Balakote sector of Poonch district. “Today’s ceasefire violation is the first major such incident of 2016,” a senior army officer said.
Last year, 16 civilians were killed and 71 others injured in 405 incidents of cross-border firing by Pakistan, the officer said. While 253 incidents of ceasefire violations took place along the International Border (IB), 152 incidents were reported along the LoC, he said.
Around 8,000 people were temporarily affected due to the ceasefire violations and had to be shifted to safer locations. Introducing a fresh chill in ties between the two neighbours, Pakistan had earlier this month said the bilateral peace process stands “suspended” while indicating that it would not allow Indian investigators looking into the Pathankot air force base attack to travel there.
Meanwhile, in Islamabad, Pakistan army accused India of resorting to firing across the LoC in the Neza Pir sector. The Pakistan army said “heavy unprovoked firing and shelling” started at around 11:40 PM on Saturday and went on until about 4:45 AM.
It said that Pakistan Army troops provided a “befitting reponse” to the firing. No loss of life or property has been reported so far, according to Pakistan army. The two countries had agreed to border ceasefire in 2003.
The ceasefire violation could have been aimed at aiding an infiltration bid by terrorists, the senior officer said. “We have received inputs that heavily-armed terrorists are waiting at various launching pads to infiltrate across either the IB or LoC and today’s ceasefire violation could have been aimed at aiding such a bid,” the officer said.
Shortage of manpower and weapons has become a major concern for the militant leadership across the border and it is waiting for an opportunity to push militants and weapons into the Indian side, he said. “The discovery of a cross-border tunnel this year shows how desperately they (militants) have been trying to infiltrate,” the officer added.
Army, meanwhile, said that to minimise the loss of lives on the Indian side in the event of a ceasefire violation by Pakistan, concrete bunkers are being constructed along the International Border which can each hold over 500 persons.
Data till 30 September 2015, shows that over 92 infiltration attempts were made by militants, the officer said, adding that “some of the attempts were successful while one led to the capture of Mohd Naved Yakub, who was part of a fidayeen mission that attacked a BSF convoy in Udhampur”.
Jammu and Kashmir government has released over Rs 415 crore for people whose houses were damaged in the floods in September 2014.”The state government has released Rs 418.67 crore for electronic disbursement to owners of houses which were damaged in floods, under the Prime Minister’s Development Plan-2015 (PMDP),” an official spokesman said.In Srinagar district, Rs 234.16 crore will be distributed, in Samba district Rs 2.35 crore, in Ganderbal Rs 81 lakh, in Budgam district Rs 39.12 crore, in Pulwama Rs 28.87 crore, in Anantnag Rs 48.94 crore, and in Bandipora Rs 17.16 crore.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In Baramulla district, Rs 17.61 crore, in Rajouri district Rs 22.63 crore, in Udhampur district Rs 6.97 crore, in Ramban district Rs 7.53 crore, in Kishtwar district Rs 2.38 crore, in Doda district Rs 3.03 crore, in Shopian district Rs 7.27 crore, in Kupwara district Rs 20 lakh and in Kulgam district Rs 19.08 crore will be distributed amongst the house owners.The financial assistance is being transferred directly by the respective deputy commissioners into the bank accounts of the beneficiaries through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT), the spokesman said.The spokesman said that the State Administrative Council (SAC) meeting chaired by the Governor had on February 25 decided to grant financial assistance under the Prime Minister’s Development Plan-2015 at the rate of Rs 2.50 lakh for fully damaged pucca house, Rs 1.25 lakh for severely damaged pucca house, Rs 1 lakh for fully damaged kucha house, Rs 50,000 for severely damaged kucha house, Rs 20,000 for partially damaged pucca house and Rs 10,000 for partially damaged kucha house.The Governor has directed that the entire amount of Rs 418.67 crore be transferred to the beneficiaries within seven days.
A Pakistani militant carrying a bounty for his role in Udhampur attack last year, Abu Okasha, has been killed in an encounter in Pulwama district but a top Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander and four other ultras managed to escape the security ring due to alleged connivance of locals.NIA had announced a reward of Rs 5 lakh on information leading to arrest of Okasha, a resident of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan. It had recovered his photograph during raids at various terror hideouts in the Valley in connection with his involvement in the Udhampur terror attack in which a Pakistani LeT terrorist Mohammed Naved Yakub was arrested.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The sources said LeT’s Kashmir chief Abu Dujana was among those who managed to escape from the encounter site as local residents allegedly diverted the attention of security forces by pelting stones at them.The encounter broke out as security forces were conducting search operations in Puchal area of Awantipora and shots were heard from nearby Goripora village, an official said.He said reinforcements were immediately rushed to Goripora and a cordon was laid around the village to prevent the militants from fleeing.The militants fired towards the security personnel who retaliated, leading to fierce exchange of gunfire, the official said.Two militants were killed in the exchange of firing but five of their accomplices managed to escape, the official said adding the bodies of the slain ultras have been recovered.As the security forces were battling the militants, a group of local residents started pelting stones at the security personnel, the official said.The incident diverted the attention of security personnel and allowed the other militants to escape from the cordon, the official said.Dujana took over operational command of Lashkar following the killing of Abu Qasim in Kulgam area of south Kashmir in October last year.
Three Hizbul Mujahideen militants were killed in an overnight encounter in Tral area of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district, an army official said on Thursday.Security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Dadsara area of Tral last night, following information about the presence of militants there, the official said.The official said in the ensuing gun fight three local militants of Hizbul Mujahideen were killed.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The slain militants have been identified as Ashiq Hussain Bhat, Mohammad Isaq Parray and Asif Ahmed Mir, the official said, adding that Bhat was involved in providing shelter to militants involved in Udhampur attack on a BSF convoy last year.Three AK rifles have been recovered from the scene of the gun battle, where search and sanitisation operation are in progress, the official said.
Tragedy struck world’s highest battlefield of Saichen on Wednesday when around 10 Indian army soldiers were swept away by a massive avalanche that hit their post at an altitude of 19,600 feet.All the 10 soldiers, including a junior commissioned officer (JCO), are missing since the avalanche hit the northern Siachen glacier in the early hours of Wednesday.According to colonel SD Goswami, defence spokesperson at Northern Command in Udhampur, specialised teams from Army and Air Force have been pressed into service to locate the missing soldiers. “The rescue operations are being closely monitored from Leh and Udhampur,” he added.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This is the second big tragedy at the glacier in the last one month. Four soldiers belonging to 3-Ladakh Scouts unit were killed when a massive avalanche hit their patrolling party at the glacier on January 4. Another massive avalanche had left an army captain dead on November 13, 2015, even as 15 soldiers were safely rescued.Situated at the eastern tip of Ladakh, Siachen literally means the ‘land of wild roses’. Famed as the highest battle field in the world, Indian Army is holding posts at unimaginable heights across the largest non-polar glacier in the world. India has lost hundreds of its soldiers to weather vagaries, including avalanches and frost bites in the last 30 years.Pakistani army suffered humiliating defeat in 1987 when Indian army led by honorary captain Bana Singh captured their ‘Quaid’ post, located at 21,153 feet. The post was later named ‘Bana’ post.However, for the last 12 years, the 150-kilometre actual ground position line (AGPL) in Siachen is witnessing calm following the border cease-fire in 2003. Before that the AGPL was a regular battlefield with both armies exchanging artillery and small arms fire to pin each other down.
Ten soldiers, including an officer, went missing on Wednesday after an avalanche hit them in Siachen Glacier in Jammu and Kashmir’s Ladakh region.
“Ten soldiers, including a junior commissioned officer (JCO), are missing after an avalanche hit their patrol at 19,000 feet above the sea level in southern side of the Siachen Glacier early Wednesday,” Colonel S.D. Goswami, spokesman of army’s Udhampur headquartered northern command, told IANS here.
Army spokesperson NN Joshi said several personnel from the Madras Regiment were buried on the northern side of the glacier, reports The Hindustan Times.
“A massive rescue operation has been started by the army and the Air Force to trace the missing personnel who are feared buried under the avalanche,” Goswami said.
Siachin Glacier is the world’s highest battlefield which the brave hearts of the Indian Army guard despite extremely hostile climate.
The winter temperatures often drops to minus 50 degrees Celsius in the region.
The Indian Express reports that one junior commissioned officer (JCO) and nine jawans of the Army’s 19 Madras battalion have been trapped since early Wednesday morning. The post is at 19,600 feet on the Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) — the border with Pakistan at Siachen glacier — in the vicinity of Bana post.
With IANS inputs
With uncertainty looming large over the continuance of PDP-BJP alliance, National Conference (NC) leader Farooq Abdullah on Saturday said his party is ready to consider a tie-up with the saffron party for government formation if such an offer is received.”If such a proposal comes, then NC will call a Working Committee (meeting) and debate over it. If such a situation arises, NC can think over it as we have not closed the doors. Our doors are open,” he told reporters here when asked to spell out his party’s stand if it gets a proposal from BJP for forming a coalition government in the state which is under Governor’s rule.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the 87-member Assembly, BJP has 25 MLAs while NC has 14 legislators. His comments came as uncertainty prevailed over the fate of PDP-BJP coalition which ran government headed by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed for 10 months before his sudden death on January 7.With regard to the ongoing political uncertainty in the state, the NC patron and former Chief Minister blamed 27-member PDP for it. “Uncertainty has been created by PDP as BJP is ready to form the government and God knows what PDP is thinking, I hope they end this and the government would continue,” he said.Abdullah said that peoples’ aspirations hold paramount importance in democratic polity and the moment ruling elite suffers from the mistaken belief of being ‘kings’ they get distanced from the masses. “NC firmly believes that people are the fountain head of power,” he said, adding that with this as the core of his party’s philosophy, a major stride was taken in 1996 to steer Jammu and Kashmir on the path of democracy.Mentioning a tragic road mishap in Udhampur district which claimed eleven lives, Abdullah said corruption had hollowed the system. He attributed growing road accidents to traffic mismanagement and overloading and said these should be addressed on a priority for saving lives. Earlier, the National Conference President visited the residences of Des Raj and Kehar Singh, two prominent party workers, at Katra and Udhampur to condole their demise and also prayed for peace for the departed souls.
Independent Jammu and Kashmir MLA Engineer Rashid will attend Kashmir meet in Islamabad. He has accepted an invite for Kashmir conference from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.In October, Hindu Sena activists came rampaging inside the Press Club of India premises in the capital and attacked independent MLA from Kashmir Engineer Rashid by smearing his face with black paint and ink. They were protesting against his hosting a beef party in Srinagar. Earlier in that month Rashid had also been beaten up by BJP MLAs in J&K Assembly for hosting beef party in the MLA hostel.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The incident immediately invited sharp reaction from chief minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed who is running a coalition government with BJP in J&K.”In a vibrant democracy like India, we need to have courage to respect dissent and provide space to different points of view. The spate in unpleasant incidents such as this is most disturbing,” Sayeed said.Former CM Farooq Abdullah also said that PM Modi should look into who the perpetrators of this attack were.The incident happened when Rashid was emerging out of the Press Club after addressing a press conference to protest against the fatal attack on two Kashmiri truck drivers in Udhampur over rumours of killing a cow on October 9. One of the drivers, Zahid Rasool Bhat, 18, succumbed to burn injuries on Sunday at Delhi’s Safdarjung hospital igniting protests in Kashmir.Shouting “Gau Mata ki jai” a couple of unidentified men came rushing to Engineer Rashid when he was about to leave the Press Club. The independent MLA had received massive opposition for hosting a beef party in Srinagar earlier this month.”I do not eat beef, mutton, or chicken but that (the party) was a form of protest to tell the authorities not to interfere in anyone’s religion and eating habits,” Rashid had explained during the press conference.Addressing the media after the attack Rashid said, “It is not mine, but PM Modi’s face that has been blackened today…The world is watching where India, the land of Mahatma Gandhi stands today. These people (the attackers) are mentally sick. I want the whole world to see how these people are trying to muzzle the voice of Kashmiris.” he said.”Talibanisation is not just taking place in Pakistan. It is happening all over India too,” added an angry Rashid.During the press conference, Rashid attacked BJP and PM Modi for being silent against the growing violence by majority community and thus being partners in crime.”If the UP government can be held responsible for Dadri incident, then BJP is equally responsible for the Udhampur incident along with its ally PDP,” said Rashid demanding PM Modi to “publicly condemn” such attacks and “say sorry” for the loss of lives.”Are we living in Hindustan of Mohan Bhagwat or Sakshi Maharaj? The Prime Minister talks of Talibanisation and radicalisation. I have a strong hunch that Sakshi Maharaj is an ISI prop. The PM should carry out an investigation…. And what is this happening in Jammu and Kashmir? Nobody is speaking. I request you with folded hands to highlight the plight of Kashmiris,” Rashid told the media.